City landmarking process begins for Sunset Park

January 22, 2019 Lore Croghan
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Parts of the neighborhood are now under consideration as historic districts

A Brooklyn neighborhood built for working-class immigrants is finally getting its due from the city Landmarks Preservation Commission.

On Tuesday, commissioners voted unanimously to put four sections of Sunset Park onto the agency’s calendar to consider them for designation as historic districts.

Neighborhood activists have spent years campaigning for landmarking protection for Sunset Park blocks, where rows of brownstone, limestone and brick houses built between 1885 and 1912 are largely intact.

“We’re over the moon that the commission is considering four historic districts in Sunset Park,” Lynn Massimo of the Sunset Park Landmarks Committee told the Brooklyn Eagle via email. “It’s been a long time coming.”

If the four areas do wind up winning historic-district status, developers will find it much more difficult to construct finger buildings in them. These modern multi-family properties, which have been springing up throughout Sunset Park, are taller than the rowhouses on either side of them and resemble a hand flipping the bird.

Property owners in city-designated historic districts cannot demolish buildings or alter their exteriors without the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s permission.

“On many blocks, generations of Sunset Parkers have kept their rowhouses intact and looking historic, but rampant redevelopment is erasing that history,” Massimo said. “That history, which is both the history of architecture and of a community, deserves to be honored and preserved.”

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This map shows the locations of Sunset Park’s four proposed historic districts. Image courtesy of the Landmarks Preservation Commission

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