Crown Heights

Five favorite sights in Crown Heights South

Eye on Real Estate: Start with Doctor's Row and you can't go wrong

March 5, 2019 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Marvelous mansions line Doctor's Row, aka President Street in Crown Heights South. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan

Once upon a time, Brooklyn’s best surgeons congregated on President Street.

It became a hot spot for medical professionals to live a century ago and earned the nickname Doctor’s Row, which endures to this day.

The blocks of President Street between New York and Kingston avenues in Crown Heights South are lined with graciously designed mansions surrounded by lawns.

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Just a few blocks away, large-scale development is planned at the Spice Factory, whose address is 960 Franklin Ave. But on today’s wintry stroll, we’re sticking to Doctor’s Row and the immediately surrounding streets, where the housing stock is lovely and largely low-rise, and a sense of serenity pervades.

If you’re taking the subway to Crown Heights South, why not ride the 2 train to the President Street-Nostrand Avenue stop? It’s just a block away from Doctor’s Row.

Pretty porches grace 1298 President St. at left and 1290-1294 President St. at right on this Doctor's Row block.
Pretty porches grace 1298 President St. at left and 1290-1294 President St. at right on this Doctor’s Row block.

‘Impressive concentration of freestanding mansions’

A 1978 city Landmarks Preservation Commission report about a proposal to create a Crown Heights South Historic District provides details about numerous properties in the neighborhood — including homes on Doctor’s Row.

The area did not win landmark designation, though it deserves to do so.

Doctor’s Row is “one of the most impressive concentrations of freestanding mansions in the city,” the report says.

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The houses were built between 1899 and 1930. They were designed in various architectural styles.

For instance, 1290-1294 President St., which William Debus designed in 1911, has a neo-Renaissance-inspired flat roof and a Beaux-Arts Classical Revival-style portico, the report says.

One of our favorite Doctor’s Row houses is 1281 President St. It’s clad in orangey-hued brick and has a big, beautiful round turret topped by a roof that’s shaped like a witch’s hat.

This Doctor's Row house at 1281 President St. has a terrific turret.
This Doctor’s Row house at 1281 President St. has a terrific turret.

J.L. Brush designed these Carroll Street houses

Around the corner from Doctor’s Row, there’s a second spot that’s a favorite of ours — the Carroll Street block between Kingston and Albany avenues.

On the end of the block near the Kingston Avenue intersection, there’s a row of sophisticated red-brick houses with squared-off facades topped by tiny roofs. Above the roofs, there are decorative brick elements that look a bit like crowns.

These houses are very eye-pleasing.

Further down the block, there’s a row of bow-front brownstone and limestone houses the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s report says are “among the finest groupings” in the proposed historic district.

Their addresses are 1401-1425 Carroll St.

Brooklyn architect J.L. Brush designed them in 1913, the report says.

Brooklyn architect J.L. Brush designed the bow-front rowhouses on the left side of this Carroll Street block.
Brooklyn architect J.L. Brush designed the bow-front rowhouses on the left side of this Carroll Street block.

Charming Crown Street

Around another corner, the Crown Street block between Kingston and Brooklyn avenues has an intriguing juxtaposition of old-fashioned housing stock.

There’s an eye-catching row of brick rowhouses with rectangular facades and dramatic windowsills. Out front, there’s a shrubbery hedge like one you’d see in the suburbs.

Further down the block, there are handsome standalone brick houses. The porches are brick, too, which is interesting looking.

Standalone houses with distinctive brick porches can be found at 443 Crown St. at right and 441 Crown St. at left.
Standalone houses with distinctive brick porches can be found at 443 Crown St. at right and 441 Crown St. at left.

Semi-detached brownstones on Carroll Street

Next we’re circling back to Carroll Street, to a sweet block between Nostrand and New York avenues.

It has pairs of brownstones with curvy facades. Each pair stands together like it’s a single house.

The handsome rowhouse pair at left is 1228 with 1230 Carroll St., then 1224 is paired with 1226 Carroll St., and so on from there.
The handsome rowhouse pair at left is 1228 with 1230 Carroll St., then 1224 is paired with 1226 Carroll St., and so on from there.

Limestone rows on New York Avenue

When you get to the corner of New York Avenue, turn left to find our fifth fine sight in Crown Heights South.

On both sides of the block between Carroll and President streets, there are rows of cylindrical limestone houses. They have such a classic look.

Of course there will be other things you’ll want to see — there’s eye candy everywhere you turn in Crown Heights South.

When you’re ready to depart, why not head to the Eastern Parkway-Nostrand Avenue 3 train station?

Near that corner, you’ll see the landmark-worthy Loews Kameo Theatre, which opened in 1925, according to the website Cinema Treasures.

A church currently owns the dramatic property at 530 Eastern Parkway.

By the Eastern Parkway subway entrance, you'll find the Loews Kameo Theatre.
By the Eastern Parkway subway entrance, you’ll find the Loews Kameo Theatre.

 

Follow reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.


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