Bay Ridge

Doctors’ Row becomes first historic district in Bay Ridge

After all, it "really does stand out."

June 25, 2019 Paula Katinas
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Doctors’ Row, the famous Bay Ridge block known for its unique, picturesque architecture, finally landed historic district status — the first in the neighborhood — after a unanimous vote from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday.

“The block really does stand out,” commission Chairperson Sarah Carroll said before the vote was taken.

Applause erupted in the meeting hall after the vote, according to one of the attendees.

Doctors’ Row, which earned its nickname based on the fact that many physicians have kept their offices there over the years, is located on Bay Ridge Parkway between Fourth and Fifth avenues.

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It will now be known as the Bay Ridge Parkway-Doctors’ Row Historic District.

The commission’s decision means that the façades of the buildings on the block, some of which date back to 1906, will be protected and preserved.

Linda Assini, co-founder of the Bay Ridge Parkway 400 Block Association, the group that spearheaded the effort to win historic district status for the street, called the vote a victory for the entire community.

“Designating Doctors’ Row will undoubtedly add to maintaining the unique character of Bay Ridge,” Assini stated.

“Landmarks’ designation means we now have an army of preservationists to help us protect the integrity and beauty of Doctors’ Row now and for future generations,” said Susan Brown, who lives on Doctors’ Row.

Doctors’ Row will become the first historic district in Bay Ridge. There are three city landmarks in the neighborhood — Fort Hamilton, the Bennett-Farrell House and the Gingerbread House — but no historic districts, until now.

“This is a great day for Bay Ridge and for Southern Brooklyn,” Brian Kaszuba, chairperson of Community Board 10’s Zoning and Land Use Committee, told the Brooklyn Eagle following the vote. “The city is taking notice of the great buildings and architecture we have.”

CB10 supported the efforts by the Bay Ridge Parkway 400 Block Association to convince the city to designate the street as a Historic District. State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Councilmember Justin Brannan also endorsed the proposal.

“Doctors’ Row has long been an important piece of how people in Bay Ridge have come to know, love, and identify with their neighborhood. It is an honor to be in office at this time, not only to help facilitate but to simply witness Bay Ridge’s very first historic district come to be,” Brannan said in a statement.

Kelly Carroll, director of advocacy for the Historic Districts Council, provided expertise and technical assistance to Bay Ridge Parkway residents throughout the process. The Historic Districts Council is a non-profit organization that advocates for the preservation of notable buildings in New York City. The organization works with grassroots groups across the city.

The Bay Ridge Parkway-Doctors’ Row Historic District is a block of 54 row houses on Bay Ridge Parkway constructed between 1906 and 1913, according to the commission’s designation.

The block was constructed by one builder who used only two architects, resulting in its signature consistency. The limestone row houses were built in the Renaissance Revival style with some elements of the Colonial Revival style. The buildings are all two stories tall with a basement, and the block still looks very much as it did in the first decade of the 20th Century, according to experts.

History buffs, architecture fans and housing preservationists have marveled at the beautiful limestone row houses on the tree-lined street.

Assini hinted that Tuesday’s vote could be just the beginning. “We look forward to working with LPC in further expanding Historic Districts status to include other worthy blocks,” she said.

Additional reporting by Lore Croghan. 

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