Council votes to affirm Doctors’ Row Historic District

October 18, 2019 Paula Katinas
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BAY RIDGE — The City Council voted Thursday to affirm the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s decision to designate the famous Bay Ridge street known as Doctors’ Row a historic district, a legislative act that marked the final piece of a campaign started by proud residents of the block.

The LPC voted unanimously in June to grant historic district status to Doctors’ Row, the block located on Bay Ridge Parkway between Fourth and Fifth avenues that has grabbed attention over the years for its handsome, largely intact early-20th century rowhouses.

The City Council has the authority to either affirm or overturn the LPC’s decision.

The block earned the nickname Doctors’ Row due to the numerous doctors who kept their offices there over the years.

The historic district designation means that the facades of the buildings will be protected and preserved, advocates said.

The block is populated by 54 rowhouses constructed between 1906 and 1913. The houses were constructed in the Renaissance Revival style with some elements of the Colonial Revival style, according to LPC. The buildings are all two stories tall with a basement and are united by a continuous cornice line, which remarkably, has been retained by all of the houses.

Councilmember Justin Brannan, who pushed for the Council to back the commission’s decision, said Doctors’ Row deserves special status.

“Doctor’s Row has a special and ongoing place in Bay Ridge history. To residents and locals, the block was already a landmark. It was well past time that we as a city officially recognize that status,” said Brannan, a Democrat representing Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst.

Brannan praised the work of the block’s residents, who formed a block association and led the campaign to convince the city to turn their street into a historic district.

The Bay Ridge Parkway 400 Block Association received guidance and assistance from the Historic Districts Council, a non-profit organization that champions preservation efforts.

Susan Brown, a resident of the block, said the special status for Bay Ridge Parkway is meaningful. “Landmarks designation means we now have an army of preservationist to help us protect the integrity and beauty of Doctors’ Row now and for future generations,” she said following the commission’s vote in June.

Thursday’s Council vote was “the culmination of a fight that was truly from the ground up, driven by residents every step of the way,” Brannan said.

Doctors’ Row is the neighborhood’s first historic district. Individual buildings in Bay Ridge that have won landmark designation are the Bennett-Farrell-Feldman House at 119 95th St., which was designated in 1999 after a protracted campaign by preservationists, and the so-called “Gingerbread House” at 8200 Narrows Ave., which was designated in 1988, as Bay Ridge’s first landmark. 

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