Boerum HillHD. Image Credit: LPC.
Composed of three distinct areas to the north, south and west of the existing historic district, proposed expansion shares a character and development history designated section of Boerum Hill. Landmarks voted to add an extension to the Boerum Hill Historic District to its calendar for consideration for designation on October 31, 2017. The extension, as calendared, would bring approximately 288 properties under Landmarks’ purview. The extension is not contiguous, but composed of three separate sections to the north, south and west of the existing historic district.
The proposed extension is consistent in its history and architectural character with the existing district, largely developed over two phases in the 19th century. In the 1840s and 1850s, speculative rowhouses were constructed in the area, following the industrial expansion of south Brooklyn’s waterfront and the extension of transportation infrastructure to the area. The second phase of development occurred in the years following the Civil War, spurred by the opening of the Gowanus Canal and attendant arrival of factories and warehouses to the area.
Primarily residential in character, brick and brownstone rowhouses in the Greek Revival and Italianate styles predominate. The tail end of the area’s development in the 1880s saw more diversity of architectural styles, and Second Empire and Neo-Grec building are scattered throughout he proposed extension. The extension would also encompass some commercial, institutional, and stable buildings. While some 20th century structures are found within the proposed extension, it retains a consistent development history and scale in common with the previously designated district, and exhibits a high degree of architectural integrity.
The area was originally home to many German, Italian and Irish immigrants who worked in waterfront and canal-based industries. Later, in the twentieth century, it was home to a large population of Mohawks, who came to the City to work in high steel.
Landmarks’ Research Director Kate Lemos McHale stated that the Commission was approached by the Boerum Hill Association in 2016 about creating an extension to the historic district. The Association proposed an extension of composed two clusters adjoin the district. After surveying the neighborhood, Landmarks staff determine there were three areas adjoining the district that were consistent with it in history and architecture, and merited consideration as part of an extension.
Lemos McHale noted that local Council Member Stephen Levin supported the extension of the district.
Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan called the addition of the extension to the Commission’s calendar “very exciting,” and remarked on the proposed extension’s cohesion with the Boerum Hill Historic District. She said Landmarks’ staff would continue to study the area, and it would brought back to the Commission for a public hearing soon.
Commissioners voted unanimously to add the extension to Landmarks’ calendar.
LPC: Boerum Hill Historic District Extension, Brooklyn (LP-2599) (Oct. 31, 2017).
By:Jesse Denno (Jesse is a full-time staff writer at the Center for NYC Law).