The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Last Halloween For Haunted House of Clarkson

Over on the Brownstoner, Montrose Morris et al are bemoaning the loss to a developer of the strangest old mansions left in Brooklyn - 111 Clarkson. I had looked forward to telling spooky stories of a half-man half-squirrel creature so hideous and bald that if he caught you looking at him through the window on the very top floor he'd swoop down and gobble you up like a boa on a bunny.

So yes, I'm sad, but not because they're tearing this thing down. I never doubted for a second that the jerk who let it go to waste wouldn't sell out to the highest bidder when the economy turned around, who in turn would necessarily be a dude who wanted to tear it down and build apartments. And God knows Brooklyn needs apartments. I'm actually sad because we've lost the use of yet another good word - "luxury." As in, these are supposedly going to be "luxury" apartments.

Since when did every apartment in NYC and the tri-state area get to start calling itself "luxury" if it has, I don't know, a roof, and emergency exits and indoor plumbing and a mailbox with a tiny key? I mean there's no WAY this thing on Clarkson Avenue is going to be luxury in any sense of the word other than it's not going to be old.

Perhaps now would be a good time to steal some of that amazing ironwork, cuz THAT is luxurious no matter what they say. In a Damian of The Omen kinda way.


Bob Marvin said...

This is SO sad, but probably inevitable, absent inclusion in the PLG Historic District.

I was on the PLGNA committee that worked on obtaining our designation in the '70s. IIRC we tried to include this house, but it was not to be. I hope the new owner has the sense to sell whatever can be removed of the interior detail to a salvage dealer.

This DOE'S show the importance of an extension of the PLG Historic District OR the creation of additional small HDs (like what was done a few years ago on Ocean Avenue). IMO there are several other parts of the neighborhood worthy of protection; Chester Court, the South side of Fenimore I, Parkside west of Bedford Avenue, and Clarkson I come to mind, although I'm sure I left some notable blocks off this quickly made list. That would still leave lots of room for development.

Bob Marvin said...

BTW Tim, I don't think that "bald" necessarily means ugly [although half-squarrel probably does] :-)

Clarkson FlatBed said...

It's the half-squirrel part that's bald. Every seen a bald squirrel? Gives me shivers just thinking of it....

Anonymous said...

Bob, why do you never show any love for Hawthorne I? Did you get mugged here back in the 70s?

Bob Marvin said...

Anon. 4:46

Just an oversight--sorry. There definitely are houses worthy of landmarking there.

Bottom line is that there has to be a substantial number of residents in favor of landmarking if anything is to come of an attempt. Does that apply to Hawthorne? (I sure hope so!).

Anonymous said...

unfortunately not, I'd say. On hawthorne, the row of limestones (21-37) and the row of brownstones (14-28) were included in the original landmarking proposal, as were the Captain's houses on Winthrop and most of Parkside I. Presumably the borders were shrunk when it came down to actually landmarking. Even though they're of the same architectural quality as many of the three-stories on the manor blocks, it doesn't seem likely that Parkside or Hawthorne (most of which are broken up into apartments) would get that kind of support. I'd think Chester Court might have a good shot, since its small lot sizes would limit construction anyway. One of the curses/blessings of the blocks between Hawthorne and Fenimore is that they have 125-foot lots, which means a lot of available FAR for developers. Same goes for Clarkson, which is what doomed the Haunted House.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Brooklyn could use apartments. But since this gorgeous mansion is outside the Manor, it could have been restored and split up by floor and converted to co-ops or condos. Lots of brownstones are. For that matter, I don't know the configuration of this lot but it sounds large enough to have a second small townhouse built on it without destroying the original.

Not all apartments have to be new construction!