Saturday, August 23, 2008

Victorian Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York

There is a section of the New York City borough of Brooklyn that is comprised of large homes from the late 1800's to early 1900's period, built when the town of Flatbush, which is what that area was called, was still a sleepy village deeply rooted in its Dutch colonial past. The bucolic setting at the time attracted the educated professional classes, as well as wealthy industrialists including the Gillette, Guggenheim, Hellman, Carter Ink and Fruit of the Loom families, among others of prominence at the time.

(All photos enlarge when clicked on)

They had majestic residences built designed by the top architects of the time.
Recently, the editors of the magazine "This Old House" choose Victorian Flatbush as one of the most desirable areas in which to buy a Queen Anne, Tudor, or Victorian era house.

The entire article can be read online: This Old House: Best Places to Buy an Old House: Editors' Top 12 Picks



' The neighborhoods of Victorian Flatbush are located in a 2.5 square mile area bounded by Prospect Park to the North, Avenue H to the South, Ocean Avenue to the East, and Coney Island Avenue to the West. Today Victorian Flatbush is a dynamic community located in the heart of Brooklyn. Each of the eleven neighborhoods is unique, with their own architectural styles and histories.

Single family homes are beautifully maintained with spacious yards and wrap-around porches on tree lined streets.

The beautiful house above was recently sold for $1,850,000.



A local ABC news station interviewed the top realtor in the area about the "This Old House" magazine article in a segment called "More Bang For Your Buck" which can be seen at this link , which also contains some more views of these homes.



Victorian Flatbush has been used for many movie and TV show location shots, and one famous one was the poignant movie adaptation of the William Styron novel "Sophie's Choice," which starred Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol.

I loved one of the first lines of dialogue in the movie when the young southern writer named Stingo narrates: "Even back then cheap apartments were hard to find in Manhattan. And so began my voyage of discovery... in a place as strange as Brooklyn."




The house below is for sale! See the listing here.
It is a Grand Colonial with 15 rooms, plus a five room private office, and has Tiffany stained glass windows, all original wood detail and six fireplaces.

Isn't it exquisite? I'm sure it's full of window seats, alcoves, staircases and landings, gables and turrets, and all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore. I would just like to be able to sit on the large front porch in a wicker rocker and sip some lemonade. Truly an elegant home from a bygone era.

Even the street in front is beautiful, a wild boulevard divided by a middle mall consisting of trees, grass and flowers, and the street lights are antique in style!

There is a mix of all kinds of architecture in this area, and the homes which are smaller in stature are still large and imposing compared to others usually found in New York City, and therefore they are very desirable for large families.



; The house below was built in 1903 by John J. Petit, and the design is a Victorian interpretation of a Japanese temple.

The trees and shrubbery were very overgrown, so it was hard to get a photo of the whole house but its roof was shaped in a pagoda style, and you can see all the ornamental moldings and trim, and the unusual colors it is painted.

I don't live in this area -- I wish I did-- but I've been inside this lovely home, below, quite a few times, and I know it has been used as a location for many TV commercials plus a few "Law and Order" TV show tapings. It is a very well cared for and beautiful home.

The following few homes are all on the same block as the house above, so as you can see they are all architecturally diverse, and very colorful!




There are many Tudor style homes and the following photos show some of the different styles.





Some more uniquely styled homes.





Sadly, hungry post WWII developers, intent on maximizing their profit from property lots to accommodate the population boom, tore down literally hundreds of majestic residences, some even more magnificent than the ones I've shown, and built high rise rental apartments in their place. Urban sprawl and the city's economic depression in the 1970's caused some decline. The crime rate increased and school conditions deteriorated in some areas, but generally these neighborhoods have worked hard to bring back a sense of desirability and safety.

The past ten years has seen an economic boom in Brooklyn, rejuvenating these areas, and landmarks preservation designation has prevented more homes from being torn down, and has brought residents eager to protect what is a remarkable, and in some cases irreplaceable, architectural history.
So, yes, you were right, Stingo. Brooklyn is still a strange, yet wondrous, place!

44 comments:

Tracy said...

WOW...Words almost escape me, these places are just gorgeous...Talk about Home Sweet Home!! Happy weekend, Pat ((HUGS))

Mel said...

Pat! These are just wonderful. And certainly not what I picture when someone says "Brooklyn" Thanks so much for sharing and broadening my view!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Amazing homes...I'm surprised that they aren't selling for even higher prices. Hope that Melissa of The Inspired Room gets to see your fabulous walk-by (?) drive-by!

Wendy said...

Gorgeous. And not what most people who are not from NYC picture when they think of Brooklyn. Time to win the lottery...

steviewren said...

Pat, this is my dream neighborhood!!! I'm gonna rush down to my local bank and see if I can get a loan for the one that is for sale! Maybe we could be neighbors. hehe

Paz said...

Awesome photos of an awesome sounding area. I've never been to that part of town. I suppose, I'd need to know someone to have a reason to go down there. Thanks for sharing these photos with us. The houses are lovely.

Paz

dana said...

What an amazing part of town. I was awe struck by the wonderful homes you shared with us and some of the history that behind those places. Great tour!

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Those are beautiful photos of some beautiful homes Pat! I would think they were in some small sleepy town somewhere instead of so close to the hustle and bustle!
Thanks for the tour!

Rue said...

Hi Pat :)

Gorgeous tour! How sad that people were so horrible in those days and tore down those magnficent homes. You know how upset that makes me, but I'm happy that things are changing for the better :)

hugs,
rue

Barb said...

Hi Pat,

All of those houses are amazing.
All the history- if the walls could only talk!

Thank you for sharing with us.

hugs,
Barb

Cynthia said...

I love to house-gaze and these are absolutely stunning. I always wonder about who lived there and imagine myself having a home as grand as those :) ah to dream :)

Betsy said...

Oh my....coveting any of those right now!

Beverly said...

Oh my, Pat. How extraordinarily beautiful. Thank you for taking us on this tour of such spectacular homes.

Naz said...

Thank you for the showcase of exquisite homes from Brooklyn. Who knew such beauty existed in Flatbush. It's truly a bygone era so it's even more important for such houses to be protected. Great post.

Linda Lou said...

I lived in Flatbush for a short while in the early 70's! It was an older 3 story home, but not as beautiful as some of these!! Thanks again for the Brooklyn Memories!!

Joanne Kennedy said...

Well I don't think I could pick which one of those houses I love the most. I love to go down streets with homes like that. I often wonder what those people do for a living to be able to afford those homes.

We have an area here where the homes run into the millions. I went to one for a job I was doing. When I walked in you could look through to the backyard and this beautiful big pool.

I told the owner his home was beautiful and asked him if he really appreciated it everyday or if it becomes just a normal home to him.

He said when he thinks about it he knows it a nice pretty and big home but when you live there you just take it for granted. In fact, he didn't even use most of the house.

I thought that was sad.

Hugs,
Joanne

Camille said...

Great Photos! I'm drooling as I type. I'd move into any one of those homes tomorrow.

Kitem said...

Wow, these houses are simply gorgeaous. Thanks for visiting my blog, I also like the music coming with the pictures, perfect blog indeed.

Darius T. Williams said...

Wow - these are some really great pictures - really great!

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

CatHerder said...

I love old victorians..my husband has ALWAYS wanted a house with a turret!

Michele said...

Did you say flatbush? I'm from Brooklyn and have never seen these homes. When I hear flatbush, I think Kings Plaza. Thanks for showing me what I've been missing all these years!

Judy said...

Beautiful homes! Thanks for taking us on a tour, Pat.

Gina said...

Just gorgeous homes Pat..I could see myself living in your 14th one down!!
...in any really, but something about that one... Gx

Donna said...

Beautiful, beautiful, homes! I love all the architecture. Thanks so much for showing them to us.

And thank you, Pat, for the friendship award! How sweet. I'll be posting about it soon.

Hugs,
Donna

Hooked on Houses said...

What a wonderful post. Be still my heart! These homes are all so beautiful. I had actually already put a post together about that house that's for sale that you mentioned, which I found while surfing the MLS in that area, but this listing you linked to had a couple of photos I hadn't seen of it yet. Thanks, Pat! -Julia :-)

Cori G. said...

Hi Pat,
I could easily move into any one of these homes...they're all so beautiful! Have you ever been up to the Finger Lakes area? I guess it's filled with stately old mansions. I've always wanted to go.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Any news on your S.D. trip...I think I know of a Tea Room if it's still open.
XO Cori

M.Kate said...

Dearest Pat,wow..what a big contrast in houses, your post and mine..but beautiful anyway, all those houses you posted! How nice to stay there.
Hugs and have a great week ahead :D

M.Kate said...

Dearest Pat,wow..what a big contrast in houses, your post and mine..but beautiful anyway, all those houses you posted! How nice to stay there.
Hugs and have a great week ahead :D

Lisa B. said...

Those are some amazing houses!!!! I love old houses!! I'd pay a pretty penny to go on a home tour in that neighborhood! Having spent so little time in NYC...I would never have really thought about it having areas like that. I started reading this post last night and never made it past the link This Old House link...I followed that one and got lost! haha. I ended up looking at old houses in Goldsboro NC! lol. Thanks for all the fun!!!

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Pat!
The homes are incredible! So beautiful and majestic looking. I love to see such lovely architecture in old homes. Absolutely irreplaceable today! Thanks for sharing such great photos Pat! Brooklyn has GOT to be one incredible place!!
Hugs, Sherry

Proud Italian Cook said...

Another great tour for us Pat! Now THOSE homes truely have character!
I can only imagine the insides! Everyone of them is a stunner!

sukipoet said...

Amazing pictures. Who knew? Not me. I love these houses. Thanks for such an elaborate tour.

Lavinia said...

So very gorgeous. A bygone era. I enjoyed each and every one of these photos. So gracious....when life was more gracious...

Strider said...

Very nice homes. Thanks for sharing the pics! I figured you'd be blogging about the 1776 battle on the island where Washington had to be evacuated from the on coming British forces!

Junie Moon said...

I'm so glad that they are working on preserving and maintaining the architectural splendor of these beautiful homes.

Brenda Kula said...

What phenomenal architecture!
Brenda

Mrs. B said...

I absolutely adore each and every one of those houses! They are just beautiful. I think my favorite is the one just below your quote from Sohpie's Choice. We just don't have all that many grand old homes here in California (at least not this part). Reading your blog just confirms my belief that deep down inside I was just meant to live on the east coast. Now if only I could convince my husband of that!

Mermaid Queen said...

Wow Pat, could these homes be any prettier? If I had some extra cash lying around I'd buy one. (I wish) Anyway, thanks for sharing. OX Martha

Judy said...

My goodness...one dream home after another. The tour was absolutely marvelous. Thank you for stopping by and I will visit again soon.

Kathy said...

Pat these homes are incredible, Flatbush is beautiful, what a lovely tour. hugs, Kathy.

JanelleGrace said...

These are just beautiful. I love the architecture of Brooklyn.

Susie Q said...

Such beautiful homes. I meant to tell you...I took a little fun quiz about *which NY are you?* and I was a *Brooklyn*! Not bad huh?

: )

Love,
Sue

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Oh, I can't wait to show this post to my mom!!

She was born in a big beautiful house in Flatbush (on Lennox Rd) that is long gone (knocked down in the 60s - maybe 70s - for apartment building). I've seen pictures of it...huge wrap around porch, pocket doors, grapevines growing over arbors...{sigh.}. She still speaks of it with love.