John McCain and Admiral’s Row?

This comes to us from one of our neighborhood constituents.  It seems that presumptive Republican presidential candidate Arizona Senator John McCain has a personal connection with Brooklyn; his parents lived there.

Margaret Skinner, 85, lives in the individually-landmarked Joseph Steele House on the southeast corner of Vanderbilt and Lafayette Avenues. Steele by the way was the founder of Brooklyn Union Gas and the house has its original boiler, the second boiler, etc. and all the interior and exterior detail.  Margaret was visiting recently with Senator John McCain’s 96 year old mother, Roberta at the Republican Club at the corner of Fifth Avenue and W. 44th Street. After Margaret expressed her concern for the fate of Admiral’s Row, Mrs. McCain exclaimed, “Oh, I know all about Admiral’s Row.  My husband and I lived there!.”

Hmm, while Sentor McCain has not, to our knowledge, been particularly active in preservation issues, over 9,000 people in Brooklyn did vote for him. If this isn’t a tall tale, perhaps he’ll feel the need to say something about this issue.

More to the point, this story – true or not (although we have no reason to doubt the person who told us this) – illustrates the rich history that these houses possess. Generations of military men and their families lived there from before the Civil War until after the Viet Nam conflict. They should not be demolished for a parking lot.

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The Historic Districts Council is the advocate for all of New York City's historic neighborhoods. HDC is the only organization in New York that works directly with people who care about our city's historic neighborhoods and buildings. We represent a constituency of over 500 local community organizations.

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