Crown Heights North Designated!

The LPC designated Crown Heights North (phase 1) as Brooklyn’s newest historic district this morning! Here’s an article from the New York Times

April 24, 2007
Crown Heights Journal
Seeking Landmark Status, and Hoping to Lose a Label of Unrest

The bass player’s widow looked down Dean Street and remembered her neighbors by the work they did: a teacher, a letter carrier, a doctor, another jazz man. A subway conductor, a church lady. Across the street, there is a mansion, once a doctor’s home.

“That’s a gorgeous house,” said the woman, Audrey Williams, 69. Her husband, Tommy Williams, who played with the likes of Quincy Jones, was one of several musicians on the street. “Cedar Walton lived a couple of blocks up. Then another doctor down the block.”

The name of the neighborhood came along only in the 20th century, after several lesser labels — St. Marks, Brower Park, Grant Square — for the inner Brooklyn sweep of farmland, mansions, brownstones and carriage houses had faded. The new name invoked a promise of grandeur that the neighborhood’s architects strived to deliver with bell towers and movie palaces, terra-cotta and bronze.

Crown Heights. The images that clung to that name changed horribly in August 1991, when a Hasidic motorist fatally struck a black boy on the sidewalk. The accident led to days of violence and chaos in which a Hasidic student was killed. The neighborhood with the grand name joined a grim fraternity of American areas, like Watts and, eight months later, South Central Los Angeles, that would be known for a riot.

But in a meeting this morning, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is expected to designate a long swath of 472 buildings as landmarks. The designation, in effect, freezes the look of the area. Any significant changes to the facades of those buildings must meet commission approval.

It is a designation more widely associated with Manhattan’s stately blocks, but it is appearing more throughout the boroughs. Today’s Crown Heights vote is the first of a series in the neighborhood that, when completed, would apply to about 1,800 mostly middle-class, black-owned homes and buildings landmarks, second only to Park Slope.

“It has a vibrant community and a vibrant historic housing stock,” said the commission chairman, Robert B. Tierney. “It has an eclectic array of architectural styles.”

And come celebrate with us on May 10th at HDC’s Grassroots Preservation Awards – when we will honor the Crown Heights North Association for all their hard work.

Posted Under: Brooklyn, Crown Heights North, Designation, Event

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