Expanding Historic District Boundaries- Park Slope


In 1973 the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Park Slope Historic District in Brooklyn. The designation report for the district notes that the district’s “tree-lined streets and wide avenues, with houses of relatively uniform height, punctuated by church spires, provide a living illustration of the 19th century characterization of Brooklyn as ‘a city of homes and churches.’” The area, which borders Prospect Park, contains a mix of mansions, rowhouses, apartments and institutional buildings constructed around the turn of the century. However, the district is best identified with its harmonious expanse of two and three-story rowhouses with deep front yards.

In the early 1970s, the Park Slope Civic Council conducted a block-by-block survey of the Park Slope neighborhood and asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the entire area from Sixth Avenue to Prospect Park West, from Park Place south to 10th Street. The group believed that this area best reflected the history, architecture, development and cohesiveness of the Park Slope neighborhood. However, in designating the Park Slope Historic District, the Commission chose an overly strict interpretation of the “Park Slope” neighborhood. The Commission designated a jagged, L-shaped district that primarily protected the blocks between Prospect Park West and Eighth Avenue. The almost-entire omission of Seventh Avenue, Park Slope’s commercial strip, was a reflection of the Commission’s reluctance in its early years to designate and regulate commercial buildings within residential districts. The architecture of the many un-designated blocks in Park Slope is similar in integrity, style and period of development of the blocks that have been protected for over thirty years.

The Park Slope Civic Council has continued throughout the years to advocate for an expansion of the district. The current community proposal calls for an extension that doubles the size of the existing district and regularizes the boundaries to extend from Prospect Park West to Fifth Avenue and from Flatbush Avenue to 14th Street. This proposal, however, omits the commercial strip along Seventh Avenue. HDC favors the inclusion of the commercial buildings along Seventh Avenue, which could then be regulated in a way similar to Madison Avenue in Manhattan.

UPDATE 2010:

The Park Slope Civic Council has renewed efforts to designate a Park Slope Historic District Extension including 7th Avenue. For more information and to lend your support visit