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Prospect Heights Apartment House District chosen by HDC as one of “Six to Celebrate"

Updated: May 13, 2018

The Historic Districts Council cites the area as a well-preserved document of Brooklyn residential development at the turn of the twentieth century.

BROOKLYN, NY, January 19 2018: The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC), The Cultural Row Block Association on Eastern Parkway (CuRBA) and the Historic Districts Council (HDC) have announced that HDC has selected the Prospect Heights Apartment House District as one of its “Six to Celebrate” preservation initiatives for 2018. “Six to Celebrate” is a designation that the advocacy organization uses to set preservation priorities and channel resources to historic communities in need of recognition across the city.

“The development of the eighty-two buildings along Eastern Parkway, Lincoln Place, St. John’s Place and Plaza Street East that make up the Prospect Heights Apartment House District represents a special moment in Brooklyn’s history,” said PHNDC chair Robert Witherwax. “In the early decades of the twentieth century, a vogue for high density residential living in Brooklyn coincided in this location with the opening of premiere cultural institutions like the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the construction of the subway underneath Eastern Parkway, enabling the creation of this new neighborhood. We’re delighted that HDC has recognized the value of preserving this history.”

The Prospect Heights Apartment House District is part of an area originally planned to be included in Prospect Park. However, the “East Side Lands” were removed from the plans when Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted took over the design of the park. “The delay in development of the East Side Lands until the early twentieth century, combined with a desire to create a cultural nexus in central Brooklyn, resulted in a unique district that documents a vision of urban life at the turn of the last century, and which remains remarkably intact today,” said HDC Executive Director Simeon Bankoff. “We look forward to moving toward designation as a New York City Historic District.”

The urgency of designation for the district has increased in recent years due to development pressure. Many properties in the area are significantly underbuilt relative to currently allowable height and density. “Without the protection of historic designation, we are concerned that not only may the character of the neighborhood be lost, but also that large-scale remodeling or redevelopment may force tenants out,” said Isabelle Broyer, president of CuRBA, which is working with PHNDC to preserve the Prospect Heights Apartment House District. “We’re gratified that HDC has recognized the importance of this initiative by selecting it as one of the Six to Celebrate.”

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