Crown Heights North II Historic District designated

Proposed Crown Heights North II Historic District. Image: Courtesy LPC.

Proposed Crown Heights North III Historic District. Image: Courtesy LPC.

New district would comprise more than 600 buildings south of original Crown Heights North Historic District. On June 28, 2011, Landmarks voted to designate the Crown Heights North II Historic District in the northwest section of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The residential district includes more than 600 buildings generally bounded by Bergen Street to the north, Eastern Parkway to the south, Brooklyn Avenue to the east, and Nostrand Avenue to the west. It lies directly south of the Crown Heights North Historic District which Landmarks designated in 2007. 4 CityLand 60 (May 15, 2007). The two districts feature similar architecture.

The Crown Heights North II Historic District encompasses land once owned by the Lefferts family. Development in the area began in the 1870s shortly after the heirs of Leffert Lefferts Jr. auctioned off the family farm as 1,600 lots. Following the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883, high-end freestanding houses were built in the area to accompany existing rowhouse developments. The construction of the elevated railway along Fulton Street in 1888 led to the development of hundreds of detached and attached homes. By the early 1900s the area became known as the St. Mark’s District. Elevator buildings were developed after the extended IRT subway line reached the area. Development in the area slowed after World War II, and the neighborhood became home to a large African-American and Caribbean immigrant community.

The district features a variety of architectural styles including Romanesque Revival, Colonial Revival, Dutch Renaissance, and Art Deco. Notable structures include the 1889 Brooklyn Methodist Episcopal Church Home, the Roman Church of St. Gregory the Great, and an Art Moderne apartment building at 919 Park Place. District residents have included the singer and actress Ethel Waters and Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

Before calling for a vote, Chair Robert B. Tierney praised the district’s architectural integrity and well-preserved historic fabric. Commissioner Christopher Moore noted the district’s social, historical, and cultural significance while Commissioner Fred Bland called the district “an extraordinary mosaic of American architecture.”

At the same meeting, Landmarks calendared the Crown Heights North III Historic District. The proposed district would consist of 640 buildings generally bounded by Kingston and Albany Avenues to the east of Crown Heights North I and II. Landmarks did not set a date for the proposed district’s public hearing.

LPC: Crown Heights North II Historic District, Brooklyn (LP-2361); Crown Heights North III Historic District (LP- 2489) (June 28, 2011).

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