Twelve rowhouses near Prospect Park designated


Ocean on the Park Historic District comprising twelve buildings on Ocean Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Photo: LPC.

The owner of one of the buildings included in new historic district opposed designation. Landmarks voted to designate twelve 1910 rowhouses at 189 to 211 Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn as the Ocean on the Park Historic District. In 1909, developer Charles G. Reynolds hired Axel S. Hedman to build a row of homes along Ocean Avenue bordering Prospect Park. Hedman built ten Renaissance-revival rowhouses at 193 to 211 Ocean Avenue. The homes feature limestone facades with randomly alternating bay designs, iron cornices, and unusually deep 30- foot front yards.

Philip A. Faribault purchased 191 Ocean Avenue from Reynolds in 1915 and built a Federal Revival brick rowhouse on the lot. Two years later, Reynolds hired Eric O. Holmgren to design two Arts-and-Crafts style brick homes, separated by a shared driveway, on his remaining lots at 189 and 185 Ocean Avenue. In 2007, the owner of 185 Ocean Avenue demolished the building and obtained construction permits to develop a nine-story structure that would be cantilevered over the driveway shared with 189 Ocean Avenue.

At a March 24 designation hearing, Fern Bernich, the owner of 189 Ocean Avenue, testified in opposition. Bernich argued that because they were built as a pair, her home lost all aesthetic significance when 185 Ocean Avenue was demolished.

At Landmarks’ October 27 meeting, Bernich reiterated her opposition, expressing concerns about the legal implications of sharing a driveway with the proposed cantilevered building if her home was subject to Landmarks restrictions. The Commissioners discussed whether to carve out 189 Ocean Avenue from the district or include the lot at 185 Ocean Avenue within the historic district. Landmarks’ counsel Mark Silberman explained that Landmarks could move forward with the proposed designation and amend the district at a later date after holding a public hearing.

Landmarks voted unanimously to approve designating the historic district that included 189 Ocean Avenue, but not 185 Ocean Avenue.

Landmarks then voted to calendar amending the newly created district to include 185 Ocean Avenue. Silberman noted that if Landmarks determines that 185 Ocean Avenue’s previously issued construction permits remain valid, it would de-calendar amending the district.

LPC: Ocean on the Park Historic District, Brooklyn (LP-2334) (Oct. 27, 2009).

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