According to the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission, this is the oldest house in the Cobble Hill Historic District, "built in or shortly before 1833, in the Greek Revival style". The mansard roof was reportedly tacked on in the 1860s (perhaps during the "mansard mania of 1868 to 1873"), and the house's original clapboard siding was covered with faux-brownstone stucco in 1922. It was only in 2013 that the stucco was removed and the rotted clapboards replaced with new ones.
The Metropolitan Rod and Gun Club was founded in 1934. Its members purchased this building at 162 Pacific Street in 1939 and converted it into "a modern clubhouse . . . The basement became a model six-position fifty-foot rifle and pistol range . . . A second-floor archery range was added later."
In 1943, with civilian ammunition in short supply during World War II, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that
The Nimrods of the Metropolitan Rod and Gun are not doing much talking these days. Their meetings are terse and businesslike. "Smack the game and spare the ammunition" is their motto.In other hunting news, a state conservation official asked the Daily Eagle in 1949 "to remind our Brooklyn duck hunters to send the duck stomachs to the Metropolitan Rod and Gun Club . . . As the food contents of these birds indicate their feeding habits, the commission can then help the hunter by supplying the proper food along their flight lines. They are particularly interested in the 'innards' of diving birds such as scaup and golden eyes."
With the necessity for making every shot count, the boys are out in the field looking twice before shooting. No ammunition is being wasted on sun spots or chimerical deer. Meat on the table is foremost in their minds.
The old man . . . has worked hard for a living since he came to this country, over 60 years ago. Although strictly temperate and industrious in his habits, he never made [much] headway in securing a competence, and he looked forward anxiously to his big walk as a means for providing him with a few dollars to carry him through the Winter, without being obliged to do whatever odd jobs he could pick up. In Summer time he is a constant visitor to picnics, where he engages in athletic sports and dancing, but in Winter he has to depend for his support on being employed to shovel snow or put in coal. For the old man's sake it is to be regretted that he did not meet with more success in his last undertaking, for the receipts will fall short of the outlay.(The record for distance covered in 24 hours by someone 80 or older is 94.63 miles, set in 2013 by 80-year-old Geoff Oliver at a Self-Transcendence 24-hour race in London.)
The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission calls this "a handsome converted stable in the early Romanesque Revival style of the 1860s." A 1983 article in the NY Times says the stable was built in the 1830s and had its Romanesque facade added in 1870. Also from that Times article:
The owners of the house, Richard and Dorothy Turmail, said that between 1915 and 1920 it was used to house zebras when what is now the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was in town. "The animals were brought in by train," Mr. Turmail said. "They arrived at the Flatbush Terminal and walked up Atlantic Avenue. The building next door held the elephants."You can see some present-day photos of the house's interior here.
Detective Sergeant William Strong of the central office by taking off his beard has insulted himself most grievously. He owes an apology to his own personality, and if there is a spark of honor anywhere about him he will cast his razors, brush and cup into the deep sea and give his County Antrims and goatee another start in life. As now exhibited, he looks like a boy whose growth ought to be stopped by a special act, and no one would imagine that the fair fresh young face with the exterior of a cling stone peach was but a few short weeks ago thatched like the jowls of the ravenous pard. If he applied the scythe with the idea of effecting a disguise, he has succeeded most effectually, for a good deal of his time recently has been taken up in introducing himself to his most intimate friends, one of whom refused to pay him $1 he had borrowed two months before, until he produced his baptismal certificate.
This "interesting example of municipal architecture in the early Victorian style" (Street View) was built in 1888-89 as Public School 78. By 1969, it had become a religious school, the Louis Hirsch Memorial Jewish Education Center. It is now an apartment building, having been converted into co-ops in 1984. You can see photos of two different top-floor apartments here and here.
Hot Bird was a chicken restaurant with two locations in Brooklyn (665 Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights and 128 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights). It went out of business perhaps 20 years ago, but has lingered in the local public consciousness thanks to its captivating name and enduring painted wall ads. As we've seen, the name lives on in a bar that opened beneath a Hot Bird ad on Atlantic Avenue in 2010.
I believe, however, that this is now the final surviving Hot Bird wall ad. (Here's an unobstructed look at it.) The other three, which were painted in black on yellow and offered directions to the original Prospect Heights Hot Bird, have vanished over the past few years. Two on Vanderbilt Avenue, including one particularly expansive one, were lost in early 2011 when the building they were painted on fell prey to Atlantic Yards. And the ad above the bar on Atlantic Avenue was painted over sometime in 2012 or 2013.
You'll notice that the ad above instructs you to "DIAL HOT BIRD". That's right — HOT BIRD is not only an instantly memorable restaurant name; it was also (with a 718 area code, I'm assuming) the restaurant's phone number! In 2008, the NY Times contacted a woman in Queens to whom the number had been reassigned. She claimed to still be getting calls asking for chicken at "all hours of the night".
In 1993, after the Brooklyn Heights Hot Bird opened, the Times listed the restaurant's number as (800) HOT-BIRD, and also mentioned that the proprietor, a former lawyer, wanted to open additional locations in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Charlotte, North Carolina. I haven't seen any evidence that those plans ever came to fruition, however.
This statue of St. Vincent de Paul (not the first such statue to occupy its perch) stands at the entrance to a branch of HeartShare St. Vincent's Services, a children's services provider. The building was completed in 1906 as the new, larger quarters of St. Vincent's Home for Boys — the predecessor of HeartShare St. Vincent's — which was founded in 1869 as a residence for "friendless and destitute boys". Here's how an 1879 Brooklyn Daily Eagle article described the mission of the home:
Its field of labor is among the boys of the street, the bootblacks and newsboys, and other lads who go to make up the large number of homeless and wretched children and youth who swarm in the thoroughfares of a great city. Some of them are the children of dissolute and wretched parents; others have no knowledge of what home or parent means. The aim is to rescue these children from the ways of poverty and vice, and to help them become self supporting and respectable members of society.A few years ago, a man named Ed Rohs published a memoir about his upbringing in five different Catholic institutional homes in the New York City area; you can read a partial account of his high school years at St. Vincent's, from 1961 to 1965, here.
From the NY Times, Feb. 3, 2012:
When the Brooklyn House of Detention reopens next week after being closed since 2003, it may be the only city jail in America located down the block from a Barneys Co-op and a Trader Joe’s.On the occasion of the jail's reopening in 2012, the blog McBrooklyn published a list of "notorious escapes" by the facility's inmates over the years, including these two:
The building, a 1950s gray behemoth with screens covering its metal-framed windows, looms incongruously over one full block of Atlantic Avenue and rejoins a greatly changed neighborhood.
During the jail’s vacant period, six high-rise apartment buildings were constructed nearby. One boutique hotel now sits directly across from it on Smith Street, and 14 sleek, six-year-old, modern town houses sit next to handsome brownstones, just steps from an entryway covered in barbed wire where prisoners are unloaded when they arrive.
Some nearby residents in the Boerum Hill neighborhood expressed concerns about safety, while others, in typical New York fashion, worried about parking.
The short, beefy man strolled into the Brooklyn House of Detention, signed the visitors' log—"Michael Schwartz" —and asked to see his client. While the lawyer waited in a glass-enclosed meeting room on the first floor, a guard went to escort the prisoner down from his maximum-security cell on the tenth floor. The prisoner, clad in a jumpsuit and in need of a shave, greeted Schwartz, and the two began conferring in private. During their talk, the guards changed shifts; shortly thereafter, the new guards watched a clean-shaven man in a gray tweed suit sign out—"Michael Schwartz"—and stroll out of the prison and into thin air.(Jacobson was rearrested about six weeks later in the Los Angeles suburb of Manhattan Beach while talking on a payphone at a restaurant where he had ordered "the house specialty, fried zucchini with Parmesan cheese".)
The man in the gray suit was not Michael Schwartz but the jumpsuited prisoner, Howard ("Buddy") Jacobson, 49, successful horse trainer, real estate entrepreneur and convicted murderer. The man he left behind turned out not to be Michael Schwartz either, but Anthony DeRosa, 47, onetime bartender and a longtime pal of Jacobson's. When DeRosa himself tried to leave the prison, a guard asked him where his "client" had gone. Only then did prison officials belatedly sound the alert.
A murder suspect escaped from a maximum-security cell in a Brooklyn jail after making a dummy of wadded-up clothes and leaving it under the tattered woolen blanket on his cot, prison officials said yesterday.A follow-up story ran in the Times on August 31, 1991, under the headline "Escaped Killer Seized in Brooklyn, by Chance":
It was the second time that the 26-year-old inmate, Edward (Donny) White, had escaped from custody. The last time he did, he killed a man during a robbery, the police said.
The officials had no explanation for how he had escaped from his windowless fifth-floor cell at the Brooklyn House of Detention, 275 Atlantic Avenue in the Boerum Hill section. Thomas Antenen, a spokesman for the Department of Correction, said the lock on the cell door had not been jimmied and the bars had not been bent or broken. Correction officers speculated that he might have slipped into a garbage cart while he was outside the cell around dinnertime.
Mr. White's first escape, in July 1989, came when he hurled a typewriter at a detective at the 67th Precinct station house in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn while being questioned about another murder. He got away by jumping through a second-floor window and shinnying down a flagpole.
When police officers investigating the slaying of a bartender at a Second Avenue pub late Thursday knocked on the door of a Brooklyn apartment yesterday, the man in the bathrobe who answered turned out to be an escaped murderer who was one of the city's most wanted fugitives.
"The Society of Friends is well known for a dislike of ostentation and their buildings have traditionally portrayed that view with sound construction and unadorned facades. The Friends Meeting House at 110 Schermerhorn Street" — built in 1857 — "beautifully reflects the restrained character of Quaker architecture, and symbolizes the active presence of the Society in Brooklyn."
This is the entrance to the New York Transit Museum, which is located in the former Court Street subway station on the Fulton Street Line.
Here's a photo from that day in 1931. Borough President/Honorary Stonemason Henry Hesterberg is the one holding the trowel.
This building is generally referred to as the Central Courts Building, despite the fact that it clearly calls itself the Central Court Building. You can see a couple of photos of its construction here.
At left, you can see a little piece of Love Letter to Brooklyn.