Preservation Issues

Landmarks Commission Designates Bedford Historic District

-159 to 165 Hancock Street (John G. Prague, c. 1887) photo: Christopher D. Brazee

-The Clinton, 425 Nostrand Avenue (Montrose W. Morris, c. 1888) photo: Christopher D. Brazee

-The Alhambra, 500 Nostrand Avenue (Montrose W. Morris, 1889-90) photo: Christopher D. Brazee

-Girls' High School, 475 Nostrand Avenue (James W. Naughton, 1885-86) photo: Christopher D. Brazee

-The Renaissance, 480-482 Nostrand Avenue (Montrose W. Morris, c. 1892) photo: Christopher D. Brazee

-Boys' High School, 832 Marcy Avenue (James W. Naughton, 1890-91) photo: Christopher D. Brazee

December 2015

Nearly three years after a public hearing, the Landmarks Commission has designated the Bedford Historic District. The new district is the third in this Brooklyn neighborhood, following Stuyvesant Heights (1971) and Bedford Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights (2013). It contains 824 buildings, mostly built between 1870 and 1900. The majority are row houses in styles typical of the era, such as Italianate, Queen Anne, neo-Grec, Romanesque Revival and Renaissance Revival; the district also includes apartment buildings, institutional buildings, and historic religious properties.

At the 2013 public hearing, the Conservancy testified that:
The proposed District is an extraordinary collection of architectural treasures with attractive streetscapes and a vivid sense of place. The groups of houses, apartments, and institutional buildings that comprise the District feature a dazzling array of the styles from the late 19th and early 20th century. While there have been alterations, the rows retain their low scale, original materials, and attractive details. The sense of place is heightened by the strong sense of community including many families that have owned their homes for generations.

The Conservancy is pleased to continue to work with this community as partners in preservation. Over the years, we have received hundreds of inquiries from residents of the Bedford Stuyvesant area, gone on dozens of site visits and spoken at many community meetings. We’ve completed multiple projects funded by low-interest loans to homeowners and grants to religious properties.

While we applaud the Commission for completing this designation, we note with some concern that the number of designations has dropped off dramatically in the early years of the deBlasio administration: in 2015, the LPC initiated only one new district, the Mount Morris Park extension, and a handful of individual landmarks. We appreciate the time and resources that have gone into the effort to clear the “backlog” but hope that the Commission is still actively pursuing designation of the many buildings and districts that merit this honor.