WPA is a neighborhood-based organization that was organized in 2005 to identify and designate historic structures in north Brooklyn. Greenpoint & Williamsburg are undergoing major changes that will dramatically change the face of our neighborhoods. As we move forward into the future of Greenpoint & Williamsburg, our aim is to ensure that vital connections to the past are retained, through the preservation, reuse and rehabilitation of the historic buildings that define the character of our neighborhood.
Our focus to date has been primarily on buildings and districts within the waterfront rezoning area. That rezoning, which was passed into law in May, 2005, grossly neglected the assessment and protection of historic resources. Despite legal requirements to do so, very few potential historic resources were identified as part of the rezoning, and of those identified, no effort was made to protect them.
The City’s rezoning documents identified only 12 potential historic resources in the rezoning area; a windshield survey of the rezoning area by the Municipal Art Society identified at least 65 more individual resources and potential historic districts with over 150 additional resources. The MAS list has been the focus of our efforts for the past year, and WPA has spent much of the time expanding and honing that list.
Among the significant resources identified by MAS, the following are among the most architecturally and historically significant:
- Domino Sugar refinery buildings (Kent Ave.)UPDATE: Getting there
- Eberhard Faber Pencil factory buildings (Greenpoint Ave. and Kent St.) UPDATE: Getting there
- McCarren Park Pool Center (Lorimer St.) UPDATE: Getting there
- Engine Co. 212 (People's Firehouse, 113 Berry)
- Matchett Candy Factory building (390 Wythe)
- Weidmann Cooperage (75 North 11th)
Old Dutch Mustard Co. (80 Metropolitan) Demolished
- Northside Saving Bank (33 Grand Street)
- Williamsburg Trust Co. (177 South 5th Street)
- Church of the Annuciation (225 North 5th St.)
- St. Vincent de Paul Church (167 North 6th St.)
- St. Matthew's German Evangelical Lutheran Church (199 North 5th St.)
- Polish National Home (261 Driggs)
- I. Rokeach & Sons Building (240 Wythe)
- Harte & Co. Building (280 Franklin St.)
- 143 Roebling Street
- 55 Hope Street
In addition, WPA has identified the following potential historic districts within Williamsburg and Greenpoint:
• Fillmore Place HD
Fillmore Place, Driggs to Roebling, including parts of Driggs (entirely within 34th Council District).
Includes a remarkable intact block of mid-19th century row houses and the former home of author Henry Miller on Driggs Avenue.
• Grand Street HD
Centered on Grand Street from Kent Avenue to east of Driggs Avenue, roughly bounded by Metropolitan Avenue and South 1st Street (except for one block, located within 34th Council District).
Includes a variety of 19th-century flat houses, commercial buildings and small factories. Significant resources include the Metropolitan Pool, the Northside Bank, 226 Grand Street (an 1872 cast-iron loft), the Esquire Shoe Polish building, and Our Lady of Consolation Church.
• Northside HD
Roughly bounded by North 4th Street to the south, North 11th Street to the north, Wythe Avenue to the west and Roebling Street to the east (except for one or two blocks, located entirely within the 33rd Council District).
Includes a variety of 19th-century row houses and flat houses, including both wood and masonry houses, representing a wide variety of housing classes. Significant resources include 454 Driggs Avenue, the NY Quinine & Chemical Works, worker housing at 96 – 114 North 9th Street, row houses at 83 – 101 Berry Street, St. Vincent De Paul Church and related buildings.
• Southside HD
Roughly bounded by South 2nd Street to the north , South 8th Street to the south, Wythe Avenue to the west and Havemeyer Street to the east (except for one or two blocks, located entirely within the 34th Council District).
Includes a large number of 19th-century row houses, brownstones and flat houses, as well as early-20th century tenements that reflect the demographic shifts of the neighborhood after the construction of the Williamsburg Bridge. Significant resources include the Williamsburg Bridge, a large cluster of commercial buildings along Broadway (the Nassau Trust Co. building, the new Smith-Gray Building, the Sparrow Shoe Factory Warehouse, and the Williamsburg Trust Co. Building), factories such as the Gretsch Buildings, institutional building such as McCaddin Memorial Hall, and a number of individually-designated city landmarks.
WPA is actively pursuing research of the potential historic districts identified above, and in the identification of potential historic resources in areas of Greenpoint & Williamsburg beyond the MAS study area. To this end, we continue to pursue funding for research and community outreach. In addition, we have been reaching out to other neighborhoods such as Dumbo, Vinegar Hill and Red Hook that face similar preservation issues.
WPA welcomes suggestions for further areas of study and preservation. Please contact us here with your suggestions.