Park slope Historic District
and Proposed extension
In 1973 the New York City
Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Park Slope
Historic District in Brooklyn. The designation report for
the district notes that the district’s “tree-lined
streets and wide avenues, with houses of relatively uniform
height, punctuated by church spires, provide a living illustration
of the 19th century characterization of Brooklyn as ‘a
city of homes and churches.’” The area, which
borders Prospect Park, contains a mix of mansions, rowhouses,
apartments and institutional buildings constructed around
the turn of the century. However, the district is best identified
with its harmonious expanse of two and three-story rowhouses
with deep front yards.
In the early 1970s, the Park
Slope Civic Council conducted a block-by-block survey of the
Park Slope neighborhood and asked the Landmarks Preservation
Commission to designate the entire area from Sixth Avenue
to Prospect Park West, from Park Place south to 10th Street.
The group believed that this area best reflected the history,
architecture, development and cohesiveness of the Park Slope
neighborhood. However, in designating the Park Slope Historic
District, the Commission chose an overly strict interpretation
of the “Park Slope” neighborhood. The Commission
designated a jagged, L-shaped district that primarily protected
the blocks between Prospect Park West and Eighth Avenue. The
almost-entire omission of Seventh Avenue, Park Slope’s
commercial strip, was a reflection of the Commission’s
reluctance in its early years to designate and regulate commercial
buildings within residential districts. The architecture of
the many un-designated blocks in Park Slope is similar in
integrity, style and period of development of the blocks that
have been protected for over thirty years.
The Park Slope Civic Council
has continued throughout the years to advocate for an expansion
of the district. The current community proposal calls for
an extension that doubles the size of the existing district
and regularizes the boundaries to extend from Prospect Park
West to Fifth Avenue and from Flatbush Avenue to 14th Street.
This proposal, however, omits the commercial strip along Seventh
Avenue. HDC favors the inclusion of the commercial buildings
along Seventh Avenue, which could then be regulated in a way
similar to Madison Avenue in Manhattan.
The Park Slope Civic Council has renewed efforts to designate
a Park Slope Historic District Extension including 7th Avenue.
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