Thursday, August 16, 2007

Less Than Fantastic Fourth

At 803 Eastern Parkway, workers are putting the finishing touches on a fourth floor, making this building the only one of its height on a block lined by three-story, circa late 18th-century and early 19th-century brownstones. To call the extension misplaced and incongruous would be kind. We're still waiting anxiously (fearfully?) to see what will happen to the building's ornate and finely detailed (but badly weathered) front, considering the new floors cut across the existing door and window frames.


Anonymous said...

"Late 18th-century and early 19th-century"? I think you're off by about 100 years; at that time this area was woodland or farmland.

I passed by there a couple of days ago, and I think the "new floors" are nothing of the sort. For one thing, standing at street level they look to me like they are angled downward from the front to the back of the house; so unless they're planning to turn it into one of those "distorted perspective"-type houses you find at science museums, I think it's safe to say that these girders or whatever have just been placed there temporarily until a later stage of the construction. (Besides, if they were planning to replace the front of the building, wouldn't it have made sense to do that before adding extra load in the form of the fourth-floor addition?)

But let's say that indeed they do plan to raze the front of the building, and that I'm wrong about the new floors. Its neighboring buildings on one side are already brick-faced non-brownstone buildings; if this one is altered to be like them, is that really so "misplaced and incongruous"? Maybe if it was in the middle of the block, breaking up the row of brownstones; but not in this case.

In any case, to my way of thinking, houses like these with a tall flight of stairs to the front door are somewhat less than practical, even if they are pretty. I could very well see the owner remodeling the house to have a street-level entrance, like its neighboring houses (or, if you prefer, like the houses on Carroll St. shown in your post of 7/22).

B Major said...

My bad - you are correct about the time frame. With regards to the floors, as I've mentioned in an earlier post on this project, I'm not an architect or builder. I'm just going by what I see. I commented on the floors hoping someone with relevant experience and credentials will explain. Really, I have little idea what's going on here, except there's a fourth floor being added to a building that is attached to a row of three-story structures. Sure looks incongruous to me. But hey, that's my opinion.

Anonymous said...