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Eyesore at 668 Nostrand to be demolished — Brooklynian

Eyesore at 668 Nostrand to be demolished


Long an eyesore, this decrepit wood house at 668 Nostrand (between Bergen and St. Marks) has now become so decrepit that the HPD arranged for it to be demolished.      DOB approved HPDs application on 2/25/2016


  • edited February 2016

    A few years ago, Brownstoner wrote up the history of this building and the one next door:

    "Name: Mixed use commercial/residential buildings, once residential
    Address: 666-668 Nostrand Avenue
    Cross Streets: Prospect Place and St. Marks Avenue
    Neighborhood: Crown Heights North
    Year Built: Before 1880
    Architectural Style: Vernacular Victorian Gothic with later additions
    Architect: Unknown
    Landmarked: No

    The story: Nostrand Avenue is one of the great thoroughfares of Brooklyn, running south from Flushing Avenue in Williamsburg to Sheepshead Bay. It was originally called Nostrand Lane, and is named for the Van Nostrand family, one of Brooklyn’s oldest Dutch families. The road opened in 1840, and although it developed into a commercial corridor, it wasn’t always such, and free standing homes and row houses can be found all along its route. The area known today as Crown Heights did not see great development until the late 1880s, and here, Nostrand Avenue cut through an area populated by large wood framed mansions and homes constructed in the 1870s; when the neighborhood was considered a quiet suburban retreat.

    Of course, records from this time are scarce. Looking at the maps, the houses appear in the 1880 map, alone on the block except for two other pairs of houses a couple of lots away, now replaced by bricks and mortar buildings. By 1888, the block has filled out, but interestingly, the development has mostly been on the western side of the street, while large parcels have filled out with mansions on large lots on the eastern side. This is the beginning of the St. Marks District, and St. Marks Avenue is already filled with mansions on large plots.

    By 1895, these two row houses, twin vernacular Victorians, were still homes. The Eagle tells us that Delia Wilkerson lost 666 Nostrand Avenue in foreclosure to Robert Bogardus. That’s the house on the right in the photograph. The property was described as a two story frame house on a lot 25×100 feet. By 1904, the property was a boarding house, and by 1920, this address was a shop called A. Ricca, selling fine handkerchiefs and other linen goods.

    Meanwhile, next door, 668, which still has its original unpainted clapboard attic story, complete with original pierced wood bargeboards, was still a private home in 1884. In 1912, it was the home of Mrs. Sarah M. Kellogg. She died of apoplexy here at home at the age of 90. For many years she had been a director at the Brooklyn Home for Old Aged Men and Couples, which was on Park Place at Classon Avenue. She was probably the last person to actually live here. The extension on this house looks to be from the late 1920s, but it’s really hard to tell, it’s in such bad shape. At any rate, ads show a dance studio here in 1948. The McElroy Dance Studio taught toe, tap, ballroom and “athletic dance.” Perhaps the dance studio was on the upper floor, with the large windows?

    As the years went by, this part of Nostrand became a street of busy shops; with banks and restaurants, and the full gamut of retail shops; from butcher shops to bakeries, to shoe stores, hardware stores, insurance agents, fur shops and jewelry stores. As the 20th century rolled on, these two stores, unlike most of Nostrand’s wood framed buildings, were inexplicably never torn down; instead they had retail store extensions built in the front yards, stretching to the street. 666’s extension was only one story, and looks earlier than 668’s which had two. The tax photo from the 1980s shows 668’s upper windows still intact.

    Over the years, more and more desecration has been performed on these poor buildings, and today, like buildings sinking into the ground, only the attics and rooflines remain as a reminder of their suburban past. The prognosis for these buildings is not good. They are not good candidates for rehab, and being wood-framed, they will eventually be torn down, and probably replaced by buildings that will reach as high as zoning or FAR allows. You should visit them before they are gone; they are a remnant of a bygone age in the history of the neighborhood."

  • The guy who used to own 668 kept trying to work a scam on the city that hurricane sandy destroyed his house.  He kept claiming that it was his home although no utilities were ever turned on there.  He used to repackage peanuts and sell crazy tools out front.  They would tile over all the decaying parts of the house, and finally even he said it was too dangerous to get to the back yard.  

  • edited February 2016
    HPD is able to get demolition permits on properties it does not own only when it can show public safety is at risk.

    Then, they usually get crews on site within days.

    As a result, it would not surprise me if this lot was nothing but a patch of dirt by March 15th, and it is sold at auction by May 1.image
  • I m fond of the character of its' facade and will miss it. It is made for being a used record store or flower shop. Shabby chic!
  • edited March 2016
    So far, there is "only" evidence of the roof shingles being removed and the gas and water being disconnected.

    I thought they would be further along, but it seems they just rec'd the permit for the sidewalk shed on 3/8/2015.    Once it goes up, we will see some progress.

  • Dawndew said:
    I m fond of the character of its' facade and will miss it. It is made for being a used record store or flower shop. Shabby chic!
    Me too! Yet another generic building going up. Who needs charm? 
  • Going down today revealing interior wretchedness beneath exterior charm
  • photos please.
  • ACRIS is reporting the site is (was?) owned by the Bank of NY, as a result them purchasing a tax lien back in 2011

    Block & lot01219-0042

  • edited August 2016
    Demolished site

  • missing the eyesore looking at this
  • The lot did fill up with mini liquor bottles quite quickly.