Proposed Expansion of Greenpoint’s Historic District

by Jennifer Trontz on

Greenpoint’s historic district should be expanded to include all of Franklin Street from Calyer Street to Dupont Street. The current Greenpoint Historic District includes Franklin only from Noble Street to Java Street.

The currently excluded sections of Franklin Street have significant architecture worth saving, featuring the architectural styles popular between 1850 and early 1900s especially Italianate, Greek Revival and neo-Grec. According to the Landmarks’ original report these styles are particularly evident on Franklin Street. There are many Italianate buildings, which are the most common in the historic district. These usually feature masonry and arched doorways, and in preservation language: “pilasters topped by triangular or segmented pediments supported on ornate foliate brackets.”

Franklin St - Italianate

© 2012 Jennifer Trontz. Used with permission. These Italiante and neo-Grec buildings near India Street are not in the district.

Later buildings from the 1870s are often in the style known as neo-Grec. This style reflects a movement away from fluid, curvaceous forms of the Italianate to sharper, more angular and more geometric taste.

Franklin St near Calyer & Oat Sts

© 2012 Jennifer Trontz. Used with permission. This neo-Grec building between Calyer & Oak Streets are not in the district.

Franklin Street also features some unique styles from the turn of the century. “Correct Classicism” is evident at the The Mechanics and Traders Bank at 144 Franklin (corner of Greenpoint), which was influenced by ancient and Renaissance styles. This building, which is featured as the header on the Brownstoner blog is already included in the historic district. There are also the American Romanesque Revival buildings at 168, 170, and 172 Franklin Street. This style features rough-faced and smooth-faced stone with thinner Roman brick above.

144 Franklin St.

© 2012 Jennifer Trontz. Used with permission.

168-172 Franklin between Kent and Java

© 2012 Jennifer Trontz. Used with permission.

Franklin Flats at Eagle Street

© 2012 Jennifer Trontz. Used with permission. Franklin Flats at Eagle Street. These are not in the district.

With the high-rise developments planned for the waterfront, just one block from Franklin, it is now a crucial time to protect the original character surrounding these planned developments. In 1982 when the original district was formed, such a threat was not an issue and therefore may be the reason areas of Franklin were omitted. The buildings in the omitted section of Franklin are part of the same history and include the same architectural details as the buildings included in the original district.

If interested in the expansion effort, please contact Jennifer Trontz.

Jennifer Trontz

Jennifer, her husband and two children moved to Greenpoint in 2010. A Florida native, she has written and designed popular culture books on such topics as home economics, good citizenship and album cover art. She is infatuated with old houses and original details. She has volunteered as a big sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City and now wants to devote her time to keeping Greenpoint the great community that it is.
  • Dewey Thompson commented:

    Very interesting info about buildings I see almost every day. Expanding the Historic District is one of the few weapons we have, as a community, to defend against the tsunami of development (and the loss of so many buildings that give our neighborhood its distinctive look and feel – not to mention the effect of overwhelmingly tall and shiny new structures) that is about to break over Greenpoint.

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  • Heather Van De Mark

    Heather Van De Mark commented:

    The article doesn’t mention it, but is this desire for an expansion at all part of the work the Preservation Greenpoint group does? Just curious. I saw that Greenpoint gained recognition from the Historic Districts Council as a “6 to Celebrate 2013 Neighborhoods” and they mentioned that organization. View it here: http://hdc.org/program-events/six-to-celebrate/six-to-celebrate-2013-neighborhoods

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  • Jennifer commented:

    Hi Heather, I wrote the article before I found out about them. And have since been in touch and offered my help.
    Jennifer

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  • Heidi Springer commented:

    Expanding the historic district is a great way to encourage new large-scale development in the waterfront areas rezoned for it and to protect existing Greenpoint neighborhoods.

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