Windows 7 was Norah Jones’s idea

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Score one — or make it three — for Cobble Hill preservationists in their war against Norah Jones’s windows.

The sultry singer quietly amended her bid to punch 10 windows into the side of her three-story Amity Street mansion, reducing the amount of new holes to seven.

“I’m still concerned that this sets a precedent,” said Roy Sloane, the president of the Cobble Hill Association after hearing about Jones’s new plan, quietly filed on Dec. 9. “But I’m always in favor of a compromise, if that’s what happened here.”

The kerfuffle over the windows into Jones’s home began in late November, when preservationists discovered that Jones’s plan for renovations to her backyard — which had already been approved — had been secretly amended to now include the 10 new windows punched through the side façade.

The discovery of the amended plans set into motion a frenzy of back and forth between local landmarks lovers and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Sloane and others said that the windows would open the door to a radical change in the aesthetic of Cobble Hill, where most rowhouses — including Jones’s house between Henry and Clinton streets — were built between 1827 and 1845 in the Greek Revival style. Such architecture is noted for a tendency to shun ostentation in the hopes of preserving privacy.

The austere houses have been mostly untouched since the landmark designation in 1970.

It’s unclear why Jones changed her request for approval for the 10 windows. The chairman of the co-op next door to Jones’s home, which has been involved in the debate of Jones’s need for sunlight, would only hint that there had been a compromise.

“Due to the nature of the agreement, I cannot comment at this time,” said the chairman, Dick Moore.

A Landmarks spokeswoman said the amended application had yet to be approved, but that a decision would be made soon.

In a way, Jones foreshadowed the whole war in her cover of the classic Townes Van Zandt ballad, “Be Here to Love Me.”

“The window’s accusing the door of abusing the wall/But who cares what the night watchmen say/The stage has been set for the play.”

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Reader Feedback

jo from cobble hill says:
this is really stupid. homeowners should be able to do as they wish to an already existing structure. what makes people think they are the authorities of some aesthetic patrol?
Jan. 7, 2010, 7:20 pm
E.S. from midwood says:
these people need to chill the —— out, these cobble hill townhouse communists are starting to act like miniature dried-up upper east side co-op fascists
Jan. 7, 2010, 9:03 pm
Carla from brooklyn Heights says:
is the building structural sound with these new holes?
I mean owner nora is pretty much a hole herself, then on top of that she wants to add seven more to this home, perhaps it can't handle the removal of so many support bricks?
Jan. 8, 2010, 4:27 am
Jane-Marie from Washington Heights says:
Who is Norah Jones?
Jan. 9, 2010, 7:51 am
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
It's her house let her do what she wants with it.
Jan. 10, 2010, 12:47 am
Carla from brooklyn heights says:
I think the big question is: is this change purely visual, or will it affect the building's structural stability. If the only issue is the external appearance, it's up for discussion. However, if it will threaten the structural integrity of the building, well.... then I think it should be disallowed.
Anyway, if there rules have been there on these houses since the 70's, then she must have known what she was getting into when she bought it.
Jan. 11, 2010, 2:49 am
Carla from brooklyn heights says:
Funny pun in the title by the way. It gets better every tie you run it. Will we get to see it a third time perhaps?

Or maybe Norah Moans - no windows for prima-donna 'singer'? Norah Loans - singer needs extra money to pay for house repair? Apple was Norah Jones' idea - singer eats fruit in front of new windows on historic home? Word 7 was Norah Jones' idea - singer says 7 words?
Jan. 13, 2010, 5:53 am
Jane-Marie from Washington Heights says:
Sure, why not just put a door on the roof and boiler in the backyard?
Jan. 13, 2010, 1:49 pm
Steve from Slope says:
She is a celebrity. They will give her what she wants.

Then two years from now she'll move out.
Jan. 13, 2010, 5:19 pm

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