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False ’hood: Luxury F’Greene apartment co-opts Malcolm X to sell units

Salat of money: It’s tough to imagine Malcolm X praying toward Mecca in a $10,000-a-month converted church.
Wire International Realty

They made (up) history.

Real estate agents marketing units in a luxury Fort Greene apartment building are trying to lure high-income renters by linking it with iconic residents from the neighborhood’s bohemian past — and one legend who has never even lived in Brooklyn.

“You will love living within the historic district of Fort Greene on Adelphi Street and you will love the feeling of being enveloped by its creativity, inspiration, community and life,” read the website peddling units at for 232 Adelphi, a church-to-residential conversion on Adelphi Street. “Former residents of these ginko tree and brownstone guarded streets include household names like Malcolm X and Mos Def. You might even catch Chris Rock at the Myrtle Avenue fish market!”

But Malcolm X never lived in Fort Greene — or even in Kings County, an expert said.

“He did not live in Brooklyn — he was in Harlem and Queens during his time in New York,” said Bryan Epps, director of the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Center in Harlem.

The apartment’s broker couldn’t put his finger on exactly where in the civil rights legend rested his head in the half-square-mile neighborhood.

“I’m not a historian — I’m a humble broker,” said Justin Dower of Ideal Property Group.

Mos Def — who now goes by Yasiin Bey — and comedian Chris Rock were both fixtures of the nabe’s vibrant black arts scene of the ’80s and ’90s. Bey now lives in South Africa, though you could still conceivably catch Rock at Duncan’s Fish Market if he traveled there from his home in New Jersey.

Minutes after this paper’s interview with Dower, the site’s operators erased all mention of the three men.

The page still cites Walt Whitman as an inspirational former resident. The Bard of Brooklyn lived on Ryerson Street — in nearby Clinton Hill — while working on his seminal epic poem “Leaves of Grass.”

“Following in the footsteps of the great Walt Whitman, Fort Greene’s arguably most famous of former residents, this converted Gothic Revival former house of worship shall inspire you to build your own legacy and craft your own history,” the site now reads.

Three apartments in the otherwise rented-out building once known as the Carlton Mews Church are going for between $5,950 and $9,995 a month — and they are swanky, Dower said.

“It’s the pinnacle of luxury, I would say,” he said.

But Dower wouldn’t opine on how Malcolm X might view the development — or what the divisive activist might have thought about having his name attached to high-end housing.

“I’m in no position to say what Malcolm X would think,” he said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Co-op(ted): The company hawking $10,000-per-month apartments in a converted Fort Greene church suggested on its website that renters would be inspired by former resident Malcolm X — except the civil rights warrior never lived in Brooklyn.

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