Residents seek historical designation status for E. Flatbush block

E. 25th Street
Residents of an E. 25th street block are seeking a historic district designation.
Photo courtesy of Julia Charles

Resident’s of an East Flatbush block hailed as “Brooklyn’s greenest” are asking the city to landmark their stretch of E. 25th Street in a bid to ward off developers. 

“Our neighborhood of East Flatbush is constantly changing,” said Julia Charles, who lives on the block located between Clarendon Road and Avenue D. “There is rapid growth and overdevelopment all throughout the East Flatbush community. This is our attempt to preserve the character and preserve the culture that is in East Flatbush.”

Charles and his neighbors argue that their block — which has won Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Greenest Block contest four times, most recently in 2016 — is a  representation of early 20th century architecture, with 56 Neo-Renaissance limestone and brownstone row houses featuring century-old facades and front gardens developed by the Henry Meyer Building Company in 1909.

Homes on the E. 25th street block were developed by the Henry Meyer Building Company in 1909. Photo courtesy of Julia Charles

And if the city doesn’t act fast to protect the architectural treasures, it won’t be long before developers turn them into sky-high condos, according to Charles, who pointed to a developer’s scheme to raise buildings on nearby E. 26th Street to make way for a larger development. 

“Every block surrounding us has been affected by overdevelopment,” said Charles, who chairs the  300 E. 25th Street Block Association’s landmarks committee. “What we are seeing is century-old Victorian homes being ripped down and condos going up in their place.”

By netting historic district classification for their block, residents could throw up a major hurdle to any developer looking to build there by forcing projects through the city Landmark Preservation Commission, which has the ability to block any construction that would mar the area’s architectural panache. 

Charles said the block’s landmark committee has received a letter from the city Landmark Preservation Committee acknowledging that the block does have historical merit that warrants further study, and may calendar the block’s petition for consideration in the review is successful. 

If the block does obtain the landmark designation, it would be the first block of row houses in all of Flatbush to be protected as a New York City Historic Designation, according to the Historic District Council’s director of advocacy and community outreach. 

“There are no rowhouse blocks in Flatbush that are protected as a New York City Historic District, and this block is certainly a stand out in terms of integrity, resident support and beauty,” said Kelly Carroll.