Phone maligned: Preservationists blast Verizon’s Heights storefront

The Brooklyn Paper
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Preservations hope their message reaches Verizon loud and clear: the cellular provider’s Brooklyn Heights storefront is a disaster.

The phone company’s shop in a 19th century rowhouse on Montague Street had an illegal display box that the Landmarks Preservation Commission refused to retroactively permit in a hearing last month — but according to watchdogs at the Historic Districts Council, that was just the tip of the iceberg.

“Rather than just focus on this display box, the base of this historic building needs to be rethought as a whole,” the organization said in a statement. “The stretch banner, waterfall awning, and surface mounted solid roll down gate also need to be addressed for the sake of the building and the block.”

“We’re questioning whether any of this was legal,” said Nadezhda Williams, the group’s director of preservation and research, in particular noting the store’s “excessive signage.”

“Though we weren’t a fan of the little box, it was the least of the poor building’s problems,” she said.

Verizon couldn’t be reached for comment, but Lisi de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission, said that the owner of the building plans to remove the illegal aluminum display box as part of a larger project to improve the storefront. The application for that project isn’t complete at this time.

Landmarks hasn’t issued a violation in this case, but, de Bourbon said, it will if the owner doesn’t take down the box as part of the project.

“We will continue to work in partnership with the owner to ensure the changes complies with the law,” she said.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jimmy from PH says:
Really? This seems a bit absurd.
April 22, 2013, 10:14 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
They should move out and let it sit vacant for a while.
April 22, 2013, 11:46 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
If you don't mind my saying so, and i hope that you don't, there is only one answer to this: "No, it isn't". Pardon this if you don't mind. Thank you.
April 22, 2013, 1:20 pm
jim from bklynheights says:
Curious why folks are singling out this one storefront when the entire stretch of Montague is generally one eye sore after another except for a handful.
April 23, 2013, 12:47 am
Polly from Brooklyn Heights says:
It's not the only storefront, but possibly the worst. Also, businesses are only responsible for their own storefront, so each must be taken individually.

To Rufus - I truly doubt that one of the most sought efter addresses In Brooklyn would sit vacant for very long. I'd not have a problem if they left personally.
April 23, 2013, 4:05 am
ty from pps says:
"one of the most sought efter addresses In Brooklyn"

These are the kinds of statements made before a collapse... compare 7th Ave in Park Slope. "Most sought after...." Why are there so many vacant storefronts and struggling businesses?
April 23, 2013, 7:37 am
Osito from Heights says:
I don't see the problem. Do these busybodies not have jobs or something? Are they the same folks always fighting against new buildings, restaurants, the new park, the bikeshare, etc.? The anti-everythings?
April 23, 2013, 8:57 am
ty from pps says:
Osito - Yes.

If they make Verizon change their storefront, the LPC should be slapped in the face. How this simple and tidy awning and 'flag' could be classified as objectionable only makes sense in the minds of these weirdos.

Aren't the cars and the asphalt paving more distracting from the "architectural integrity" of the neighborhood?
April 23, 2013, 11:39 am
Homey from Crooklyn says:
What a bunch of goons.
April 23, 2013, 3:17 pm

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