Windows 7 was Norah Jones’s idea

Windows 7 was Norah Jones’s idea
Danny Clinch

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.”

Songbird Norah Jones — a Brooklyn native through and through — has irked some of her Cobble Hill neighbors with a plan to punch more than 10 windows in this wall, an offense to historic preservation, some say.
The Brooklyn Paper / Stephen Brown