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The Mystery of Carroll Gardens' Pine Tree Building

I tend to obsess about old buildings that won't yield up their secrets, particular when they remain unchanged in a state of decrepitude during a building boom. This squat, yellow-brick number of 2nd Place between Hoyt and Bond streets has had me wondering for nearly a decade. No one, except possibly rats and raccoons, has dwelt inside for years. Its windows are broken, the shades permanently drawn, vines tear at the brickwork, and an utterly gigantic pine tree has been allowed to all but squash the place. A neighborhood guy who lived down the block once told me it was the subject of a family dispute between a couple brothers. But that was all I could ever learn about the address. Until the other day.

When I walked by, I found its iron railing gone and plywood over a first floor window. Aha! I thought. Something is finally happening with the building! Well, yes and no. A neighbor said she thought the railing had actually been stolen, not officially removed. But the building was now owned by a different landlord who promised to do something with it. What exactly, she didn't know. Perhaps give the front a push so the structure could finally fall down and get it over with.

Anyway, take-out menu delivery men still believe it's a viable address, given the Layla pizza flyer stuffed under the door. Maybe they think a crazy cat lady lives inside.