Which of these Brooklyn Heights brownstones is not like the other? Here's a hint: It's the one with the word FAKE and a big red arrow pointed at it. Yesterday the Brooklyn Eagle ventured inside an unnamed three-story brownstone on a cobblestone block that is not a single-family townhouse, but rather a secret subway exit:
Located in the tunnel just east of the river, the exit disguised as a brownstone leads to a grimy-lit set of metal stairs that ascend past utility boxes and ventilation shafts into a windowless room with a door. If you opened the door, you would find yourself on a stoop, which is just part of the façade. This proved to be way too enticing for one Curbed tipster, who began to investigate.
It could only be on three streets. I nailed it halfway up the first one I checked. Red house, black windows, looks like no one at all lives there. It reminds me of the automated parking garage in Hoboken that is supposed to blend into the neighborhood look/feel but doesn't quite cross the Uncanny Valley.The suspect is 58 Joralemon Street, and our tipster is right. Though the Eagle cited security concerns as a reason for all the secrecy, the location of the emergency stairway (one of several in the neighborhood) is more of an open secret. PropertyShark records list the MTA in the ownership records for 58 Joralemon, and one website calls it "the world's only Greek Revival subway ventilator." One Joralemon Street resident, who was aware of the faux-townhouse, tells us, "I don't think it's a commonly known thing. Just a weird Brooklyn Heights story." So why can't the Second Avenue Subway ventilators blend in just as well? Here's PropShark's file photo of the townhouse that isn't:
UPDATE: Here are some photos that don't leave much to the imagination.