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825 Buildings Joined The Bed-Stuy Historic District Today

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It took 20 years, but the Bedford-Stuyvesant/Stuyvesant Heights Historic District has officially been expanded (as of today) to include 825 new structures. After an initial hearing way back in 1993 and a belated follow-up last year, the Landmarks Preservation Commission finally earmarked hundreds of 19th century-era row houses, two-family residences, small apartment houses and institutional buildings (churches, a library) for preservation. Initially settled by the Dutch and currently home to large African-American and Caribbean-American communities, the area's architecture saw the most development in the short timespan between 1895 and 1900.

Check out the photo gallery above for a several examples of newly landmarked buildings in Bed-Stuy. Many of the blocks that are now included in the historic district are made up of low-rise residential units, including so-called "vernacular" wood-frame houses, like the cutie with white siding at 316 Decatur Street. We not only learned that "Chateauesque" is an architectural style, but that there's a prime example of it at 79-81 Decatur Street. Inspired by aristocratic castles of 16th-century France, it combines Gothic and early Renaissance elements. Hey, there are turrets! Specifically, "a turreted mansard roof with wall dormers and finials." (Don't know what those are? Check out our brand-new glossary of architectural terms.)

Among the other buildings of note you'll find in Bed-Stuy?a Beaux Arts library, a Gothic Revival church?there are mostly long stretches of intact, cohesive low-rise buildings, which the LPC points out are distinct because of their "iron newel posts, railings, fences and window grilles." Most agree that the gentrification train hasn't yet reached its final stop in this neighborhood, so perhaps Landmarks moved just in time to keep blocks like Macon Street looking the way they do.
· Official release: Bed-Stuy/Stuyvesant Heights District Expanded (PDF) [LPC]
· All Landmarks coverage [Curbed]