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An Architectural Tour of 24 Century-Old Brooklyn Buildings

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New York's long-awaited bike share finally launched on Monday, and since then, Citi Bike has been sharing system stats on its blog. The numbers (average trip length is 15 minutes) show pretty much what was predicted: that people are using the bike for short, hop-on, hop-off trips?perfect for short commutes, running errands, leisurely seeing the city, and, obviously, bike tours of under-the-radar historic buildings. Last week, we mapped 26 structures in lower Manhattan, and this week we turn our attention to 24 buildings in Brooklyn. All of these sites are more than 100 years old, and they are all located near Citi Bike docking stations, so hop to it!

· Hop On a Citi Bike and Visit 26 Historic Downtown Buildings [Curbed]
· Citi Bike stations [official]

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1. Commandmant's Mansion

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24 Evans Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Known as the Commandmant's Mansion, this sprawling Federal style house was built in 1805 and was originally part of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Today, it's privately owned and out of place in relation to the dense, low-rise neighborhood around it. The building itself is something of an enigma; it's located at the end of a driveway set back from the street by a locked gate, it can only be glimpsed in pieces from certain angles or streets, and the architect is unknown. [Photo by Scouting NY]

2. 231-233 Front Street

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231 Front Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

1908. Part of the Dumbo historic district, this William Tubby-designed warehouse is one of the neighborhood's better-looking industrial buildings. It was originally built for the paint company Benjamin Moore, and it's facade was meant to echo the two Federal-style townhouses that it replaced. [Photo via DumboNYC Flickr]

3. Eagle Warehouse

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28 Old Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

1894. Thousands of tourists pass by the handsome Eagle warehouse every day to get to Brooklyn Bridge Park, but few stop to admire the Frank Freeman-designed building. It's simple, but interesting, with its name emblazoned on the parapet and on the grand Roman arch entrance in bronze letters. The small attic windows and iron grilles help break up the large brick facade. [Photo via Wikipedia]

4. 24 Middagh Street

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24 Middagh Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

1824. 24 Middagh Street may not be the most eye-catching house in Brooklyn Heights, but this Federal-style charmer is the oldest house in the 'hood. It's one of the best examples of New York's wood-framed houses (outlawed in the Heights in 1852), and according to Charles Lockwood’s book Bricks and Brownstone (via Brownstoner), the house is "notable for its front doorway with its 'delicately leaded toplight and sidelights and elegantly carved ornaments' as well as its rear carriage house and charming garden." [Photo via Google Streetview]

5. Hotel St George

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100 Henry St
Brooklyn, ny 11201

1885-1892. Once the largest hotel in New York, the Hotel St George isn't one building, but rather a collection of buildings that were erected separately and joined together. The most beautiful building in the group is actually the last building that was built. The 10-story Renaissance Revival structure faces Clark Street and was designed by Montrose W. Morris with a lacy brick and terracotta facade. It's no longer a hotel, and the buildings have been separated into various residential developments.

6. Herman Behr Mansion

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82 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

1888-89. The Herman Behr Mansion is one of the city's best specimens of Romanesque Revival design. It was built in 1888 and 1889 and designed by architect Frank Freeman for (hence the name) Herman Behr, an industrialist. Since 1919, the building has been a hotel, a brothel, a residence—in a sharp about-face—for members of the Franciscan order, and then a rental building.

7. Brooklyn Historical Society

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128 Pierrepont St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 222-4111
Visit Website

1878-81. This Renaissance Revival building has been the headquarters of Brooklyn Historic Society since it was built. George B. Post was the designer, and he was selected through a competition between 14 architects. The facade is filled with intricate sculptures, including busts of Michelangelo, Beethoven, Gutenberg, Shakespeare, Columbus, Benjamin Franklin, a Viking and a Native American. Be sure to go inside—the historic interior is just as beautiful as the exterior.

8. Saint Ann's PreSchool

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26 Willow Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 522-1660
Visit Website

1906. Originally the clubhouse for the Crescent Athletic Club, this Classical Revival was designed by Frank Freeman (he was quite a busy dude), who drew his inspiration from 16th-century Italian Palazzos. The double-height windows create a bit of an optical illusion, giving the impression that the building is just four or five stories tall, but in reality, it's 12-stories. Tricky!

9. Temple Bar Building

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44 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

1901. Jammed with street vendors, stroller-pushers, courthouse workers, and Trader Joes shoppers, Court Street is one of DoBro's busiest throughfares, and it also happens to be one of the most architecturally interesting. If you look up, away from the glassy storefronts, many of the buildings are quite gorgeous. Chief among them is the Temple Bar Building, a Beaux-Arts beauty topped with three baroque copper cupolas. The most interesting details are the hardest to see from the street: each cupola features a carved female face above the window and carved male faces at each corner. At the street level, you can see similar ornamentation on the east facade, where there is a lion's face. [Photo via Complex]

10. US Post Office

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271 Cadman Plz E
Brooklyn, NY 11201

1885-91. One of the most beautiful buildings in Brooklyn, hell, in all of New York City, the Romanesque Revival Cadman Plaza Post Office was designed by Mifflin E. Bell. The original building is the castle-like part you see at the front in the photo. It boasts a boatload of elaborate details, like polished granite arches, rosette and cable moldings, elaborate dormers, and a slate-covered mansard roof.

11. George Westinghouse High School

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1908-10. Surprisingly, this Charles B. J. Snyder-designed school is not landmarked. Snyder was the Superintendent of Buildings for the NYC Board of Education from 1891-1923, and he changed the way schools were built. Designed in the English Collegiate Style, the Westinghouse school features his signature wide expanses of windows. It was designed to inspire students with a grand portico and decorative Gothic quatrefoils.

12. Brooklyn Fire HQ

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365 Jay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

1892. Surrounded by bland boxy buildings, the Brooklyn Fire Headhouse is a hidden gem in Downtown Brooklyn. It's street level has long been covered with scaffolding (sadly, the structure has seen better days and needs work), but last we checked, the top was still visible. Frank Freeman, designer of several buildings on this map, also created this one. When it was first built, the Brooklyn Eagle said there was "no tameness" to any of it's features. The Times profiled the building in 2006, comparing the exterior, fittingly, to fire: "Rich glowing orange is the overriding color, something like iron heating in a forge, and the vegetal keystones give the impression of lettuce in flames." [Photo via Wikipedia]

13. 81 Willoughby Street

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81 Willoughby Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

1897-98. Although it's similar to many Beaux-Arts buildings built around the same time, 81 Willoughby Street stands out for a few unusual features, like the elaborate cartouche encircled window at the top corner. Rudolph Daus was the architect, and since the building was constructed for NY and NJ Telegraph company, Daus had to design "an elaborate filtration system that drew air in from the roof, down to the basement, through multiple cloth filters, and forced up by means of fans and ducts." [Photo and details via Brownstoner]

14. Duffield Street Houses

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188 Duffield Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

1835-45. Federal-style townhouses, particularly brick ones, are quite common throughout much of brownstone Brooklyn, but this set is notable for the fact that they were picked up and moved from their original location on Johnson Street (the architect's name also happened to be Johnson). They were built for wealthy families at the time, but today they house offices.

15. Dime Savings Bank

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9 Dekalb Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11201

1906-08. When it comes to well-known Brooklyn banks, the towering Williamsburgh Savings Bank steals the show, but not far away is the Classical Revival-style Dime Savings Bank, designed by Mowbray & Uffinger. The building is grand in every sense of the word; the entrance is topped by a sculpted pediment depicting two men that represent agriculture and industry, and the east and west walls are flanked by a portico and embedded with colonnades of Ionic columns.

16. St Nicholas Antiochian Church

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355 State St
Brooklyn, NY 11217

1870. This blue granite and caen stone church was built for the Episcopalians in the style of a Victorian-era English country church, with some Gothic details. The rose window is particularly lovely, as are the gabled pediment and dormer windows.

17. Metropolitan Corporate Academy

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362 Schermerhorn St
Brooklyn, NY 11217

1840. This faded pink building was built as a Civil War infirmary and currently functions as a school. Unfortuntely, we couldn't dig up much information about it's history, so if you have intel, leave a comment. Aside from the odd color, the building has some interesting details, like a carved cornice and small, ornate gable pediment.

18. Former IRT Subway Head House

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Atlantic Avenue & Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

1908. Back in the day when the IRT train was elevated through Brooklyn, this building functioned as the station headhouse. Today, it's just a shell of a structure, and it's actually been hollowed out to act as a giant skylight for the tracks beneath it in Atlantic Terminal. The elaborate design, with the carved fruit garland and rounded pediment, was created by Heins & LaFarge, and it really just goes to show they don't make 'em like they used to.

19. 8 St. Felix Street

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8 Saint Felix Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

1901. Carriage houses are quite common throughout Fort Greene, and this charmer is a lovely example. However, we weren't able to dig up any history on the place other than the year it was built, so if you have intel, leave a comment.

20. The Roanoke

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69 South Oxford Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

1893. According to the Times, this co-op building, the Roanoke, was described by the AIA Guide as "a phoenix rising from the ashes" after it was restored in 1988. Designed and built by Montrose W. Morris, the building is beloved for its subdued, yet striking Byzantine flare: a curved stoop, softly rounded bays, and the pattern created by the wide stones and slimmer red bricks.

21. 179-183 St. James Place

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183 Saint James Place
Brooklyn, NY 11238

1892. If there's a beautiful historic building in Clinton Hill, chances are it was designed by William Tubby for the Pratt family. This Tubby-designed trio of fantastical townhouses is notable for the oddly small windows on the top floor, as well as the decorative crow-stepped gable atop the facade. A closer look also reveals the whimsical styling of the limestone doors with curving, sinuous hardware.

22. 405 Clinton Avenue

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405 Clinton Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

1889. This is another William Tubby creation, but it was not built for the Pratt family. This Romanesque Revival/Victorian brick and brownstone house belonged to Charles Schieren. It's got a lot going on: a wide arched porch, a Flemish gable, and a copper oriel (fancy bay window) along the side. [Photo and details via Brownstoner]

23. 241 Clinton Avenue

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241 Clinton Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

1890. Built by William Tubby for his favorite client, this house belonged to Papa Pratt. Tubby used rich red brick and created a Romanesque Revival house that includes a grand porte-cochere (fancy word for a porch) over the driveway. Other details include a small oriel window above the arch, a Mediterranean tile roof, and a playful eyebrow widow above the oriel. [Photo and details via Brownstoner]

24. 165 Clermont Avenue

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165 Clermont Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

1899. Property Shark records tell us this carriage house was built in 1899, but that's all we know. We're smitten with the arched windows and carved cornice, so if you know more about this history, please do let us know. Today, this building houses apartments, one of which was featured in New York magazine. Reps for the building send word that the upper duplex is also available for rent at $7,000/month.

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1. Commandmant's Mansion

24 Evans Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Known as the Commandmant's Mansion, this sprawling Federal style house was built in 1805 and was originally part of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Today, it's privately owned and out of place in relation to the dense, low-rise neighborhood around it. The building itself is something of an enigma; it's located at the end of a driveway set back from the street by a locked gate, it can only be glimpsed in pieces from certain angles or streets, and the architect is unknown. [Photo by Scouting NY]

24 Evans Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

2. 231-233 Front Street

231 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

1908. Part of the Dumbo historic district, this William Tubby-designed warehouse is one of the neighborhood's better-looking industrial buildings. It was originally built for the paint company Benjamin Moore, and it's facade was meant to echo the two Federal-style townhouses that it replaced. [Photo via DumboNYC Flickr]

231 Front Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

3. Eagle Warehouse

28 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

1894. Thousands of tourists pass by the handsome Eagle warehouse every day to get to Brooklyn Bridge Park, but few stop to admire the Frank Freeman-designed building. It's simple, but interesting, with its name emblazoned on the parapet and on the grand Roman arch entrance in bronze letters. The small attic windows and iron grilles help break up the large brick facade. [Photo via Wikipedia]

28 Old Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

4. 24 Middagh Street

24 Middagh Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

1824. 24 Middagh Street may not be the most eye-catching house in Brooklyn Heights, but this Federal-style charmer is the oldest house in the 'hood. It's one of the best examples of New York's wood-framed houses (outlawed in the Heights in 1852), and according to Charles Lockwood’s book Bricks and Brownstone (via Brownstoner), the house is "notable for its front doorway with its 'delicately leaded toplight and sidelights and elegantly carved ornaments' as well as its rear carriage house and charming garden." [Photo via Google Streetview]

24 Middagh Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

5. Hotel St George

100 Henry St, Brooklyn, ny 11201

1885-1892. Once the largest hotel in New York, the Hotel St George isn't one building, but rather a collection of buildings that were erected separately and joined together. The most beautiful building in the group is actually the last building that was built. The 10-story Renaissance Revival structure faces Clark Street and was designed by Montrose W. Morris with a lacy brick and terracotta facade. It's no longer a hotel, and the buildings have been separated into various residential developments.

100 Henry St
Brooklyn, ny 11201

6. Herman Behr Mansion

82 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

1888-89. The Herman Behr Mansion is one of the city's best specimens of Romanesque Revival design. It was built in 1888 and 1889 and designed by architect Frank Freeman for (hence the name) Herman Behr, an industrialist. Since 1919, the building has been a hotel, a brothel, a residence—in a sharp about-face—for members of the Franciscan order, and then a rental building.

82 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

7. Brooklyn Historical Society

128 Pierrepont St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

1878-81. This Renaissance Revival building has been the headquarters of Brooklyn Historic Society since it was built. George B. Post was the designer, and he was selected through a competition between 14 architects. The facade is filled with intricate sculptures, including busts of Michelangelo, Beethoven, Gutenberg, Shakespeare, Columbus, Benjamin Franklin, a Viking and a Native American. Be sure to go inside—the historic interior is just as beautiful as the exterior.

128 Pierrepont St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

8. Saint Ann's PreSchool

26 Willow Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11201

1906. Originally the clubhouse for the Crescent Athletic Club, this Classical Revival was designed by Frank Freeman (he was quite a busy dude), who drew his inspiration from 16th-century Italian Palazzos. The double-height windows create a bit of an optical illusion, giving the impression that the building is just four or five stories tall, but in reality, it's 12-stories. Tricky!

26 Willow Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11201

9. Temple Bar Building

44 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

1901. Jammed with street vendors, stroller-pushers, courthouse workers, and Trader Joes shoppers, Court Street is one of DoBro's busiest throughfares, and it also happens to be one of the most architecturally interesting. If you look up, away from the glassy storefronts, many of the buildings are quite gorgeous. Chief among them is the Temple Bar Building, a Beaux-Arts beauty topped with three baroque copper cupolas. The most interesting details are the hardest to see from the street: each cupola features a carved female face above the window and carved male faces at each corner. At the street level, you can see similar ornamentation on the east facade, where there is a lion's face. [Photo via Complex]

44 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

10. US Post Office

271 Cadman Plz E, Brooklyn, NY 11201

1885-91. One of the most beautiful buildings in Brooklyn, hell, in all of New York City, the Romanesque Revival Cadman Plaza Post Office was designed by Mifflin E. Bell. The original building is the castle-like part you see at the front in the photo. It boasts a boatload of elaborate details, like polished granite arches, rosette and cable moldings, elaborate dormers, and a slate-covered mansard roof.

271 Cadman Plz E
Brooklyn, NY 11201

11. George Westinghouse High School

Brooklyn, NY 11201

1908-10. Surprisingly, this Charles B. J. Snyder-designed school is not landmarked. Snyder was the Superintendent of Buildings for the NYC Board of Education from 1891-1923, and he changed the way schools were built. Designed in the English Collegiate Style, the Westinghouse school features his signature wide expanses of windows. It was designed to inspire students with a grand portico and decorative Gothic quatrefoils.

12. Brooklyn Fire HQ

365 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

1892. Surrounded by bland boxy buildings, the Brooklyn Fire Headhouse is a hidden gem in Downtown Brooklyn. It's street level has long been covered with scaffolding (sadly, the structure has seen better days and needs work), but last we checked, the top was still visible. Frank Freeman, designer of several buildings on this map, also created this one. When it was first built, the Brooklyn Eagle said there was "no tameness" to any of it's features. The Times profiled the building in 2006, comparing the exterior, fittingly, to fire: "Rich glowing orange is the overriding color, something like iron heating in a forge, and the vegetal keystones give the impression of lettuce in flames." [Photo via Wikipedia]

365 Jay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

13. 81 Willoughby Street

81 Willoughby Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

1897-98. Although it's similar to many Beaux-Arts buildings built around the same time, 81 Willoughby Street stands out for a few unusual features, like the elaborate cartouche encircled window at the top corner. Rudolph Daus was the architect, and since the building was constructed for NY and NJ Telegraph company, Daus had to design "an elaborate filtration system that drew air in from the roof, down to the basement, through multiple cloth filters, and forced up by means of fans and ducts." [Photo and details via Brownstoner]

81 Willoughby Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

14. Duffield Street Houses

188 Duffield Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

1835-45. Federal-style townhouses, particularly brick ones, are quite common throughout much of brownstone Brooklyn, but this set is notable for the fact that they were picked up and moved from their original location on Johnson Street (the architect's name also happened to be Johnson). They were built for wealthy families at the time, but today they house offices.

188 Duffield Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

15. Dime Savings Bank

9 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11201

1906-08. When it comes to well-known Brooklyn banks, the towering Williamsburgh Savings Bank steals the show, but not far away is the Classical Revival-style Dime Savings Bank, designed by Mowbray & Uffinger. The building is grand in every sense of the word; the entrance is topped by a sculpted pediment depicting two men that represent agriculture and industry, and the east and west walls are flanked by a portico and embedded with colonnades of Ionic columns.

9 Dekalb Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11201

16. St Nicholas Antiochian Church

355 State St, Brooklyn, NY 11217

1870. This blue granite and caen stone church was built for the Episcopalians in the style of a Victorian-era English country church, with some Gothic details. The rose window is particularly lovely, as are the gabled pediment and dormer windows.

355 State St
Brooklyn, NY 11217

17. Metropolitan Corporate Academy

362 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY 11217

1840. This faded pink building was built as a Civil War infirmary and currently functions as a school. Unfortuntely, we couldn't dig up much information about it's history, so if you have intel, leave a comment. Aside from the odd color, the building has some interesting details, like a carved cornice and small, ornate gable pediment.

362 Schermerhorn St
Brooklyn, NY 11217

18. Former IRT Subway Head House

Atlantic Avenue & Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217

1908. Back in the day when the IRT train was elevated through Brooklyn, this building functioned as the station headhouse. Today, it's just a shell of a structure, and it's actually been hollowed out to act as a giant skylight for the tracks beneath it in Atlantic Terminal. The elaborate design, with the carved fruit garland and rounded pediment, was created by Heins & LaFarge, and it really just goes to show they don't make 'em like they used to.

Atlantic Avenue & Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

19. 8 St. Felix Street

8 Saint Felix Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217

1901. Carriage houses are quite common throughout Fort Greene, and this charmer is a lovely example. However, we weren't able to dig up any history on the place other than the year it was built, so if you have intel, leave a comment.

8 Saint Felix Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

20. The Roanoke

69 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217

1893. According to the Times, this co-op building, the Roanoke, was described by the AIA Guide as "a phoenix rising from the ashes" after it was restored in 1988. Designed and built by Montrose W. Morris, the building is beloved for its subdued, yet striking Byzantine flare: a curved stoop, softly rounded bays, and the pattern created by the wide stones and slimmer red bricks.

69 South Oxford Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

21. 179-183 St. James Place

183 Saint James Place, Brooklyn, NY 11238

1892. If there's a beautiful historic building in Clinton Hill, chances are it was designed by William Tubby for the Pratt family. This Tubby-designed trio of fantastical townhouses is notable for the oddly small windows on the top floor, as well as the decorative crow-stepped gable atop the facade. A closer look also reveals the whimsical styling of the limestone doors with curving, sinuous hardware.

183 Saint James Place
Brooklyn, NY 11238

22. 405 Clinton Avenue

405 Clinton Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238

1889. This is another William Tubby creation, but it was not built for the Pratt family. This Romanesque Revival/Victorian brick and brownstone house belonged to Charles Schieren. It's got a lot going on: a wide arched porch, a Flemish gable, and a copper oriel (fancy bay window) along the side. [Photo and details via Brownstoner]

405 Clinton Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

23. 241 Clinton Avenue

241 Clinton Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205

1890. Built by William Tubby for his favorite client, this house belonged to Papa Pratt. Tubby used rich red brick and created a Romanesque Revival house that includes a grand porte-cochere (fancy word for a porch) over the driveway. Other details include a small oriel window above the arch, a Mediterranean tile roof, and a playful eyebrow widow above the oriel. [Photo and details via Brownstoner]

241 Clinton Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

24. 165 Clermont Avenue

165 Clermont Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205

1899. Property Shark records tell us this carriage house was built in 1899, but that's all we know. We're smitten with the arched windows and carved cornice, so if you know more about this history, please do let us know. Today, this building houses apartments, one of which was featured in New York magazine. Reps for the building send word that the upper duplex is also available for rent at $7,000/month.

165 Clermont Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205