In mid October, we had the pleasure of hosting our third AIA walking tour. After having such great success from our previous two walking tours in Soho/Tribeca and FiDi, we decided it was time to take it across the bridge. This 3 credit course was taught by Matt Postal, an architectural historican who brought us along on the beautiful historic districts on the Brooklyn waterfront.
We started off in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, where we discussed and examined many historical buildings, some dating as far back as 1839. Here we visited the former home of Truman Capote, the 180 year old building which was once painted a bright yellow color now stands as a beautiful Brooklyn’esk red brick building.
Next, we found our way to the Fulton Ferry Historic District. We learned that one of the largest buildings in the area was once a 60,000 square foot abandoned warehouse, better known today as the Empire Stores after it was renovated in 2017 by S9 Architects. Fun fact: This 149-year-old building still contains the original brick façade and structural walls from when it was first built.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is located directly behind Empire Stores, was our next stop. Built recently in 2008, the design includes elements that heavily recall the history of the waterfront. Extending 1.3 miles along the East River, architect Michael Van Valkenburgh made sure to respect the history of the site along with the natural features to create an environment that is multi-functional and engaging for all.
The last stop on our walking tour was the Dumbo Historic District. While Dumbo is often known for it’s new and upscale apartment buildings such as, 1 John Street and 10 Jay Street, there still lies many mercantile era buildings. The apartment building located at 1 Main Street is best recognized as the The Clock Tower, this historic building was originally designed by architect William Higginson in 1914 and remains the tallest and most prominent of the Robert Gair clock tower buildings.
Brooklyn has a long and cultural history that can still be viewed by the buildings and landmarks within it. Even as new buildings emerge and are renovated for reuse in the area, many hold design elements and a taste of what life was like in the past. Thank you to everyone who attended our 2018 Brooklyn Walking Tour, and of course to our amazing tour guide Matt Postal. We had so much fun learning about the history of Brooklyn and we look forward to our next tour in 2019!