Four historic districts in Sunset Park will get landmark consideration
Photo via Flickr cc
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted today to calendar the designation of four historic districts in Sunset Park, Brooklyn consisting of Sunset Park North, Central Sunset Park, Sunset Park 50th Street, and Sunset Park South, representing the Brooklyn neighborhood’s most cohesive and intact concentrations of high-quality architecture. The neighborhood’s preservation organization, Sunset Park Landmarks Committee, requested consideration for historic district status in 2014.
Map courtesy of the LPC
Located on Brooklyn’s western waterfront flank, Sunset Park has long been a thriving residential community in addition to being home to about 15 million square feet of warehouse and light industrial space. In the first half of the 20th century, Sunset Park was home to a large Scandinavian community and welcomed waves of Polish, Irish and Italian immigrants, many of whom walked to jobs on the nearby waterfront. Today, the neighborhood remains among the city’s most diverse. Sunset Park is home to Brooklyn’s Chinatown, serving a growing population of Chinese immigrants. In more recent years, young professionals, artists, post-graduates and families have arrived from elsewhere in Brooklyn and Manhattan to escape escalating rents.
Housing in Sunset Park varies in style from older and newer construction apartments to wood, vinyl siding, and brick multi-family houses. Several of the neighborhood’s loveliest streets are lined with historic townhouses including one of the city’s earliest and most extensive concentrations of two-family masonry rowhouses, mostly built between 1885 and 1912. The proposed district includes blocks that highlight Sunset Park’s architectural contributions to the city.
Photos by Lynn Massimo; courtesy of Sunset Park Landmarks Committee
In 1988, a large portion of the neighborhood was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, making it one of the state’s largest National Register Historic Districts. But, according to the Sunset Park Landmarks Committee, protection by the city is required to prevent inappropriate alterations and demolitions. Landmark status will also help preserve the high-quality housing that draws such a diverse mix of people to the neighborhood. To that end, the committee held and attended numerous meetings, hosted a dozen well-attended walking tours, recruited block captains to manage and help with the survey effort, rallied broad community support and engaged with other community organizations and local elected officials in the months prior to submitting their proposal to LPC.
Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council (HDC) said, “Although Sunset Park was placed on the National Register over 30 years ago, local designation has always been a dreamed-off goal. HDC has been working closely with a local group, the Sunset Park Landmark Committee since 2013 to gain landmark protections for this beautiful neighborhood. The committee did an amazing job of outreach and education about the effort and gathered support for designation from over 70 percent of residents on numerous blocks. We’re thrilled beyond measure that the LPC has, at last, moved to protect portions of this lovely area.”