The Brownstone Detectives

The Brownstone Detectives Historical research for your New York City property. We investigate its past and reveal its stories. The Brownstone Detectives is a "sleuths for hire" research team.

We investigate the histories of buildings and the people who lived and worked in them. We do the gumshoe work of digging up the former owners (the live ones, that is), interviewing neighbors and residents, and researching official documents at City agencies and historical archives. We then produce the entire report in an attractive, hard-bound, colorfully illustrated, and engagingly written coffee table book. If you've got a house and it's got a history, give us a call and put us - "on the case."

Operating as usual

A HERO IN CARROLL GARDENS (1944) Did a lifesaver live in your #brownstone? PFC Walter F. Valley, of No. 559 Clinton St.,...
05/12/2021

A HERO IN CARROLL GARDENS (1944) Did a lifesaver live in your #brownstone? PFC Walter F. Valley, of No. 559 Clinton St., #Brooklyn, rec'd the Navy & Marine Corps medal in WWII for saving another Marine's life. Semper Fi!

@USMC #NYC #brownstones #History

Brooklyn
05/11/2021

Brooklyn

Brooklyn: Smith Street And 5th Street (April 12th 1928)

Looking North

In 1927, Prohibition was in its 8th year. #Brooklyn residents had become expert at finding ways around the law. In Carro...
05/11/2021

In 1927, Prohibition was in its 8th year. #Brooklyn residents had become expert at finding ways around the law. In Carroll Gardens, the bootleggers were legion. At No. 153 Nelson St a still was seized & its owner, Joseph Arani, arrested.

#NYC #brownstone #History

1894. #Brooklyn. A young lady desires to marry outside her "race." (No. 34 1st Pl, Carroll Gardens) https://bit.ly/3nNLK...
05/04/2021

1894. #Brooklyn. A young lady desires to marry outside her "race." (No. 34 1st Pl, Carroll Gardens) https://bit.ly/3nNLKL7

#NYC #History #brownstones

Did you ever wonder about those AM radio stations along the highway that offer traffic tips or tell you where to park as...
05/04/2021

Did you ever wonder about those AM radio stations along the highway that offer traffic tips or tell you where to park as you approach an airport?

Those were the brainchild of Richard W. Burden, "Father of the Travelers Information Service," formerly of No. 76 Washington Place, Greenwich Village, #NYC.

#brownstones #History

04/16/2021

The Bronx: 339-343 East 138th Street (June 19th 1913)

In 1923, the #brownstones at Nos. 601, 603 & 605 Putnam Ave had their roofs torn off by a great storm. It appears one ne...
04/12/2021

In 1923, the #brownstones at Nos. 601, 603 & 605 Putnam Ave had their roofs torn off by a great storm. It appears one never got its cornice back. (courtesy @ArcadiaPub)

#NYC #Brooklyn #BedStuy #History

100 years later & they STILL haven't fixed that sidewalk? No. 118 E 95th St (btwn Winthrop St & Rutland Rd.) in #Flatbus...
04/12/2021

100 years later & they STILL haven't fixed that sidewalk?

No. 118 E 95th St (btwn Winthrop St & Rutland Rd.) in #Flatbush, ca. 1924 vs. TODAY.

#NYC #Brooklyn #History

04/09/2021

Brooklyn: 7th Avenue And 9th Street (May 17th 1928)

04/09/2021

Manhattan: 228-230 West Houston Street- Off Varick Street (March 20th 1914)

04/09/2021

Manhattan: 41st Street And Broadway (November 5th 1926)

What was the deal back in the day w/well-dressed (often mustachioed) giants holding up tiny #Victorian houses? Were they...
04/06/2021

What was the deal back in the day w/well-dressed (often mustachioed) giants holding up tiny #Victorian houses?

Were they taunting we little people?

"Hey, little man, we got your house... Whatcha gonna do about it?"

The family that built this 1844 #Brooklyn #brownstone, the Degrauws, helped found the #NYC #FDNY. John W. Degrauw joined...
04/06/2021

The family that built this 1844 #Brooklyn #brownstone, the Degrauws, helped found the #NYC #FDNY. John W. Degrauw joined Engine 16 in 1816. He later became the FDNY board chairman. Check out the baluster on the stairs of this Cobble Hill house - does it seem connected in any way to the @FDNY?

DON'T TAKE YOUR WIFE...to see these houses unless prepared for her demand to purchase. She has dreamed for them for year...
04/06/2021

DON'T TAKE YOUR WIFE...

to see these houses unless prepared for her demand to purchase. She has dreamed for them for years." 65th St & 15th Ave., 1906.

#NYC #Bensonhurst #architectural #History

Once known as "The Amity," No. 155 Amity St. catered to "bachelors." It offered "electric light," "telephone," &, intrig...
04/05/2021

Once known as "The Amity," No. 155 Amity St. catered to "bachelors." It offered "electric light," "telephone," &, intriguingly, the use of its "hall boy."

Photos from The Brownstone Detectives's post
04/05/2021

Photos from The Brownstone Detectives's post

The original "Kodak Girl," Cheerful Kappes, lived at No. 211 Clinton St., Cobble Hill, #Brooklyn. An organist, she accom...
04/05/2021

The original "Kodak Girl," Cheerful Kappes, lived at No. 211 Clinton St., Cobble Hill, #Brooklyn. An organist, she accompanied such films as Eddie Cantor's "Kid Boots" (1926).

If you could discover all that's ever happened on your #brownstone's stoop, would you want to know?Enjoy the collection ...
03/16/2021
THE CHANGING FACE OF A STOOP (1921) – The Brownstone Detectives

If you could discover all that's ever happened on your #brownstone's stoop, would you want to know?

Enjoy the collection of stoop memories for this Bay Ridge home...

https://www.brownstonedetectives.com/the-changing-face-of-a-stoop-1921/

In 1921, the Nilsen family purchased their Bay Ridge home at 8719 Colonial Road. Immediately, it seems, they began to document a lifelong record of their family’s generations, all surrounding one of the more iconic features attached to a Brooklyn home – their stoop.

WARNING: The pictures you are about to view may contain material unsuitable for children. Eh, what has the Google Maps #...
03/04/2021

WARNING: The pictures you are about to view may contain material unsuitable for children.

Eh, what has the Google Maps #TaxPhoto guy captured here?

(#NYC, ca. 1940, #Manhattan #History)

03/03/2021

The Bronx: Grand Concourse And Bush Street (February 18th 1929)

A Depression era plan encouraged homeowners to modernize their #brownstones as a way of keeping undesirables out of the ...
02/26/2021
27 HALSEY & THE PLAN TO SEGREGATE (1937) – The Brownstone Detectives

A Depression era plan encouraged homeowners to modernize their #brownstones as a way of keeping undesirables out of the borough.

#NYC #History

https://www.brownstonedetectives.com/27-halsey-the-plan-to-segregate-1937/

No. 27 Halsey St. before the update (Brooklyn Daily Eagle,, Sun., 21 March 1937).Its townhouses were, on average, approximately 50 years old and, in the eyes of many residents and brokers, outmoded of interior and unattractive of exterior. In fact, residents of certain sections of Brooklyn were begi...

My, No. 1,027 President St., how you've grown. :) #CrownHeights #Brooklyn #rowhouse #History
02/25/2021

My, No. 1,027 President St., how you've grown. :)

#CrownHeights #Brooklyn #rowhouse #History

This Sunset Park building, snapped in 1913, got a great spot back in the day. A few years later, the 45th St subway stop...
02/25/2021

This Sunset Park building, snapped in 1913, got a great spot back in the day. A few years later, the 45th St subway stop opened right our front. Cha-Ching! :) (No. 4423 4th Ave.) #NYC #Brooklyn #brownstones #history

02/23/2021

Manhattan: Columbus Circle (January 25th 1902)

News stories often capture a brownstone's more lurid #history. Case in point - No. 121 East 35th Street, Murray Hill, #N...
02/17/2021
WAS YOUR BROWNSTONE BURGLED? (1881) – The Brownstone Detectives

News stories often capture a brownstone's more lurid #history.

Case in point - No. 121 East 35th Street, Murray Hill, #NYC.

https://bit.ly/3rWNG4Q

Nos. 119 & 121 East 35th Street (Digital Culture of Metropolitan New York)For many owners of these august “brownstone-fronts,” their homes are undoubtedly amongst the quintessential vessels within which our collective past has accrued – and has infrequently been recorded (if recalled).

😀
02/17/2021

😀

#ThenAndNow - Workers pictured in this photo from 1903 are shown grading the dirt roadbed at what would become the intersection of Corson Avenue and Victory Boulevard in preparation for paving. The Richmond Turnpike was renamed Victory Boulevard after the First World War in celebration of the United States’ victory in the struggle. #Tompkinsville #1900s

The star of the 1st "trick" film lived in #Brooklyn Heights.Watch his hallucinatory "dream" unfold. #brownstone #History...
02/12/2021
THE RAREBIT FIEND OF 23 MIDDAGH ST (1906) – The Brownstone Detectives

The star of the 1st "trick" film lived in #Brooklyn Heights.

Watch his hallucinatory "dream" unfold.

#brownstone #History

https://bit.ly/2NpuSfB

At No. 23 Middagh Street in Brooklyn Heights, in the early 20th century, lived the veteran actor, John P. “Jack” Brawn, who starred in upwards of 24 motion pictures. Most notably, he starred in the first ever trick motion picture, 1906’s “The Dream of a Rarebit Fiend.”

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Comments

Just found your page. I lived on Halsey St., in the '50's, between Saratoga & Howard. Your stories are fascinating. Thanks.
Macon Street?
The Brownstone Detectives May serve as a viable resource to assist with consolidating detailed historical documentation, imagery, information, etc. concerning a myriad of projects and cases.
When we started renovating our house, we began to find the things left behind by former owners...
28 McKinney Queens in1915 what is the address now?
Thank you for your post of a few months back on the 40th anniversary of the Bushwick fires. My brother and I often frequented Ruth and Sam Book Store since we were comic book collectors. It was a devastating moment when it burned down. I recently wrote about my experiences and linked to your post: