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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

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

Operating as usual

HOW YOUR BROWNSTONE LOST ITS SOUL (AND BECAME A CONDO) (1915) When did our townhouses begin converting? Earlier than you...
03/24/2022

HOW YOUR BROWNSTONE LOST ITS SOUL (AND BECAME A CONDO) (1915) When did our townhouses begin converting? Earlier than you think... https://bit.ly/3IJEvNv

I SEE DEAD PEOPLE (1933). Park Slope's No. 50 7th Ave was once a Funeral Home. Has your brownstone ever served as a busi...
03/23/2022

I SEE DEAD PEOPLE (1933). Park Slope's No. 50 7th Ave was once a Funeral Home. Has your brownstone ever served as a business?

HITLER’S BROOKLYN TENEMENT (1940) Does Putin own NYC real estate? The world's most infamous Nazi had a Carroll Gardens b...
03/23/2022

HITLER’S BROOKLYN TENEMENT (1940) Does Putin own NYC real estate? The world's most infamous Nazi had a Carroll Gardens brownstone! https://bit.ly/3Js7PsO

In 1915, a Park Slope resident put this sign on his brownstone stoop. You'll be surprised why he did it... https://bit.l...
03/23/2022

In 1915, a Park Slope resident put this sign on his brownstone stoop. You'll be surprised why he did it... https://bit.ly/37IsmeN

Can we bring RECREATION PIERS back? This looks like FUN!At the foot of N. 2nd St, Brooklyn, ca. 1900.
02/22/2022
The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

Can we bring RECREATION PIERS back? This looks like FUN!

At the foot of N. 2nd St, Brooklyn, ca. 1900.

“Can we bring RECREATION PIERS back? This looks like FUN! (foot of N 2nd St, #Brooklyn, ca. 1900)”

THE SKY BLUE CEILINGS OF No. 121 HENRY ST (1889) Has your #brownstone ever been exquisitely detailed in the paper? In th...
02/08/2022

THE SKY BLUE CEILINGS OF No. 121 HENRY ST (1889) Has your #brownstone ever been exquisitely detailed in the paper? In the 1880s, it was a "thing."

https://bit.ly/35UEKaD

(Mon., 7 Feb.) FDNY members continue to operate at a 3-alarm fire at 394 Gates Avenue in Brooklyn.
02/08/2022
FDNY on Twitter

(Mon., 7 Feb.) FDNY members continue to operate at a 3-alarm fire at 394 Gates Avenue in Brooklyn.

“FDNY members continue to operate at a 3-alarm fire at 394 Gates Avenue in Brooklyn.”

I wonder how they got all that paint off this rowhouse (No. 119 Milton St., Greenpoint, #Brooklyn, 1958 vs. 2013) pic.tw...
02/07/2022
The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

I wonder how they got all that paint off this rowhouse (No. 119 Milton St., Greenpoint, #Brooklyn, 1958 vs. 2013)

pic.twitter.com/8qgquRjiPo

“I wonder how they got all that paint off (No. 119 Milton St., Greenpoint, #Brooklyn, 1958 vs. 2013)”

A young boy poses before taking a swan dive at the Hotel St. George's glorious swimming pool, ca. 1948. pic.twitter.com/...
02/07/2022
The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

A young boy poses before taking a swan dive at the Hotel St. George's glorious swimming pool, ca. 1948.

pic.twitter.com/ZLVqlyqrL3

“A young boy poses before a swan dive at the Hotel St. George's glorious swimming pool, ca. 1948.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, "NEW YORK, NEW YORK"! (1985) On this day in 1985, Mayor Koch made Sinatra's tune the official song of #N...
02/07/2022
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NEW YORK, NEW YORK! (1985) – The Brownstone Detectives

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, "NEW YORK, NEW YORK"! (1985) On this day in 1985, Mayor Koch made Sinatra's tune the official song of #NYC!

Exactly 35 years ago today (7 February 1985), Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” became the official anthem of “the city that never sleeps”! Ed Koch was New York City’s mayor from 1978-1989.According to the New York Times (the official record of New York City) it was Mayor Ed Koch who ...

The 1867 redesign of Fort Greene Park, #Brooklyn, by Olmsted & Vaux, the designers of Central Park. Do you recognize it ...
02/03/2022
The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

The 1867 redesign of Fort Greene Park, #Brooklyn, by Olmsted & Vaux, the designers of Central Park.

Do you recognize it today?

“The 1867 redesign of Fort Greene Park, #Brooklyn, by Olmsted & Vaux, the designers of Central Park. Do you recognize it today?”

#DYK these homes on 9th Street in Park Slope? (HINT: You probably don't. The "Y" is there today.)
02/03/2022
A WOOD FRAME DEATH SENTENCE (1914) – The Brownstone Detectives

#DYK these homes on 9th Street in Park Slope?

(HINT: You probably don't. The "Y" is there today.)

Before a series of laws were enacted in the mid-1800s remanding that houses be constructed of “non-flammable” materials, houses had generally been made of wood.

A 1911 postcard featuring the Park Slope Armory, home to the 14th Regiment's "Red-Legged Devils."
02/02/2022
The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

A 1911 postcard featuring the Park Slope Armory, home to the 14th Regiment's "Red-Legged Devils."

“A 1911 postcard feat. the Park Slope Armory, home to the 14th Reg't's "Red-Legged Devils."”

The oldest house on Pierrepont Street was once No. 159. It was razed when Fulton Street was widened. (It was also Brookl...
02/02/2022
The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

The oldest house on Pierrepont Street was once No. 159. It was razed when Fulton Street was widened. (It was also Brooklyn's oldest tavern - the Hole in the Wall: "No Minimum! No Cover!")

“No. 159, once the oldest house on Pierrepont St, was razed when Fulton St got widened. #Brooklyn's oldest tavern - No Minimum - No Cover!”

THE CHANGING FACE OF A STOOP (1921) With the backdrop of a Bay Ridge home's front steps, watch as the residents change w...
02/02/2022
THE CHANGING FACE OF A STOOP (1921) – The Brownstone Detectives

THE CHANGING FACE OF A STOOP (1921) With the backdrop of a Bay Ridge home's front steps, watch as the residents change while the house remains the same...

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.

This ancient rambling Victorian mansion, located at the cnr. of 18th Ave & 67th St in Bensonhurst, appears to have been ...
01/28/2022
The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

This ancient rambling Victorian mansion, located at the cnr. of 18th Ave & 67th St in Bensonhurst, appears to have been a school at the time this photo was taken in 1923. It was surely once someone's home with a dream view of the sea.

“This ancient rambling Victorian mansion, located at the cnr. of 18th Ave & 67th St in Bensonhurst, appears to have been a school at the time. It was surely once someone home with a sea view. #Brooklyn #History”

Jeffrey Hayes, Doris Perkins & grandchild, No. 513 MacDonough St, #BedStuy, #Brooklyn, backyard, ca. 1978.
01/28/2022
The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

Jeffrey Hayes, Doris Perkins & grandchild, No. 513 MacDonough St, #BedStuy, #Brooklyn, backyard, ca. 1978.

“Jeffrey Hayes, Doris Perkins & grandchild, No. 513 MacDonough St, #BedStuy, #Brooklyn, backyard, ca. 1978. @NYPL”

The #brownstone parlor of Howard & Connie Dabney, No. 624 Macon St, #BedStuy, #Brooklyn, ca. 1978.
01/28/2022
The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

The #brownstone parlor of Howard & Connie Dabney, No. 624 Macon St, #BedStuy, #Brooklyn, ca. 1978.

“#Brownstone parlor of Howard & Connie Dabney, No. 624 Macon St, #BedStuy, #Brooklyn, ca. 1978.”

On Bed-Stuy's Saratoga Park - and the block east - Barnum & Bailey's Circus once pitched their tents. Here are a few pic...
01/28/2022
The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

On Bed-Stuy's Saratoga Park - and the block east - Barnum & Bailey's Circus once pitched their tents.

Here are a few pics in evidence...

“Barnum & Bailey Circus on Halsey St opposite the new Saratoga Square Park in #BedStuy, #Brooklyn.”

While investigating a Bay Ridge rowhouse, we learned it had belonged to artist Frank W. Small. When we tracked down illu...
01/26/2022

While investigating a Bay Ridge rowhouse, we learned it had belonged to artist Frank W. Small. When we tracked down illustrations he had made during this period - of a couple living in a rowhouse - we recognized the artist and the Bay Ridge rowhouse...

A bathroom in an #UWS rowhouse - No. 16 W 88th St, #NYC, ca. 1902 (If you look close, you can see the camera!)
01/26/2022

A bathroom in an #UWS rowhouse - No. 16 W 88th St, #NYC, ca. 1902 (If you look close, you can see the camera!)

In Victorian #Brooklyn, interior designers achieved rock star status when they began renovating new #brownstones...
01/26/2022
THE JAPANESE GILT OF 150 HANCOCK ST (1887) – The Brownstone Detectives

In Victorian #Brooklyn, interior designers achieved rock star status when they began renovating new #brownstones...

Much of the design selections made by designers in the last part of the 19th century are comprised of a coterie of materials, patterns, and tools either no longer available today or much changed in their appearance.

Birds Eye View of the Kings County Hospital complex, Clarkson Ave, #Flatbush, #Brooklyn, ca. 1900.
01/26/2022

Birds Eye View of the Kings County Hospital complex, Clarkson Ave, #Flatbush, #Brooklyn, ca. 1900.

Talk about HOUSE HISTORY! When we investigated this #Flatbush #brownstone we discovered connections to Bill Clinton, Ron...
01/26/2022
Prospect Lefferts Gardens – 350-52 Parkside Ave. – The Brownstone Detectives

Talk about HOUSE HISTORY! When we investigated this #Flatbush #brownstone we discovered connections to Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, the Brooklyn Dodgers, & Lucky Strikes cigarettes! #Fuhgeddaboudit!

Mar 2nd 2018 Prospect Lefferts Gardens – 350-52 Parkside Ave. TweetShareSharePin* 350-52 Parkside Avenue – a 1907 duplex rowhouse, located between Flatbush Avenue and Bedford Avenue, this structure was built upon the farmland of the first Vanderbilt to emigrate to the Dutch colonies in the 1600s...

The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter
01/26/2022
The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

“We investigated the history of a corner #brownstone in #BedStuy, & learned why No. 59 Patchen Ave. had no side windows. Do you know the reason?”

Victorian cresting. Do you have one of these tiny fences above your brownstone doors?
01/26/2022
The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

Victorian cresting. Do you have one of these tiny fences above your brownstone doors?

“Victorian cresting. Do you have one of these tiny fences above your #brownstone doors?”

Earliest use of "blankety blank" & "crankety crank" in the same sentence - Brooklyn, 1888.
01/26/2022
The Brownstone Detectives on Twitter

Earliest use of "blankety blank" & "crankety crank" in the same sentence - Brooklyn, 1888.

“Earliest use of "blankety blank" & "crankety crank" in the same sentence - #Brooklyn, 1888.”

THE "WET SPECIMEN" OF No. 439 HALSEY STREET (1899) Imagine buying a Brooklyn brownstone & discovering preserved human re...
01/26/2022
THE “WET SPECIMEN” OF HALSEY STREET (1899) – The Brownstone Detectives

THE "WET SPECIMEN" OF No. 439 HALSEY STREET (1899) Imagine buying a Brooklyn brownstone & discovering preserved human remains in the cellar.

When a body was discovered in the cellar of a brownstone on Brooklyn’s Halsey Street, the police were immediately notified and the “owner” hunted down…

THE GREAT CASH STORE, No. 503 Fulton St., the ONLY authorized Agent for Mme. Yale in the City of #Brooklyn!
01/25/2022

THE GREAT CASH STORE, No. 503 Fulton St., the ONLY authorized Agent for Mme. Yale in the City of #Brooklyn!

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New York, NY

Opening Hours

Monday 9am - 5pm
Tuesday 9am - 5pm
Wednesday 9am - 5pm
Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday 9am - 5pm

Telephone

+17184847607

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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: