The dingy stretch of Court Street running through downtown Brooklyn is rich with architectural weirdness—much of it none too savory—but 93 Court Street takes the cake in my book. What's this narrow Tudor manor straight out of Stratford-upon-Avon doing next to Bruno Hardware, lending shelter to a grimy deli and bail bondsman? The building's details render it even more out-of-context than it already is: a steeply pitched, shingled roof, a slender chimney climbing to the sky, a small, leaded-glass window near the top, some half-timbering and a coat of arms.
I've always been tempted to credit the building to a vulgar developer with some grand ideas about himself. So I was somewhat stunned when I learned that the rather absurd little building was the work of actual accredited architects who chose the design for their working headquarters. Architects Samuel Malkind and Martyn Weinstein built it in 1927. The "M" and "W" in the coat of arms are their initials. The below photo, printed when the New York Times did a study of the building a few years back, reveals the the effect was much more splendid back in the day.
But I still don't get it. In the 1920s, the heyday of Art Deco, this sort of twee affair is what Malkind and Weinstein thought would attract clients? Don't get me wrong—I like the building—but even back then it must have seemed horribly old-fashioned and fuddy-duddy-ish.
Anyway, the two only stayed in partnership for two years after the building was complete, leaving 93 Court Street to be occupied by lesser business concerns for the next 78 years.