15 September 2008

Proposed Alice and Agate Courts Historic District to Be Reviewed by Landmarks Commission

The Landmarks Commission will on Sept. 16 review a sweet little piece of Bed-Stuy called Alice and Agate Courts and consider the tiny area for the status of historic district. Two pretty-as-a-picture, one-block sets of rows house sitting at right angles to Atlantic Avenue, between Albany and Kingston Avenues, the courts were built by Swiss-born metal-stamping magnate Florian Grosjean in the 1880s. (Agate was named for a tool of his trade, Alice for his daughter. Agate Court was built first; read into that what you may.)

The quiet area made the news in 2006, when, reported the Times, a parvenu developer named Shlomo Menashe bought the property "then designated as 412 Herkimer Street, which backs up directly onto Agate Court, separated only by a retaining wall that appears to have been added after the original houses. He then received permission from Marty Markowitz, the borough president, to rename his Herkimer plot “19 Agate Court.”" Jeez, if he really wanted to be part of Agate Court, why didn't he buy on house on the street to begin with?

Interestingly, the Commission's boundary descriptions for the district would seem to include Mensche's plot. (Marty Markowitz at work again?)

Also on the docket:

*The Art Deco/Viennese Secessionist-style Wheatsworth Factory, at 444 E. 10th Street, which was built in 1927 as a biscuit factory.

*The Public National Bank, at 106 Avenue C and 7th Street, built in the early 1920s.

*Fire Engine Company No. 53, 175 East 104th Street, Manhattan.

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