26 February 2010

The Studio

There is a handsome brownstone at 146 Willow Street which is named, according to the chiseled letters above the ground-floor door, "The Studio."

This is a curious designation. Austere and respectable is Willow Street. Few buildings on this Brooklyn Heights thoroughfare are so vulgar as to name themselves.

This was not ever, as far as I can tell, a single-family residence. Bachelors lived here. In 1922, the New York Times referred to 146 as "the bachelor apartment house." In 1893, the Brooklyn Eagle called is "Mrs. Deming's Boarding House," a place that, apparently, burglars liked to have a go at. By 1900, it was "under new management." In 1936, it was still the residence of many families.

By why was it called "The Studio"? Were all these bachelors artists? Or were the rooms just very small? The name has the ring of an artists' colony.

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