11 July 2011


This is the eleventh post of "The Union Street Project," in which I unearth the history of every building along the once bustling Brooklyn commercial strips of Union Street between Hicks and Van Brunt, and Columbia Street between Sackett and Carroll.

143 Union is the center building in the trio of matching, four-story structures in the center of the north side of Union Street between Columbia and Hicks. I got some early information from a neighborhood vet that the store in the base used to be a florist. This photo shows that to have been the truth. A. Castiglia Florist, if I read correctly. This photo is from the 1930s, and my source was a kid there in the 1960s, so the florist was there a few decades.

"My Grandparents & my great Aunt lived in 143 Union St right across from House of Pizza in the early 60s," said the former resident. "My Grandfather was the super of the building and I remember going to the celler when he cleaned out the furnace. I also remember when they delivered the coal and it went down a chute into the celler." The ground floor is now an apartment.

Other past residents include fruit peddler Frank Cosleato, who, in 1898, flipped his lid when a horse helped himself to one of his apples. "The peddler was much incensed," wrote the Eagle, "and pulled out a knife and cut the horse in the nose, causing the animal considerable pain." The horse and wagon belonged to William Kilbride, a contractor of 23 Van Dyke Street. Cosleato pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals, and paid $300 bail.

The building doesn't look much changed at all. Same fire escape, same storefront. The front door is new, of course, and the lintels have been painted white.



Anonymous said...

It's hard to determine whether the former florist shop on the ground floor is a very good apartment or a very bad apartment. On the plus side, the big windows makes it far brighter than the average apartment, but this advantage may be lost because you'd have to keep the curtains/blinds closed in order to maintain some semblance of privacy.


Tinderbox said...

Poor hungry horse! :(

Louise said...

OMG That may be me going in the hall..or looking out the second floor window..that was my grandparents apartment...