19 September 2011

Rat-Squirrel House Gets a New Roof

Last week I noticed that some workman chipped away the ancient cornice from the Cobble Hill public hazard known as the Rat-Squirrel House. It was the first work done on the poor, bedraggled, landmark building in months and months, ever since the old brick building was girdled in scaffolding and netting more than a year ago.

This weekend, I noticed that old 149 Kane Street had been given a new roof. The building had been letting in the rain for years, its old roof sad and sagging. I saw a few rolls of new tar on Friday. By Sunday, it has been unfurled and attached to the top of the four-story structure.

Last week, Curbed wondered who was doing this work, since there was a stop work notice in effect for this address. Perhaps the construction firm read this, because by Sunday the door was pasted with six Department of Building Work Permits, all giving the green light to all sorts of activity. What sort of activity? Well, let me tell you. Lead removal, renovation of interior walls and ceilings, replacement of the roof, facade renovation, new plumbing, general wiring, etc.

The Rat-Squirrel House is getting a new lease of life.


Chimney Sweep Portland said...

Congratulations on your new roof:-)

Unknown said...

The Rat-Squirrel house belonged to my grandparents, Edward and Molly Fitzsimmons. I was born in 1954 and my memory of the house begins when I was 2 or 3. I remember it as a dark somewhat scary place when I was young and as I grew into my teens it became simply creepy except that my grandparents, who I loved dearly, lived there.
The basement was always dark and empty. I believe my grandfathers sisters lived there when my mom was a child. The first floor had an unused parlor and sitting room that had all the furniture in it covered with sheets. I recall it smelled like an old canvas tent. There was also the only toilet,in the entire house, in a small unheated room under the stairs. Grandpa called it the "water-closet". The house never had a tub or shower. The third floor had three rooms which were used as bedrooms for my mother and uncle. They were unused when I was a child but we played in them when we visited. The second floor contained the kitchen in the back of the house. My grandparents bedroom and a parlor occupied the front of the house. That second floor I remember as dark, but not dark as in no light, dark as in old paint dark. That portion of the house always smelled like Toll-House cookies because whenever we came in to the city from Huntington to visit, my grandfather baked us cookies.
I remember the backyard as a tiny little space surrounded by brick or concrete walls that had broken bottles embedded in the top.
After my Grandparents died my mother and uncle sold it. I passed by it in 1976 and haven't been to Brooklyn since I moved to California. Its very weird to see it as it is. Oh well, I've got some oranges to pick.