Greenpoint, October, 2015

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pity the Poor Pierreponts

Future home of the BQE
Christopher Gray did a nice piece in the Times last Sunday about how the construction of the BQE in (or rather under) Brooklyn Heights. Robert Moses' solution to residents' understandable rejection of the original plan to continue the roadway right through the Heights was to build into the embankment that then separated the Heights from the waterfront below. You know the rest: Great park, traffic nightmare. Furman Street, on the old map above, would be replaced by the two-level highway we know and love, topped off with a public esplanade.

That crosstown traffic is murder
The map, oh, that's just Hezekiah Pierrepont's property in Brooklyn (c. 1825). You can see the Pierrepont Slip jutting into the East River from whence old Zeke "was accustomed to row himself each day into New York."

At right is a shot (1879) of a later Pierrepont house in the neighborhood. According to the Brooklyn Historical Society blog, it was taken by John Jay Pierrepont, son of Henry Evelyn. It shows the stairway he and his brother used to go to work at the offices of the Pierrepont Stores, the family's shipping and storage business. No doubt he enjoyed a spectacular view as he took in the morning air. I'm guessing his workers' view, not to mention air, was not quite so sweet.

According to, the house was demolished in 1946 as part of the Moses design, not for cars, but for children. In a compromise to preserve the rest of the houses on the block, it was razed to create a playground as part of the esplanade.

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