Bushwick Avenue Historic District


  1. 10-12 Bleecker Street
  2. 10-20 Menahan
  3. 1001 Bushwick Ave
  4. 1002-1118 Gates Avenue
  5. 1006-1008 Bushwick
  6. 1010 and 1014 Bushwick Ave.
  7. 1013 Bushwick
  8. 1018-20 Madison Street
  9. 1019 Bushwick
  10. 1022-28 Madison Street
  11. 1025 Bushwick
  12. 1027 Bushwick
  13. 1035 Bushwick
  14. 1040 Bushwick
  15. 1041 Bushwick
  16. 1054 Bushwick- Ridgewood Masonic Temple
  17. 1061 Bushwick Avenue-Tuttle Mansion
  18. 1063-1073 Bushwick Avenue
  19. 1071 Greene Avenue
  20. 1075-1083 Bushwick Avenue
  21. 1076-1098 Bushwick Avenue
  22. 1087 Gates
  23. 1087-1095 Bushwick Avenue
  24. 1092 Greene Avenue
  25. 1094 to 1098 Greene Avenue
  26. 1095-1119 Putnam Avenue
  27. 1099-1109 Bushwick Avenue
  28. 11 Menahan Street
  29. 1102-1108 Putnam Avenue
  30. 1103 Gates
  31. 1104 Bushwick Avenue
  32. 1106-1120 Bushwick Avenue
  33. 1116-22 Putnam Avenue
  34. 1118 to 1122 Greene Avenue
  35. 1123 Bushwick Avenue
  36. 1124-1130 Bushwick Avenue
  37. 1124-26 Putnam Avenue
  38. 1125 Putnam Avenue
  39. 1134 Bushiwck Avenue
  40. 1136-40 Bushwick Avenue
  41. 1141-45 Bushwick Avenue
  42. 1144-46 Bushwick Avenue
  43. 1149 Putnam Avenue
  44. 1152-1160 Gates Avenue
  45. 1153-1163 Gates
  46. 1157-63 Putnam Avenue
  47. 1179-1189 Gates
  48. 11A and 15 Menahan Street
  49. 14 Harman Street
  50. 14-16 Bleecker Street
  51. 14-34 Linden
  52. 15 and 17 Linden St.
  53. 17 Menahan Street
  54. 18 Harman Street
  55. 19-15 Linden St.
  56. 22 Menahan
  57. 31 Woodbine Street
  58. 32-40 Woodbine Street
  59. 33-41 Woodbine Street
  60. 36 Linden
  61. 37-53 Linden St.
  62. 40-42 Palmetto Street
  63. 42 Grove
  64. 42-22 Grove
  65. 44 Linden
  66. 44-46 Palmetto Street
  67. 55 Linden St.
  68. 59 Grove
  69. 59 Linden
  70. 60 Linden
  71. 61-65 Grove
  72. 618 Van Buren Street
  73. 61A-67 Palmetto Street
  74. 64 Linden
  75. 66 Linden
  76. 68-84 Grove
  77. 69-73A Grove
  78. 72-208 Linden
  79. 75 Linden
  80. 77-83 Linden
  81. 86-88 Grove
  82. 882 & 884 Bushwick Avenue
  83. 886 Bushwick Avenue
  84. 889 Bushwick Avenue
  85. 890 Bushwick Avenue
  86. 894 Bushwick Avenue
  87. 898 Bushwick Avenue
  88. 9 Menahan Street
  89. 901 Bushwick Avenue
  90. 903 Bushwick Avenue
  91. 904 to 914 Bushwick Avenue
  92. 905 Bushwick Avenue
  93. 909 Bushwick Avenue
  94. 911 Bushwick Avenue
  95. 913 Bushwick Avenue
  96. 915 Bushwick Avenue
  97. 920 Bushwick Avenue
  98. 923 Bushwick Avenue
  99. 925 Bushwick Avenue
  100. 927 Bushwick Avenue

Boundary Description:

The largest of the three proposed historic districts is the Bushwick Avenue Historic District, which, in its striking display of diverse architectural character across a variety of building uses and with high degrees of surviving integrity, truly embodies the themes of the greater Study Area built and cultural environment. The district is bordered by Stanhope Street at the northwest end and Putnam Avenue at the southeast. The majority of the significant buildings are located along this twelve-block stretch of Bushwick Avenue, although sections of the district boundary extend to the northeast, between Bushwick and Evergreen Avenues, and to the southwest, between Bushwick Avenue and Broadway, to include buildings on side streets as well. These extensions include major sections of Linden Street, Gates Avenue, and Putnam Avenue. A more precise boundary line is shown on the accompanied Proposed Bushwick Avenue Historic District Map.

Statement of Significance:

Bushwick has historically been home to a socio-economically and ethnically diverse population, and the land put to a wide mix of uses—from heavy industrial to upscale residential, sometimes within the same block. The architectural character of the buildings located within the proposed Bushwick Avenue Historic District boundary clearly reflect this history of mixed-use and mixed-income space. The architectural fabric of this district exhibits a rich architectural character, and a historic and social context that tell the story of broad historical development trends across the Study Area and greater Bushwick, from the mid-nineteenth century through the present day, as outlined in previous chapters.

The majority of the district is comprised of residential buildings including mansions, single-family detached houses, rowhouses, tenements, and apartment buildings. A few institutional buildings and churches are also located in the district. Furthermore, these buildings retain a high degree of integrity and architectural character overall. The buildings in the Bushwick Avenue Historic District represent the highest concentration of significant buildings (based on the significance rating system developed by the Bushwick Avenue Studio Group) within the entire Bushwick Avenue Study Area. Because the diverse architectural character and historic associations of the entire study area are most clearly represented in this area and these buildings, we have chosen to call this proposed district the Bushwick Avenue Historic District.

Residential Development:

By and large, the development of the Bushwick Avenue Historic District corresponds to the three main waves of development in Bushwick. In particular, many of the most notable buildings relate to Bushwick’s “Golden Age of Construction,” during which the influx of German immigrants, the success of local industry, and wealth of brewers and other prominent businessmen, contributed to widespread assorted development of rowhouses, tenements, modest single-family houses, and mansions along the avenue. While the majority of the buildings within this proposed district were constructed between 1880 and 1920, there are remain many extant rowhouses and tenements that date to between 1850 and 1880, as the earliest residential wave of development began to supplant the early agrarian society, and, still later, speculative development was spurred by the extension of elevated transit lines, completing the diversified development of the area.

The character of the residential buildings within the proposed district is mixed, but some of the most notable architectural elements of the Bushwick Avenue Historic District are the ornate mansions found in approximate the center of the district, from 999 to 1061 Bushwick Avenue, with a few related structures along the side streets. The majority of these mansions were constructed between 1880 and 1890, and were originally the homes of some of Bushwick’s most prosperous residents, including bankers, brewers and developers—the wealthy German immigrants responsible for the development of early Bushwick.

The residents were nearly as extraordinary as the homes they left behind. 999 Bushwick Avenue was originally the home of Gustave Doerschuck, a brewer, who was credited with finding the lost Dr. Cook in Bermuda. Cook was the fraudulent North Pole “explorer” who lived at 670 Bushwick Avenue.[1] Charles Lindemann, a wealthy resident and officer in Brooklyn’s German Republic Club, lived in the mansion at 1001 Bushwick.[2] 1002 was the home of Louis Bossert, owner of a lumber plant and moulding mill. Bossert also had a line of manufacturing houses and built the Bossert Hotel in Brooklyn Heights.[3] 1013 was home to H.F. Gundrum, a director of the People’s National Bank, on Broadway. [4] Peter Huberty, secretary of the Bushwick Democratic Club, lived at 1019 Bushwick. 1027 Bushwick was owned by Hohn P. Schoenwald, the original owner of Liebmann Breweries.[5]

Many of the structures on Menahan and Linden Streets were built by the wealthy corset manufacturer Patrick Menahan and developer S.M. Meeker.[6] Meanwhile, 1090 Greene Avenue was the home of Henry C. Bohack founder of the Bohack’s Supermarkets. Bohack opened his first store on Fulton Street in 1887, the chain, at its height in the 1940’s, had 740 stores in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, and employed over 3,000 people.[7] Besides notable residents, many of the homes in the Bushwick Avenue Historic District were designed by the renowned architect Theobald M. Engelhardt, who is responsible for many of North Brooklyn’s structures.
As the neighborhood evolved, this section of Bushwick Avenue became known as Doctor’s Row because of the influx of prosperous doctors who purchased the homes. These residents incorporated symbols of their profession into the structure’s decoration. Serpents, a symbol of the medical profession, adorn some of the windows and gates, along with the doctor’s names. The gate of 999 Bushwick still reads “Dr. Puderbach.”
Even today, the memory of Doctor’s Row is associated with Bushwick. Martin Gottlieb, an editor at the New York Times said:
“I was actually born in Bushwick Hospital. My mother’s side of the family was from Williamsburg, the next neighborhood over. She remembered Doctor’s Row, these beautiful mansions on Bushwick Avenue in the middle of a working class neighborhood. She felt that the best doctors lived there and so she wanted her children born in their hospital.” [1]

Social and Religious Institutions:

Bushwick’s community organizations are closely related to the residents of these remarkable mansions, as many of those who commissioned these buildings were founding members of the neighborhood’s churches and social clubs. Five of the Bushwick Avenue Study Area’s eight churches are located within the Bushwick Avenue Historic District, which speaks to the area’s position as a social center in the late nineteenth century even as these congregations continue to provide valuable community services–Bushwick United Methodist Church, for example, is important for the Bushwick community not only for its architectural and historical significance, but also as a venue for various charity events and community outreach programs. [1] 1054 Bushwick Avenue is the home of the Ridgewood Masonic Temple. The temple was built in 1920 and designed by architects Koch and Wagner. It has most recently functioned as a concert venue, maintaining its significance as an important community socializing space.

Besides churches, civic and social organizations provided an important cultural foundation within the neighborhood. Many of the earliest institutions were established by and for the large German immigrant population that resided in the neighborhood in the late 19th century and early 20th century. In 1913, Henry C. Bohack founded the nonprofit “Plattduetche Altenheim Gesellschaft von Brooklyn und Umgegend.” The foundation eventually became the current Grace Foundation of New York Society, a home for the elderly; the Menorah Home for Aged and Infirmed, at 871 Bushwick Avenue, filled the same role for the Bushwick’s Jewish community. Officers of the German Republic Club and the Bushwick Democratic Club also lived in the area. The Unity Republican Club was located at 929 Bushwick Avenue, and the rowhouse still stands. The Bossert House also became the first home of the Arion Singing Society, a German men’s choir, or Mannerchor; the choir later moved to new facilities on Arion Place.

Another important German institution in the neighborhood was the Eastern District Turn Verein, a German gymnasium and cultural club that was brought to the United States by German immigrants in the mid-19th century.[2] Many clubs like the Eastern District Turn Verein were also associated with the creation of libraries, reading rooms and lectures, many political in nature, encouraging both mental and physical fitness and serving as an important intellectual and cultural institution in the predominantly German neighborhood.

Cultural Evolution and Neighborhood Decline:

The neighborhood underwent significant cultural and economic changes in the early to mid-20th century. The population of Bushwick had remained predominately German until the 1930s and 40s, when they were supplanted by an influx of Italian-Americans. Then, in the late 1950s and 60s, African-Americans and Puerto Ricans migrated to the neighborhood, comprising more than half of its population by 1970.

The economic downturn of the 1970s was keenly felt in Bushwick as the last remaining breweries closed and the city’s fiscal crisis prompted cuts to fire department service in the area at a time when abandoned buildings were subject to frequent fires, further devastating the neighborhood. The effects of the economic downturn and cultural tensions culminated during the July 1977 blackout and riots. Bushwick, like many of city’s other poorer neighborhoods, erupted into 25 hours of looting, arson, and violence,– one third of Bushwick’s commercial operations were closed, if not burnt completely to the ground, and over $300 million worth of damage was done; more than 40% of the neighborhood’s remaining businesses shut down within a year.

Neighborhood Revitalization:

The long-term effects of the riots were severe, and in many ways the neighborhood continues to recover from the effects of that catastrophic event even to this day. After the blackouts, riots and looting of 1977, much of Bushwick remained in a state of decline. Drugs, crime, and arson were rampant in Bushwick and many lots and storefronts remained vacant, particularly along Broadway. However, many of the community’s long-time residents were committed to revitalizing the area. The apartment building at 1041 Bushwick was the first building to be rehabilitated by the community and marked the beginning of Bushwick’s “rise from flames,” as the residents say. Other reminders of community investment are the gardens and murals found in the district, which serve to beautify the neighborhood and inspire community involvement and pride.

Architectural Character:

In addition to the unique social context and heritage of the proposed Bushwick Avenue Historic District, the area is also defined by a mix of building types, which remain in materially intact states. This level of integrity and high architectural design contribute to the merit and significance of the proposed District.

The rowhouses of the proposed Bushwick Avenue Historic District are primarily Italianate in style, with decorative cornices and lintels displaying beautiful and intricate details. Most of the structures are brick or brownstone, and represent the highest order of the Bushwick Avenue speculative construction, with the highest architectural character and the most integrity. Very few of the rowhouses on Bushwick Avenue within this District have been altered—as opposed to structures outside the District or on the side streets, many of which have been covered in vinyl, asphalt, or aluminum siding. The rowhouses are typified by two-story buildings with stoops. At the terminus of the stoop is the main doorway, which is usually adorned by an elaborate surround, often including a small pediment. Many retain incised lintels above entryways and windows [INCLUDE IMAGE]. In some cases, these stoops have been removed to convert the building into multi-family, three-story residences, but this is more of a rarity with the proposed District than it is elsewhere in the Study Area.

A distinctive feature of these rowhouses are their “bookends”: the last houses at the end of a row will step outward towards the street in plan, framing the rest of the row. This can be seen at 1152-1160 Gates Avenue or 1118-1122 Greene Avenue. Other rows also have irregular footprints, such as 14-34 Linden Street or 882 & 884 Bushwick Avenue, where each rowhouse, or every other, respectively, has its own bay-window shaped projection reaching from ground to roof. Most of the rows, however, maintain an unbroken plane across all the segments. Particularly intact examples can be seen at 945-965 and 1063-1074 Bushwick Avenue. These rows also display the regularity of the rhythm of three-bay-wide homes, punctuated by doorways and stoops, but unified horizontally by a continuous band of cornices.

The finest example of rowhouses in the proposed District is at 37-55 Linden Street. They exhibit intact cornices of alternating patterns (Greek keys and wreath-like swags), detailed terra cotta bands and spandrels, and wrought iron work on all stoops. The row is capped by number 55 at the corner, which continues fine details around the corner onto the Bushwick Avenue façade, and is topped by a mansard roof.

Rowhouses are the most common building type within the Bushwick Avenue Historic District, followed by apartment buildings. Apartment buildings vary between four- and six-story forms, and punctuate the general profile of shorter buildings along the Avenue. Some of the four-story buildings fit in with the scale of surrounding tenements, occupying narrower plots and being crowned with rows of cornices, such as examples seen at 990-998 and 1144 & 1146 Bushwick Avenue. Some of these, like the “bookend” rowhouses above, seem to undulate in plan—for instance, 1103 Gates Avenue. Other buildings stand alone on larger plots, creating a grand presence on the street, such as Tudor Hall at 946 Bushwick Avenue, and 889 Bushwick Avenue (now a part of the former Menorah Home complex).

Many of the apartment buildings have a vertical hierarchy, with the street level being rusticated in some way, the middle floors being repetitive and relatively simple, and the top floor, in addition to being capped by a cornice or some sort of decorative parapet, also having more elaborate windows and often a strong belt course. All of these elements are exemplified at 1041 Bushwick, a large six-story complex. This building is the most representative of what defines apartments in the proposed Bushwick Avenue Historic District, as well as being of remarkable significance in the history of post-Blackout Bushwick.

Tenements are another example of the mix of residential building types within the proposed Historic District. There are two main types: straight, row-style buildings, such as those at 1141-1145 Bushwick Avenue, and those with a footprint similar to the previously discussed rowhouses and apartments, as seen at 11A & 15 Menahan Street. The tenements in this area, as within the study area at large, are usually four-story, sometimes three-story buildings. They are always crowned by cornices, or at least were originally before alterations. At 1124-1130 Bushwick Avenue, a mix of states of cornices can be seen: one is intact, one is extant but covered by aluminum siding, and two have been removed.

It is rare for tenements to stand alone; they were generally developed in parcels. Most commonly, each building is of the same design as its neighbors; it is more unusual for a group to be designed as a whole, rather than an individual design repeated. The most notable example of this stylized design can be seen at 1087-1095 Bushwick Avenue, where each of the three buildings is different in lot size, footprint, and layout. Their material palette, common cornice design, and similarly undulating plans, however, unify them.

Many of the residential buildings in the proposed Bushwick Avenue Historic District are classified as detached single-family houses. These are characterized by a wide variety of designs, which changed according to fashion, a family’s income level, and the architect’s own preference. Modest homes from the 1920’s, such as 618 Van Buren Street, have relatively flat facades, which rely on ornamentation from brickwork alone—few stone elements, if any, can be seen. Many of these homes are styled similarly to rowhouses or tenements in the area, but rather stand alone. 14 Harman Street and 950 Bushwick Avenue exemplify this- the undulations in footprint are common within the Bushwick Avenue study corridor, and the proposed District especially. More elaborate (and earlier) homes, such as 894 Bushwick Avenue, have generous porches of the Italianate style. Decorative woodwork adorns many of the porches, cornices, and lintels in the area. The most intact example of a detached single-family house is that of Henry Bohack, located at 1090 Greene Avenue. Its original woodwork, including wood clapboards, is still intact, and it exhibits detailed ornamentation on both exposed facades.

Within the single-family house category is a very specific subset: the mansions, developed by the wealthy brewers and doctors of Bushwick’s early history. These homes are defined by large lots, ample setbacks and yards, elaborate designs, and a grand presence along Bushwick Avenue. The mansions sit within a small concentration along the boulevard and nearby on side streets. Many exemplify the Queen Anne style, such as 1025 Bushwick Avenue and 59 Linden Street. Although both of these homes are how covered in various types of siding and slightly altered, the original Queen Anne design can still be seen in the turrets, balconies, projecting windows, and angled walls. More traditionally classical designs can also be seen- mansion styles vary greatly in the proposed District. 1019 Bushwick Avenue is a Federal style home- boxy in its massing, strictly symmetrical, with a large, projecting portico. The most noteworthy example of a typical mansion in the proposed Bushwick Avenue Historic District is the Charles Lindemann House at 1001 Bushwick Avenue. It is a largely unaltered example of the Queen Anne with a high level of integrity, situated on a prominent corner lot.

There are five churches in the proposed Bushwick Avenue Historic District. Although they all differ stylistically, each church has a strong presence on the wide boulevard, supplemented by a tall tower and large windows, present on every church. This is true of every church save the Reformed Church of South Bushwick—already a designated New York City Landmark—which has a tower perched above a grand Ionic portico with three large doors. Two of the churches are set above the street, approachable by monumental staircases, crowned by rose windows. Two churches are masonry, two brick, and one wood-clad; four have corner towers, while one has a centrally located tower; function is more the unifying theme rather than form.



[2] History of the Turn Verein is derived from “Walkabout: Turn, Turn, Turn Verein.” by Montrose Morris, Brownstoner.com, March 16, 2010.

[1] Interview with Martin Gottlieb, April 24, 2011

[1] Los Angeles Herald February 9th, 1910

[2] The Brownstoner, “Building of the Day: 1001 Bushwick Avenue.” May 6, 2010

[3] The Brownstoner, “Building of the Day: 1002 Bushwick Avenue.” August 24, 2010

[4] Directory of Directors in the City of New York, Audit Co., 1911

[5] LPC Bushwick Avenue Report; NY Food Museum, “Beer.” http://www.nyfoodmuseum.org/bkbeer.htm

[6] Armbruster, Eugene L. Brooklyn’s Eastern District. Brooklyn: Privately Published, 1942

[7] The Brownstoner, “Building of the Day: 1090 Greene Avenue.” June 28, 2010