Category Archives: buildings

Your time has come, Lady Moody!

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The Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House, 27 Gravesend Neck Road. {Photo by Joseph Ditta, Saturday 26 March 2016}

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, fifty years plus two months after it was calendared by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House at 27 Gravesend Neck Road, may finally get the recognition it deserves. The Commission will spend just ten minutes listening to the findings of its research staff, and then vote for designation. (Notice that I didn’t write “for or against.” I don’t want to jinx it!) If you’re free and would like to attend the meeting, here’s the detailed schedule; the Moody House is set for 10:20-10:30, but these things are never set in stone. How will I manage to sleep between now and Tuesday?


Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Ditta (webmaster@gravesendgazette.com)

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The more things change . . .

. . . the more they stay the same!

Your webmaster had routine blood tests recently. The idea of being tourniqueted (is that a word?) and pricked became almost pleasurable when he realized that the medical lab was located on the same block as this firehouse at 1635 East 14th Street, between Kings Highway and Avenue P. You see, he had recently bought a lovely postcard showing the building — currently home to Engine 276, Ladder 156, and Battalion 33 — back when it was new in the bucolic early twentieth century (it went up sometime between 1907 and 1912). It’s been hemmed in by bulky brick boxes since then, but remains remarkably unchanged.


Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Ditta (webmaster@gravesendgazette.com)

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One Step Closer to Landmark Status!

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This cyanotype, taken in June 1893, is possibly the oldest known photograph of the Moody House at 27 Gravesend Neck Road. The view is looking east toward present-day McDonald Avenue. Note the tower of the soon-to-be-demolished Gravesend Reformed Dutch Church in the background. {Collection of Joseph Ditta}

Excellent news! The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public meeting today to deal with its backlog of 95 properties; some buildings — like Gravesend’s Lady Moody – Van Sicklen House — have languished there for fifty years. The Commission decided to keep the Moody House on its calendar and prioritize it for designation by the end of 2016. So, the house is not yet an official landmark, but it has moved one giant step closer to that reality. If, instead, the Commission had voted to drop the house from its calendar, well . . . I shudder to finish that sentence! To think about it another way, of the 95 properties under consideration, only 30 are being pushed forward for designation. We made it! (Click here for a full list of the day’s decisions)

I send heartfelt thanks to everyone who took time to write the Commission (at the meeting they said the Moody House generated quite a lot of interest from the Gravesend community!), and to those who spoke at the hearing last October, especially Mark Treyger, our tireless councilman, whose continued support for designation of this unique building speaks louder than all of our pleas combined.

Stay tuned . . .


Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Ditta (webmaster@gravesendgazette.com)

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Fingers Crossed for Moody House!

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The Brooklyn Daily Eagle featured the Lady Moody House on the cover of its 1947 booklet of Gravesend history.

The moment we’ve been waiting for has come. On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will hold a public meeting to decide the fate of the Lady Moody – Van Sicklen House at 27 Gravesend Neck Road. The Moody House, you’ll recall, is among the 95 properties on the LPC’s backlog calendar. It has been on that calendar, under consideration, since 1966 — that’s FIFTY YEARS in limbo, folks!

At Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners will hear summaries of the testimony given previously for all 95 properties. Several of us spoke at the public hearing on October 8, 2015 (you can hear my testimony beginning at 2:24:08), and many of you sent in wonderful messages of support. While the public is welcome to attend Tuesday’s meeting, no new testimony will be admitted. After weighing the merits of each property, the commission will consider one of three outcomes:

1. prioritizing designation for some items (by December 2016); or
2. removing from the calendar by voting not to designate; or
3. removing from the calendar by issuing a no action letter.

PLEASE keep your fingers (and other body parts) crossed that the Moody House falls into the first category. If the LPC fails to designate the house now, it won’t stand a chance of survival. We’ll never get them to reconsider this most significant of Gravesend houses once it’s tossed off the calendar. And once that house goes, so goes the heart of Gravesend. And I’ll have yet another street to avoid walking for fear of seeing what’s missing.

Stay tuned . . .


Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Ditta (webmaster@gravesendgazette.com)

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Holy Corner

There has been a house of worship at the southeast corner of Gravesend Neck Road and Van Sicklen Street since 1899, when the short-lived Gravesend Methodist Episcopal Church began holding services there in a frame chapel bought from the Gravesend Reformed Dutch Church. (That little chapel moved around a lot in its long life. Click here for the full story.) The Gravesend M. E. Church disbanded in 1914 and its building at no. 14 Neck Road sat vacant for a time. Later it housed the local boy scout troop. Eventually it was acquired by Reverend Giuseppe Greco for his Italian Pentecostal congregation, “Assemblea Christiana Radunatu Di Jesu” (Rallied Christian Assembly of Jesus). In 1937 Reverend Greco replaced the wooden chapel with the current stone sanctuary on the site, calling it (inexplicably) the Coney Island Pentecostal Church (an inscription on the building reads “Coney Island Christian Church”). Reverend Greco’s flock moved in 1979 to the vacant Gravesend Reformed Dutch Church at 121 Gravesend Neck Road, now called Trinity Tabernacle of Gravesend. The stone church at 14 Neck Road is now home to the First Korean Church of Brooklyn, a Presbyterian congregation.


Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Ditta (webmaster@gravesendgazette.com)

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