On Brooklyn Heights

Sherida Paulsen and Francis Marrone made an extended encore appearance today to discuss the definition of historic districts and how Brooklyn Heights came to be one.  Things I learned today:

1. New York City’s laws about preservation of a historic district focus on the appropriateness of deeming it historical, whatever the heck that means, and mostly, it’s too vague to figure out

2. A town house is any house in a town.  A row house is attached town houses.  A brownstone is a row house with a brown sand stone facade.  Hence, not all row houses are brownstones.  Only the brown ones are.

3. Francis Marrone can’t stand still and lecture at the same time, which offers a very dynamic presentation.

4. Richardsonian Romanesque style architecture is a mishmosh of ornate and delicate styles and textures. A good example is the house that the happy hooker used to do business in, right here in Brooklyn Heights.

5. The Patty Duke Show and Moonstruck both were set on Brooklyn Heights.

6. Inhabitants say “on Brooklyn Heights” not “in Brooklyn Heights.”  I understand that, living ON Long Island.

7. Nassau County Long Island is known for Amy Fisher.  Go figure.

8. Henry Ward Beecher was really good at freeing slaves.

9. Henry Ward Beecher was also a big hypocrite, preaching against free love, yet he had an adulterous affair with Elizabeth Tilton.  Juicy!

No good gossip about Beecher is worth a dime without visiting Plymouth Church.  Visiting worshippers include Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, James A. Garfield, and Sojourner Truth.  Not included: the happy hooker.

And while the organ is all well and good, the bathroom is something to really step back and ponder:

I suppose the stained glass windows are more important than the bathroom:

This window, part of several that depict religious iconography, are not in the church itself. The church used to have clear windows and then it switched to stained glass.  The windows depict important figures in American history pertaining to abolition, education, and women’s rights.  The lecturer explained that the members wanted the windows to depict the main message of the church: Freedom.


About Christina M. Rau

Poet, blogger, writer, editor, professor
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