Humboldt Street between Herbert & Richards, 1935

Humboldt Street was once a colonnade row! This spectacular block went through some big changes just after the above photo was taken in 1922. By the time the following photo was taken 13 years later (1935), things had begun to look very different. Would you ever guess this was Greenpoint?!

I was shocked and elated when I first saw these photos. Reminds one of the celebrated row on Willow Place, no? That’s because this was once one of several colonnade rows in Brooklyn, of which Willow Place is the only one to survive. According to the AIA Guide to NYC, the row on Humboldt Street was built ca. 1850.

Here’s a close-up of No. 500 in 1935. The clapboard siding is evident.

Sadly, the surviving traces of this remarkable architecture are disappearing under our noses. Today, only one set of columns remains at No. 494; they are covered in sheet metal.

Its next-door neighbor (currently under construction) had retained much of its original configuration until just recently, according to Google street view. It’s now being refaced with a modern facade.

Historic photos courtesy New York Public Library (viewable HERE and HERE)

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  • William Lee

    I live around the corner from this row and often walk by this block and mourn the architectural vandalism that has been committed here. I was aware of the 1922 photo but had not seen the other two vintage views, so thanks for these digital versions of them. There is also the stub of a colonnaded house around the corner on Richardson street. As I recall (I am overseas and don’t have it handy) the AIA Guide said the two rows were once connected. Having lived on Withers Street for 5 years, I have long wondered what treasures lie beneath the hideous aluminum and shingle cladding that now shrouds so many of the wooden houses in this neighborhood. I am glad to know about your project and will follow it with interest. (Pls. fix the spelling of “colonnade” in the tag index under the map, though.) Thanks.
    William Lee

  • Pfastmail

    Man, just getting rid off all that fake siding and fake shingles would make Greenpoint look kinda decent.

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