Sunday, December 15, 2013

Greenpoint Home for the Aged

Greenpoint Home for the Aged view from the street
Greenpoint Home for the Aged
The mansion on the corner lot where Gurnsey Street turns into Oak Street was the Greenpoint home for the aged. The Greenpoint Home for the aged was incorporated in 1882 and housed on Dupont Street until completion of the red brick mansion at 137 Oak Street.[1] Built in 1887, the residential building is an eclectic Italianate mansion with Romanesque arches designed by prominent Eastern District architect Theobold Engelhardt.[2] While it used to be a home for the aged it has been repurposed for other residential uses throughout its life. For a time the home was used for elderly women; however according to a long time resident of the area the building has been a boarding house for men for at least 20 years. Property records show that the current owner or owners bought the home in 1967 which is likely when the building was converted into a boarding house.

Main Entrance
Home for the Aged Entrance
The wooden double doors and cast iron balustrade railings at the building's entrance, as well as the iron fence and gate at the properties' edge are original. The three-bayed wing on the right of the building was an extension likely built shortly after construction was finished on the main portion of the residential facility.[1] 

Looking past the gate at to the house at night
Greenpoint Home for the Aged Late On a Summer Night

I live less than a block from this house and it was one of the buildings that got me thinking about writing this blog. The house is at once beautiful and creepy which makes it fascinating to look at. According to my neighbor who grew up in Greenpoint, all of the neighborhood kids were frightened of the place and considered it haunted. Although, I have my doubts about the mansion being haunted, some of the residents are a bit creepy which adds to the building's mystique. Aside from the men that live there, some of the other oddities I have noticed include: (1) I have never seen anyone enter or leave through the front door, (2) I once went months without seeing any sign of life in or around the house, and (3) the only woman I have ever seen enter the place (at night) slammed the perpetually open gate while shooting me a disdainful look before disappearing into what looked like the basement entrance.

  1. New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Greenpoint Historic District Designation Report New York: 1982
  2. White, Norval, Willensky, Elliot, and Leadon, Fran AIA Guide to New York. Oxford University Press, 2010.

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