Zooming in on historic Brooklyn Heights

There are many historic neighborhoods in New York, some of which have houses dating back to the late 1700s. One of those historic neighborhoods is Brooklyn Heights, which, according to ¨How Brooklyn Heights Became the City’s First Historic District,” by James Nevius, became America’s first suburb in the 1830s, with the introduction of a steam ferry service across the East River from Manhattan.  I decided to explore the neighborhood with my camera on Saturday, January 11, 2020. When looking at the houses, I realized just how many of them had architectural and design details that were much different from the details of today’s houses. Many houses featured decorations built at the time they were constructed. These details, including on the sides of the buildings, above the windows, and around the doorframes, were complex, unique, creative, and photo worthy. Here are some of the tiny details of historic Brooklyn Heights.


A small, round window feature near the top of 16 Grace Court Alley, a converted carriage house built in 1895.

A slanted, out-of-place looking brick square at the top of 20 Grace Court Alley, another converted carriage house, built in 1901.

Angel sculptures above the door of 1 Montague Terrace, the former home of poet W.H. Auden, built in 1900.

Decorations and owls above the door of 210 Columbia Heights, built in 1852.

Decorations surrounding the door of 220 Columbia Heights, built in 1860.

Decorations above the window of 220 Columbia Heights, built in 1860.

An aged design on the side of 25 Pierrepont Street, built in 1856.

Decor on either side of a window of 24 Middaugh Street, the oldest house in Brooklyn Heights, built in 1824.

A wooden door on 28 Willow Street, which was built in 1858.

Street signs engraved into the sides of a building, on the corner of Orange and Willow Streets.

Railing embellishments on 70 Willow Street, built in 1839 by Adrian Van Sinderen.

Decorative wreaths under the windows of the Watermark Building on Willow Street, built in 1928.

A plaque on the side of 106 Willow Street, stating when the house was first built, in 1844.

An elegant artistic bird, perched on the side of 108 Willow Street, built in 1899.

A decorative metal grate surrounding the door of 113 Willow Street, built in 1829.

The slanted, Dutch-inspired roof of 124 Willow Street, built in 1831.


A decorative, fairy tale-looking door on 149 Willow Street, built in 1900.

If you haven’t been to Brooklyn Heights, come and take a look. It’s worth a visit in person to truly appreciate the beauty of this neighborhood.