Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Freddy's Brooklyn Roundhouse

The show broadcast from one historical Brooklyn landmark under threat of eminent domain visits another historical Brooklyn landmark under the threat of eminent domain:

The first of several NEW Freddy’s Brooklyn Roundhouse episodes and specials on the Duffield Street Brooklyn Underground Railroad safehouses will air on this Tuesday night at 8.00 pm on BCAT, Time Warner Channel 34 or CableVision channel 67, or for live internet streaming go to www.bcat.tv/bcat and select BCAT CH 1.

The series of shows focuses on the recently released Underground Railroad Report produced by the AKRF for the NYC Economic Development Corporation. The AKRF is a planning and engineering firm utilized often by the NYCEDC, they boast on their own website that they help companies “stay ahead of preservation constraints”, they also produced the large, yet woefully deficient, Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Study for the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC). This time the AKRF attempts to plausibly deny the historic significance of these Brooklyn Underground Railroad safehouses in order for the NYCEDC to seize seven homeowner’s properties thru the use of eminent domain to create a parking lot for a new Starwood hotel that is being built across the street. In this episode residents and local historians tell their story of discovery of the buried Brooklyn Underground Railroad and speak out against the AKRF study. This first episode is a little roughly cut in order for us to get it on the air in time, but definitely a good primer on the subject and definitely more to come. Presently, there is a May 1st City Council Hearing on this matter.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Clarke: Save Duffield Houses

The Brooklyn Papers
By Christie Rizk

Rep. Yvette Clarke has thrown her support behind the owners of several Downtown Brooklyn houses who claim their buildings were once part of the Underground Railroad.

Clarke (D–Park Slope) sent a letter to her former colleagues on the City Council to demand the preservation of the “historic” houses on Duffield Street.

“Preserving the homes … is simply the right thing to do,” Clarke added.
This is the second time since her promotion to Congress that Clarke has made news tackling the legacy of slavery. In February, Clarke — a supporter of Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project — threatened to call Congressional hearings to investigate Ratner’s naming-rights deal with the British Barclays Bank, which has repeatedly been linked to the slave trade.

full article

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

NLG Extra: Duffield St., "Buildings Communicating"

From NoLandGrab:


Though the AKRF study published this map, it failed to provide the "key," which indicates that the dashed line represented "buildings communicating." The significance is explained in Appendix II of Volume X, No.1 of the journal Village Views, published by the Society for the Architecture of the City:

The plate showing Duffield Street connects the rowhouses in the terrace running from 129 to 143 Duffield with dashes across the front areaway vaults. 141 Duffield St. was the original numbering of the Truesdell House, now known as 227. This is exactly as described by residents in oral histories: they said years ago the basements were connected through vaults at the front under the sidewalk, connections now vestigial, due to demolitions and alterations.

We've annotated details from the map and key: the yellow area highlights the dashed lines and 141 Duffield St. (now 227 Duffield) is circled in red.

Above: detail from Plate 28 of Brooklyn Perris Map.

Right: detail from key to Brooklyn Perris Index Map Volume 1.