Mr. Junkersfeld’s Brooklyn Heights Video Time Machine by Way of The Nabeguy Collection

Mr. Junkersfeld files this companion dispatch to go along with his latest film:

Nabeguy wrote early this year“These photos were taken in November 1961 by my father, who, along with other like-minded neighbors, was in opposition to the proposed zoning variance that would allow for construction of the Cadman Towers. He wanted to illustrate the variety and depth of the 19th-century architectural heritage that was at stake. In one of his last-ditch efforts to forestall the wrecking ball, he lobbied to have the building on Cranberry St. in which Walt Whitman set the type for “Leaves of Grass” designated a National Landmark. Obviously, his attempts were in vain, but we do now have the Whitman Townhouses, and these photos, as reminders of what was lost.”

This short subject film was created in response to 11 super photographs taken by nabeguy’s prescient father in 1961. It was the efforts of like-minded individuals who successfully won the designation of landmark status in 1965 for Brooklyn Heights preserving the area’s historical and architectural significance.

These pictures were my first glimpse of what was then Fulton Street and later became Cadman Plaza West. Cadman Plaza’s incongruence with the rest of landmarked Brooklyn Heights always intrigued me.

This short film is about other Cadman Plazas around the North Heights that some may not know about. An example is the demolition at Poplar and Willow, among other sites, some of which are depicted in this short film.

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  • bornhere

    Really nice job, Karl. And thanks, again, to Nabe G (and his dad) for resurrecting the good ol’ days (no matter what some might say).

  • nabeguy

    Thanks for the shout out Karl. BTW, I found some old prints of other photos from this series. Contact Homer, and we can get in touch.

  • AEB

    Terrific, Karl! And thanks to nabeguy, too.

  • WillowtownCop

    Nice video! There was a small error- a drawing labeled 1872 with the Brooklyn Bridge in it.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Nice catch WillowtownCop. Just wanted to make sure you all were paying attention.

    I hate when I do that. That caption should have read 1899 or earlier. I’ll make correction immediately and thanks.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    It is possible that it was painted when they began building the bridge in 1870 but I doubt that they were that far in building the bridge in 1872. I’m with you in thinking it was a dating error.

    Here is the link that i got my information, New York Public Library.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Not to belabor the point but found this notation:

    Brooklyn Bridge is made public – 1874 (interest paid to subscribers)
    Brooklyn tower completed – June 1875
    New York tower completed – July 1876
    Temporary footbridge between towers is built – 1877

    I think Willowtown Cop got it right.

  • Jorale-man

    Nice video. The shots of Cadman Plaza then and now are especially striking!

  • benita berman

    It was great to see this video. I, too, particularly enjoyed the contrast between Nabyguy’s pics and the shots of Cadman today. Nabeguy – could I possibly also see your additional old prints? You could email them or post on my apple gallery site. Please let me know. I’m always using old Bklyn imagery in my artwork.

  • soulman

    Thanks – this was very informative. The view from the upper regions of Cadman Towers is pretty wonderful, but I’m sure if I’d have been living in the Heights then, I would have opposed it too.

  • hoppy

    I have one of those cheesy Currier and Ives prints of Brooklyn, copyrighted 1875, which depicts a completed Brooklyn Bridge that’s way out of scale, similar to the “1877” image in the video. I’m wondering if this was the genesis of the “artist’s impression” that’s used to hype urban planning projects?

  • melanie hope greenberg

    That was great. Thanks, Karl!