Notable Residents of Brooklyn Heights Past and Present

BHB contributor Karl Junkersfeld has delivered this omnibus of notable Brooklyn Heights residents past and present.

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  • anon

    Nice video, but please bring back the youtube versions–so many ads! And they block the video!

  • Tina

    Loved this! Although the ad was super distracting and annoying. Otherwise, fantastic. Thank you.

  • bornhere

    Really nice video. Those omitted include Alan Arkin, Claire Bloom/Rod Steiger, Lee Hayes (from The Weavers), James Purdy, and, of course, Harry Chapin.

  • Claude Scales

    In the pre-presidential department, it also seems that, on the nights of August 27 and 28, 1776, George Washington slept here.

  • nabeguy

    The list goes on….Wes Craven, John Fiedler (voice of Piglet), Sandy Dennis, Adam Arkin (along with his father Alan), Malcolm Jamal Warner, John Dockery, David Levine.

  • AEB

    Beautiful work, Karl, as ever! But you’ve neglected to include my cats, Poulenc and Chi-Chi.

    Want me to send pix?

  • wallabouts

    W.E.B. Dubois lived on Grace Ct.

  • since47

    Norman Rosten, forever on Remsen Street.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Video is “New and Improved” thanks to your great contributions.

    You guys were great. nabeguy, I couldn’t verify via the web, that Wes Craven, Sandy Dennis, and Malcolm Jamal Warner actually lived in the Heights. I’m sure you are correct but I couldn’t corroborate. Now I talked to Mr. Fiedler and John Dockery a few times so i knew them but the other 3 were tough. Now I know that all three filmed in the Heights, Craven with the Vampire from Brooklyn movie, Sandy Dennis with the movie Sweet November, and Malcolm Warner with the Cosby Show which actually took place in Fort Greene, I believe not the Heights.

    I have been accused, in the past, of being lose with the facts, ie Belgium Blocks not Cobblestones, so i want to be extra sure.

    bornhere, I think I included all those celebrities you mentioned. ;) Check again.

  • nabeguy

    Craven lived at 136 Hicks, Warner on Montague Terrace. You may have me on Sandy Dennis. In the strange-but-true department, Tom Chapin, Harry’s brother, married Bonnie Craven, Wes’s ex.

  • nabeguy

    Oops, sorry for the double post.

  • Claude Scales

    The ever-vigilant copy editor caught it.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Wow nabeguy, you are a walking encyclopedia of Brooklyn Heights. I’m here 30 years and you make me feel like i just moved in. You sure Craven didn’t live on Elm?

    Sandy Dennis has been in so many excellent movies:
    1) Splendor in the Grass, 2) Who is Afraid of Virginia Wolfe (excellent) 3)Up The Down Staircase, 4) Sweet November, 5) Out of Towners (excellent) 6) Come Back to the Five and Dime, 7) The Fox. I loved that movie with Ann Heywood.

    Very good agent.

  • nabeguy

    Just been here a bit longer, Karl. Actually, the Chapin’s were neighbors at 45 Hicks; Harry and his brothers used to babysit me and my sibs. In another strange-but-true synergy, Harry’s half brother opened the Hicks Brothers Deli where Tutt Cafe now is.

  • bornhere

    Karl — what a neat “quick fix!” As long as we have your attention, could you maybe change the ending of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”?

  • Homer Fink

    Not before he’s done with redoing the entire final season the The Sopranos.

  • Pierre

    hey – what about Josef Brodsky (lived and died on Pierrepont) and, the new additions of Matthew Barney and Bork?

  • Andrew Porter

    Thomas Nast, famous illustrator and cartoonist, lived in a house on the NW corner of Orange and Hicks.

    Eli Wilentz, owner of the 8th Street Bookstore, lived on Middagh Street.

    What was the name of that infamous Russian spy, who lived on Fulton Street in the 1950s?

  • nabeguy

    Rudolph Abel.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Holy Cow. I am such an idiot. That is the same Eli Wilentz that was friendly to all those great writers and poets Ginsberg, Kerouac and others. A real icon and friend of the literary world and the world in general. A really great man. I can’t believe it, I think I know his son. I didn’t put 2 + 2 together to get 4.

    I’ll post additional names provided, thanks Andrew. By the way, don’t know how many caricatures I have seen drawn by Nast depicting Tweed in various states. Good one.

    If you don’t mind, I’ll pass on Rudolph unless the reindeer lived on Columbia Heights.

  • Karl Junkersfeld


    I have added Brodsky but will hold off on the others. Last month I went to look at an apartment in the building in which she purchased and the real estate agent wouldn’t even confirm that B….. would be living there. I’ll wait to I see her at Cranberries to add her to the list.

    Any other suggestions, please let me know. I will post updated version at the end of the week and we can update it thereafter when the occasion warrants.

  • nabeguy

    You do know Eli Wilentz’s son Karl. That would be me. And Allen Ginsberg used to bounce me on his knee when I was a baby. Andrew, thank you for the acknowledgment. My father loved history and the Heights, two passions that I’m sure you can appreciate.

  • Pierre

    Well, there are also the famous Abstract Epressionists artists who lived here….Adolph Gottlieb on State Street, Barnett Newman lived on Pierrepont and David Smith lived somewhere around here too (they would allwalk over to the Navy Yard to see the steel workers work sometimes)

  • Pierre

    oops, make that Abstract Expressionists….

  • Pierre

    just researching…Adolph Gottlieb lived at 160 State Street, Barnett Newman lived at 62 Pierrepont and David Smith lived in Brooklyn Heights starting in 1931 (can’t find an address yet)

  • melanie hope greenberg

    nabeguy, I know your cousin (?) Wayne Wilentz. He lived at 144 Willow for a while and was a musician friend of my guitar playing boyfriend. They used to play out together at a restaurant in Manhattan.

    since 47, Norman Rosten also lived at 187 Hicks St. He was the author of my picture book. I met him while he lived at 84 Remsen and even painted that building into our book, A CITY IS.

  • John Wentling

    Artist Joseph Pennell, lived in the penthouse at the Hotel Margaret.

    There was a Mexican author who lived in the Margaret as well, name escapes me (Alva ?) – nabeguy?

  • Pierre

    Wow, and John Graham lived here too! Found this at the american archives site “Graham and Elinor Gibson divorced in 1934 and he married Constance Wellman in Paris in 1936. They lived in Brooklyn Heights near Adolph Gottlieb, David Smith, and Dorothy Dehner” – for those that might not know, Graham wrote “Systems and Dialectics” which all the New York artists at that time read and were so heavily influenced by…Graham was also an avid primitive arts collector and shared his knowledge with everyone – which served as such a pivotal influence….

  • Claude Scales

    I’ve lived in the Heights for almost 27 years (the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere), but I’m always learning fascinating new things about the neighborhood and the people who live or have lived here. Thanks, Karl, for making this video. Putting on my nit-picky copy editor hat, could you change the spelling (in your scroll list at the end) of the name of the composer Benjamin Britten from Bretton?

    Out of curiosity–maybe Melanie can help–was Norman Rosten related to Leo Rosten, famous for The Joys of Yiddish and The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N?

  • melanie hope greenberg

    @Claude, no relation that I know of.