Three Years Later: Columbia Heights “Sgrafitto”

Looking at the video, one can clearly see the ornate facade at 177-179 Columbia Heights is on its last leg. The numerous cracks on each tablet clearly show wear and tear. Will it survive another year? Will someone come to the rescue?

This building’s exterior is in crisis. This story should have resonance with the Heights community, after all, we initiated landmark status and wear it with as a badge of honor.

There has been very little action taken towards restoring this beautiful art and this is a last plea for survival. This building serves as a microcosm of what city planners must deal with day after day. Do we restore or do we condemn and rebuild? Do we lose a part of ourselves when Maltida’s son’s work of art is erased and Robertson along with it. We all would love immortality and preserving wonderful pieces of art like this may be closest one can get. This story is emblematic of the difficulty and costs of maintaining historic art and architecture. This is why Brooklyn Heights is such a treasure. We care and have achieved much success in the past in preserving our rich architectural history. Just look around.

Tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of Qfwfq’s enlightening BHB story and it is the hope of this contributor that it has many anniversaries to come.

177-179 Columbia Heights is one of the stops on Homer Fink’s Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour.  This weekend’s walks are SOLD OUT . Tickets for March 27 are on sale now.

Share this Story:

, , , , ,

  • ABC

    I wonder what the restoration costs are. I’m betting over 300k. Just a guess, but it’s a bill that would be tough to handle for a smaller co-op.

  • Sue Raboy

    I lived at 177 from 1976 till 1988. How sad that such magnificent work is not being taken care and will soon be beyond help. I only wish there was something I could do.

  • Iago

    the responsibility of maintaining the building, including the facade, falls squarely on the building’s occupants and their cooperative. living in an older building has its expenses. The co-op needs to get it together and adress this disgraceful situation. How can they come home to this every day? It must be depressing.

  • Cassio

    Iago, you are pure evil. You know not of what you speak. In these economic times people are focused on more important things in their lives. Despite the beauty of the Sgraffito, a small co-op might opt to wait to spend $$$ until the economy gets back on track. Alas, I know you are most likely envious you do not live there. Your envy matches your evil ways.

  • Iago

    cassio: people are focused on more important things than where they live? It sounds like you may be more focused on booze or drugs.

  • jorale-man

    Iago, such evil. How dare you unleash your evil ways on this building.

  • Iago

    The building has at least thirty units, it is not that tiny. One of my top priorities good times or bad, is to avoid having friends and family clobbered by a falling piece of masonry as they enter or leave my home. This situation has been getting worse for years. Buildings do not repair themselves. Have the residents considered what their financial liability would be if someone is hurt or killed by their negligence? How can someone attempt to sell a unit in a building in this condition? It’s very bizarre. Even in down and out neighborhoods folks really make an effort to repair their older homes, here, on Columbia Heights no less, I am accused of being evil because I believe the shareholders of this co-op need to get their act together and prevent their building from falling down.