The recent designation of the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District brought attention to the thirty story building at 75 Livingston Street, completed in 1928 as the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Building but since converted to co-operative apartments, whose residents opposed the landmarking because they feared it would increase the cost of maintaining the building and snarl such routine matters as window replacements in bureaucratic red tape. This has led to the Times to publish, in its “City Room” blog, a story about the architect who designed it.
The New York Times: The architect Abraham J. Simberg has finally received what he was looking for all along: professional respect and appreciation for the vibrant Jazz Age tower he inscribed on the downtown Brooklyn skyline in 1928…75 Livingston Street.
It is the crown jewel in the new Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District…along Court Street, created last year by the Landmarks Preservation Commission and sustained Feb. 1 by the City Council. In describing 75 Livingston Street, developed by Jacob Adelman, the commission said it was a work of “considerable elegance and sophistication,” with “projecting pavilions, chamfered corners and secondary setbacks that give the building visual interest well beyond what was required by the zoning regulations and equal to that of any skyscraper in greater New York.”
The article notes that 75 Livingston was, apart from a synagogue in the Bronx that has since been demolished, Simberg’s only prominent commission. The developer, Adelman, may have chosen him because he was familiar with Simberg’s work on apartment buildings along Ocean Parkway. The praise 75 Livingston received after its completion made Simberg confident that he had a bright future. Unfortunately, the 1929 stock market crash and subsequent Great Depression quashed his hopes. Simberg never received his full fee for designing his masterpiece. He died in 1981.jacob adelman, new york times,