Many longtime residents of Brooklyn Heights are familiar with the wild, whacky, wondrous story of 58 Joralemon Street (also part of Homer Fink’s globally renowned Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour). The seemingly innocent Greek Revival townhome was built in the 1840s as a private residence and converted in 1908 to a giant subway ventilator, owned by MTA, which also serves as an emergency exit from the eastern end of the Joralemon Street tunnel from Borough Hall.
The latest shout-out comes from smartphone app and webbie ScoutMob—which, incidentally offers numerous deals throughout Brooklyn Heights (download it free).
Their take in a story on Brooklyn Hidden Gems: “Joralemon Street. A near-perfect, tree-lined street in Brooklyn Heights. But like any good horror film, this perfect street is harboring a secret. On the south side of the street are three identical brownstones. Numbers 56 and 60 have white trimmed windows, flower boxes and that homey lived-in feel. The middle house is the secret. If you look carefully the basement is covered by a steel shield, the wall of ‘brick’ is actually faux, and —the real tell—the windows are fake. So what lives behind this dark, lifeless facade? Sadly, nothing diabolical, but something kind of clever. It’s a hidden subway evacuation tunnel constructed by the MTA.”