info 10.17.18

Garden Place
Every Person in New York

From the opening chapter of The Body Broken, Lynne Greenberg's 2009 memoir:

"I live on Garden Place in Brooklyn Heights, New York. A sleepy idyll, forgotten in the crazy speed and riot of New York City, it rests outside of time and outside of the cacophony. Only one block in length, the street is made up of single-family town houses and brownstones. Someone usually has to die for a house to go on sale here. Tree branches overhang the street, flowering pink puffballs of cherry blossom in springtime."

Some history. Philip Livingston (1716-1778) is remembered as one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He moved to Brooklyn around 1764 and built on what is now Hicks, between Joralemon and State. The house was used as a kind of War Room by Washington during the Battle of Brooklyn (aka the Battle of Long Island). The Livingston's garden, roughly 200 square feet behind the mansion, passed to the city with the rest of the property (after having been bought by Teunis Joralemon, his death, and a fire destroying the house). In 1842, Garden Street bisected Livington's old garden; the city changed the name in 1870 to Garden Place to avoid confusion with an already existing Garden Street.

Garden Place loses its 'sleepy idyll' status once a year on Halloween, when there's a friendly, block-wide competition to design the best Halloween facade. (You can watch a video of a previous Halloween here.) Trick-or-treating starts around 4pm on October 31st.

On any day, it is one of the most charming blocks in the borough.

Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for more at Jason's site and his book Every Person in New York.

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