just kidding, this has nothing to do with ho-ro (don’t worry, posts of this genre to come). i just wanted to show you some cute houses in my hood. steve and i play a game where we proclaim our top five whenever we see one we love. i think our top five’s are about 20 right now. in general, things i appreciate about the houses in ditmas park is the mish mash of architectural styles, the decay, and the steady war that the plant life has waged against its manmade intruders. no house or landscaping is quite like another, even though the entire neighborhood feels like a distinct organism with tightly drawn boundaries and defining style. that’s partly because the neighborhood was developed by one person, lewis h. pounds, an ohio-born “real estate man” who pioneered the suburban method of flattening all land and laying street, street plantings, and sewage infrastructure before developing any houses. he purchased the land from the van ditmarsen family farm in 1902, by which point the area surrounding ditmas park had already been opened up by new stage line connections from northern brooklyn (the brooklyn bridge was completed in the 1880s, which opened up brooklyn to suburbanization/urbanization).
most of the time when i’m describing ditmas park, i use the shock and awe vocabulary of “victorians!” “lawns and drive ways!” “in new york city!”. but beyond that, the total fanfare of architectural styles – bound by pounds’ form-based zoning regs – never gets old. there are shingle-style bungalows on 16th street around newkirk you would expect to find in california, or somewhere with real proactive sun – but are instead nestled between the Q train, multi-story walkups, and c town. then there’s the georgian/greek revival combo, defined by its tall ionic columns and primarily reserved for the churches around flatbush – but takes me back to college campuses in the south (but are apparently relics of christopher wren/british baroque architecture). there was also some norwegian architect who sprinkled a few spanish mission style houses throughout, because why not.
now that we’re in quarantine times, i’ve been going on even more house-gawking walks than usual, fantasizing about the lives lived in dwellings with actual “quadrants”. i love my tiny apartment like my firstborn but there is literally no where to go, nowhere to hide. and nowhere for steve to hide when i become hellbent on memorizing “one week” by barenaked ladies about 20 years too late.
last night i had a fantasy about the house i grew up in, using one of those floor scooters to survey the grounds (two floors!) at breakneck speed.
at the end of all of this, will we be nicer to each other? meaner? how many of us will be ensnared in the cuomo crush? will trump be dead? will i pony up for an overnight teeth whitening (ouch!!) regimen? will i devour my vile of star anise “because i can?”