I couldn’t resist posting this item in advance of some major posts on Greenpoint, to which I did extensive walks in the spring and late December of 2017. I have always been fascinated with the neighborhood, in which I have had friends for the last 35 years and even briefly rented an apartment in 1982, but never moved in. This building is at one of Brooklyn’s few L-shaped intersections, at Oak and Guernsey Streets, and features an impossibly spooky-loooking brick mansion set way back for the street are completely enveloped by foliage, so it can’t be seen very well from the street except in the cold months.
The Greenpoint Home for the Aged was designed by architect Theobald Engelhart; several buildings in Greenpoint are his works including 143 Kent, 122-124 Milton and the St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church which forms one of the “twin spires” seen on Milton along with the St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church. It went up in 1887. From the Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report:
Engelhart constructed the building at the behest of former NYS Governor Samuel Tilden, who owned a lot of Greenpoint property and decided to put some of his holdings to good use. At first, 137 Oak Street was a home for indigent women, then became a home for the aged; since 1967, it has been a boarding house or SRO.