Hilly, cobbled Joralemon Street, with vividly painted c.1830s row houses

THE YOUNGSTERS on Brownstoner like to make fun of Brooklyn Heights. They think it’s stodgy and dull and full of old people. Yeah, OK, it may not be the hippest nabe in the borough, but damn, its architecture holds up well.

New York City’s first Historic District (designated in 1969) looks exactly the same as it did when I lived there in the late ’70s and mid ’80s — in fact, it’s looked the same since the 19th century. There’s a famous photo of the brownstones of Henry Street in the great blizzard of 1888, which could easily be mistaken for the great blizzards of 2010-11.



On Sunday, a friend and I had lunch at the welcoming Iris Cafe on Columbia Place, my new go-to spot for curried chickpea soup and avocado sandwiches. Then we trekked out to see Pier 1 at Brooklyn Bridge Park, above, created on landfill near the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. On a windy, overcast day in March, the park was not at its most inspiring, still raw with new plantings — but just wait a few months (years, decades).


Mid-19th century industrial building on Furman Street, seen from Pier 1


Two funky little houses near the base of the Brooklyn Bridge — one is or was owned by actor Tim Robbins

We walked back along Cranberry and Hicks Streets, admiring some of Brooklyn’s oldest row houses and marveling at the variety of architectural detail. It wasn’t new to me — I have walked those streets innumerable times, often pushing a stroller — but it was wonderful to see it all again, reassuringly unchanged.


One of the early 19th c. wood frame houses on the “fruit streets”: Cranberry, Orange, and Pineapple


Unusual window lintels on Hicks Street


The ever-appealing Grace Court Alley


On Pierrepont Street, clearly pre-Landmarks. Someone had a Mediterranean fantasy. Out of context, but love that cheery yellow


Your classic Brooklyn Heights high-stoop brownstone. Give me a couple of those in another life.