It wasn’t so long ago that the section of Pennsport immediately surrounding Dickinson Square Park was a little on the dicey side, with several blighted buildings and vacant lots on the blocks immediately to the north and west of the park. Virtually all of those properties have been redeveloped over the last several years, both through infill development and the game changing Southwark on Reed project, which traded the vacant Mount Sinai Hospital building for almost a hundred new townhomes. The cause for the increase in developer interest is surely related to the overall development trends we’ve seen in several neighborhoods around town, and the major renovation of the park in 2011-12 has also made the area more desirable.
On the 300 block of Tasker Street, along the north side of Dickinson Square Park, is a row of brownstones that look like they were built at the same time and by the same developer. When they were originally built, we believe there were a dozen or more homes that looked more or less the same, all with detailed cornices, decorated lintels, and brownstone facades. We tried to find a historical image of the row of homes, but sadly came up empty, so you’ll just have to join us in imagining what it must have looked like. This is necessary because the row of brownstones has not remained intact over the years.
Seven of the original brownstones remain, and at least four former brownstones have gotten new facades over the years. 315 Tasker St. was the most recent renovation, and also happens to be the least terrible of the group. The developers for that home eliminated the brownstone in favor of pinkish brick, but at least they maintained the window sizes and locations, for the most part. The renovations at 313 and 325 Tasker St., both of which happened many years ago, opted for bland facades and tiny windows, for some reason. The people that redeveloped 321 Tasker St. not only used brick instead of brownstone, but went for a faux stone on the first six feet of the facade as well.
They certainly don’t build them like this anymore, and this point is really driven home in a powerful way when seen in contrast with some of the renovations on the block. It’s a bummer, but we’re glad that several of these brownstones have survived all this time. Here’s to hoping they continue to stick around.