223 16th St., a three-family, was listed on the market for $1,550,000 last fall, and sold this February for $1,370,00 to EB 223 Realty Inc. Right now Skyworx is giving it the speedy brickface treatment. Here it is back in September, at the far right of the picture:
All four houses, which look like they were built as a group, have had their wooden facades hidden or stripped away. I'd love to see pictures of them in earlier days.
Here's another set of covered-ups that caught my eye over the weekend, on 36th Avenue in Astoria. On detached houses these facades verge on the surreal.
A block along the avenue, close to 38th Street, we can get an idea of how these boxy buildings once looked.
The house has got its own cover-up touches but the beautiful cornice and windows are still intact, and the asphalt shingling - a pre-vinyl, pre-brickface treatment - fits just fine here. And thumbs up to yellow!
Purism about house stuff can become tiresome, and sometimes a freshly renovated frame, expensively period-perfect, can seem like a stage-set, more remote from its past than a vinyl-covered house of similar vintage. Its stories and ghosts long fled. I like wooden buildings because of their variety, and the ways they've evolved and survived. They're homes first of all. But the ones I like best are like the little one above. Nothing fancy, in an out-of-the-way corner, it seems to have kept its looks by sheer luck. Truer to its humble origins that a sleek & pricey restoration in Greenpoint or Park Slope ($3,000,000 anyone?), it whispers of worlds that no amount of money can recreate.