We will wait for the news conference on Monday to see exactly what happens to Ms. Joy Chatel’s home on Duffield Street, which some claim has strong connections to the Underground Railroad; but clearly, with today’s announcement, something is happening and the city is trying to balance the forces of growth and preservation.
I won’t sop you with the details, but I recently had a refreshing visit with some old Brooklyn hands. As conversation went on, our walk down memory lane continued. We stretched back 20 years talking about the birth and making of MetroTech in the late 1980s and the foundation for this new Downtown Brooklyn.
The pictured houses, 182-184 Duffield St., are two of four that were in the footprint of MetroTech Plaza (on Johnson Street), built sometime in the late 1800s that were due to be demolished. But a little community passion, and a city government responsive to local sensibilities and history, stepped in and saved the day—and these homes. In 1991, under the city’s leadership, at great cost and going completely above and beyond the norm, these homes were lifted up from their foundations, loaded onto flatbed trucks and ever so slowly, driven to their new locations a few blocks away. It was quite a sight.
And that is how these architectural gems came to be on Duffield Street, just north of Willoughby, for us to appreciate today. And yes they are just up the street from Ms. Chatel’s home on Duffield, which will clearly have its own story to tell before this is all over.
You are most welcome to write me with your own memories of that day and time.