Here in Park Slope (Brooklyn) residents cherish their brownstones. They love the atmosphere of voguish antiquity that lends a unique beguilement to each moldering brick and creaky facade enduring along each fusty street. In this once-upon-a-time and now steampunkish neighborhood, well-heeled residents can bask in the afterglow of Victorian Age detachment while the rest of the city either rises in high-tech hyperbole or goes to hell in a mismanaged hand-basket.
When it comes to Victorian Age basking, what better way to bask but beneath the light of glittering gas lamps? For over twenty years, realtors have been successfully fobbing off these lamps as authentic. Prospective buyers often jumping at the chance to reside in brownstone bliss along with all the trimmings. Unfortunately, these lamps aren’t circa late 19th century…they’re more like circa mid 20th century.
“They’re not historic and they’re certainly not historically accurate,” said John Casson, a member of Park Slope Civic Council’s Landmarks Committee, who opposed the request for the new lamp. “A, They’re not authentic, B, they don’t give much light, and C, they waste energy. They just look silly.”
Casson called the lamps a “cheesy Disneyfication.”
He noted that most Park Slope brownstones were built around 1883, a period when the streetscape was nearly entirely empty of decoration, he said. Most brownstones were surrounded by nothing but “boring bluestone,” he said.
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