“Millionaire’s/Doctor’s Row Houses”
President Street between New York and Kingston Avenues
These two blocks represent some of Brooklyn’s finest early 20th century mansion architecture. While much of Crown Heights South was experiencing dense development to accommodate a growing middle-class population, this stretch of property was being developed to appeal to wealthy industrialists and professionals, and the result is a neighborhood that one might more easily expect to find in a wealthy suburb on Long Island. Unlike the late 19th century mansions of Victorian Flatbush, also in central Brooklyn, these early 20th century gems were built during a time of even greater prosperity just before the Great Depression hit. However, it is possible that the configuration of the mansions set back from the street by lush front lawns was borrowed from that very successful development in Flatbush. Both neighborhoods benefit from a strong overall character and sense of place, provided by the unified scale of the buildings and the existence of beautiful green space that is visible from the public way. The architects here ranged from a young William Van Alen, who would later design the Chrysler Building, to the Cohn Brothers, William Debus and Henry M. Congdon. By the 1930s, these two blocks became home primarily to doctors, many of whom worked at nearby St. Giles, Kings County and other hospitals. It is still known today as both “Millionaire’s Row” and “Doctor’s Row” due to these historical associations.