Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Brooklyn Heights' Herman Behr Mansion

Without a doubt, Brooklyn Heights greatest architectural triumph is the Herman Behr Mansion at 82 Pierrepont St. I'm certainly not alone in recognizing the Romanesque Revival building as a pause-gawk-admire nabe fave.

It was built by architect Frank Freeman for $80,000 in the late 1880s for mining industrialist Herman Behr (whose son Karl, a renowned tennis pro, survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912). In 1919, after the family relocated upstate—with a massive add-on—it became The Hotel Palm, which, according to local lore, was actually a bordello occupied by New York madam Xaviera Hollander of "The Happy Hooker" fame. Afterward, it also housed the Order of the Franciscan monks, apparently when they were "ordered" to dry out.

In 1977, it was converted to 26 rental apartments (six lucky bastards are rent-stabilized), and has remained 100% occupied since. In 2008, the 20,000-square-foot building sold for $11 million.