Park Slope's Colorful Past

Dee Bowers

119-125 Park Place in Park Slope with houses painted bright colors
Carl Steinbuch, [119-125 Park Place], circa April 1973, color slide, V1982.7.11. Carl Steinbuch slide collection, V1982.007; Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.

Today's Photo of the Week shows one block of Park Place looking noticeably different than it does today. Several of the classic nineteenth century brownstone rowhouses on this block are painted not-so-classic colors, with blue, yellow, and mint green all lining up next to the traditional reddish brown of the leftmost house. A bright red convertible in the foregorund brings another pop of color, and the whole picture is awash in bright sunshine, since there are hardly any trees to be seen. The photograph is part of our Carl Steinbuch slide collection. The 28 slides in the collection were developed in April 1973, the year before the 1974 designation of the Park Slope historic district.

Google maps screenshot of 119-125 Park Place in 2023 with all houses brown and shady trees
119-125 Park Place, Google Street View screenshot, August 2023

In the fifty years since then, Park Slope has changed quite a bit. Compare Steinbuch's photo to this Google Street View screenshot of the block's appearance today. Every house has been returned to a staid brown. At least one large tree is visible, and the dappled light across the facades indicates many more. But there's still a splash of color here - 123 Park Place is displaying a progress pride flag prominently out front. Other than the flag and modern parking sign, one might think this block has looked much like this since these homes were built in the late 1800s. Steinbuch's photographs, however, provide a glimpse of a different, more colorful Park Slope.

Interested in seeing more photos from CBH’s collections? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images, or the digital collections portal at Brooklyn Public Library. We look forward to inviting you to CBH in the future to research our entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections. In the meantime, please visit our resources page to search our collections. Questions? Our reference staff is available to help with your research! You can reach us at


This blog post reflects the opinions of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Brooklyn Public Library.



I preefer the colorful buildings but I also like the greenery. I bet there were some Mom and Pop shops in the basement which would be interesting.
Wed, Sep 6 2023 7:42 pm Permalink

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