Wednesday, November 24, 2010

L. P. Gratacap and a house I almost bought

Louis P. Gratacap

Before I bought the glorious "Good Prospect" I now live in, I saw several other properties. All were too expensive, entailed the responsibility of being a landlord and in need of way too much repair. The only one I entertained any thought of maybe buying if I wanted to live in probably not so genteel poverty for the rest of my life was on the east side of Bement Avenue just north of Henderson Avenue.

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It's a huge, beautiful 19th century home. It was divided into several units and has an amazing front lawn. Unfortunately, it also had a beautiful side yard that wasn't for sale and had already been subdivided and plans submitted to and accepted by the City's Department of Buildings. You can see the right of two homes that have been subsequently built on that lot.

The imminence of those coming houses right up along the house in question meant there was no way I was going to beggar myself in order to have neighbors looking in my kitchen.

Louis P. Gratacap home - 1924 - circled in red

A recent map tour showed it had belonged to one L.P. Gratacap. An odd sounding name, I immediately googled it and, quickly enough I found out who he was.

Born in Gowanus,New York, Louis P. Gatacarp was the curator of the New York Mineralogical Club and the mineralogy curator at the Museum of Natural History as well. He died, unexpectedly, in 1917 at the age of 67.

Today his once lovely house sits surrounded too closely by newer homes. Still, it stands as reminder of less crowded times on the Island.

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