Building at 104 Front Street
The building at the corner of Front and Adams Streets in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) was built in 1877 as a store with three stories of tenement apartments above. 104 Front Street is very similar to the attached building at 100 Front St. Both buildings were designed by Carl Eisenach and originally owned by John G. Meyer. They are within the DUMBO Historic District, recognized by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2007. Both are among the only historically residential buildings in the mainly industrial district. The ground floor commercial space of 104 Front St. now holds a restaurant and catering business, La Bagel Delight. The upper stories hold three walk-up co-operative apartments.
104 Front Street on corner, attached to 100 Front St. to right, in 2007 photo (Christopher D. Brazee)
Brick store building at 104 Front St. (green arrow) on 1904 Sanborn map of Brooklyn, vol 2, p. 15
Map of DUMBO Historical District (red outline) with 104 Front St. (green arrow) by Jennifer L. Most
Backstory and Context
When the building at 104 Front Street was being built in 1877, the neighborhood - then called Vinegar Hill - was just beginning to become industrial. The neighborhood then contained mainly rundown, wooden houses. The architect, Carl F. Eisenach, served as an advisor for the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Science's Department of Architecture and was the president of the Saengerbund social club. He served on local committees for the Germania Bank, which he designed in 1890, and the German Hospital.
The building's architectural style is transitional between Italianate and Neo-Grec. The cast iron windowsills and lintels are more Italianate in style, while the projecting wooden cornice with incised brackets, modillions, and paneled Frieze is Neo-Grec. The brick facade is four bays wide along Front Street and five bays on the Adams Street side. In 1936, the building was renovated, and the housing was upgraded from tenements to flats; part of this was changing from shared hallway toilets to bathrooms in individual apartments. The owner in 1936 was Angelo Mazzio. The original windows in 104 Front Street have been replaced. The original brick storefront has been removed and replaced with a ground floor facade faced in stucco.
The Brooklyn address 104 Front St. showed up in the local newspapers occasionally. An ad from 1871 offered services of a seamstress and nurse by a German girl who spoke English fluently; since this is before the current building was built, this must be an earlier house. The only daughter of Martin and Maria Schwensen (maiden name Hansen) died in 1883; since no name was listed, the child was probably a newborn. John G. Meyer died at his residence at this address in 1883 at the age of 49 after a long illness; he was the building's original owner. A "respectable German girl" lived on the top floor in early 1886 when she advertised that she was looking for a general housework job. A man named Henry Martens was selling liquor (wine, liquor, and/or lager beer) at this address, according to an 1899 borough directory. The ground floor of 104 Front St. contained a restaurant named Manhattan Lunch by early 1924 when the space was offered in the newspaper as a business opportunity. The lease would cost $50 and came with 80 chairs. The "lunchroom" space in the factory district was described as on a "good corner." One morning in 1926, Mrs. Antonio Neeves left her fourth-floor apartment in 104 Front St. to mail a letter. When she returned the apartment was on fire. Her three very young children were rescued from the fire by a local policeman who had seen smoke coming from the building. The fire began in the kitchen and caused about $500 in damage. Victor M. Rivera lived here in 1932 when he applied for a license to marry Maria Burgos; both were in their mid-20s.
Anonymous. "Wanted - A Situation." Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn) August 2nd 1871. Classifieds sec, 3-3.
Anonymous. "Schwensen." Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn) January 24th 1883. Obituaries sec, 3-3.
Anonymous. "Meyer." Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn) August 17th 1883. Obituaries sec, 3-3.
Anonymous. "General Housework: Wanted - Situation." Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn) February 20th 1886. Classifieds sec, 3-3.
Anonymous. "Policeman Saves 3 Children at Fire." Brooklyn Times Union (Brooklyn) October 25th 1926. 15-15.
Anonymous. "Marriage Licenses Applied for in the Last Week." Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn) June 12th 1932. 18-18.
Dolkart, Andrew S. Brazee, Christopher D. Catatzas, Michael D. DUMBO Historic District, Designation Report, for New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. New York, NY. New York City Government, 2007.
Manhattan Lunch. "Business Opportunity: Lunchroom." Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn) March 25th 1924. , Classifieds sec, 14-14.
Property Shark. 104 Front St., Brooklyn, NY 11201, Property Shark. January 1st 2021. Accessed January 9th 2022. https://www.propertyshark.com/mason/Property/120665/104-Front-St-Brooklyn-NY-11201/.
Trow Directory Printing & Bookbinding Co.. Trow's Business Directory of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens 1899. New York, NY. Trow Directory Printing & Bookbinding Co., 1899.
Dolkart et al. report on DUMBO Historic District for NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission 2007, p. 213
Dolkart et al. 2007 designation report for NYC LPC, p. 1