Southern Brooklyn

Update: Corbin Place’s House Of Fugly


Almost every house on the three-block stretch of Corbin Place looks like the houses next to this garish monster. Then there’s this.

When we first brought you photos of the construction at 153 Corbin Place, we told you to blame the city for its weak zoning laws (which this house may be in violation of, as it protrudes further out than neighbors’ on both sides) that don’t go far enough in identifying common architectural elements to preserve. Owners, we felt, should be expected to do what they want with the property, and it’s the city’s responsibility to institute limits and create community standards.

But putting the blame on the city’s shoulder didn’t stop the owner from getting pissed. She called us up and freaked out. “Wait ’til you see it when it’s finished,” she said. “You can’t tell anything now; it’ll be a beautiful home.”

Nope. Still fugly. And now I blame you, too.

Comment policy


  1. It is a 3 unit building. But what’s wrong with it? Did they brake any laws? Noooo. The only thing they broke was their neighbors egos, who’s houses now look like shit in comparison to this house. Ohh and by the way.. these little dirty, old, houses looked like shit even before this house was constructed. Neighborhood needs to be improved not the other way around.

  2. If they built this house one block south then there would be no problem with it. It looks totally out of place. There are only 2 maybe 3 homes on Corbin that need to be taken care of. These houses have character and there is nothing wrong with them. A lot of these home have been gutted and are very nice inside. I am all for putting up nice buildings and homes but this is just wrong It changes the entire block. You have to be delusional to walk down Corbin from Cass to Brighton come back and say that looks normal.

  3. I was going to make almost the exact same comment as you at the same time, but was having a little trouble with the computer so I decided to wait a little while and try again.

    The owner was right. The house does look “beautiful” if it were located in the right place. I guess she saved a few bucks by buying on this block rather than the next. I can’t think of any other reason why she would decide to do what she did. If a few other people on this block made similar changes. then it wouldn’t stick out so much.

    Also funny is that I just passed by yesterday and saw the building completed for the first time. I even took a picture to send in.

  4. By the way if it is now a 3 unit they better hope they can change the C/O. I didnt look into it but i am pretty sure that all theses houses are 2 family homes.

  5. It looks quite nice, but I definitely understand what you’re saying with regard to the scale and blending in with the rest of the neighborhood. Plus, it’s a concern with the religious building zoning in what was only residential.

  6. Hmm… That reminds me of another religious use building on a residential block…
    Where are Bay People when you need them?!

  7. This house is setting a new standard, more people should now be doing this, buying up all these crappy little dirty houses and improving them to look good.

  8. If I was buying and my choices were this house or one of the houses to the sides, this one would win. It nice, its big, and frankly those other homes look too damn old. It raises the bar for the rest of the block, and what will happen is now other people will see this and rebuild other lots, slowly replacing the old small houses with something better. It may not look nice while the change is taking place, but what would you otherwise have in 20, 30 years? This same row of ever more decrepit homes?

    Much nicer homes than these have been razed for much less. This is definitely an improvement.

  9. I like it. I prefer that people upgrade their homes if possible. Provided there’s no actual legal concerns, I don’t see a problem here. If neighbors don’t like it, they can upgrade their homes as well.

  10. Well, let me start off by saying I live on this block, and I take great offense to the obnoxious and rather insulting comments by @gene2. I don’t come to whatever shithole you grew up in and call it dirty or shitty. Also, don’t try to correct me about where you actually live. I don’t give a half a dick about your prefab condo. @localbroker is correct in that most of these houses have been gutted over the decades and people have spent a great deal of money renovating the insides of these houses as well as tons of outdoor renovations in the back.
    As for the owners comments of ‘beautiful’… she certainly would think that. It’s her house and the contractor will do every single stupid request made with no consideration to aesthetic values or maintaining any particular architectural style. The house is a holocaust of various non-intersecting or complimentary mashed up styles crammed cheaply together and then accented with ugly white-frame home depot windows. Maybe this is how they interpereted “common architectural elements”. There are plenty of other streets in the immediate vicinity where a house like this or BIGGER could have been constructed with carte blanche to add a spiral escalator with neoclassical faux-stucco columns holding up a tiny gold-plated balcony and nobody would have said a word. Probably one street over like West st. If you’re already going to spend so much money building a house, why cram it in such a small spot and so obtrusively?
    This is my local neighborhood Cordoba House or Park 51 or whatever they’re calling it now except its worse because Park51 will look like an ordinary office building and a great effort has been made to make it blend in. I can’t ignore this garbage. At least not until somebody builds something nicer and hopefully bigger right next door to it and overshadows this tumor.

  11. You are an idiot – the house looks great, you just don’t like it because it makes your house look like shit.

    Soon others will rebuild their houses and you will be stuck living in a piece of crap 100 year old house all alone completely overshadowed by new beautiful homes

  12. Not sure what your definition of beautiful is, but it sure sounds alot like the houses in New Jersey.

    Which by and far, look like this cancerous trash heap.

  13. Nice looking house, it’s time to get rid of these 70 yr old house and build nice modern ones. The owner is smart, he/she utilized every inch of the land to her advantage.
    Looks like a potentially good rent producing property for the owner, nice job. Neighbors are just too jealous, because theirs looks like a shithole next to this one, that’s why they don’t like it.

  14. This building is like 10lbs of shit in a 5lb bag. I’d rather have a tacobell put in the middle of my block. The only thing that can warrant such excessive and forceful use of ugliness is if the house had something meaningful to merit it’s existence that the owner can vouch for and say it’s built using env-friendly materials, or didn’t use cheap immigrant labor, or is innovative in some way. I don’t have a problem with a modern building put up if it’s ACTUALLY modern, but I know bullshit when I see it. This house. Is. Bullshit.

  15. This reminds me of all the people who complain about the McMansions built in Manhattan Beach. The real reason for complaining is that they are jealous because their own houses don’t look as nice as the McMansions.

  16. I AM Russian, you eurotrash Armani Exchange-wearing Nissan Maxima driving electronica-listening tax-evading dildo. Sorry if this is hard for you to understand BRO. This is a house that is just ugly. Not modern. Not innovative. Not interesting. It doesn’t evoke any kind of architectural style. No architect was involved in its creation. It’s just garbage. Please understand that people with your kind of taste have a place in the world. It’s called Staten Island.

    ‘Modernity’ has a connotation to it that usually implies that it is ahead of its time. Some concept of it at least. If someone is going to change a neighborhood so drastically, then it should be done responsibly and with some amount of money thrown at it. Most of the people on this forum are right in the sense that others are going to follow suit in building newer houses and transforming the block. The problem is, this cheap lump shit is going to be the template and further development will take place quickly and the “go fuck yourself” mantra will carry over into each successive building.

  17. The houses in this neighborhood all used to look alike. They got old. They now look like lots of old houses that look alike. Here & there something looks different. It juts out. We can’t see inside any of these houses. We only know from the outside in. I used not to like coming home (here) because of the homogeneity. I like a little character in my surroundings.

    IMHO, what really needs to be fixed around most all of these houses are the sidewalks, the uneven pavements, the cracks, the jutting tree roots. Riding my 3-wheel scooter over the bumps on these streets, I feel like I’m in a bumper car derby. Driving down 11th Avenue from 79th to 34th was smoother, potholes and all.

  18. No, they look like crap, period. Ask any architect who was educated before 1990 and they will tell the reason why. Mainly, these houses just don’t fit in. Other than that, they are a hodgepodge of conflicting elements.

  19. 30 years from now these now 70 year old houses will look much like they do now. And this recently built house will be falling apart.

    But some people don’t care about 30 years from now.

  20. And building a mosque on a block that is similar to this one would not be wrong? Funny how the same people who are defending building a mosque on the residential block which would definitely change entire block, those same people are now condemning this structure for the way it looks. If it was a mosque and not residential property, what would you say then?

  21. To all those who do not like this structure and thinks that it changes the block, take the same logic and apply it to 2812 Voohries – most of you commenting here are the same people who comment and defend building a mosque on THAT residential block and know what I am talking about. Would you be saying that if does not belong on the block if this was a mosque? Residents on THAT block also think it would change their neighborhood but many if you feel that they are biased because it is Islamic house of worship. Well, now, you have to give them benefit of a doubt, don’t you? Seeing how all of you reacted to this house, I am asking you now, what if residents on the block of proposed mosque have legitimate concern that building it WILL change area?

  22. Don’t worry, I am here and I already commented on this discussion. That was the VERY first thing that came to mind when I finished reading this post and started reading comments. I can write a thesis on double standards just from this post and comments and those on mosque building. By the way, this is NOT a house of worship, this is a house, regular house. At least that is what I read in the original article, unless I am mistaking?

  23. That house is fugly no matter where it is located. It’s just a giant ugly block. Whoever the architect was should scrub that POS from their portfolio.

  24. @nolastname

    Why should I shut the f*ck up? I have a Constitutional right to say what I have to say, have I not? And doing so I did not call anyone names or said anything offensive, unlike you. So you and I have both the same right, however you chose to be a jackal and I did nothing offensive by asking people to think about why they would attack this house which in their opinion does not fit with the block character, but when people at Voohries say that mosque will not fit into that block, you call them bigots and racists?

  25. @Eitan
    “This is what happens to Godwin’s law in sheepshead bay.”

    I do not remember saying anything about Nazis or comparing anyone to Nazi, however the two topics are similar that I raised a valid question, however instead of answering it, “nolastname” decided to abbreviate profane language and you decided to show how savvy you are by bringing up one man’s humorous comment.
    I quote from Wikipedia:
    “It is considered poor form to raise such a comparison arbitrarily with the motive of ending the thread.”

  26. Let’s get back on track. Talk about the house. Talk about the comparison of this issue to the mosque, which I think is fair and interesting, though I do think everyone’s justifiably exhausted by the mosque issue.

    But don’t talk about other commenters – and that’s not directed just at you, Guest, it’s directed at everyone participating in the thread.

  27. I would not want this monster next to my home there would be a problem. The zoning laws are out of hand. You can build one story up but this is way to far.

  28. Sticks out like a sore thumb. In relation to its neighbors it is laughably out of place. Of course the owners couldn’t care less. They are not interested in being good neighbors, they are just interested in showing off what they can build.

    As they like to say nowadays, FAIL.

  29. Shall we examine the blocks near the mosque to consider the aesthetic impact of recent building nearby?

    I’m sure the mosque will be more aesthetically congruent that this poor example of mismatched architectural elements.

    Religious institutions don’t jar the senses. They are built to be pleasing to the eye.

  30. I am tired of all roads leading to the same debate. Yes you do have a right but it has all been played out, over and over and over. You ask loaded questions intentionally. Enough already.
    And, some of the people at Voorhies are bigots and racists. That is my opinion.

  31. @nolastname

    “I am tired of all roads leading to the same debate. Yes you do have a right but it has all been played out, over and over and over. You ask loaded questions intentionally. Enough already.”

    So you need easy questions? My bad, I did not know this discussion was supposed to be easier than a 5th grade vocabulory test.

  32. @Lisanne

    “I’m sure the mosque will be more aesthetically congruent that this poor example of mismatched architectural elements.”

    Once again that is your opinion and you do not live on that block.
    unless you are the architech for 2812 Voohries, how can you be so sure that mosque would be “more aesthetically congruent”?
    The truth is, people who defend mosque and condemn those are against it, have a double standard and are hypocrites. If there are zoning violations then let DOB examine it and take action. Otherwise this house has as much right to be on that block as proposed mosque has a right (if approved) to be on Voohries according to the logic of mosque proponents. End of story.

  33. @LocalBroker

    “Before you assume anything about me you should read some of my comments on that subject.”
    I am sorry, I did not realize that my comment ended up in reply to your post – it was not supposed to be reply to you, but to some else’s post. Sorry again.

  34. I never mentioned easy. You ask questions to provoke the same debate.
    “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?” LOL

  35. I guess this question is directed at me…
    Well, my position on “that other issue” was one purely based on Constitutional law, not aestetics or architecture (I am not good with design myself).
    I don’t see a “federal case” on the same scale in this one.

  36. @nolastname
    “I never mentioned easy. You ask questions to provoke the same debate.”Are you smarter than a fifth grader?” LOL”

    I asked question to find out what how the same people who defend building a mosque on the residential block would feel if their own argument was used to defend this house built on Corbin. As I have expected, some think it is totally different from that situation, some agree with me and then finally there are people who defend building the mosque on Voohries, despite protests of residents that it would change their neighborhood drastically, but are quick to jump on this house because it does not “fit” with the rest of the block. Those Voohries residents are called racists when they are expressing their concern that community center/prayer house would not “fit” with the character of their block, but it’s OK to say that this house does not belong on Corbin? It belongs where it was built, otherwise it would not have been there. Difference of opinion on architectural aspect of this house is just that – difference of opinion.

  37. And mosque issue aside, I personally like this house for the way it was built. I think it is ergonomic, exterior and interior square footage is maximized and it is stylish in its simplicity. Just because it does not have sloped roof and does not look like all the rest of the houses on that block, does not mean that it is ugly. This house is modern and as someone said, potentially a good source of rental income as well.

  38. @levp

    “I guess this question is directed at me…
    Well, my position on “that other issue” was one purely based on Constitutional law, not aestetics or architecture (I am not good with design myself).
    I don’t see a “federal case” on the same scale in this one. ”

    Too bad that everyone saw “federal case” and not residents trying to preserve their block’s image in the case of Voohries.

  39. Here’s my take on both. The owners can build what they want, so long as they comply with all federal, state and local laws and regulations. Do both buildings fit the character of their neighborhoods? No. Can they, the owners, build what they want if they can? Yes.

    As for how I feel about the residents near the mosque, there are some racist bigots there and those are the ones who need to shut the hell up, so that the valid reasons for why the mosque shouldn’t be there can be addressed, such as whether Voorhies can properly support vehicular traffic in that area for the mosque. Are the sidewalks of the neighborhood able to support proposed foot traffic to the mosque? Will there be ample parking in the area? (Something that should’ve also been asked for all the new condos popping up!) Will there be an increased noise level, since the “Call To Prayer” is a concern for many residents?

  40. From what I see, it looks like a private 1 or 2 family house was expanded and converted to at least 3 units. This type of congestive building has been popping up all over the place with the blessings of our politicians. More families means more (tax) revenues in the City Coiffures. If you’re familiar with other practices going on throughout the city, you should realize they care not about things likes traffic flow or congestion. Just overbuild, crowd everyone in, and turn a blind eye in response. I would love to expand my house also. But mine is similar to the houses on either side of the Corbin House. Would I, even given the right, build something that looks so garishly out of place?….. Definitely not. And trust me, there are plenty of buildings all over Brighton and Manhattan Beaches, Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, to name a few, that are totally out of context with the surrounding neighborhood. If you want to blame anyone, I say blame the City.

    BTW, I do think this house is Butt Fugly also.

  41. I used to go to school with a bunch of architects and every single one of them hated every other architect’s work. I’ve never seen a profession where everyone was so critical. I don’t think engineers are that way.

  42. You build a line of houses, each one alike. Each house is joined. If one was to build in a spot that previously contained one of this row there would have to be a separation. If not, the newer structure, unless it was consistent with the design of the rest, would look forced into that space, a very jarring notion.

  43. Engineers can be too. In fact, they can be somewhat catty. But they do seem to work together better, I once did a project where three companies were working close together. They did so with no tension or conflict. But the people from my company made fun of them after we were finished.

    Some things are almost universally despised, like the Huntington Hartford building at 10 Columbus Circle. What we are looking at above would be also.

  44. I am getting tired of discussing the mosque, which will be built despite all the money raised to try and keep that from happening. I think generally you share that feeling of fatigue over the redundancy of expression.

    There are places where “out of character” building is simply not allowed. This will not happen in NYC. There was a small window of time in which such a change might have occurred, but city planning was too busy with creating a master plan for growth that failed through incompetence to take in consideration any attempt at preservation. That was in the late 1960s.

  45. I’m honestly over the whole mosque issue right now. I’m tired of hearing about it, reading about it, talking about it.

    Now, about the actual *TOPIC AT HAND*…..

    The house shouldn’t be there. It’s totally out of place, and belongs in a different neighborhood. Not saying that it’s ugly, which it isn’t – it just does not fit the structure of the block. It’s almost like that disgusting atrocity on Ocean Avenue between T&U, that condo with the decrepit looking balconies (you all know which one I mean). The architects, must’ve been high on meth to do shit like that. And no offense to the Russian folk on here, but some of your people have no sense of style when it comes to architecture. (Another example, Emmons Avenue, where the Palm Shores club used to be..concrete waves with holes? WTF!!!)

    Anyway- my point has been made. It’s out of place, but not ugly. If it were built on an empty lot in Manhattan Beach, then it wouldn’t be so bad.

  46. I have only made a couple comments regarding the mosque since the first post here. Its hard to discuss something when most people just keep saying the same thing over and over.

  47. I am a reporter at the New York Daily News and I’m working on a story about the dispute surrounding this house on Corbin Place. I’d love to speak to anyone who has strong opinions about it – for or against. Please send me an email with your contact details at: [email protected]

  48. There’s comes a time when there is just nothing more to say. There are other things happening that also matter, and aren’t controversial.

    I think threads need to be closed when they become redundant. It’s not fair to people whose remarks on other articles get buried in a sea of repetition.

  49. So it looks totally out of place, so what? Do the offended neighbor’s houses look totally out of place? I guess not in your opinion. So what’s the problem. Those who think their houses fit right in live in the houses that fit right in and those who don’t mind living in a house that stands out, does so, too. So what’s the problem? People should focus on their own homes and take care of their own property and stop being such goddamn yentas and worry about the other person’s home not fitting in. He broke no laws, I happen to think it’s a great looking house. And a potential buyer of one of those houses that fit right in may agree with me and see what can be done to those cracker jack hideous homes.

  50. Yes the comments section of this site is for yentas. If you walk down this street this and 1 other house stick out. If you notice 99% of the homes on Corbin look the same so when you build something like this it sticks out. Is it awful and impossible to look at? no. Does it belong on this street? no. And as far as people focusing on their own home i think most of the people that come to this site consider the surrounding neighborhoods their home not just the box you live in.
    so kish mir tuchus.

  51. That reply makes no sense at all. Don’t bother to clarify it. There’s enough nonsense about the mosque to last a lifetime here.

  52. Yes, it’s very utilitarian or institutional in appearance. It could be a set of Medical Offices. As if there aren’t enough of them in the neighborhood.

  53. I didn’t think you were judging one way or another as far as your architectural comparison went. Actually your comment about the outdoor space on the roof seemed almost satirical.

  54. Perhaps you will be, but I have no intentions of not being around 30 years from now.

    Curious that you should revive this thread from close to a year make this sort of offensive remark. Noted for future reference if necessary.

  55. the reason I actually revived this thread was because I was curious who has nothing better to do with their lives and just sit and comment about other peoples lives.  30 years from now the owners of this house will have another home and you will still be sitting here and commenting. Have a great 30 years!

  56. Wait, you are commenting because you are curious who has nothing better to do with their lives and just sit and comment?

  57. But I won’t be spending time looking up old threads. You see, I keep moving forward.

    Those of us who comment frequently (and intelligently) here have rather full lives. This is just one aspect of it.

  58. The intellectual prowess of our friend Leventi is to be marveled at. With a singular piece of information, being that one is commenting on threads on a news blog, it can be ascertained without doubt that said individual has nothing else to do but to comment.

    If this individual stays away from this blog for the next 30 years I am quite sure that the world will continue spinning on its axis. And no one here will notice his absence.

    Were we to be through some circumstance unable to write here for more than a few days it certainly would be noticed. So we matter. As do a number of other people who keep this site active and interesting.

  59. Are you aware?  Leventi, people get a notice when someone posts a comment on an old thread? Maybe you have nothing else to do except troll around.LOL 

  60. Lisanne, Lisanne, and you consider yourself intellectual and important because you comment on this site???  How sad. I am sure the world will miss you like they will miss Buffet, Gates or Mandela. 
    Interesting….you’re consistently commenting and you keep moving forward? I would consider you an intellectual if you actually wrote in the WSJ but you continue to satisfy yourself that you “matter”.

    There are many people that are smart and interesting who comment here but they make sense when they post and you just talk talk talk.

  61. Ah, so many contradictions, so little time…

    1. One is an intellectual only if he or she is published in WSJ.
    2. The world will not miss Bill Gates (define “legacy”).
    3. Only users called “guest” make sense when they post.

    Duly noted.

  62. You apparently need to work on your sense of self-esteem. Were you not lacking in this area you would not feel threatened by what other people do.


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