FLUTE wrote in the Daily Heights message boards: “I was standing around [near the corner of Underhill Ave. and Park Pl.] one day this past fall, just looking at the buildings and noticing that there were a number of lovely brownstones with missing cornices. As I was pondering the reason for this, a very tiny woman, dressed all in black — a dress from head to toe — almost burkha like. Her grey hair was pulled back severely in a bun.”
“She asked me what I was looking at and I told her I was wondering about the the lack of cornices on those particular buildings. She asked me if I was an architect, and I said no. She told me that she was an architect, had gotten her Master’s in Architecture from Columbia in the 1930’s or 40’s. She then proceeded to tell me about her home, and how she had a Kurdish museum there, as her late husband was a Kurd. She invited me in and gave me the grand tour of the museum, which takes up her entire parlor floor. It’s quite amazing and she was exceedingly friendly and informative.”
“After my tour, I thanked her. Mischievously, I questioned her about the vines growing on her home. I said, half jokingly, that as an architect she must be aware that the vines eat away at the mortar between the bricks and ultimately destabilize the exterior wall of her home. She told me yes, she was aware, however, she enjoyed the privacy it afforded her.”
“Just one of those small magical things that happen in New York.”
Kurdish Heritage Foundation of America
345 Park Place, Brooklyn NY 11238. (718) 783-7930.
Site Address: 144 Underhill Ave.
Director: Vera Beaudin Saeedpour
Description: “Our purpose is to collect, preserve and make available materials on Kurdish history and culture through on-site visits, exhibits and special projects. The Kurdish library is a research institution; the Kurdish Museum focuses on folk arts and crafts.”
[Thanks to rhodamine for the photo!]