Actor Edward Norton stars in a real-life drama about a community effort to save a beloved Bedford-Stuyvesant mansion from the wrecking ball.
Norton sided with residents and advocates who appealed to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Committee to stop developers from transforming the 120-year-old Willoughby Ave. mansion known as Jacob Dangler House, in a condominium complex.
“I believe that this house, which has served a changing but important purpose for more than a century, must absolutely be seen not only as a spiritual and aesthetic connection to the past, but as a major asset to the city,” said Norton in a letter to the commission. .
Norton, who starred in films such as ‘The Score’ and ‘American History X’, has a unique connection to the mansion. The location was one of several locations in New York City that served as the backdrop for her film “Motherless Brooklyn.”
The commission is currently in the public hearing stage of the historic designation process. Norton’s letter was read out at a hearing on Tuesday evening.
The Dangler House, at Willoughby and Nostrand Avenues, features a French Gothic style that stands out in the neighborhood and showcases Bedford Stuyvesant’s turn-of-the-century residential development.
The mansion was built in 1902 for Jacob Dangler, a prosperous meatpacker and grocery merchant in Brooklyn. After his death, the house was sold and served for years as a clubhouse for the Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star, a Masonic organization which, although open to men and women, was almost exclusively made up of women. African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans. .
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But the pandemic has prevented landlords from renting the space for events, and mounting debt has forced them to sell.
“With our financial situation and growing debt load, our only recourse is to sell the property,” Celeste Jefferson, the owners’ attorney, told the commission. “Our fear is that if the property is listed nobody will want it because they can’t do anything with the building.”
Norton’s production company ran into legal issues related to “Motherless Brooklyn,” the film in which Dangler House was featured.
A city firefighter died in a fire that broke out on the Harlem set during filming.
Lt. Michael Davidson was trapped and gasping for air in the cluttered basement of the film set at 773 St. Nicholas Ave. near W. 149th St. on March 23, 2018.
Davidson’s family is suing Norton’s production company in Manhattan Supreme Court.
The veteran firefighter’s widow argued that Norton’s company was responsible for his death because the FDNY was not informed of the modifications made to the building for the filming.