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Weird home saved by divine inspiration

The Brooklyn Paper
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The Broken Angel of Clinton Hill will be saved — as long as its owners chop off the top floors, do structural work on the lower floors, reconstruct the central stairwell, and stay off the premises until the work is complete.

Facing a city threat to tear down the hand-built sculpture of a building, owner and mastermind Arthur Woods, and his lawyer, City Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Prospect Heights), worked out a deal last week to save the building.

“It did not look like Mr. Woods was in a position to win at trial,” said James, who represented Woods pro-bono. “We needed an immediate resolution.”

James helped negotiate the Dec. 20 deal that would allow Woods to make extensive repairs in return for the right to return to his dream house.

Woods’s beloved and iconic home, at Downey and Quincy streets, caught on fire in October, drawing the scrutiny of the Buildings Department, which claimed the home — built by Woods over 30 years — defied many zoning regulations.

Woods was arrested after he refused to leave the building. Since then, there has been an outpouring of support from neighbors, artists, politicians and local architects.

A group of Pratt Institute engineers is volunteering to help Woods make everything right.

“They wanted to take the whole thing down, but we managed to get them to keep five-and-a-half stories,” said Brent Porter, a Pratt professor involved in the fight.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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