False ’hood: Luxury F’Greene apartment co-opts Malcolm X to sell units

The Brooklyn Paper
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They made (up) history.

Real estate agents marketing units in a luxury Fort Greene apartment building are trying to lure high-income renters by linking it with iconic residents from the neighborhood’s bohemian past — and one legend who has never even lived in Brooklyn.

“You will love living within the historic district of Fort Greene on Adelphi Street and you will love the feeling of being enveloped by its creativity, inspiration, community and life,” read the website peddling units at for 232 Adelphi, a church-to-residential conversion on Adelphi Street. “Former residents of these ginko tree and brownstone guarded streets include household names like Malcolm X and Mos Def. You might even catch Chris Rock at the Myrtle Avenue fish market!”

But Malcolm X never lived in Fort Greene — or even in Kings County, an expert said.

“He did not live in Brooklyn — he was in Harlem and Queens during his time in New York,” said Bryan Epps, director of the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Center in Harlem.

The apartment’s broker couldn’t put his finger on exactly where in the civil rights legend rested his head in the half-square-mile neighborhood.

“I’m not a historian — I’m a humble broker,” said Justin Dower of Ideal Property Group.

Mos Def — who now goes by Yasiin Bey — and comedian Chris Rock were both fixtures of the nabe’s vibrant black arts scene of the ’80s and ’90s. Bey now lives in South Africa, though you could still conceivably catch Rock at Duncan’s Fish Market if he traveled there from his home in New Jersey.

Minutes after this paper’s interview with Dower, the site’s operators erased all mention of the three men.

The page still cites Walt Whitman as an inspirational former resident. The Bard of Brooklyn lived on Ryerson Street — in nearby Clinton Hill — while working on his seminal epic poem “Leaves of Grass.”

“Following in the footsteps of the great Walt Whitman, Fort Greene’s arguably most famous of former residents, this converted Gothic Revival former house of worship shall inspire you to build your own legacy and craft your own history,” the site now reads.

Three apartments in the otherwise rented-out building once known as the Carlton Mews Church are going for between $5,950 and $9,995 a month — and they are swanky, Dower said.

“It’s the pinnacle of luxury, I would say,” he said.

But Dower wouldn’t opine on how Malcolm X might view the development — or what the divisive activist might have thought about having his name attached to high-end housing.

“I’m in no position to say what Malcolm X would think,” he said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Writer from Fort Greene says:
Richard Wright, author of "Native Son" and "Black Boy," lived in Fort Greene. If you want a great white writer who lived in Fort Greene, there's the poet Marianne Moore. I'm sure musicians, artists, dancers, filmmakers, and others could name famous names from Fort Greene without resorting to lies about residents of Queens. (No offense to Queens, which should get credit for their famous residents.)
Sept. 8, 2015, 9:34 am
You must be joking from Reality says:
6-10K a month for rent! lol
Sept. 8, 2015, 10:03 am
harriet from Brooklyn says:
Walt Whitman lived in a bunch of places, including on Willoughby in what was destroyed to build MetroTech. I think he lived there when he was writing Leaves of Grass.
Sept. 8, 2015, 11:52 am
Beau from DoSo says:
New York gentrification and snobby trust fund brats sterilizing everything? So what else is new? You want it REAL? Move DownSouth!
Sept. 8, 2015, 12:10 pm
LocalB from Fort Greene says:
Pieces like this one are exactly why Brooklyn Paper has readership and circulation problems.

Attempts at "exploratory" (read: vitriolic) blogs with the sole purpose of antagonizing and scandalizing... never really work in the long end. You may want to ask the big guys to confirm.
Sept. 8, 2015, 12:24 pm
ThisReporterShouldLearnHowToSpell from Brooklyn says:
"Co-op(ted): The company hawking $10,000-per-month apartments in a converted Fort Green church suggested on its website that renters would be inspired by former resident Malcolm X — except the civil rights warrior never lived in Brooklyn."

Really? Malcolm X not ever having lived in Brooklyn is one thing, but the writer here suggesting that the renters in a Fort Greene (by the way, dude, get a dictionary, you're missing an "E" at the end of Green!) luxury condo wouldn't be inspired by his life, work and legacy? Why, because they can afford to rent a $10K apartment?

Sept. 8, 2015, 12:28 pm
Speaking of Spelling from PROCRO says:
You got the broker's company name wrong too.
"Ideal Property Groups."
Sept. 8, 2015, 12:36 pm
Visitor from Fort Green says:
He sure visited.
Sept. 8, 2015, 12:58 pm
NK from Bkn says:
Sept. 8, 2015, 1:22 pm
Wow from Fort Greene says:
You sure exposed them horrible brokers. Aren't you a hipster? "Porch drinker?" Love your bio on (parts also grammatically incorrect, but who cares, right?)

"About- Max Jaeger

Max is a writer living in Brooklyn who takes cheap beer with a lime, fancy beer in a glass and either with a smile. His first beer was a filched Yeungling he drank to quickly and furtively to enjoy, but he has since slowed his roll to a Jonathan Goldsmith-esque sashay. As a fan of frosty beverages and logistical efficiency, Max is a major advocate of the shower beer."

Fan of "frosty beverages and logistical efficiency"?? :)

I wonder what Malcolm X would opine of your piece on the falsities you so bravely exposed.
Sept. 8, 2015, 1:36 pm
TOM from Sunset Park says:
Remind's me of a story: Hugh Carey sold his Park Slope house to Pete Hamill when he became NYS governor but when Carey left Albany he inquired of his old digs. Hamill told him the price had gone up since someone famous now lived there.
Sept. 8, 2015, 1:54 pm
Wire from Williamsburg says:
wire international whose photo of the interior you have here - is out of business, turns out

check your facts
Sept. 8, 2015, 2:13 pm
Go ,beau from Do,bklyn says:
Beau from DoSo says:
New York gentrification and snobby trust fund brats sterilizing everything? So what else is new? You want it REAL? Move DownSouth!

blogger sounds like a snobby trust fund brat too tryin to make amends
Sept. 8, 2015, 2:17 pm
just say no to dryvit from Brooklyn says:
This piece is great. It's totally telling of the predicament NYC as of late is finding itself in, ie schlock construction being pedaled as substance. That kind of money should buy you an architecturally integrated Italian kitchen for crying out loud, not a home depot shove it somewhere bs.
Sept. 8, 2015, 4:57 pm
Liar, liar, pants on from Brooklyn says:
This whole story looks fabricated to me.

Either that or the yuppie who wrote it might simply be jealous of those who can afford to actually live there.
Sept. 8, 2015, 8:38 pm

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