Update: The Broken Angel building is now closed and being converted to a condominium.
Described as “a moonshine distillery gone crazy” and a “Rubik’s Cube of a spaceship,” Broken Angel was an ever growing piece of outsider architecture in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood.
Begun in 1979 when artist Arthur Wood purchased the old headquarters of the Brooklyn Trolley, the building evolved through a series of eccentric additions into a folk art landmark. It even featured prominently in the 2005 documentary film “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.”
Shortly after its appearance in the film, the house had a small fire, and though no one was injured, the building was condemned by the Department of Buildings and 75-year-old Wood and his 65-year-old wife Cindy were given a notice to vacate. The city required that the Woods bring the building up to code and remove the illegal structure from the roof. Wood then partnered with a young, local real estate developer to convert the building to apartments and create a gallery and school in the adjacent lot, but during construction, the partnership defaulted on the loan and the bank foreclosed on the property.
After subsequent years of legal battles to save his home, Wood was served with a final eviction notice in 2013 and in March of that year an eviction party was held to mark its closing. The property traded hands a few times thereafter, and as of 2015, the building is in the final stages of residential condominium conversion.
Visit New York State withAtlas Obscura Trips
Only in Queens: Tasting Our Way Through New York’s Most Diverse Borough
Manhattan may have name-brand recognition and Brooklyn a certain cache, but Queens is the city’s largest and most diverse borough. Join us, May 17–20, to dig into Queens’ rich neighborhood life.