A charming green house on Noble Street in Greenpoint. Photo by Ian Hartsoe

Noble Street is one of the shorter streets in Greenpoint, but though just two blocks long it still is one of the prettiest streets in our area. The folks on Noble Street have to my knowledge (please correct me if I am wrong) the only block association in the area and the association is fighting to keep Noble Street just as pretty as it has always been.

The people on the block have come together to win some important victories in the battle to keep the street the perfect block to raise a family. Noble Street dates back to 1852 when it was opened off Franklin. It was named for James Noble, an early land owner in Williamsburg who owned an important coal yard.

Houses on Noble Street, Greenpoint. Photo by Ian Hartsoe

Seventy years ago the street was famous not for its gorgeous houses, but for the Noble Street pier, where a fire boat sat ready to extinguish the flames of the many fires that often broke out in industrial Greenpoint. In the days before Pete McGuinness got the neighborhood the McCarren park pool, the dock was a place where kids swam to escape the summer heat. Sadly, many kids also drowned in the swift currents of the East River.

Union Baptist Church on Noble Street, Greenpoint. Photo by Ian Hartsoe

Noble Street has been the home to three houses of worship. At the top of the street is the Union Baptist Church where Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and unsuccessful presidential candidate, Charles Evans Hughes taught Sunday school a hundred and twenty years ago. Today the graceful old church is in a struggle to survive. Next to it used to be a gorgeous Presbyterian Church, but it was consumed by flames in the 1920’s and was replaced by an apartment house. Pastor Kansfield told me Mark Twain once spoke at the church.

Congregation Ahavas Israel, Noble Street, Greenpoint. Photo by Ian Hartsoe

At the bottom of the street is a gorgeous, tiny synagogue, Congregation Ahavas Israel. The Shul, founded in 1886, is according to some the oldest synagogue still operating in Brooklyn. For many years, one of the great characters in Greenpoint was Rabbi Zipper who had an amazing singing voice and a great sense of humor.

Brick houses on Noble Street. Photo by Ian Hartsoe

An elegant Venetian style former Polish organization graces the top of the street. It is being turned into condos and will be an amazing place to live. The largest family on the block for many years was the Sheehans. There were something like thirty-seven Sheehan brothers and sisters, and there are reportedly more Sheehans in Greenpoint than soldiers in the Irish army! Seriously, the Sheehans are one of the great Irish families in Greenpoint and Gina Sheehan was honored in the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day parade. Patrick Sheehan, known as quiet Pat Sheehan, is a noted musician who helped compose a song about Greenpoint. Neil Sheehan is very active in helping Greenpoint’s senior citizens.

Brooklyn Expo Center, Noble Street, Greenpoint. Photo by Ian Hartsoe

At the end of the street remain the buildings that once housed the American manufacturing Company, once the fourth largest employer in Brooklyn and the largest maker of shoe laces in the world. They are now serving as the Expo Center.

Houses on Noble Street. Photo by Ian Hartsoe

There are too many beautiful houses on the street to cover all their histories. The oldest house # 114 dates back to 1852, the year the street was opened. #101 and 103 also date to the opening of the street. Two of the most beautiful wood frame houses in the area are #107 and 109, which date from the late 1850’s. Many of the most beautiful homes on the street are built in the Italianate style with brick and most of the block was built between 1870 and 1880.
Noble Street was once the home to local goldsmiths and #91, 93 and 95 were built by goldsmiths.

House on Noble Street. Photo by Ian Hartsoe

I cannot finish without giving a shout out to Turlough McConnell, the Irish playwright who has lived on the block for decades. You are hard pressed to find a prettier street in Greenpoint so take a stroll on gorgeous Noble Street soon.

Noble Street. Photo by Ian Hartsoe
The Playground on Noble Street. Photo by Ian Hartsoe

Join the Conversation

11

  1. Just a note about Union Baptist Church. Thanks for the mention and your passion for local history. After 2 years of work we were recently able to get our city vacate order rescinded and are now back open for services. We still have a long road ahead before the building is restored but for now things are safe and the church is back open to fulfill its original purpose. Thank you for all the community support along the way.
    -Pastor Mike Newburger
    Union Baptist Church
    http://www.unionbaptist.church

  2. Thank you for this wonderful piece. Noble st was the best block to grow up on. Generations of neighborhood kids from other blocks came to hang out on noble and in franklin park. Serious games of manhunt, cocaleria, hot peas n butter, big wheel races and of course the epic wiffle ball games at the garages”( our Ebbetts field Shea n Yankee stadiums rolled into one) near Franklin st. Along with the famous stickball courts by West st. factories. A book could be written just on them. So many characters over the years . It was like the Little Rascals meet the dead end kid Bowery boys from old TV.Thanks for the memories one and all.

  3. Neil Sheehan is involved with more than seniors
    Hes the founder of Outreach on Manhattan Ave
    Hes the founder of the food bank
    Hes also the founder of the new neighborhood soup truck THE BLUE ANGEL that will deliver hot meals to the poor of our neighborhood
    They are looking for a young , local press writer if you know of one

  4. We (mom, dad, my 2 brothers at the time, my aunt, grandmother and Uncle Duke) lived at 131-1/2 Nobel Street. As I remember it was a brown stone house with a stoop going up to the 2nd floor. Then we moved to 116 Milton Street, then to 154 Kent Street. Great memories growing up in the Pernt.

  5. Trying to find out where 183 Noble Street was. In the 1930’s there was a storefront there. Noble street ends at Manhattan Ave bug I wonder if at one time it may have extended across.

  6. 103 Noble St is on my grandfathers death cert 1923. Abraham Gardiner.Thank you for this piece of history. Its amazing to be able to still see the house he lived in.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *