The Awning Goes Out of Style

A home on Guernsey Street. Aluminum awnings and vinyl siding are out of style with new owners.

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  • A home on Guernsey Street. Aluminum awnings and vinyl siding are out of style with new owners.

It used to be that entire blocks of houses in neighborhoods like Greenpoint or Windsor Terrace had small aluminum awnings over their front doors. But new buyers purchasing old houses all over Brooklyn are tearing out these Eisenhower-era features. “The awnings can be a casualty of gentrification,” the Times reports, mostly because people think they’re ugly. A few of them show up each day at a scrap metal yard in North Brooklyn, whose owner called them “a fashion eyesore.” He pays $15 a pop for them.

“Awnings have long been used to protect houses from the rain and the heat of the sun, and around the 1950s, according to the preservation arm of the National Park Service, aluminum became a popular material because it was considered to be lower maintenance and more durable than canvas,” the Times reports. “‘Nothing says 1950s on a 19th-century house more than one of those things.'”

But the paper also found a bunch of locals that love the things—even one guy who got a new awning when he resided his house. They love both their practicality, as a means to sit on your stoop even in the rain, but also what they signify. One twentysomething who grew up in Greenpoint with an awning suggested “they seemed in keeping with the old character of the neighborhood, before houses started selling for over $1 million. ‘I miss the good old days,’ he said.”

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