1. Story Court

Unlike the other cul-de-sacs in this list, which emphasized design and amenities, Story Court in West Flatbush was developed in 1936 in the midst of the Great Depression and according to news reports it was aimed at the “purchaser in the low-priced field.”

Story Court consists of ten, relatively unadorned rowhouses lining a narrow court.  It is the only cul-de-sac on this list that remains private, as it is owned by the adjoining properties and is not a mapped City street. Its private status is attested to by a sign posted at its outlet to Story Street.

As the diagram below illustrates, by creating a cul-de-sac, the developer was able to build ten 20-foot wide houses on a rectangular property that had 120 of street frontage and was 100 feet deep.  A conventional design, with the houses facing the main street, would have yielded only six 20-foot wide houses.  The cul-de-sac was not only attractive to the resident, but was a cost-effective solution for the developer’s bottom line. Profitable development never goes out of style.

Next, check out 9 remaining mews from NYC’s horse drawn past. Read more about New York City’s street origins in our History of Streets column.