Vinegar Hill, located along the East River waterfront, is one of Brooklyn’s quietest neighborhoods. Sandwiched between DUMBO and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the small community has a population of about 2,700 and features historic Federal and Greek Revival architecture. Vinegar Hill is often described as a quiet European village, whose off-the-beaten-path tranquil streets feel out of place in Brooklyn. The area has a rich Irish and Lithuanian history, as well as a Tibetan Buddhist center, popular restaurants, and a large mansion previously occupied by Commodore Matthew C. Perry. Here is our guide to the top 10 secrets of Vinegar Hill.
1. Commodore Matthew C. Perry lived in a historic home on Evans Street
The Commandant’s House, also known as Quarters A, is a historic house on Evans Street which is fully gated off. today The home was built in 1805 as an example of Federal-style architecture, also seen with Gracie Mansion and the Bialystoker Synagogue. The home is located on a bluff overseeing the western side of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, standing at three and a half stories tall with wood-frame construction. Features of the home include front entry sidelight windows and carved wooden paneling, likely designed by architect Charles Bulfinch, who also designed the Massachusetts and Old Connecticut State Houses.
The home was built as quarters for the Brooklyn Navy Yard commandant, serving as the home of Matthew C. Perry between 1841 and 1843. At the Navy Yard, Perry improved steamship navigation as well as the country’s lighthouse service. Perry would later command ships during the Mexican-American War, and he played a leading role in opening Japan as a result of an 1854 expedition. The home was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974, and since 1997, it has been under the ownership of Charles Gilbert and Jennifer Jones.