3. James Brooks & Charlotte Park Home & Studios in East Hampton
The Brooks-Park home in East Hampton has been gaining both the regional and national spotlight lately, as it was included on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual 11 Most Endangered list. James Brooks and Charlotte Park were abstract expressionist artists in the 1940s and ’50s. Though not as well known as Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, whose East Hampton home and studio has been preserved by Stonybrook University as the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, James Brooks gained acclaim for painting the largest site-specific WPA wall mural, located at LaGuardia Airport’s Marine Air Terminal.
The 11-acre site comprises four buildings: Brooks’ studio, a midcentury vernacular structure that he designed and built himself; Park’s studio, which was reportedly originally a post office; and the couple’s home and guest cottage, which were moved via barge from Montauk after their studios were damaged in a hurricane. The buildings have been abandoned since Park’s death in 2010. Though the town of East Hampton purchased the site in 2013 using Community Preservation Funds, little has been done to stabilize or protect the buildings, which are being threatened with demolition.