Park View Court, Herschel Street

by Tim Gilmore, 7/18/2012

Three stories, this grand 75 year-old apartment building, yellow brick faced with stucco. Its 19 apartments have original red oak floors. Jonathan and Max walked through them, this mammoth edifice restored, but empty. They stood on the third-floor balconies and looked at the streetscape. They walked through the courtyard around which the building opens like a frozen blossom. They would be the first renters of the building’s new life.

“It was called the Park View Court,” says the kind man with the New York accent who’s spent three years restoring the building. “That was before it was abandoned,” which it was for about a decade. A building like this can vitalize its street or be the black hole that sucks the rest of the street into it. This block of Herschel mixes cottage bungalows with brick foursquare apartment buildings.

“Park View Court” is one of two kinds of names:

a)     It’s the kind of generic name given to a slum tenement, a name impersonally almost pleasant, but whose tenants pull up floorboards, put holes in the walls, and piss in the back alley. That was the last incarnation of this building. That was when floors tilted all the way across each apartment from Herschel toward Park Street.

b)    Or it’s a Great Gatsby ritzy 1920s name, since Park View Court, Inc. was incorporated in 1928, right before the Florida real estate bubble popped and the stock market crashed, but the building wasn’t built until the next decade, and the Great Depression, were over in the early 1940s.

The building’s next life will be as the capitol of the corner of Herschel and Cherry. Writers will live in it. A dancer will live here, one whole room only the barre and the mirrors. One writer will set a detective novel here. The characters involved in the crime will live here, the crime will take place here, and the detective who solves the mystery will live here too.