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August 18th, 2008

Former Murder Site Voted Greenest Block in Brooklyn

I saw that the block where Jean Sanseverino was murdered (I wrote about her in The Restless Sleep) was once again voted one of “The Greenest Blocks in Brooklyn,” by The Brooklyn Botanic Garden (it was tied for second place this year). The picture is from their website.

Jean’s block was State Street, between Hoyt and Bond. She was killed there on March 8, 1951, when she was 26. From the book:

“From a horticultural and aesthetic perspective, that block is one of the most beautiful blocks in New York, not just Brooklyn,” says Ellen Kirby, from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. One block west, purple and blue hydrangeas grow in front of suspect Bill Miller’s place. One block east, the building where suspect Joe Moore had a room is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. To rent a studio apartment anywhere on this stretch of State Street would run you $1,000 a month now [God knows what it would be now!]. But State Street was likely always lovely, even in the worst times. The neighborhood looks elegant in the crime scene photographs taken outside Jean’s building. A Native American reminiscing about State Street, which used to have a large Mohawk population, called it the most beautiful place in the world. There is something almost magical about the block where Jean once lived.

All the State Street bars are private residences now, but there’s both a Phoenix House and a Daytop within walking distance—remnants of a troubled past. The Oxford Theatre where Bill Miller said Jean walked off and left him before going home to die is now a parking lot. The Sheridan Bar & Grill where she ate her last meal is now the Brawta Caribbean Cafe. There were only two murders in the 84 precinct last year. Crime has been down for years.

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