Brownstone

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This article is about the building material and the dwelling. For the American R&B group, see Brownstone (band).
Image:HarlemBrownstones.JPG
Four-story brownstones in Harlem, just south of 125th Street, 2004
Image:RRomanesquePueblo.jpg
Romanesque revival building in Colorado, built in 1890

Brownstone is a brown Triassic sandstone which was once a popular building material. While brownstone is often popularly associated in the United States of America with New York City and Chicago, the stone was used widely around the world before losing popularity around 1900 in part due to rapid failures of carved surface details in the weathering process. The quarries used for the early brownstones of New York City were in New Jersey, and in the Connecticut River area. Brownstone with qualities approaching granite is currently being imported from Germany.

The Avondale section of Nutley, New Jersey was home to one such quarry. Jobs at the quarry supported a sizeable portion of the Italian and Irish immigrants in Nutley at the turn of the century. This quarry was later home to the Nutley Velodrome.

In New York City, a "brownstone" is understood to be a terrace or rowhouse clad in brownstone. New York City brownstones tend to be found in certain older neighborhoods, which are perhaps most common in Brooklyn. For example, the neighborhood of Bedford Stuyvesant has the largest inventory of brownstones in the entire City of New York, followed closely by Park Slope. In Chicago, brownstones are found mostly on the north side of the city. Many brownstones have been renovated in recent years, leading to (and/or as a result of) gentrification in areas like Park Slope, Bedford Stuyvesant and Fort Greene. On the popular 1980's-'90s American television program The Cosby Show, the affluent Huxtable family, the show's central characters, lived in a Brooklyn brownstone.

The term Brownstone may also be used as slang for heroin, particularly in the United States; "Mr. Brownstone" is a Guns N' Roses song about heroin use.

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Brownstone

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