Sheepshead Bay “Hell House,” Once Home to Winsor McCay, Now a Dump


There’s a sad old house with a Greek revival portico in Sheepshead Bay that Sheepshead Bites labels “Hell House,” because of the angry messages tenants spray-painted on the facade (“WELCOME TO HELL” and “BED BUGS PARADISE” among them).

The graffiti’s been scrubbed, SB learns, but the owners are sick of the place and it may become a homeless shelter — despite the house’s newly-revealed historical significance.

The house at East 18th Street and Voorhies is zoned for use as an SRO, which doesn’t attract the best tenants, and the Community Board won’t approve changing the classification. The owners want to unload it, though in this down market they think their best hope is to get the city to take it as a shelter or halfway house, as it has done with moribund properties in the past.

Added poignance comes today at Sheepshead Bites, which reveals that in brighter days, specifically 1909, the house was the home of the great cartoonist Winsor McCay (Little Nemo in Slumberland, Gertie the Dinosaur). SB recommends “full restoration and landmarking. Evidence of Sheepshead Bay’s rich cultural history is fading fast… McCay House could be a museum, cultural center, and pillar of community organizing for generations to come — a far more desired asset in Sheepshead Bay than another condo or halfway house.”


This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 11, 2010


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