I confess that I like an occasional chick flick and the 1987 Cher/Nicholas Cage flick, “Moonstruck”, was always one of my favorites. It was mostly because director Norman Jewison captured so well the feel of a Brooklyn townhouse and a Brooklyn townhouse neighborhood. This is largely because Jewison shot the movie on location in a real house and in a real neighborhood.
There was a scene in the movie when Olympia Dukakis, as Rose Castorini, stands outside the home with her wannabe male suitor. He looks at the house and comments, “My God, it’s a mansion!”
“It’s a house!” she replies, with perfect Brooklyn sarcasm.
The “Moonstruck” house I love so much, with all its original detail, sold last week. The previous owners bought the 4,200 square foot, 4 story, 1829 brick Federal at 19 Cranberry Street in 1959 for a whopping $40,000.
Brooklyn Heights has become considerably more fashionable since. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that it closed for $4 million. And it doesn’t even have a garage. But while we may look at the selling price as outrageous now, I bet it’s at least three times that fifteen years from now. Mark my words.
What’s so terrific about this movie is how closely it replicated the Italian neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens at the time. The Cammareri Brothers Bakery actually existed in Carroll Gardens on Henry & Union Streets. Alas, it went Chapter 11 in the early 90s but I’ve actually met one of the real life Cammareris, at least one of whom still lives in the same neighborhood. That whole neighborhood is rich in history, from Norman Mailer to the Gallo crime family and was Ground Zero in the Mafia War of the 1980s.