A Vibrant Reimagining of a Mid-'60s Williamsburg High-Rise Co-op
New York magazine|February 1-14, 2021
Cassandra Bromfield inherited the apartment from her mother and has made it her own.
By Wendy Goodman

Cassandra Bromfield was raised in this apartment. Her mother, Elaine Bromfield, was a schoolteacher, and in 1964, she bought this 894-square-foot two-bedroom in South Williamsburg’s Lindsay Park, an affordable-housing cooperative that was then brand new. At the time, Cassandra was about 8 years old; she grew up to become a fashion designer and artist.

“When you look at the Mitchell-Lama co-ops,” which were designed to appeal to middle-income families like her own who might otherwise have left the city, “there was a great deal that they offered,” says Bromfield. “We grew up with a pool; I mean, there were so many amenities when you think about it. There were things they promised—like, the pool was supposed to be a skating rink in the wintertime; that never happened. But we had a pretty good time here.”

The Terrace

Cassandra Bromfield wearing one of her own designs. The rag doll was made by her late friend Adrienne McDonald. “They were called Urban Faeries,” she says, “and she would burn and tie-dye them.” Opposite: Cassandra, front-row left (in glasses), with friends from P.S. 54, ca. 1965.

And she still does. “I’m a person who’s been here since the first brick. I saw those buildings go up. I didn’t leave. I’m still here,” she says in a short 2018 documentary, Into My Life, she fashioned from her mother’s Super 8 home movies and old photographs (you can watch it on pbs.org/pov).

Bromfield’s mother passed away in 2008, and in 2016, she decided that the apartment needed some refreshment, starting with the kitchen. She contacted interior designer Keita Turner, whom she had met at an event in the home of Malene Barnett, the founder of the Black Artists + Designers Guild. But then the other rooms called, as did removal of the popcorn ceilings and putting down a new floor.

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