The shutdown of the Brooklyn Heights House Tour, which has brought in almost a third of the Brooklyn Heights Association’s (BHA) revenue for more than 30 years, has caught the attention of news outlets including the New York Times.
First reported by the Brooklyn Eagle, the abrupt end of a long-time staple of the Heights (officially called the Landmark House and Garden Tour) signals the end of a more private and innocent era, before Instagram and Google.
BHA Treasurer Daniel Watts said at the organization’s annual meeting last month that the group was in a fine financial state, but a problem could crop up since the tour brings in roughly 30 percent of the BHA’s revenue.
Watts said that the tour was ending because, in this era of Instagram and Twitter, owners felt their privacy might be compromised.
“The House Tour is a victim of the modern world,” he said.
The owners who volunteered their houses to the tour were never mentioned by name in the tour’s program, and taking photographs and using cell phones inside the houses was prohibited. But in an era where a homeowner’s name can easily be Googled, the rule was hard to enforce.
Former BHA Executive Director Judy Stanton, who has been involved with the tour for three decades, told the Times, “I am of the generation that rings the doorbell for a cup of sugar.” She added, “I don’t see that kind of culture prevailing in 2016.”
The BHA is working to find a replacement event.