Coney Island 'sugar cube' home boasts rich history

CONEY ISLAND - A unique Coney Island home nicknamed the "sugar cube" is a throwback to what architects thought would be the wave of the future ? steel construction.

Experts believe William Van Alen, the architect of Manhattan's iconic Chrysler Building, designed the house. Historians say architects were looking for less expensive ways to build homes during the Great Depression. When WWII started, steel was diverted to the war effort and the idea never caught on.

Owner Peter Spanakos says the white "sugar cube" house, which now sits on Oceanview Avenue in the Sea Gate community, has a long history. "It was fabricated on 37th Street and Park Avenue. It was the house of the future ... In the late 1930s it was disassembled and re-fabricated here." Spanakos says most people don't realize the house is made of steel until they see plants hung with magnets.

The owner says he's not entertaining offers to sell, and he's considering adding a third floor made of glass and steel. In the meantime, Spanakos' home will be featured on the show "What's With That House." It has also been featured in magazines.

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