Two of Brooklyn’s most influential figures in art and real estate, choreographer Elizabeth Streb and developer Jed Walentas, will discuss the borough’s evolution and the importance of supporting artistic ventures next month at the Brooklyn Historical Society. The MacArthur Genius Award-winning choreographer started the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics (SLAM) in a Williamsburg warehouse in 2003, and she has since built the space into a creative and educational center that offers classes, workshops, demonstrations and rehearsal space.
Walentas, one of the principals of Two Trees Management, has been one of the driving forces in transforming Dumbo from an industrial ‘hood into one known for million-dollar condos, art galleries and coffee shops. Two Trees is also demolishing much of the old Domino Sugar Refinery complex and constructing a large mixed-use development that incorporates the factory’s landmarked main building as office space.
“Both have transformed community through art: Streb by creating an artistic home — whose doors are always open to passersby — in a formerly industrial neighborhood; Walentas by providing free and low-cost space to artists and arts organizations,” BHS writes in the event description. The talk will take place Wednesday, May 7 at 6:30 pm at 128 Pierrepont Street. You can grab tickets on Eventbrite, and the event is free for members and costs $5 for everyone else.
Name: Berean Missionary Baptist Church Address: 1635 Bergen Street Cross Streets: Utica and Rochester Avenues Neighborhood: Crown Heights/Weeksville Year Built: 1894 Architectural Style: English Gothic Architect: Benjamin Wright Landmarked: No, but should be
The story: On August 11th, 1850, a group of Brooklyn abolitionists got together to found a great experiment; a fully integrated Baptist church congregation. Many of Brooklyn’s churches were nominally integrated, that is black people could attend many white churches. The black congregants were usually relegated to the back pews or the balcony, and did not participate in the social and fellowship activities of the church. They certainly did not become deacons or trustees, choir members or ministers. Although many white churches were bastions of anti-slavery activity, and lauded the fact that they hosted speakers like Frederick Douglass, and other black anti-slavery heroes, it was a fact of life that true social equality was a long time in coming, even in God’s house.
This new church was called Berean Baptist, and was originally a small wood-framed church in the vicinity of Prospect Place and Utica Avenue, a couple of blocks south of the present location. This part of Brooklyn was still largely unsettled land, except for the growing African American communities of Weeksville and Carrsville, which were settled by black folks beginning in the late 1830s. These were independent towns where black people could live on their own terms, with their own homes, businesses and institutions. (more…)
A tipster sent along these photos of Tripp & Cooper Cafe in Fort Greene, which the city closed Tuesday for operating without a permit. The cafe and coffee shop at 80 Dekalb Avenue, across the street from the Long Island University campus, opened in the fall of 2012. It served crepes, coffee, sandwiches and pastries. Click through the jump to see the health department notice. GMAP
Have we yet extolled the virtues of Coxsackie? Pretty sure we have, but we’re going to do it again, because it’s spring and you need an excuse to visit a new place. Coxsackie in Greene County, 30 minutes south of Albany, 10 minutes north of Catskill, and two hours and 35 minutes north of Brooklyn. The riverfront town is known (to us, anyway) for great historical architecture, a nice waterfront park, and one of the best places around to find some good, affordable properties. Don’t let the weird name scare you away. One thing we will mention, though, is that it’s sleepy. Businesses have come and gone, but it’s poised, friends. Right on the cusp. Worth a car trip, no doubt about it.
Since wooden houses are in the Brownstoner news lately, today’s Past and Present shows some that are no more. They were lovely little frame houses on Bainbridge Street, between Malcolm X Boulevard (formerly Reid Avenue) and Sumner Avenue. These houses were from this eastern part of Bedford’s early development, back when the neighborhood’s streets were sparsely developed, and mostly had small groups of frame houses on rather odd shaped lots.
The lots are the legacy of the Dutch families who owned this land beginning in the late 1600s. By the beginning of the 19th century, most of the land that makes up Bedford belonged to the Lefferts family and their relatives by birth or marriage. It didn’t take clairvoyance for them to see that urban development was in the future, and when the city incorporated in 1834, and began planning outward expansion from downtown, the family began parceling off their land, and selling to developers and individuals.
The house in the photograph was probably built in the late 1700s or early 1800s. Back then, it would have been surrounded by fields, and the land bought from, or leased from old Lefferts Lefferts, the family patriarch himself. It’s a classic gambrel-roofed Dutch farmhouse. We can’t really tell now, but the small addition on the right may even be the original house, and the larger structure built on to it later, as the family fortunes got better. Such is the case with several of our remaining Dutch houses in Brooklyn and Queens, which look exactly like this. (more…)
A tipster sent us a construction-site rendering of the seven-story, 35-unit building going up on the large empty lot at 1035 Fulton, and we then found more on the website of the now-ubiquitous Issac & Stern.
The red brick building resembles 19th century warehouses of the type you see in Soho, Dumbo and the South Street Seaport. If it’s executed like the rendering shows, we think the retail section at ground level is going to be appealing, with a canopy and lots of steel or iron mullioned windows and doors to attract passerby. We also appreciate the thoughtful treatment of the under-window air units, which are covered in matching steel or iron cross bars.
The building is obviously modern yet should fit well into a historic context. (Nearby are other 19th century warehouses as well as carriage houses and townhouses.) We’d like to see more of this type of design in Brooklyn. What do you think of it? Click through to the jump for more.
Construction continues on the corner of Strong Place and Kane Street in Cobble Hill, where Brennan Realty is building three Landmarks-approved neo-traditional townhouses. The first of the townhouses, 2A Strong Place, is a 3,720-square-foot five-bedroom, 3.5-bath home that’s entered contract after an asking price of $4,475,000. This house first hit the market last spring at $4,150,000, and the other two will be listed for sale in the fall, a spokewoman for Brennan Realty told us.
Designed by CWB Architects, the homes in the Cobble Hill Historic District are meant to resemble classic brick Brooklyn townhouses. Pictured above are the three townhouses at the corner of Kane Street and Strong Place. All three will have yards and there will be a carriage house in back on Kane Street with a studio and garage. Click through to the jump to see that part of the construction site.
There is probably no more all-consuming home design trend in the last 35 years than the “great room,” a giant open plan room that combines family room and dining room with kitchen. This has resulted most recently in Brooklyn in flippers who rip all the walls out of 19th century houses and the building of so-called luxury apartments with tiny strip kitchens in the living room.
Now, according to The New York Times, renters and home buyers both are demanding separate kitchens and dining rooms, and builders are building them. The story details home hunters who purchased a one-bedroom Art Deco apartment in Kensington with a traditional kitchen and a townhouse in Ditmas Park with a separate kitchen and formal oak-paneled dining room. Above, the separate dining room and kitchen at Jessica and Doug Warren’s house in Clinton Hill. Reasons given include:
*Better for entertaining.
*Don’t have to see dirty dishes.
*Hides the prep work.
“So much new construction features open floor plans that there’s a pent-up desire for apartments with separate dining rooms and kitchen,” said one real estate agent. “For a certain demographic, they’re a definite selling point.”
The Times cited many new buildings with traditional floor plans, including one with pocket doors that let the inhabitants decide whether to open or close off the kitchen. All of them, tellingly, are in Manhattan where new construction is focused on the very high end of the market, except for one, the rental building at 250 North 10th in Williamsburg. A third of the studios there feature “single-opening galley kitchens separate from the living area.” They are priced at about $2,500 a month.
“People say, I’ve been looking for this,” said the developer. “Not a majority, but you hear it from people who like to cook. Nevertheless, they don’t want to cook in the middle of their living room.”