07/31/15 11:11am

Main_Street,_Cold_Spring_NY daniel case

Main Street, Cold Spring. Photo by Daniel Case via Wikipedia

In theory, the thought of escaping to a faraway place seems pretty attractive. In practice, however, it could mean long drives (bordering on interminable with traffic) and more time away from home.

Want to stay within two hours of Brooklyn? Then two quaint villages await your perusal: Cold Spring in Putnam County, and Cornwall-on-Hudson in Orange County.

Cold Spring is your best bet in terms of travel. Take the Metro-North to the Cold Spring station which sits right in the center of town, at the bottom of Main Street.

The whole trip takes a little over an hour. From there, you can cab it to your accommodations. Drive time takes approximately one hour and 45 minutes.


07/31/15 10:48am


So here’s a little nice little story to go with your morning coffee. You know One Brooklyn Bridge Park? That big condominium complex in an old printing factory between Pier 5 and Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park? Where a two-bedroom apartment costs about $2,500,000?

Hallways full of poop.

According to the New York Times, there are around 175 dogs that live in the building, and dog feces is a persistent problem. An incident report for December tallied up 52 occurrences:

…a mix of diarrhea, feces, urine and vomit: found on virtually every floor including the main lobby and north and south lobbies; found in all five elevators and with the staff cleanup time ranging from 10 to 50 minutes (average time roughly 20 minutes) per incident. (more…)

07/31/15 10:08am

Bushwick residents packed a town hall meeting convened by a local community group to push for affordable housing at the massive Rheingold Brewery development in Bushwick. City Council Member Antonio Reynoso called on developer Rabsky to live up to a 2013 promise made by its predecessor, developer Read Property, to include affordable housing.

The former industrial space, which is being redeveloped as apartments and shops, covers about 10 city blocks close to Flushing and Bushwick avenues. However, the protest may be much ado about nothing.

Rabsky already said in June it has every intention of including affordable housing in its developments. The community group, the Rheingold Construction Committee, apparently isn’t buying it.  (more…)


Twin apartment buildings designed by prolific Queens-based architect Gerald Caliendo are rising at 9 and 11 Orient Avenue in East Williamsburg. The site was previously home to a 19th century Italianate wood-frame house and garage.

Like the development now sweeping Flatbush, many apartment buildings have replaced older frame houses on large lots in this section of East Williamsburg in the last decade. The most notable to meet the wrecking ball was a Second Empire mansion on the same block at 59 Orient Avenue that starred in the film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” then was taken over by squatters.

The film’s director, Michael Gondry, reportedly lived on the block, but didn’t save it. It was demolished in 2010 and is now an eight-unit rental building. (more…)

07/31/15 8:30am


Brooklyn Academy of Music Announces $25 Million Project to Link Three Spaces [NY Times]
BP Adams Announces Millions to Overhaul Brooklyn War Memorial, Parks [Eagle]
Landmarked Former 68th Precinct in Sunset Park Nabbed for $6 Million [Observer]
Yet Another Co-Working Space Will Open in Brooklyn—This Time in Sunset Park [Crain’s]
Revealed: Baltic Huis, Boerum Hill Hotel at 489 Baltic Street [NYY]
REIT Boston Properties Considering More Brooklyn Development in Wake of Navy Yard Project [TRD]

Wood frame with red door on Ainslie Street in Williamsburg.
Brownstoner on Instagram
Photo by Cate Corcoran

07/30/15 4:46pm


Reminder: Brooklyn’s “Hipster Havens” Are Indeed Poisonous [Gothamist]
Brooklyn Staycation: A Day in Fort Greene [Sheepshead Bites]
What Comes Next for the Changing Coney Island Boardwalk? [Curbed]
Go Foraging in Prospect Park Saturday [Park Slope Stoop]
A Brooklyn Brewery Founder Shares the Best Advice He Ever Got [Biz Insider]
Meet Brooklyn’s Fearless Hasidic Dog Walker [Gothamist]

Photo by Linh Nguyen via Flickr

07/30/15 4:36pm


On the same day as a scheduled public hearing about the controversial plan to build two residential towers at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6, the corporation responsible for the park released via Crain’s an economic report that claims that income from the proposed towers are necessary for the park’s financial future.

Critics of the plan are not thrilled about the report’s timing or its findings.

The 35-page study by Barbara Byrne Denham, an economist at the real estate research firm REIS, is a challenge to digest in an afternoon before heading off to the community meeting. But one thing stood out: Denham writes that the predictions about the success of two other developments under way in the park, Empire Stores and 1Hotel, are overly optimistic.

“I believe Empire Stores will likely not lease up its space in two years nor earn the rents the model assumes,” writes Denham, adding that the stores “will not get the foot traffic in winter months that it needs to earn a strong profit.”

Yikes. That can’t be easy for the developers behind Empire Stores to hear. They’re like the oldest kid being pushed aside when the new baby comes along. (more…)

07/30/15 3:00pm


A poster in the Forum writes:

New landlord of a two-family here. What do other landlords of small, owner-occupied buildings do when they’re out of town? What is the contingency plan if something urgent comes up? Is there such a thing as a temporary management company that can be on-call, or do you ask a friend be on-call, etc.?

The answer may be more complicated than you think. To see the advice or help out, click through to the post here.

Have answers? Need help with something? Visit the Brownstoner Forum.

07/30/15 2:00pm


The state Economic Development Corporation is holding a hearing tonight on the plan to build a pair of residential towers at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park — and both opponents and supporters of the plan will be out in force.

As we’ve covered previously, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation needs a modification of the park’s General Project Plan to move forward with proposed affordable housing in the planned 31- and 15-story towers. Community Board 2 approved the modification earlier this month; this hearing is the next step in the approval process. (more…)

07/30/15 1:00pm

Rufus L. Perry, Composite

During the latter part of the 19th century, Rufus L. Perry Sr. was one of Brooklyn’s most prominent ministers. Like most of Brooklyn’s leading Protestant clergymen, he had a doctorate, was widely published, and his sermons were quoted in the religion pages of the Brooklyn Eagle. The fact that he was African American, and had been a slave in childhood, was seen as remarkable. Chapter One of our story recounts his life.

But as remarkable as Rev. Perry’s life story and accomplishments were, the world hadn’t seen anything yet. His eldest son, Rufus L. Perry Jr., was about to break the mold.

Rufus Jr. began his life on May 26, 1868, born here in Brooklyn to Rev. Perry and his wife Charlotte. The family lived in a home in what is now Crown Heights North, on St. Marks Avenue, between Albany and Schenectady avenues.

Life for black folks in late 19th century Brooklyn was not easy. The law prohibited many overt forms of discrimination, but the reality was that most black people in Brooklyn lived on the fringe of society.

The schools and everyday life were segregated, and most African Americans were laborers or relegated to service jobs, while a small black middle and upper-middle class struggled to find acceptance and equality in the workplace and society.

The Perry family was part of this emerging black upper-middle class, which consisted of clergy, doctors, lawyers, undertakers, business owners and teachers.

Rev. Perry and his wife raised their children to believe that they were the equals of anyone. They were encouraged to aim high, and become whatever they wanted to become in the world. They should not allow other people’s prejudices to hinder their progress. Young Rufus took that to heart. He was also really, really smart. (more…)

07/30/15 12:00pm


This is a large apartment with a fairly large price tag. Located at 255 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, in the Woodrow Wilson, it’s a classic six that measures 1,440 square feet, renting for $5,000 a month.

As you’d ask from a prewar classic six, it’s nicely laid out, with a generous living room, dining room and master bedroom. There’s quite a large foyer as well, which a resourceful tenant may find a way to utilize; at the least it makes for a stately entrance.

The kitchen is a bit narrow, but it opens up into the dining room, which helps.

There are three bedrooms, the smallest roughly 7 feet by 12 feet. There are two baths, a lot of closets, and a washer-dryer.

It’s on the top floor, which means good light, no neighbors tromping overhead, and likely some nice views of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden across the street. On the subject of light: Each bedroom has only a single window, and the one in the pictured master bedroom is modest in size. (more…)

07/30/15 11:32am


An untouched five-story brownstone that had been owned by the same family for a century provided a blank canvas for CWB Architects, one of Brooklyn’s busiest specialists in high-end townhouse renovation. The 1870s structure was in dire shape when the new homeowners undertook a two-year project to convert the house, which had been chopped up into apartments, to a single-family dwelling for themselves and their two young sons.

“Nearly half the floor structure was cracked,” said Brendan Coburn of CWB. “The only things we kept were the front wall and two side walls.” The back wall and all the interior framing are new.

It was an opportunity to rethink the house from, as it were, the ground up. The 20-foot-wide building “is gigantic for a family of four,” Coburn said, “and that made figuring out how to arrange the program a bit tricky.” (more…)