08/03/15 1:00pm

500 State St, NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Our neighborhoods evolve over time, and a building built for one use can be repurposed for something the builders never would have imagined.

Name: Row houses, then funeral parlor, now Zen temple
Address: 500 State Street
Cross Streets: Nevins Street and 3rd Avenue
Neighborhood: Boerum Hill
Year Built: Probably 1850s
Architectural Style: Originally Anglo-Italianate
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The architecture
Boerum Hill is one of Brooklyn’s older row house neighborhoods. The houses on these blocks represent development taking place from the 1840s until about 1870.

492-500 State Street — originally a group of five 15 foot wide houses — was probably built in the late 1850s to early 1860s, when the Anglo-Italianate style of architecture had a brief popularity.

These were the first “English basement” houses, with low stoops, leading into an ornate reception area and the central stairs. The kitchen and mechanicals were also down here behind closed doors. Guests would go upstairs to the parlor lever. Above that were the bedrooms floors and private parlors.

498 and 500 State Street were combined in 1924 to create the State Street Chapel. Up until the early decades of the 20th century, funerals were generally held at home.

(more…)

08/03/15 12:00pm

46-1st-place-080315

Brokers are fond of calling places “a rare find” – well, this one really is. You may have seen plenty of brownstones with period detail, but this one – at 46 1st Place in Carroll Gardens — is downright aristocratic.

Check out the columns, the stained glass, the ornate woodwork and crown moldings, the scrollwork, the inlaid floors. We don’t know how many they made like this, but not many survive, and certainly not in this kind of condition.

The house even has a name: Wisteria.

The place is huge as well. It’s 24 feet wide and four stories, for around 6,000 square feet. (more…)

08/03/15 11:31am

Red Hook Stores, SSpellen 2

Sponsored By The O'Connell Organization.

The O'Connell Organization is a family owned and operated real estate development business with over 150 properties in New York State.

Created By BlankSlate

A trip to the Red Hook Fairway may be your excuse to visit the iconic warehouses of Red Hook, but once you are there, stop for a moment and look around.

You are looking at American and international history.

It’s a story of how these Red Hook warehouses—or “stores,” as they used to be called—were the conduit between the cotton fields of the South and the textile mills of upstate New York and New England. And it’s the story of how an Irish immigrant not only made his fortune, but gave Red Hook its shape.

This is the story of King Cotton, and its connection to Brooklyn. (more…)

08/03/15 11:00am

Introducing Brownstoner’s first-ever reader renovation diary based in Sea Gate. It will document the renovation of a 100-year-old oceanfront home on the edge of Coney Island. Our intrepid blogger can also be found at Brooklyn Beach House.

beach-house-day-1-080315

A Coney Island beach house. Yes! They exist.

I know, because we bought one a year ago. If you start at Nathan’s in Coney Island and head west toward the baseball stadium (keep the ocean on your left), in about a mile you will find that the boardwalk and Surf Avenue dead end into gates in the water and the street.

This is the beginning of Sea Gate, a 120-year-old gated community that boasts tiny bungalows, apartment buildings, mega-mansions, and everything in between. And the cool part is — despite the gate — anyone can live here!

After spending a delightful four years in a Park Slope brownstone on 6th Street just off the park, followed by an even more delightful seven years raising our new family in a large Queen Anne in Ditmas Park, I can honestly say THIS is Brooklyn’s best kept secret. (more…)

08/03/15 10:44am

pavilion-theater-condo-renderings-park-slope-brooklyn-2

The Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing to consider alterations to Park Slope’s landmarked Pavilion Theater has been rescheduled. Previously set for Tuesday, August 4, the hearing will now take place Tuesday, August 18.

The commission will consider Morris Adjmi Architects’ design for a new condo building next to the theater, as well an addition and restoration of the 1929 neo-Renaissance theater. The community board already conditionally approved the plan, despite some residents claiming the proposal looks like a “penitentiary.” (more…)

08/03/15 10:02am

369-berry-street-rend-2-072915

A rendering is up at the construction site for the new apartment building that will rise at 369 Berry Street in Williamsburg. The design looks quite busy, and will use at least four different materials on the facade.

A tweedy brick in grey, black and beige will make up most of the facade. There will also be orange brick, beige tile and smaller multi-colored salt-and-pepper-colored tile (or possibly rock veneer). Colonial style sconces accent the entry, and a glass wall tops the structure.

The applicant of record is architect Charles Mallea, who is becoming quite prolific in north and central Brooklyn, with more than a dozen projects in Bed Stuy, Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bushwick. Projects include a controversial apartment building with mirrored cracks at 410 Tompkins Avenue and more traditional buildings at 75 Ralph Avenue and 774 Bushwick Avenue. (more…)

08/03/15 9:30am

Brooklyn2

Are high levels of ownership good or bad for cities? Should the government push for more home ownership? What role do rental units play in the growth and vitality of cities?

Journalist and web developer, Ken Schwencke, who also works for The New York Times, has added to the discussion of some of those questions by creating a nation-wide interactive map that shows renters and owners across the country. To build the map, he spent some serious time with the US Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey data, zeroing in on home ownership.

The red dots on his map represent renters, the blue dots, owners. Each dot represents 25 housing units, and they are placed randomly within a census tract — an area of about four to eight blocks in Brooklyn.

Despite the frenzied housing market in Brooklyn over the last decade, the rate of home ownership has changed little. New York is a city of renters and Brooklyn is a borough of renters, as is made clear by the vast swaths of red in the map above.

According to the New York Housing and Vacancy Survey of 2014 (PDF), Brooklyn’s home ownership rate is 29 percent, higher than Manhattan and the Bronx but lower than the city average and far below the national average of 63.4 percent. City-wide, the total number of owner-occupied units is up slightly from the previous year.

Today the national home ownership rate is at its lowest point since 1967. But for cities a low home ownership rate may not be a bad thing.

Cities in general have low levels of home ownership. And some of those that have seen the most economic growth recently have very low levels of home ownership.

(more…)

08/03/15 9:08am

henry-1696-broadway-4-080315

The last traces of the arson fires that devastated this stretch of Broadway and nearby blocks in Ocean Hill and Bushwick in the 1970s are slowly being erased by new development here.

Men have been busy toiling away on the largest and most prominent of these developments under the elevated J train track here on the corner of Broadway and Decatur Street in Ocean Hill since a big public groundbreaking in March.

A vacant, City-owned lot for decades, this was once a row of stores with apartments above and will soon be so again. (more…)

08/03/15 8:30am

state-street-houses-080315

City Starts Moving Tenants From “Three-Quarter” Homes in Brooklyn [NY Times]
The Millennial Commune in Brooklyn and Beyond [NY Times]
Nine Injured in Shooting in East New York [NY Times]
Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 hearing: No Fist Fights, One Ejection [Eagle]
De Blasio Plan Would Link Affordable Housing, Rezoning [Capital NY]
Online Seller of Used Furniture Picks Windsor Terrace for Hub [Crain’s]
Construction Update: The William Vale Hotel, at 55 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg [NYY]
NYU Files Its Plans for Cobble Hill Medical Facility [TRD]
Park Slope Nannies Earn More Than City Average, Survey Says [DNA]

State Street in Boerum Hill.
Brownstoner on Instagram
Photo by Cate Corcoran

08/01/15 10:29am

This post courtesy of Explore Brooklyn, an all-inclusive guide to the businesses, neighborhoods, and attractions that make Brooklyn great.

renegade-craft-fair-brooklyn-mccarren-park

The Renegade Craft Fair (Greenpoint) [GMAP]
Hours: September 11 12—5 p.m.,  September 12—13 11 a.m.—6 p.m.

Hop on over to The Renegade Craft Fair for a variety of pop-up shops featuring artisanal and home-made crafts, clothing, jewelry, and more. Keep an eye out for some of our favorites including Hill & Velez Home Goods and clay jewelry by Melissa Diaz of Okru.

Renegade Craft Fair photo by Kaspar Metz. (more…)

07/31/15 4:30pm

slope-crossing-073115

Brooklyn Considers a Waterfront Streetcar [Capital NY]
Brooklyn Heights Association Names New Executive Director [BHB]
New Greenwood Rentals Tout “Landlord That Actually Cares” [Curbed]
Bushwickers Want Affordable Units in Forthcoming “Playground for Hipsters” [Gothamist]
Power out on Nostrand, Kings Bay Y Cancels Most Programs [Sheepshead Bites]
20 Historic Photos of People Enjoying Beach at Coney Island [Bensonhurst Bean]
Arrested for Selling Bicycle Oil (1896) [Brownstone Detectives]

Photo by Joel Zimmer via Flickr

07/31/15 3:00pm

adopt-dog-carol-zytnik

If you’re thinking about taking in a four-legged roomate, we’ve got a word for you: Adoptapalooza. That’s the name of an event held by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals that will bring 150 dogs and cats in need of adoption to Prospect Park tomorrow.

Similar adoption events have been held in Union Square, but this is the first one in Brooklyn. Over a dozen animal welfare groups will bring some of their available dogs and cats — and there may be a rabbit or two in the mix. All of them have been spayed or neutered. Adoption fees vary by group. (more…)