07/28/15 9:48am

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When the Long Island College Hospital closed in 2014 after a 16-month legal battle, Cobble Hill residents weren’t happy. When developer Fortis Property Group officially signed on to buy the former LICH compound a month later, residents weren’t happy. When Fortis revealed renderings in May for the site’s proposed residential development, residents still weren’t into it.

But now, a few of the unhappy inhabitants of Cobble Hill have created a virtual location to lobby for what they do want: NoTowersInCobbleHill.org.

A place for news updates, actionable steps, and donation collection, the “No Towers” site is just the latest in a number of online initiatives helping (and hoping) to shape Brooklyn development.

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Some of the last buildings that the government seized from their longtime owners in order to make way for the Atlantic Yards project are likely to be demolished soon. Demolition permits were filed on Thursday for 491, 493 and 495 Dean Street. The three 19th century row houses sit close to the corner of 6th Avenue, right across from Barclays Center in Prospect Heights.

The buildings, pictured below (491 is on the left), were part of a long dispute with developer Bruce Ratner of Forest City and the then Empire State Development Corporation. Eventually, the owners and their families, some of whom had lived here for generations, were ordered by the state to vacate the properties in September of 2014 and reportedly had 90 days to do so. The sums they were offered by the state for the properties were not made public. (more…)

07/28/15 8:43am

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In the Williamsburg Apartment of Cara Nicoletti, Butcher, Baker and Author [NY Times]
Two Brooklyn Cultural Leaders Take on Different Roles [WSJ]
Amnesty in Brooklyn [New Yorker]
A Few Developers Switching From Rentals to Condos to Meet Unmet Demand in Brooklyn [TRD]
Brooklyn Investment-Sales Dollar Volume up 74 Percent in First Half of Year [TRD]
Holy Ghost! Musician Buys Williamsburg Building for $2.6 Million [TRD]
Benchmark Close to $40 Million Buy of Brooklyn Heights Rental [TRD]
Bed Stuy Building Owners Who Fired Union Workers Hit With Lawsuit [DNA]
New Pitkin Verde Farmers Market Debuts in Cypress Hills [DNA]
One-Third of Brooklyn’s New Condo Sales Were in Williamsburg, Report Says [DNA]

Brownstones and gardens on Macon Street in Bed Stuy.
Brownstoner on Instagram
Photo by Cate Corcoran

07/27/15 5:04pm

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Following Dispute, Community Board 13 Looks to Hire New District Manager [Sheepshead Bites]
Williamsburg Shopping District Expands Upscale Portfolio With Ralph Lauren [Gothamist]
The 66th Precinct Is One of the Most Dangerous Places to Ride a Bike in the City [Bensonhurst Bean]
Four-Story, Eight-Unit Redevelopment Planned at 280 Linden Boulevard, Flatbush [NYY]
Windsor Terrace Could Get 15 New Speed Humps as Part of Street Safety Push [DNA]

Photo by Robert S via Flickr

07/27/15 3:49pm

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It may be hard to picture now, but Bay Ridge was initially a summer destination for wealthy industrialists, who built mansions on the bluffs overlooking the Narrows. That history and the changes the neighborhood has seen since will be on the agenda Sunday at a Municipal Art Society walking tour of the neighborhood’s northwestern precincts.

Led by architectural historian Melanie Macchio, the tour will take in gas-lit brownstones, Victorian mansions, prewar apartment buildings, and shoreline parks with panoramic views of New York Harbor. (more…)

07/27/15 2:31pm

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Domo Taco just opened today at its new location at 733 Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, according to a post on the company’s Facebook page. When we stopped by a few days ago, it looked close to opening.

Domo started as a taco truck. This is its first permanent location.

A liquor license is coming, according to a sign posted in the window. The menu is by no means straight-up Mexican but includes an asian twist, with items such as fish tempura, five spice pork, lemongrass chicken and teriyaki steak. (more…)

07/27/15 1:20pm

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Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row House
Address: 194 Columbia Heights
Cross Streets: Pierrepont and Clark streets
Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights
Year Built: 1860
Architectural Style: Italianate
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: Yes, part of Brooklyn Heights Historic District (1965)

The story: Brooklyn Heights is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in New York City. A historic row house on Columbia Heights, with rear Promenade and Manhattan views, is quite alluring, so it’s no wonder that a neglected, boarded-up house in that location would be the subject of curiosity and desire.

Unfortunately, this report does not solve that mystery. The property has been owned by Dr. Austin Moore since 1969. For whatever reason, he’s been unable or unwilling to do anything with it, other than emergency repairs. He has also refused to sell. But today’s BOTD is not about that.

Rather, it’s a look at the original owner and his family – a family that had the house built and lived in it for at least 80 years. (more…)

07/27/15 12:50pm

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This Ocean Hill townhouse, at 720 Decatur Street, is one of several better-than-average flips to recently become available in the neighborhood. It and others nearby could be viewed as something of a test case for prices in this section of Ocean Hill, where the sounds of building and rehabbing are getting loud enough to drown out passing trains on the elevated J tracks.

The parlor floor is open plan, with an attractive kitchen in the rear, boasting floor-to-ceiling windows and a door that opens onto a terrace. The living room has one of those flat-screen-style built-in fireplaces that look as much like a place to watch a video of a fire as light one. This floor has a half-bath — and there’s another in the cellar (!).

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07/27/15 12:20pm

735 and 737 Bushwick Avennue

Tenants in two buildings on Bushwick Avenue are being evicted to make way for a renovation, according to a tipster. “Although they tried to fight it the tenants are getting evicted,” she told us. “Construction is set to start in a month.”

We checked into permits at 735 and 737 Bushwick Avenue, and sure enough, the owner is planning to add a fourth floor to each building and increase the number of units. (One will go from three to seven units, and the other from three to six.) The plans were filed this month but have not yet been approved.

This is one example of change taking place all up and down Bushwick Avenue and throughout the neighborhood. We have noted many townhouses being gut renovated, spruced up, enlarged with top-story additions, and even being demolished and replaced by larger apartment buildings over the last year or so.  (more…)

07/27/15 11:23am

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There was a shooting about 12:30 am Sunday morning on Clifton Place close to Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill, according to a reader who heard the gunfire. Two people were shot and injured. “We heard six or seven shots,” our tipster writes.

The gunfire came from an SUV near 47 Clifton Place “just after midnight,” according to a story in News 12. The two victims were taken to Methodist Hospital and are expected to live. (more…)

07/27/15 10:28am

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A decidedly modern take on Brooklyn’s new-townhouse trend, the six Townhouses of Wythe Lane have reached the third floor at 51 South 4th Street in Williamsburg. Marketing started before the first shovel broke ground here, in October last year, as we reported at the time.

Only two of the six townhouses formally hit the market with a listing (Nos. 3 and 4), but five are in contract, according to the development’s official website.

The previously published renderings show gray brick with large windows and a strong, simple design. Carefully planned greenery, such as a trellis going up the side and over the roof terrace, serves as architectural detail. (more…)

07/27/15 9:13am

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For more than a century, the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes stood as a beloved neighborhood landmark. Built into the corner of 2 Aberdeen Street at the intersection of Aberdeen and Broadway, the stone structure housed a statue of the Virgin Mary. Several generations of locals considered it to be a sacred space; a place where they could pause, reflect, ask for mercies, or meditate.

“The grotto was a special place in our lives,” says local Robert LaRosa. “Every time I’d pass by, I’d have my special silent prayer.”

But the grotto was torn down last week, much to the chagrin of hundreds of Bushwick residents, several of whom visited the scene to collect stones from the rubble and pay their respects.

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