09/03/15 3:00pm

brooklyn-history

Ebbets Field in 1913

It’s one thing to know a lot about Brooklyn, but there’s only one official Borough Historian.

Appointed in 2002, lifelong Brooklynite Ron Schweiger has been the borough’s reigning history buff for more than a decade. On Tuesday, September 8, Schweiger will be giving a mini-lecture on Brooklyn’s history in conjunction with Brooklyn Lifelong Learning for retired and semi-retired adults. Specifically, Schweiger will cover how the streets and neighborhoods of Brooklyn got their names.  (more…)

09/03/15 2:00pm

UMD Urgent Care Brooklyn Heights Coming to Montague Street

Empty no more! Another long-vacant storefront on Montague Street is showing signs of life. When Brownstoner walked past just the other day, we saw that a UMD Urgent Care will soon occupy 109 Montague.

The location was previously a Crumbs cupcake shop. The bakery closed abruptly in June of 2014 just before the chain filed for bankruptcy. For a year, the storefront languished.
(more…)

09/03/15 1:00pm

Consolidation of New York Great Mistake

Here’s an updated look at the most important thing to happen in Brooklyn since Henry Hudson landed at Coney Island. Many people call it “The Great Mistake.” Was it? Read Part One of this series here.

On January 1, 1898, the City of New York officially rose from the collection of cities, towns and neighborhoods that made up Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx.

For those who had worked for close to 20 years to make this happen, it was a glorious day. For the common folk of New York, business probably just went on as usual.

In 1873, talk of a Greater New York City began in earnest. The leading citizens and politicians of both New York and Brooklyn began talking about joining the two cities. The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 gave the idea wings.

Simon Chittenden, one of Brooklyn’s leading citizens, was one of the first serious proponents of this annexation, and he held meetings in his Brooklyn Heights home, successfully getting the proposal to the 1874 State Legislature. The measure did not pass.

The chief mover of the Consolidation Movement was Andrew Haswell Green, a Manhattan lawyer, city planner and visionary. Some historians refer to him as the 19th century’s Robert Moses for his vision and determination in changing the face of New York.

Appointed chairman of the New York City Parks Commission, he worked tirelessly on city planning projects. His name is associated with the creation of Central Park, as well as Riverside, Morningside and Fort Washington parks.

He widened Broadway, created the circle at Columbus Circle, and sponsored the creation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. He also joined the Tilden, Astor and Lenox funds to finance the creation of the New York Public Library system.

Green was appointed by the state legislature to be the head of the consolidation commission called the Greater New York Committee. (more…)

09/03/15 12:12pm

220-congress-street-1

Today’s pick is a Cobble Hill co-op that comprises two combined apartments. Located at 220 Congress Street, in a 1952 building, the resulting unit has two bedrooms and two baths.

If if’s prewar charm you’re after, you won’t find it here. But the place has a fair number of pluses. It’s got exposures on three sides, for starters, and is on the top and sixth floor, so we’d expect views and light. The kitchen is attractive and recently renovated, and in general the whole place looks to be in top shape.

The unit also has a lot of built in shelving, a plus for many, and tons of closet space, including a wall of pantry storage in the kitchen. The bedrooms are ample sized, and the master has both a dressing area and a sitting area with a wet bar (aka the former site of that unit’s kitchen). (more…)

09/03/15 11:00am

brownstone kitchen renovation

A few years back, when this 1910 limestone on an elegant park block changed hands, the house was in such a state of preservation that it still retained at least one working gaslight and a winding back stair, once used by service staff, from the kitchen on the parlor level to the floor below. That kitchen, in a two-story extension at the back of the house, needed radical updating. The lower level, where the laundry was, was full of exposed pipes and particularly uninviting.

Enter Gerry Smith, a residential architect based in Greenpoint. Smith was once, in his own words, “a diehard modernist,” but lately, he said, with more projects in brownstone Brooklyn, “I’m becoming very interested in modern insertions into a historical shell.”

As a friend of the new homeowners, Smith agreed to take on the job of revamping the whole extension. Working with Dean and Silva, a Brooklyn-based general contractor with an in-house millwork shop, he managed to keep considerable old-fashioned charm while bringing the space functionally up to date and linking it with the utility quarters below. The new space, now bathed in natural daylight, offers views of the garden that’s shared with the house next door.

(more…)

09/03/15 10:30am

Brooklyn Book Festival 2015

At last! The Brooklyn Book Festival has announced a finalized lineup of its events. The annual celebration of Brooklyn’s rich literary scene celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with a full week of activities and lectures presented by a star-studded lineup of hundreds of authors and moderators.

The largest free literary event in New York City, the book festival plays host to a multitude of activities, including the Brooklyn Book Festival Children’s Day on Saturday, September 19, and a series of bookend events from September 14-21. The day of the festival itself is set for September 20.

(more…)

09/03/15 10:00am

Brooklyn School Rezoning Dumbo Vinegar Hill PS 8

A summertime school switch-up has Dumbo and Vinegar Hill parents reeling. New boundaries have been drawn for the overcrowded, but high-achieving P.S. 8, rezoning many students to the less crowded, albeit less elite P.S. 307, school officials revealed this week.

While better balancing the quantity and diversity of students at each school, the change-up does little to assure improved quality. First, some details of how the student makeup might change under the new rules.

P.S. 8’s current student body is 66 percent white, a number expected to rise to 75 percent with the new boundaries. Meanwhile, P.S. 307’s current student body is 95 percent minority, a number expected to decrease to 55 to 65 percent with the influx of students previously zoned for P.S.8, the Brooklyn Paper reported.

(more…)

09/03/15 9:30am

City Point Tower Affordable Housing Workshops

Workshop leaders Tiffany Gorritz and Kenia Gomez of WinnCompanies at Tuesday’s event

More than 62,000 applications have already been submitted for City Point Tower One’s 200 affordable units. Of this daunting number of applicants, however, many will be disqualified because of snafus in their application, explained Tiffany Gorritz and Kenia Gomez of WinnCompanies at a workshop Tuesday. (The company is running the lottery process for City Point.)

While the process may seem straightforward, even qualified applicants could be removed from the lottery due to small, easily preventable mistakes.

The Tuesday meeting was the first of five affordable housing application workshops Community Board 2 will be holding this month to teach people how to fill out an affordable apartment application — and how to correct mistakes if they’ve already submitted a faulty one.

The workshop information applies not only to those interested in City Point Tower One, but for all affordable housing applications for any current project.

(more…)

Pacific-Park-Atlantic-Yards-B2-Modular-Tower

The modular tower known as B2, nestled against Barclays Center at 461 Dean Street in the Pacific Park/Atlantic Yards development, cause of lawsuits and greatly delayed, reached the 17th floor a few weeks ago. Its problem days are behind it, according to the latest communique from a spokesman.

But Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards Report, in a story on City Limits and two on his own blog, has dug up some details of its construction via FOIL that reveal a tortured past indeed — and might give pause to anyone contemplating renting there.

Atlantic Yards Report today published the FOIL documents in full. They reveal problems with leaks in the misaligned modular units far more extreme than previously indicated. (more…)

09/03/15 8:30am

Carroll Street in Park Slope

City to Foreclose on 162 Properties in Brooklyn [NY Post]
At Williamsburg Starbucks, It’s Americano Mornings and Malbec Nights [WSJ]
City Prepares Rent-Collection Robocalls to NYCHA Residents in Brownsville and Beyond [Politico]
Three-Story Commercial Building Planned at 121 Thames Street in Bushwick [NYY]
Permits Filed: 186 21st Street in Greenwood Heights [NYY]
Crown Heights Vacant Lot Sold for $1.25 Million [DNA]
Spring Creek Towers Sued for Barring Tenants on De Blasio’s Rent Program [DNA]
City Agrees to Help South Williamsburg Day Care After Center Files Lawsuit [DNA]
Thin-Crust Pizzeria Takes Over Former Pete’s Waterfront Ale House [DNA]

Carroll Street in Park Slope.
Brownstoner on Instagram
Photo by Laura Leebove

09/02/15 4:30pm

Brooklyn news

Fort Greene Families Celebrate Impending Improvements at Whitman Library [Fort Greene Focus]
Anti-Waste Task Force Demands EPA Investigate Garbage Station Work Site [Bensonhurst Bean]
Our Historic House Is Haunted, Carroll Gardens Funeral Directors Say [Eagle]
News From the Carroll Gardens Greenmarket [PMFA]
Mas Camps for Carnival All Over the Neighborhood [Q Parkside]

Photo by Stephen Weppler via Flickr