11/27/15 10:45am

Famous Brooklyn Stores Retail History

We can blame the late Victorian era for the commercialization of Christmas. The late 1800s gave us an affluent society with the disposable income to buy the vast amount of machine-made goods coming out of American factories.

The Brooklyn Eagle gloried in this consumer excess, writing glowing reviews of the merchandise in stores all over the city and running thousands of ads. No time of the year was more important than Christmas.

We’ve picked five Brooklyn stores to highlight for the holiday shopping season — three old-timers from the Victorian age, and two more contemporary. None of them exist anymore.

They were founded by the same kind of smart, successful and lucky entrepreneurs that abound today, all striving to bring Brooklynites the next greatest thing, especially for the holidays. (more…)

11/26/15 10:45am

Brooklyn Thanksgiving Traditions and History

Thanksgiving in America has always been a rather strange combination of festival, food and frolic. We watch colorful parades in the morning, stuff ourselves in the afternoon and then retire to our couches to watch two teams of modern gladiators beat each other silly for the prize of a silver trophy.

Traditions have evolved since Thanksgiving became a national holiday in the 1860s, but the sentiment has remained the same. Here’s how late-19th-century Brooklyn celebrated, with massive feasts and costumed Fantastics. (more…)

11/26/15 8:30am
A very colorful Prospect Park. Photo by Edrei Rodriguez

A very colorful Prospect Park. Photo by Edrei Rodriguez

In honor of the holiday, Brownstoner will be publishing special stories today and Friday.

First up is a guide to beautiful walks to take in Brooklyn to work off your Thanksgiving dinner. Later in the morning, our columnist Suzanne Spellen (aka Montrose Morris) will be taking a look at the history of Thanksgiving celebrations in Brooklyn. (more…)

11/25/15 4:30pm
Prospect Park Brooklyn fall 2015

Prospect Park. Photo by Edrei Rodriguez

In the News
Summer Raves at Williamsburg Warehouse Haunt New Tenants [BK Paper]
LPC Says Respect That Tea Porch at 8 Montague Terrace [Eagle]
What to Do When Your Home Burns Down in a Fire [Gothamist]
20-Story Building Planned at 123 Linden Boulevard in Flatbush [NYY]
Stuck in New York?: Here Are 15 Things to Do This Weekend [BK Mag]
NYPD Reviews Video of Violent Arrest in Sunset Park Family’s Restaurant [NYDN]

Are DIY renovations a good idea? Click through to see… (more…)

11/25/15 3:00pm

Buying A House Without Permits -- Brooklyn Townhouses

A Brownstoner reader is hoping to buy a townhouse, but none of the work that’s been done on it has permits.

Brown2013 writes:

We have been negotiating on a townhouse and just found out none of the work have any permits. I keep seeing this issue! The work that has been done is facade repair, roofing, new electrical boxes and some wiring, updated bathroom.

How would you negotiate this with the seller? What is the DOB gong to think when I file permits for other work and then they come by to inspect and see a bunch of un permitted stuff? I want to ensure I cover myself for extra expenses related to this down the line.

What should they do? If the reader goes through with the sale, how can they be protected from extra costs or problems down the line? Share your thoughts in the original post.

Need a professional opinion? Try Brownstoner Local Home Pros.

[Photo illustration: Barbara Eldredge]

11/25/15 1:00pm
Fort Greene Park, yoga class at the east end of the park, summer.

Fort Greene Park, yoga class at the east end of the park, summer.

As Brooklyn bundles up in preparation for the winter, a look back at Joel Meyerowitz’s Legacy project reminds us of the greenery that will return, in time.

A native Bronxite and lifelong New Yorker, Meyerowitz has been capturing the city’s essence since 1962. From the still-burning hole of Ground Zero to Manhattan’s surreal street life, the photographer took a new direction with his 2006 book Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks. (more…)

Bedford Stuyvesant House for Sale -- 535 Decatur Street

Here’s what we can tell you about this Renaissance Revival limestone at 535 Decatur Street in Bed Stuy: It’s a two-story, two-family home with some fetching original details on the parlor level. There’s plenty we can’t tell you, as the listing offers few details, no floorplan and photos that depict only a fraction of the property. (more…)