09/02/15 4:30pm

Brooklyn news

Fort Greene Families Celebrate Impending Improvements at Walt 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

09/02/15 3:00pm

Renovation dust & odor from neighbor's construction

A Brownstoner reader is dealing with odors and dust from a renovation happening next door and is concerned about the impact it might be having on their own building.

classon writes:

The house next to me, which is old and in poor condition, is being gutted. Both houses are dusty with age anyway, never mind vibrations from the demo loosening even more dust.

About 2 weeks ago I came home to a terrible odor in the front room on the garden level. It was definitely a smell resulting from the work next door—bitter and very unpleasant. There was also a lot of dust in the room, along the wall that’s adjacent to the house being reno’d. On that wall there is a fireplace (not in use though it acts as a chimney for the furnace) that is blocked with plywood but not totally sealed as far as I can remember. There’s also wainscoting that’s in decent condition cosmetically, but not restored, so there are cracks that can also let in dust. I cleaned the room and it helped a little with the smell but it lingered.



Roy Sloane, the controversial first vice president and acting president of the Cobble Hill Association, today announced that he is stepping down from the neighborhood organization. Two dozen Cobble Hill residents called for Sloane’s ousting last week and organized a special meeting for September 10 to discuss his departure.

The Cobble Hill Association is in the midst of fighting a plan by Fortis Property Group to built two high-rise residential towers in the neighborhood on the site of the former Long Island College Hospital. Sloane had been representing the CHA in talks with Fortis,  but several members did not believe that he was fighting the development as strongly as he should be.


09/02/15 2:00pm


Warriors, come out and…have a reunion show! The protagonist gang from the 1979 cult classic The Warriors return to Coney Island on Sunday, September 13, for The One Day That Will Go Down in Warrior History.

Presented by the Village Voice and LSRR Tour, the reunion has a full day of activities planned. The day kicks off at 10 a.m. with an autograph signing from the cast followed by a cosplay contest, performances from the Gotham Mashers and Sick Of It All, a special screening of The Warriors from director Walter Hill, a Q&A session with members of the cast, and then at 11 p.m., after 13 consecutive hours of Warriors, “Saying Goodbye to Coney.” (more…)

09/02/15 1:00pm

Grand Union Tea Company 68 Jay Street

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Before Dumbo teemed with tourists, residents and artists, it was one of the busiest industrial neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Large food companies like the Grand Union Tea Company were major contributors to jobs and commerce.

Name: Former Grand Union Tea Company, now offices and studios
Address: 68 Jay Street
Cross Streets: Water and Front Streets
Neighborhood: Dumbo
Year Built: 1915
Architectural Style: “Daylight factory” with transitional Queen Anne elements
Architect: William Higginson
Other works by architect: Industrial architecture in Greenpoint, Dumbo and Manhattan. In Dumbo, most of the Gair buildings, including 1 Main Street.
Landmarked: Yes, part of the Dumbo Historic District (2007)

A block-wide and -long warehouse for tea

Construction began on this massive warehouse in 1896, the same year that Frank, Cyrus and Charles Jones brought their Jones Brothers/Grand Union Tea Company to Brooklyn.

This part of the block-long, block-wide complex was the last to be built, out of modern steel frame construction and brick. It is a transitional example of a “daylight factory.”

Daylight factories were introduced in the 20th century. They mostly refer to the reinforced concrete factories of the day that allowed for more windows and natural light to flood the work spaces. This construction also allowed for fewer interior beams and more open spaces. (more…)

09/02/15 12:21pm


Our house of the day is a four-story Fort Greene brownstone, but it’s more than that. It is, and we’re quoting the listing here, a transitional French Second Empire neo-Grec-style historic brownstone. Listed by Corcoran broker Rodolfo Lucchese, it’s located at 374 Vanderbilt Avenue.

It’s got much of what you’d want in such a brownstone — tall arched doorways, pocket doors, parquet floors with inlay borders, moldings, medallions and plaster details. It’s got bay windows and three wood-burning fireplaces with original marble mantels. And it’s a generous 21 feet wide. (more…)

09/02/15 11:46am


The clock is ticking for more than one proposed landmark. A bill setting time limits on how long the Landmarks Preservations Commission can take to consider landmarking a proposed site is coming up for a City Council vote Wednesday, September 9.

The American Institute of Architects, New York Landmarks Conservancy, Municipal Art Society, Historic Districts Council and more than 60 preservation groups recently voiced their opposition to the bill, known as Intro. 775, with memos and letters addressed to the City Council. And today the Times had a story looking at various sides of the issue.

What the Bill’s Backers Want

The review period for a proposed individual landmark could not exceed 360 days. A hearing would be required within 180 days. Historic districts — much more complex — would require a hearing within a year and a decision within two years. (more…)

09/02/15 10:30am

Brooklyn Renovation Blowing Out the Back Wall in Carroll Gardens

In December, when Jessica Siegel and her husband saw a “for sale” sign in the window of a narrow four-story Carroll Gardens home, they immediately called to make an offer. And were initially outbid.

But the other buyer got scared off by the building’s water damage, sagging floors and even worse problems — so by the end of March, they had the keys in hand.

“It’s the tiniest house with grandest details,” Jessica Siegel told Brownstoner. Measuring only 11 feet wide on the inside, the mid-19th-century four-bedroom came with a swooping curved staircase and elegant moldings.

It also came with the worst termite damage their inspector had ever seen in the neighborhood. But Siegel — a designer at GDD Interiors — saw the home’s problems as an opportunity to start fresh.

“It gave us license to bring back the grandeur while maximizing space,” she said. “On the parlor and garden levels, especially, every quarter inch counted. But we didn’t just butcher what was there.”


09/02/15 10:00am

J'Ouvert Celebration West Indies Day Parade

In the predawn hours of Labor Day, before the West Indies Parade begins its march along Eastern Parkway, there is another celebration. Often beginning around 4:30 a.m., J’ouvert (pronounced joo vay) is a contraction of the French words for daybreak (“jour ouvert”).

The traditional celebration originates with French settlers’ introduction of masquerade balls to the Caribbean in 1783. Banned from participating in their masters’ Carnival celebrations, slaves would hold smaller carnivals in their backyards. Once emancipated in 1838, slaves began participating in Carnival, blending in their own rituals.


09/02/15 9:30am

Brooklyn Building Permits Plummet 97% in July As 421A Tax Break Expired

The rate of Brooklyn’s housing permits went on a roller coaster ride this summer as builders hurried to begin construction before the lucrative 421-a tax break expired on June 15. Brooklyn gave out 8,499 construction permits in June — more than any other borough. But in July, that number was a meagre 246, reported Crain’s.

The 421-a program gives developers a tax break if at least 20 percent of their units were affordable housing. But as we wrote about last week, not all Brooklyn developers have held up their end of the 421-a bargain.

Builders could have cooled it in June — the law was extended through the end of the year, and a new version of the 421-a is in negotiations. If passed, it will likely require a higher percentage of affordable units and higher wages paid to workers on 421-a sites.


09/02/15 9:00am


Perhaps nothing is as emblematic of both the old and new Brooklyn as the newly restored Kings Theatre in Flatbush. After a $93 million restoration, it opened in February for the first time in 40 years and has gone on to win a preservation award and kindle renewed interest in the area.

And now it will be acquired by Ambassador, a vertically integrated theater chain, which produces shows, sells tickets and runs theaters. The iconic theater was not an acquisition target on its own but is part of another theater group, ACE Theatrical Group, that Ambassador is acquiring, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (more…)