09/01/15 11:10am


Public Advocate and potential mayoral hopeful Letitia James has joined the fight against Mayor de Blasio’s plan to add affordable housing in two towers on Pier 6. The controversial plan is currently going through an official public review process to alter the park’s General Project Plan to allow affordable housing in the park.

If the plan is approved, partner developers RAL Development Services and Oliver’s Realty Group would construct a 29-story and a 14-story tower on the Pier 6 section of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Of the 339 units slated to be built, 117 would be below market rate, bringing the Mayor that much closer to his affordable housing goals. (more…)

09/01/15 10:59am


It’s a tale as old as your vintage record player: A drummer and a carpenter go looking for a reasonably priced Brooklyn two-bedroom and instead end up renting a large ground-floor studio with an attached garage in Boerum Hill.

But in true Brooklyn do-it-yourself fashion, roommates Adam Finkelman and Evan Garfield transformed the apartment into the place of their dreams, as Curbed recently detailed. The garage became a space for dinner parties, band practice, and woodworking, while the duo used wood scraps from Craigslist to build out two 7-foot-by-7-foot lofted bedrooms.

Creative use of space? Another sign of the affordable apartment apocalypse?


09/01/15 10:00am

27 Gravesend Neck Road Brooklyn

Now’s your chance to live in a bit of Brooklyn history. The historic Hicks-Platt House aka Van Sicklen House aka Lady Moody House at 27 Gravesend Neck Road is up for sale.

The five-bedroom farmhouse is one of the oldest buildings in the city (hence all the time to rack up all those names) and is being put on the market just before the Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to consider whether or not to designate the building as a historic landmark. Gothamist was the first to write about the listing.

The home will be considered on October 8 as part of a number of properties in Brooklyn that have been on the LPC backlog for years. It’s sometimes the case that worthy landmarks will stall in the designation process when they don’t have the owner’s backing — although we don’t know that’s the case here.

The home has a contested history. Lady Deborah Moody founded the village of Gravesend — the first English settlement in the New Netherlands — in 1643. This home sits within the original boundary of the village.

But did Lady Moody herself ever live there? Probably not. (more…)

09/01/15 9:30am

126 Hancock Street7

The luxurious, Neo-Grec townhouse at 126 Hancock Street in Bed Stuy has been snapped up for $2,950,000. The broker, Peter Gordenstein of Corcoran, just revealed the sale to Brownstoner, which closed Monday, adding, “This is the highest price for a townhouse in Bed Stuy to date!”

The price falls just short of the $3,000,000 paid for the five-story 242 Gates Avenue last year. But it’s still a significant fee for a home in the area, which has seen a steep increase in prices in the past several years.

Records indicate that the sellers, developers Sam Stern and Casey Schear, bought the home in 2012 for just $360,000. According to Gordenstein, the pair then spent the next two years renovating the four-story home.


09/01/15 9:00am

Original California Taqueria accused of rent nonpayment

Cobble Hill’s Original California Taqueria is known by locals for its nachos and namesake California-style burritos — and for allegedly not paying rent in seven years. Landlord Ramon Palermo claimed in 2013 the eatery at 187 Court Street owed him $312,000 in back rent, a sum which Palermo advertised on a sign attached to the top of his blue Subaru Forester.

“CALIFORNIA TAQUERIA Continues to ABUSE the Landlord: ‘WWII VET.’ REFUSES TO PAY RENT…OWES $312,000,” the sign read, according to an article in the New York Daily News at the time.

While business remains active at the 25-year-old Mexican restaurant, its future is in question. As it happens, the building was recently listed for sale. Asking $3,850,000, the 2,318-square-foot mixed-use building lists two first-floor retail units and one second-floor, three-bedroom, two-bath apartment with a terrace.


09/01/15 8:30am

Coney Island boardwalk

Mayor de Blasio’s Aide on Homeless is Resigning Amid Crisis [NY Times]
Smorgasburg in Prospect Park is an Absolute Traffic Nightmare [NY Post]
East New York Landlord Sued for Allegedly Refusing to Rent Using City Subsidy [NY Daily News]
Once-Troubled Youth Use Murals to Transform Brownsville [Eagle]
Second Phase Begins for Verrazano Bridge Repairs [Eagle]
Already Under Repair, Brooklyn Bridge Will Need More Work [Capital NY]
Permits Filed: 123 Linden Boulevard in Flatbush [NYY]
Permits Filed: 856 Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights [NYY]
Eastern Consolidated Sues Waterbridge Over Radegast Deal [TRD]
Brunner’s Bed Stuy Rental Deal Complicated by Suit [TRD]
Fire Breaks Out at McKibbin Lofts in East Williamsburg, FDNY Says [DNA]

Coney Island.
Brownstoner on Instagram
Photo by Hannah Frishberg

08/31/15 4:30pm

Brooklyn Flea Williamsburg

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Tears Down Hurricane Sandy-Themed Treehouse [NY Daily News]
Some of Brooklyn’s Hippest Restaurateurs Rely on Business Tips from Goldman Sachs [Quartz]
150 Years of Coney Island Thrills in Photos [Atlas Obscura]
Eyes on the Street: A Smorgasburg of Traffic in Prospect Park [Streetsblog]
Participatory Budgeting is Coming to Fort Greene-Clinton Hill [Fort Greene Focus]
After Two-Month Delay, Wahlburgers Opens in Coney Island [Bensonhurst Bean]

Photo by Shinya Suzuki via Flickr

08/31/15 3:00pm

Purchasing land from a neighbor

One of our readers wants to purchase a 20-foot-wide strip of land from a next-door neighbor who’d sell it. dindy writes:

I would like to purchase a strip of land about 20 feet wide at the back of my neighbor’s property. He would agree to sell it, since his yard is quite deep and he doesn’t use it. I am quite sure t wouldn’t affect his FAR. What is the process ? I am sure there are permits involved, but don’t know where to begin.

Commenters warn that this would be a lengthy and costly process, but others suggest it might actually be feasible. What do you think? Chime in on the original forum post.

Have answers? Need help with something? Visit the Brownstoner Forum.
Photo via Wikipedia

08/31/15 1:00pm

2307 Beverley Rd, Sears, NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Sears is one of the nation’s most recognizable store names. This landmarked building has been a shopping destination for Brooklynites for over 80 years.

Name: Sears, Roebuck & Company Department Store
Address: 2307 Beverley Road
Cross Streets: Corner of Bedford Avenue
Neighborhood: Flatbush
Year Built: 1932, addition added in 1940
Architectural Style: Late Art Deco
Architect: Nimmons, Carr & Wright, with Alton Craft
Other Buildings by Architect: NC & W — in Chicago, various Sears stores and private homes for Sears execs
Landmarked: Yes, individual landmark (2012)

Sears & Roebuck, Mail-Order Giant to the Nation

It’s hard to believe, but this store, which has always been a Sears, has been here for over 80 years. Just like its neighbor, the recently revived Kings Theatre located directly behind it, this Sears has been a Flatbush institution.

Sears started out in the 1890s as a mail-order catalog that sold a huge variety of goods to customers in rural areas who had little to no access to stores and shops. Its first retail store was built in 1925. Based in Chicago, Sears & Roebuck expanded all across the country.

Because of its dealings with Manhattan’s garment center, Sears was a presence in NYC long before its bricks and mortar stores were in place. When the company sought to expand its retail presence in the New York City area, Flatbush was seen as an ideal location. (more…)

08/31/15 12:30pm


OkCupid cofounder Christian Rudder just matched with a Greenpoint townhouse — for $2,120,000, 6sqft reported.

The 3,400-square-foot multi-family at 925 Lorimer Street includes a 850 square-foot private yard. The listing notes it would be easy to convert the three-unit residence into a two- or single-family home.

We’re guessing it’ll become two units — or two units and a recording studio — since property records show that Rudder purchased the townhouse with his Bishop Allen bandmate Michael Tapper. Tapper was previously a member of indie rock bands We Are Scientists and Yellow Ostrich and is a two-time winner of MTV’s “Beard of the Year” award.


08/31/15 12:00pm


If it’s elegant brownstone detailing you’re after look no further — this Stuyvesant Heights limestone at 234 Decatur Street is swimming in it. Designed by famous 19th century Swedish architect Magnus Dahlander and built in 1897, it’s jam packed with elaborate woodwork, as well as moldings, plaster detailing, tin ceilings, mantels, mirrors, stained glass, wainscoting, parquet floors, pocket doors and built-in cabinets.

Sited on a lovely block in the Stuyvesant Heights historic district, the four-story house is set up with an apartment on each floor. While most of it appears to be in excellent condition, at least the ground-floor dining room needs a little polishing. (more…)

08/31/15 11:30am


Tucked away in an oft-forgotten corner of Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay are the weathered remains of Brooklyn’s once prosperous summertime bungalow communities. Built in clusters near the coast, these low-lying colonies have fared poorly as both the seas and new development rise around them, casting shadows and bringing floodwater. Nathan Kensinger recently photographed the surviving Bungalows for Curbed.

Originally intended exclusively for warm-weather use, Brighton Beach’s surviving bungalows were built in the 1920s on the grounds of the former Brighton Beach Racetrack, Kensinger reported. The quaint, antiquated homes began falling on hard times beginning in the 90s, as neighborhood crime rates rose and squatters, drug dealers, and prostitutes took to utilizing the frequently abandoned abodes.