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

925-lorimer

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.

(more…)

08/31/15 12:00pm

234-decatur-street-1

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

kensinger-01

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.

(more…)

08/31/15 11:00am

Coney Island Cyclone

The skies are blue, roller coasters are flying high, but my luck just plummeted… the plumbers have discovered that 100% of my sink fixtures do not work.

We expect that when trying to fit modern-day hardware into sinks that are 65 years old there will be a few bumps in the road. And, indeed, the formerly pink sink that we moved up to the third-floor blue wave bathroom had issues. But not with the fit. Rather, the box containing the faucet — which had been specially ordered to fit the sink exactly — was missing some key components. So, the plumber circled the six missing items on the installation instructions, and back I went to the plumbing supply store. All the parts just arrived, install next week.

(more…)

08/31/15 10:30am

affordable-housing-brooklyn-deblasio-delays

The longer the city waits, the more future affordable units could cost at the Spring Creek development, the Daily News reported. The next phase of the “self-sustaining neighborhood” — 225 homes and 1,295 apartments in East New York — is being created through a partnership between the city and developers.

But de Blasio’s Department of Design and Construction — which agreed to build gas, sewer and utility lines for the next phase of development — is far behind schedule. Community-organizing group East New York Congregations has followed through on its half, already building 300 affordable units since 2006 with the help of the Nehemia housing nonprofit Metro Industrial Areas Foundation and contractor Monadnock Construction. (more…)

08/31/15 10:00am

Greenpoint walk

If your landlady dies without a clear heir to the building, don’t do what this couple did: just stop paying rent.

A Greenpoint resident we’ll call Jay (it’s not his real name) and his wife were paying $1,700 a month for the spacious top floor of a three-unit building on Leonard Street when their Polish landlady — who occupied the parlor-level unit — unexpectedly passed away. A man claiming to be the landlady’s cousin, perhaps a relative of her deceased husband, soon appeared asking for the rent.

(more…)

08/31/15 9:30am

tom-fruin-art-broken-angel-082615

Brownstoner happened across this apparently finished installation by artist Tom Fruin on the top of the former Broken Angel building at 4-8 Downing Street in Clinton Hill. As readers may recall, developer and architect Alex Barrett of Barrett Design, who is converting the building to condos, told Brownstoner in April the piece was in the works.

The condos are still under construction, but sold out in less than a month when they went on the market in April. Longtime Brooklyn residents and Brownstoner readers will recall the sad story of this building, which could be read as a metaphor for the history of Brooklyn in recent years. It has gone from tenement to empty shell to art project to condos, as property values have fluctuated. (more…)

08/31/15 9:00am

Pier-6-public-comment

Have an opinion on the controversial Pier 6 plan? Your voice could still make a difference in the debate, but you need to act fast. Whether you’re pro-towers or anti-development, the period for public comments on the proposal — to develop two ODA-designed towers at the park’s south entrance — ends this evening at 5p.m.

Haven’t yet made up your mind? Here’s what you need to know.

(more…)

08/31/15 8:30am

Brooklyn Heights

Mayor de Blasio Authorizes Emergency Measure to Aid Homeless People [NY Times]
Builders and Brewers Look to Tap Into Brooklyn’s Beer Heritage [NY Times]
This Homeless Couple Is Cleaning Up a Bay Ridge Park [NY Post]
Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Academy Finds Space to Dance in Dumbo [WSJ]
Six-Story Mixed-Use Building With Bakery Coming to Williamsburg [CO]
Crown Heights Slowly Beginning to Draw Tourists [News 12]
Four-Story, 10-Unit Residential Building Planned at 568 Lafayette Avenue in Bed Stuy [NYY]
Ex-Net Darryl Dawkins Dies at 58; Pitched Atlantic Yards in China [AYR]
Crowdfunding Site Lets Rookie Real Estate Investors Get Piece of Bushwick [DNA]
Six-Story Residential Building Under Construction on Bushwick Avenue [DNA]

Brooklyn Heights.
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Photo by Barbara Eldredge

08/30/15 9:45am

Top-10-stories-083015-1

Brownstoner featured several view-worthy homes this week, including a nice flip in Bed Stuy and a “pre-construction” building with original details. Readers also flocked to our history-themed posts on Brooklyn’s “Great Mistake,” the saga of Empire Stores, and how Buttermilk Channel got its name.

We also visited the most dilapidated and depressing home in Brooklyn Heights, considered why Kingston and Brooklyn avenues still don’t have bike lanes, and asked “should NYCHA lease land on public sites to private developers?”

(more…)