04/24/14 8:30am


Five Men Are Charged in a Brooklyn Beating [NY Times]
House and Garden Tours in Brooklyn and Beyond [NY Times]
De Blasio Wants to Ban New Wood Fireplaces [NY Post]
Landlord Accused of Trashing Apartments Hit With Subpoena [NY Daily News]
Sunset Park Has the Best Chinatown [WSJ]
Groups Demand “Responsible” Contractors at Park and Watchtower Sites [Brooklyn Eagle]
A Guide to Hispanic Bushwick [Brooklyn Eagle]
How NYC Can Solve Its Affordable Housing Crisis [Gothamist]
Dedicated Bus Lane Coming to Utica Avenue to Ease B46 Commute [DNAinfo]

04/23/14 4:30pm

Pierhouse Starts to Take Shape Beside Brooklyn Bridge Park [Curbed]
The Apocalyptic Landscape Near the Kosciuszko Bridge Is Now Complete [Greenpointers]
Four Arrested in Williamsburg Beating of Gay Black Man [Gothamist]
Senior Housing in Bed Stuy Will Undergo $6 Million Upgrade [DNAinfo]
Crown Heights Drivers Ticketed up to 88 Percent More This Year, Police Say [DNAinfo]
Paintings by Neighbor Karen Friedland Chosen for Kings County Hospital Walls [Ditmas Park Corner]
Tie Baron Seeks to Build Five-Story Retail Development on Kings Highway [Sheepshead Bites]
Tenant Profiles in “Brownstone” Brooklyn [The Q at Parkside]

Photo by Juni Safont

The Brooklyn Greenway is expanding to Columbia Street between Degraw and Kane, and a desolate stretch of waterfront is about to get much greener. There’s already a protected bike lane on Columbia Street, but the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative is going to begin landscaping the first part of the Columbia Waterfront Park.

They’re looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with spreading compost, laying seed, and covering the seeded area with jute mats. Volunteers will work under the direction of landscape architect and ecologist Bryan Quinn.

The park is part of the Initiative’s effort to restore native plant communities and the ecosystems they support. Interested volunteers can find RSVP details here on BGI’s website. Gardeners will meet Sunday morning at 10 am at the BGI offices at 153 Columbia Street. To see what the Columbia Street part of the Greenway looks like now, click through the jump.

Rendering by Rogers Marvel Architects for Brooklyn Greenway Initiative


04/23/14 3:00pm

409-417 Grand Ave, Google Maps

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 409-417 Grand Avenue
Cross Streets: Gates and Putnam Avenues
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill
Year Built: 1909
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
Architect: John J. Petit of Kirby, Petit & Greene
Other work by architect: Houses in Prospect Park South and other Victorian Flatbush neighborhoods, commissioned homes in Park Slope, Stuyvesant Heights. Also designed Dreamland Amusement Park in Coney Island for William Reynolds
Landmarked: Yes, part of Clinton Hill HD (1981)

The story: It’s quite unexpected to come upon this group of three Colonial Revival houses on a block and neighborhood famous for its 1870s and 1880s era brownstones. Although they are a group, and share similar entryways, they are also quite different, lending one to believe that unlike most of the speculative housing in this neighborhood, these were built for three specific individuals. That would be correct. It figures, too, as the architect for this project was a man used to designing the eclectic and the different for his clients.

All three houses were built in 1909, long after the brownstones around them. They replaced other homes that stood there before. No. 409 was designed for Charles Pray, a textile broker, and one of the founders of the Huntington Country Club. They lived here for about 20 years. His house features blind round arched fanlights with laurel wreaths and splayed lintels. All three houses have their original ground floor entrances, entered by a short set of stairs.

No. 411 was built for Frederick De Mund MacKay and family. He was the most prominent of the trio. MacKay was from an old Brooklyn family, and was born in the family home on MacKay Place, in what is now Bay Ridge. He attended Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, and then went to work for the E. W. Bliss Company, a well-known munitions and machinery factory. He worked his way up to Vice President, a position he held for over twenty years. MacKay was also on the boards of several banks, charities and a member of all the right clubs. Considered one of the best-known horsemen in the city, he was also a director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (more…)

04/23/14 2:00pm


The permanent signage for Nordstrom Rack and T.J.Maxx went up on the front on the Offerman Building at 505 Fulton Street last week. Nordstrom Rack is prepping for its opening next week on Thursday, May 1.

T.J.Maxx is still “coming soon” — and it probably will be soon. We saw an ad on a bus over the weekend. Thanks to a reader for the photo.

Nordstrom Rack Opening May 1 on Fulton Street, T.J.Maxx “Coming Soon” [Brownstoner] GMAP

04/23/14 1:30pm

There’s no lack of rustic atmosphere at this carriage house at 172 Pacific Street in Cobble Hill, which is bursting with dark wood built-ins, beams and exposed brick. There’s also a lavish kitchen with granite counters and a fancy stove, a big fireplace and a heating stove.

Set up as a two-family, one of the units was a former Rental of the Day. Now the ask for the whole house is $7,995,000.

We’re pretty sure the Cobble Hill record is the freestanding Greek Revival mansion at 491 Henry, purchased for $6,750,000 in February 2013 by Rag & Bone cofounder Marcus Wainwright and model Glenna Neece. Have prices really gone up that much in a year?

172 Pacific Street [Corcoran] GMAP

04/23/14 12:57pm

Here’s a nice “authentic” loft (as the listing puts it) in North Williamsburg. The 1,750-square-foot pad at 119 North 11th Street has two real (i.e. windowed) bedrooms and a third room that could also house a bed. The wood columns and beams are the signature design elements — and the slew of big windows is another point in the win column. Asking price is $2,000,000.

119 North 11th Street, #3B [Corcoran] GMAP

04/23/14 12:15pm

This three-bedroom condo for rent in Crown Heights seems perfect for a small family or roommates. It’s in a classic Art Deco apartment building, the Woodrow Wilson at 255 Eastern Parkway, that features storage, bike parking, landscaped gardens, a doorman and a live-in super.

The kitchen has some attractive features like a dishwasher, wine glass rack, wine fridge and a breakfast bar, and it’s separate from the dining area. The apartment has 1,350 feet of space, including a large living area that’s been sectioned off by a gigantic barn door, which could be taken down to give the place a roomier feel. What’s your opinion of it for $3,950 a month?

255 Eastern Parkway, #F-11 [Citi Habitats] GMAP

04/23/14 11:00am


A mixed-use row house that looks like it will fit in well with the neighbors is going up at 202 Grand Street in Williamsburg, in what was previously an empty lot. We’re happy to see the heights of the stories are in keeping with the context. This has potential, depending on what finishes are chosen.

The new building permit calls for four stories with a restaurant on the ground floor and a one-family triplex above it. The architect is Jock Deboer.

Click through to the jump to see how the first three stories are looking. (more…)

04/23/14 10:30am

Winter has finally packed its bags, and it’s a perfect time to plant all manner of trees, perennials and annuals. It is also a great time to weed and reseed your lawn, before the weather gets so warm Bermuda grass takes over. Warmer days and frequent rains give everything a good start.

In preparation for the trip to the nursery, I figured this was the perfect time to talk about four beginner’s mistakes most people make when starting a garden.

1. The one of a kind syndrome.
Do you remember your high school class photo? Each of you with your own style, height, color, clothes, looking awkward? This is what happens when you plant one of each; every lovely plant looking awkward and lonely, with that slightly out-of-place, desperate look of a school photo. Everyone does better with a few friends, so try to find some strength in numbers. Say you plan on buying 24 plants total: Better to buy in threes, fours or sixes than 24 different plants.

2. Pushing plants out of their comfort zone.
Even plants that are adaptable do better when they are planted in the right spot (anyone who tried growing a lawn in the shade knows this). This means that in the long run, they will be stronger, look better and handle benign neglect with fortitude. If you go to a local nursery, they will sell plants that are adapted to the Brooklyn climate, and can inform you as to their needs for sun, shade and the kind of soil and drainage they require. If you order online, make sure to check that they are adapted to our zone (7b), and place them where they will be happy. (more…)