In 1859, a commission was formed by the New York State Legislature, charged with finding locations for parks in the rapidly expanding city of Brooklyn. James S. T. Stranahan, a wealthy Brooklyn businessman, was president of this Brooklyn Board of Park Commissioners. Washington Park, in Fort Greene, was the city’s first park, but the city needed more. They wanted the equivalent of Central Park, the enormous greensward which had just been completed across the river in Manhattan. The commission wanted something big, and after looking at six different locations, they thought they had just the place for it.
The glacier that cut through Long Island millennia before had left a terminal moraine that sliced through central Brooklyn, creating its highest points. One of them was Mount Prospect, the site of the city’s main reservoir and its water supply. Nearby was Battle Pass, the site of the Battle of Brooklyn, during the Revolutionary War. What a great place for a park for the people, a landscaped reserve that would protect and celebrate these important locations. The park would also protect the reservoir from being surrounded by too much development. The eastern portion of the park, surrounding Battle Pass, would be perfect for attracting wealthy people to a new upscale neighborhood that could be built for them. It was perfect. (more…)
Demo started Friday for the crumbling wood clad house on Smith Street, neighborhood blog Pardon Me For Asking reported. As you may recall, the three-story mixed-use building at 159 Smith Street between Wyckoff and Bergen recently filed permits for a two-story addition, and PMFA feared its intact facade would soon meet the wrecking ball.
No permits have been filed for complete demolition of the building, meaning that the foundation and party walls or some other aspect of the building could be preserved. The house stood for over a hundred years and retained its cornice and the detail around the windows.
Click through to PMFA for some really good photos of the work in process.
As Expected, Little Wooden House on Smith Street Being Demolished [PMFA]
Photo by Katia Kelly for Pardon Me For Asking
A newly constructed rental building at 150 Broadway in Williamsburg launched leasing just before Thanksgiving and is already discounting its rents, Curbed reported. Ideal Properties is marketing the building, which has dropped asking rents on all five of its units by $50 to $450 this week.
The developer is restaurateur Vittorio Antonini, who owns La Lanterna de Vittorio and Enoteca in the Village. Rents on the no-fee apartments range from $2,800 for a studio to $5,950 for a three-bedroom with two bathrooms.
The building is new construction but has some old elements, such as the fireplaces, Curbed noted. Click through to the jump for more shots of the interior. What do you think of the units and the pricing?
150 Broadway [Ideal] GMAP
150 Broadway Launches With No Fee Rentals In Williamsburg [Curbed]
A larger than anticipated crowd of over 200 people showed up to discuss their concerns and wishes and help plan the future of Gowanus development Monday night at The Children’s School on Carroll Street. The meeting was the first of a series of public planning forums called Bridging Gowanus convened by local politicians about the ongoing development of and cleanup plan for Gowanus. The Pratt Center for Community Development moderated and presented findings from previous invitation-only meetings held over the summer.
City Council Member Brad Lander remarked that with the EPA’s Record of Decision for the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site and the impending transition at City Hall, it’s an important moment for the community to come together and establish a shared vision for the infrastructure of the low-lying and industrially polluted Gowanus area before planning begins. The consensus of the crowd was that every effort should be made to preserve the area’s socioeconomic diversity and keep it affordable for the mixed uses (manufacturing, residential, commercial, artistic) that currently exist. A number of local artists in attendance expressed fears of gentrification and said they felt threatened by the diminishing affordability of studio space. In brief, locals called for a rezoning to preserve affordability and Gowanus’ eclectic identity as a community with vibrant street life and activity.
Other issues raised included the need for a permanent protection plan against coastal disasters; it was noted that the current recovery infrastructure is insufficient to handle even regular rain. The group also said another priority is more schools and suitable health care facilities to accommodate the area’s growing residential population. They would also like the canal to be opened up as a recreational public waterway.
A series of followup meetings will be held early in 2014. In the meantime, anyone interested in joining a working group can contact info@BridgingGowanus.org.
Gowanus Residents Meeting to Create Development Plan [Brownstoner]
Brooklyn Historical Society to Present Exhibition on Abolitionists [NY Times]
City Subpoenas Secret Tapes of Alleged Crime Report Manipulation in Bed Stuy [NY Times]
With Rental Demand Soaring Across U.S., Poor Are Feeling Squeezed [NY Times]
Brooklyn Tech Program Aims to Draw Students to Science [NY Daily News]
Residents Fear Move by Two Brooklyn Post Offices [NY Daily News]
Heated Sidewalks at 101 Bedford [Curbed]
Mill Basin House With Private Marina Listed for $2.99 Million [Curbed]
How Amazon Is Using Its Brooklyn Studio to Do Fashion Right [Racked]
New Projects for 27 Woodbine and 573-583 Van Buren in Bushwick [BuzzBuzzHome]
Forest City Ratner Accused of Misleading Foreign Investors [TRD]
Historic Trolleys Return to Help Brooklyn’s Shopping Boom [NY1]
Hostel Environments: AirBnB Now Trying to Sweet-Talk Bill de Blasio Directly [Curbed]
Netting up Around Fox Savoy Theater in Crown Heights [Curbed]
Franklin Park Reading Series Year-End Bash TONIGHT [ILFA]
First Significant Snowfall of the Season Expected Tomorrow [Gothamist]
Thousands of City Homeowners Stand to Lose out on State Tax Break [Observer]
Arepas in the Afternoon [Brooklyn Based]
Why This Couple Named Their Ditmas Park Home Goods Store After Hoarders [Racked]
New Coffee Shop Palates Is a Tasty, Affordable Destination off Knickerbocker M [Bushwick Daily]
What You Need to Know to Open a Bar in New York City [DNAinfo]
NYPD Stops Releasing Reports to Journalists, Offers Map Instead [Ditmas Park Corner]
Citi Bike’s Winter Problem [Intelligencer]
Construction Fencing Goes up Around 337 Carroll [GYFO]
Park Slope Food Co-op Spreads the Wealth [Crain's]
Community Board Two will vote on whether or not to landmark the 88th Precinct building in Clinton Hill at its general meeting this Wednesday. They have said in the past they support landmarking the 120-year-old Romanesque Revival structure at 298 Classon only if a new home is built for the 88th Precinct.
“The police department has been looking for a new location for at least the last 14 years but could never find a space that’s adequate,” board member Lawrence Whiteside told DNAinfo last month. “If we landmark it now then they will be even more limited in their ability to do anything with it.”
The executive committee will also review the proposed adaptive reuse of the landmarked Empire Stores warehouses in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The meeting’s crowded agenda also includes votes on the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District Streetscape Plan and the redesign of Fowler Square.
Building of the Day: 298 Classon Avenue [Brownstoner]
Image via Google Maps
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Originally Elephant Club, now ground floor retail
Address: 1409-1411 Fulton Street
Cross Streets: Marcy and Tompkins Avenues
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: 1888
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival
Architect: 1409 unknown, perhaps Sibell & Miller, who built 1411
The story: In September of 1888, the Echo Bowling Club opened a clubhouse with bowling lanes at 1409 Fulton Street, in the fast growing neighborhood of Bedford. The club was located on Fulton Street, the main commercial street in Bedford, convenient for all kinds of banks, businesses, clubs and theaters, as well as shops. Fulton Street, as the main east-west conduit in Brooklyn, also boasted some of the best public transportation available for the day. In 1888, that would have been horse drawn trolleys, which traveled up and down the length of this important street very frequently. It was a perfect place for bowling lanes.
Bowling was very popular in Brooklyn during the last third of the 19th century. It was a sport that could be participated in by just about anyone, fitness-wise, and could easily be played by both men and women. Bowling leagues soon sprang up everywhere, especially within the memberships of the already existing sports and social clubs. The Echo Bowling Club soon became the Elephant Club, for reasons I was unable to find. It did not seem to have anything to do with politics, perhaps the owner just liked the name. The club took up the entire four story building, and included rooms for private gatherings and meetings, as well as the bowling alleys probably on the ground floor, or basement, that made it famous. Many of the bowling leagues that played here made the club their headquarters and had rooms for their meetings here.
The club was owned by a man named T.C. Carruthers, and was sometimes referred to in the newspapers as “Carruthers’s Alleys.” The manager of the alleys was a man named Thomas Curtis, and he soon became quite a figure in local bowling circles. By 1890, the club was so popular they added an addition to it, an adjoining four story building at 1411 Fulton Street, which was taken up entirely by bowling lanes and billiard rooms. The lanes were expanded and opened up to the public. The firm of Sibell & Miller was the architects, and they may have designed the original building as well, although I wasn’t able to find those records. That year, the Elephant Club had six private alleys and eight public alleys. (more…)
Urban Market opened Friday at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge at 11 Broadway. The 16,000-square-foot store is an offshoot of Key Food and aims to offer both upscale and basic items, according to a press release sent out by landlord L+M Development Partners. The store features a gourmet deli with a kosher section, a full-service seafood department, and locally sourced and organic products. It is located near some recently opened luxury apartment buildings, artisanal grocer Marlow & Daughters, and the area’s large Hasidic community. The new store has 20 parking spaces. GMAP
Photo by Urban Market
This four-story brownstone at 789 Quincy Street has a nice amount of original detail, but looks like it could use a little polishing. The listing says it’s “fully functioning and awaiting your cosmetic upgrades.” It’s in the northeast corner of Bed Stuy near Broadway and the Gates stop. How do you like it and the ask of $895,000?
This three-bedroom condo at 1 Montgomery Place in Park Slope is very impressive. The 2,624-square-foot duplex has been carved out of a former mansion and includes a 750-square-foot private garden. The layout is much more generous than what you’d find in a typical brownstone and there are lots of original details. Asking price: $2,650,000.