09/01/15 2:00pm


The Brooklyn Emerging Artists in Theater (BEAT) festival returns this fall, showcasing a diverse array of Brooklyn’s finest emerging performing artists. BEAT celebrates the Brooklyn community and its many performance spaces, and its lineup is as varied as its venues.

From September 10-19, the BEAT festival will feature nine artists performing 11 shows. The events, some free and some ticketed, will span four Brooklyn neighborhoods: Crown Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Sunset Park and Williamsburg. Below, a comprehensive guide to all BEAT performances. (more…)

09/01/15 1:00pm

Robert Graves Wallpaper Company Brooklyn History

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

If you’ve ever restored an old house and come upon 19th- or early-20th-century wallpaper, it could have been made by the Robert Graves Company of Brooklyn.

Between 1843 and 1929, the Robert Graves Company produced some of the metropolitan area’s finest wall coverings. It did it all: one-of-a-kind commissions and limited editions for interior decorators, as well as more modest mass-produced papers for middle-class homes.

Robert Graves was born in Ireland. Unlike many of his fellow Irish immigrants, he did not arrive on our shores with nothing. His father, Sir William Graves, was a well known artist. Robert came to America as a successful wallpaper manufacturer. (more…)

09/01/15 12:11pm


Today’s rental is a garden apartment in a Boerum Hill brownstone, with some charm and a nice landscaped garden out back. Listed by James Stubbs at Brooklyn Bridge Realty, the place is at 178 Bergen Street.

There’s no floor plan and photos are few, so we’re not sure of the exact layout, but it looks to be two rooms. The kitchen is in the back and off to the side, so there is room for a dining room table next to it and, presumably, a couch as well. (more…)

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…)