09/22/14 4:00pm

clinton hill society walking tour

Brownstoner columnist Suzanne Spellen will lead a walking tour of Clinton Hill this weekend covering the neighborhood’s rich history and unique architecture. She’ll discuss everything from 19th century mansions to elegant apartment buildings. The Society for Clinton Hill is organizing the tour, which will run from 11 am to 1 pm this Sunday, September 28. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased through Eventbrite.

Photo via Society for Clinton Hill

09/22/14 3:00pm

122-134 Brooklyn Ave, SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Semi-detached row houses, with garages
Address: 122-134 Brooklyn Avenue
Cross Streets: Bergen Street and St. Marks Avenue
Neighborhood: Crown Heights North
Year Built: 1918
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
Architect: Eric O. Holmgren
Other Buildings by Architect: Evening Start Baptist Church (former LDS Chapel), Gates Ave, Bedford Stuyvesant; 189 Ocean Avenue, PLG; theaters in Williamsburg; Alku Toinen Cooperative Apartments, Sunset Park.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Phase I of Crown Heights North HD. (2007) both landmarked CHN historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places (2013)

The story: These are among the last single family houses built in Phase I of the Crown Heights North historic district. They were built right at America’s entrance into World War I, a watershed moment in the country’s national psyche. By the time the war was over, New York City had lived through not only war, but also an influenza pandemic, the worst subway disaster in the city’s history, and the rise of a growing middle class, dancing its way to the Roaring Twenties. Much of that middle class was settling in Brooklyn.

This particular row of houses consists of two pairs of semi-detached houses, and a single house at the end of the row, this one in the middle of the block between Bergen Street and St. Marks Avenue. They were designed for developer Harry Hanson by Eric O. Holmgren, a Swedish-American architect who enjoyed a long career here in Brooklyn. (more…)

09/22/14 2:00pm


Urban farm stand Bread Love Weeksville is hosting a series of events this fall called Sunday Dinners. The events take place from 2 to 6 pm Sundays at the Weeksville Heritage Center at 1698 Bergen Street starting yesterday and continuing through October 12. The menu changes each week.

Above, a chicken dinner at Weeksville. Jerk Chicken and Fish Fry is scheduled for the 28th, a Pig Roast for October 5, and Seafood Boil for Oct. 12. Local musicians and DJs will perform. The dinners are part of the month-long collaboration between Creative Time and Weeksville called “Black Radical Brooklyn.”

As you may recall, sadly, Bread Love Cafe at 275 Stuyvesant had to close after a fire earlier this year. We’re glad to see them back in the form of a pop-up.

Photo by Bread Love Weeksville GMAP

09/22/14 1:30pm

464 marion street bed stuy 92014

This two-family for sale at 464 Marion Street is a perfect example of what we wish more flippers would do. Instead of ripping out all the detail and making it look like a new condo, these sellers have simply refinished what is there and updated the kitchens and baths.

Going by the photos, it’s in great condition with plenty of original details such as wedding cake plaster, moldings, stained glass and mantels. We especially like what they’ve done with the bathrooms, since we know from personal experience these tiny rooms work best when left mostly as is. They’ve left the old claw foot tubs but added new sinks, toilets, and tile going up to the original window.

The price of $1,150,000 is unheard of for the area (perhaps they’ll use comps from east Bed Stuy). Indeed, the house traded for $325,000 last year. (Another agent also has it listed for $995,000.) But we wouldn’t be surprised if they get it, since this is just what buyers say they are always looking for. If they do, it will surely set a record for Ocean Hill.

464 Marion Street [Keller Williams] GMAP

09/22/14 12:58pm

130 jackson street east williamsburg 92014

This listing at 130 Jackson Street is a good reminder they don’t make ‘em like they used to. The Civil War-era foundry sports some of the most impressive wood columns and beams we’ve ever seen and the ceilings on the ground floor of this apartment are a generous 13 feet high. There’s technically only one bedroom but the lower level space, dubbed the “spa room” in the listing, is clearly usable as a sleeping chamber. Finishes look high-quality and modern. Asking price? $1,536,000. There happens to be an open house Tuesday from 5:45 to 7:15 pm.

130 Jackson Street, #1B [Corcoran] GMAP

09/22/14 12:15pm

1174 jefferson avenue bushwick 92014

Considering the way prices have risen closer in to Williamsburg, you could do worse than this recently renovated four-bedroom, two-bath upper duplex in the outer reaches of Bushwick. There is quite a bit of original detail left, including decorative fireplaces, moldings and a nice wooden staircase. The 1,750-square-foot apartment has new hardwood floors, updated bathrooms, a new kitchen with a dishwasher, and separate living and dining rooms. There’s also shared laundry and a backyard. It’s about two blocks from the Halsey J stop. Do you think it’s a good deal for $3,000 a month?

1174 Jefferson Avenue, #2 [Corcoran] GMAP

09/22/14 11:30am


With live bands and art set in a field with a beautiful garden next to great architecture AND historic houses open for tours, the opening party for “Funk, God, Jazz, and Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn” at the Weeksville Heritage Center Saturday was pretty much the most exciting couple of hours we have experienced in Brooklyn. Enjoy the photos and try to catch some of the exhibits, which will be running at several sites around Bed Stuy and Crown Heights for a month.  (more…)

09/22/14 10:45am


As Skanska and Forest City prepare to meet in court tomorrow, Atlantic Yards Report has unearthed documents that detail a long list of problems with the construction of the modular tower, B2. To make a long story short, the tower could leak.

In more detail, there have been lots of problems with the alignment of the modules, according to Skanksa. For example, one problem is the tolerances between match plates, which tie together the modules. The original drawings called for a 1/4 inch tolerance but in the field the bolt holes only allowed a tolerance of 1/16th of an inch. To correct this flaw, the holes were enlarged, but apparently they became too big (1 and 3/4 of an inch), which “created the potential” for misalignment, according to the documents. The factory in the Navy Yard was also too small to allow for efficient production.

A hearing for a preliminary injunction to reopen the factory takes place tomorrow morning in Manhattan. Click through to Atlantic Yards Report for tons more insight on the construction issues Skanska is alleging. Also, the problems with the modular construction could freeze lending for modular projects in the area, according to a story in The New York Daily News.

Skanska Warns of Possible Leaks in B2 Modular Tower [AYR]
As B2 Tower Sits Unfinished, Debate Over Modular Construction Rises [NY Daily News]

09/22/14 10:00am


In the two years since Barclays Center opened its doors, 100 local businesses have closed, and chains like Shake Shack have arrived on Flatbush Avenue and nearby. (Opening soon: Doughnut Plant and Patsy’s Pizza). But some small businesses have survived and prospered by learning how to capitalize on game nights and concerts, according to a report in the Commercial Observer.

The owner of Cake Ambiance, the five-year-old dessert spot at 452 Dean Street, said the shop has gotten 20 to 40 percent more foot traffic since Barclays Center opened. He lures customers from the arena on game nights by offering free samples.

Two doors down, the little Italian cafe Broccolino has seen more business before and after events at the arena. Owner Giuseppe Piazzolla claims his local customers don’t mind the crowds from the stadium, because they come between 7 and 10 pm — when the game or the concert is happening. Business has been so good that he plans to open a pizzeria in the vacant storefront next door.

Two Years After the Barclays Center Opened, Which Local Businesses Have Won and Lost? [NYO]

09/22/14 9:30am

625 fulton street 10 metrotech demo 92014

Forest City Ratner has finished demolishing the hulking candy factory turned office space at 10 MetroTech Center on Fulton Street in Fort Greene. The developer plans apartments on the large site between Hudson Avenue, Rockwell Place and Dekalb, but no new building permits have been filed yet.

Demolition began last year for the seven-story building, which was built in 1963. At various points in its history, the IRS, Human Resources Administration and the DMV all had office space there. The property at 625 Fulton Street is 62,472 square feet, and a building as large as 624,720 square feet can be built on the lot, according to PropertyShark.

10 MetroTech Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP