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

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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…)

04/23/14 10:00am

Seven homes out of nine have sold at the Townhouses of Cobble Hill development, according to a PR rep. The Landmarks-approved modern-yet-contextual houses at 110-126 Congress Street went on the market in May for $3,650,000 to $4,200,000, and only 110 and 114 are still available.

The four-bedroom, five-bath house at 110 Congress has 3,318 square feet of interior space and a 485-square-foot roof deck and is asking $3,900,000; the one at 114 has three bedrooms, five baths, 3,630 square feet of interior space and a 694-square-foot garden for $3,850,000. Construction should finish by the end of this year.

Designed by Adjmi and Andreoli (Adjmi was the architect of the Wythe Hotel), the project has been jointly developed by JMH Development and Madison Estates and Properties. GMAP

Rendering via Townhouses of Cobble Hill

04/23/14 9:30am

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Average rents rose 77 percent in Brooklyn while city wide real median income fell 4.8 percent from 2000 to 2012, according to a report out from the city comptroller described in The New York Post. The increases were the largest in any borough.

A story in the Times implied that meeting Mayor de Blasio’s stated goal of keeping or creating 200,000 affordable units will not fix the problem:

In an interview, Mr. Stringer said numeric goals were not enough. He noted that the Bloomberg administration spent $5.3 billion of city money and leveraged another $18.3 billion to both create new affordable units and preserve existing housing — for a total of 165,000 units over 12 years — yet the city today is still grappling with record homelessness and the loss of low-rent housing.

A separate story in the Post described a young woman paying only $1,256 a month in rent for a spacious two-bedroom rent stabilized in Crown Heights — on the face of it, an excellent deal. But, with a salary of only $30,000 a year before taxes for her retail sales job, she can barely afford it. Her landlord has offered her money to move, but she didn’t take it, knowing she would not be able to find a lower rent elsewhere.

Rents are going up and wages are falling everywhere, not just in New York City. “In the rest of the nation, rents rose by 50.1 percent over the same period — hitting an average of $773 per month,” said the Post.

The comptroller’s report recommended that affordable housing in New York City should focus on the poorest, not middle income New Yorkers. What do you think should be done?

New York City Housing Push Should Aim at Poorest, Report Says [NY Times]
NYC Rents Skyrocket as Incomes Lag [NY Post]
As Rents Rise, Some Stuck in Affordable Homes With Moving Too Costly [NY Post]

04/23/14 9:00am

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Three community boards are fighting over jurisdiction of the 22 acres that make up the Atlantic Yards development. Most of the complex, which runs along Atlantic Avenue near the intersection of Flatbush Avenue, is technically in Prospect Heights, with a small section in Park Slope. But the community boards don’t exactly follow neighborhood lines, so bits of it belong to CB 2, 6, and 8.

Why it matters is not really clarified by a story examining the matter in detail in The New York Times. The CBs are responsible for things like trash pickup, liquor license reviews and noise complaints. Developer Forest City Ratner says “all the districts would share local hiring and affordable housing opportunities regardless of what happens.” A few observers say it would be easier to oppose the development if responsibility for it were concentrated in one community board.

Click through to the story for a helpful map showing exactly where Atlantic Yards is going to go. Above, the rail line portion that runs along Atlantic Avenue from Barclays Center to Vanderbilt Avenue in the snow in February. It’s eventually supposed to be covered by a platform and six towers.

A Community Tug of War in Brooklyn [NY Times]

04/23/14 8:30am

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Vet Signs Five-Year Lease in Prospect Heights [NY Times]
East River Floating Pool Set to Drop Anchor in Mid-2016 [NY Post]
As Rents Rise, Some Stuck in Affordable Homes With Moving Too Costly [NY Post]
Fort Greene Church Closing in June [NY Daily News]
McGuinness, Deadly Greenpoint Road, to Become Slow Zone [NY Daily News]
Fears Over Future of Iconic Brooklyn Heights St. George Hotel “Unfounded” [Brooklyn Eagle]
Saint Ann’s Plan is a Theater Wrapped in a Warehouse [Brooklyn Paper]
State: LICH Will Likely Close May 23 [Brooklyn Paper]
Confessions of a Finance Guy Turned Brooklyn Party Promoter [Paper Mag]
B and D Trains Not Running Between Brooklyn and Manhattan, MTA Says [DNAinfo]
Brooklyn Whole Foods Sells Produce Grown on Its Roof [NY1]

04/22/14 4:30pm

Bushwick Inlet Park Gets Nod for Sustainable Architecture [Curbed]
Meeting About Controversial North Brooklyn Boat Club [Greenpointers]
Brooklyn Bridge Park Beach Nears Completion [BHB]
Food, Entertainment and Family Fun This Saturday at the Prospect Park Fair [South Slope News]
Nostrand Avenue Street Improvements to Be Completed by June, City Says [DNAinfo]
Listings Go up for Former Police Station 72 Poplar in Brooklyn Heights [BuzzBuzzHome]
Where to Get Art Supplies in Bushwick [Bushwick Daily]

Photo by Joel Zimmer

04/22/14 4:00pm

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There will be five homes, all with gardens or landscaped decks, on The Brooklyn Heights Association’s house tour this year. Also on the program are refreshments and guided tours of the sanctuary at the historic Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims.

The tour takes place Saturday, May 10, from 1 to 5 pm. Tickets ($30 for members in advance, $40 for non members) can be purchased the day of the tour at St. Ann’s School at 129 Pierrepont Street, according to the Brooklyn Heights Blog.

There is also a “patron brunch” for $300 a ticket in the morning.  For more info about the tour, email housetour@thebha.org or call the BHA office at 718-858-9193.

04/22/14 3:00pm

142-144 Decatur St, The Decatur, SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: The Decatur
Address: 142-144 Decatur Street
Cross Streets: Corner Marcus Garvey Boulevard
Neighborhood: Stuyvesant Heights
Year Built: 1888
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival
Architect: George L. Morse
Other work by architect: Temple Bar Building – Court Street, Franklin Trust – Montague Street, Abraham & Straus annex – Livingston Street, as well as many more row houses, flats buildings, churches, and office buildings.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Stuyvesant Heights Expansion, Stuyvesant Heights HD (2013)

The story:
While the developers of our brownstone blocks were busy filling them with rows of houses, the avenues in our neighborhoods were receiving attention, as well. It was on these streets that the city allowed commercial and civic buildings, and where churches and temples often stood, as well as rows of flats buildings, many with storefronts on the ground floors.

The formal concept of zoning didn’t come into existence until the early 20th century, but Victorian city planners already had a pretty good idea how to create mixed income and purposed neighborhoods. Sensible planning could provide everyone in those neighborhoods with the amenities and services they would need to be able to live, shop, worship, and perhaps even work, within easy walking distance. That is one of the strongest reasons why today these neighborhoods are still so desirable.

The mixed use flats buildings on the corners of blocks provided excellent opportunities for special buildings. These buildings anchored the block, and were visual gateways to the homes that lay beyond them, so it isn’t surprising that very often the fine architects who designed the houses also were called on to design many of these corner buildings. Very often, if a developer could get the desired lots, he would have an architect design the corner flats building, and then tie the design into the houses as they turned the corner. Many of Stuyvesant Heights’ blocks were designed in this manner. (more…)