04/18/14 8:30am

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Park Slope Developer Keeps One Luxury Condo for Himself [NY Post]
Parents Fight End of Gifted Program at Bensonhurst School [NY Daily News]
Free WiFi Coming to Fulton Mall in Downtown Brooklyn [NY Daily News]
Open Letter to BP Adams: Don’t Sell off our Libraries [Brooklyn Eagle]
Contractor Bolts Traffic Signs to Trees in Williamsburg [Brooklyn Paper]
Brooklyn Led Multifamily Market in February [NY Observer]
Get Veducated With a New Park Slope Centered Vegan TV Show [FIPS]
In Brooklyn and Beyond, Hospitals Become Apartments, Bookstores Urgent Care Centers [TRD]
Ample Hills Ice Cream Store Gives Inside Scoop on Flavors With New Cookbook [DNAinfo]

04/17/14 4:30pm

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Visiting the Gowanus Canal’s Under-Transformation “Wild West” [Curbed]
EPA Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group Will Meet Next This Coming Tuesday [PMFA]
Bushwick Artist Turns Brooklyn Street Signs Into Post-Apocalyptic Weapons [Animal NY]
Food Book Fair and Pop-up Bookstore at the Wythe Hotel [Greenpointers]
Two New Tutoring Centers in the Neighborhood [Ditmas Park Corner]
Cool Tree Art on Avenue Y – Anyone Know The Story? [Sheepshead Bites]
Edge Residents Like Kid Stuff But Not Virtual Golf [Brick Underground]

04/17/14 4:00pm

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Preservationists Elizabeth Finkelstein and Chelcey Berryhill will teach a class next week on how to research the history of any wood frame, stone or brick townhouse or apartment building in Brooklyn. Making use of digitized, online resources as well as other repositories in Brooklyn and Manhattan, “Research Your Historic Brooklyn House” will cover how to research the history of a building and find what it looked like originally and who lived there. Renters and homeowners both welcome.

Particular attention will be paid to finding historic photographs to show to an architect or contractor for an exterior restoration. The class costs $25 and takes place at 67 West Street, Studio 612, in Greenpoint at 7 pm Wednesday, April 23. For more information or to buy tickets, go to The Wooden House Project.

04/17/14 3:00pm

207A-209 18th St. KL, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 207A-209 18th Street
Cross Streets: 4th and 5th Avenues
Neighborhood: Greenwood Heights
Year Built: Before 1888
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No, but these blocks should be

The story: In 1844, the city of Brooklyn voted to extend open up 18th Street from 9th Avenue, now Prospect Park West, and the Gowanus Bay. For the next 40 years, the neighborhood remained undeveloped and was a dumping ground for all kinds of things, including bodies. The body of a baby was found here in 1846, seen abandoned by a couple who drove away in a wagon. But it would not be an undeveloped scrub land for long. Industry was growing at the waterway, and after the Civil War, the blocks began to be with row houses, most of them wood framed. The blocks were relatively close to Green-Wood Cemetery, a popular tourist attraction as well as burial place; so traffic here on 18th and on the other Green-Wood Heights blocks was busier than one might think.

These two buildings were built sometime after the Civil War, but before 1888. Stylistically, I’d put them in the mid-1880s. They, and the rest of the row going towards 5th Avenue, are in place when the maps for 1888 were published. There was a wood framed house or building on the large lot to the left of 207A that is now the buff colored Renaissance Revival flats building. There was also a greenhouse complex on this side of the street, closer to 5th. Wood framed row houses dominated both sides of the block, at this point, and a large Methodist Church was in place across the street from here, up a bit towards 5th. That church is now gone Today it’s a Greek Orthodox Church.

On first glance, one might think these two buildings are an odd pair. 207A is a four story house and 209 is only three. The windows are not even lined up with each other. But they do share many similar features, and were obviously built at the same time, by the same builder. I hope to find the architect and builder one of these days. This neighborhood is not well documented. Stylistically, the house shares elements of the Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and Neo-Grec styles, with a bit of terra cotta thrown in, making it a Queen Anne catch-all confection. (more…)

04/17/14 1:30pm

Huge and on a corner, this gem of a Greek Revival house at 15 Willow Street in Brooklyn Heights was built in 1834. The proportions are impressive: It’s 25.5 feet wide with five stories and 39 windows.

It has beautiful marble and wood Greek Revival fireplaces, dentil crown molding as well as the other moldings one would expect, tall windows on the parlor floor, and pier and mantel mirrors. There are also views of the harbor and bridge. A kitchen and bath don’t appear to have been updated too recently, but they look pleasant and usable as they are.

What we can’t figure out is the floor plan: Set up as a duplex over a triplex, quite a lot of what should be spacious rooms on the parlor and bedroom floors seems to be given over to a confusing maze of halls and stairs.

Perhaps a buyer could restore the original floor plan by creating a fourplex over a garden floor rental or a single family home. The house seems to have originally had a very grand center staircase. We hope it hasn’t been ruined.

The ask is $4,250,000. What do you think of it?

15 Willow Street [Brennan Realty] GMAP

04/17/14 12:55pm

It’s rare to find a decent-sized prewar two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn Heights for under a million bucks these days, so this co-op at the St. George Tower on Hicks and Clark asking $950,000 might strike someone’s fancy. It’s not huge and it doesn’t feel as vintage-y as some prewar fans might want, but it’s on a high floor, has two real bedrooms, two real bathrooms and corner light and views.

111 Hicks Street, #15L [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP

04/17/14 12:15pm

This renovated studio for rent in a Kensington co-op is bright white, new looking and relatively spacious. The L-shaped apartment has a bunch of white built-in wall units that offer tons of storage but give the space a somewhat clinical (or very modern) look. Those little built-in tables in the living area could function as desks or shelves, and there’s a walk-in closet.

The pad also has refinished parquet flooring and a newly renovated marble bathroom, as well as central heat and A/C. The downside is that it’s a one-year sublet that requires the hassle of co-op board approval. What’s your opinion of it for $1,650 a month?

135 Ocean Parkway [Stribling] GMAP

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A real estate firm named JEMB Realty bought a parking lot in downtown Brooklyn for $38,464,188. If that seems like a staggering amount to pay for a parking lot, well, it’s located at 420-428 Albee Square, right across the street from City Point. It’s got 185,000 buildable square feet, The Real Deal reported.

That works out to be $205 per buildable square foot. No word yet on what is planned, but we’re guessing a mixed-use building. The deal closed March 26.

Morris Bailey’s JEMB Buys Brooklyn Lot for $38.5 Million [TRD]
Photo by Scott Bintner for PropertyShark

Kings County Penitentiary, 1906

On a chilly day in late November, 1905, thirty-six year old Benjamin F. Chadsey was taken to the Raymond Street Jail in Brooklyn. He had been brought back to New York from Indiana after being on the run for two years. In 1903, he faked his suicide, and disappeared on the evening before he was to go to trial on a charge of grand larceny. Chadsey had been one of Brooklyn’s up and coming legal talents, an aggressive and arrogant pitbull of a lawyer who loved his fancy clothes and his diamond jewelry. That was all showmanship, because he was also highly efficient and had a large private practice with a lot of clients. He was also a rising star in the jungle of Brooklyn politics, and was called upon often to stir up the Republican faithful with his gifts of oratory and persuasion. Benjamin Chadsey was the last person anyone would expect to be dishonest, or to run from his troubles. But here he was.

The man who had once sported bespoke suits with diamond stickpins and fingers glittering with diamond rings was now standing in handcuffs before a judge, surrounded by the police and District Attorneys who had to go out to the suburbs of South Bend Indiana to get him. The private detective, J. Edward Orr, who had tracked Chadsey down once before in San Francisco had found him again. But this was not the old Chadsey they knew. The man standing before them was sickly looking, emaciated and gaunt. He had shaved his signature moustache and would have looked years younger, had he not been looking over his shoulder for the last two years.

The judge stared down on him without a lot of pity. The charges against Chadsey were serious, but had he not skipped bail and disappeared, he probably would have been let off easy. Wealthy and well-connected men convicted of much larger thefts usually did not suffer the same consequences as those of lesser breeding. But faking your death, and thumbing your nose at the same authorities you once ate dinner with and invited to your home makes for bad feelings, and Brooklyn’s legal world was more than happy to throw the book at Chadsey. For the time being, though, they tossed him back in jail. (more…)