07/25/14 10:45am

Prospect Park Lake composite

A Look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Because it was so carefully planned and executed almost 150 years ago, Prospect Park today looks as if it had always been there. Which, of course, was the whole idea. If you don’t know the park’s history, you could easily think that all that needed to be done was to enclose the park with a fence, cut some roads and pathways, build a couple of bridges, follies and a grand entrance or three, and mow the lawn. But in reality, Prospect Park is as constructed as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Both look real, and permanent, and in effect, are, but every aspect of both the park and Hogwart’s School has been carefully thought out and crafted.

After Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted finished Central Park in 1857, Brooklyn wanted a grand park too. The two cities were still fierce rivals, while also co-dependent on each other. Brooklyn’s city fathers came up with a park committee whose president was one of Brooklyn’s leading citizens, James S.T. Stranahan. The committee gave the job of designing the park to Egbert L. Viele, the Charlie Brown of landscape engineering. He had been the Chief Engineer of the Central Park project until Olmsted and Vaux came up with a better design and replaced him. (more…)

07/25/14 10:00am

399 4th avenue gowanus schematic 72014

We found this schematic for a hotel on the fence at 3rd Avenue and 6th Street, a block from Whole Foods in Gowanus. Globiwest Hospitality is building the six-story boutique hotel at 399 Third Avenue, as DNAinfo reported last year. It will have 58 rooms spread across 19,127 square feet, as well as four parking spaces, an exercise room and a meeting room, according to new building permits filed a year ago. Michael Kang Architect is the architect of record.



The problem-plagued building designed by architect Robert Scarano at 165 West 9th Street in Carroll Gardens is still empty and its future uncertain. The last we reported on the matter, back in October, it seemed the city was on the verge of awarding a contract to shelter operator Aguila Inc. to turn the 10-unit apartment building into housing for 170 homeless men. The plan had been vehemently opposed by the community and local politicians who, after numerous meetings, rallies and a lawsuit, signed a petition, sent in written statements, and testified in person against the shelter at a routine city contract hearing October 17.

Then we heard nothing more. We happened to pass by the building recently and saw a vacate order tacked to the door, dated November 7. (more…)

07/25/14 9:00am


PS 261 in Boerum Hill has a garbage problem, say local residents who are getting tired of seeing, and, this time of year, smelling, trash strewn in front of the school. According to DNAinfo, the school, at 314 Pacific Street, has been leaving piles of garbage bags out on the sidewalk for years. One 21 year-old woman the reporter spoke to remembers avoiding the stacks of refuse on school’s side of the street when she was just 9 years old. (more…)

07/25/14 8:30am


Greenpoint Commuters, Already Scrambling, Brace for 5 Weeks Without G Train [NY Times]
Hey, Mister, I’ve Got a Park I can Sell You [NY Times]
Rise of Residential Towers in Downtown Brooklyn Could Put a Dent in Rents [NY Daily News]
Pulitzer Poet Immortalizes Atlantic Avenue, Talks Brooklyn Development [Observer]
413 Bergen Relaunches Sales [Curbed]
Off-Market Bed-Stuy 3-Family: Malcolm X Boulevard
[BK to the Fullest]
REBNY’s Influence Over Cuomo Laid Bare [The Real Deal]
Explore Newtown Creek By Bike This Weekend in Free Tour [DNAinfo]

07/24/14 4:30pm

werc mural srb brooklyn 72014

Far Behind, or Right on Time? Nostrand Avenue Construction Timetable Unclear [Brooklyn Brief]
Pavilion Pizza Coming Soon to Space Next to Movie Theater [South Slope News]
Gentile: 86th Street Repaving to Begin Monday [Bensonhurst Bean]
Greenpoint Ferry-Dock Repair Down to the Wire as G Cutoff Looms [Brooklyn Paper]
Greenpoint Sludge Tank Is History [Greenpointers]
“Bushwick” Lettering on Vandervoort Place Is Gone, “Zude” Takes Its Place [Bushwick Daily]
Greenpoint’s No. 7 Sub Shop Is Becoming a Full-on Bar [Eater]
Demolition at China Dragon as More Businesses Merge on Cortelyou Block [Ditmas Park Corner]

07/24/14 4:00pm

brooklyn bridge park baylander

Brooklyn Bridge Park is now offering free tours of a 50-year-old naval ship docked at Pier 5, the Baylander IX-514. The tours aim to highlight the ship’s history, in addition to promoting the park’s under-construction marina. The 131-foot vessel first saw service in Vietnam in 1968. Since 1986, helicopter pilots in training have used the ship as a landing pad, and it’s seen 120,000 successful landings in the last 16 years. You can tour the ship Saturdays between 10 am and 4 pm and Sundays from 10 to 2 pm through Labor Day.

Photo via Brooklyn Bridge Park

07/24/14 3:00pm

530 Eastern Parkway, former Kameo Theater, SSpellen

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Throwback Thursday: An old post revisited, with an update

Name: Philadelphian Sabbath Church, formerly Kameo Theater, formerly Cameo Theater
Address: 530 Eastern Parkway
Cross Streets: Corner Nostrand Avenue
Neighborhood: Crown Heights South
Year Built: 1924
Architectural Style: Egyptian influenced Art Deco
Architect: Harrison Wiseman
Other Buildings by Architect: Our Lady of Vilnius Church, Yiddish Theater, 2nd Avenue, Manhattan. Also Albemarle, Alpine, Rolland, Pavilion and Loew’s Oriental Theaters in Brooklyn
Landmarked: No

The story: Way back in the early 1980s, before I moved to Brooklyn, I sang with a choir that made a guest appearance at this church. I remember I didn’t know where I was, as I didn’t know Brooklyn at all, but that the church, obviously a former theater, was very cool. When I moved to Bed Stuy and wandered over here one day, what a pleasant surprise. There it was. It turns out that the place has quite a history, too. (more…)

07/24/14 12:56pm

189 schermerhorn downtown brooklyn 72014

The high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows are the big selling points at this one-bedroom condo at 189 Schermerhorn Street (aka be@schermerhorn). The 15th-floor pad weighs in at only 662 square feet, though, making the asking price of $739,000 aggressive — especially when you consider that it traded for $425,000 in 2010. On the other hand, a 75 percent rise in value in four years isn’t out of line with a lot of other properties in the area. And those views sure are nice.

189 Schermerhorn Street, #15B [Corcoran] GMAP

07/24/14 12:15pm

122 west street greenpoint 72014

At 677 square feet, this one-bedroom condo for rent in one of the Eberhard Pencil Factory buildings is rather small for the price, but it has a clean, modern feel. The large windows at the front of the living area help brighten up the long space, and the master bedroom is spacious. The building at 122 West Street also has nice amenities, including a roof deck, extra storage and fitness center. What do you think of it for $3,100 a month?

122 West Street, #4D [Elliman] GMAP