07/30/15 2:00pm


The state Economic Development Corporation is holding a hearing tonight on the plan to build a pair of residential towers at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park — and both opponents and supporters of the plan will be out in force.

As we’ve covered previously, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation needs a modification of the park’s General Project Plan to move forward with proposed affordable housing in the planned 31- and 15-story towers. Community Board 2 approved the modification earlier this month; this hearing is the next step in the approval process. (more…)

07/30/15 1:00pm

Rufus L. Perry, Composite

During the latter part of the 19th century, Rufus L. Perry Sr. was one of Brooklyn’s most prominent ministers. Like most of Brooklyn’s leading Protestant clergymen, he had a doctorate, was widely published, and his sermons were quoted in the religion pages of the Brooklyn Eagle. The fact that he was African American, and had been a slave in childhood, was seen as remarkable. Chapter One of our story recounts his life.

But as remarkable as Rev. Perry’s life story and accomplishments were, the world hadn’t seen anything yet. His eldest son, Rufus L. Perry Jr., was about to break the mold.

Rufus Jr. began his life on May 26, 1868, born here in Brooklyn to Rev. Perry and his wife Charlotte. The family lived in a home in what is now Crown Heights North, on St. Marks Avenue, between Albany and Schenectady avenues.

Life for black folks in late 19th century Brooklyn was not easy. The law prohibited many overt forms of discrimination, but the reality was that most black people in Brooklyn lived on the fringe of society.

The schools and everyday life were segregated, and most African Americans were laborers or relegated to service jobs, while a small black middle and upper-middle class struggled to find acceptance and equality in the workplace and society.

The Perry family was part of this emerging black upper-middle class, which consisted of clergy, doctors, lawyers, undertakers, business owners and teachers.

Rev. Perry and his wife raised their children to believe that they were the equals of anyone. They were encouraged to aim high, and become whatever they wanted to become in the world. They should not allow other people’s prejudices to hinder their progress. Young Rufus took that to heart. He was also really, really smart. (more…)

07/30/15 12:00pm


This is a large apartment with a fairly large price tag. Located at 255 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, in the Woodrow Wilson, it’s a classic six that measures 1,440 square feet, renting for $5,000 a month.

As you’d ask from a prewar classic six, it’s nicely laid out, with a generous living room, dining room and master bedroom. There’s quite a large foyer as well, which a resourceful tenant may find a way to utilize; at the least it makes for a stately entrance.

The kitchen is a bit narrow, but it opens up into the dining room, which helps.

There are three bedrooms, the smallest roughly 7 feet by 12 feet. There are two baths, a lot of closets, and a washer-dryer.

It’s on the top floor, which means good light, no neighbors tromping overhead, and likely some nice views of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden across the street. On the subject of light: Each bedroom has only a single window, and the one in the pictured master bedroom is modest in size. (more…)

07/30/15 11:32am


An untouched five-story brownstone that had been owned by the same family for a century provided a blank canvas for CWB Architects, one of Brooklyn’s busiest specialists in high-end townhouse renovation. The 1870s structure was in dire shape when the new homeowners undertook a two-year project to convert the house, which had been chopped up into apartments, to a single-family dwelling for themselves and their two young sons.

“Nearly half the floor structure was cracked,” said Brendan Coburn of CWB. “The only things we kept were the front wall and two side walls.” The back wall and all the interior framing are new.

It was an opportunity to rethink the house from, as it were, the ground up. The 20-foot-wide building “is gigantic for a family of four,” Coburn said, “and that made figuring out how to arrange the program a bit tricky.” (more…)

07/30/15 11:31am


Sponsored By Brooklyn Bridge Realty.

We have been serving this historic community for almost 30 years. We are your neighborhood resource... for everything!

Created By BlankSlate

This five-bedroom Prospect Heights townhouse has six bathrooms, wood floors, and plenty of exposed brick. The three-story property has a potential 4,000 feet of living space and a spacious private garden (check the square footage with your architect). A large basement affords ample storage space.

Although the home is in need of renovation, its generous layout has tons of potential. Currently configured for multiple families, it can also be converted into a palatial single-family home.

The property is located on tree-lined Underhill Avenue, just two blocks from Prospect Park and steps away from Grand Army Plaza and many of the area’s favorite eateries. Nearby transportation options include the 2/3 and 4/5 express and local lines.

The asking price is $2,549,000. Click through for more pictures.

Prospect Heights Townhome [Brooklyn Bridge Realty] (more…)

07/30/15 11:02am


Following a shooting incident over the weekend, a reader sent Brownstoner this open letter to the Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, New York City Public Advocate Tish James and the 88th Police Precinct about ongoing problems with drug dealing and violence on Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill. Thompson and James live nearby, as she points out in the letter; Brownstoner has been writing about crime on this stretch for years. In her letter, she listed the addresses of buildings and license plates of cars she believes is associated with the problems. Brownstoner has deleted these from the letter for legal reasons. Here is what she said:

“Violent Crime Haven at Clifton/Grand

In light of the recent murder and shootings, I am writing in regard to
the frightening, pervasive and constant illegal activity and violence
along Grand Avenue, specifically at the corner of Clifton Place. The
drug trade here is vibrant, enthusiastic, defiant and unchecked. This
is an absolute slap in the face to the neighborhood. It’s Hamsterdam
from The Wire – brazen illegal activity of every kind conducted with
impunity. All of the players seem confident that they can operate with
no consequences. 88th Precinct, what are you doing? (more…)

382 Lefferts Avenue

Last week the application period began for 46 affordable units at 382 Lefferts Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. There are five studios, 28 one bedrooms and 13 two bedroom apartments for rent to those who meet the requirements and win placement in the lottery. The availability of the units was first reported by DNAinfo.

Studio apartments will cost $1,909 a month for those earning between $67,406 and $96,800 a year. One-bedrooms are $2,047 a month and two-bedroom units are $2,465 a month for those earning between $86,572 a year and as much as $138,080 a year, depending on the number of people living in the unit. Applications are due by September 22.

This building was a bit of a test case for the city. In the wake of the financial crisis with developments stalled, the city launched its $20,000,000 Housing Asset Renewal Program. The goal was to provide funding to developers who were unable to finish their buildings in exchange for converting their market-rate projects to affordable housing. This building was the first to accept funding from HARP way back in 2011.



Brick veneer and window glass are marching up the sides of the Oosten, the international luxury development surrounded on three sides by Hasidic apartment buildings on the waterfront in South Williamsburg. Designed by rising Dutch superstar Piet Boon, developed by Beijing-based Xinyuan Real Estate Co., and marketed to overseas Chinese, the building at 429 Kent Avenue occupies the entire block, with a total of 216 units, including 15 townhouses.

Since launching sales 10 months ago, in September, exactly half of the units — 108 — are now in contract or closed, a spokesman for the Oosten let us know when we inquired. Four are townhouses.

The in-land units — the ones with no water views — are furthest along, construction wise, and cluster along South 8th Street and Wythe Avenue. Their views are of neighboring massive brick apartments with the tell-tale stepped balconies for celebrating the harvest festival of Sukkot characteristic of this area.

431 kent avenue williamsburg 72014

A Hasidic development under construction next door to The Oosten last year


07/30/15 8:44am


Construction in New York City, Including Brooklyn, Goes Through the Roof [WSJ]
How Sweet It Is: A Ferry Visit to the Domino Sugar Site [Eagle]
Pier 6 Development Is Vital to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Future, Report Says [Crain’s]
24 Market-Rate Units Planned Near Broadway Junction in Ocean Hill: 62-68 Somers Street [NYY]
Construction Update: The Hub at 333 Schermerhorn Street, Downtown Brooklyn [NYY]
MAP: 11 New Buildings Planned for Bed Stuy’s Fulton Street [DNA]
MAP: See Where Homes Sold for Above Asking Price in Manhattan and Brooklyn [DNA]

Brownstones on Jefferson Avenue.
Brownstoner on Instagram
Photo by Cate Corcoran

07/29/15 4:56pm


Visit 1980s Brooklyn in Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” Video [Gothamist]
Hello Living! Nixes 23-Story Flatbush Tower to Flip Site for $28 Million [NY Daily News]
Attend Town Hall Meeting Regarding Rheingold, the Largest Luxury Condo in Bushwick [Bushwick Daily]
Five-Story, Five-Unit Residential Building Coming to 129 Stockholm Street, Bushwick [NYY]
GrowNYC’s Greenmarket Comes to Parkside Plaza [DPC]
Heavy Metal Yoga Changed My Life [Greenpointers]

Photo by Robert S via Flickr

2015_05_17 Pierhouse 47

You may have thought the movement to save the view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade was dead, since the lawsuit over the Pierhouse development was decided in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s favor in June, but community group Save the View Now is hoping to resurrect its case. Last week the organization filed a motion to amend its complaint and renew its motion for a preliminary injunction based on what claims is newly discovered evidence that the developer, Toll Brothers and others involved in the project misrepresented the use of the controversial 30-foot bulkhead that blocks the view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The City, Empire State Development Corp, Toll Brothers and Starwood Capital have always contended that the bulkhead, which exceeds the legally mandated building height of 100 feet but is not counted as part of the building, was needed to house the building’s mechanicals since, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, they could no longer be located in the basement. Save the View Now says it has uncovered plans that show that the bulkhead will be used for more frivolous purposes than housing mechanicals. (more…)

07/29/15 2:44pm


What book best captures Brooklyn’s zeitgeist? That’s the question on the minds of the book lovers behind the Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize, who’ve just announced the finalists for this year’s inaugural contest.

The shortlist — 15 fiction works and 14 nonfiction — was culled from nominations submitted by borough bookstores and staffers at Brooklyn’s public libraries.

The prize was created by a group called the Brooklyn Eagles, who volunteer, raise money and otherwise advocate for the Brooklyn Public Library. They’re looking to honor “authors who have lived in Brooklyn, portrayed the borough in their work or addressed themes relevant to its life and culture.” (more…)