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…)

08/20/13 11:30am


Digging is well along at 31-37A Madison Street in Bed Stuy just over the Clinton Hill border. The site, which spans multiple lots and sold for $1,827,225 in 2011, has been dormant for years. The lot farthest east already has a foundation in, and digging is taking place on the lots to the west. In May, the developer, an LLC, was approved for three 31-foot-wide, four-story, 40-foot tall buildings with eight units each at 33 Madison, 35 Madison and 37 Madison. See an image of the foundation work at 37 Madison after the jump.

Bed Stuy Lot Sells, Development Coming? [Brownstoner] GMAP (more…)

08/19/13 12:15pm


Brooklyn high school students finished their leafy contribution to a neglected downtown Brooklyn plaza last week. Students from George Westinghouse High School worked with the design firm La Fantastica to find ways to improve the plaza off Flatbush Avenue and Gold Street. The students came up with the idea to make a 50-foot-long living green wall of plants using reclaimed materials including milk crates and salvaged wood. On Thursday afternoon the students finished planting plants in soil that is held in the shelving units in the wall — something they started back in July. In the spring they will add a device for capturing rainwater to use in irrigation and will add a vegetable garden. One student told DNAinfo: “We wanted to modernize the area and also bring some peace, quiet and beauty to Downtown Brooklyn.”

Students Team With Design Firm to Make Leafy Green Wall for DoBro Plaza [DNAinfo]
Closing Bell: High School Students Envision DoBro Plaza [Brownstoner]
Photo: Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

08/19/13 11:30am


St. Charles Borromeo Church has been very busy on Sidney Place in Brooklyn Heights. According to a lengthy story in the Brooklyn Eagle, the church is in the final stages of a $9,000,000 renovation project that included turning the rectory at 21 Sidney Place into a school and constructing a seven-foot-wide building to connect the new school to the building next door, 23 Sidney Place, which has been a high school since 2011. And the church is nearing the end of its renovation of 31 Sidney Place next to the high school. The townhouse, a former convent, will now house the rectory and parish house. All of this work is being done so the parish can rent 21 Sidney Place to the Mary McDowell Friends School, a Quaker school for students with learning disabilities that is expanding to include a high school. The seven-story sliver will house the elevator that will take students to various floors in both buildings (it will have nine stops since the floors are at different heights in each building). The sliver was originally designed to have a glass facade but the Brooklyn Heights Association was unhappy with the modern look, according to the article in the Eagle. It was changed to a brick facade that would blend in with the existing buildings and quickly received approval from the Landmarks Commission. What do locals think about the new school on their block? More images after the jump.

Repurposing Historic Structures on Sidney Place [Brooklyn Eagle] (more…)

08/16/13 12:00pm

A Stuvesant Heights townhouse at 593 Jefferson has sold for $1.8 million, significantly above the asking price. The four-story home, which was a House of the Day back in May, was asking $1,425,000. According to BK to the Fullest, every offer was above asking and the lowest was an all-cash offer at $1,600,000. When we first wrote about the Langston and Dahlander-designed home, we were wowed by its remarkable details including, “pier mirrors, a hall seat, stained glass, three wood-burning fireplaces, original parquet floors, bay windows, and plenty of wood work, including wainscoting and an intricate screen.” This was the first exclusive listing by regular Brownstoner commenter Amzi Hill. With this sale at $1.8 million, do you think the $2 million mark is far behind for this part of the neighborhood?

Stuy Heights Record Breaker Just Closed [BK to the Fullest]

08/16/13 10:45am


The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the non-profit that manages the industrial park, is getting a new president. David Ehrenberg, who is currently an executive vice president at the city’s Economic Development Corporation, will take over the organization that runs the 300 acre, city-owned industrial park. According to a release put out by the organization, “Mr. Ehrenberg and his team will oversee the development of more than one million square feet of new industrial space within the Yard, upgrading the Yard’s infrastructure, in addition to leasing and promoting local economic development through the Yard’s employment programs.” Prior to his current job, Ehrenberg was a co-head of the real estate transaction services group at the EDC and had coordinated a microenterprise program at South Brooklyn Legal Services. Thanks in part to a $250 million investment from the city, the Navy Yard has 4.5 million square feet of leasable space and and employment there has grown from 3,600 in 2001 to 6,400 today. The organization expects to create another 1.8 million square feet of space that will employ an additional 2,500 people over the next two years.

Photo: MsSusanB


Looks like the fate of the Slave Theater on Fulton Street in Bed Stuy is finally sealed. According to an article in the Daily News the theater is likely to become condos. It’s unclear from the story how the historic building will be incorporated into the development. The theater was almost auctioned off several times to cover outstanding debts and could have sold for as little as $190,000 at one point. That low price gave hope to The New Brooklyn Theater which was trying to raise $200,000 to purchase the property and use it as a community space and theater. The property, which was once a hub for civil rights activists, was part of the estate of Judge John Phillips, which is being managed by Rev. Samuel Boykin. The estate was mired in disputes over ownership of the theater and it was swimming in debt which prompted the near brushes with auction and eventually the sale. According to the Daily News, “in 2009, relatives of Phillips, who owned the theater until his death in 2008, were forced to put the building on the market to pay off more than $1.5 million in taxes and other debts owed by the estate.” In the end the theater was sold to Fulton Halsey Development Group for $2.1 million at the end of February–a sum that the family says will go entirely to cover debts. Though the developer would not comment, Rev. Boykin confirmed that the building would not remain a theater.

New Fate for Bed-Stuy’s Slave Theater [NY Daily News]
Slave Theater Auction Cancelled; Building in Contract? [Brownstoner]
Nonprofit Turns to Kickstarter to Buy Slave Theater [Brownstoner]
Foreclosure Auction Set for Slave Theater [Brownstoner]
Slave Theater Vacated, but Questions of Ownership Linger [Brownstoner]
Bed Stuy’s Slave Theater Still Looking for Buyer [Brownstoner] GMAP

Photo: Hobo Matt


Yesterday construction crews broke ground on a new moderate-income senior apartment building in East New York. The Coretta Scott-King Senior Houses, which is being built on what was a vacant lot, will have 51 units. More than half of the funding for the $13.7 million project is coming from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with the rest coming from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and various city funds. The Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council will provide services including medical and social security assistance. Residents will also be able to take exercise and educational classes as well as day trips and other outings. Units will be granted through a lottery to those who earn less than half of the area median income or $30,100 a year for an individual and preference will be given to those over 62 years old. Those who win spots in the building will pay no more than 30 percent of their income in rent.

Image: HPD

08/16/13 8:30am


Ratner Wins Bid to Redevelop Nassau Coliseum, Promises Six Islander’s Games [NY Post]
Outside the Arena Generators Rumble Through the Night: 89 Decibels?
[Atlantic Yards Report]
New Farmer’s Market Offers Healthy Alternative in Bed-Stuy
Park Slope Coffee Shop to Sell Books by Brooklyn Authors [DNAinfo]
Vintage Taxis Lure Guests to Newtown Creek-Side Motel [DNAinfo]
Central Avenue M Station Set to Reopen Friday Afternoon [NY1]
Borough Readies to Commemorate Battle of Brooklyn Week
Brooklyn Job Growth Means More Transit Problems, Challenges, Says Report [Brooklyn Eagle]

Photo: Chris Conroy

08/15/13 2:00pm


A new wine and beer bar called SIP opened at the end of July at 14 Putnam Avenue near the Putnam Triangle. The bar offers a selection of wines by the bottle or glass, eight bottled beers and four rotating beers on tap. It also serves small plates including sandwiches, an antipasto plate and sweets including marscapone cake. The owner, Elena Schiano, worked in her father’s restaurants before spending a decade working in Manhattan bars. Has anyone stopped by yet? More images of the interior after the jump. (more…)


Brooklyn’s churches often struggle to keep up with maintenance and repairs on their large, historic buildings. The Brown Memorial Baptist Church on Washington Avenue and Gates Avenue in Clinton Hill has tried in recent years to raise the funds to fix a stained glass window. According to the Brooklyn Paper, one of the church’s 12 stained glass windows is in dire need of repair due to water damage. The church won a $200,000 grant, but it still needs an additional $150,000 to complete the work. “’We’re asking the community to help restore a living, breathing part of history,’” the chair of the church’s window restoration committee told the paper. It has raised $15,000 from the congregation so far. Even churches in Park Slope, where presumably those in the congregation have more resources, haven’t been immune. The Old First Reformed Church on Carroll Street and Seventh Avenue, one of the oldest in the borough, closed its sanctuary in 2011 when the ceiling looked as if it were about to crumble. The church raised $200,000 but has yet to find an architect to do the work. As we reported back in 2012 when the church was seeking $700,000 for repairs, “plaster panels must be reattached to more than a half-mile of wooden supports with new fasteners, and the process will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take months to complete.” So many Brooklyn blocks are anchored by historic churches, but with dwindling congregations, many of them are hard pressed to fund expensive repairs on their historic buildings leading to situations like the uncertain future of Fourth Avenue’s Church of the Redeemer, the collapsing roof on a Crown Heights church in 2012 and sales to developers resulting the loss of historic interiors.

Come Hell or Falling Plaster: Brooklyn Churches Struggle to Keep Out The Elements [Brooklyn Paper]

Photo: Wikepedia