03/30/15 2:00pm


Looking to make an offer. Question about oil heat

My wife and I are looking to make an offer on a two-family. The building currently uses an oil heating system. Our broker has asked the seller for records for oil purchases so we can get an idea of the cost of heating, but we haven’t been updated.

I’ve done a lot of digging around these forums, and have seen some posts with people on the high side saying their costs of oil heating was in the $1K/month range for a similar home, so it could be a significant part of the financial calculations.

The seller has asked for a best-and-final offer we are generally inclined to make one. However, the unknown of the oil heating question has us a bit concerned. Is it unreasonable for us to push harder to get this number before making an offer? Or would you guys recommend any other strategy for handling this unknown? (more…)

03/30/15 1:00pm

194 macdonough street 1

When 194 MacDonough Street was built, it was one of the fanciest row houses in Stuyvesant Heights. Now it looks like it still has most of those original details, at least on the parlor floor, but will take a lot of work to restore.

Much of the parlor floor seems to be covered in paneling, which probably means extensive plaster restoration will be needed, going by the photos. Still, the staircase, wood work, and wood mantels with Minton-style tiles are all extraordinary.

An LLC bought it for $760,000 from an estate in December. Now the new ask is $1,775,000. Think they will get it?

(By the way, the previous owner shared a name with the judge who owned the Slave Theater, but it is not the same man.)

194 MacDonough Street [Elliot Nicks] GMAP


03/30/15 11:00am


A highly anticipated installation at the Flatbush Trees will happen May 18 through May 22, artist Dave Eppley told Community Board 9 last week. Eppley has been working for the last six months with students at a nearby school to design flower bouquets made out of sign vinyl that will be applied to the dilapidated 1970s-era tree sculptures, located at the intersection of Ocean Avenue, Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard, right across from Prospect Park.

Apparently made of concrete and some other weather-impervious material, the tree-shaped sculptures also serve as a street signs and mark a park entrance.

A sign maker by trade as well as an installation artist, Eppley said he does not expect the decorations to last more than a few years, and that is intentional. “I hope another artist will adopt [the Trees] as their own in a year or two,” and do something else with them, he said.

03/30/15 9:00am


The long-empty and boarded-up apartment house at 889 Bushwick Avenue — it was built in 1919 and for years has sported a spray-painted “roof off” warning to city workers – is being repaired. When we stopped by Saturday, it looked from the sidewalk as though the interior had been completely gutted.

A permit says the scope of work is “removal and replacement of damaged floor joists, roof joists, and structural stabilization.” It had 24 apartments in the past, and will have 24 apartments again when the work is done.

The owner is David Cohen of Bushwick Realty Holding, which purchased the building and its neighbor at 871 Bushwick Avenue, in April 2014 for $15,000,000. That building, formerly the Menorah Home for Aged and Infirm, is being converted to a “nonprofit/philanthropic” with “sleeping accommodations” for 113 people, according to the alteration permit.

In fact, as far as we can tell, Bushwick Realty Holding purchased the entire block. So more development could be in store for parts of it now used as parking.

The red and white brick building, vaguely neo-Classical, at 889 Bushwick Avenue was designed by architect Louis Berger & Co., according to the Bushwick Wiki. It is part of the proposed Bushwick Avenue Historic District. Click through for more photos.


03/30/15 8:30am


The Passive House in New York City (Mostly in Brooklyn) [NY Times]
Cyclone Roller Coaster at Coney Island Gets Stuck at Top of Track [NY Times]
A “Street-Level” Artist in Williamsburg [NY Times]
Russian Restaurant Masha & the Bear in Williamsburg [NY Times]
Brooklyn Bridge Closed Saturday After Gas Pipe Rupture in Heights [NY Post]
NYCHA Selling off Lots, Green Space, Playgrounds in Brownsville and Beyond [NY Daily News]
Park Slope PTA Protests Student-Handcuffing Incident [Eagle]
Before and After Photos Show Dramatic Change In Brooklyn Bridge Park [Gothamist]
A Fort Greene Townhouse With Quirky Details for Kids [6sqft]
Lefferts Gardens Still Has Grand Townhouses, Neighborly Vibes — Discounts Not So Much [NYO]
Seven Injured, Three Critically, in East Flatbush, Brooklyn Fire [CBS]
Opinion: Community Control Is Destroying America’s Cities [NYY]
Kushner et al Did Not Choose This Skyscraper Design for Watchtower Redevelopment [NYY]
Art Collective for NYCHA Youth Aims to Bridge Growing Divide in Gowanus [DNA]

Houses on Bushwick Avenue.
Brownstoner on Instagram
Photo by Cate Corcoran

03/27/15 2:00pm


Mapei or Bostik grout? Color suggestions?

What grout do you suggest for bathroom floor and wall tiles — Mapei or Bostik?

And we’re looking for a gray, similar to these photos. Does anyone know what color this could be?

And while we’re at it, what do you think of using the large subway wall tile with the octagon dot floor tile? (Click through to see the floor tile and some answers from readers.)


03/27/15 1:00pm

This week our Open House Picks consists of two outliers and two flips. The most expensive property is a single-family house in Victorian Flatbush that appears to be a custom-built home dating from the mid to late 20th century. Bargain hunters should check out the pick at the other end of the price scale, a circa-1900 neo-Colonial in Old Mill Basin. The two flips, both in Bushwick, are unusually decent, plus they also have original details such as mantels, window surrounds and stairs.

200 rugby road ditmas park 32015Prospect Park South
200 Rugby Road
Broker: Halstead
Price: $2,100,000
Sunday 1:00 – 3:00

73 cornelia street bushwick 32015Bushwick
73 Cornelia Street
Broker: Corcoran
Price: $1,200,000
Sunday 12:00 – 1:00

1163 putnam avenue bushwick 2 32015

1163 Putnam Avenue
Broker: Corcoran
Price: $950,000
Sunday 12:00 – 1:00

1457 east 58th street flatlands 32015Old Mill Basin
1457 East 58th Street
Broker: Fillmore
Price: $444,000
Sunday 1:00 – 3:00

03/27/15 10:00am


Hudson Companies just sent us this new rendering (above and below) for the 170-unit building they are planning at the corner of Nostrand and Clarkson avenues in East Flatbush. The architect for 1295 Nostrand Avenue, also known as 310 Clarkson, is Jonathan Kirschenfeld, of Floating Pool fame.

The parcel down the street Hudson just closed on (see our 9:30 am post today) will be a separate building. That one will have about 250 apartments, and the architect will be CetraRuddy, a Hudson exec told us. (more…)


A rundown and altered Second Empire-style wood frame house at 40 Cambridge Place in Clinton Hill is getting a total redo using Passive House technology. The exterior will be restored to match its twin next door, including windows that appear to be double hung, because it is in the Clinton Hill Historic District.

The missing porch and altered bay window will be restored. The inside will be retrofitted according to Passive House standards, according to DOB permits.

Right now, the whole thing is shrouded in scaffolding — as is the house next door at 46 Cambridge Place. (That may be to protect it. The house did recently have some work going on inside, but apparently it’s not related to this project.)

When 40 Cambridge was a House of the Day in 2011, we said it had lots of details in and out but appeared to need work. Click through the jump below to see what the exterior looked like in 2012 and to see the house under construction now.

The house last changed hands for $740,00 in 2011. The owner plans to obtain a new certificate of occupancy but will keep it as a two-family, according to permits.

This should be an interesting one to watch.

House of the Day: 40 Cambridge Place [Brownstoner] GMAP
Last photo below by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark


03/27/15 8:30am


Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn Rush to Buy Smoke Detectors Before Sabbath [NY Times]
Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Finances Are Being Put Under the Microscope [NY Daily News]
Brooklyn Pols Fight to Restore Millions in Budget for Teetering Hospitals [Eagle]
New Book Tells Story of Murders That Rocked 1870s Brooklyn [Eagle]
Coney Island Opening Ceremonies This Sunday [Eagle]
Inside Willow, The Darling Bed Stuy Newcomer Serving Chicken Liver Cannoli [Gothamist]
Chelsea Hotel Owner to Sell McCarren Hotel & Pool in Williamsburg [Crain's]
Permits Filed: 2579 East 17th Street, Sheepshead Bay [NYY]
Steel Truss Installation on Barclays Center Green Roof Planned for Saturday [AYR]
SoulCycle Opens New Downtown Brooklyn Location [DNA]
City Replaces Long-Missing Park Slope Walk Signal [DNA]
Recent Gang-Related Shootings Concern Prospect Lefferts Gardens Locals [DNA]

Our Lady of the Presentation-Loreto Roman Catholic Church and rectory at 1677 St. Marks Avenue in Ocean Hill.
Brownstoner on Instagram
Photo by Cate Corcoran

03/26/15 1:15pm

71 2nd street 2

Here’s a lovely brick Italianate that has been updated with a rustic — but not overly so — vibe. There are three marble mantels and crown moldings as well as some exposed beams and brick. It’s set up as rental over an owner’s duplex, and the parlor floor has been opened up. There’s also a stained-glass skylight and deck.

Two opens houses are planned for Saturday from 1 to 3 pm and Sunday from noon to 1. What do you think of it and the ask of $2,700,000?

71 2nd Street [D'Andrea Craig Realty] GMAP