Brooklyn New Year's Day Celebrations and History

1910 New Year’s Eve party in NYC. Photo via Ephemeral New York

For those following the Gregorian calendar, and that’s most of us, that magic moment when the old year ends in the last seconds of 11:59 on December 31, and the new begins at midnight on January 1, is celebrated with music, fireworks, noise makers, parties and a kiss.

And thus it has been for centuries, with Brooklyn being no exception. (more…)

Brooklyn Heights Townhouse Renovation by Lorraine Bonaventura

This classic 1850s brick row house — one of five identical structures on a North Heights block — was quite a gem even before its extensive renovation.

In the hands of the same family for 70 years, until it was bought by a couple of British ex-pats in the art business, it had suffered decades of benign neglect.

Beyond that, “it hadn’t been touched, it hadn’t been chopped up, and the details, although needing a lot of work, were somewhat intact,” said Brooklyn Heights–based architect Lorraine Bonaventura, who was hired to make the house sparkle again. (more…)


Real Estate Advice Brooklyn Renovation

Not sure whether you should put in an offer on a brownstone with un-permitted repairs? Don’t know how to explain to your 8-year-old why that couple next door is making those funny noises?

Chances are someone else in Brooklyn or beyond has been in a similar situation, and that’s what the Brownstoner Forum is here for. Every day our readers are answering one another’s questions. Read on for the issues that got the most attention in 2015. (more…)

Menachem Stark 120 S 4th St Williamsburg
Mystery Deepens Around Murdered Landlord’s Unstable ‘Burg Building
Strange real estate happenings in Williamsburg: A contractor has discovered the Department of Buildings has no plans on file for the luxury rental at 120 South 4th Street that experienced an emergency vacate order last month because of structural problems. Or, to be more precise, the DOB does have plans on file — but they are for another building. (more…)

Brooklyn Christmas Tree Society -- Lena Sittig Legacy

1907 photo via Brooklyn Eagle

Beginning in the 1890s and for nearly 40 years after, the Brooklyn Christmas Tree Society brought holiday cheer to Brooklyn’s underprivileged children, treating them to a huge meal, gifts and musical performances.

The annual tradition was founded by a woman named Lena Wilson Sitting, whose legacy of generosity and holiday spirit deserves remembering around this time of year. (more…)

Plumbing Job -- Can It Be Done in Phases?

A Brownstoner reader is looking to buy a brownstone that needs a plumbing upgrade.

jb1984 says:

I have an offer in on three story, two family brownstone whose mechanicals are, well, not that great. It seems the average cost for all new plumbing for such a house are coming in at about 40k. Is it possible to redo the plumbing for the first two floors, ignoring the third to save money? There’s a kitchen and a bathroom on the top floor that I could, in theory, shut the door on and ignore for a few years until I could come up with the cash to redo.

Does all the building’s plumbing need to happen at once, or can they hold off on some of it for now to save money? Commenters are on board with this idea — if you’ve had a similar experience, share your thoughts over in the original post.

Need a professional opinion? Try Brownstoner Service Pros.

[Photos via Flickr and Flickr]

Carroll Gardens Brooklyn Townhouse Renovation

A series of perplexing decisions confronted architect Drew Lang of Lang Architecture as he masterminded the renovation of a dark and dreary sliver of a brownstone, formerly three apartments, and turned it into a bright and airy dwelling for a family of former Manhattanites. (more…)


Photo by Barbara Eldredge

Can visitors to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade still see the breathtaking view of Manhattan they have enjoyed since the Promenade was created in the 1950s? Or has the Pierhouse development ruined it — and if so, can anything be done about it now?

Two community groups have filed yet another suit against Brooklyn Bridge Park and developer Toll Brothers, claiming Pierhouse is in the wrong but that it’s not too late to make things right. (more…)