CUNY’s City Tech students need your help to finish the solar house they are building for the international Solar Decathlon. Brownstoner received this request for support from the team’s faculty representative Jill Bouratoglou, who also happens to be one of the architects for Beastie Boy Mike D’s 242 Pacific Street townhouse in Boerum Hill. Here’s her letter:

“I am asking if Brownstoner could ask their readers to support our students who are working six days a week building a house to compete in the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in the Navy Yard. They are so close to finishing, and the house will be leaving the Navy Yard at the end of August to be transported across the country to Irvine, Calif., to compete against 19 other schools.


Standing on Barclays Center’s green roof. Photo by Chris Ryan for The Architect’s Newspaper

It must have been a disappointment to many architecture enthusiasts when they discovered that the plan to build a green roof for Barclays Center had been nixed for budgetary reasons. The roof had been part of the original Frank Gehry design — along with a running track around its perimeter — but those features were scrapped during the recession.

The resulting white top, with its big blue logo, gave the stadium a feeling of being somehow unfinished. Now, three years after the grand opening of Barclays Center, the green roof is back in play — and it looks as if all the greenery may be in place by the end of July. Fingers crossed.

The 135,000-square-foot area is in the process of being covered with a layer of sedum, a genus of flowering plants that store water in their leaves. The idea is to capture rainwater, reduce noise output, and provide a more pleasing view for both passers-by and future residents of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park highrises being built around it.

The Architect’s Newspaper recently got an exclusive tour of the roof in construction, and the photos give the otherworldly impression of a park floating above the streets of Brooklyn. (more…)

The Architect’s Newspaper got up on top of Barclays Center to see its green roof under construction. Some facts revealed in the video it shot: Barclays had to add a new truss system under the roof to support the sod and vegetation.

The roof will feature four varieties of sedum, all of which is grown off site in Connecticut, shrink wrapped and trucked in. The sedum is loaded onto pallets and hoisted by crane onto the roof.

In fact, we caught some of this action below on the street this weekend, as you can see in the photos after the jump. Construction of the roof will wrap in the fall, Forest City’s deputy director of construction says in the video.

A Video Tour of Barclays Center’s Under-Construction Green Roof [AN]
Video by The Architect’s Newspaper; photos by Cate Corcoran


In New York City, the more trees there are on the street, the wealthier the neighborhood. That’s according to a recent study published in online journal PLOS One and quoted in an article in the Wall Street Journal about trees in Brooklyn.

Trees are all over Cobble Hill and Park Slope, but rare in Gowanus and East New York, according to the story. That’s because requests for the city to plant trees “mainly came from higher-income residents, who tend to be more aware of such opportunities,” according to a U.S. Forest Service scientist quoted in the article. (more…)


Newtown Creek Alliance Historian and Brownstoner Queens columnist Mitch Waxman will lead a boat tour of Newtown Creek, pictured above, next month for the Working Harbor Committee. The two-hour tour of one of the nation’s most polluted waterways will leave from Pier 11 in Manhattan at 11 am on May 31.

A collection of guest speakers will also help narrate the tour. A separate two-hour tour of Gowanus Bay will leave from Pier 11 at 1:10 pm the same day.



The Acoustic Ecology Festival will take over the Old Stone House and surrounding park in Park Slope next week. Acoustic ecology — the study of how the acoustic environment affects those creatures living within it — has grown over several decades to include composers, sound artists and even scientists. Throughout the festival artists will perform, conduct talks and guide sound walks around the Old Stone House. (more…)

nuhart harte & company map 2013

The Department of Environmental Conservation is hosting a meeting tonight on cleanup efforts at the polluted Harte & Company factory at the corner of Dupont, Clay and Franklin Streets, Greenpointers reported. (Yes, this is the same building we wrote about this morning, whose developer wants to preserve part of the 1930s Arte Moderne exterior).

The state Superfund site has a plume beneath it made of phthalates — liquid plastic chemicals — up to five feet deep in some areas. And apparently the plume is moving, contrary to what the developer told the Brooklyn Eagle. This is a map of the plume made in 2013, via Greenpointers. (more…)


More than 1,000 homes and businesses in Brooklyn lost power yesterday morning, due to salt water runoff causing corrosion and manhole fires. In fact, there were 82 “manhole incidents” in Brooklyn Wednesday, according to DNAinfo.

Crown Heights seems to have had the worst of it, with 157 customers out. In Dyker Heights, 123 homes and businesses lost power near 69th Street and 12th Avenue. Service has already been restored to most areas, and only about 50 customers are without power now, according to ConEd’s map.

It’s going to snow all day until about 7 pm, and Brooklyn could get four to eight inches, according to the National Weather Service. Schools are open though. We hope for more springlike weather after the time change this weekend.

Four to Eight Inches of Snow Possible by Thursday Evening in Brooklyn [Eagle]
More Than 1,000 Homes Lose Power in Brooklyn [DNA]

barclays center roof 1 22015

The Barclays Center is finally getting its 130,000-square-foot green roof. Blogger and Halstead broker Andrew Fine snapped these photos of the roof’s steel frame being installed yesterday. The sedum-covered structure will reportedly help deaden sound from particularly loud concerts, which have led to complaints from neighbors in Prospect Heights. The pricey roof was part of the initial plan for the building, but was scrapped years ago to save money. Click through to see more of the roof and all the cranes surrounding the stadium.

Barclays Center Green Roof Gets Framed, B2 Tower Still Largely Dormant [A Fine Blog]
Barclays Revives Green Roof Plan [Brownstoner]
Photos by Andrew Fine



Batten down the hatches. A “crippling” and “potentially historic” blizzard, to quote news reports, has already started. (Will it eclipse the blizzard of 1888, we wonder? That one dropped three feet of snow officially, although pictures show drifts over people’s heads and up to parlor floors in places.)

Today’s blizzard has already been downgraded from three feet to two feet, but the mayor says subways could close by 3 pm and the subways look likely to stay open this afternoon, though Cuomo has warned public transportation shutdowns could start earlier than anticipated. Transit officials will update at 1 pm.

We’re wondering if Community Board 9 will postpone its meeting to reword the request for a zoning study tonight, a meeting everyone has been waiting for. Tonight’s Gowanus Canal CAG meeting has been postponed, according to an email we just received from the group.

Are those of you with a commute to work or school thinking of putting in a half day or are you just staying put?

Brooklyn Prepares for Historic, Dangerous Blizzard [Eagle]
Crippling and Potentially Historic Blizzard Targets Brooklyn [News 12]
Brooklyn’s Great White Hurricane [Brownstone Detectives]
Photo from Brooklyn Museum via Brownstone Detectives

greenpoint environmental education center

The Brooklyn Public Library has received a $5,000,000 grant to build an environmental education center on top of the Greenpoint Library, according to a press release. The library has released some interesting renderings and plans for the project, which will add two more floors and a public roof deck to the single-story library located at 107 Norman Avenue. The 6,500-square-foot Greenpoint Environmental Education Center will feature a community composting space, a greenhouse with herb gardens, wind turbines, native plants, event space and classrooms.

The design from Beatty Harvey Coco Architects adds lots of windows and plantings to the one-story brick building with a mansard roof, built in 1973. In addition to the large public roof deck, the renovation will add a smaller roof terrace on top of the first floor. The LEED Silver-certified environmental hub will incorporate a host of “green” building materials, including rooftop solar panels, rainwater collection, energy efficient windows and high efficiency heating and cooling systems.

This funding comes from the Greenpoint Community Enviromental Fund, a state-run program that manages the $19,500,000 settlement awarded to the state over the ExxonMobil oil spill in Newtown Creek. Last month, Greenpoint residents voted on the second round of community projects vying for a piece of the settlement, and the library’s education center is one of the six proposals that won.

Click through for floorplans and an aerial rendering. There will be an opportunity for public feedback on the design and the programming.

The project is expected to wrap in 2018. What do you think of it?

Renderings by Beatty Harvey Coco Architects via BPL; photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark