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Brooklyn, one building at a time.

This is one of the oldest houses in Brooklyn Heights. Its place next door to the historic Plymouth Church also assured that a lot of history passed through these doors over the years.

Name: Wood-frame house
Address: 69 Orange Street
Cross Streets: Hicks and Henry streets
Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights
Year Built: 1828
Architectural Style: Federal, with later Victorian add-ons and alterations
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: Yes, part of Brooklyn Heights Historic District (1965)

Almost Two Centuries of Architectural Changes

This Federal-style clapboard house has seen a lot of physical changes in its 187-year history. Sometime in the post–Civil War years, someone added another story to the house using a mansard roof.

There were also changes to the windows — which were lengthened — as well as the door and the railings. According to Mrs. Iago Gladston, who lived in the house in 1961, there was also a porch she had removed 24 years before when she and her husband moved in.

That porch would also have been a Victorian-era addition, but Mrs. Gladston didn’t like the way it jutted over the front steps. She was interviewed for a Long Island Historical Society article in 1961.

There was also a house next door, to the left. It was a similar clapboard house that can be seen in old photographs of Plymouth Church. (more…)

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Photo via Brotherhood Winery

There’s no burying the lede when booze is involved, so let’s cut to the chase: The Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival is almost here. During September, the Festival takes up residence at the Dutchess County fairgrounds for a weekend and offers a glimpse of the best of food and drink the Hudson Valley has to offer.

If you know the Hudson Valley at all, you know that wine is a big deal up here. Not only is the Hudson Valley home to the oldest continuously operating winery in the country (Brotherhood Winery in Orange County, depicted above), it has been growing grapes long before the Napa Valley became synonymous with the concept of American wine. The French Huguenots, who moved to the Hudson Valley to escape religious persecution at the hands of Louis XIV, started grape growing back in the 15th century and to this day, wine remains one of the region’s biggest draws.

Let’s dive into a few favorite regional wineries, and if these leave you thirsting for more, check out the HV Wine & Food Festival in September.

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Bushwick Mural House 140 Central Avenue

Bushwick’s mural-covered house at 104 Central Avenue, which seems to have launched a trend of colorful facades in Bushwick, has been sold as a development site and will be razed. The sale closed last week for $1,285,000 but has not yet hit public records.

Seller and local business owner Jeremy Sapienza was fed up with Bushwick and saw opportunity in soaring property values. He and partner Luis Velazquez plan to close the last of their two Florida-style Bushwick cafes Sunday, they announced via Facebook Wednesday.

“We’re closing because I haven’t made a dime in two years, Bushwick is a nightmare on earth full of obnoxious yuppie brats, and I’m tired. Maybe that’s not a nice angle, haha,” Sapienza told Brownstoner. (more…)

DUMBO facing downtown

You’ve heard of the 421-a tax incentive program, despised by the de Blasio administration and abhorred by many locals, who view it as an antiquated tax break no longer applicable to since-gentrified areas. 421-a, however, is not the end all of tax breaks.

REAP stands for the Relocation and Employment Assistance Program, a relocation tax credit for relocating commercial and industrial businesses, excluding retail and hotels. REAP provides business income tax credits to businesses previously located outside New York, or below 96th Street in Manhattan, that are relocating jobs to the outer boroughs or specified areas above 96th Street.

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Brooklyn Bridge, postcard 3

Here’s an updated look at the most important thing to happen in Brooklyn since Henry Hudson landed at Coney Island. Many people call it “The Great Mistake.” Was it?

With Brooklyn’s much-hyped status as the hippest place on Earth comes some nostalgic feelings about “The Great Mistake,” as many called the consolidation of New York City. On that fateful day, January 1, 1898, Brooklyn the city disappeared, and Brooklyn the “outer borough” was born. (As were the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.)

The decision to join all of the counties surrounding Manhattan into one central city was not made easily, quickly or lightly. Politicians, businessmen, city fathers and ordinary citizens argued and lobbied for or against this for almost 20 years.

Consolidating New York City took a tremendous amount of money and power, along with the consideration of business interests, tax revenues, city bureaucracies, social issues and civic identity. Some people thought it was inevitable and progressive — but for others it was the end of the world as they knew it, the Death of Brooklyn. (more…)

Brooklyn-Furniture-Maker-Wud-9

Along with artisanal beer and chocolate, Brooklyn has become an epicenter of small-batch furniture making. Design studios and woodworkers are tucked away in warehouses from Dumbo to Gowanus to — in the case of Wüd Furniture Design — Crown Heights.

There, in an old industrial building recently updated to accommodate small niche factories, Wüd produces robust, clean-lined furnishings using distinctive materials and technologies of its own devising.

Wüd got its start at the first Brooklyn Designs show in 2003. The company’s founder, Corey Springer, showed one of his earliest prototypes there: a coffee table whose top was clad in scraps of lead.

“A client loved the aesthetic and wanted to use it in his brownstone, but he was concerned about safety,” recalled Springer, who has a sculpture degree from UMass. “He said, ‘If you can find a way to make this table usable, I’ll commission one.'”

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356 Fulton St. CapOneBank, CB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Downtown Brooklyn is full of wonderful old 19th century buildings of all kinds. It also has a small collection of more modern bank buildings, most of them built in the 1960s and ’70s. Here’s one of them.

Name: Former Equitable Federal Savings and Loan, now Capital One Bank
Address: 356 Fulton Street
Cross Streets: Corner of Red Hook Lane
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Year Built: 1967-1968
Architectural Style: Neo-Formalism (perhaps stretching it a bit)
Architect: Goldberg-Epstein Associates
Other works by architect: Lincoln Savings Bank in Gravesend, public housing
Landmarked: No

Downtown Brooklyn is layered with architectural history, making it one of Brooklyn’s more interesting neighborhoods. A single block can span the distance between the years before the Civil War up until the present.

This bank building is a bit of mid-20th century suburbia right in the heart of the city.

Mid-20th Century Neo-Formalism

Adolf Goldberg and his firm, Goldberg-Epstein Associates, built suburban banks like this, as well as more anonymous-looking housing developments and other buildings. Goldberg retired in 1967, so this is one of his last buildings. (more…)

Buttermilk Channel, Jim Henderson for Wikipedia

Sponsored By The O'Connell Organization.

The O'Connell Organization is a family owned and operated real estate development business with over 150 properties in New York State.

Created By BlankSlate

Our neighborhoods all have interesting place names. The streets, thoroughfares and neighborhoods themselves are named for people, landmarks, or natural features that were a part of its history. So it stands to reason that Red Hook, with its storied past, would have some interesting street names.

Red Hook

The name “Red Hook” goes back to the city’s Dutch past.

When settlers first put down roots here, they named the area Roode Hoek because of the color of the soil, and the general shape of the land. “Hoek” means “point” or “corner.” It referred to a point that stuck out into the bay near today’s Dikeman and Coffey Streets.

The Dutch must have felt Gowanus and Red Hook to be just like home. It was a low-lying area, with streams, tidal ponds and marshes leading to the sea. They cut small canals through it, harnessed the water with windmills, and raised streets and farmland.

Centuries before a highway bisected it, Red Hook was a town apart due to the swampy land of Gowanus, and a creek which effectively cut it off from the rest of South Brooklyn. The creek was filled in long before Gowanus’ land was permanently drained for the canal in the mid-19th century. (more…)

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The long abandoned Empire Stores warehouse complex along the Brooklyn waterfront is slated to open to the public in spring 2016, but from both inside and outside the antiquated structure appears nowhere close to complete.

“It’s topped out, we’re just putting in the finishing touches over the next 30 days,” developer Midtown Equities Director of Leasing David Beare told Brownstoner on a recent hard-hat tour.

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1005 Bedford Ave, Composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

While this may look like the world’s fanciest traffic-court building, it started out with a calling more sacred than the adjudication of parking tickets. 1005 Bedford Avenue — at the corner of Lafayette Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant — was the home of Temple Israel, one of Brooklyn’s oldest Jewish congregations.

Temple Israel, established in 1869, was a place of worship and community for Brooklyn’s German Jewish residents. It held its first services in the old YMCA, located downtown at Fulton Street and Gallatin Place.

In 1872 the congregation purchased its own building, a now-landmarked church on Greene Avenue, where the community grew. By the time it had to move again after a number of years, many members of this German Jewish community were doing quite well.

Membership included wealthy merchants such as Abraham Abraham — one of the founders of Abraham & Straus — and the congregation was able to afford to commission one of the city’s best architectural firms to design a new temple. (more…)

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A Caribbean-themed bar with all sorts of inventive cocktails opened in late July at 419 Tompkins Avenue in Bed Stuy.

Lovers Rock is across the street from BBQ joint Peaches Hothouse and around the corner from Bed Vyne Cocktail but its immediate block is mostly residential and, at the moment, teaming with the construction of big apartment buildings at 410 Tompkins and 420 Tompkins.

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