Tour group Jane’s Walk will explore the architecture of Prospect Lefferts Gardens next month. “Must See PLG: The Prospect Lefferts Gardens Landmarked District in a Nutshell,” will focus on the landmark district, where neo-Renaissance, Romanesque Revival, neo-Federal and Tudor architecture abounds.

Local resident and tour leader Laura Charelian will also discuss controversial new construction, height limits, and new housing options as well.  (more…)

385 Jay St. S.Spellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former row house
Address: 385 Jay Street
Cross Streets: Willoughby and Fulton Streets
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Year Built: probably late 1850s-60s
Architectural Style: probably Italianate with many alterations
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: In 1887, this odd numbered side of Jay Street had a row of six brownstone row houses on it, as can be seen on the map below. They took up all the lots on the block except for the corner lots on Willoughby and Fulton. Like much of downtown Brooklyn at this point, Jay Street was an amalgam of buildings.

The brownstones, which were built when this was a fashionable residential part of town, were slowly disappearing. They were replaced by newer, taller and larger buildings; mostly stores, theaters and banks, or they were altered and used for other purposes.

Unlike today, the Victorians were not in the habit of letting a perfectly good building go to waste. (more…)

Sylvan Electric Baths composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

For as long as mankind has been around, we’ve been trying to find ways to alleviate our aches and pains. In late 19th and early 20th century America, advances in science combined with ancient cures had been shown to produce results.

Mineral and hot springs baths were one popular way to sooth aching limbs and calm agitated organs. The resort towns of Sharon Springs, Saratoga and other locations in upstate New York were popular places to get the cure. Fortunes were made by spa owners, and entire towns dedicated to hosting the guests of these spas flourished for many years.

But you had to have time to go there, and you had to be wealthy, or at least well-off. Didn’t everyone deserve to benefit from nature’s cures? And if you lived in New York City, wouldn’t it be great if there was a place in the city itself where you could take a treatment, and then walk back out onto the street and continue your busy day? Some savvy entrepreneurs thought so, and decided to bring the spa experience to Brooklyn. (more…)


For years now, an anonymous Brooklyn Heights resident has been taking his frustration with the U.S. Postal Service to the streets. Graffitied mailboxes outside his front door remained tagged, even after he submitted unfulfilled requests to the department for refurbishment.

All of this led the sort-of street artist to take matters into his own hands and personally restore them. He estimates he’s repainted about 20 pieces of public property in recent years, including mailboxes, lampposts, call boxes, tree guards, and bike racks.

He’s been profiled in local media and is well-known in the Heights for his efforts, which are technically illegal. Here’s a peek at some of his best work, and what some of it looked like before he “tricked out” chosen objects. (more…)


Big changes are in the works for Pavilion movie theater, a beloved Park Slope institution that has been showing signs of wear. (In recent years it has been in the news for bedbug infestations.)

Developer Hidrock Realty plans to turn the movie house at 188 Prospect Park West into a 24-unit apartment building, but will leave the exterior intact and possibly include a new movie theater in the retail space as well. The developer, which has owned the building since 2006, filed an application for an alteration permit Wednesday, The Real Deal reported. (more…)

pierhouse 1 1272015

Community group Save the View Now this week sued developer Toll Brothers and Brooklyn Bridge Park over the height of the Pierhouse hotel and condos, now under construction in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The group alleges the height of the buildings has illegally violated the park’s own General Project Plan. State Supreme Court Justice Lawrence Knipel issued a temporary restraining order preventing construction on a section of the development south of the Squibb Bridge, the group announced Thursday.

The details are complex, but suffice to say at issue is whether or not the three-building condo and hotel development at 60, 90 and 130 Furman Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park is blocking views of the Brooklyn Bridge in violation of any laws.

Brownstoner broke the story in September that the northernmost part of the development, 1Hotel at 60 Furman Street, has angered preservationists because it is, in fact, blocking a view of the Brooklyn Bridge a 2005 agreement between the park and another community group, the Brooklyn Heights Association, sought to protect.

But — whether or not the height of the three buildings violates any laws is another question — and one this lawsuit seeks to answer. (more…)


The countdown to the Red Hook Criterium has literally begun: A timer on the event’s site lets visitors know exactly how many days, hours and minutes are left before the race kicks off this Saturday. The grueling and competitive track bike crit will draw entrants who run the gamut from professional road racers to bike messengers, all of whom will test their handling skills and fitness levels on fixed gear track bicycles.

“It’s the most exciting cycling event I’ve witnessed,” four-time champion Neil Bezdek told us. “It cuts across cycling subcultures by attracting all types of athletes and transcends cycling culture by appealing to a mainstream audience.” (more…)

649-651 Myrtle Ave, CB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Wood-framed store buildings with apartments above
Address: 649-651 Myrtle Avenue
Cross Streets: Franklin and Skillman Avenues
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: Before 1872, probably late 1860s
Architectural Style: Italianate
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: Although we hold up the Brooklyn brownstone as the building block of our city, in truth, buildings like this built Brooklyn. These were the types of buildings that lined the streets in the 1840s, when Walt Whitman was rhapsodizing about his city.

These simple two story wood-framed buildings, with a store on the ground floor and an apartment above lined our commercial streets until well after the Civil War. The fact that any of them have survived anywhere in this constantly changing city to this date is amazing.

Most of this commercial block probably looked like these two houses when they were built, probably in the 1860s. By the 1880’s the twin wood-frames were surrounded by brick and brownstone buildings. Somehow, they survived, probably because they were constantly in use.

The addresses start to appear in 1872. 649 is listed in a city directory as the location for a grocery store owned by Joseph H. Corliss. He and his family lived upstairs. (more…)


Another cafe has opened in east Bed Stuy. Butch & CoCo Cafe’s weekend brunch menu includes cheddar and blue cheese sliders, chicken tacos, and red velvet waffles and fried chicken. The spot also serves bagels, eggs and sausage, a “tlt” sandwich with turkey bacon, french toast, and a spring salad with artichoke and cucumber.

“It is easy to miss because the signage is not that eyecatching, but their limited menu is super delicious (mostly tacos and sliders),” a Brownstoner reader who lives nearby told us. Inside there is counter seating at the window and reclaimed wood around the main counter and the walls.

T Roc Homestyle Cooking opened nearby on Ralph in October, and Manny’s reopened on Patchen the same month.

For now Butch & CoCo is open only on weekends from 9 to 6:30 pm, workers told us when we stopped by. They deliver. The address is 153 Howard Avenue.  GMAP (more…)


Just listed is this two-bedroom parlor and garden level duplex in an 1890s Neo-Grec townhouse in Bed Stuy. Many original details remain, including wood work, window shutters, decorative fireplaces with colorful tile, and ornate plaster work.

In addition to 1,900 square feet of interior living space, there is a private garden and a deck. The one bathroom is located on the garden floor, in the extension.

What do you think of the $4,000 ask for this Bed Stuy location?

191 Hancock Street, #1 [Park Property Advisors] GMAP
Photos by Park Property Advisors (more…)


Workers were sprucing up the storefront for rent at 112 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights when we walked by yesterday morning. The wood trim around the front door and windows on the lower level have been primed and are being painted green.

The vacant storefront looks a tad more inviting, although inside there is still some trash and construction materials scattered sbout. This prime retail spot has been vacant since Starbucks relocated further down Montague Street to No. 134 way back in 2012. (more…)