atlantic and washington avenue DOT

The Department of Transportation wants to make the three-way intersection of Atlantic, Washington and Underhill Avenues less dangerous for pedestrians with some safety improvements. DNAinfo reported on the agency’s presentation to Community Boards 2 and 8, both of which must approve the proposal for changes to be made.

The intersection is on the border of Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights. The plan calls for:

*Shortening crosswalks by building larger median islands.

*Building a new crosswalk between Lowry Triangle, which sits between Washington and Underhill avenues, and the north side of Atlantic Avenue. There will also be a new crosswalk between the east side of Washington and the small triangle in the middle of the street.

*Increasing the length of crossing signals and delaying traffic lights to give pedestrians more time to cross.

*Restricting left turns from Washington Avenue to Atlantic Avenue and from Atlantic Avenue to Underhill Avenue.

Do you think these ideas will work?

Pedestrian Safety Measures Proposed for Dangerous Atlantic Avenue Crossing [DNA]
Image via DOT

154 Lawrence Ave, 70Pct, KL, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Originally 72nd, then 74th, now 70th Precinct House, NYPD
Address: 154 Lawrence Avenue
Cross Streets: Ocean Parkway and Seton Place
Neighborhood: Kensington
Year Built: 1904
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival/Beaux Arts
Architect: Washington Hull
Other Buildings by Architect: Grace Church Reading Room in Brooklyn Heights, Clark Mansion in Manhattan (demolished)
Landmarked: No

The story: Architect Washington Hull only designed a few buildings in Brooklyn. This was one of them. He won the commission in 1902, but the precinct house, prison and stable complex for the 72nd Precinct did not go into construction until 1904. Ironically, one of the first buildings in this young architect’s career turned out to be one of his last. Here’s the story:

The old 72nd Precinct house was on Coney Island Avenue and was thought by many to be haunted. Many officers there swore that the building was a “hoodoo station,” as they called it, with a curse on it that had caused the deaths of several patrolmen over the years. They said the building was haunted by the ghosts of past prisoners, and they pointed to the recent death of the precinct’s Captain Short, while in command of that station, as proof of the curse. Sources show the captain died from more mundane causes, but why let that interrupt a good story? (more…)

72-ralph-avenue-2-121814

Another bakery is coming to east Bed Stuy. Five-year-old Williamsburg bake shop Cupcakeland is moving and changing its name. Chez Alex is prepping to open this month at 72 Ralph Avenue near Madison, according to its Facebook page.

On the menu will be cupcakes, cookies, banana pudding and other desserts. Its former location, now closed, was 390 Metropolitan Avenue, next to Momofuku Milk Bar.

The neighborhood was formerly starved for fresh baked goods but no longer. Cupcake specialist Sweet Lee’s opened on Ralph and Macon in April. The recently reopened Manny’s sells baked goods and doughnuts made by sister businesses Choice and Dough.

A few blocks away in Stuy Heights, Saraghina opened a bakery in August selling bread, cookies, muffins and other baked goods — but not cupcakes. GMAP

Update: We hear they opened today!

459 east 19th street ditmas park 122014

Today’s House of the Day is another circa-1900 freestanding Colonial Revival landmarked wood frame house in Ditmas Park — almost a twin to yesterday’s House of the Day. In fact, it was designed by the same architect, A. White Pierce, and built in 1906.

We’re guessing it’s in somewhat better condition than that one although still needing quite a bit of work and perhaps with not as many original details intact.

Although the crown molding is missing in some of the parlor rooms, there’s a lot of unpainted oak woodwork and a pretty, albeit altered, mantel in the hall. There’s also a very interesting high style 1950s bath reminiscent of Fornasetti with zany black and white tile and a transparent plastic or fiberglass panel with black and brown butterflies above the sink that might be worth saving in whole or in part. Another bath still has its original marble sink and a bit of a gas jet sconce still in the wall.

There’s also a detached two-car garage. What do you think of it for $2,199,000?

459 East 19th Street [Corcoran] GMAP

614 east 7th street kensington 122014

Three bedrooms and a parking space for $695,000? Yes, please! That’s the deal at this top-floor condo at 614 East 7th Street in Kensington. The apartment looks to be about 1,000 square feet and also comes with a small private terrace.

The building complex and the apartment aren’t going to win any design awards but they look to be in fine shape. Clearly the size and amenities are what carry the day here. Seem like a good deal to you?

614 East 7th Street, #3D [Corcoran] GMAP

549 mcdonald avenue kensington 122014

There’s nothing fancy about this two-bedroom in Kensington, but it’s affordable and close to the train. The kitchen and bathroom are newly updated, and there’s enough space in the kitchen to fit a small dining table. Both bedrooms seem decently sized too. Transit-wise, it’s only two blocks from the F/G trains at Church Avenue. Do you think it’s a good deal for $1,550 a month?

549 McDonald Avenue, #1 [Citi Habitats] GMAP

Wash Hull, Muni Building, Arch and Design, 1903

In 1903, a young architect born and raised in Brooklyn won the most important architectural competition of the new century. Against all odds, this relative newcomer beat out well-known and experienced architects like the Parfitt Brothers, William Tubby and Rudolfe L. Daus, and was awarded the commission to design the Borough of Brooklyn’s new Municipal Building. Washington Hull was the talk of the town.

You can catch up on Mr. Hull’s upbringing and early history in Part One of this story. He was still establishing his solo career after working as a draughtsman and head of that department for McKim, Mead & White. He left that firm along with two co-workers, and they started their own office as Lord, Hewlett & Hull.

They seemed to be golden, winning a couple of good commissions, including a Reading Room building for Grace Episcopal Church in Brooklyn Heights and a precinct house in Kensington. They also came in second in a competition to design the Philadelphia Museum of Art. And then they landed the big one: the multi-million dollar mansion for Senator William Clark on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan; a building that was to be the largest, most expensive house in New York City. (more…)

1068 Fulton St. EN 1

An eight-story mixed-use building will replace the former Elks Lodge building at 1068 Fulton Street near Classon Avenue in Bed Stuy, next to the Clinton Hill border. Architect Nataliya Donskoy filed a new building application yesterday for an eight-story, 41-unit development on the 5,900-square-foot site.

The project will have 4,796 square feet of ground floor retail, a rec room, roof terrace and 21 underground bike storage spots, according to Schedule A filings. Demolition applications have been filed but not yet approved for the existing building.

Building of the Day last year, the apartments were originally built as row houses in the 1870s, and a black chapter of the Elks began meeting there in the 1920s, eventually attracting more than 1,000 members.

Building of the Day: 1068 Fulton Street [Brownstoner] GMAP

1776-prospect-place-1-121814

Three huge lots equal in size to almost an entire block have been leveled to make way for a huge public housing project in Ocean Hill. (You can see the future plans for the site here and here.) The property was formerly the Prospect Plaza housing project, home to 1,200 people, which NYCHA emptied out in 2000, promising to rebuild. When we visited a year earlier, the empty, boarded-up apartment houses were still standing.

At 1776 Prospect Place, pictured above and after the jump, the demo work started in May and was signed off on in October. An application for a new six-story building with 101 apartments was disapproved this month. The building that previously stood there was 15 stories.

The area immediately around the public housing sites consists of empty lots or empty apartment buildings, adding up to about eight desolate lots on two and a half blocks between Saratoga and Howard avenues and Prospect and Sterling places, close to Eastern Parkway in Ocean Hill.

Click through to see more photos of the site and a rendering of one of the planned buildings.

City Finally Moves to Redevelop Vacant Housing Project in Ocean Hill [Brownstoner] GMAP
Rendering by Dattner Architects via NYY
(more…)

420-kent-avenue-2-121814

The long-stalled high rise development at 420-444 Kent Avenue on the waterfront in south Williamsburg is finally seeing some action. ODA Architects filed permits for 18- and 22-story towers there yesterday, following Spitzer Enterprises’s purchase of the property over the summer, New York YIMBY reported.

We expect the new design will be a great improvement over the last one, although no new renderings have been released. As for the specifics of the plan, they are similar although one tower will be shorter by two stories. The two buildings will have 449 units. If the old waiver still applies, 20 percent of the units will be affordable.

ODA is known for its low-rise buildings that resemble boxes in unusual configurations; its towers are similar but sleeker.

The site was formerly home to the Kedem Winery. The sale has not yet hit public records. Click through for a look at an old rendering from the previous owners.

Permits Filed: ODA Designing 18 and 22-Story Towers at 420 Kent Avenue [NYY] GMAP
What Could Sprout at Stalled Kedem Winery Site in South Williamsburg [Brownstoner]
1970s tax photo from PropertyShark; Rendering via Vos Iz Neiaas (more…)

69 vanderbilt avenue wallabout 122014

We’re sad to report that the city plans to demolish the crumbling mid-19th century wood frame at 69 Vanderbilt Avenue in the Wallabout Historic District. The HPD filed an emergency demolition permit last week.

A complaint from June said the house was shaking and leaning, and the DOB report said “front porch is unstable…neighboring houses may be in danger.”

Back in August after the construction fence went up we speculated the city had no plans to tear it down. Unfortunately, we were wrong.

“The New York Landmarks Conservancy has had No. 69 on its endangered list for years,” said the New York Times’ Christopher Grey in 2010. “There are only two ways it could get off the list, and right now it’s more likely to go feet first.”

Thanks to Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership for the tip and the photo.

69 Vanderbilt Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project LDC

697-703 Bushwick Ave, CB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Tenement buildings
Address: 697-703 Bushwick Avenue
Cross Streets: Corner Suydam Street
Neighborhood: Bushwick
Year Built: 1889
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Theobald Engelhardt
Other Buildings by Architect: In Bushwick – Ulmer Office and Brewery, Arion Hall, St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, Frederick Cook house, Bossert house, and many more row houses, churches, tenements, mansions, breweries, banks, hospitals, factories and warehouses in the old Eastern District and elsewhere in Brooklyn
Landmarked: No, but part of a proposed Bushwick Avenue Historic District

The story: By definition, a tenement is a building with multiple tenancy, nothing more sinister that that. In 1867, the New York State defined it as “any house, building, or portion thereof, which is rented, leased, let, or hired out to be occupied or is occupied, as the home or residence of more than three families living independently of one another and doing their own cooking upon the premises, or by more than two families upon a floor, so living and cooking and having a common right in the halls, stairways, yards, water-closets, or privies.” The term became forever attached to horrible, crowded and substandard slums populated by the poorest of the poor, giving a stigma to all multiple unit dwellings that wouldn’t disappear until the first quarter of the 20th century. (more…)