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Roy Sloane, the controversial first vice president and acting president of the Cobble Hill Association, today announced that he is stepping down from the neighborhood organization. Two dozen Cobble Hill residents called for Sloane’s ousting last week and organized a special meeting for September 10 to discuss his departure.

The Cobble Hill Association is in the midst of fighting a plan by Fortis Property Group to built two high-rise residential towers in the neighborhood on the site of the former Long Island College Hospital. Sloane had been representing the CHA in talks with Fortis,  but several members did not believe that he was fighting the development as strongly as he should be.

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Grand Union Tea Company 68 Jay Street

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Before Dumbo teemed with tourists, residents and artists, it was one of the busiest industrial neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Large food companies like the Grand Union Tea Company were major contributors to jobs and commerce.

Name: Former Grand Union Tea Company, now offices and studios
Address: 68 Jay Street
Cross Streets: Water and Front Streets
Neighborhood: Dumbo
Year Built: 1915
Architectural Style: “Daylight factory” with transitional Queen Anne elements
Architect: William Higginson
Other works by architect: Industrial architecture in Greenpoint, Dumbo and Manhattan. In Dumbo, most of the Gair buildings, including 1 Main Street.
Landmarked: Yes, part of the Dumbo Historic District (2007)

A block-wide and -long warehouse for tea

Construction began on this massive warehouse in 1896, the same year that Frank, Cyrus and Charles Jones brought their Jones Brothers/Grand Union Tea Company to Brooklyn.

This part of the block-long, block-wide complex was the last to be built, out of modern steel frame construction and brick. It is a transitional example of a “daylight factory.”

Daylight factories were introduced in the 20th century. They mostly refer to the reinforced concrete factories of the day that allowed for more windows and natural light to flood the work spaces. This construction also allowed for fewer interior beams and more open spaces. (more…)

374-vanderbilt-street-1

Our house of the day is a four-story Fort Greene brownstone, but it’s more than that. It is, and we’re quoting the listing here, a transitional French Second Empire neo-Grec-style historic brownstone. Listed by Corcoran broker Rodolfo Lucchese, it’s located at 374 Vanderbilt Avenue.

It’s got much of what you’d want in such a brownstone — tall arched doorways, pocket doors, parquet floors with inlay borders, moldings, medallions and plaster details. It’s got bay windows and three wood-burning fireplaces with original marble mantels. And it’s a generous 21 feet wide. (more…)

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Perhaps nothing is as emblematic of both the old and new Brooklyn as the newly restored Kings Theatre in Flatbush. After a $93 million restoration, it opened in February for the first time in 40 years and has gone on to win a preservation award and kindle renewed interest in the area.

And now it will be acquired by Ambassador, a vertically integrated theater chain, which produces shows, sells tickets and runs theaters. The iconic theater was not an acquisition target on its own but is part of another theater group, ACE Theatrical Group, that Ambassador is acquiring, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (more…)

Robert Graves Wallpaper Company Brooklyn History

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

If you’ve ever restored an old house and come upon 19th- or early-20th-century wallpaper, it could have been made by the Robert Graves Company of Brooklyn.

Between 1843 and 1929, the Robert Graves Company produced some of the metropolitan area’s finest wall coverings. It did it all: one-of-a-kind commissions and limited editions for interior decorators, as well as more modest mass-produced papers for middle-class homes.

Robert Graves was born in Ireland. Unlike many of his fellow Irish immigrants, he did not arrive on our shores with nothing. His father, Sir William Graves, was a well known artist. Robert came to America as a successful wallpaper manufacturer. (more…)

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Today’s rental is a garden apartment in a Boerum Hill brownstone, with some charm and a nice landscaped garden out back. Listed by James Stubbs at Brooklyn Bridge Realty, the place is at 178 Bergen Street.

There’s no floor plan and photos are few, so we’re not sure of the exact layout, but it looks to be two rooms. The kitchen is in the back and off to the side, so there is room for a dining room table next to it and, presumably, a couch as well. (more…)

27 Gravesend Neck Road Brooklyn

Now’s your chance to live in a bit of Brooklyn history. The historic Hicks-Platt House aka Van Sicklen House aka Lady Moody House at 27 Gravesend Neck Road is up for sale.

The five-bedroom farmhouse is one of the oldest buildings in the city (hence all the time to rack up all those names) and is being put on the market just before the Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to consider whether or not to designate the building as a historic landmark. Gothamist was the first to write about the listing.

The home will be considered on October 8 as part of a number of properties in Brooklyn that have been on the LPC backlog for years. It’s sometimes the case that worthy landmarks will stall in the designation process when they don’t have the owner’s backing — although we don’t know that’s the case here.

The home has a contested history. Lady Deborah Moody founded the village of Gravesend — the first English settlement in the New Netherlands — in 1643. This home sits within the original boundary of the village.

But did Lady Moody herself ever live there? Probably not. (more…)

126 Hancock Street7

The luxurious, Neo-Grec townhouse at 126 Hancock Street in Bed Stuy has been snapped up for $2,950,000. The broker, Peter Gordenstein of Corcoran, just revealed the sale to Brownstoner, which closed Monday, adding, “This is the highest price for a townhouse in Bed Stuy to date!”

The price falls just short of the $3,000,000 paid for the five-story 242 Gates Avenue last year. But it’s still a significant fee for a home in the area, which has seen a steep increase in prices in the past several years.

Records indicate that the sellers, developers Sam Stern and Casey Schear, bought the home in 2012 for just $360,000. According to Gordenstein, the pair then spent the next two years renovating the four-story home.

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Original California Taqueria accused of rent nonpayment

Cobble Hill’s Original California Taqueria is known by locals for its nachos and namesake California-style burritos — and for allegedly not paying rent in seven years. Landlord Ramon Palermo claimed in 2013 the eatery at 187 Court Street owed him $312,000 in back rent, a sum which Palermo advertised on a sign attached to the top of his blue Subaru Forester.

“CALIFORNIA TAQUERIA Continues to ABUSE the Landlord: ‘WWII VET.’ REFUSES TO PAY RENT…OWES $312,000,” the sign read, according to an article in the New York Daily News at the time.

While business remains active at the 25-year-old Mexican restaurant, its future is in question. As it happens, the building was recently listed for sale. Asking $3,850,000, the 2,318-square-foot mixed-use building lists two first-floor retail units and one second-floor, three-bedroom, two-bath apartment with a terrace.

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2307 Beverley Rd, Sears, NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Sears is one of the nation’s most recognizable store names. This landmarked building has been a shopping destination for Brooklynites for over 80 years.

Name: Sears, Roebuck & Company Department Store
Address: 2307 Beverley Road
Cross Streets: Corner of Bedford Avenue
Neighborhood: Flatbush
Year Built: 1932, addition added in 1940
Architectural Style: Late Art Deco
Architect: Nimmons, Carr & Wright, with Alton Craft
Other Buildings by Architect: NC & W — in Chicago, various Sears stores and private homes for Sears execs
Landmarked: Yes, individual landmark (2012)

Sears & Roebuck, Mail-Order Giant to the Nation

It’s hard to believe, but this store, which has always been a Sears, has been here for over 80 years. Just like its neighbor, the recently revived Kings Theatre located directly behind it, this Sears has been a Flatbush institution.

Sears started out in the 1890s as a mail-order catalog that sold a huge variety of goods to customers in rural areas who had little to no access to stores and shops. Its first retail store was built in 1925. Based in Chicago, Sears & Roebuck expanded all across the country.

Because of its dealings with Manhattan’s garment center, Sears was a presence in NYC long before its bricks and mortar stores were in place. When the company sought to expand its retail presence in the New York City area, Flatbush was seen as an ideal location. (more…)

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If it’s elegant brownstone detailing you’re after look no further — this Stuyvesant Heights limestone at 234 Decatur Street is swimming in it. Designed by famous 19th century Swedish architect Magnus Dahlander and built in 1897, it’s jam packed with elaborate woodwork, as well as moldings, plaster detailing, tin ceilings, mantels, mirrors, stained glass, wainscoting, parquet floors, pocket doors and built-in cabinets.

Sited on a lovely block in the Stuyvesant Heights historic district, the four-story house is set up with an apartment on each floor. While most of it appears to be in excellent condition, at least the ground-floor dining room needs a little polishing. (more…)

kensinger-01

Tucked away in an oft-forgotten corner of Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay are the weathered remains of Brooklyn’s once prosperous summertime bungalow communities. Built in clusters near the coast, these low-lying colonies have fared poorly as both the seas and new development rise around them, casting shadows and bringing floodwater. Nathan Kensinger recently photographed the surviving Bungalows for Curbed.

Originally intended exclusively for warm-weather use, Brighton Beach’s surviving bungalows were built in the 1920s on the grounds of the former Brighton Beach Racetrack, Kensinger reported. The quaint, antiquated homes began falling on hard times beginning in the 90s, as neighborhood crime rates rose and squatters, drug dealers, and prostitutes took to utilizing the frequently abandoned abodes.

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