04/16/14 4:00pm

Next weekend, the third annual Brooklyn Zine Fest returns to the Brooklyn Historical Society with panels and a wide variety of publishers, artists and writers selling their wares. Panels will discuss topics like queer and trans zine writers, zine collecting and publishing zines anonymously.

And over 150 zine enthusiasts will be selling self-published magazines on everything under the sun: art, comedy, graffiti, comics, environmentalism, food, film, local history and much more. Check out the full lineup and the panel schedule for the festival, which will take place April 26 and 27 from 11 am to 6 pm at 128 Pierrepont Street.

Photo by Seth McFarland for Brooklyn Zine Fest

04/16/14 3:00pm

245 Front St. SB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row house
Address: 245 Front Street
Cross Streets: Bridge and Gold Streets
Neighborhood: Vinegar Hill
Year Built: 1852-55
Architectural Style: Greek Revival
Architect: Unknown.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Vinegar Hill HD (1997)

The story: Like stumbling upon Brigadoon, Vinegar Hill is hidden from most people’s view, tucked away between Dumbo and the Navy Yard, cut off from Downtown Brooklyn by the ramps of the BQE and the approaches to the Manhattan Bridge. The residential buildings of Vinegar Hill were built at the same time as parts of Brooklyn Heights, share architectural styles and features. But the distance of a mile, and the development of the Navy Yard made all the difference in the histories of these neighborhoods.

Shipbuilder John Jackson purchased a large parcel of land after the Revolutionary War, and opened a shipyard on Wallabout Bay. He built his shipyard at the base of Hudson Street, and then built homes nearby for his workers. In 1801, he sold 40 acres of his waterfront land to the United States government for the Navy Yard. He then built more houses, and called the area “Vinegar Hill” in honor of the last major battle between the Irish and English, in 1798.

Meanwhile, the Sands family, brothers Comfort and Joshua, were buying up land like crazy. At one point they owned most of Dumbo, all of the land to the west of Jackson’s holdings. They were very wealthy land speculators and merchants. Comfort Sands was one of the founders of the Bank of New York, and Joshua was one of the members of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Brooklyn. They parceled their land off into lots very early, in 1787, but did not build in the Vinegar Hill area until the 1830s.

By the late 1830s, early 1840s, the descendants of John Jackson had sold off all his remaining Hudson Street plots. The Greek Revival homes built here date from the late 1840s, early 1850s, and represent the boom years for Vinegar Hill as a neighborhood of shops, businesses and homes. Most of the residents were Irish, giving the neighborhood the nickname of “Irishtown,” although many others also lived here as well. Most of the people here, no matter what their ethnicity, worked at the Navy Yard, the waterfront, or for industries that supplied both. (more…)

04/16/14 2:00pm

72-franklin-avenue-rendering-041614

A convention center is planning to open at 79 Franklin Street in Greenpoint later this year, possibly in October, according to DNAinfo. Currently under construction, the Brooklyn Expo Center will have 28,000 square feet of space for exhibitions and meetings. There will also be a cafeteria and parking.

A reader who lives nearby said it looks like the building is about a quarter done. GMAP

Rendering by Brooklyn Expo Center

04/16/14 1:30pm

Although obviously in need of work to turn it into living space, this has got to be one of the coolest properties for sale we’ve ever seen. There’s tons of curb appeal (or will be, pending a fresh paint job), beamed ceilings, arched windows and doors, diagonal floors and three skylights in this seemingly untouched Fort Greene carriage house.

It’s commercial property with no residential certificate of occupancy, and it may have been vacant for many years. There was a vacate order in 1986, and it appears to have been owned by the City for more than two decades. The title passed to a bank in 2010; we wouldn’t be surprised to find there was a sale so recent it hasn’t yet hit public records.

The price was recently reduced from $1,900,000 to $1,700,000. (That’s about $809 a square foot.) We think it would make a great restaurant — or a home. What would you do with this place if it were yours?

10 St. Felix Street [Corcoran] GMAP

04/16/14 12:15pm

This three-bedroom near the Navy Yard is reasonably priced and close to Fort Greene Park. The 1,250-square-foot apartment has a nicely sized living and dining space with newly refinished hardwood floors.

There’s a washer/dryer in the basement and a shared backyard, as well as parking for a “low monthly fee.”  But despite the proximity to the park, the location has a few drawbacks: It’s down the block from the BQE and at least eight blocks from any train line. What are your thoughts on it for $2,900 a month?

119 Carlton Avenue, #2 [Corcoran] GMAP

04/16/14 11:30am

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We stopped by 88 Richardson Street the other day, and lo and behold, the building is almost up to its full seven stories. This is the Karl Fischer-designed building with 188 units that is rising on the site of the former Meeker Flea Market next to the BQE in Williamsburg.

The developer is Brooklyn-based Rabsky Development, which bought the lot for $18,000,000 in 2012. At the time, it seemed like an odd location for residential development. In hindsight, the acquisition of almost any site in Williamsburg seems prescient.

Click through to the jump for a photo of the rendering posted on the construction fence. We like the massing and the play of geometric patterns with the windows and various facade materials. What’s your opinion?

Fischer-Designed Apartments Rising at Ex-Meeker Flea Site [Brownstoner] (more…)

04/16/14 10:45am

564 st johns place crown heights 122013

This one-story garage at 564 St. Johns Place between Franklin and Classon in Crown Heights will be demolished soon and replaced by a Karl Fischer-designed eight-story apartment building. A demolition application was filed on Monday, but the DOB didn’t approve it because the filing lacked a plan exam. Developer Rabsky Group is behind the development, which will have 172 units spread across 136,373 square feet, as we reported in December. GMAP

Eight-Story Karl Fischer Building Planned for Western Crown Heights [Brownstoner]

04/16/14 10:00am

A mixed-use development is in the works for part of a very large empty site on Myrtle Avenue across from the Marcy Houses in Bed Stuy, New York NIMBY reported.

Architect Charles Mallea filed a new building application Monday for an eight-story, 46-unit building at 802-806 Myrtle Avenue. The street frontage will cover three of 15 contiguous empty lots, all 25 feet wide, on the block.

The 31,125-square-foot building will include 23 bike storage spots, a shared roof deck and 76 square feet of commercial space in the basement. The building will be 94 feet high, so “ceiling heights will be surprisingly generous compared to typical new developments in the neighborhood,” said YIMBY.

South Williamsburg-based developer Bright Villas LLC bought the 7,500-square-foot piece of land in a series of transfers in 2012 totaling $1,750,000; the properties were originally owned by a church called Mt. Zion Church of Christ Disciples, according to public records. DOB permits indicate the ramshackle three-story church was demolished in 2010. HPD owns the 12 empty lots next door.

“Positive changes are gradually occurring across the entire neighborhood, and developments like 802 Myrtle will go a long ways towards bettering the area’s reputation, which has typically revolved around the negative press surrounding its public housing,” said YIMBY. What do you think?

Permits Filed: 802 Myrtle Avenue [YIMBY] GMAP
Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

04/16/14 9:30am

broadway-041614

As luxury high rises sprout up on nearly every vacant lot in south Williamsburg, sale prices in the area are expected to match those of north Williamsburg in a few years, said a story in The New York Times. Right now they trade at about a 15 percent discount, or $1,000 per square foot, vs. the north side’s nearly $1,200.

However, there isn’t much to buy: There were only 16 listings for sale in July, including co-ops, condos and townhouses. The average price was $1,780,000, according to Streeteasy.

About 90 percent of the housing in south Williamsburg is rental, said the story. Rents in the new buildings “are on the high side,” starting at about $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom. Some of the new buildings include 424 Bedford Avenue and 15 Dunham Place. Thousands more apartments are planned for the area, including the huge Domino redevelopment and The Oosten, the Chinese-owned condos.

South Williamsburg: Catching up to the North Side [NY Times]

04/15/14 4:00pm

Tenants at Homewood Gardens Estates in East Flatbush claim their landlord is trying to push them out in favor of white tenants willing to pay higher rents, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court. The suit alleges that landlords Yeshaya Wasserman, Shay Wasserman and Yitzchok Rambod ignored repair requests, forced evictions and offered cash buyouts, the New York Post reported. The East Flatbush residents also say the landlords consistently refuse to make repairs for black tenants, fail to cash rent checks and delay the delivery of front door keys.

“In contrast, white tenants move into renovated apartments, their rent checks are cashed, they receive monthly rent statements and they are not subject to harassment,” the suit states, according to the Post.

The lawsuit also claims black residents have seen their rents double, while white tenants have seen minimal rent increases at lease renewal time. Wasserman and his partners bought the buildings on Brooklyn Avenue and Hawthorne Street in 2009. The state’s Tenant Protect Unit has been investigating Wasserman since last fall, when it subpoenaed documents from all eight of his properties in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Landlords Pushing Black Tenants out for Whites: Suit [NY Post]
Closing Bell: State Investigates Crown Heights, Flatbush Landlord for Tenant Abuse [Brownstoner]

Image via Google Maps

04/15/14 3:00pm

1301 Grand Street, Google Maps 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Charles J. King Iron and Scrap, formerly Louis Bossert & Son Co.
Address: 1301 Grand Street
Cross Streets: Gardner Avenue and New Town Creek
Neighborhood: Bushwick
Year Built: Unknown
Architectural Style: Eclectic factory
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: Louis Bossert was a lumber man. He was one of the thousands of German immigrants who came to the United States and settled in Bushwick and Williamsburg in the mid to late 19th century. Bossert was an officer during the Civil War, and began a lumber business after the war. It was a fortuitous move, as Brooklyn had a series of building booms for the next fifty years, and Louis Bossert & Son was there to meet the needs of their customers.

By the end of the 19th century, in the 1890s, if not sooner, Louis Bossert’s lumber company was located here on Grand Street, along the Newtown Creek. The company was huge, with lumberyards, planing mills, warehouses and offices. Having the canal just behind the plant enabled Bossert to move goods by barge, and deliver large amounts of lumber to projects in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn with ease. This building was the headquarters and office of the company.

Lumber yards often had fires, so this may be the reason the Bossert HQ looks like a fireproof fortress. I was not able to find the date it was built, or the architect, and since the design is so eclectic, it’s also hard to date, but I’m going to go with early 20th century, in the ‘teens. By that time, Bossert’s plant was well established, and this building consolidated their operation, and replaced the company’s offices on Union Street. It’s an interesting building, certainly not pretty, but strong in personality. (more…)

323-franklin-avenue-041514

Popular Crown Heights eatery Mayfield plans to open a bar with backyard garden and taco truck at 323 Franklin Avenue, according to DNAinfo. There will be tacos, tortas and weekly specials such as roast pig and pozole.

There will also be movie nights for kids with films projected on the rear wall. Community Board 3 plans to support the restaurant’s application for a liquor license.

Electronic dance music label Dub-Stuy Records recently vacated the space due to rising rents, but is still in business while it searches for a permanent location, said DNAinfo. It’s also going to participate in Do or Dine’s annual Memorial Day celebration. 

Bed-Stuy Record Label to be Replaced by Taco Truck and Bar [DNAinfo] GMAP