Black Artstory Web-Poster

Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership is coordinating an interesting list of events for Black History month that celebrate Fort Greene and Clinton Hill’s deep culture of African American arts and performance. Brooklyn-based contemporary dance company Hammerstep will blend Irish step dance and hip hop in a performance at Ingersoll Community Center on February 7, and a group of renowned local jazz musicians will perform live on February 15 at Splitty. There will also be a “digital media and live sound installation that re-imagines the concept of Afrofuturism in the wake of recent police violence in New York City” at the Emerson Bar on February 28. You can check out the full schedule, which includes poetry readings and art shows, over at Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership’s website.

1-19 Jardine Place, CB, PS 2

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Two-family row houses
Address: 1-19 Jardine Place
Cross Streets: Herkimer Street and Atlantic Avenue
Neighborhood: Ocean Hill
Year Built: 1890s
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival, some with Romanesque Revival details
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: The more you get to know Brooklyn, the more you realize it would probably take a lifetime to really get to know this enormous borough. Of course, we all know it was an independent city up until 1898. Only a few years earlier, in 1894, Flatlands became part of Brooklyn, completing the land mass of the borough we know today. Brooklyn was and is geographically huge, and its neighborhoods are as varied as the different original towns, time periods, and kinds of architecture allow. All of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods have interesting stories.

Ocean Hill, the neighborhood between East New York, Brownsville, Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights has some great residential architecture, as well as a vibrant history. Ocean Hill started to develop in the 1890s, and its boundaries cross Atlantic Avenue, creating a long neighborhood that abuts both Crown Heights and Bedford Stuyvesant. Because of school zones, poverty and demographics, Ocean Hill and neighboring Brownsville have been linked together since the 1960s and ’70s. But architecturally, the neighborhood is more aligned with its neighbors to the west, and less to Brownsville. (more…)

200-smith-street-012315

French eyeglasses maker Anne & Valentin opened last week at 200 Smith Street in Carroll Gardens, a spokesperson let us know. Its frames, which come in unusual shapes and colors, such as pink metal and two-tone acetate, are made in France.

Smith Street is becoming quite the district for high-end opticians. The store joins a growing number in the area, including James Leonard at 309 Smith Street and Moscot at 159 Court Street. Pardon Me For Asking was the first to write about the new store. GMAP

Photo by Anne & Valentin

Check out this New York Times video about Bed Stuy, the first in a new monthly series, “Block by Block,” about what it’s like to live in various New York City neighborhoods. We recognize lots of friends and neighbors in the piece.

It covers a lot of ground, including Bed Stuy’s heritage, beautiful brownstones, distinguished residents such as the late Shirley Chisholm, rapidly escalating rents, crime and Bed Stuy’s family-friendly environment. We recognize Peaches, Scratchbread, Bed Stuy Fish Fry and lots of other local businesses.

Brownstoner commenter and real estate agent and preservationist Morgan Munsey, Georges-Andre Vintage Cafe owner Karine Petitnicolas (aka SuperFrench), and Eduardo Mantelli of Saraghina all have cameos — as do many others. What do you think of it?

Block by Block: Bedford Stuyvesant [NY Times]
Video by New York Times, embedded with permission

41 Fifth Ave, composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Brooklyn’s 5th Avenue starts in the shadow of the Barclays arena at Flatbush Avenue, travels down and forms one of the borders of Green-Wood Cemetery, and then extends far out into Bay Ridge. In the past decade, this beginning part of the street has changed greatly from garages, mom-and-pop shops and neighborhood bars to trendy eateries and fancy watering holes mixed in with the turn-of-the-20th-century tenement buildings. But as much as some things change, other things don’t. It’s interesting to find a period photo and compare then and now.

Our period photograph, part of the collection of the New York Public Library, was taken in 1942 by Percy Loomis Sperr. He was a prolific photographer of the streetscapes of New York City. Beginning in 1924, through the 1940s, he took over 30,000 photographs of the city. He was called the “Official Photographer of New York,” and he lived in Staten Island. He wandered around every neighborhood, in every borough, chronicling the growth and changes in the city over the years. He especially liked to photograph buildings and infrastructure, and his photos offer clear views of the details of buildings, as well as the construction of bridges and highways. (more…)

51 jay street dumbo 2

Slate Property Group and Adam America are revamping the former Jay Street Arts Building at 51 Jay Street into condos, which have just hit the market from $875,000. The ODA-designed project has three stories and 74 units, 14 of which were listed yesterday. BuzzBuzzHome was the first to spot the listings.

Apartments range from studios to four-bedrooms, including six penthouses and a townhouse with a private entrance on Water Street. Asking prices run as high as $5,150,000 for a four-bedroom penthouse. And two of the 14 listings are already in contract — a $2,350,000 three-bedroom and a $2,125,000 two-bedroom, according to StreetEasy. Amenities include a 24-hour concierge, gym, yoga room, children’s playroom, lounge and rooftop terrace with outdoor kitchen, fireplace and outdoor showers.

Click through for interior renderings!

On the Market: ODA-Designed 51 Jay Street Rears Its Dumbo Head [BBH] GMAP
51 Jay Street Listings [Halstead]
51 Jay Street [Official]
51 Jay Street Coverage [Brownstoner]
Renderings by ODA Architecture via Halstead Property Development Marketing

(more…)

285-schermerhorn-street-rend-012315

Social service agency Brooklyn Community Services has struck a deal with developer Louis V. Greco Jr. to redevelop its downtown Brooklyn headquarters. The plan will add seven stories to the existing seven-story building while preserving its historic facade, according to a press release sent out by the firms and New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen Thursday.

BCS will retain its offices in the form of a condo, and Greco will own the rest, including 106 apartments, some of which will be affordable. How much Greco is paying to buy the property was not revealed, and nothing has hit public records yet. BCS said it will use the proceeds to “serve its broader mission throughout Brooklyn.”

Some aspects of the plan had already leaked out in the form of Building Department filings and a rendering, above, which New York YIMBY published last month. The Wall Street Journal also wrote about the deal Thursday.

YIMBY didn’t like the PTAC units, but on the whole we think the addition looks pretty decent, and won’t be all that noticeable from the street anyway. (Click through to see a photo of the building in 2007.) What do you think of it?

Rendering from Heights Advisors via NYY; photo below by Scott Bintner for PropertyShark

(more…)

The landmarked Brooklyn Lyceum at 227 4th Avenue will become condos. Interestingly, the developer plans to put only two or three luxury units inside the relatively small building — it is 12,200 square feet — but will put up a 12-story rental building next door with as many as 70 apartments, Crain’s reported.

Real estate investment firm Greystone just closed on the Lyceum, which it purchased at auction for $7,600,000 in October, as we reported at the time. It is in the process of buying the empty lot next door at 225 4th Avenue for $13,500,000, Crain’s said.

We had speculated in October the building, a public bathhouse built in 1910, was unlikely to become apartments because there wasn’t enough room for more than a few, unless Landmarks allowed an addition on the roof.

By buying both sites, the developer can transfer about 20,000 square feet of development rights from the Lyceum to the empty lot and build bigger there. Greystone is also planning to restore the exterior of the building.

The developer plans to start construction in the spring and finish early in 2017. Work on the Lyceum will begin whenever Landmarks approves the plans, the firm told Crain’s.

“We’re looking forward to restoring the building,” a Greystone exec told Crain’s. “This is a brownstone neighborhood, so we’re going to try to create something in context with that, inside with the units.”

What do you think of the plans?

Landmarked Brooklyn Lyceum in Park Slope Slated for Condos [Crain's] GMAP
Developer Buys Landmarked Baths on 4th Avenue for $7.6 Million [Brownstoner]

Update: We just received a press release from Greystone, which says 225 4th Avenue will have 68 luxury rentals and 3,500 square feet of stores on the ground floor. Amenities will include a gym, bike storage, and roof deck. RKF is going to be the leasing and sales agent for both buildings.

crown heights autumn 112014

We’re happy to report that Historic Districts Council has chosen Crown Heights as one of the six neighborhoods where it will focus its preservation efforts in 2015. As part of its Six to Celebrate program, the Historic Districts Council will help the Crown Heights North Association revive its preservation campaign. Although Crown Heights has two historic districts, some of the neighborhood’s historic buildings are still at risk for development and demolition. Landmarks calendared Crown Heights North Phase III three years ago, but never voted on the expansion.

Another important — and ambitious — Six to Celebrate project is “Landmarks Under Consideration, Citywide.” These are 150 proposed landmarks that are unprotected, 96 of which Landmarks said it would “decalendar” before backing off the plan last year. The Council plans to “document, publicize and conduct community outreach” for all 150 sites to gather support for designation and to help LPC with its backlog. In Brooklyn, the list includes Green-Wood Cemetery, the Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House, and the Forman Building at 183 Broadway.

The Council offers help with research, landmarking, publicity and zoning to community groups in Six to Celebrate, and it hosts walking tours to raise awareness about a chosen neighborhood’s history and architecture.

2 Miller Ave, SSPellen

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Private house
Address: 2 Miller Avenue, aka 67 Sunnyside Avenue
Cross Streets: Highland Blvd and Sunnyside Avenue
Neighborhood: Cypress Hills
Year Built: sometime between 1904 and 1908
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: Many years ago, when I still lived in Bed Stuy, I was in the company of a friend who was always house hunting for investment properties. He generally bought foreclosures, and pre-foreclosures, and flipped them. He was interested in several houses in Cypress Hills. At the time, I had never been to Cypress Hills, and since I’m never one to turn down looking at houses, no matter where they are, I joined him. We drove all around the neighborhood, and I thought Cypress Hills was really interesting, a combination of Victorian-era houses and blocks of houses dating from the teens and 20s. One of the houses he was interested in was this one.

At the time, it was empty and semi-boarded up. The grass was tall, but the gate was unlocked, so we wandered around the property and tried to look in the windows. It was an interesting property for several reasons. First of all, the house sat on top of a hill, with the property sloping down from Highland Blvd down to Sunnyside Avenue below, a pretty steep grade. The lawns, which were pretty large, extended on both Sunnyside and Highland, and the house was smack in the middle of the lot.

The main entrance to the house was on the Miller Street side, accessible from the street by a steep set of stone stairs. You could get to the house from Highland, after walking across the large lawn, but you still had to walk around to Miller in order to get in. The entrance was a fine looking Colonial Revival portico. I remember looking in the sidelight windows and seeing beautifully patterned Lincrusta wallpaper in excellent condition in the hallway. Ok, hooked, he should buy it. (more…)

818 franklin avenue butter and scotch crown heights 12015

A dessert-and-cocktails spot is coming to Crown Heights, although Butter & Scotch will serve savory snacks too when it opens Saturday at 818 Franklin Avenue. Co-owners (and former Smorgasburg vendors) Allison Kave of First Prize Pies and Keavy Blueher of Kumquat Cupcakery have assembled a menu with cakes, pies, housemade sodas, and other dishes, including caramel corn in “cocktail” flavors and pie shakes. The duo will open their doors from 5 pm to midnight this Saturday and Sunday, with more extended hours coming next week, according to their website. DNAinfo wrote about the new venture in March. GMAP

1324 bergen street crown heights 12015

The insides of this house look pretty dire, with crumbling walls and ceilings, wires hanging down, and the kind of rigid linoleum tile flooring that sometimes turns out to contain asbestos. And that couldn’t be mold spotting the ceiling in one of the photos, right?

Still, though, despite appearances, it’s probably no more work than the average Brooklyn townhouse in need of everything — unless, of course, “everything” also includes severe water damage, new windows, a new cornice, new roof and repointing the brick exterior. In any event, all we know is the listing says “this property needs a complete gut renovation.”

There are a few nice old details left, including window and door surrounds, shutters, crown molding, and a marble fireplace. But at the current ask of $995,000, we’re not sure there’s enough of a discount to make this an attractive proposition. Or are we behind the times?

1324 Bergen Street [Corcoran] GMAP