green-wood black history month

In case you missed it last year, in honor of Black History Month, Green-Wood is again offering a tour focusing on famous black New Yorkers buried in the cemetery. The trolley tour will highlight and celebrate abolitionists, freed slaves, artists, musicians and Civil War heroes. Notables include artist Jean-Michael Basquiat (pictured above); Jeremiah Hamilton, who was New York’s first black millionaire; and Susan Smith McKinney Steward, New York’s first black doctor (also pictured). The tour will run from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday and costs $20. Head over to Green-Wood’s website to buy tickets. 

Image via Green-Wood Cemetery

225-247 E.31St, 225, NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 225-247 E. 31st Street
Cross Streets: Cortelyou and Beverly Roads
Neighborhood: Flatbush
Year Built: around 1905
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: The town of Flatbush, in Kings County, did not become a part of the City of Brooklyn until 1894. They liked their independence, and had remained a separate entity since the Dutch began farming there in the 1600s. The architectural development of the neighborhood was sporadic, and is a combination of all kinds of urban and suburban styles, ranging from mega-mansions on large lawns to huge block long apartment buildings, and everything in between.

I’ve always found Flatbush fascinating from an architectural perspective. In taking the bus through the various parts of the neighborhood, and later, driving, you can pass late 19th century row houses, early 20th century two family houses, wood-framed suburban houses and six story apartment buildings all in a three block radius. (more…)


Maple Street School, a Prospect Lefferts Gardens preschool founded in 1978, is expanding. The school signed a 15-year lease for 5,500 square feet at 626 Flatbush, the 23-story mixed-use 80/20 tower Hudson Companies is building in the neighborhood.

The school will mostly occupy the second floor of the community and retail space at the base of the building, pictured above. It will have a private entrance and a 1,200 square foot roof terrace, a Hudson spokesperson told us.

The school has been at 21 Lincoln Road since 2001. The new location will more than double the school’s space.

“Every year, Maple Street School has to turn away more students than it accepts. We are thrilled at the opportunity to expand to this second location, so that we can accommodate more children and help meet the great need in this community for quality early education,” said school Director Wendy Cole in a prepared statement.

The building is expected to be ready for occupancy in early 2016, said Hudson. GMAP

Rendering by Marvel Architects

1138 ocean avenue ditmas park 22015

This big (1,279 square feet) two-bedroom condo at 1138 Ocean Avenue in Ditmas Park just came on the market with a price tag of $899,000. It’s got a nice modern feel to it and appears to be in great shape. Both bedrooms have a decent amount of room and there’s a private balcony off the living room. How does the price strike you for the area?

1138 Ocean Avenue, #5E [Corcoran] GMAP

463 union street gowanus 22015

This one-bedroom garden apartment in Gowanus is almost completely open from one end to the other, which might help bring some light into what appears to be a very long space, with two extensions, although PropertyShark says the building is only 38 feet deep. It has a nice loft-y vibe and a cool white-painted brick wall dividing the front room from the kitchen.

The Home Depot-style cabinets in the latter don’t add any style points, but there are lots of them and plenty of space for an island or dining table. Renters also get a walk-in closet, access to the shared garden and some basement storage. The Carroll Street F/G stop is two and a half blocks away, and the townhouse is located about a block and a half from the Gowanus Canal, in Flood Zone 2. Do you think it’ll rent for $2,700 a month?

463 Union Street, #1 [Corcoran] GMAP

1133 manhattan exterior 1 22015

Last week we toured the new mixed-income rental building at 1133 Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint — the one that famously received nearly 60,000 applications for its subsidized units. As for the market-rate units, they’re 40 percent rented after leasing kicked off in November.

The seven-story, 210-unit development is half affordable, half market rate, and move-ins began in early January. Thanks to tax abatements and subsidies from the state, the whole building is rent-stabilized. Market-rate rents start at $2,775 for a 636-square-foot one-bedroom and go all the way up to $5,900 for a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment with over 1,000 square feet of space and a large terrace.

While not as over-the-top fancy as some equally big but more expensive buildings in Williamsburg, the finishes were about what we expected for the price, and the units were maybe even a little bigger than we expected.

Developer Domain Companies has assembled a typical laundry list of luxury amenities, including a full-time concierge, pet spa, ZipCar rentals, fitness center, free bike share and parking that costs $200 a month for tenants. Domain is also working with the homeless shelter across the street at 56-66 Clay Street, planning to offer job assistance and resume writing programs through the nonprofit arm of the company. Renters can also choose to donate to one of several local charities, including the shelter, when they sign their leases.

The Clay Street half of the U-shaped development opened on January 1, and the Box Street side is scheduled to open March 1. Click through to see more photos. What do you think of the look?

Eleven33 [Official] GMAP
1133 Manhattan Avenue Listings [StreetEasy]
1133 Manhattan Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]


Longtime residents of East New York care about the historic bank building at 91 Pennsylvania Avenue and want to save it. A group of about eight stood in the bitter cold Tuesday to protest its planned demolition, the Village Voice reported. As it happens, the protest was sparked by our story, we were surprised to read. Residents had seen the scaffolding and netting shrouding the building but assumed it was being repaired, not demolished.

We spoke last night to one of the organizers of the protest, Chris Banks, who is the director of local community group East New York United Concerned Citizens and a member of Community Board 5. He said the owner of the building has been in touch and they plan to meet, as he also told the Voice. Banks has also reached out to local Council Member Rafael Espinal and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries for help.

We hope a new use for the building can be found that will benefit both the owner and the community. Click through to the Voice story to read what the protesters said about the building.

Residents Brave (Seriously) Bitter Cold to Fight to Preserve Historic Brooklyn Bank Building [Voice]
Historic East New York Bank Building Will Be Torn Down [Brownstoner]
Demo Has Started at Historic Bank Building in East New York [Brownstoner]

231 carlton avenue fort greene 22015

The five brand new townhouses at Carlton Mews in Fort Greene hit the market Tuesday, each with a triplex and a two-bedroom garden apartment. We took a tour in person the same day, and they look as incredible in real life as they do here in the listing photos.

We speculate these were built to sell, not rent, but issues stemming from the collapse that killed a construction worker in 2012 may make that difficult or undesirable for now, at least.

Kudos to the architect, who is Darrin Krumpus of Boro Architects, according to the permits.

For $12,000 a month, the triplexes feature four bedrooms, three and a half baths, a den, large living room and basement storage. The 3,200-square-foot homes have bronze cabinet handles, Viking Stoves, gas fireplaces, zoned central heating and cooling and five-inch-wide oak plank floors. There’s also a deck and landscaped backyard shared with the garden apartment.

Downstairs, the two-bedroom garden apartments are 1,000 square feet and asking $3,750 a month. The finishes are not as nice as the triplexes, but they still sport white oak floors, stainless steel appliances and central heating and cooling. Five of the 10 units — two triplexes and three garden apartments — have already been rented, agent John LaRocca of Arena Real Estate told us.

The Landmarks-approved townhouses at 225-233 Carlton Avenue were built in a traditional 19th century style that mirrors the rest of the block. We’ve been watching them since construction began two and a half years ago, as well as the adjacent church, which was converted to 12 rentals and began leasing last month.

More photos after the jump! What do you think of how they turned out?

231 Carlton Avenue [StreetEasy]
Carlton Mews Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photos by Arena Real Estate via StreetEasy


city point downtown brooklyn closed 22015

The entire City Point mall at 1 Dekalb Avenue is shut for construction until 2016, a guard told us yesterday when we stopped by. Armani Exchange moved out two weeks ago, he said.

Armani Exchange was the first tenant in the building and opened in 2012. Century 21, CityTarget, and Alamo Drafthouse have also signed leases, but have not yet opened. A sign in front of the building lists Century 21, Alamo Drafthouse and A/X as tenants.

A taco stand outside in front, the only thing open when we stopped by, seemed busy.

We have reached out to City Point PR and will update if we hear anything more. Click through for more photos.

Update: We received this statement from Paul Travis, managing partner of Washington Square Partners and co-developer of City Point:
“Armani Exchange’s short-term lease expired and Century 21 Department Store is taking possession to begin construction of its multi-level, 145,000-square-foot space. We’d like to thank Armani Exchange for playing a significant role in promoting City Point and for its commitment to hiring local residents, which falls in line with our philosophy of ‘By Brooklyn, For Brooklyn.’ We’re looking forward to the possibility of them returning to City Point in the future.”



Local non-profit Arts East New York is hosting a panel on gentrification in East New York and negative portrayals of African Americans in mainstream media this Friday, as part of a celebration of Black History Month. Panelists will include Cyril Josh Barker, a staff writer for the New York Amsterdam News, and Shaun Neblett, a playwright and the youth theater coordinator for Changing Perceptions Theater.

“Culture x Conversion comes as a response to the growing influence from city agencies and media in the sudden changing of the East New York landscape. We are asking East New York residents to be informed and active in the planning of our community to prevent displacement,” said a press release.

Panelists will discuss how urban planning, eminent domain and development are affecting East New York, and how residents are responding. And kids from AENY’s Young Artist Institute, which helps train elementary and middle school students in music, dance and theater, will perform after the panel.

There will also be free refreshments. The free event will happen from 6 to 9 pm this Friday at George Gershwin Junior High School, at 800 Van Siclen Avenue.

295 Gates Ave, NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former private house, then club house, now church
Address: 295 Gates Avenue
Cross Streets: Franklin and Bedford Avenues
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: 1869-1870? Perhaps altered or replaced later
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Possibly Amzi Hill
Other Buildings by Architect: Row houses, mansions, flats buildings and tenements throughout Bedford Stuyvesant and Stuyvesant Heights. Also in Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope
Landmarked: No

The story: There used to be many more large mansions in Bedford Stuyvesant. If you walk or drive around the neighborhood, it’s possible to come across one or two on a block you never would have thought they’d be on. Many of them just didn’t survive the economic changes, and many of those that did are merely shadows of their former selves. They’ve been chopped up, covered up, covered over and made into lodges, schools and most often, churches.

Gates Avenue was once one of central Bedford Stuyvesant’s premier streets. It’s a long street, stretching from Clinton Hill to Bushwick, and was once home to some very successful and wealthy people, the most successful being John Gibb, whose enormous mansion is just down the street. When Gibb had his house built here, other wealthy people followed, moving into superior speculative housing, much of it developed by Mr. Gibb himself. Other people had houses built themselves.

That appears to have been the case for this house, which was built for Captain Frederick Bolton Langston, a wealthy ship captain. Amzi Hill, who designed many of the earlier houses in this neighborhood, as well as the Gibb mansion, may have designed this house.The house looks more Queen Ann than Italianate, the prevailing style of the day, so perhaps it was added on to in the 1880s, or replaced by an new facade. The records are not forthcoming, although the papers do emphasize that the Captain moved to this address in 1870. (more…)