201-249 Lexington Avenue, SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row Houses
Address: 201-249 Lexington Avenue
Cross Streets: Bedford and Nostrand Avenues
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: sometime between 1880 and 1886
Architectural Style: Neo-Grec with Queen Anne details
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: We have a mystery here. The 1880 Bromley Atlas for the City of Brooklyn clearly shows elevated tracks along Lexington Avenue in Bedford. Yet a history of that elevated line states that the trains didn’t start running until 1885. Perhaps they were building them, or were going to start to build them back in 1880, so they put them on the map. Who knows? What is more interesting is the development on Lexington Avenue itself.

We know today that a street with trains rumbling by overhead is not seen as prime real estate, or having optimal living conditions, with noise, lack of sunlight and soot. But back then; this was new technology and new opportunities for public transportation. In 1880, the Bromley Atlas shows there was no development on the north side of the block of Lexington between Nostrand and Bedford. Not a single building. The south side had only one group of row houses, in the middle of the block. What a difference six years makes! (more…)

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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!

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

93 decatur street bed stuy 122014

Although technically this is a one-bedroom apartment on the parlor floor with some original detail, we’re underwhelmed. Perhaps the new renter can clean up the kitchen area a bit, but for now it looks like a big jumble with appliances plopped down in the middle of the parlor and not much room for anything else. It’s hard to see the inlaid floors and mirrored mantel. Do you think $1,700 a month is reasonable for this?

93 Decatur Street [Charles Rutenberg] GMAP

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The long awaited and highly anticipated remake of the Casablana Cocktail Lounge at 300 Malcolm X Boulevard in Bed Stuy soft opened Friday. The official opening party is Thursday night.

Owners Charles von Herrlich and Jonn Carlson – the artist-owner of Noho’s Von bar and the artist-designer who built Bed-Vyne Brew – kept the Permastone facade but put in new doors and windows (although they’re hard to see under the security bars). Inside, there is a vintage feel and the old Casablanca Lounge sign decorates the bar. Click through for some interior pics we shot through the window this morning.

“Good drinks, tunes and peeps,” according to a neighbor who commented on Facebook.

Anyone been in yet?

Casablanca Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP
(more…)

Isaac Reynolds, 196-202 Mac D St. CB, PS

Isaac Delamater Reynolds began his career at a time when many of our row house blocks were not designed by architects as we know them now. They were designed and built by builders, carpenters and masons who used plan books and their own extensive experience to build this mostly speculative housing. Sure, there were architects around, but they were busy with other things, like churches, banks, schools and other commercial buildings, or were designing homes for the wealthy. Some of them, like Minard Lefever and Alexander Jackson Davis, were also busy writing those plan and style books that the builders were using.

Reynolds was a contemporary of Amzi Hill, and both men designed in the same neighborhoods. They got their training before the Civil War, and both began practicing in Brooklyn in the early 1860s. Isaac Reynolds didn’t leave much of a personal footprint, unlike later architects like Montrose Morris,William Tubby and Rudolfe Daus, but he left a legacy of buildings that can be matched by only a few. (more…)

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Bed Stuy has been having a year or two of “record growth,” both in prices and volume of deals, said a story in real estate trade pub The Real Deal. Upward prices and lots of construction in the neighborhood “are signs that record growth could continue.” The story’s headline is “Betting on the Bed Stuy Boom.”

What is happening in Bed Stuy mirrors much of the rest of Brooklyn, where deals are setting new price records and the number of deals is rising.

While acknowledging Bed Stuy’s special architecture, a “wealth of highly detailed brownstones,” the story also mentioned “limestone row houses,” which do exist but are more typical of Crown Heights, and focused on condos, which at least for now make up a very small proportion of the housing in the area. As an example of Bed Stuy’s record setting prices, the article cited “condos that top $1 million” (a record set in June 2013) rather than row houses that cost $3 million (last week).

The story spoke with five real estate agents, all of whom said condo prices — now $500 to $700 a square foot — have nowhere to go but up. (more…)

1213-1215 Atlantic Ave, CB,PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Wood-framed row storefront/houses
Address: 1213-1215 Atlantic Avenue
Cross Streets: Nostrand and Bedford Avenues
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: Late 1860s, before 1872
Architectural Style: Italianate
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: If you want a good idea of what a mid-19th century commercial street in Brooklyn may have looked like, you can get a good idea from these buildings. They are among the oldest remaining wood framed buildings in this part of Bedford Stuyvesant. And considering their age, and where they are, they are in remarkable shape. If these buildings could talk, they would have an amazing story to tell. (more…)

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Farm-to-table restaurant Eugene & Co. opened Tuesday after a private party for friends and family the previous evening, a reader who was there told us. The chef of the 44-seat restaurant at 397 Tompkins Avenue in Bed Stuy worked at Le Bernardin and Mary’s Fish Camp, and the owner works for the corporate parent of Dos Caminos and Ruby Foo’s, as we wrote in September. 

Menu items include kale salad, crisp pork belly, a meatloaf sandwich and a cauliflower steak, according to an item in the Times. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, workers told us when we stopped by this morning. Click through to see the interior. Anyone tried it yet?

Farm-to-Table Restaurant Opening on Tompkins in Bed Stuy [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photo below by Eugene & Co.

Update: We just got hold of a menu. Kale salad, salmon rillette, and crispy pork belly are some of the small plates. Entrees are the meatloaf sandwich, a shellfish dish, chicken breast, roasted cauliflower steak, and braised short rib. There are five sides of vegetables, including brussels sprouts, blistered peppers, quinoa salad, and a market vegetable board. There is also a small late-night menu with biscuits and gravy, among other things, and dessert includes milk and cookies and a carrot cupcake. Entrees are $14 to $17.

(more…)

204 jefferson avenue bed stuy 122014

This Montrose Morris-designed house at 204 Jefferson Avenue in Bed Stuy is yet another magnificent wreck, and may have been the subject of mortgage fraud going back years, judging by its title history. A Building of the Day in September, the 1891 house has an unusually elaborate entrance, fancy plaster details, original mantels, built-ins, stained glass window transoms, inlaid parquet floors, and on and on.

It’s also quite large, over 4,000 square feet, with four stories and an extension. It is still a single family home and appears to have never been divided up.

Needless to say, it needs all the usual work and probably more. The stair banister seems to be missing.

It sold for $1,200,000 last month to an LLC. Before that, it sold for 700,000 in 2006. (Over the years, a long string of lis pendens were filed against the property and various owners, going back to at least 1990, many filed less than a year after the house changed hands — a pattern than can indicate fraud.)

Now the ask is $1,650,000. The listing calls it the “perfect Bedford Stuyvesant restoration project for the new year.” Has anyone seen this place in person?

204 Jefferson Avenue [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP

835 Myrtle Ave, Cascade, 2

The former Cascade Linen factory will indeed meet the wrecking ball. After trading last year for $27,000,000, now a Hasidic developer plans seven new six-story buildings for the site on Myrtle and Stockton streets in northern Bed Stuy. New York YIMBY first spotted the slew of new building applications, which call for 228 apartments scattered across 293,000 square feet of residential space, as well as 40,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space.

Permits were filed for 869 Myrtle Avenue, 134 Stockton Street, 98 Stockton, 108 Stockton, 86 Stockton, 833 Myrtle and 857 Myrtle. None of the plans include parking, YIMBY pointed out. The architect of record is Diego Aguilera. 

Permits list the owner as Mike Kohn of Alliance Private Capital Group, but YIMBY noted that Alliance is in contract to sell the huge site to Satmar developers for $60,000,000.

So far, we have not spotted any applications for demo permits.

Permits Filed: 228-Unit Hasidic Housing Complex on Myrtle in Bed Stuy [NYY] GMAP
Cascade Linen Coverage [Brownstoner]

254 bainbridge street bed stuy 122014

This renovated two-bedroom duplex in Bed Stuy comes with a swanky hot tub and cedar deck in the backyard. The private backyard also has a stone patio, barbecue and flower bed. The kitchen features stainless steel appliances and a dishwasher, and the bedroom pictured is big at 15 by 15 feet, according to the listing.

But there’s a catch: It’s listed as a two-bedroom, but the broker tells us the second bedroom doesn’t have a window (though it fits a queen size bed). Also, the lower level appears to be the cellar. The house is only 32 feet deep, but the broker assured us the second bedroom is on the ground floor.

It’s about five blocks from the A/C trains at Utica Avenue. It seems like a lot of space, but we think $2,500 is a big stretch for a one-bedroom in this part of Bed Stuy. What do you think?

254 Bainbridge Street, #1 [Aptsandlofts.com] GMAP