420 lafayette avenue 1

This three-bedroom brownstone duplex is yet another beautifully renovated and pricey Bed Stuy pad. The 1,500-square-foot apartment has an eat-in kitchen with a decorative marble mantel, pretty woodwork, a dishwasher and a wine rack. The bathroom also features an original claw foot tub and attractive blue patterned tile.

There is basement storage and a washer/dryer. The G train is half a block away at Classon Avenue.

Incidentally, the building was a House of the Day when it was for sale in 2013, and configured differently. We do see a potential deal breaker, though: The bathroom and the bedrooms are on separate floors.

What’s your opinion of it for $4,000 a month?

420 Lafayette Avenue, #2 [Elliman] GMAP


135-137 Jefferson Ave, NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former garages, now church
Address: 135-137 Jefferson Avenue
Cross Streets: Bedford and Nostrand avenues
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: Late 1890s
Architectural Style: Transitional Romanesque – Renaissance Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: We build nice storage facilities for the things we treasure. From Egyptian tombs to banks, to massive storage facilities with climate control and private viewing booths, our prize possessions can be as pampered as our purses allow. Wealthy Victorians had fabulously luxurious stables built for their prize horses and carriages.

This block has always been a mixture of service and residential buildings, and took a long time to develop. Over the course of the late 19th and early 20th century, row houses replaced wood framed stables and homes. Many of them were replaced by later service buildings and tenements. Some of the land just remained empty.

The map of this block from 1880 shows no buildings on this site. Nothing was here on maps dating from 1886 or 1888, either. It wasn’t until the map of 1904 that a building was placed here, and the rest of the lots going east were filled in. (more…)


The exterior of the apartment building going up on a prominent corner across from Saratoga Park in Bed Stuy is just about done, and the inside looks like it’s getting close too. When we passed by 838 and 840 Halsey Street this morning, workers were breaking up the sidewalk in front to make space for plantings.

Back when this project was starting, we feared it would be the cheapest possible type of new “Fedders” construction. Happily, that is not the case.

“While not great architecture, at least it’s not a Fedders, as we all feared,” a neighbor told us yesterday. “I would be happier if the glass railing at the top had been a cornice instead, but overall it’s not as bad as it could be.”

One caveat: Saratoga Park is ringed with uninterrupted rows of 19th century architecture on two sides (but not this side). That view is an important part of the experience of the park, in much the same way the more ancient architecture surrounding the Place des Vosges in Paris is. We hope that won’t change.

This particular building replaced two long-empty lots. The property is part of the proposed Stuyvesant East Historic District. The Stuyvesant East Preservation Action League has been working to landmark this area. We are keeping a close eye on what is happening with another huge lot farther down the block at the corner of Macon and Howard Avenue, at the end of one of the intact historic rows facing the park.

What do you think of how this building is turning out?

840 Halsey Street Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP


45 albany avenue crown heights 1

Rents in central Brooklyn are rising by the day, but there are still a few deals out there — like this three-bedroom duplex in Bed Stuy close to the Crown Heights border. The kitchen and bathroom are pretty run-of-the-mill, but they are recently updated. There’s also a washer/dryer and access to the shared backyard.

It’s only half a block to Fulton and two blocks to the C at Kingston-Throop, so the area is busy but convenient. Does it seem like a good deal for $2,400 a month?

45 Albany Avenue [Warren Lewis Sotheby's] GMAP



This three-bedroom, 2.5-bath duplex in Bed Stuy has a swanky renovation and a high price to match. The kitchen and baths are particularly luxurious, with a white Carrara marble backsplash in the kitchen and more marble and a patterned tile floor in the baths.

We’re not crazy about the framed, exposed brick in some of the rooms, but the 1,620-square-foot pad is certainly spacious, and there’s central A/C, laundry and a private garden too. It’s also on a very nice block of Hancock in Stuy Heights, and close to shops, although it’s a bit of a hike (about seven blocks) to the A/C at Utica. Do you think someone out there will pay $4,200 a month for it?

502 Hancock Street, #1 [Corcoran] GMAP



We were surprised to see a big empty lot where the old Weinstein hardware store stood when we drove by 420 Tompkins Avenue over the weekend. Of course we knew demo was coming, and we won’t miss the old building, but still, it’s a big change for this prominent corner in Bed Stuy.

Weinstein, although it closed a few years ago, stood here for decades and was an important store in the community. Click through to see inside the fence. 

420 Tompkins Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP (more…)

135 malcolm x blvd 1

If you’re looking for a three-bedroom in Bed Stuy, we think you could do a lot worse than this new-construction pad on Malcolm X Boulevard near Gates Avenue. The new kitchen has stainless steel appliances, including a dishwasher, and an island that adds a little extra counter space.  The two bathrooms have fancy marble tile and a dark wood vanity and medicine cabinet. We’re not big fans of the building, which is a three-story Fedders special, but at least it only has one other apartment. Do you think it seems like a good deal for $2,400 a month?

135 Malcolm X Boulevard [Fillmore] GMAP



Marketing has started to fill the retail space at a landmarked building in Stuy Heights that upset neighbors in July when the new owners stucco’d the turret in violation of the landmark rules. If you check out the brochure for the store space, you will see an attractive architectural rendering, above, that shows what the building at 302 Stuyvesant Avenue would look like if restored per the LPC guidelines.

We reached out to a few locals to ask them what they would like to see come into the space. Here are a few comments we received:

*A bed and breakfast with a good bakery with great whole wheat and that fennel raisin one by Amy’s bread and Eli Zabar’s bread and Maison Kayser baguettes. Like a Union Market?
*I would like to see a place for coffee and pastries, especially on a snowy, cold day. But I would be happy for a sandwich shop.
*Doggie daycare! But I’m biased haha
*FRESH BAGELS a la Bergen Bagels.
*Art gallery and performance space that supports local artists and a yoga/dance studio.

The “prime” retail space at the corner of “iconic” Stuyvesant Avenue and Hancock Street is 2,000 square feet (plus a basement of equal size), according to the brochure. The store space has 14-foot ceilings and can be divided into two spaces if desired. Forest Park Properties is handling the leasing.

According to the law, no tenants can move in until the landmark violations are corrected. Right now the building has a stop work order. We reached out to one of the co-owners for comment, but did not hear back, and the agent declined to comment, so we don’t know what they are planning. But we are hopeful the start of this search for a retail tenant means the owner is busy working to restore the building. Click through to see more photos.

What do you think of the rendering and what would you like to see at this corner?

302 Stuyvesant Coverage [Brownstoner]


565 decatur street 1

This Bed Stuy two-bedroom is recently updated but still has some original moldings and a decorative fireplace. We’re not as keen on the open-plan kitchen, but it’s fine, and the renovated bathroom with pedestal tub looks beautiful. That second bedroom is probably just large enough for a full-size bed. Do you think $1,950 a month is reasonable?

565 Decatur Street, #3 [Halstead] GMAP

E.A. Laboratories, 692-696 Myrtle Ave, composite.2

In the fall of 1942, the Bedford Stuyvesant-based automobile horn and headlight company, E. A. Laboratories, entered World War II. As one of America’s largest automobile accessories companies, EAL was poised to serve the country by converting its factory into a war materials manufacturing plant. Their distinctive song-tune electric horns, their car heaters and windshield wipers were going to be replaced by gun sights for airplanes, landing lights, and horns for ships, Jeeps and other military vehicles.

The company was very patriotic in their embrace of the war effort. John Aufiero, EAL’s president, was the younger brother of the founder of the company, inventor Emanuel Aufiero. He published full page patriotic ads in the local papers, contributed tons of scrap metal to the war effort, and hired more workers to enable the plant to work non-stop at a 300% rise in production. The American flag flew highest over the corner of Spencer Place and Myrtle Avenue in the two adjoining buildings that made up the E. A. Laboratories. Please see Parts One and Two, which give lots of background.

All of that flag waving may have been a necessary distraction to point attention away from John Aufiero’s personal skeletons. As I mentioned in the last chapter of this story, those skeletons were about to goose-step out of his closet, and make a mess of his well-ordered public persona. Aufiero, it appears, had a great admiration for Benito Mussolini, the Fascist dictator of Italy, and the enemy of the United States and Allied forces. (more…)


The top of the facade on this brownstone at 424 Jefferson Avenue in Bed Stuy collapsed early yesterday evening, a reader let us know. Luckily, no one was hurt, he said. We managed to snap a few pics this morning. The debris was mostly all cleaned up by then.

We’re not sure what caused the collapse — it could have been a falling tree branch — but the owners appear to have been working on adding height to the top floor, from what we can tell from PropertyShark photos from January and earlier. Click through for more photos. The one at the end is from our tipster, and was taken just before the collapse, he said.

Did anyone see this last night or does anyone have more info about what happened?