470 Pulaski St. NS, PS 2

Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Warehouse, now residential
Address: 470 Pulaski Street
Cross Streets: Stuyvesant Avenue and Malcolm X Boulevard
Neighborhood: Stuyvesant Heights
Year Built: 1909
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: Bedford Stuyvesant, which includes Stuyvesant Heights, is so large that one could concentrate on it alone and still have architectural examples that run the gamut of style and history.

This part of Bed Stuy was called the Eastern District back in the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, this particular location was considered part of Bushwick.

Whatever one wanted to call it, it was a busy place with a life of its own. A bit removed from Bedford’s center at Fulton and Bedford, yet not really part of East Williamsburg, either.

The homes here were for the most part modest and middle class, and the needs of the community were served by local businesses.

In 1909, Charles E. Bowman filed to incorporate his new business. He issued $50,000 worth of stock, and got enough investor money to build this handsome building for his moving and storage business. (more…)

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Today’s pick is a Bedford Stuyvesant brownstone that’s been given a new life — and carries a piece of its old one.

Specifically, the house — at 44 Macon Street — is a four-story that’s been gut renovated on three of its floors. The garden floor remains as it was — and comes with a “life tenant.”

About the renovation: They’ve gone with an industrial rustic kind of vibe, with lots of exposed brick and roof beams, white walls and an open-plan living room and kitchen in the owner’s upper duplex. The effect is awfully nice — it feels airy, calm and bright.

The third-floor kitchen is spacious and attractive. We’re liking that subway tile with the dark-wood counter both there and in the parlor-floor kitchen (and admire the bold choice to not go with the ubiquitous stainless steel stove). The upper kitchen has one of the house’s three decorative fireplaces, two of them original. (more…)

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Here’s an interesting one. It’s a four-story Renaissance Revival brownstone, at 176 MacDonough Street in Stuyvesant Heights, with eye-popping details and a serious catch: It’s classified as an SRO, or single-room occupancy dwelling.

To start with the positive: The place looks spectacular. It’s got ornate woodwork, wainscoting, pier mirrors, crown moldings, bay windows, and six mantels of carved oak and mahogany, with period tiles laid alongside. The listing says it’s got some original light fixtures, which would make them over a century old.

What’s in the pictures looks to be reasonably well preserved, too — but there’s plenty that isn’t depicted. And when a listing suggests you “bring your preservation architect” and emphasizes that the house is being sold “AS-IS,” it seems a fair guess that there are a few rough spots. It’d be interesting to see what, and where. (more…)

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After an arson fire in May 2014 forced it to close its bucolic cafe and farm stand in a Stuyvesant Heights stable and garden, Bread Love moved east. It opened July 4 at 1933 Fulton Street in a more conventional storefront — but there is still outdoor space in the backyard.

The hours and menu have expanded to include dinner as well as breakfast, lunch and brunch. Menu items change daily and prices are reasonable — a recent dinner was $12, including sides.

As before, there are grocery items, including free range eggs and organic produce from nearby farms, as well as house made baked goods. New is soft serve ice cream. (more…)

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MacDonough Cafe opened on the dividing line of Bed Stuy and Ocean Hill Tuesday, in a space that had been empty for years. The menu at 83 Saratoga Avenue includes light fare such as avocado toast, pasta, and cheese and fruit plates.

The space had been under renovation for more than a year, and before that was shuttered for about a decade.

It joins a handful of other recent newcomers within a few blocks of Saratoga Park in East Bed Stuy, such as Butch & CoCo and Grandchamps. It will be open from 7 to 6, the owner told us.

Renovations at Long Vacant Storefront on Saratoga Avenue [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photos by Steve Sherman (more…)

446 Greene, SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row house
Address: 446 Greene Avenue
Cross Streets: Bedford and Nostrand avenues
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: Around 1885
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Unknown, possibly Amzi Hill
Other works by architect: Hill designed the houses on both sides of this one, as well as hundreds of row houses, as well as apartment buildings in Bedford Stuyvesant, Stuyvesant Heights, and Clinton Hill
Landmarked: No, but this block deserves to be landmarked

The story: Until recently, this was one of the great undiscovered blocks of Bedford Stuyvesant. It’s a bit removed from the core of the central Bedford neighborhood near Nostrand Avenue and Fulton Street.

Nonetheless, this block of Greene Avenue became a repository of some of Bedford Stuyvesant’s best row house architecture. Italianate, Neo-Grec, French Neo-Grec and Queen Anne style houses line this block, providing great visual interest and variety.

One house stands out, however, mid-block: a beauty with a large round three-story bay topped with a decorative cast iron balcony and a mansard roof. This house must have been built for someone special. (more…)

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Co-living is having a moment. Common, the co-living startup founded by General Assembly cofounder Brad Hargreaves announced this morning that they raised $7,350,000 in Series A funding for operating costs and business growth.

While shared living arrangements are not new, a successful business model hasn’t yet emerged. Campus, a once-burgeoning co-living company with 30 locations across the country (including one in Park Slope), announced in June that it would close its doors. “[W]e were unable to make Campus into an economically viable business,” says a statement on their website.

But Common’s model is different. The company will cleverly use investor assets — Brooklyn brownstones — through a sharing model.

(more…)

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A four-story building in Bed Stuy partially collapsed around 2:30 pm this afternoon, said the New York Post. The building was empty and three people had minor injuries from falling debris, according to tweets.

The building is located at 1438 Fulton Street (the Post incorrectly ID’d it as 1426 Fulton Street). The owner, Moses Strulowitz of CS Real Estate, is developing a large mixed-use complex here with 74 units, as we have reported before. (Incidentally, he’s the brother-in-law of murdered developer Menachem Stark).

Pictures and tweets from the scene below. (more…)

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The first party guests arrive in the newly finished backyard

Editor’s note: This is the latest in our long-running Bed Stuy Reno, a renovation diary written by a Brownstoner reader about a budget renovation of an Italianate brownstone in Bed Stuy financed with a construction loan.

When I finished most of the house renovations last year, there was no budget left for the backyard. Which in hindsight was a good thing, because I needed to recover from all the ills of going through a gut renovation.

Fast forward nine months later and I had enough saved to start my budget garden renovation. My old contractor offered me a great price to complete the work and as much as I like to save money, I really did not want to work with him on this project. I knew that I needed an expert and I wouldn’t have time to watch the project like a hawk. (more…)

974 Bedford Ave, SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Flats building
Address: 974 Bedford Avenue
Cross Streets: DeKalb and Willoughby Avenues
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: 1895
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: John Smith
Other works by architect: Row houses on Herkimer Street, Bedford Stuyvesant, other row houses and tenement buildings
Landmarked: No

The story: This magnificent flats building juts majestically above the four-story row houses on this part of Bedford Avenue. One can imagine that it looked exceptionally impressive when it was first built, designed to house respectable upper middle class folk here on the northern border of Bedford.

Investing in real estate was as lucrative in the late 1800’s as it is now, and this building was an investment property for policeman John J. Brennan, the first captain of the 13th Precinct, on Vernon and Tompkins Avenue. The same year he commissioned 974 Bedford, Brennan was promoted to the rank of Inspector in the Brooklyn Police Department.

Brennan was a native of Ireland, and immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was a child. He became a cop in 1862 and rose through the ranks quickly, becoming the first captain of the 16th Precinct in 1885. By the time he gained the rank of Inspector, he had been with the department for 35 years. He lived in Bedford, in a brownstone across the street from the new Boys High School, at 277 Madison Street.

And, as you can see below, he sported a mustache to rival any modern hipster. (more…)

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Anticipated to be Bed Stuy’s first sit-down Mexican restaurant with a full bar, Tepache Mexican Grill was open for business Sunday afternoon at 361 Halsey Street in Bed Stuy when we happened by, and we were intrigued to see how it turned out.

It was fairly busy, considering the late afternoon hour, with at least three full tables and curious passerby stopping to peer inside and check out the menu posted on the window. (more…)