Stuyvesant Heights Brooklyn -- 406 MacDonough St History

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

As the automobile’s importance grew, sometimes a plot of land was more important as a garage than as dwellings. Here’s such a case from 1916.

Name: Garage
Address: 406-410 MacDonough Street
Cross Streets: Stuyvesant Avenue and Malcolm X Boulevard
Neighborhood: Stuyvesant Heights
Year Built: 1916
Architectural Style: Early-20th-century garage
Architect: Eric O. Holmgren
Other works by architect: 122-134 Brooklyn Avenue in Crown Heights North; Evening Start Baptist Church (former LDS Chapel) on Gates Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant; 189 Ocean Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens; theaters in Williamsburg; Alku Toinen Cooperative Apartments in Sunset Park
Landmarked: Yes, part of Stuyvesant Heights Expansion Historic District (2013)

In 1905, the first automobile show in Brooklyn took place at the 23rd Regiment Armory, at the corner of Bedford and Atlantic avenues. It was the beginning of Brooklyn’s love affair with the automobile. (more…)


The extravagant but dilapidated brownstone at 7 Arlington Place in Bedford Stuyvesant, famed as the family home in Spike Lee’s Crooklyn, made headlines when it sold for $1,700,000 in 2013. Now newly restored and decorated, the home debuted Saturday as a bed and breakfast.

Built in 1887 in the Renaissance Revival style, the house was designed by one of Brooklyn’s finest 19th century architects, George P. Chappell. It is full of his signature original touches, such as as custom woodwork with foliate motifs you won’t find in any other row of brownstones. (more…)


With numerous full-line grocery stores, specialty shops and farmers markets, Bed Stuy is far from the stereotypical inner city “food desert.” But as the Whole Foods bags in the arms of residents heading home from the subway attest, locals have long complained they had to go outside the neighborhood to buy such items as grass-fed meats, wild fish, artisanal cheeses and organic strawberries. Now a gourmet grocery is finally headed to Bed Stuy.

Tara Oxley, who opened popular farm-to-table restaurant Eugene & Co. in December, has signed a lease for an 1,100-square-foot space at 406 Tompkins, just down the block. (The storefront sold stationary and toys for decades, old photos reveal.)

She hopes to open in January, she told Brownstoner. Chicky’s General Store is modeled on Dépanneur in Williamsburg and Dean and Deluca but with lower prices. The plan is to have a little bit of everything, including local organic produce, grass fed meats, prepared foods, sandwiches, and even some housewares and gifts. (more…)


Remember the crazy rendering, for an apartment building at 785 Dekalb Avenue in Bed Stuy, with a giant slanted porthole in the center, topped by a gold dome? Brownstoner said the mad, mod design resembled a “space-age city hall for sea monkeys,” and a local scrawled “yuppie boxes” on top of the rendering posted on the construction fence.

Now construction is far enough along to see the actual building is actually turning out pretty well. The facade and windows are going in, as a construction update from New York YIMBY shows. (more…)

Brooklyn Renovation Bed Stuy Brownstone Into Charming Condos

Photo by Steve Chan

It’s the thing in Brooklyn these days to convert chopped-up brownstones back into single-family homes. Rarer is the instance when a homeowner beautifully transforms a single-family brownstone into condos.

But that is exactly what Amy Werba, a French-Italian former actress, did with the Halsey Street brownstone she purchased in 2012. When Werba acquired the 19th-century Italianate home, it was not aging gracefully.

“The brownstone property was in terrible shape,” Werba told Brownstoner. “The home was squatted in with everything becoming rotten. Not a single original detail could be saved.”


No single-families among this week’s picks — two come with multiple rental units, while the other two have a single one each. They’re include a Park Slope limestone, a pair of Bed Stuy brownstones and an aluminum-sided job in Bushwick.

At 435 Classon Avenue in Bed Stuy (right on the Clinton Hill border) we’ve got a newly renovated four-story — in fact it’s so newly renovated that the work is still in progress. You’ll find a four-bedroom owner’s triplex sitting over a garden rental, a “1 bed/1 bath unit that with easy rent ability,” per the listing. (more…)


Today’s pick, a duplex at 625 Jefferson Avenue in Stuyvesant Heights, isn’t your average rental unit. It offers five bedrooms, for one thing, and it’s also got detail not often found in a rental.

Note the fireplace mantels, the plaster detailing, the wainscoting, the parquet floors, the moldings, and the old-fashioned light fixtures. The recently updated kitchen and bathrooms are nice as well, with classic white subway tile. (more…)

It’s School Week here on Brownstoner. Stay tuned to check out more school-themed stories.


I was asked to pick my favorite school building for this series of school posts. Of course, I have to go with Boys High School. It’s a masterpiece. Filmmakers think so too — the school’s been used as a setting for at least two major productions.

Name: Boys High School
Address: 832 Marcy Avenue
Cross Streets: Putnam Avenue and Madison Street
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: 1891, with additions 1905-1910
Architectural Style: Richardsonian Romanesque Revival
Architect: James W. Naughton, additions by C.B.J. Snyder
Other works by architect: Girls High School (Bed Stuy), P.S. 9 Annex (Prospect Heights), P.S. 107 (Park Slope); Snyder: Erasmus High School (Flatbush); John Jay High School (Park Slope); for both, many, many others
Landmarked: Yes, individually landmarked (1975); National Register (1982)

Brooklyn, as an independent city, led the metropolitan area in public education. Educators had long felt that public schooling beyond elementary school was necessary for an educated populace and workforce.

In 1885, the first high school in New York City, Girls High School, opened nearby on Nostrand Avenue. Originally planned to hold both boys and girls, it was too small for both before the doors even opened. The boys had to wait until September of 1892, when this school was completed.

James W. Naughton, who was Superintendent of Buildings for the Board of Education of the City of Brooklyn (put that title on your door), held his office from 1879-98.

During that time, this Irish-born, Cooper Union–trained architect was the sole architect for more than 100 schools built during his tenure. He was active right at the peak of Brooklyn’s ascendency as one of America’s finest fast-growing cities.

A Majestic School Worthy of a City on the Rise

By the mid 1880s, the Romanesque Revival architecture style was seen as a fitting style of architecture for important civic, commercial and residential buildings in America.

The style had complex massing of shapes and textures, soaring arches and ornamental elements, all perfect for showing off in a spectacular way.

In the 1890s in Brooklyn, the fire headquarters, post office, Eagle Warehouse, Germania Club, Alhambra Apartments, Hulbert, Behr and Schieren houses, and many more were designed in the Romanesque Revival style. But the Boys High School would top them all. (more…)


A Brownstoner reader emailed us this juicy tidbit about the bar and restaurant replacing Celestino at 562 Halsey Street in Bed Stuy:

I have some news for East-Bed Stuy/ Stuy Heights readers. My neighbor, my wife and I passed by the old Celestino location on Halsey and Stuyvesant ave on Monday night and to our surprise the lights were on! We went in and had a drink. The bartender and someone else who was possibly the owner/manager were very nice and welcoming. We were told that the space is a bar (full liquor license) that will eventually serve small plates/tapas and is tentatively called “Stuy Bar.” To our eyes, the interior/exterior have not been changed since it was Celestino.



The owner of Chez Oskar and Lola in Fort Greene, painter Charlotta Jansen, has bought the building at 373 Decatur Street in Bed Stuy and plans to turn the retail space into a restaurant.

An LLC bought the property from the longtime owner for $1,550,000 in July, public records show. The same month, the former owner filed an application with the building department to “renovate eating and drinking place. No change to use, egress or occupancy.” (more…)