04/22/14 4:00pm

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There will be five homes, all with gardens or landscaped decks, on The Brooklyn Heights Association’s house tour this year. Also on the program are refreshments and guided tours of the sanctuary at the historic Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims.

The tour takes place Saturday, May 10, from 1 to 5 pm. Tickets ($30 for members in advance, $40 for non members) can be purchased the day of the tour at St. Ann’s School at 129 Pierrepont Street, according to the Brooklyn Heights Blog.

There is also a “patron brunch” for $300 a ticket in the morning.  For more info about the tour, email housetour@thebha.org or call the BHA office at 718-858-9193.

04/21/14 12:57pm

This Classic 6 at 15 Clark Street in Brooklyn Heights looks pretty perfect to us. Great balance of prewar details with tasteful modern updates where it counts (the kitchen!). In addition to three bedrooms this place also manages to have three bathrooms. Nice corner light too. The apartment measures in at 1,730 square feet, putting the asking price of $2,500,000 at a multiple of just under $1,500 a foot. Heady times!

15 Clark Street, #2C [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP

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The Heights Cafe restaurant at 84 Montague Street re-opened earlier this month after six weeks of interior renovations. There is also a new menu, with new-American fare such as a lobster roll, oyster po-boy, a burger, veal and wild mushroom meatloaf and a ribeye.

Click through to the jump for an interior shot. Has anyone checked it out? GMAP

Photos by Heights Cafe (more…)

04/17/14 1:30pm

Huge and on a corner, this gem of a Greek Revival house at 15 Willow Street in Brooklyn Heights was built in 1834. The proportions are impressive: It’s 25.5 feet wide with five stories and 39 windows.

It has beautiful marble and wood Greek Revival fireplaces, dentil crown molding as well as the other moldings one would expect, tall windows on the parlor floor, and pier and mantel mirrors. There are also views of the harbor and bridge. A kitchen and bath don’t appear to have been updated too recently, but they look pleasant and usable as they are.

What we can’t figure out is the floor plan: Set up as a duplex over a triplex, quite a lot of what should be spacious rooms on the parlor and bedroom floors seems to be given over to a confusing maze of halls and stairs.

Perhaps a buyer could restore the original floor plan by creating a fourplex over a garden floor rental or a single family home. The house seems to have originally had a very grand center staircase. We hope it hasn’t been ruined.

The ask is $4,250,000. What do you think of it?

15 Willow Street [Brennan Realty] GMAP

04/17/14 12:55pm

It’s rare to find a decent-sized prewar two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn Heights for under a million bucks these days, so this co-op at the St. George Tower on Hicks and Clark asking $950,000 might strike someone’s fancy. It’s not huge and it doesn’t feel as vintage-y as some prewar fans might want, but it’s on a high floor, has two real bedrooms, two real bathrooms and corner light and views.

111 Hicks Street, #15L [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP

04/16/14 4:00pm

Next weekend, the third annual Brooklyn Zine Fest returns to the Brooklyn Historical Society with panels and a wide variety of publishers, artists and writers selling their wares. Panels will discuss topics like queer and trans zine writers, zine collecting and publishing zines anonymously.

And over 150 zine enthusiasts will be selling self-published magazines on everything under the sun: art, comedy, graffiti, comics, environmentalism, food, film, local history and much more. Check out the full lineup and the panel schedule for the festival, which will take place April 26 and 27 from 11 am to 6 pm at 128 Pierrepont Street.

Photo by Seth McFarland for Brooklyn Zine Fest

04/15/14 11:30am

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Interior demolition has started at 144 Willow Street, a landmarked building in Brooklyn Heights that Jared Kushner purchased from Brooklyn Law School in February as part of a bigger $36,500,000 deal.

A crew of at least eight started work late last week, a tipster told us. He didn’t see any certificate of no exterior effect, required by Landmarks, he said, except on former Watchtower buildings, which deeds indicate this was not.

An Alt-2 permit filed this month indicates a renovation is planned for the apartments on the basement through the fourth floors.

Kushner plans to turn three of the buildings in the recently acquired portfolio back into single-family townhouses, as we reported last week, but this one will remain apartments.

04/14/14 9:00am

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A Brooklyn Heights brownstone overlooking the Promenade is asking $16,000,000. If 192 Columbia Heights sells for ask, it will set a record, as The New York Times was the first to point out. So far the record for a townhouse in the Heights is 70 Willow Street, where Truman Capote famously rented, which sold for $12,500,000 in 2012.

This place is 25 feet wide, five stories tall and has nearly 8,000 square feet of space. It is in move-in condition.

Now that prices in “emerging” Brooklyn have about doubled in the last few years, do you think prices in prime Brooklyn will recalibrate? What do you guess it will sell for?

A Townhouse Above the Brooklyn Heights Promenade Asks $16 Million [NY Times]
192 Columbia Heights Listing [Kevin J. Carberry Real Estate/Corcoran]
Photo by Scott Bintner for PropertyShark

Fulton Terminal,composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Today’s Past and Present is a rare look at a Brooklyn none of us will see again. This is the Montague Street Slip, on the East River, below Brooklyn Heights. The photograph was taken in 1915, and shows a part of Brooklyn that is forever gone. This is part of the world of Brooklyn’s working waterfront, which once stretched from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge.

This area was the heart of Fulton Terminal, one of three dock terminals operated by the New York Dock Railway. The other two were the Baltic Terminal at the base of Baltic Street and the Atlantic Terminal, at the base of Commerce Street. Between all three terminals, the NY Dock owned the waterfront from Brooklyn Heights to the end of Red Hook. In addition to the piers, the company also owned the storehouses the stretched along the waterfront, a distance of two and a half miles. These were all brick storehouses with arched openings, similar to the Empire Stores and the Tobacco Warehouse on Water Street.

These stores and the piers had originally been owned by the Pierrepont, Clinton, Woodruff, McCormick, Robert, Prentis and other families whose names now grace our streets and institutions. These were the New England merchants who built Brooklyn in the early 19th century, making fortunes on the import and export of produce, grain, tobacco, sugar, coffee, leather, rubber and other commodities. For much of the 19th century, they operated as the Brooklyn Wharf and Warehouse Company. NY Dock bought the entire site in the largest bankruptcy sale in Brooklyn history, up to that point, in 1901, and began operation.

The Fulton Terminal was a floating dock terminal. It had a large wooden pier that held four tracks. These were used mostly as storage of railway cars. On both sides of the pier were the floating bridges. These piers floated on pontoons, although later the wooden piers were replaced by girder float bridges. These piers received the float cars that were pushed by tugboats.

The float cars were barges holding a railway car on a track. The cars came from New Jersey and the Bronx, and were floated across the water and eased between the floating bridges, where the cars would be lifted from the barges and placed on the pier’s railroad tracks, and on to nearby warehouses for loading or unloading. The railway cars then made the land trip to their other destinations across the country. It was a very efficient system; a rail car could be loaded and unloaded in a short amount of time.

By the teens, subway tunnels were being built underneath the East River from Manhattan to Brooklyn Heights, and construction of those tunnels necessitated a rebuilding of some of the NY Docks piers, specifically the Montague Street Slip, the pier located near the Montague Street to Wall Street ferry terminal. One of the subway tunnels was right under it. Our period photograph shows the pier under reconstruction. (more…)

04/10/14 4:00pm

The Municipal Art Society is hosting a walking tour of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights and Boerum Hill that will explore its history and the ethnic enclaves that settled there a hundred years ago. Local historian and genealogist Mary Ann DiNapoli will delve into the lives of various members of the Arab American community that moved to the neighborhood in the late 19th and early 20th century.

She’ll also discuss the foods and traditions that are unique to this time of year, and tour attendees will get to sample some wares from some of Atlantic’s wonderful Middle Eastern shops. The tour will take place this Saturday at 10 am. Tickets are $20, and you can purchase them through the MAS website.

Photo by Katia Kelly for Pardon Me for Asking

04/10/14 9:00am

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In an interesting twist, real estate mogul Jared Kushner is planning to turn three dorm buildings he bought from the Brooklyn Law School back into the single-family brownstones they once were. The three properties are 100 Pierrepont Street, pictured above, 38 Monroe Place and 27 Monroe Place in Brooklyn Heights, according to The Real Deal.

There is a high demand for “luxury townhouses” in the neighborhood, which sell for $,200 to $1,600 a square foot, said an associate broker at the Corcoran Group. “These would certainly be absorbed quickly,” she said.

Kushner picked them up along with three other dorms in February $36,500,000. The three other buildings will remain rentals.

This is almost as good as when Steve Jobs bought a Palo Alto bungalow for the purpose of razing it and turning the property back into an apricot orchard. As property values rise in Brooklyn, new townhouse development is on the rise and more owners are jettisoning rentals at the highest end of the market even as developers convert old townhouses into smaller condo units for other buyers.

Kushner to Convert Brooklyn Law Buildings to Mansions [TRD]
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

04/09/14 12:59pm

If you’re the kind of person who fantasizes about sitting in front of a fireplace in your wood-paneled living room, you’ll want to pay attention to this one. This floor-through one-bedroom at 42 Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights has just hit the market with an asking price of $730,000. In addition to the old-school vibe, it’s also got a private deck off the back and a not-so-hot maintenance of $1,480 a month.

42 Remsen Street, #3 [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP