Bushwick residents packed a town hall meeting convened by a local community group to push for affordable housing at the massive Rheingold Brewery development in Bushwick. City Council Member Antonio Reynoso called on developer Rabsky to live up to a 2013 promise made by its predecessor, developer Read Property, to include affordable housing.

The former industrial space, which is being redeveloped as apartments and shops, covers about 10 city blocks close to Flushing and Bushwick avenues. However, the protest may be much ado about nothing.

Rabsky already said in June it has every intention of including affordable housing in its developments. The community group, the Rheingold Construction Committee, apparently isn’t buying it.  (more…)

735 and 737 Bushwick Avennue

Tenants in two buildings on Bushwick Avenue are being evicted to make way for a renovation, according to a tipster. “Although they tried to fight it the tenants are getting evicted,” she told us. “Construction is set to start in a month.”

We checked into permits at 735 and 737 Bushwick Avenue, and sure enough, the owner is planning to add a fourth floor to each building and increase the number of units. (One will go from three to seven units, and the other from three to six.) The plans were filed this month but have not yet been approved.

This is one example of change taking place all up and down Bushwick Avenue and throughout the neighborhood. We have noted many townhouses being gut renovated, spruced up, enlarged with top-story additions, and even being demolished and replaced by larger apartment buildings over the last year or so.  (more…)

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For more than a century, the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes stood as a beloved neighborhood landmark. Built into the corner of 2 Aberdeen Street at the intersection of Aberdeen and Broadway, the stone structure housed a statue of the Virgin Mary. Several generations of locals considered it to be a sacred space; a place where they could pause, reflect, ask for mercies, or meditate.

“The grotto was a special place in our lives,” says local Robert LaRosa. “Every time I’d pass by, I’d have my special silent prayer.”

But the grotto was torn down last week, much to the chagrin of hundreds of Bushwick residents, several of whom visited the scene to collect stones from the rubble and pay their respects.

(more…)

1173-1179 Bushwick Ave, CB, PS 2

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 1173-1179 Bushwick Avenue
Cross Streets: Cornelia Street and Jefferson Avenue
Neighborhood: Bushwick
Year Built: 1880
Architectural Style: Transitional Italianate/Neo-Grec
Architect: Thomas F. Houghton
Other works by architect: St. Agnes Catholic Church and school, Carroll Gardens; Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, Stuyvesant Heights; St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Park Slope. Also row houses and other buildings in Stuyvesant Heights, Crown Heights North, and elsewhere
Landmarked: No

The story: At first glance, these transitional Italianate and Neo-Grec homes are just another group of four modest brownstones. But here, as in all of his work, architect Thomas Houghton created beauty in the details.

These four houses were designed by one of the East Coast’s premiere Catholic Church architects, best known for his churches here in Brooklyn, Manhattan and in Massachusetts.

Houghton learned from the best of the best, Patrick Keely, and became part of the family by marrying the boss’s daughter. (more…)

1255 Decatur Street

Plans were filed last week for a five story building to rise in place of this wood frame house in Bushwick. As with many wood frame houses that are being torn down around the borough, this one at 1255 Decatur Street is small and sits on a relatively large lot.

The original house is quite small, only 25 by 32 feet and set all the way back at the end of the 100 foot long lot — an unusual configuration for Brooklyn. The new building will be much larger — 5,311 square feet. (more…)

rheingold brewery rendering 2

The developer behind a building at the Rheingold Brewery site in Bushwick is being accused of trying to back out of affordable housing promises that were made during the rezoning process, according to a report by DNAinfo. In a statement forwarded to us, the developer denied the claims.

The planned seven story, 393-unit rental building at 10 Montieth Street, developed by Rabsky Group and designed by ODA New York, will feature a 25,000-square foot green roof, according to the renderings released in March. According to DNAInfo, however, plans currently filed with the city show that affordable housing isn’t part of the plan. (more…)

600 Bushwick Avenue Combo2

Six stories of modern glassy apartments will replace this low-slung brick building that garaged and serviced cars at 600 Bushwick Avenue for 100 years. The existing building, a Building of the Day in 2013, has a pleasing symmetrical design with Neo-Classical columns and triangular pediments.

The new design, by Hustvedt Cutler Architects, adds four stories to the existing building, and replaces its triangular pediments with glassy, asymmetrical bays and balconies. At first we thought the renderings showed an entirely new building, but the contemporary adaptation retains the brick base and second-story windows of the original. (more…)

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This row of buildings on Bushwick Avenue keeps catching fire! The sad story of the one in the middle, at 1138 Bushwick Avenue, illustrates the dangers of owning property next to an abandoned wreck.

The gray and white row house on the right above, No. 1138, was almost done with its renovation following a fire in September when the house next door at 1140, above left, caught fire again Tuesday. When we stopped by to see the damage yesterday morning, inspectors were surveying the wreckage.

We suspect both fires were caused by vagrants, whom we have seen sitting on the stoop of 1140 Bushwick Avenue on many occasions over years. (more…)

318 Knickerbocker Avenue1

This one-bedroom condo for rent in the Knickerbocker at 318 Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick is quite a bit nicer than your average rental in the neighborhood. It has high ceilings, wood floors, those nice arched windows in the living room and bedroom, a dishwasher and central air. And it is large for a one bedroom at 796 square feet.

The building has a roof deck, a gym and a bike room. Heat, hot water and gas for the stove is included in the rent. Of course you’ll pay more to get more.

The owner is asking $2,500 a month. What do you think?
318 Knickerbocker Avenue, #3B [Corcoran] GMAP
Interior photos by Corcoran, exterior photos by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark (more…)

The nine-year-old Bushwick Open Studios event took place this past weekend in homes, galleries, parks and other spaces all over Bushwick. More than 1,100 artists participated.

There are parties, parades, performances, screenings, and panels throughout the weekend. And, of course, open studios — which are often in homes. It’s a great way to meet the neighbors.

The all-volunteer event started in 2006 with 85 open studios and is now one of the largest open studio events in the world. We attended Community Day in Maria Hernandez Park, but there is no way to take it all in, so we have curated a few photos from Instagram and Twitter. Click through to see. (more…)

626-bushwick-avenue-1-060215

Developer Cayuga Capital has removed the spire from the 19th-century church at 626 Bushwick Avenue it is converting into apartments, we noticed on several trips over the past few months. “The steeple had to be brought down for safety reasons and zoning does not allow it to exceed 70 feet,” Cayuga’s Jamie Wiseman told us when we inquired. “It was very old and unstable.”

However, the developer does intend to reconstruct a portion of it, and “we have a surprise in store to ensure the clocktower remains iconic,” he said. (more…)

978 Bushwick Ave, CB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Freestanding house
Address: 978 Bushwick Avenue
Cross Streets: Greene and Grove streets
Neighborhood: Bushwick
Year Built: 1887
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Theobald Engelhardt
Other works by architect: Ulmer Brewery office, Cook Mansion, Arion Hall, and numerous freestanding and row houses, tenements, factories, breweries, churches and other buildings in Bushwick, eastern Bedford Stuyvesant and Williamsburg
Landmarked: No

The story: Theobald Engelhardt designed this family home for Ernst Schlueter in 1887. At the time, it was an ideal suburban retreat for this wealthy Manhattan grocer. Schlueter had come to New York from Germany in the early 1850s, along with so many of his countrymen, everyone fleeing Germany’s civil war.

He established a grocery at 28 Chrystie Street in Manhattan in 1855, and became very successful. In 1887 he retired, and he and his wife moved to the German community of Bushwick to relax after their years of hard work and saving.

Schlueter retained Engelhardt, the go-to architect for Bushwick’s German community. He designed a handsome, stand-alone four-story townhouse in the Queen Anne style. The house is made of brick and brownstone, with a shingled mansard roof, a beautiful cornice beneath that, and a solid, no-frills home below. (more…)