French eyeglasses maker Anne & Valentin opened last week at 200 Smith Street in Carroll Gardens, a spokesperson let us know. Its frames, which come in unusual shapes and colors, such as pink metal and two-tone acetate, are made in France.

Smith Street is becoming quite the district for high-end opticians. The store joins a growing number in the area, including James Leonard at 309 Smith Street and Moscot at 159 Court Street. Pardon Me For Asking was the first to write about the new store. GMAP

Photo by Anne & Valentin

236 Carroll Street, SSpellen 2

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row house
Address: 236 Carroll Street
Cross Streets: Corner Court Street
Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens
Year Built: Before 1871
Architectural Style: Italianate
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: The name Carroll Gardens is not an old one. It was adapted in the 1960s to give the neighborhood a separate identity from its two large surrounding industrial areas, Red Hook and Gowanus. Up until that time, and for some old-timers still, it was called South Brooklyn or Red Hook. Developers began building houses here after the street grid was laid down in 1835, so this is one of Brooklyn’s oldest developed neighborhoods.

The expansion of the Red Hook docks and the businesses that accompanied that helped spur interest in the neighborhood as a residential area. As the 19th century progressed, the growth of the Gowanus area also made this central residential neighborhood attractive to the owners of the nearby businesses. In the 1840s, Carroll Park was purchased as a private garden for the wealthy homeowners surrounding it.

The park didn’t get real development in that department until the 1870s, when many of the houses around it were built. However, knowing that the park would one day be there encouraged developers to build large townhouses on wide lots around the park, similar to those in Brooklyn Heights. This house was built at that time, sometime in the late 1860s, and finished before 1871, when an ad for its sale appears in the Brooklyn Daily Union. (more…)

279 sackett street carroll gardens 122014

Given this listing comes with only two interior shots, we suspect there’s not much detail left in this once-grand Carroll Gardens brownstone. Still, it’s 25 feet wide and has high ceilings on every floor, according to the listing.

The house at 279 Sackett Street is currently set up as a four-family and will be delivered vacant. The staircase is original, there is a stained glass skylight, and more than one marble mantel, according to the ad.

Considering it could also buy a top-of-the-line house in perfect, move-in condition in Park Slope on a park block, the ask of $4,650,000 sounds high to us, but what do you think?

279 Sackett Street [Corcoran] GMAP

173 luquer street carroll gardens 122014

Here’s a beautiful but pricey 2.5-bedroom duplex in Carroll Gardens that’s big enough for a family. The 1,600-square-foot pad is newly renovated and features dark wood floors, some original moldings and a modern fireplace.

The bedrooms, a full bath, and a separate laundry room are on the parlor floor, with the living room, kitchen/dining and a half bath on the garden level. It’s about five blocks in either direction to the F and G trains at Smith-9th Streets or Carroll Street. Do you think it’ll rent for $5,950 a month?

173 Luquer Street [Stribling] GMAP


Yesterday we noticed a green construction shed and a sign proclaiming a brick oven pizza place coming to the old Robin des Bois space at 195 Smith Street, but a little research quickly revealed the sign has been up since 2012!

The longtime owner of the building (not a restaurateur) is busy adding an extension to the rear on the ground floor where the garden used to be, renovating the interior, and changing the two apartments upstairs into four, according to a permit that was issued in February. No idea who would be running the pizza joint — if it’s still on the table — but as Pardon Me For Asking noted two years ago, there are plenty of other places nearby to get a pie. GMAP

585 hicks street carroll gardens 112014

Here’s a cozy prewar two-bedroom in Carroll Gardens with a few modern updates. The kitchen was renovated a few years ago, and the owner just installed a new bathroom, although from the glimpse in the listing it looks very small. While the two bedrooms appear to be decently sized, the apartment appears to be a three-room railroad. It’s got windows on three sides, but it’s on Hicks Street overlooking the BQE. Do you think $2,350 a month is a reasonable price?

585 Hicks Street, #3 [Elliman] GMAP


The new-construction townhouse at 259 Hoyt Street whose construction we have been following is now on the market and asking $2,749,000. The interiors strike a nice balance between modern and traditional that seems well suited to the neighborhood, in our opinion.

The overall look is not unusual for new construction, with its modern staircase and rear wall open to the garden, but it looks better executed than most, at least in the photos. The moldings have a little more heft and detail than usual, the modern-style windows and doors look large and substantial, and the kitchens and baths are nicely understated.

It’s set up as an owner’s duplex over a two-bedroom garden rental. Click through to see more interior renderings.

We wish we had an updated photo of the exterior, and will try to get one soon. When we saw it last, it looked like it would fit in nicely with its older surroundings. The architect of record is Eric Safyan, according to permits.

Do you think this is an appealing new-construction townhouse? What do you think of the price?

259 Hoyt Street [Corcoran]
New Three-Story Brick House Going in on Hoyt [Brownstoner]
Photos by Corcoran


When a tipster passed by Goldenrod this morning, city marshals were in the process of changing the locks and returning possession of the space to the landlord. As far as we can tell, the Carroll Gardens bar was still open for business until today. Before it became Goldenrod in August 2013, the space at 449 Court Street was P.J. Hanley’s, Brooklyn’s oldest bar, open since 1874.

Goldenrod owner James McGown, who has acquired a reputation for strange business dealings after a string of bankruptcies, bought P.J. Hanley’s in 2005, according to Crain’s, then declared bankruptcy in 2013. He opened Goldenrod in the same spot shortly thereafter. He and the landlord were involved in a legal dispute over unauthorized alterations and construction without a permit, said another story in Crain’s. Perhaps the landlord evicted McGown for breaking his lease, which ran through 2020, according to Crain’s.

Thanks to our tipster for the photo. Anyone know more? GMAP

McGown Coverage [Brownstoner]


When workers started digging a big hole in the backyard of the recently sold house at 391 Union Street in Carroll Gardens, it set off alarm bells with some neighbors. Two calls were made to 311, and one neighbor emailed us expressing fears about whether the apparent swimming pool project was on the up-and-up and what the structural implications for adjacent buildings might be. We checked with the architect who is overseeing the renovation of the house at No. 391, and it turns out that everything is being done by the book.

The pool will be 10 feet by 20 feet, a total of 200 square feet, with a maximum depth of four feet. A pool of this size does not require a permit. Nonetheless, the firm has made it clear in its filings to the DOB that one is planned. (Indeed, we saw it in the Schedule A attached to the Alt-1 permit.)

The hole in the backyard is bigger than the final size of the pool to allow for framing and plumbing. “The pool is set back from the property lines by more than four feet and is more than 10 feet from any foundation,” architect Daniel Alter told us.

While work has started on the pool, the rest of the renovation will wait for the appropriate permit approvals. “As a general matter, I can tell you that the owners are committed to not proceeding with any work that requires a permit until the permits can be pulled,” he said. (more…)

37 3rd Place Combo

The best thing about this garden apartment in Carroll Gardens is that it’s in an impressive Second Empire townhouse (the one on the left). Unfortunately, with the exception of the tin ceiling in the bedroom, it lacks the details one would hope for in a building like this. And it is narrow — the building is only 16.5 feet wide.

Nonetheless, the unit has wood floors throughout and central A/C. The railroad layout is a little awkward — the kitchen is off the bedroom rather than near the living room or the den. Small pets are allowed. It’s not clear if tenants have access to the garden just outside the kitchen window. The building was a House of the Day back in March of 2013 when it was on the market for $2,995,000.

These days $2,400 a month for a place like this doesn’t seem outrageous for Carroll Gardens. What do you think?

37 3rd Place, Garden Unit [Patricia Mones] GMAP

413 Degraw Street, NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former stable/carriage house
Address: 413 Degraw Street
Cross Streets: Hoyt and Bond streets
Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens
Year Built: 1892, maybe
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival, possibly with later alterations
Architect: J. J. Gallagher, mason
Landmarked: No

The story: In December of 1892, James Lumas applied for and received a permit to build a two story stable here at 413 Degraw Street. Mr. Lumas must have been local, but his name never appears in the Brooklyn papers again. No. 413 is listed as his address on the permit. Whoever he was, and wherever he lived, he paid for a really nice stable and carriage house. The mason used on the job is also listed on the permit: J. J. Gallagher. We’ll probably never know if Gallagher designed the stable, or used a plan from a book, but wherever the design came from, it’s a nice piece of work. The stable has an apartment above it.

The building is a Romanesque Revival style building, with Colonial Revival details. It has the arched Romanesque windows and door, but the brick cornice and other brick trim make it much more Colonial Revival looking. According to the permit the building was to be constructed with a wooden cornice, but that is either gone, or never happened. It looks like the entire building got a Colonial Revival facelift in the first third of the 20th century, and lost the cornice to decorative brickwork, which also surrounds the arched windows and door. But then again, this could all be original. Because this building’s construction date is a mystery. (more…)


We’ve received a ton of tips that a Ricky’s NYC is moving into 209 Smith Street, a prominent corner where Carroll Gardens meets Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill. (This is the old Faan space — more recently, Burger on Smith.) Apparently people really care about Ricky’s!

It could be a Halloween popup, but the signage looks like regular Ricky’s. They already have two locations in Brooklyn, one in the Heights and one in Park Slope. So this seems like a logical addition.

Thanks for a tipster for sending in the photo. Anyone know more? GMAP