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Following a shooting incident over the weekend, a reader sent Brownstoner this open letter to the Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, New York City Public Advocate Tish James and the 88th Police Precinct about ongoing problems with drug dealing and violence on Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill. Thompson and James live nearby, as she points out in the letter; Brownstoner has been writing about crime on this stretch for years. In her letter, she listed the addresses of buildings and license plates of cars she believes is associated with the problems. Brownstoner has deleted these from the letter for legal reasons. Here is what she said:

“Violent Crime Haven at Clifton/Grand

In light of the recent murder and shootings, I am writing in regard to
the frightening, pervasive and constant illegal activity and violence
along Grand Avenue, specifically at the corner of Clifton Place. The
drug trade here is vibrant, enthusiastic, defiant and unchecked. This
is an absolute slap in the face to the neighborhood. It’s Hamsterdam
from The Wire – brazen illegal activity of every kind conducted with
impunity. All of the players seem confident that they can operate with
no consequences. 88th Precinct, what are you doing? (more…)

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There was a shooting about 12:30 am Sunday morning on Clifton Place close to Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill, according to a reader who heard the gunfire. Two people were shot and injured. “We heard six or seven shots,” our tipster writes.

The gunfire came from an SUV near 47 Clifton Place “just after midnight,” according to a story in News 12. The two victims were taken to Methodist Hospital and are expected to live. (more…)

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Residents of the Vendome building at 363 Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill have filed a lawsuit against the city and building owner Azad Ali in an effort to protect a decades-old agreement enabling tenants to purchase their apartments.

Built in 1887, the Vendome is Brooklyn’s oldest multi-family apartment building. Gutted by a fire in 1980, the building was slated for demolition in 1987. The Vendome was landmarked in 1981 — when the Clinton Hill Historic District was established — and community members lobbied to save it.

At the time, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development created a preservation plan for the site, which included keeping the Vendome as an affordable rental building for 15 years, after which tenants would have the ability to buy their units as coops or condos, according to Legal Services NYC — the organization legally representing the Vendome tenants. Tenants claim that the then-landlord signed agreements guaranteeing these terms in exchange for subsidized loans. (more…)

907 Fulton St. SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

When the police raided a gambling den in this building in 1911, patrons escaped by riding down the dumb waiter. Just a few years later, the same space became the clubhouse for one of Brooklyn’s first Colored Boy Scout Troops.

Name: Commercial building
Address: 899-907 Fulton Street
Cross Streets: Corner Clinton Avenue
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill
Year Built: Around 1908
Architectural Style: Renaissance -Romanesque Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

“The Hill” goes from mansions to apartments.
By the end of the 19th century, Clinton Hill was enjoying its status as one of Brooklyn’s wealthiest and most popular neighborhoods. Grand mansions and townhouses lined Clinton and Washington Avenues, and large churches dotted the streetscape.

In addition to the single family houses, elegant hotels and apartment buildings also rose on these same streets, and “The Hill” as it was called, was still growing.

It stands to reason, therefore, that suitable retail establishments would open on Fulton Street, easily accessible to public transportation and pedestrian traffic.

However, commerce didn’t happen all at once. This building was built on a site once part of a large mansion facing Clinton Avenue. That home stood until at least sometime after 1904, as it appears on the Sanborn Insurance map for that year.

The mansion and its neighbor succumbed to development, and a few years later were replaced by three apartment buildings and this group of stores. (more…)

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Facade renovation! One half of the symmetrical row house on the corner of Clinton and Kane Streets is looking a bit bare this week. The stucco has been chipped off, exposing the brick and brownstone underneath.

The building at 303 Clinton Street is one of a series of Italianate row houses featured as Building of the Day a few years ago. Seeing this home beside its still-stuccoed mirror image next door offers a nice comparison. More facade renovation pics after the jump. (more…)

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Yesterday, a commenter tipped us off to a construction accident in Clinton Hill. According to no-permits:

“there was a partial collapse and a worker who fell off a scaffold at 128 cambridge today. this is next to a very slow moving new construction project at 132 cambridge. 132 was a wood frame with a lot of potential that i don’t even know how they tore down because the block is landmarked.”

More info after the jump.
(more…)

921-931 Fulton St. SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Flats buildings with stores below
Address: 921-931 Fulton Street
Cross Streets: Clinton and Waverly avenues
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill
Year Built: around 1898
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: This set of five buildings is a rare cast iron group here in Clinton Hill. The unknown architect and developer chose to clad all five buildings in sheet metal, enabling them to incorporate a number of classical details at relatively small expense.

This part of Fulton Street — winding its way through Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Bedford — has long been a mixture of residential and commercial buildings. There’s another special cast iron building further down at 375 Fulton.

But as our 1887 Sanborn Insurance map shows, before this group was built, the block was home to a row of two-and-a-half story wood-framed storefronts with apartments above. The storefronts were occupied by a tailor, a plumber, a baker and other neighborhood necessities.

Around 1897 or so, those smaller buildings were torn down and replaced with the four-story iron-fronted buildings we see today. Each of them has a commercial space on the ground floor and three stories of floor-through apartments above.
(more…)

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The Lefferts Place Mews, a collection of old-school-looking townhomes that are actually condominium apartments, is coming along nicely at 76-88 Lefferts Place in Clinton Hill, we saw when we stopped by recently to snap some photos.

The brownstone and red brick façade has gone up, the windows are in, and workers were just starting on the cornice. The collection of four buildings with a total of 31 units launched sales in October, starting at $625,000, as we reported at the time. (more…)

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Developer David Kramer’s Hudson Companies has released renderings of the Clinton Hill affordable housing it plans at 1041-1047 Fulton Street and 911-917 Atlantic Avenue. As readers will recall, both buildings are part of a deal struck to redevelop the Brooklyn Heights Cadman Plaza branch library at 280 Cadman Plaza West, next door to 1 Pierrepont Plaza, where Hillary Clinton has her campaign headquarters.

The renderings, more details of the project, and additional renderings of the condo building were revealed on a new website about the project last week. (more…)

554 Washington Ave, CB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Semi-detached house
Address: 554 Washington Avenue
Cross Streets: Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill
Year Built: Around 1872
Architectural Style: Italianate with Second Empire details
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No, but part of Clinton Hill South Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places (1986)

The story: Because it’s on the far side of Fulton Street, between Fulton and Atlantic Avenue, the architecture over here sometimes gets overlooked. Fulton Street, one of the busiest in the city, can be a great divider, if only psychologically.

But there is actually a lot going on over here, with several buildings worth a second look. This home is certainly one of them. It’s a wonderful Italianate/Second Empire villa, with great eyebrow dormers, tucked away in the middle of the block. (more…)

150211 RenderView context - DRAFT.psd

The design has been updated and permits were approved last week for the seven-story, 39-unit mixed-use rental building that will replace the gas station at 840 Fulton Street at the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue in Clinton Hill.

A new rendering shows the materials and colors of the building have changed, although the overall shape is similar. The glassy building has touches of bright orange and mixed materials that form geometric patterns on the facade. (more…)

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Longtime Clinton Hill residents Alicia and Daniel Mekelburg are prepping to open a gourmet grocery and eatery with a full bar and a backyard in the basement of an apartment building at 293 Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill. They’re aiming for this Sunday, June 14.

There’s nothing quite like Mekelburg’s in the neighborhood — or, for that matter, in Brooklyn. It most closely resembles Eataly, we think, but it’s more of a neighborhood place because it’s much smaller (about 3,000 square feet). (more…)