578-584 Wash Ave,CB, PS 2

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 578-584 Washington Avenue
Cross Streets: Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill
Year Built: 1868
Architectural Style: Italianate
Architect: William Rushmore (builder)
Landmarked: No, but in Clinton Hill South historic district on the National Register

The story: These four lovely houses are unique in Brooklyn. They are the only known, or remaining elliptical arched window and doorway Italianate row houses in the borough. The only other elliptical grouping like this in the entire city is at 208-216 East 78th Street in Manhattan. Those houses are brick, not brownstone.

The houses were built in 1868, during the post-Civil War building boom that grew the neighborhoods of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. Their rapid growth was part of the expansion of the city outwards, as public transportation improved, allowing more people to live farther from downtown and the Manhattan ferries. The builder was a man named William Rushmore. (more…)

Black Artstory Web-Poster

Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership is coordinating an interesting list of events for Black History month that celebrate Fort Greene and Clinton Hill’s deep culture of African American arts and performance. Brooklyn-based contemporary dance company Hammerstep will blend Irish step dance and hip hop in a performance at Ingersoll Community Center on February 7, and a group of renowned local jazz musicians will perform live on February 15 at Splitty. There will also be a “digital media and live sound installation that re-imagines the concept of Afrofuturism in the wake of recent police violence in New York City” at the Emerson Bar on February 28. You can check out the full schedule, which includes poetry readings and art shows, over at Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership’s website.


TerraCRG is marketing 283 Greene Avenue, a two-story red brick factory that appears to be 19th century, as a residential conversion. The ask is $6,000,000, and the 13,279-square-foot Clinton Hill building has an additional 2,779 square feet of air rights. Currently home to Kilroy Architectural Windows, which has made windows for the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty, the building is not landmarked.

The setup, which is not yet available online, notes that “condo pricing in the area is expected to reach the $1,200 per square foot level and the rental market for is exceeding $56 per square foot. Townhouses in the neighborhood have been achieving prices well over $2,000,000.”

A buyer could tear the whole thing down and build a new 16,085-square-foot apartment building. We are hopeful, though, that whoever buys it will keep the existing building and put an addition on top, with a setback. It is quite an attractive building as is, and of course old factory buildings can be quite desirable as residences. Inside, the building has exposed brick walls, an elevator shaft that has been converted into a closet, and tin ceilings in some areas‎.

“Developers are looking at this both ways, however we usually see conversions and loft buildings being more desirable considering the original details and unique attributes for building‎,” Melissa Warren, TerraCRG partner and senior vice president, told us. GMAP

Photo by TerraCRG

J. Kayser, Composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

We all know that they used to make things here in Brooklyn, but it’s rather mind-boggling how much manufacturing went on in neighborhoods that are now largely residential. Clinton Hill is a fine example. We know that there was a lot of manufacturing going in in the Wallabout area, but in reality, factory and warehouse buildings did not end at Park or Myrtle Avenue, they continued on to DeKalb and in places, beyond. The area around Pratt Institute was very industrial, which made sense, as many of the Pratt Institute’s students were headed towards careers in industries of all sorts. What better place to put an industrial institution but in the heart of the city’s industry?

One might also think that this industry died in the early 20th century, but that too would be a fallacy. Many of the factories around Pratt were going strong until after World War II, and on into the 1960s. In fact, the war gave many of them more business than they had ever had, depending on what they produced. We’re not talking small businesses, either. Some of these companies were huge, with large manufacturing facilities, some of which consumed blocks, and hundreds of thousands of square feet of space. One of the largest of these was the Julius Kayser Company, located on Taaffe Place, between DeKalb and Willoughby Avenues. (more…)


The White Castle at 959 Atlantic Avenue in Clinton Hill closed up shop about two weeks ago, a tipster let us know. “I’m devastated!!!” she wrote. When we went by this morning, a chain fence enclosed the property and the door was boarded up.

In December, longtime owner 86 Lefferts Corp. filed an application for a demo permit. The company owns other commercial properties in Brooklyn. No other applications for building permits have been filed.

White Castles have been closing all over Brooklyn. The ones at 531 Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill and 781 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg will be replaced by apartments. By our count, there are five left.

Click through for more photos.

White Castle Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP



Longtime Clinton Hill restaurant Maggie Brown had its last day Sunday, January 4, according to a reader who was a regular there. When we stopped by 455 Myrtle Avenue this morning, there was paper over the windows and workers were renovating the interior.

We hear another restaurant is going in, but workers could not tell us anything about the plans for the space. Maggie Brown was known for brunch and comfort food, such as fried chicken and meatballs. Located between Washington and Waverly avenues, the building has not recently changed hands, according to public records. GMAP


The name for the restaurant-slash-bar replacing Choice Greene grocery at 214 Greene Avenue in Clinton Hill will be…..drumroll….Choyster’s! The new sign is up, and the eatery plans to open in two weeks, a worker inside told us.

The raw bar will serve oysters and other raw and cooked cold seafood. And, of course, there will also be a full (liquor) bar, with cocktails.

The bar will be open in the evenings from about 5 pm to 3 am, he said. The spot will also continue to offer its existing menu from sister businesses Choice Market and Dough, including bagels, pastries, coffee and sandwiches, throughout the day.

214 Greene Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP

atlantic and washington avenue DOT

The Department of Transportation wants to make the three-way intersection of Atlantic, Washington and Underhill Avenues less dangerous for pedestrians with some safety improvements. DNAinfo reported on the agency’s presentation to Community Boards 2 and 8, both of which must approve the proposal for changes to be made.

The intersection is on the border of Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights. The plan calls for:

*Shortening crosswalks by building larger median islands.

*Building a new crosswalk between Lowry Triangle, which sits between Washington and Underhill avenues, and the north side of Atlantic Avenue. There will also be a new crosswalk between the east side of Washington and the small triangle in the middle of the street.

*Increasing the length of crossing signals and delaying traffic lights to give pedestrians more time to cross.

*Restricting left turns from Washington Avenue to Atlantic Avenue and from Atlantic Avenue to Underhill Avenue.

Do you think these ideas will work?

Pedestrian Safety Measures Proposed for Dangerous Atlantic Avenue Crossing [DNA]
Image via DOT


AB Architekten, not Karl Fischer, will design the mixed-use luxury building that will replace Clinton Hill’s White Castle drive-in at 531 Myrtle Avenue. We received the first renderings of the planned development, above and after the jump, from TerraCRG, which is marketing the retail space.

In September a family trust sold the property to an LLC for $4,500,000, according to public records. Developer Greystone & Co. has replaced Simon Dushinsky of the Rabsky Group, according to an item published in the Myrtle Avenue Partnership’s blog last week. Construction is expected to start in January.

Although no new building applications have been filed since we last looked at the property, the plans for the building described by TerraCRG sound as if they have not changed substantially. There will be 27 luxury apartments in the building with stores below. (No word yet on whether they will be condos or rentals.) The retail space on the ground floor will measure about 6,000 square feet with 14-foot ceilings and can be divided and built to suit, said TerraCRG. It will be ready for occupancy in early 2016.

“We expect to attract banks, food and beverage, pharmacies, and other uses targeting students and young families,” a spokeswoman told us. The development is across the street from Pratt, and the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Steuben Street will be part of the forthcoming Myrtle Avenue Plaza. The listing has not yet gone up online. Click through for more renderings and floor plans of the commercial space.

What do you think of the building design?

Clinton Hill White Castle Will Become a Karl Fischer-Designed Apartment Building [Brownstoner]
Renderings by AB Architekten (more…)

135 lefferts place clinton hill 122014

We’ve been watching the building at 135 Lefferts Place take shape over the past few months (it’s on our route between home and office) and were just recently thinking that the developer deserved praise for putting up a small new building in this part of town that looks like someone gave a #@$%*!.

Decent ceiling heights, attractive and well-sized aluminum windows and even some plantings outside. Compare this to the atrocity up the block on the corner of Classon and Fulton or the cluster of buildings on Grand from Lexington to Greene and you’ll appreciate the difference.

As for the interiors, the modern doors are nice; the exposed Mitsubishi units not so much. This particular one-bedroom unit is 770 square feet and is asking $675,000, a helluva a lot more than the builder must have pro forma’d when he bought the place! Anyone checked this building out yet?

135 Lefferts Place, #2B [Corcoran] GMAP

55 cambridge place clinton hill 122014

This three-bedroom in Clinton Hill is nicely renovated and pretty reasonably priced. The living room looks fairly spacious, and the kitchen has good counter space and plenty of cabinets. The kitchen and bathroom are both newly renovated. The two front bedrooms are small — big enough to fit a full-size bed and a nightstand — and only one has a closet, according to the broker. The master bedroom is much larger and overlooks a courtyard. What are your thoughts on it for $3,000 a month?

55 Cambridge Place [Custom Brokers] GMAP

201 clinton avenue clinton hill 122014

We don’t have many photos to go by, but this new two-bedroom listing at the Clinton Hill Co-ops appears to be in good shape with good exposures and light. The floorplan is also nice, with a big square living/dining area and two bedrooms of equal size in the back. Please note, though, that there’s only one bathroom. Asking price for the 1,000-square-foot pad is $675,000.

201 Clinton Avenue, #4C [Corcoran] GMAP