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…)


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…)


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…)

417 Grand Avenue1

This unusual Clinton Hill house at 417 Grand Avenue is Colonial Revival and dates from 1909. It is part of a group of three designed by John J. Petit of Kirby, Petit & Greene, who is well known for his Japanese, Swiss, Spanish Colonial and other themed houses in Prospect Park South.

The landmarked house is very grand on the inside, with impressive proportions and a combination of Renaissance Revival and Colonial Revival details. It is 25 by 70 feet wide with five stories, according to PropertyShark, which would put the whole thing at 8,750 square feet. In fact, the listing calls the building “The Grandeur,” which seems fitting.

Unfortunately, there are not many photos and no floor plan. Although it’s been a two-family since 1975, it was chopped into 14 units in 1953, according to the certificates of occupancy. There are amazing details in the photos of the rooms shown, but it looks like it probably needs a lot of work.

We see herringbone floors and a near-original kitchen with impressive cabinetry and subway tile walls. There are six fireplaces and six bathrooms, plus plenty of fancy wood work, paneling and columns.

It was a Building of the Day last year and, incidentally, the site of a drug raid that same week, according to our own report at the time. The listing suggests it would work well as rentals or condos.

It last sold in January to an LLC for $2,500,000. Now the asking price is $3,999,000. What do you make of it? Has anyone seen this place in person?

417 Grand Avenue [Corcoran] GMAP
Photos by Corcoran (more…)


The eight condos in the former Broken Angel building at 4 Downing Street in Clinton Hill sold out in less than a month. Listings for the remaining two units in the development, both in a new townhouse under construction next to the former Broken Angel tenement at 8 Downing Street, have been taken down and will go back on the market in the fall, “when they are closer to completion,” according to an email update we received from developer and architect Barrett Design.

As you may recall, we were the first to tour and photograph the development at the former art project and neighborhood landmark, whose long, sad history we have been reporting on for 10 years, since this blog was founded. The eight units under construction in the existing tenement building sold out extremely quickly. (more…)

181 St. James1

This architecturally significant house at 181 St. James Place in Clinton Hill impresses inside and out with its unique facade and abundance of late 19th century detail inside. Part of a row of three, it was designed in 1892 by architect William Tubby for Charles Pratt’s Morris Building Company.

The LPC designation report calls it a mix of Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne, but we think neo-Jacobean better explains the mix of Flemish gables at the top and bay windows below. It’s only 17 feet wide, but it’s a single family house with a center stair, so the rooms aren’t narrow.

The details are relatively modern in their simplicity, anticipating the American Arts and Crafts style of the early 20th century. They don’t look like standard forms out of the builder’s catalog, and also have Queen Anne and Jacobean elements, such as the upper paneling on the mantel in the front parlor.

The layout looks more or less original, with the kitchen on the ground floor, although the rear parlor is used as a dining room, with a butler’s pantry off it. There are five decorative mantels, original wood work and stained glass.

A bath looks renovated but classic, in a circa-1900 style with white subway tile and a claw foot tub. The mechanicals have been updated but the house needs some maintenance, according to the listing.

It was a Building of the Day in 2007. What do you think of the house and its ask of $2,545,000?

181 St. James Place [Elliman] GMAP
Photos by Douglas Elliman



NYC Housing Connect is now accepting affordable housing applications for the new building finishing up at 490 Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill. As you may recall, this is where the Associated Supermarket used to be, between Hall and Emerson.

Affordable units make up 20 percent of the seven-story, 93-unit building. The 19 affordable units start at $816 a month for a studio. (more…)

395 Washington Ave, NS, PS 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Free-standing mansion
Address: 395 Washington Avenue
Cross Streets: Corner Greene Avenue
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill
Year Built: 1872
Architectural Style: Second Empire
Architect: Thomas Norris
Landmarked: Yes, part of Clinton Hill Historic District (1981)

The story: This handsome Second Empire brick mansion has a commanding spot here on the corner of Washington and Greene Avenues. It’s also one of a small number of surviving free-standing homes on this important street in Clinton Hill.

The three story house was built in the early 1870s. A newspaper ad in 1872 mentions this address. It was probably built for the family of Freeborn G. Smith, one of the great characters of 19th century Brooklyn.

Freeborn Smith was a wealthy piano manufacturer. He was born in Baltimore, where he started his career, apprenticed to a piano maker. He quickly learned piano construction, and rose to become a master. Baltimore wasn’t able to help him rise any further, so he came to New York City. (more…)


We found a drawing on the fence showing the unusual-looking 48-unit condo building going in at 502 Waverly Avenue near Fulton Street in Clinton Hill. Workers were digging the foundation when we passed by.

A previously published rendering, below, shows a glassy facade with a Deco-style curved edge and a color-blocked gray and white facade consisting of narrow divisions between the large expanses of glass. It looks more like an office building than residential, to our way of thinking. In any case, we expect potential buyers will be happy to see more condos (as opposed to rentals) going up in the area.  (more…)