laundry room renovation pink tiles

A year ago, our bathrooms — with plumbing ranging in age from 65 to 100 years old — were demolished to make way for all the new “guts” of the home: you know, trivial stuff like plumbing, electric and heating.

I was horrified by the thought of contributing otherwise useful materials to a landfill, so (in addition to sinks, mirrors and tubs) I asked our contractors to carefully salvage as many of the 1950s pink tiles as they could. We got a nice haul — about 750 four-inch squares.

Fast forward to now, and they’ve sat moldering away in our basement with zero game plan. Maybe I could sell them to a purveyor of all things retro? Maybe a neighbor or a reader would want them? I had no clue what their final destination would be, I was just happy to have saved them from the dumpster. And finally, like a bolt of lightning from Poseidon himself, their purpose became crystal-clear: I can actually reuse them again in this house!


Introducing Brownstoner’s first-ever reader renovation diary based in Sea Gate. It will document the renovation of a 100-year-old oceanfront home on the edge of Coney Island. Our intrepid blogger can also be found at Brooklyn Beach House.


A Coney Island beach house. Yes! They exist.

I know, because we bought one a year ago. If you start at Nathan’s in Coney Island and head west toward the baseball stadium (keep the ocean on your left), in about a mile you will find that the boardwalk and Surf Avenue dead end into gates in the water and the street.

This is the beginning of Sea Gate, a 120-year-old gated community that boasts tiny bungalows, apartment buildings, mega-mansions, and everything in between. And the cool part is — despite the gate — anyone can live here!

After spending a delightful four years in a Park Slope brownstone on 6th Street just off the park, followed by an even more delightful seven years raising our new family in a large Queen Anne in Ditmas Park, I can honestly say THIS is Brooklyn’s best kept secret. (more…)

3030 West 32nd Street1

You can’t live closer to the Coney Island Boardwalk than this. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom condo at 3030 West 32nd Street is right on the boardwalk.

It has views of the beach, the boardwalk and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also quite large at 1,500 square feet.

There are wood floors throughout, and it appears to get plenty of that beach light through the large windows and doors. This unit also has a balcony and a private roof deck. (more…)

2301 Neptune Ave, CI pumping station, Jim Henderson for Wiki

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Coney Island Pumping Station
Address: 2301 Neptune Avenue
Cross Streets: West 23rd Street and Bayview Avenue
Neighborhood: Coney Island
Year Built: 1938-39
Architectural Style: Moderne
Architect: Irwin S. Chanin
Other Buildings by Architect: Chanin Building, Century and Majestic apartment buildings, as well as Broadway theaters and Garment Center buildings, all Manhattan
Landmarked: No, but on National Register of Historic Places (1981)

The story: Way out on the northern side of Coney Island, the City of New York built a Pumping Station building for the Fire Department. The year was 1938, and the city was still awarding prominent city buildings to some of its most important architects of the day. The pumping station was necessary to maintain water pressure on this side of Coney Island, rather ironic considering that right behind it was the beginning of the inlet known as Coney Island Creek, part of the mighty Gravesend Bay.

The station is a one-story oblong building designed in the Moderne style of architecture, the beginnings of the American version of the sleek and modern International Style. This style was quite popular with Depression-era public buildings here in New York, and was hailed as an example of the new clean style of building that was replacing our dated reliance on Colonial Revival and other classical forms of public architecture. This was one of many government PWA (Public Works Projects) buildings constructed during the Great Depression. (more…)

3000 ocean parkway coney island 22015

Two 23-story rental buildings at the 1960s-era Trump Village in Coney Island have been completely gut renovated and rebranded and just hit the market. Rents start at $1,500 for studios, $1,650 for one-bedrooms and $2,332 for two-bedrooms. Many of the 880 apartments at the renamed Shorecrest Towers had been rent stabilized.

Andres Escobar handled the interior design. Now the apartments have stainless steel appliances, oak floors, high-gloss white lacquer cabinets and marble floors in the bathrooms. The lobbies, hallways, roof deck and lounge are also getting upgrades. is marketing the two towers at 2940 and 3000 Ocean Parkway.

Donald Trump’s father, Fred C. Trump, built the seven-building complex along the Coney Island waterfront in 1964, according to the Times. These two buildings on Ocean Parkway had always been rentals, and the other five consisted of affordable co-ops in the Mitchell-Lama program, where owners can now sell their apartments for big profits at market rates. Meanwhile, two blocks away on Neptune Avenue, the Trump Village shopping center connected to this development is slated to be replaced by a 40-story apartment tower, which locals strongly oppose.

Click through to see interior renderings. What do you think of the look, location and pricing?

Shorecrest Towers [Official] GMAP
Shorecrest Towers Listings []


Parachute Jump, SSpellen 3

Montrose is taking a much needed vacation this week. We hope you enjoy some of these older posts, beginning with an icon of summers past.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Parachute Jump
Address: Boardwalk at 16th Street
Cross Streets: In between Surf Avenue, Riegelmann Boardwalk, and 16th and 17th streets
Neighborhood: Coney Island
Year Built: 1939
Architectural Style: N/A
Architect: Invented by Commander James E. Strong, Architects for placement at CI – Michael Mario, Edwin W. Kleinert : Engineered by Elwyn E. Seelye & Co.
Landmarked: Yes, Individually landmarked in 1989

The story: When I first started collecting books about Brooklyn, it used to annoy me no end that much of my reading and research seemed to take the position that you got off the Brooklyn Bridge and there was the Coney Island of the Past. There seemed to be the implication that aside from the bridge, Coney Island and the Dodgers, there really wasn’t all that much else to write about. I had to go to Coney Island a couple of times, and really get into the history, as well as present day state of the place, to grow to appreciate the meeting of real estate, history, society and nostalgia that is Coney Island. And you can’t go there without seeing the Parachute Jump towering over the boardwalk. (more…)

coney island film festival

Tons of Brooklyn and New York City-themed films are screening at the Coney Island Film Festival this weekend, exploring topics from the history of the Thunderbolt to a 40-year-old pizza shop in Sunset Park. There will also be showings of horror movies, children’s films, experimental music videos and a documentary on the history of the drive-in movie. And of course, they’re screening the Warriors on Saturday and Sunday nights. You can also check out a live burlesque show and open bar on Friday night for $25 or attend individual screenings for $8. Head over to the Film Festival’s site to see the full schedule, which starts on Friday at 7:30 pm and runs through Sunday evening at 6 pm.

Photo via Coney Island Film Festival

coney island whip postcard

Green-Wood Cemetery will host an exhibit next month celebrating the life of William F. Mangels, the master mechanic and designer of several turn-of-the-century Coney Island rides, including The Whip, The Tickler, The Wave Pool, and The Human Roulette Wheel.

“William F. Mangels: Amusing the Masses on Coney Island and Beyond” will feature plenty of historical Coney Island artifacts, such as a Marcus Illions carousel horse, original sketches and vintage photos,  a 22-foot-long shooting gallery, a Whip car, a Pony Cart, a Speed Boat, and fire engines. The exhibit will open September 7 in Green-Wood’s chapel and run through October 26.

Image via Green-Wood Cemetery

coney island parachute jump sunset

Learn about Coney Island’s honky-tonk past and its present-day struggles to balance historic preservation and development on a walking tour organized by the Municipal Arts Society. Local historian and preservationist Joe Svehlak will lead the tour, which will happen this Saturday at 10:30 am. It will touch on the new Thunderbolt coaster, older amusement rides, and the memorials at MCU Park commemorating Jackie Robinson and 9/11. Tickets cost $20 or $15 for MAS members, and can be purchased here.

Photo by Michael Tapp