Oaxaca Taqueria is prepping to open soon at 417 Prospect Place in Crown Heights close to the Prospect Heights border. The taqueria previously had a spot close by but closed in 2011 because of building issues, the owners told us at the time.

We’re not sure if they’re taking over the small storefront pictured at right, above, or the Spot’s old space on the corner, at left. The Spot was closed when we stopped by this morning and its phone is disconnected.

Workers told us they hope to wrap up construction in a couple weeks. The small chain also has outposts in Park Slope, Williamsburg, and Bed Stuy. It plans to open another location at 71 Hoyt Street in Brooklyn Heights, according to a press release we received from CPEX, which brokered that deal. The New York Times was the first to write about the Crown Heights move. 

Oaxaca Taqueria Coverage [Brownstoner]GMAP

672 st marks avenue crown heights 122014

An unnamed private investor has snapped up a 27-foot-wide mansion at 672 St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights for $2,900,000, beating the neighborhood record by nearly $800,000. The sale closed Tuesday, Corcoran agent Chris Cavorti confirmed. The original asking price was $2,999,000.

The Renaissance Revival limestone was built in 1895 and designed by architect Peter J. Lauritzen. It is divided into five units and needs work. As far as we know, the previous record holder was 760 Eastern Parkway, a two-family home on a 40-foot-wide lot that sold last month for $2,108,902.

BK to the Fullest was the first to write about the sale.

Crown Heights Losing Its Mind: 672 St. Marks Avenue [BK to the Fullest]
House of the Day: 672 St. Marks Avenue [Brownstoner]
Building of the Day: 670-672 St Marks Avenue [Brownstoner]
Photo by Corcoran

Update: The story has been updated. Dixon is NOT the buyer of the mansion, Cavorti just let us know. He misheard us when we asked him twice if Dixon was the buyer, he said. An unnamed private investor bought the property.

Eastern Parkway, at Franklin Ave, Composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

It’s relatively easy to imagine Brooklyn before the Dutch took over. The land probably looked like undeveloped virgin land anywhere in New York State. There were woodlands, hills and valleys, streams and fields. The Canarsee people who were here when Henry Hudson sailed into Coney Island harbor were primarily hunters and gatherers. Their villages and small agricultural fields did not make much of an impact on the land. Then the Europeans came.

Fast forward several hundred years, and Brooklyn is a city. The land was farmed, and then leveled for development. But as we all know, some parts were developed faster than others. We generally think of the spread of urban Brooklyn to be like a wave washing out into the rest of Brooklyn from its origins in Brooklyn Heights, but that’s not the whole story. There were six original towns in Kings County, not just Brooklyn, and some of those towns had smaller villages, as well. Growth occurred in pockets and spread out, meeting other pockets, and filling in, until the entire city was developed. In general, this took time. But sometimes…. (more…)

1453 bedford avenue marche rue dix 122014

The couple behind Senegalese spot Cafe Rue Dix last week opened a clothing and housewares boutique with an unusual contemporary interior next door at 1453 Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights. Marché Rue Dix sells a variety of vintage items, including clothing, shoes, ceramics and jewelry.

It also offers new accessories and textiles designed by Crown Heights locals, such as jewelry designer Lisa Levine, candles, coffee and tea. Husband and wife Lamine Diagne and Nilea Alexander hope to sell their restaurant’s signature Senagalese hot sauce in the future.

The space, located between Park and Sterling, is open from 11 am to 9 pm Wednesday through Sunday. Click through to see the interior. GMAP


1261 dean street crown heights 122014

The rents in Crown Heights seem to get crazier every day, so we guess we shouldn’t be surprised to see a nice studio asking $1,700 a month east of Nostrand Avenue. The apartment in a 19th century building is newly renovated with stainless steel appliances and Caesarstone countertop. The decorative fireplace has a sweet mirrored mantel with elaborate wooden details, and there is a vintage tub that appears to date from the early 20th century. Utilities are included too. Do you think it’ll fly for this price?

1261 Dean Street [Rutenberg] GMAP

elsie's 1031 bergen street crown heights 122014

The owner of Crosby Coffee in Crown Heights is starting a doughnut shop nearby at 1031 Bergen Street, where he plans to serve up twists on classic flavors and even a savory doughnut or two, starting in January. Dubbed Elsie’s, the tiny storefront will offer eight to 10 types of doughnuts, pastries, breakfast sandwiches on savory doughnuts, coffee and juices.

Owner Jeremy Mustakas has spent months developing recipes in a commercial kitchen in Queens, and has come up with “playful variations on classic breakfast,” in his words, such as pistachio-vanilla scones and a jelly doughnut filled with fig jam and glazed with ricotta, honey and almonds. There will also be a rosemary doughnut and gluten-free cake doughnuts made with rice flour. Flavors may rotate depending on the season.

When we asked how they’d compare to local favorite Dough, Mustakas explained that his doughnuts would be “a little more recipe-based, and in terms of taste, they are pastry: crispy on the outside, light, fluffy and airy.”

Elsie’s is named after Mustakas’ late grandmother, a native of Naples who loved all things sweet, including zeppoles (aka Italian doughnuts).

Located between Rogers and Nostrand, the shop plans to be open from 7 am to 3 or 4 pm and will offer only window service and delivery. The coffee will come from Plowshares, a roaster based in Hillburn, N.Y., and the dairy from Hudson Valley Creamery. GMAP

christ church 326 clinton street 12013

The Municipal Arts Society is hosting a walking tour of churches in Cobble Hill this weekend, exploring existing houses of worship, converted ones and even ones that were demolished. Local historian Mary Ann DiNapoli will lead the walk through Cobble Hill’s historic district.

Pictured above is the Christ Church and Holy Family Episcopal Church at 326 Clinton Street. The tour will take place Saturday at 11 am, and tickets cost $20 or $15 for MAS members.

And at 2 pm on Saturday, our Montrose Morris columnist Suzanne Spellen and preservationist Morgan Munsey are leading a tour of Crown Heights North. Tickets are also $20, and can be purchased here.

Image via Wikimedia Commons


Gym CrossFit KingsBoro opened two locations last week in Clinton Hill and Crown Heights, as well as a spot in Bushwick in October. A reader sent in the above photo of the chain’s storefront at 920 Fulton Street in Clinton Hill, taken when it opened December 1.

The space was formerly home to restaurant Soule. The official grand opening is set for December 14, according to DNAinfo, which was the first to write about it.

In Bushwick, CrossFit opened in early October at 10 Wilson Avenue, close to Flushing, another reader told us. Meanwhile, in Crown Heights, Crow Hill CrossFit had its grand opening at 1010 Dean Street Sunday, a spokesperson said. CrossFit was founded in Santa Cruz in 2000 and there are at least six other locations in Brooklyn. GMAP

802 dean street crown heights 122014

This ground-floor duplex at 802 Dean Street in Crown Heights looks well priced on a per-square-foot basis: For the asking price of $995,000, you get 1,500 square feet of interior space plus a big back yard. The only catch (in addition to having windows right on the sidewalk) is that two-thirds of the indoor space is below grade. There’s an open house Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m.

802 Dean Street, #101 [MNS] GMAP

Mac Levy ad, NY Sun, 1905

We Americans love “Trials of the Century.” From time to time, heinous crimes are committed that cause the entire country to sit up and take notice of the deeds of a notorious criminal, usually a murderer or a thief of enormous proportions. Those trials are hyped up in the papers and media, and usually by the time the case actually comes to the trial phase, rare is the person who doesn’t already know every detail of the crime and the criminal already. Such was the case in 1903 when the murder case against William Hooper Young took place.

He was accused of killing a pretty young woman of dubious reputation in 1902. Her name was Anna Pulitzer. It was said that he picked her up on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, took her back to his father’s apartment near the Plaza Hotel, and killed her. He then took the body out of the apartment in a trunk, rented a horse and wagon, and dumped her body into the Hudson River in New Jersey. Her body washed ashore a couple of days later.

The motive seemed unclear until it was revealed that William Hooper Young was the black sheep grandson of the late Brigham Young, the powerful Mormon leader who founded Salt Lake City. The Mormons were a secretive and mysterious group, as far as much of America was concerned. They had a long history of persecution and death that ran from NY State, where they were founded, across the country to their haven in Utah. Up until it was outlawed, and even beyond, they practiced polygamy, which both repelled and fascinated Americans. They were also insular and as a group, extremely rich. (more…)

1148-1150 Pacific Street, SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 1148-1150 Pacific Street
Cross Streets: Bedford and Franklin Avenues
Neighborhood: Crown Heights North
Year Built: 1890s
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No, could possibly be in a Phase 4 of Crown Heights North HD

The story: Many people don’t realize that Pacific Street used to be one of Bedford’s mansion streets. Back even before this area was called the St. Marks District, Pacific Street was lined with large single family houses on very large lots. Most of them were wood-framed, and probably dated back to just after the Civil War, if not just a little bit before. At the time, this area was considered the suburbs, and wealthy people built large homes here; an easy commute to work in Downtown Brooklyn or Lower Manhattan. Pacific Street would have been convenient to the LIRR train, only a block away, as well as to horse-drawn trolley cars called omnibuses, running along Fulton Street.

I say probably, because they are all gone. We’ve still got three later single-family homes on Pacific between Nostrand and Brooklyn still remaining today, but all the rest were long ago replaced by row houses and flats buildings. As you can see on the 1888 map below, the streetscape on Pacific was very different. The 23rd Regiment Armory hadn’t been built yet, and there were five large houses on large plots on this block. One large plot was empty of buildings. The yellow buildings are wood-framed structure, and in the next ten to fifteen years, these houses were all torn down. (more…)

167 rogers avenue crown heights 122014

A coffee shop is in the works for the corner of St. Johns Place and Rogers Avenue, right next to the B44 SBS stop. We’ve seen workers renovating the interiors and installing a storefront, and they told us the spot would be a coffee shop. Anyone have any more information?

The building’s main address is 764 St. Johns Place, also known as 167 Rogers Avenue. Above, the Rogers Avenue entrance. Click through to see the St. Johns Place side. GMAP