1056 president street 1

Here’s an early-20th-century one-family close to the park in Crown Heights south with a lot of charming period details.

There are beams, a working fireplace with an original mantel, herringbone floors, charming moldings, a globe light on the newel post — the works. We’re guessing it will need some skim coating in a bedroom and work in the main bathroom, at least, but the bones are good.

We like the location two blocks from the park and not far from shops and restaurants on Franklin on the other side of Eastern Parkway. But just be aware, it’s next to a church and close to one of the two Crown Heights armories at 1555 Bedford Avenue.

There’s an open house this Sunday from noon to 2 pm. What do you think of the house and the ask of $1,100,000?

1056 President Street [B.H. Tal Real Estate] GMAP


brooklyn avenue kinko houses

The Landmarks Preservation Commission this morning voted to landmark the proposed Crown Heights North III Historic District. The vote was unanimous.

It was a very short meeting, about 15 minutes. The vote took place after a quick presentation about the proposed district, which had been “calendared” way back in June 2011.

Some noteworthy features of the district, which includes 640 buildings between Brooklyn and Albany avenues, are the quaint one- or two-block stretches of Hampton, Revere and Virginia places. These blocks feature Colonial and Renaissance Revival homes, as well as a collection of two-family “Kinko” houses (shown above) built between 1907 and 1912. Designed by Mann & McNeille, every house includes two duplexes, each of which has its own front door, house number, stairway, porch and cellar. 

The Crown Heights North Association and members of Community Board 8 were jubilant about the vote, which they’ll discuss at an upcoming town hall meeting. “I think it’s wonderful,” said CB 8 member Adelaide Miller, who’s lived on Virginia Place for 67 years. “I go into areas where they tore down beautiful churches and buildings, and I’m happy that won’t happen here.” (more…)


Brookland Capital is planning more Crown Heights apartments — and this latest batch will be at 1312 Lincoln Place in Crown Heights north, close to Eastern Parkway. We agree with YIMBY, which first published this rendering, that the parking at street level is unfortunate — but required by code.

Otherwise, this building looks decent to us, and seems to have an interesting, or at least unusual, pearlescent or metallic green-gray finish. We like the geometric pattern of the color blocked panels. The stepped upper stories relieve what could otherwise be a too-massive structure, and the fringe of greenery at the top further softens the lines. (more…)


We’re excited to tell you that the Landmark Preservation Commission will vote Tuesday morning on whether or not to designate the proposed historic district Crown Heights North III. It has been in the works for years, and the hearing for calendaring the vote was held way back in 2011!

It looks like this will be a quickie vote. The agenda item on the LPC calendar allots 15 minutes. Also, the item did not go up on the LPC calendar until just a few days ago. We’re not sure what that all means, but we hope it’s good news for the preservationists and neighborhood residents who’ve worked so hard to make this happen. (more…)

1084 bergen street crown heights 2006

Crown Heights was once home to the city’s first black-owned gay club – the Starlite Lounge at 1084 Bergen Street, on the corner of Nostrand Avenue. Filmmaker Kate Kunath set out to chronicle the bar’s 50-year legacy in “We Came to Sweat,” which premiered last year and will screen tomorrow at the Queens World Film Festival in Jackson Heights. She told Vice the film began as an effort to save the bar, “the oldest black-owned, non-discriminating club,” which was sold in 2009 and finally shuttered for good in 2010. The whole interview is worth reading, but one quote in particular caught our eye:

“There was this unspoken common ground of the patrons, which was their willingness to say ‘f*ck the establishment!’ — whether that was over politics, religion, sexual shame, or social norms. And the energy of that was intoxicating. But what I took away from the plight is that nothing is permanent, progress is not a straight line and losing space is losing ground in the bigger picture.”

“We Came to Sweat” is screening tomorrow at 10 pm at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights, Queens. Tickets are $12 or $9 for seniors and students, and available here. Pictured is the building in 2006, before the bar closed. It still stands, but a deli and dollar store have moved into the Starlite’s old space.

“We Came to Sweat” Tells the Story of New York City’s First Black-Owned Gay Club [Vice]
Starlite Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Gregg Snodgrass for PropertyShark

500 sterling place crown heights

It’s been an unusually long and cold winter, but even so, the heating bills at new luxury rental building 500 Sterling Place in Crown Heights have been “insanely expensive,” according to one renter there who got in touch with us. She said said her January bill was $598 and February $700 to heat a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment of about 1,000 square feet — and that was with the heat off in one of the bedrooms. (For comparison, this is about what we pay for a three-story row house.)

“At this point, most tenants I’ve spoken with are very upset,” she told us. “I don’t know what we’re going to do about the bills ourselves, as they’ve gotten to be more then what I can afford. We’re definitely moving out after our lease is up!”

Each apartment has large PTAC electric heating/cooling units under the windows in its main rooms. Click through to see what one looks like in a bedroom at the complex.

Since she first contacted us two weeks ago, the management company has met with the entire building to discuss the problems and has agreed to pay “a substantial portion of everyone’s ConEd bills,” she said. They have been “really receptive and transparent. I think we’ll wait and see about moving, as they’ve been so responsive.”

Complaints about high heating bills are not uncommon in new-construction luxury rental buildings. Another example is 53 Broadway in Williamsburg, which we’ve written about here and here.

The building’s management company had no comment. We also reached out to the owner, and will update the story if we hear anything.

In the meantime, is anyone else out there experiencing similar problems with PTAC units in any kind of building? And are there any heating experts out there who can clue us in to what the underlying issue is — design, installation, or just the nature of PTAC units?

500 Sterling Place Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photos by Halstead


1535 bedford avenue rendering 1

Here’s the design for the big apartment building that will replace the BP gas station and car wash on a prominent Crown Heights corner, Bedford and Eastern Parkway. As you may recall, developer Adam America bought the property for $32,500,000 in January.

The Issac and Stern-designed building will be rectangular with two setbacks, and clad in a combination of light and dark-colored brick. It will have eight stories, with ground-floor retail space that “meets the intersection at the same acute angle as its somewhat irregular lot,” according to YIMBY, which was the first to publish the renderings. It looks pretty similar to the building planned for the former Fox Savoy Theater site next door, which is also being designed by Issac and Stern.

The Issac and Stern-designed project at 1535 Bedford Avenue will have 133 apartments, 14,669 square feet of ground floor retail and 42 parking spots, as reported earlier this year. The new building will have a street address of 1519 Bedford.

Do you think this will be an improvement for the corner or will you miss the gas station and car wash?

Revealed: 1535 Bedford Avenue, Crown Heights [NYY]
Crown Heights Gas Station Sells for $32.5 Million, Eight-Story Building Planned [Brownstoner]



This overgrown and abandoned-looking building at 109 Montgomery Street in Crown Heights will soon be replaced by a 12-story tower designed by Karl Fischer, as New York YIMBY was the first to note. New building applications filed yesterday show the building will have 173 apartments across 131,727 square feet of residential space.

There will also be an attended subterranean parking garage with 70 spots. The developer is Cornell Realty, which is also developing the nearby Sea Crest Linen site at 902 Franklin Avenue. The one-story building here now, above, is classified as a “professional” building, according to PropertyShark.

12-Story Karl Fischer Building Planned for 109 Montgomery Street, Crown Heights [NYY]
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark


Crown Heights has shed its past association with riots and now stands for the real estate boom, according to a story in am New York. The story described soaring prices for homes and other trends familiar to readers of this blog, such as new apartment buildings being built from the ground up and landlords buying and selling existing apartment buildings in remarkable numbers:

Meanwhile development has surged. Crown Heights had more apartment-building transactions between October 2013 and March 2014 than any other neighborhood in the city, according to Ariel Property Advisors. The average condo price rose to $748 per square foot from $521 between 2012 and 2014, and land prices soared to $178 per buildable square foot from $94.

But development has brought displacement, the story said. Do you agree with MTOPP President Alicia Boyd’s estimate that 30 percent of longtime residents have left in the last two years?

Crown Heights Real Estate Continues to Boom [amNY]

303 Brooklyn Avenue, St Marks NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Church of St. Mark (Episcopal)
Address: 303 Brooklyn Avenue
Cross Streets: Eastern Parkway and Union Street
Neighborhood: Crown Heights South
Year Built: 1901, major alterations 1937
Architectural Style: Gothic Revival
Architect: Henry M. Congdon & Son
Other Buildings by Architect: Episcopal churches all over the country, including St. Andrew’s Episcopal, in Manhattan and Christ Episcopal Brighton, on Staten Island
Landmarked: No

The story: I find it quite interesting how church congregations change and move around. Sometimes it’s because they need to grow, other times, their demographics change, and in this case, they built a new church in an entirely new neighborhood because they had to leave where they were, and the only land available was far outside of their neighborhood.

St. Mark’s Protestant Episcopal Church was founded in 1838. The following year, the congregation broke ground on a new stone church in Williamsburg, on Bedford Avenue and S. 5th Street. They were quite happy there until 1896 when they were informed by the City of New York that their church was in the way of a new East River bridge being planned. The land was needed for access roads to the new Williamsburg Bridge. (more…)


New bar King Tai opens tonight in a formerly decrepit garage at 1095 Bergen Street in Crown Heights. The decor theme is “1940s island vacation,” the owners told us, with shell-shaped vintage lighting, pastel colors, ceiling fans, and windows all around.

The name comes from a Chinese American fish restaurant that occupied the spot decades ago. (Check out the old photo on the bar’s website!) Owners Palmer Thompson-Moss and Dane Risch picked the building, which they bought in 2013, because of its width and site overlooking the community garden at 110 Bergen Street, they said.

Located between Nostrand and New York avenues, King Tai will be open from 5 pm to 2 am weekdays and from 4 pm to 4 am on weekends. DNAinfo was the first to write about the opening. Click through to see the interior.

Bar Takes Shape in Crown Heights Garage [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photos by King Tai



The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is getting pushback from employees and pols over growth plans they say are cutting out longtime local, black supporters — in particular, its plan to open an outpost in One John Street, one of the very swanky new condo buildings going up in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Higher admission fees (they have nearly doubled, from $5 to $9) are also unpopular, reported The New York Times, and the racial diversity of the staff has declined dramatically, among other things. Here’s a sample snippet:

“How are you going to service there when you can barely staff your own building?” said Anne Smith, a former public relations manager at the museum. “Why has there never been a satellite office for black communities, Hispanic communities?” Ms. Smith complained that an administrator had lamented that events at the museum had too much of a “local feel,” and asserted that managers wanted to market to predominantly white, upscale Brooklyn neighborhoods like Park Slope and Carroll Gardens.

The Crown Heights museum, over 100 years old, was hard hit by the downturn in 2008 and is trying to fix its balance sheet. Meanwhile, the demographics in the area are changing, according to census data: From 2000 to 2010, the last year it’s available, whites increased 89 percent while blacks decreased 15 percent, the story said. What do you think the museum should do?

With Expansion, Brooklyn Children’s Museum Is Accused of Forsaking Its Community [NY Times]