crown heights carnival

If you live in Crown Heights, you’ve seen the bright, elaborate costumes, the stiltwalkers and the steel drums that herald the coming of the West Indian Day Parade, which happens Monday along Eastern Parkway. There’s a full schedule of events happening all weekend at the Brooklyn Museum, starting tonight with a “Caribbean Woodstock” concert featuring a long list of popular Caribbean and West Indian musicians. Tomorrow there’s a free showcase of young reggae, steel-pan, rap, dance and spoken word performers in the afternoon, and a big brass and reggae concert is slated for the evening. (more…)

1351 dean street crown heights 82014

This top-floor one-bedroom in Crown Heights has a nice renovation and charming original details, but it doesn’t come cheap. The kitchen features stainless steel counters and appliances, exposed brick and wooden cabinets, while the living room and bedrooms are more traditional. The apartment is huge, though: At a whopping 1,200 square feet, according to the listing, the size might possibly justify $2,000 a month in this part of Crown Heights. What do you think of the look and the rent?

1351 Dean Street, #2 [Corcoran] GMAP


A dramatic surge in sale prices and rents is causing change and displacement at a head-spinning pace in Crown Heights, Bed Stuy, Bushwick and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn, according to a story in Bloomberg. Buyers with more than a million to spend are choosing to buy whole houses in Crown Heights and similar neighborhoods rather than cramped apartments elsewhere. The story said:

Young buyers and renters who can no longer afford such established communities as Fort Greene, Park Slope and Williamsburg are moving to Crown Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant and Bushwick, bidding against investors for townhomes that have been neglected for decades. Longtime tenants too poor to afford the new rents in the predominantly black districts are moving out to less-well connected, more dangerous places.

We were particularly struck by this stark — and potentially depressing, depending on your situation — description of the wealth now required to buy in much of Brooklyn:

Families with children are increasingly choosing to stay in New York City and if they don’t have millions to spend, their options are limited, said Kathleen Perkins, a Realtor at Douglas Elliman Real Estate who helped the Katzes find their Crown Heights townhouse. “My cheapest house for sale in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill is $2,500,000,” Perkins said. “If you have $1,500,000 and you’re my client, I’m driving you to Bed Stuy or Crown Heights.”

The story is pitch-perfect, in our opinion, in its overview of what is happening here and why, even though none of it will be news to regular readers of Brownstoner. Does it ring true to you?

Brooklyn Boom Squeezes Buyers Pushing Into Crown Heights [Bloomberg]

Arthur D. Howden Smith, Brooklyn Eagle 1908Many writers have found Brooklyn to be an amiable place to live while penning works of great importance, or at least works that pay the rent. Whether that work is a great novel or autobiography, or just a self-important blog post, writers have put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, here in Brooklyn since there has been a Brooklyn. One of those writers is someone I stumbled across while researching a group of houses for a Building of the Day column. He wrote in the early to mid-20th century, and in the height of his popularity, was practically a household name. By the time he died, he was only worth a few lines in an obituary column. His name was Arthur D. Howden Smith, and for many years, he was a resident of 907 Sterling Place in Crown Heights North.

For a man who spent part of his career writing the autobiographies of others, Arthur D. Howden Smith did not leave all that much information about himself behind. According to press releases, he came from an old aristocratic New England family. His family was in the shipping business, or as one release put it, “he was descended from owners of sail.” He was born in 1888 or ‘89, and spent some of his childhood in Port Richmond, Staten Island. By the time he was a teenager, he was living at 907 Sterling Place with his family. (more…)

children's museum1

Work is continuing on the Children’s Museum’s new rooftop pavilion. The structure is made of a high-tech material that is lighter and more durable than glass and is non-stick so dirt falls off on its own. It is part of an $8.7 million renovation of the 20,000 square foot space that is due to be completed next year. When the space is completed, the museum will be able to rent the space for revenue-generating events as well as it own performance program according to the Daily News. (more…)

820-822 st johns place crown heights 82014

Two buildings on St Johns Place between Nostrand and Rogers Avenues in Crown Heights have gotten vertical extensions and completely new facades over the last few months. Workers have installed windows and recently started interior work. The two buildings at 820 and 822 St. Johns Place have expanded from three stories to five.

When work finishes, 820 will have seven apartments and 822 will house nine apartments, according to alteration permits filed last year. Armstrong Funeral Home occupied both buildings until it sold them to an LLC last year for $1,750,000, according to public records.

Three Small Buildings to Gain Height, Units in Crown Heights [Brownstoner] GMAP

255 eastern parkway crown heights 82014

Here’s a huge four-bedroom, two-bath co-op for rent in a prewar building in Crown Heights. The 1,675-square-foot pad was gut-renovated in ’06 and has a clean, modern feel. There’s a formal dining room, a “library nook” and lots of closets. However one of the bathrooms is ensuite, which is somewhat inconvenient. What’s your opinion of it for $5,200 a month?

255 Eastern Parkway, #D15 [Corcoran] GMAP

ps 138 addition 801 park place crown heights rendering 82014

The city’s School Construction Authority posted this rendering on the fence for an addition coming to a parking lot next to P.S. 138 in Crown Heights. No new building or alt-1 permits have been filed, and the permits on the fence are alteration type-2 permits for “installation of connecting link.” So we don’t have many details, but it looks like the three-story addition will have garages on the ground floor and either offices or classroom above. The architect listed is Macrae-Gibson Architects, who have worked on schools throughout the city.

The main school building is a huge turn of the century structure at 801 Park Place and 760 Prospect Place, because it sits on a lot that spans the whole block between Nostrand and Rogers Avenues. Constructed in 1907, it began its life as the Brooklyn Training School for Teachers. Click through for pictures of the lot and the school.

Building of the Day: 760 Prospect Place [Brownstoner] GMAP


1388 union1

This 1920s brick townhouse in Crown Heights South just may have set a new neighborhood record. The single-family home, which sold for $999,000 in December, sold again in July for $1,850,000, more than $150,000 above the original asking of $1,695,000. The home at 1388 Union Street has been well maintained and, according to the listing, is chock full of details including bay windows, original moldings, mirrors and wood paneling, (though all the woodwork is painted). The renovation is very well-done. It’s unclear how much work the flipper actually did on the home given how fast it turned over. Interior pics after the jump. (more…)

1083-1089 Prospect Place, SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Double duplex row houses
Address: 1083-1089 Prospect Place
Cross Streets: Kingston and Albany Avenues
Neighborhood: Crown Heights North
Year Built: 1908
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: George Chappell of Chappell & Bosworth
Other Buildings by Architect: Row houses, mansions, churches, flats buildings in Crown Heights North, Bedford, Stuyvesant Heights and Park Slope
Landmarked: Calendared as Crown Heights North HD, Phase III (2011), still waiting for designation

The story: The first decade of the 20th century saw a lot of building going on in our newer brownstone neighborhoods. But developers were finding that their buyers’ needs had changed. Households were changing, many young couples didn’t want, or couldn’t afford an entire house, and the days of live-in servants were coming to an end for all but the very wealthy. The demand for single family houses was no longer as strong as it had been twenty years before. Apartment buildings were finally gaining middle class respectability and desirability. Two family houses, where someone could live and have tenant income, or room for extended family members in their own space, were becoming a very attractive and viable option. And then the architectural firm of Mann & MacNeille came up with the Kinko houses. (more…)

834 sterling place 1 crown heights 82014

We haven’t seen much progress at this Hello Living project at 834 Sterling Place for the last several months, but now it looks like interior walls are going in. Developer Eli Karp began building the seven-story, 54-unit building about a year-and-a-half ago. Since last fall, the condo development has been an empty shell, with workers clearing the lot behind it for parking. But in the last few weeks there has been new activity at the site with contractors installing triple-glazed, soundproof windows, according to the Hello Living website. The architects of record are Zambrano Architectural Design. (more…)

roger that garden crown heights 82014

The Crown Heights gardeners that have been fighting to save their plot, called Roger that Garden, from a developer are facing a massive bill if they hope to regain rights to the property. According to a story in the New York Post, the owner, Steve Billings of TYC Realty, says the price for the lot on Rogers Avenue and Park Place is now as high as $1,000,000. The Post says that he bought the parcel for just $10 and the property now has over $8,500 in unpaid tax liens. (more…)