1511 bedford avenue crown heights fox savoy theater rendering 22015

There hasn’t been much activity recently at the site of the former Fox Savoy Theater in Crown Heights, but we did find this new rendering tacked to the construction fence at 1515 Bedford Avenue. The 1926 Neo-Classical structure was torn down last fall to make way for a 10-story, 114-unit apartment building.

The apartments are no longer set back from the retail stores below, the windows have changed, and the facade materials are more uniform and lighter in color. There are some other small changes too at the ground level. Overall, it looks similar to the initial concept but, if we may speculate, less expensive to build.

Developed by Realty Within Reach and designed by Issac and Stern, the new building will include ground-floor space for a synagogue, as we have previously reported. The DOB finally approved building permits for the project in January. The site has been cleared, but construction hasn’t started yet. Click through to see the old rendering, which we published last year.

What do you think of the tweaked design?

1515 Bedford Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP
Renderings by Issac and Stern


500 sterling place crown heights

The new Crown Heights development at 500 Sterling Place is completely rented out – and at record-setting prices – after almost eight months, according to reps from Halstead Property Development Marketing. The seven-story, 77-unit development hit the market in July, with rents ranging from $1999 for a studio to $4,330 for a two-bedroom, 2.5-bath duplex with two balconies. The apartments have fetched $61 per square foot, according to Halstead. Adam America developed the project, and Nataliya Donskoy designed it.

500 Sterling Place Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Halstead

706 Nostrand Ave,Composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Every time I see a new photograph of a long vanished building on St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights, it makes me want to have access to a time machine, so I could see what these blocks looked like at the turn of the 20th century, as they are now almost entirely covered with large apartment buildings. Here’s another great photo of a long gone building, published in the Brooklyn Eagle in 1902.

It shows 706 St. Marks Avenue, which was a huge property on the southeast corner of Nostrand Avenue. This house was in many ways typical of the houses on this and the following block. It was a huge single family house, with a lot of grounds around it. This particular property framed the entrance to the famed St. Marks District, an exclusive enclave of wealthy people living in suburban splendor. (more…)

branch ofc 225 rogers avenue crown heights 22015

Hanson Dry’s Chris Buckley is opening his ’50s-inspired cocktail bar, Branch Ofc, tonight at 6 pm at 225 Rogers Avenue in Crown Heights. Vinyl floors, antique cash registers and steel bar stools all help channel that midcentury vibe, and there will be a pinball machine and photo booth to help keep customers entertained. The menu offers $11 cocktails, $7 beers, $9 wines and a selection of bar snacks and sandwiches. It’ll be open from 3 pm to 2 or 4 am seven days a week.

Hanson Dry Owner Branches out With 1950s-Look Bar in Crown Heights [Brownstoner] GMAP

998-1006 Atlantic Ave, SSPellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former automobile dealership or service center
Address: 998-1006 Atlantic Avenue
Cross Streets: Grand and Classon Avenues
Neighborhood: Crown Heights
Year Built: 1920s
Architectural Style: 1920s brick factory with some Renaissance Revival touches
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: Before this building was constructed, there were homes here, both private houses and flats buildings. Whenever I research Atlantic Avenue, I come across many newspaper stories about the people who used to live here. The avenue was much different in the 1880s. For one thing, the LIRR tracks ran down the center of the street, on street level, dividing the thoroughfare. The tracks weren’t buried or elevated until the early 20th century. In spite of the noise and pollution, many people called this street home. There were people living at these addresses until at least 1920.

I couldn’t find out any specific info as to who built this building, the architect, or for what business. I think it was a showroom or service center for the automobile business. The building was built, like many other such places nearby, in the 1920s. During that time, almost all of the residential buildings on Atlantic from downtown to Bedford Stuyvesant were replaced by buildings related to the auto trade. (more…)

Shirley Chisholm, 1028 St. Johns, GS,PS

When Congress convened in January of 1969, there was only one new female face among the men and women of the 91st Congress. She stood out for several reasons, the most obvious being that she was the only black woman in the room. She was also a small woman, slight of build, with big hair and thick glasses. She was not overly awed by the panoply around her. Shirley Chisholm had come to Washington to work. She was representing a newly created, and long overdue district in Central Brooklyn, that of greater Bedford Stuyvesant. Prior to this new district, Central Brooklyn had been gerrymandered into other larger districts with white majorities. For the first time ever, a black Congressman, in this historic case, a black Congresswoman, was going to represent this community’s many needs in the halls of power. It was going to be an uphill battle. But 1969 was one of those years.

Today, we are very cynical about what goes on in Washington, and with good reason, but almost 50 years ago, it was a different place. There was more respect for Congress and its power to change the country for the better. But in many ways, Congress was still the same. There was rampant cronyism, partisan in-fighting, powerful outside influences, racism, sexism, and the good-old boy network. Shirley Chisholm had to fight her way through it all. And like her experiences in politics in Brooklyn, Shirley knew how to be effective, and how to work with the most unlikely of people.

This is the story of Ms. Chisholm’s political and personal life, and it’s also a walking tour of the places that had meaning to her in her hometown of Brooklyn. (more…)

1622 bergen street crown heights 22015

Two Crown Heights teachers who want to create an educational community garden at 1662 Bergen Street received unanimous approval from Community Board 8 last night, despite the fact that the city-owned lot has been targeted for development. The concrete-covered, 1,800-square-foot lot is on the list of vacant sites that HPD wants to redevelop for affordable housing. It also sits across the street from Granville T Woods School on Rochester Avenue and Bergen, where Zsabatta Taylor and Liesel Zitman teach third and fourth grade.

The duo plan to use the space to teach kids from pre-K through fifth grade about agriculture and the environment, and to involve parents and the nearby community in the garden. Nonprofit 596 Acres will help install raised garden beds, the teachers told CB8.

After the meeting, a community board member who runs Mama Dee’s Garden nearby advised Taylor to get in touch with the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust. BQLT acquires community gardens throughout the five boroughs to protect them from development. GMAP

Image via Google Maps

579 ralph avenue crown heights 22015

A classic bay-fronted circa-1900 Renaissance Revival two-family is up for rent in Ocean Hill — the whole thing. Right on the border of Crown Heights, the sprawling four- or five-bedroom house has lots of original details and freshly renovated baths and kitchens — two, in fact.

With 2.5 bathrooms and just over 3,000 square feet, it seems like more than enough room for a group of roommates or a big family. There’s laundry in the basement and a nice big garden too. The 3 and 4 trains at Utica are three and a half blocks away. Do you think $3,850 a month makes sense?

579 Ralph Avenue [Corcoran] GMAP

Shirley Chisholm, 28 Virginia Place, NS, PS

Congresswoman Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was one of the most important people to ever come out of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She was the first African American woman ever elected to the United States Congress in 1968, and a few years after that historic “first,” was the first black major-party candidate for President, and the first woman to run for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency, in 1972.

She was born in Brooklyn, went to high school in Brooklyn, and graduated from Brooklyn College. She went over to that overrated island on the other side of the East River to get her Master’s degree in Education from Columbia University’s School of Teaching. But even then, she was living in Brooklyn, and worked here, got married, and went into Brooklyn politics. She was as authentically Brooklyn as the Brooklyn Bridge. What better way to honor her in my architectural history column than to take you on a Walking Tour of Shirley Chisholm’s Brooklyn, while I tell you more about this fascinating woman’s life and career. (more…)

1444 bedford avenue crown heights 22015

This four-story building rising at 1444 Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights, which will have a rather offbeat facade, is getting its exterior brick and windows. It’s already apparent that the design is turning out differently than the rendering shows. Instead of four rows of symmetrical, identical, big windows in the middle, the center pairs of windows are narrow slits arrayed asymetrically up and down the facade. It looks like the contrasting facade materials will be distributed in a different pattern, also, and there will likely be no room (or budget?) for the white rectangle that resembled a 19th century metal bay.

By the way, as we reported previously, when construction finishes, it will have eight units spread across 7,312 square feet of space, according to permits first filed in 2012. Joseph A. Mucciolo, P.C. is the architect.

It could still turn out well, but probably not as nice looking as the rendering. Click through to see that rendering, which we found on the fence in December 2013. It features a tripartite facade with wood panelling, brick and a section of white panelling in the middle. At the time, we said it looked like “a modern version of Queen Anne with its red and white coloring,” and Curbed called it a “Tetris-looking hodgepodge of brick, concrete, and wood.” 

What do you think of how the building looks so far?

Rendering out for Crown Heights Build on Bedford Avenue [Brownstoner] GMAP


Shirley Chisholm, Prospect Place, composite

When I was growing up, I knew who Shirley Chisholm was. I come from that generation of African American children whose parents made sure we knew who all of the “firsts” were. Kids growing up today take the many achievements of African Americans for granted, and that’s a great thing, because we should be able to achieve whatever we want without notice or fuss. We shouldn’t have to be able to make a list of the number of black nuclear scientists, cancer researchers, neurosurgeons, fashion designers, Oscar winners, hockey players or even Republicans; we should be able to be well represented in all facets of American life.

But when I was in my formative years, during the 1960s, we were just getting to the point where there were a lot of “firsts.” The Civil Rights Movement, which happened right before my eyes on our black and white television, was both sobering and inspiring. We grew up checking the pages of Ebony magazine, the black version of Life, which always had articles about those black folks who had arrived – pioneers in all walks of life, “firsts” or sometimes only “seconds” or “thirds” in every field we had managed to conquer. Shirley Chisholm was one of those proud pioneers, and as a female, she was of special interest to my mother, and thus, to me.

But it wasn’t until I actually moved to Brooklyn that I realized what that all meant. It’s easy to be somewhere else reading about great people of any nationality, time or location and be inspired, but when you live where they lived, walk past the buildings they were educated, worked or lived in, and see the world they saw, you get a special affinity for what it was like to shape that landscape and those people into history. While I lived in Brooklyn, I lived in Shirley Chisholm’s stomping ground, and so in honor of her achievements, I’d like to propose a Shirley Chisholm Walking Tour. (more…)

1149 Eastern Parkway, MMunsey 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former private home, now Mt. Moriah Christian Academy
Address: 1147 Eastern Parkway
Cross Streets: Utica and Rochester Avenue
Neighborhood: Crown Heights North
Year Built: Mid-1920s
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: By the time the 1920s rolled around, much of Crown Heights North was a growing and increasingly affluent Jewish neighborhood. Eastern European Jews were joining the wealthy German Jewish families already there. They were moving into the private homes and the many new six story apartment buildings that were being built along Eastern Parkway and surrounding streets. A look at the state census of 1925 on Eastern Parkway near this house shows that almost all of the people living on the Parkway within a two block radius from this address were Jewish, with Yiddish as a first language, many born in Russia or Poland, or the first generation of American-born, with parents born in Russia or Poland.

These were not the Chabad-Lubavitch who are in Crown Heights South now, but their earlier cousins, who came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century, fleeing the pogroms of Russia and Eastern Europe. Upon arriving in the area, and moving up financially, they built synagogues, schools and community centers, and concentrated on preserving their Jewish heritage while also succeeding and assimilating into American cultural life. (more…)