Lark Cafe at 1007 Church Avenue in Caton Park is the latest to be hit in what appear to be a string of six related armed robberies targeting eateries and their customers south of Prospect Park. Thursday night, a masked gunman stole laptops from a group of writers holding a meeting at the cafe, reported The New York Times. The story said:

And now fear and concern are rippling through the normally quiet neighborhood…because the robbery at Lark was but the latest in an unusual pattern: Armed robbers in hooded sweatshirts and masks are hitting local businesses, not just for the cash in the registers but for patrons’ belongings, too — their wallets, their computers, their jewelry. Despite low robbery numbers citywide, and a drop in robberies in the [70th Precinct], the holdups — as well as a fatal home invasion on Rugby Road last month — have shaken the confidence of this community that is usually safe.

Other businesses to be hit in recent weeks include Ox Cart Tavern, Stratford Deli and Mimi’s Hummus. We’re not sure what the other two businesses are, but locals already held a meeting with local Council Member Mathieu Eugene and police from the 70th precinct even before Lark was hit, as Ditmas Park Corner reported at the time.

Meanwhile, the writers group is asking for donations on GoFundMe to replace their stolen laptops.

Business owners told the Times the robbers might be targeting gentrifiers. “Worst-case scenario,” said one, “the robberies are a pushback against the new people in the neighborhood.”

That might be, but it also could be the case that the robbers feel these sit-down eateries are easy targets. The robberies are certainly brazen. We can’t recall anything quite like this, even in the 1970s. Do you?

In Ditmas Park, Armed Robbers Prey on Businesses and Their Patrons [NY Times]
Photo by Lark Cafe

485 east 17th street ditmas park 112014

This late Victorian neo-Classical house at 485 East 17th Street has a wraparound porch that is half enclosed with multi-paned windows. There are also neo-Classical columns, original wood work, inlaid floors and other original features. The updated kitchen has not been recently renovated, but appears to be in excellent condition. The bathroom shown, one of three, has many original features, including built-in cabinets. The sprawling house has six bedrooms as well as a family room in the basement with a pool table. The ask is $2,199,000.

485 East 17th Street [Mary Kay Gallagher Real Estate] GMAP

1440 albemarle road ditmas park 102014

Amazeballs and awesomesauce, as the Yelpers say. We’re not sure how we missed this listing for the most prominent house in Prospect Park South, 1440 Albemarle Road, when it went up in July, but we’ve noticed now and the price just dropped 13 percent.

Some of the decor is a tad frou frou but it’s not permanent and doesn’t obscure the incredible bones of the house, including a huge bank of windows in a curved bay, a spiral stair with an oriel skylight, and fancy mantels and wood work galore. Delightfully, there are original kitchen built-ins and at least one original bathroom with a claw foot tub and leaded glass window.

Built in 1905, it was designed by architects Robert Bryson and Carroll Pratt in the Colonial Revival style (plus a grab bag of others). Do you think $2,450,000 (down from $2,800,000) is a good deal for this “massive Victorian steamboat of a house,” as our own Montrose Morris put it?

1440 Albemarle Road [Mary Kay Gallagher Real Estate] GMAP
Building of the Day: 1440 Albemarle Road [Brownstoner]

132 east 19th street ditmas park 102014

Here’s a reasonably priced and recently updated four-bedroom in Ditmas Park. Three of the bedrooms are the same size, and the fourth is slightly smaller, according to the broker. The kitchen has stainless steel appliances and a dishwasher, and there’s laundry in the building. What do you think of it for $3,250 a month?

132 East 19th Street [Keller Williams] GMAP

1010 Ocean Ave, Brush House, CB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Thomas H. Brush house, then Temple Beth Ohr, then Redeption Gospel Outreach, now doctors’ offices
Address: 1010 Ocean Avenue
Cross Streets: Corner Newkirk Avenue
Neighborhood: Ditmas Park
Year Built: 1899
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
Architect: George Palliser
Other Buildings by Architect: Many houses in the Barnum/Palliser Historic District in Bridgeport, CT, as well as other buildings in historic districts in Bridgeport, Westport and Waterbury, CT. Also houses in Main, Indiana, Vermont and Utah.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Ditmas Park HD (1981)

The story: Connecticut architects George and Charles Palliser were busy men during the latter half of the 19th century. In 1976, George had published an architectural style book called “Model Homes for the People.” In it he illustrated plans and patterns for housing. He boasted that the 25 page book was sent to every state and territory in the Union, and even in the provinces. A year later, he and his brother Charles formed their company, Palliser, Palliser & Co. and set out to write and publish many more books of model houses and architectural how-to’s. Between 1876 and 1900, they published at least ten, including on all-purpose guide for towns and cities called “Palliser’s Court Houses, Village, Town and City Halls, Jails and Plans of Other Public Buildings,” which was published in 1889. (more…)

1818 newkirk avenue ditmas park 82014

Here’s a spacious and lovely two-bedroom that just hit the market for $525,000 in Ditmas Park. The 1,050-square-foot pad was recently updated and features walk-in closets, built-in bookshelves, ceiling fans and a dishwasher. Both bedrooms are large, and the French doors help brighten up the living room, which doesn’t have any windows. The building also has a parking garage, shared garden, laundry and a part-time doorman. Maintenance is $705 a month. Do you think it’s a good deal?

1818 Newkirk Avenue [Brooklyn Hearth Realty] GMAP

1701 albemarle road ditmas park 82014

This co-op listing at 1701 Albermarle Road is a charmer. The prewar one-bedroom sports original wood floors, two exposures and an attractively renovated kitchen. The listing also claims that the apartment is “blissfully quiet.” The maintenance is a low $511 per month and the asking price is $419,000. You like?

1701 Albemarle Road, #D8 [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP


Dixon is selling one of its Brooklyn homes and has started leasing another batch of rentals, including properties in prime areas of Brooklyn such as Park Slope.

The sale is unexpected, its first in Brooklyn although not the greater New York area. Dixon’s strategy has always been to buy and rent out its properties, not flip them, holding them for at least five years, because of a U.S.-Australia trade agreement. Dixon purchased 777 Rugby Road, a standalone Victorian in Ditmas Park that had been on and off the market for years, pictured above, from its longtime owner for $1,055,000 in May of 2013. (more…)

This sprawling late Victorian in Ditmas Park West has been recently updated but also retains lots of original details. The standalone house has windows all around with three big rooms on the ground floor for living and dining, at least six bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. There are original mantels, bead board, new floral and toile wallpaper, stained glass, and plenty of built-ins. There is also central air, a large garden and a garage. What do you think of it for $1,895,000?

454 Rugby Road [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP

494 E. 16th Street, NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Free standing bungalow
Address: 494 East 16th Street
Cross Streets: Corner Ditmas Avenue
Neighborhood: Ditmas Park
Year Built: 1908
Architectural Style: Bungalow, with Japanese influence
Architect: Arlington D. Isham
Other work by architect: Many other houses in Ditmas Park, including most of the houses on this block
Landmarked: Yes, part of Ditmas Park HD (1981)

The story: When we generally think of bungalow houses, we think of the suburbs of Chicago, other parts of the Midwest, or the West Coast. We don’t generally think of Brooklyn. But as should be expected, when it comes to various kinds of housing stock, chances are Brooklyn’s got at least one of them, and this case, thirteen of them, along this street alone. And they are all really nice.

Henry Grattan was the developer of this row. He was a developer and builder, and on occasion, acted as his own architect. He bought this long plot of land from Louis H. Pounds, who with his partner Delbert Decker, had purchased all of the land making up Ditmas Park from the Van Ditmarsen family. Pounds took his development cues from nearby Prospect Park South, and had the land graded, with utility lines and streets laid out in advance. He broke the tracts up into generous plots that allowed for gracious lawns and large suburban style houses, many with garages.

The houses on 16th between Dorchester and Ditmas are not as large as others in the neighborhood, and are packed in pretty closely, but far enough apart to allow for a driveway in most cases, and room to landscape in an attractive manner. All of which serve this corner house well. The architect of the bungalows was Arlington D. Isham, a local Flatbush architect. He designed these bungalows at a time when the style was just beginning to take off in popularity, and was his take on a style vaguely inspired by Colonial British housing in India. (more…)

This Carol H. Pratt-designed 1910 house at 147 Rugby Road in Ditmas Park is up for rent, and it looks stellar if you have the dough. For $7,950 a month, you can have seven bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms with an enclosed porch, a sunroom, and lots of unusual, architect-designed touches. There are elaborate coffered and painted ceilings, a unique staircase, built-ins, mantels, stained glass, and on and on.

Check out the oval dining room with the metallic-painted molded plaster ceiling and leaded glass built-ins, and the parlor with the painted coffered ceiling, pocket doors, a wood burning fireplace and built-in bookcases. And the kitchen looks nicely renovated with its double oven and cherry floors. The house sold last September for $2,200,000, or roughly $529 per square foot, as one commenter pointed out.

What do you think of it?

147 Rugby Road [Corcoran] GMAP

Dreams of Ditmas but those gingerbread houses are out of reach? Maybe this new co-op listing at 1701 Albemarle Road might fit the bill. The 1,310-square-foot pad has some solid prewar details (though the listing admits it could use some TLC) and a generous layout. The two-bedroom unit has a maintenance of $707 and the asking price is $649,000.

1701 Albemarle Road, #F12 [Brooklyn Hearth Realty] GMAP