Lane Bryant Ad, maternity gown, 1911, BEWestern society has long had a strange attitude towards pregnancy. Throughout much of its history, much has been made of producing children, whether they are the heirs to the throne, or workers on the family farm. We’ve told women that it is a biblical duty to have children, but up until the end of the 20th century, many Western societies have been loath to see a woman walking around pregnant. As soon as a woman was showing, in polite society, she entered her “confinement” and rarely left home until after the baby was born. It all has to do with attitudes about sex, and the war between fulfilling the biological and societal imperative to go forth and multiply, and the fact that one has to have sex in order to do it. We are a conflicted and messed up people.

At any rate, this is a story about a fashion empire and Brooklyn’s part in that empire. Pregnancy is at the heart of our story. At the turn of the 20th century, maternity clothes were not available the way they are now. Women of means had their maternity clothing custom made. Those who could sew made their own, and everyone else made do by letting their clothing out, or wearing larger clothes. Or they didn’t leave home much.

But this was not the Middle Ages. Women were out and about, unescorted, in record numbers. Many middle and upper middle class women had jobs, many more were active in sports like bicycle riding, and most did not want to spend half their pregnancies locked behind closed doors. There was a real need for well-fitting maternity clothing, including the ever present corset, so women could go out, be pregnant, and look beautiful and healthy. The conditions were right for the right person to come along and revolutionize the market. That woman was a Lithuanian Jewish immigrant named Lena Himmelstein. (more…)

110 livingston street downtown brooklyn 82014

It’s getting close to impossible to find anything for less than $1,000 a foot in “prime” Brooklyn. Take this place at 110 Livingston Street. The 540-square-foot pad is very nice as far as studios go–with high ceilings, big windows, good light–and it’s asking $550,000. This is the new normal, people.

110 Livingston, #5J [Halstead] GMAP

Schermerhorn Terrace Detail

Lots of new renderings have been posted for the 61-unit apartment building going up on the corner of Nevins and Schermerhorn Streets in downtown Brooklyn. Curbed first noted the renderings and the architects’ lament about their inability to afford handmade brick for the exterior. We wrote about the building’s exterior back in December when renderings were first posted on the construction fence. Now there is more detail and plenty of interiors to see too courtesy of Incorporated, the architecture firm that is designing the building. Click through for more. (more…)

213 jay street rendering

New York YIMBY has published renderings of the 33-story mixed-use tower that will replace a century-old office building at the corner of Jay and Nassau Streets in Downtown Brooklyn. While the color of the building is rust, we don’t yet know if the actual material is rusted steel, like Barclays Center. Well-known architecture firm Woods Bagot designed the structure, which is now going by the address 213 Jay Street. (more…)

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More details have emerged about Macy’s plans for its downtown Brooklyn store and parking garage. The retailer, Federated Department Stores, is shopping around both in the form of a request for proposals from developers, The Real Deal reported.

CBRE is marketing the two buildings. The request for proposals asks developers to build a new 300,000-square-foot Macy’s on the property or rehabilitate the old store plus include a 25,000-square-foot Bloomingdale’s Outlet store, both with frontage on Fulton Street. (more…)

bklyn air 1

The BKLYN Air has officially kicked off leasing for its 255 units at 309 Gold Street in Downtown Brooklyn, DNAinfo reported. The 40-story tower offers studios, one-, two- and three-bedrooms, as well as a 50-foot-long outdoor heated swimming pool, a two-level fitness center and terrace with “built-in life size chess and checker game boards.”

Rents for studios will start at $2,315, one-bedrooms at $2,950, two-bedrooms at $3,750, two-bedroom, two-baths at $4,570, and penthouses will start at $8,500. Although there aren’t any listings up on StreetEasy yet, we found two in our marketplace for a studio and one-bedroom. Click through for more photos. What do you think of the look and pricing?

309 Gold Street Listings [Town]
Oro 2 Changes Name to BKLYN Air, Debuts Teaser Site and Pricing [Brownstoner] GMAP

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189 schermerhorn downtown brooklyn 72014

The high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows are the big selling points at this one-bedroom condo at 189 Schermerhorn Street (aka be@schermerhorn). The 15th-floor pad weighs in at only 662 square feet, though, making the asking price of $739,000 aggressive — especially when you consider that it traded for $425,000 in 2010. On the other hand, a 75 percent rise in value in four years isn’t out of line with a lot of other properties in the area. And those views sure are nice.

189 Schermerhorn Street, #15B [Corcoran] GMAP

oro 2 72014

The 40-story Oro 2 tower at the corner of Gold and Johnson Streets has been rebranded “BKLYN Air,” and it already has a teaser site listing rents from $2,315. The Ismael Levya-designed, 255-unit project at 309 Gold Street has been in the works for two years, and the building looks nearly finished in these photos a tipster sent to us. (more…)

LIAC Cumberland Ave Clubhs, 1907 BE

In 1900, a small group of rich Brooklyn swells organized this borough’s first automobile club. The automobile was still a novelty at this time; an expensive toy that only a few could afford. The Long Island Automobile Club (LIAC) was founded so these men could get together, discuss the wonders of this new technology, plan road trips, advocate for better highways and most importantly, race their automobiles. Whether they had fine horses, speedy bicycles or the new horseless carriages, wealthy men just loved races.

Part One of this history outlines the first years of the LIAC. The club grew fast, as more and more men bought automobiles. The earliest models were really just carriages with motors. They were open buckboards, some of them, with a steering wheel. They couldn’t go very fast, they stalled out a lot, and riding in one was a dirty and dusty adventure. As the technology improved, and automobiles got better, more and more people began motoring, and the national love affair with the automobile began. The autoists, as the club members were called, led the way. (more…)