This two-bedroom, two-bath condo for rent in Flatbush has plenty of living space and looks brand new. The bedrooms and living room seem spacious, and there’s a private terrace. The kitchen has stainless steel appliances typical of a condo, including a dishwasher, and a great amount of cabinet space. There’s some lovely dark tile and rather ornate, marble-topped sinks in the bathrooms, which seem very nice and bright. The apartment also has a washer and dryer in the unit and can come with a parking space for $200 more a month. The building has a roof deck and fitness center, and it’s close to SUNY Downstate and the 2/5 trains. Do you think the rent is fair at $2,195 a month?
If you don’t like the idea of paying $1,000 a square foot to own in Brooklyn, maybe it’s time to check out Flatbush. This sweet semi-detached two-family, built in 1930 according to the listing, appears to have all its original moldings, French doors and hardwood floors. The kitchens have been nicely updated with white subway tile. It’s configured as a three-bedroom duplex over a three-bedroom rental. And there’s a garage. At 2,421 square feet with an ask of $599,000, that works out to less than $250 a square foot. What do you think of it?
Flatbush’s Melrose Hotel was a popular layover for Coney Island travelers, as well as businessmen and visitors to the area. The rather small hotel was once the mansion of the Willink family, a reclusive clan who once owned part of the land now the southeastern part of Prospect Park and around the beginning of Ocean Avenue. Once high on a hill, the mansion had been moved, and now sat near the intersection of Flatbush, Ocean and Empire Boulevard, then called Malbone Street. The story of the hotel and the beginning of our tale of mayhem and murder can be found on the highlighted links.
In 1909, Mr. and Mrs. Harry C. Pope checked into the Melrose. By this time, times had changed, and the hotel’s reputation had slipped a bit. While they still got tourists and businessmen as guests, more and more the hotel was becoming used as a convenient space for local meetings and events, and as a headquarters for athletes and trainers using the nearby park as a training ground. It was also becoming a convenient place for quiet assignations and love affairs. The staff and guests of the Melrose that evening in February of 1909 noted the young couple when they checked in as man and wife, as they were well dressed, handsome and beautiful, and so obviously in love.
Harry C. Pope was in his early 30s, the son of a prominent Williamsburg lawyer. His father had died ten years before, leaving Harry and his mother and sister quite well off. Harry, however, was one of those stereotypical rich man’s sons, the kind immortalized in novels and warned about by suspicious mothers of beautiful daughters. He enjoyed his upscale lifestyle, but never seemed to make his own business ventures work out. By 1909, he had blown through his inheritance, had even tried to make it in the gold fields of Alaska, but came back empty handed. He and a business partner ended up opening a saloon in Williamsburg, and Harry decided to go into politics. (more…)
It’s quite possible to live in New York City and never own a car. We have great public transportation to almost anywhere in the city, and failing that, there are always car services, taxi cabs, Zip cars, bikes or your feet. Yet in spite of this abundance of ways of getting around, there are no more dedicated automobile owners than New York City’s. The car has always done well here, especially in the “outer boroughs.” There have always been, and always will be, people who feel the need to own a car, in spite of alternate side of the street parking, hyper-vigilant meter attendants, a lack of parking spaces, car theft, and other urban annoyances.
Our city planners, especially Robert Moses, also loved cars, and in the mid-20th century, they cut highways and built bridges and tunnels in order for us to get around better, and get out of town when necessary. Consequently, a large industry of automobile dealers, service facilities, garages and auto supply businesses developed on Bedford Avenue and other “Automobile Rows” throughout the city. When these businesses first developed in the teens and 1920s, there were a lot of different car companies, with different models, price ranges, and amenities. You could get anything you wanted, as long as it was black.
But by the 1940s and ’50s, the field had narrowed, but it also grew. There weren’t as many American car companies anymore; many had failed, and the rest had been bought out, consolidated and gathered into Detroit’s Big Three. But the Big Three had more cars than ever. You had every variety of price range, sizes, styles and amenities, and all of them came in a growing range of colors! So much to choose from! As the makes and models and colors grew, the small automobile showrooms of yesteryear, which often could only house four or five cars, weren’t going to cut it. A modern car dealership needed to show you just about every make and model your car company made. And for that, you needed some room. (more…)
A photograph of an old way station with a hotel in the background was the inspiration for another column a little while ago. That turn of the 20th century photograph was taken of the old BF&CI train depot and Sutter’s Melrose Hotel, both located on the turn of Ocean Avenue, as it begins its path at Flatbush, right at the Flatbush end of Prospect Park. The old railroad was the precursor of today’s B and Q trains, and once took day trippers to Coney Island. The Melrose Hotel was a popular place for tourists and businessmen to spend the night, and also served the local community as an event space. Both are long gone and forgotten. The hotel was a former mansion, the home of the wealthy and reclusive Willink family. They would be totally forgotten as well, had not the nearby entrance to the park been named for them. This entire area was once a part of their large estate. The full story of the Willink family and how the mansion became a hotel was related in this Past and Present column.
In researching the hotel, it soon became apparent that quite a lot of events had taken place there. Sutter’s Melrose Hotel was not all that large, but was a hotbed of activity. Most of it was unremarkable ordinary fare, and the hotel was well known for all the right reasons, but as it aged, it began to become one of those places where bad people came to do their dirty deeds. Of course, just like today, those events became front page fodder for a voracious daily press. In the early years of the 20th century, mayhem and even murder were frequent guests at Flatbush’s Melrose Hotel. (more…)
Hello Living is cutting a swath through Brooklyn from Prospect Heights to Flatbush. Its latest entry is Hello Albemarle at 2415 Albemarle Road, the developer announced in an email newsletter.
Developer Eli Karp currently has four other Brooklyn developments in the works, including two buildings nearby at 651 New York Avenue and 271 Lenox Road. No permits have been filed, and a sale hasn’t hit public records yet. GMAP
Where would we architecture and history nuts be without old photographs? They are such a fascinating look into a vanished world, often quite familiar in many ways, yet totally alien. Our city has changed so much in a hundred years, but some places haven’t changed much at all. Once in a while, while perusing the collections in our historical societies and libraries, we come upon a scene that makes us wonder, “Where in the world was this?” Today’s Past photograph is one of those.
“This” is the intersection where Ocean Avenue begins, at the edge of Prospect Park, on Flatbush Avenue. Ocean Avenue is in the front of the photograph, running past the Melrose Hotel, at the rear, and Flatbush runs past on the left. Off to the left, out of the picture, would be the beginning of Malbone Street, now Empire Boulevard. These two buildings were not really related to each other, but are forgotten parts of Flatbush’s past.
The unusual and quite wonderful octagonal shaped building on the left housed automobiles when this photograph was taken in 1915, but started out as the Prospect Park station house, built in 1878 for passengers of the Brooklyn, Flatbush & Coney Island Railroad. Day trippers on their way to the beaches and resorts of Coney Island came to this station to board the trains that would take them out of the city to the cooling breezes and posh hotels of the shore.
This entire plot of land was part of the Willnick estate, a Flatbush Dutch family whose estate was built here in 1835. The patriarch of the Willnick family was an old banker from Holland who married a younger wife, who was a Lott, and built his house here on the border of Brooklyn and Flatbush, both independent towns at the time. This land was hilly then, and he perched his mansion at the top of the hill, and then enclosed the estate within a high iron fence. The Willnick place was next door to Gertrude Lott Lefferts Vanderbilt’s house. Mrs. Vanderbilt was a writer, and penned several books about Flatbush that are quite enlightening as to life here in the mid-1800s, and she took note of her rather stand-offish and reclusive neighbors, to whom she was distantly related. (more…)
This four-bedroom, 2.5-bath freestanding house on a double corner lot in East Flatbush seems spacious and affordable. The kitchen and bathrooms are newly renovated, and the dining and living room on the first floor promise plenty of open living space. The three bedrooms on the second floor are all decently sized, and there’s a renovated attic that can easily be converted to a fourth bedroom.
This house seems perfect for a family or group of renters with cars, because it has an outdoor parking area and a garage. There’s also a ton of storage in the finished basement, and a massive backyard for BBQs and parties. The listing says the owner is open to discussing a rent-to-own deal.
The only downside seems to be the distance from the subway, which is over a mile away. Do you think the $3,000 rent is right?
Today I’m reposting a favorite of mine, an Art Deco building in Flatbush that remains a mystery. Who designed this ornamental beauty? I still don’t know. Tomorrow’s post will be brand new. In the meantime, enjoy this gem again.
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Commercial building Address: 818 Flatbush Avenue Cross Streets: Caton Avenue and Linden Boulevard Neighborhood: Flatbush Year Built: 1930’s Architectural Style: Art Deco Architect: Unknown Landmarked: No
The story: Sometimes the most interesting buildings have no information available to us, on line, anyway. Such is the case with this really fine Art Deco commercial space. This part of Flatbush Avenue is near the commercial heart of Flatbush, the intersection of Flatbush and Church Avenues. The buildings here are a naturally evolving mixture of late 19th century Victorian, early 20th century Classical and Renaissance Revival, Art Deco and Modernist, on up to recent glass, concrete and mortar, late 20th century storefronts.
Flatbush in the 1930’s was a thriving middle-class neighborhood, and Flatbush Avenue has long been its busiest and most important commercial strip. It comes then, as no surprise that some really fine buildings were built here, all designed to house the stores and businesses that kept this area a one-stop shopping and entertainment area. This building has an advantageous corner location, and whatever was here originally surely took advantage of the ample light and space available. (more…)
This semi-detached one-family looks like it could be a good starter home for a family. There are only three photos in this listing, but we spy original moldings, plaster cornices and other details that probably date from the early 20th century. The listing says the house has updated mechanicals in good condition, but “needs some TLC and minor updates.” How do you like it for $325,000?
A recently created state agency is investigating and has subpoenaed a Brooklyn landlord said to be abusing tenants and flagrantly violating rent laws in Crown Heights and Flatbush, Governor Cuomo announced today. The landlord, Yeshaya Wasserman, owns and manages eight properties in the areas with a total of 181 units.
A preliminary audit of agency records showed that Wasserman frequently registered rents as $2,500, regardless of what the rents had been before, to allow the landlord to claim the units were no longer rent regulated, according to a press release sent out by the governor. The audit also showed that Wasserman may have deregulated apartments while simultaneously receiving a J-51 tax abatement, “which mandates that apartments remain rent-regulated,” said the statement.
Tenants at one property, Homewood Gardens, at 651-667 Brooklyn Avenue, 652-668 Brooklyn Avenue and 416-444 Hawthorne Street, said Wasserman had failed to cash rent checks, did not provide heat and hot water, pressured tenants to leave their homes, took them to court for “frivolous” reasons, and doubled and tripled the rent soon after he purchased the property.
Wasserman also owns 803 Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights, pictured above, 864 Nostrand, and 1155 East 35 Street, among others, according to public records, although they were not mentioned in the release.
Tenant Protection Unit was created last year for the purpose of enforcing New York State’s rent laws.
This spacious three-bedroom, two-bath condo in Flatbush seems like a pretty good deal. The finishes are typical for a condo, but the living room and bedrooms look large, particularly for the price. There’s a sun deck and a fitness center, and the first month is free. It’s only two or three blocks from the 2 and 5 trains at Beverly Road or Newkirk, and the Q at Cortelyou is probably a 15 or 20 minute walk away. We think the listing could be stretching it with its description of the “hip, new social scene” in Flatbush, but it’s not far from SUNY Downstate and Brooklyn College. For $2,492, what do you think of the look and location?