291 Cumberland St. NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row house
Address: 291 Cumberland Street
Cross Streets: Lafayette and Greene Avenues
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Year Built: 1892
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: Parfitt Brothers
Other Buildings by Architect: St. Augustine RC Church, Grace Methodist and row houses in Park Slope, apartment buildings, office buildings, row houses, churches in Bedford Stuyvesant, Stuyvesant Heights, Crown Heights North and Brooklyn Heights.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Fort Greene HD (1978)

The story: This house is the architectural equivalent of “pimp my ride,” or I suppose a better word might be “McMansioning.” Only this time, our 19th century poseur hired one of the best firms in Brooklyn to do the deed. Is it grossly inappropriate to celebrate a house that is clearly out of context, or does the resume of the architect make this just hunky-dory? How come it’s perfectly great to celebrate this, and then turn around and damn those who do it today? What’s the difference of a hundred years? Well, taste and talent, for one thing.

Ok, if I were around back then, and this was going to happen, I probably wouldn’t be a champion. The row of vernacular wood framed houses on this block is great. There are several different styles here, by several different builders, and to the right and the left of 291 Cumberland, these are very nice clapboard houses. What’s not to like? Wide generous porches, Classical style columns and capitals, the once-high stoops on 293 and its neighbors, and gracious proportions. 291 Cumberland was also one of these; an 1850s clapboard vernacular house. (more…)

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ODA Architecture has replaced Karl Fischer as the designer of a 45-unit mixed-use building going in on the corner of Myrtle and Vanderbilt in Fort Greene, home to a Gulf gas station, and New York YIMBY got ahold of ODA’s new rendering for it. It looks quite boxy to us, but at least it’s not routine.

The design of the street-level retail facades are particularly interesting and original, we think. First, they are double height, and second, the large expanses of small squares of glass are broken up by what appear to be rusted Corten steel panels framing the doors. We like the three-dimensional I-beam shape of these, which seems industrial yet more decorative than a flat panel.

By the way, the building will be six stories, according to the permit, even though the rendering seems to show seven or eight. What do you think of the design?

Revealed: 134 Vanderbilt Avenue, Fort Greene [NYY]
Gas Stations From Fort Greene to Bed Stuy to Become Apartments [Brownstoner]
Rendering by ODA via NYY

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Former District Leader Renee Collymore has organized an emergency town hall meeting with school principals, residents and business owners to discuss safety in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill after an incident last month when 20 or 30 “unsupervised students from local schools began a terrifying brawl outside a quiet coffee shop,” on Vanderbilt between Dekalb and Lafayette, according to a flyer we spotted in the neighborhood. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Council Member Laurie Cumbo are expected to attend.

Collymore witnessed the fight on October 9, and said police did not show up when called to break up an earlier fight on October 5, according to a story in DNAinfo. The meeting is set for Wednesday, November 19 from 6:30 to 8 pm at P.S. 20 at 225 Adelphi Street.

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We’re a little late to this news, but Le Petit Bakery at 354 Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene shut its doors at the end of September. The owners didn’t give a reason but posted a farewell note on Facebook, Fort Greene Focus wrote at the time. Meanwhile, a new bakery called Isabelle’s appears to be moving in three doors down 154 Adelphi in the old Little Louie’s Pizza spot — but it turns out it is only a temporary set for a film shoot.

Click through to see the cute storefront and a notice about the filming. Thanks to a tipster for the photo of Isabelle’s. GMAP (more…)

158 washington park fort greene 102014

We sure have been coming across a lot of whole townhouses for rent in Brooklyn lately. This one is right across from Fort Greene Park. Unfortunately, a renovation has taken it somewhat in the McMansion direction with a blingy chandelier, open-plan parlor floor and exposed brick, but it still has beautiful inlaid and parquet floors, marble fireplaces and the original staircase.

It’s also huge, of course — 3,200 square feet — with four bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a backyard, as well as a basement cellar that can be used for storage. What do you think of it for $10,500 a month?

158 Washington Park [RBM Brokerage LLC] GMAP

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An unnamed real estate firm is setting up shop at 11 Greene Avenue, a worker inside told us when we stopped by recently. This is in one of the 19th century storefronts in three Italianate row houses near the intersection of Fulton Street in Fort Greene.

Unfortunately, the new cement window surround looks out of place, but at least it didn’t replace anything historic. The retail space, previously the longtime home of Jessy’s House of Styles unisex salon and barbershop, had a modern metal facade. GMAP

Update: A Corcoran spokesperson just confirmed this will be Corcoran’s sales office for the Lefferts Place Mews condos in Clinton Hill.

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You can’t celebrate Brooklyn or 10 years of Brownstoner without the Williamsburgh Bank building, one of Brooklyn’s greatest structures.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building
Address: 1 Hanson Place, corner of Ashland Place
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Year Built: 1927-29
Architectural Style: Art Deco, with Byzantine and Romanesque influences
Architect: Halsey, McCormack & Helmer
Other buildings by architects: Central Methodist Church, next door, redo of Former Dime SB at Fulton Mall, Former Kings County SB at Nostrand and Eastern Parkway, former Brevoort SB on Fulton Street, Bed Stuy.
Landmarked: Yes. Brooklyn Academy of Music HD,1977. Bank interior, lobby, landmarked in 1996.

The story: Like thousands of Brooklynites who worked or walked in the area, I used this building hundreds of times to check the time. My mother’s dentist was in this building. For many people, this building IS Brooklyn, almost as much as the Brooklyn Bridge is. For many years, Brooklyn’s tallest building, (second now, thanks to the Brooklyner) the Williamsburgh Bank Building is an icon of our borough, as well as one of New York City’s most beautiful skyscrapers.

The firm of Halsey, McCormack and Helmer produced some great bank buildings, not only in Brooklyn, but also the Dollar Savings Bank in the Bronx, and the Greenwich Savings Bank on 57th Street in Manhattan. The firm organized in 1920, with Hayward Halsey, a developer, former banker George H. McCormack, and architect Robert Helmer, who took charge of the design office, and is responsible for actually designing all of their buildings. If you think about it, this partnership was perfect. Banker McCormick was well-connected to the industry, and could get their foot in the door. He also knew intimately what was needed in the design of a proper bank. Helmer designed, and Halsey got it built.
(more…)

102 Gates AveClinton Hill
102 Gates Avenue
Broker: Brown Harris Stevens
Price: $3,350,000
Sunday 12:00 – 2:00
GMAP

396 Vanderbilt Ave

Fort Greene
396 Vanderbilt Avenue
Broker: Brown Harris Stevens
Price: $2,300,000
Sunday 1:30 – 3:00
GMAP

470 MacDonoughBed Stuy
470 MacDonough Street
Broker: Corcoran
Price: $1,425,000
Sunday 2:00 – 3:30
GMAP

67 East 2nd StWindsor Terrace
67 East 2nd Street
Broker: Town Residential
Price: $989,000
Saturday 1:00 – 2:30
GMAP

8 Vanderbilt

Construction is moving along in the next phase of the massive Navy Green mixed income housing development. It looks like five or six stories out of 12 have gone up so far at this condo building at 8 Vanderbilt Avenue at the corner of Flushing Avenue. It will have 98 income-restricted and market rate condominium units available. The bulk of the units, 74 of them, will be sold at prices affordable to moderate and middle income households. The rest, 24, will be sold at market rates. It will also have 1,600 square feet of retail space facing Flushing Avenue. Next to the building on Vanderbilt, 23 market rate townhouses are planned as well.

The Navy Green development is a block-sized mixed income residential (both rental and condo) and retail complex that has been in the works for over a decade and has cost over $85,200,000 in city and state funds. The first tenants moved into their income-restricted rental units at 45 Clermont Avenue in December of 2012. The project takes up the entire block between Park Avenue and Flushing Avenue Clermont Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue. When it’s complete, Navy Green will have 400,000 square feet of residential space.

Navy Green Developers File Permits for Townhouses Near Navy Yard [Brownstoner]
City, Developers Cut Ribbon at Navy Green Development in Ft. Greene
[Brownstoner]
Developers Receive an Award for Navy Green Project [Brownstoner] GMAP

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The two Carlton Mews projects in Fort Greene that have been under construction for years are wrapping up and looking spectacular, in our opinion. Isn’t it wonderful what landmarking can do?

In September we brought you a sneak peak of both projects. Now a reader sends in more photos.

At 225-233 Carlton Avenue, we have five brand new townhouses, all built in a 19th century traditional style in keeping with others in the area. They are looking very credible, as far as we’re concerned. The contractor used a mix of original and new bluestone to create the bluestone sidewalk in front of them. Each will feature a triplex above a garden floor rental, according to our tipster.

These are scheduled to wrap in December, according to the construction sign.

Meanwhile, the conversion of the church at 232 Adelphi Street is also nearing the finish line. Both projects, which have different owners, will be on the market in a few months, our tipster said. The church will have 12 apartments, ranging from studios to a three-bedroom duplex. In the clock tower is a kitchen with a 25-foot ceiling!

Click through to see a few more photos. What do you think of the developments?

Carlton Mews Church Restoration Revealed! [Brownstoner]  GMAP
Carlton Mews Townhouses Near the Finish Line [Brownstoner]
Carlton Mews Coverage [Brownstoner] (more…)

230 ashland place fort greene 92014

Another day, another $1,000-a-foot listing. This 16th-floor pad at the Forte in Fort Greene has a couple of bedrooms and bathrooms as well as great views of Manhattan. It’s also full of right angles, unlike many units in the building. The asking price for the 1,007-square-foot condo is $1,050,000.

230 Ashland Place, #16H [Town Residential] GMAP

126 St. Felix St. BMS, CB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Brooklyn Music School
Address: 126 St. Felix Street
Cross Streets: Lafayette Avenue and Hanson Place
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Year Built: Original houses- 1850s, but totally reconfigured in 1920-1928
Architectural Style: Vaguely Mediterranean/Spanish Revival
Architect: Original architect unknown, 1920 reconfiguration by Meyer & Mathieu, 1928 addition by John Infanger of Slee & Bryson.
Other buildings by architect: Hans Meyer taught architecture in NYC schools, and is on record for alterations at Tudor City in Manhattan.
Landmarked: Yes, part of BAM HD

The story: Sandwiched in between the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Hanson Place Methodist Church is the Brooklyn Music School. This venerable institution is almost always forgotten when most people think about Fort Greene and its arts institutions, which is really a shame, as it has a long and proud history in the Brooklyn community. Many well-known musicians and performers got their start here, either as children taking lessons, or as emerging young artists taking the professional stage for the first time. This school should be as famous as its much larger next door neighbor. (more…)