london plane lisa mcnett brooklyn

The first day of spring is almost here, and next weekend, tree expert Lisa Nett will teach two classes at the Brooklyn Brainery on identifying London Planes and the science behind maple syrup. The London Plane class will explore why the trees shed their bark and include a brief outdoor walk through Prospect Heights at the end.

Anyone who attends the maple syrup class will get to taste some syrup and learn about the “science and seasonality” behind it. The tree class will happen Sunday, March 28 from 10:30 am to noon, and the syrup one will take place Sunday, March 29 from 10 to 11:30 am. Registration is $8 and $10 respectively, and you can sign up at Brooklyn Brainery.

Photo by Lisa Nett for Brooklyn Brainery

north flatbush avenue bid

Instead of helping the small businesses she was supposed to boost, a former director of the North Flatbush BID allegedly stole $85,000 from them. Sharon Davidson was charged Monday with making unauthorized withdrawals over a period of three years from funds reserved for promoting 150 businesses in Prospect Heights and Park Slope, The New York Daily News reported. She pled not guilty.

“North Flatbush” refers to the street, not the neighborhood, by the way. We wonder how the situation is affecting the business owners there.

Brooklyn BID Director Charged with Stealing $85K for Wild Shopping Spree [NYDN]
Photo by North Flatbush BID


Major development: Forest City Ratner will restart work at the stalled B2 modular tower whose construction problems led to lawsuits between it and former partner Skanska.

It will start by “tightening up the tolerances” of the current top floor of modules, then it will realign some modules, and possibly lift and reset some modules with the crane, wrote the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report, based on a construction bulletin. That will set the stage for stacking the next bunch of modules, to build the 11th, 12th and 13th floors.

Mind you, this doesn’t mean Forest City is admitting there’s an issue with the design, just that they’ve solved whatever the problem was.

Work will resume at the site on the first of April, weather permitting, the bulletin said. Click through for more photos of the stalled tower. We took them in late January.

Modules in B2 Prefab Tower Must Be Realigned [AYR]


making brooklyn bloom rebecca bullene

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is hosting its 34th annual “Making Brooklyn Bloom” conference tomorrow, where urban farmers and gardeners can learn all about setting up and cultivating a successful community garden. Workshops and breakout sessions will cover topics like community composting, edible flowers, decontaminating soil for urban gardens, caring for street trees and city partnerships. There will also be exhibits from local gardening organizations, a guided walking tour of the gardens and a workshop on building indoor terrariums. Check-in begins at 10 am and the conference runs until 4 pm. Take a look at the full schedule over on BBG’s website.

Photo by Rebecca Bullene for Brooklyn Botanic Garden

125 prospect place prospect heights 32015

We’re not in love with some of the design choices, but this brownstone duplex at 125 Prospect Place offers a fair amount of space — almost 1,900 square feet — for the price of $1,350,000. The only catch is that much of it is on the cellar level and therefore windowless. No need for cabin fever though — the two-bedroom apartment comes with the garden. The garden floor has retained some of its original charm too. Waddya think?

125 Prospect Place, #1 [Corcoran] GMAP

281 sterling place prospect heights 32015

We dig all the 19th-century detail in this cozy Prospect Heights garden apartment. The one-bedroom pad has wood panelling, a decorative mirrored mantel and a hallway full of built-in wooden cabinets (the former butler’s pantry). The kitchen is simple, but there’s a dishwasher and all the essentials.

And it’s a great location, only a few blocks from Prospect Park, Grand Army Plaza, and the 2/3 and B/Q trains. The only downside is there’s no access to the garden. Do you think $2,500 a month sounds about right?

281 Sterling Place [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP

535 dean street crown heights 32015

This new listing at 535 Dean Street is worth a look even if you’re not in the market. The 2,017-square-foot loft got a serious makeover from the owner, and the result is pretty cool. Of particular note: The giant bookcase and suspended office pod. The high ceilings, huge windows and private balcony round out the offering. At $2,400,000, the ask is well north of $1,000 a foot. The common charges are just $1,365. What do you think of the design?

535 Dean Street, #304 [Halstead] GMAP

720 Wash Ave, Natl theater, Ken Roe, Cinema Treasures 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former National Theatre, now supermarket
Address: 720 Washington Avenue
Cross Streets: Prospect and Park Places
Neighborhood: Prospect Heights
Year Built: 1921
Architectural Style: Unable to determine
Architect: Charles Sandblom
Other Buildings by Architect: Over 42 theaters mostly in Brooklyn, but also in Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan
Landmarked: No

The story:
Brooklyn is littered with former theaters. Any neighborhood worth its salt had at least three of four theaters in its history, and larger neighborhoods had many more. Everyone went to the local theater; there was something affordable to almost everyone, and something for almost everyone’s taste. When movies replaced live theater and vaudeville, many of the smaller theaters closed and were converted to other use, but there was still at least one decent sized movie theater around. Where else could parents safely get rid of their kids for a couple of hours?

When neighborhoods could no longer support a movie theater, for whatever reason, it seems that they generally become one of two sorts of places – a church or a supermarket. Many of the former theaters I feature here are generally churches, but here’s one that became a supermarket. Most people using it, or walking by have no idea what the building’s original use was. (more…)

135 eastern parkway prospect heights 22015

Here’s a new listing we don’t think will take very long to sell: A two-bedroom on the top floor of Turner Towers. There are two good-sized bedrooms and two full bathrooms in addition to a living room, kitchen and foyer. The prewar bones are there too, as are the awesome views. The maintenance is $1,536 a month and the asking price is $1,100,000. No exact square footage is given but we’re guesstimating it comes out to about $1,000 a square foot.

135 Eastern Parkway, #15D [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP


The restored facade of the long-suffering wood frame house at 580 Carlton Avenue, one of the oldest in the Prospect Heights, can now be seen above the construction fence. “580 Carlton has a new facade! And dare I say, it looks pretty nice!” said Cara Greenberg of CasaCARA, who sent us this photo.

Longtime readers may recall the ups and downs at this landmarked property, whose renovation caused the partial collapse of the landmarked twin house next door. By the end of 2012, No. 580 had been reduced to merely a facade, like a movie set. At some point, architect Rachel Frankel, known her ability to create historically correct looking new buildings, got on board, and is now handling the Landmarks-approved restoration of both properties.

Way back when 580 Carlton was for sale in 2011, Cara toured the open house, and had to sign a waiver before entering. It had beautiful mantels and original windows and doors. You can see all the details on her blog here. Let’s hope the owners were able to salvage something to use in the rebuild.

How do you like the way the facade is looking so far?

580 Carlton Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Cara Greenberg

Mount Prospect Lab, Underhill at Park Pl,  Composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

There are a lot of everyday things we take for granted, living in the greatest city in the world, and one of them is the assurance that when we go to the sink and turn the tap, we’ll be getting clear, pure water. As you probably know, today New York City’s water comes from the upstate reservoirs of the Catskills and the Delaware River basin. It’s arguably the best municipal water system in the world.

For Manhattanites, that system began in the mid-19th century with the creation of the Croton Aqueduct. That was a remarkable feat of engineering that brought water into reservoirs in Manhattan. It was upgraded in the late 19th century with a second aqueduct. During those years, that was Manhattan’s water. Since Brooklyn was still an independent city at the time, we needed to get our own water.

Brooklyn is part of Long Island, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the city’s earliest water supply came from further out on the island. The water was pumped in underground and collected in a reservoir on the Brooklyn /Queens border, atop what is now Highland Park. That was the Ridgewood Reservoir, and was first established in the early 1850s. The city still needed a more local reservoir to supply the western part of the city, so in 1856, they began constructing a reservoir on the second highest plateau in Brooklyn – Mount Prospect. (more…)


On Super Bowl Sunday, just before the game started, we stopped by Pequeña for dinner, thinking it would be easy to get a table since, as far as we could remember, the restaurant didn’t have a tv. It was closed.

We figured it was a one-time deal because of the game. But then we read in DNAinfo yesterday it went out of business because of a change in partnership and decrease in customers. The space at 601 Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights will become a Korean restaurant. There are no plans to close the original location, at 86 South Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, according to DNA.

We really liked the margaritas and enchiladas — and the elbow room – at this location and will miss it.

Curiously, this is not the first restaurant owner and actress Chelsea Altman has shuttered recently. Maggie Brown in Clinton Hill shut down last month, as we reported at the time. Altman also owns Olea and Allswell, according to Brooklyn Magazine, and used to own now-closed Moe’s Bar in Fort Greene. Altman has been in the news lately for testifying in the Elan Patz case (they were childhood friends).

Korean Restaurant to Replace Pequena in Prospect Heights [DNA] GMAP
Photo by ibellum on Instagram