81 Fenimore St. PLG, Composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Like an archeological dig, Brooklyn is made up of layers. In Flatbush, the fields the Canarsee roamed became cultivated farmland under the Dutch. That in turn gave way to freestanding homes on large plots, which were incorporated into the land deed of Lefferts Manor, and turned into smaller row houses.

That’s what happened here on Fenimore Street, as it happened throughout many Brooklyn neighborhoods, but in this rare instance, we have photographs.

Our period photo shows 81 Fenimore Street. The photograph was taken in 1910. It shows a large wood-framed house on the property. The style was Second Empire, with a central tower with an even taller mansard roof and widow’s walk. The view of Brooklyn from the mansard windows must have been fantastic. (more…)

140 Midwood Street

This classic Renaissance Revival limestone in the Manor has pretty much every original detail and looks to be in immaculate condition. Yes, it has its original built-in icebox, marble sinks in the passthroughs, and even an original copper sink in the butler’s pantry.

Designed by architect George Lawton and built in 1899, it also has wedding-cake plaster details, stained glass, a triple parlor, pocket doors, pier mirror, three mantels and original oak floors, according to the listing. The kitchen is a little monotone for our tastes but would be easy to update with paint, counters, and paneling for the island.

Asking $2,225,000, it’s priced in line with recent record setters in the area. What do you think of the house and the ask?

140 Midwood Street [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP
Photos via Brown Harris Stevens

(more…)

flatbush-developments-map-040615

Flatbush is the new hotspot for development in Brooklyn, according to an interactive map put together by Prospect Lefferts resident Jacob Garchik. It catalogues an astonishing 50 new-building projects happening southeast of Prospect Park.

Most of the mapped developments are in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, although they fall into other areas of Flatbush as well. The sites cluster most densely around Clarkson and Church avenues, the heart of historic Flatbush. Dotted with standalone, turn-of-the-20th-century wood frame Victorian and Edwardian houses, the area is also home to many apartment buildings already. (more…)

eppley-flatbush-trees-1-033015

A highly anticipated installation at the Flatbush Trees will happen May 18 through May 22, artist Dave Eppley told Community Board 9 last week. Eppley has been working for the last six months with students at a nearby school to design flower bouquets made out of sign vinyl that will be applied to the dilapidated 1970s-era tree sculptures, located at the intersection of Ocean Avenue, Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard, right across from Prospect Park.

Apparently made of concrete and some other weather-impervious material, the tree-shaped sculptures also serve as a street signs and mark a park entrance.

A sign maker by trade as well as an installation artist, Eppley said he does not expect the decorations to last more than a few years, and that is intentional. “I hope another artist will adopt [the Trees] as their own in a year or two,” and do something else with them, he said.

626 flatbush avenue rendering

The partially built 23-story tower at 626 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens has just started taking applications for affordable rentals, according to developer Hudson Companies. Rents for the 51 subsidized units start at $565 for a studio, $607 for a one-bedroom, $736 for two bedrooms and $843 for three bedrooms.

And income requirements range from $19,371 for a single person and go as high as $50,100 for a family of six. Half of the affordable apartments will be reserved for current residents of Community Board 9. (The area covers southern Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Wingate and part of North Flatbush.) (more…)

cb9-1-032515

After a year of drama and disruption, last night’s Community Board 9 meeting was relatively sane and productive, but the highly anticipated vote on the controversial letter to City Planning to request a zoning study of Prospect Lefferts Gardens did not happen. Here is what did happen:

*The letter was sent back to the land-use committee for a vote because the previous vote turned out to be invalid. People were voting who weren’t actually members of the committee, and the vote was taken after the meeting had already been adjourned, which is against the rules. We were expecting a presentation on the land-use committee’s recommendation, but perhaps because the matter was sent back to committee for a vote, there was none.

*Acting chair Laura Imperiale and MTOPP leader and activist Alicia Boyd agreed on something: Now there is a new threat to the existing character of the neighborhood — and all neighborhoods in Brooklyn and New York City. A “text amendment” to the building code, buried in Mayor de Blasio’s “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” plan, would effectively wipe out hard-won height limits in “contextual zoning neighborhoods,” allowing new development 20 to 30 percent higher across the board. The board has two weeks to comment.

Also, City Planning plans to meet on the topic today at 4 pm at Spector Hall at 22 Reade Street in Manhattan. A community rally is scheduled to take place before the meeting, at 3 pm at City Hall.

*MTOPP has asked the D.A. to investigate Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (more…)

163 Fenimore St-Living Room-NYC

This circa-1900 barrel-fronted limestone at 163 Fenimore Street in Prospect Lefferts Gardens has tons of elegant 19th century details and a triple parlor configuration, but it also has a convenient layout. All the entertaining rooms as well as the kitchen are on the ground floor, with the bedrooms above.

There is a hall mirror, mantel, coffered ceiling, built-ins, stained glass windows and oodles of wood work. The one-family house looks to be in very good condition, going by the photos, and the kitchen and baths have been updated. What do you think of it and the ask of $1,500,000?

163 Fenimore Street [Halstead] GMAP

(more…)

352-386 Parkside Ave, SSPellen 4Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Two family duplex row houses
Address: 352-386, and 377-409 Parkside Avenue
Cross Streets: Flatbush and Bedford Avenues
Neighborhood: Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Year Built: Around 1910
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival-Colonial Revival mixture
Architect: Unknown, but perhaps Benjamin Dreisler
Other Buildings by Architect: If by Dreisler, many buildings in PLG, Prospect Park South, Ditmas Park, and other parts of Flatbush
Landmarked: No, although should be

The story: Many years ago, when I first started reading Brownstoner, I became embroiled in online “discussions” about Prospect Lefferts Gardens. I had only been there once, a short trip to one block of the neighborhood to look at a house with my mother. I don’t know where we were, since I did not know the neighborhood. In retrospect, it may have been Maple Street. At any rate, I empathized with the PLG people who were defending their neighborhood’s quality of life and architectural beauty. One day, someone offered to drive me around PLG, and as much as I liked all parts of the neighborhood, I really loved this block.

At the time, this was considered a “sketchy” block (not fond of that word), but it was undeniable that the architecture was superb. I always wondered why this block was not included in the PLG landmark district, as the buildings on this block are more than worthy. Perhaps it’s because of the apartment buildings, or perhaps because it was down market from the other blocks in Lefferts Manor, proper, but it was a huge oversight, in my opinion. (more…)

nostrand-empire-plg-031915

The letter has been drafted. After about a year of chaos and protests, a subcommittee of Community Board 9 voted Monday to send a letter to City Planning requesting a zoning study of Prospect Lefferts Gardens. (That’s Nostrand Avenue, above.) The letter will move to the full board on Tuesday, March 24, for a yay or nay vote. The move came after CB9 chair Dwayne Nicholson resigned last week, and we wouldn’t be surprised if his stepping down somehow paved the way for this to happen.

Community member and MTOPP leader Alicia Boyd and a handful of MTOPP members attended and spent the evening protesting that the entire meeting could not take place because the CB had no chair, DNAinfo reported. They were removed from the meeting by police.

We feel it’s not our place to say what residents of PLG should do regarding zoning, but we have been concerned about whether there has been an opportunity for adequate public input. At the one meeting we were able to attend and others we have read about, no public comment was permitted. A board member we spoke to assures us there was a chance for comment, at one of the subcommittee meetings, although the discussion was mostly about the letter.

“Yes, the Committee meeting gave everyone in the room time to comment. It was a fairly wide-ranging conversation, though totally dominated by screaming and finger-pointing. A few people actually got to comment on the general merits!” the member told us.

Please click through to the jump to read the draft letter. Local blog Q at Parkside also has more detail about what’s in it here and here. What do you think of it?

Community Board 9 Coverage [Brownstoner]

(more…)

50 maple street prospect lefferts gardens 22015

This landmarked 1920s house is on a prominent block in the Manor and has been in lis pendens for years and scheduled to be sold at auction several times (as we noted on one occasion). If it has changed hands more recently than 2003 (for $708,000), though, the sale has not yet hit public records.

There are no interior photos. The listing copy says it has “gracious and elegant bones” but “has been neglected for the past decade” and is uninhabitable, so bring your cash.

The lot is 6,000 square feet and there is a driveway and garage. There may be a doctor’s office on the ground floor, and the taxes are $7,872.53 a year, according to PropertyShark.

Anyone know the backstory here? And what do you think of the ask of $1,500,000?

50 Maple Street [Corcoran] GMAP

19 Winthrop St. Midwood Sanatorium, NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former Midwood Sanatorium, now CAMBA offices
Address: 19 Winthrop Street
Cross Streets: Flatbush and Bedford avenues
Neighborhood: Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Year Built: 1928-1929
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
Architect: Philip M. Erickson
Other Buildings by Architect: Mostly small projects, like garages, in Brooklyn
Landmarked: No

The story: The first Midwood Sanatorium was a four story wood-framed building built at this location, on Winthrop, near the corner of Flatbush Avenue. Like many small hospitals, the building was probably a private house, repurposed as a sanatorium. Period maps show the grounds of the hospital were quite large, as the buildings now on Flatbush weren’t there then. Northern Flatbush was just starting to see real urban style development, and only blocks away, the row houses of Lefferts Manor were being built. The neighborhood needed a private hospital, and Midwood opened its doors in 1907.

The word “sanatorium” brings to mind a mental hospital or a place where private patients could have quiet surgeries or recover from embarrassing things like out-of-wedlock pregnancies, but the word as Americans use it, usually meant a hospital for long term stays, generally because of tuberculosis. The words “sanatorium” and “sanitarium” are interchangeable. (more…)

626-flatbush-avenue-022615

Maple Street School, a Prospect Lefferts Gardens preschool founded in 1978, is expanding. The school signed a 15-year lease for 5,500 square feet at 626 Flatbush, the 23-story mixed-use 80/20 tower Hudson Companies is building in the neighborhood.

The school will mostly occupy the second floor of the community and retail space at the base of the building, pictured above. It will have a private entrance and a 1,200 square foot roof terrace, a Hudson spokesperson told us.

The school has been at 21 Lincoln Road since 2001. The new location will more than double the school’s space.

“Every year, Maple Street School has to turn away more students than it accepts. We are thrilled at the opportunity to expand to this second location, so that we can accommodate more children and help meet the great need in this community for quality early education,” said school Director Wendy Cole in a prepared statement.

The building is expected to be ready for occupancy in early 2016, said Hudson. GMAP

Rendering by Marvel Architects