199 17th Street, SSPellen 3

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Semi-detached row house
Address: 199 17th Street
Cross Streets: 4th and 5th Avenues
Neighborhood: South Slope
Year Built: Before 1880
Architectural Style: Simplified Italianate
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: When Brooklyn developed, it wasn’t always in solid waves, with housing spreading out like Lego blocks across the map. Some areas were farms that were slowly subdivided into lots. Some neighborhoods grew as towns, like Bedford; a crossroads that slowly grew to be much more down the road. Other towns grew totally off the standard rectangular street grid, like Weeksville.The streets that make up the South Slope had an interesting path to development. Houses here were built in fits and starts. Some of the land was farmland, although not particularly good farmland, it was hilly and rocky, the legacy of glacial activity.

The street grid was established well before the Civil War, but insurance maps don’t show a whole lot going on here until after the war. Some parts of the neighborhood had a reputation as a dumping ground, where one could conveniently get rid of all kinds of things, including an occasional body. For many years these blocks were just scruffy fields. Then as Green-Wood Cemetery grew in size and popularity as a tourist destination, and Park Slope began to flourish, this area began to be developed, as well. (more…)

fourth avenue and 15th street park slope one more folded sunset 12015

A local investor has been buying up properties on 4th Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets in South Slope, which could mean a new megadevelopment is coming to the block. One More Folded Sunset noticed that six buildings on the east side of the avenue have recently changed hands. The sale of 549 4th Avenue last month, for $2,250,000, filled in the last gap in a contiguous run from 543 to 553 4th Avenue.

The blog wondered if more buildings in the row might be next, particularly No. 541, on the corner of 15th Street, which has an interesting old ad for Uneeda Biscuits still faintly visible on its brick. All of the properties are typical 20-foot-wide, three-family apartment buildings with storefronts. We don’t see any demolition permits yet.

The buyer is an LLC with an address on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint. Anshel Fridman of Nalcorp Investment Group is the managing member, according to deeds and mortgage documents.

Filling in a Buy-up Gap at 4th and 15th? [One More Folded Sunset]
Photo via One More Folded Sunset

251 12th Street, 12th St. Reformed Church, KL, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Built as the Twelfth Street Reformed Church, now the Park Slope Community Church (Baptist)
Address: 251 12th Street
Cross Streets: 4th and 5th Avenues
Neighborhood: South Slope
Year Built: 1869
Architectural Style: Rundbogenstil Romanesque Revival
Architect: Gamaliel King
Other buildings by architect: Brooklyn City (now Borough) Hall, St. Paul’s Church in Cobble Hill, Kings County Savings Bank, Williamsburg (with Wm H. Willcox). Demolished – Kings County Courthouse
Landmarked: No

The story: In 1840, members of the South Reformed Dutch Church, located in Gowanus, at 43rd and 3rd, met to discuss dividing the church into two different churches, with a new church in the northern part of what was then called South Brooklyn. Among those advocating starting the new church were members of the Bergen and Van Nostrand families. There would be 40 new members splitting off, in all, in an amicable division. They called the new congregation The North Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Gowanus. They bought a plot of land on 3rd Avenue, between 20th and 21st Streets, and built a church. For several years, both shared the same pastor, the Rev. S. M. Woodbridge.

In 1851, the hierarchy of the Reformed Church formally separated the two churches and North Reformed got their own minister. A few years later, in 1856, a yellow fever epidemic struck Brooklyn and decimated the population of the older South Church. Many of them joined North Reformed. They needed a new building. Funds were raised, and the congregation purchased another plot of land, this one on 12th Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenues. (more…)

195 PPW

The floor plan is a little funky and there’s only one bathroom, but it’s hard to find a two-bedroom overlooking Prospect Park for $729,000 these days, especially one in move-in condition. The prewar building at 195 Prospect Park West is on the traffic circle at 15th Street — and has the curved facade to prove it. Seems like a decent deal to us, especially with a monthly maintenance of just $907.

195 Prospect Park West, #3A [Corcoran] GMAP

357 9th St. PPYMCA, NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Park Slope YMCA
Address: 357 9th Street
Cross Streets: 5th and 6th avenues
Neighborhood: South Slope
Year Built: 1925-27
Architectural Style: Neo-Georgian
Architect: Unknown, perhaps Trowbridge & Ackerman
Other Buildings by Architect: Hanson Place YMCA
Landmarked: No

The story: The YMCA of Brooklyn has a long and interesting history. The Young Men’s Christian Association started in London in 1844, as a religious ministry to young men, especially sailors, of any social class, alone and friendless in the big city. They had a place to meet, engage in Bible Study, and keep off the dangerous streets of London. The idea rapidly spread to other cities and other countries. The first Brooklyn YMCA was established in 1853, and by 1866, they had their own building on Fulton Street, near Gallatin Place. That was too small in no time, and a new building, the first Y to have an indoor pool, was built further down Fulton, near Bond.

More branches soon opened up in Brooklyn. In the Park Slope neighborhood, the organization purchased a mansion at 357 9th Street in 1891, and opened the Park Slope Branch of the Y.M.C.A. Because this was both a religious and recreational facility, there were lecture rooms and an auditorium space, as well as rooms for gymnastics and sports. There was also space to board a few young men. It was the Young Men’s Association, so there were no female members, they had their own Young Women’s Christian Association. (more…)


Adam America Real Estate Group and Slate Property Group, along with parter AEW Capital Management, are developing yet another 4th Avenue property. The trio plans to build a mixed-use building with 141 rental units at 535 4th Avenue between 14th and 15th streets in South Slope, The Real Deal reported.

They didn’t buy the lot but are leasing it for 99 years for $10 a buildable square foot, or about $1,180,000 a year. Aufgang Architects will design the building, where rents will start at about $2,000 a month for studios. The retail spaces will be large enough for national retailers. The property currently houses a one-story garage, above.

Adam America and Slate are also developing mixed-use buildings at 470 4th Avenue and 275 4th Avenue, as previously reported. Meanwhile, Slate also bought a 20-unit rental building at 310 12th Street for $6,000,000, according to the story.

Slate, Adam America to Develop Another 4th Avenue Rental [TRD]
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark


Brooklyn cafe and restaurant owner Alexander Hall is opening two more Australian-style cafes, one in South Slope and the other in Bed Stuy. Both will be called Brunswick, after a neighborhood in Melbourne, his home town, which is known for its great cafe scene, he said.

Like cafes in Australia, they will offer good coffee, table service, newspapers, and modern decor, he said. Both will be casual and welcome children.

The location at 240 Prospect Park West, on the border of South Slope and Windsor Terrace, will open in the next few weeks. The cafe at 144 Decatur, whose storefront faces Marcus Garvey, above, will open May 12.

Items on both menus will include organic poached eggs, granola, salads, paninis, and pastries and biscuits made at Hall’s Lower East Side cafe, Bluebird Coffee Shop. Both will be open from 7:30 am to 6 pm and serve breakfast and lunch.

The cafe at 144 Decatur will be quite large, with seating for 48 people. It is being gut renovated right now. A bar will be fashioned out of 140-year-old pine found in the space. There will be an open kitchen and banks of windows running along the side and back of the space. The building is landmarked.

Hall also owns Prospect Heights cafe Milk Bar and Crown Heights restaurant Sunshine Co. He is also opening another cafe on the Lower East Side, Rosella Coffee Shop.

Open Source Gallery in South Slope is looking to foster conversation, community and art with its nightly Soup Kitchen events, where a “creative volunteer” cooks for a large group of people and anyone is welcome to stop by. A volunteer chef is responsible for cooking a one-pot meal to feed 15 to 20 people, and it can be a dish from any ethnic tradition or cuisine.

The night’s cook must also create “an artistic element to incorporate into the evening,” such as music, poetry, art, photographs or decorating the gallery according to a theme. The communal dinner series, which is in its sixth year, began December 1 and happens every night from 7 to 9 pm. Attendees have included neighbors, friends, artists or those who simply need a hot meal.

The gallery is still looking for a few chefs to cook between now and New Year’s, and interested volunteers can sign up here. Soup Kitchen will happen tonight and every other night through the 31st at Open Source Gallery, 306 17th Street near 6th Avenue.

Photo by Open Source Gallery

This three-bedroom, two-bath townhouse in South Slope seems like a nice rental for a small family or roommates. The first floor has a renovated kitchen with new cabinets and appliances, including a dishwasher, and a living room with built-in shelving. There are two bedrooms and an updated bathroom upstairs.

The smaller of the bedrooms has a sleeping loft and an antique cast iron wood stove. The garden level contains a large bedroom and the second, renovated bathroom, along with a private entrance and a washer/dryer. There’s also a little backyard.

The broker claims the house is “pre-Civil War,” but notoriously unreliable city records peg it at 1915. It’s about seven blocks from the 15th Street-Prospect Park stop on the F and the park itself. It might have recently had a price chop from $4,250 because the listing on the Halstead site puts it at $3,850 a month. What do you think of it?

417A 18th Street [Halstead] GMAP

There’s an awful lot of fake brick and faux wood panelling in this South Slope one-family brick house, but it still manages to exude charm. Quite a bit of the original architecture is still there, including doors and decorative plaster moldings. It’s tiny, though — only 16.67 feet wide and 40 feet long, with less than 1,200 square feet of interior space in all, according to PropertyShark.

Given the size and that it needs work, we were surprised to see the ask of $1,479,000. That works out to more than $1,200 a square foot. Is that what row houses in South Slope are going for these days?

473 11th Street [Betancourt] GMAP

Doctor Who fans from across the city will descend on Supercollider in South Slope tomorrow to test their knowledge of the long-running BBC cult classic. Pub trivia company Geeks Who Drink is hosting Don’t Blink: A Doctor Who Quiz at bars all over the U.S. in anticipation of the series’ 50th anniversary special, which airs next Saturday, November 23. Questions will range from the modern version of the series to its original incarnation, which debuted in 1963 and ran for 26 seasons. Sadly, Prospect Heights’ Doctor Who-themed bar The Way Station didn’t have enough space to host the event, but they will be screening the anniversary special and hosting a Doctor Who tribute band next Saturday. Whovians who want to prove their knowledge should bring a couple of their friends and a $5 admission per person to Supercollider on 4th Avenue at 7 pm tomorrow.

Image by Adrian Rogers for BBC