07/08/14 3:30pm

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…)

04/29/14 9:30am

535-4th-avenue-042914

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

144-decatur-street-040114

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.

12/17/13 4:00pm

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

12/16/13 12:15pm

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

11/21/13 1:30pm

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

11/15/13 4:00pm

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

11/12/13 3:00pm

213 17th St. Pitbladdo house 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Thomas Pitbladdo house
Address: 213 17th Street
Cross Streets: 4th and 5th Avenues
Neighborhood: South Slope/Greenwood Heights
Year Built: Before 1886
Architectural Style: Italianate, maybe
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No, but deserves some kind of recognition

The story: This one was a great journey into Brooklyn history. Ever since I’ve strolled around this area the summer before last, I’ve been curious about the history of this part of the neighborhood. There is very little information available about this part of town, and it must be gleaned like needles in a haystack. This house especially intrigued me, because not only was it an anomaly, in terms of style, it was also a survivor. The ramp to the Prospect Parkway runs right next door, and the fact that the house survived the construction and the placement of the road is just remarkable. Was that an accident of geography, or the influence of a prominent owner? Who lived here, and what was their story? I was lucky enough to find out more than I expected.

I thought the house was clapboard under the aluminum siding, the curse of the South Slope, but a look on several maps proved me wrong. This house is masonry under here, perhaps brick or stucco. From the style of the dormers and the front door, I’d say it was an Italianate, built in the 1870s. It was probably one of the earliest masonry houses on the block. Maps from 1887 show several wood framed houses here, as well, along with row houses. Several of the free standing frame houses were where the access road is today.

The house belonged to Thomas Pitbladdo. There were several spellings of his name, complicating research, but I was able to find an entry in the Brooklyn Eagle in 1891, where Mr. Pitbladdo got a permit to change his flat roof to a peaked one. It was going to cost him $200. That was the starting point, and researching Thomas Pitbladdo’s name became an adventure in Brooklyn history. (more…)

11/05/13 3:00pm

224 17th St, S.Slope. 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row house
Address: 224 17th Street
Cross Streets: 4th and 5th Avenues
Neighborhood: Greenwood Heights/South Slope
Year Built: 1884
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Unknown, slight chance it could be George P. Chappell
Landmarked: No

The story: It’s rather amazing how we know so much about some parts of Brooklyn, and so little about others, even though they were developed about the same time, with many of the same people often involved. Through a lot of careful research by residents, historical societies, professionals, and architecture junkies such as myself, we know quite a bit about Park Slope. We know who designed, built and owned a majority of the housing stock, and because many of them were prominent in 19th century Brooklyn, we know a fair amount about the earliest residents, as well. There were people who only appear when they marry, or when they die, and those whose lives were fodder for the 19th century equivalent of Page Six.

But over and up a few blocks, the story is different. The South Slope was much more low key. The housing there was, by and large, not built for the rich and important, but built for those who worked for them; in their offices, businesses and factories. These were mostly homes for the middle class, the mid-management people, the teachers and small business owners. Most of the row houses are smaller, only two stories plus a basement, and some were built as two family homes, while others housed extended families, and others offered rooms for rent. There are a lot of great blocks of houses here, enough to keep a BOTD going for a while. (more…)

657-5t-avenue-101813

A developer plans to renovate and add on to a mostly empty large, mixed-use property on the corner of 5th Avenue and 19th Street in South Slope, according to CPEX, which brokered the property’s recent sale. CS Management bought 657-665A 5th Avenue for $8,500,000.

The one tax lot includes four three-story, 3,000-square-foot mixed-use buildings as well as one three-story loft building. Together they offer 30,500 square feet of space and come with approximately 7,500 square feet of air rights. The developer plans to build an additional 7,500 square feet of apartments.

The property sold for $369 per square foot, or $278 per buildable square foot.

“With scant opportunity for development in Park Slope proper, demand for properties in the South Slope/Greenwood Heights market has increased,” said CPEX Managing Director Sean Kelly in a prepared statement. What would you like to see come in here?

Photo by PropertyShark

10/17/13 11:30am

Park Slope 1

In 2011, the owners of this South Slope property hired Leone Design Studio to convert the building, comprising three separate apartments, into a single-family home. Built in the early 1900s as an apartment complex, the structure never had a past life as a townhouse, and so displayed those characteristics one would expect: a large interior common stairway and no light penetrating from the back, only from a small skylight on the roof.

“It was dark in there,” said one owner, “and since our kids were one and three, they weren’t entitled to their own apartments yet. This was the principal reason for why the renovation was so extensive.

“These three-family houses were not the grand homes of upper-middle-class 1900s Brooklyn,” he continued. “They were built as functional housing for thrifty people who worked for a living, and who thus were not spending their discretionary income on frills. As a consequence, the house was notable not so much for its period wood paneling or molding, but for how solid it was.” (more…)

09/27/13 3:30pm

288-16th-street-092713

We just got word from a tipster that the rear facade of the building at 288 16th Street in South Slope has collapsed. Anyone know anything more about it?

Update: A neighbor emailed us to say: “According to DOB’s BIS system, FDNY called for an emergency vacate. From what I can tell there were no permits for work. The latest were plans disapproved this summer for a conversion to a one family residence. Once again, and I hate to sound like broken record, illegal work begets unsafe work. I am glad no one was hurt.”

Another neighbor emailed, “I live up the street and just took a peek. It looks like there are two brick buildings that are attached. The one not on the corner but with the entrance on 16th appears to no longer have a back wall. No bricks of the back wall are visible. You see wood studs and the like. The building on the corner looks intact and it appears firemen are standing on the deck off the second floor of the corner structure. I don’t really know what they are doing at this point. A few fire trucks remain on scene not as many as were first here. Didn’t hear anything about injuries or if other neighboring structures were affected.”

Is it just us or does it seem like these sorts of things happen too often? Click through to the jump for another view.
(more…)