Sunset Park 47th Street

This Saturday the Sunset Parks Landmarks Committee is hosting a party to raise money for its preservation work and for the tenant advocacy organization Neighbors Helping Neighbors. The $20 admission ticket will help both these worthy causes and it includes two drinks, light food, live music, a dance performance and prizes made in Industry City. The proceeds will be split equally between the groups.

In an email, Lynn Massimo, the committee’s project manager, said that both preservation and affordable housing are important to the future of the neighborhood. “Together we, the community groups and our electeds, must keep Sunset Park viable for a diverse population. That doesn’t have just one answer. It has multiple answers. Affordable housing, safe streets, cultural diversity, economic diversity, local jobs, and yes, preservation of historic rowhouses,” she said.

The event will be held at Irish Haven at 5721 4th Avenue at 58th Street this Saturday, October 18, from 7 to 10 pm. Tickets are only available at the door.

Photo by Sunset Park Landmarks Committee

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Developers are reviving a previously shelved plan to build a huge mixed-use development on the corner of 8th Avenue and 62nd Street in Sunset Park — and it’s going to be even bigger than before, said a story in Brooklyn Paper. A low-rise, three-story shopping mall will cover a site “about as big as three football fields,” the paper said.

Four towers will poke up above the mall, including a 10-story, 150-room hotel; two 15-story apartment towers with a total of 350 apartments; and a 17-story office tower.

The manufacturing-zoned site traded hands earlier this year for $51,500,000, and comes with an approved variance to allow a mixed-use building with square footage six times the size of the property in exchange for one-fifth of the apartments being affordable rentals. Other amenities include public green space and a pre-K.

The owner told Brooklyn Paper the development won’t strain nearby streets and transportation. Located at 6208 8th Avenue, the mall will be called Eighth Avenue Center. The scope of it makes us think of City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. What do you think of the plan?

Mega-Development Coming to Sunset Park [BK Paper] GMAP
The Sun Is Rising Again on a Controversial Mega-Development Planned for Sunset Park [NY Daily News]
Rendering by Raymond Chan Architect PC

448-450 48th St. SP, NS, PS 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Wood-framed row houses
Address: 448-450 48th Street
Cross Streets: 4th and 5th avenues
Neighborhood: Sunset Park
Year Built: 1890
Architectural Style: Originally Queen Anne
Architect: George Walkinshaw
Landmarked: No, but Sunset Park is on the National Register of Historic Places (1988). Landmarking is needed

The story: The earliest houses still standing in Sunset Park are no older than the early 1880s. This neighborhood was one of the last of Brooklyn’s brownstone neighborhoods to be developed. There’s only one or two of them left, tucked in the brownstone and limestone rows. In the 1890s, builders began putting up the first of the row house groups, and along with those brownstones were also built some rows of attached wood-framed houses. Today, we tend to associate wood-framed houses with earlier times, but many of them were built at the same time as the masonry homes. Wood was just another choice for building materials.

This pair of wooden houses was built in 1890, right at the beginning of serious development here, and represented another choice for buyers, and an opportunity for some interesting design. Unfortunately, that design is now gone. It wasn’t destroyed in the 1950s, or 1970s, but only a couple of years ago, twenty years after the bulk of the neighborhood had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. (more…)

438 45th street sunset park 92014

It’s not often we see a Sunset Park house with details in move-in condition, so we got excited when we saw this listing for a brownstone at 438 45th Street. There are fireplaces, built-in cupboards, moldings, pocket doors and other original details.

The bad news is that it’s set up as three floor-through apartments so there’s no owner’s duplex. However, there is an extension in the rear of the garden floor and a clean-looking cellar, so the ground-floor unit is more spacious than the average railroad apartment. The house would also be easy enough to convert back to a two-family, which is what we suspect this originally was, going by the floor plan.

A door on the parlor floor unit might be advisable as well, for privacy. What do you think of it and the price of $1,160,000?

438 45th Street [Elliman] GMAP

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A group of neighbors on one of Sunset Park’s best-preserved blocks are hunting for a preservation-minded buyer to restore a three-story brownstone row house at 514 47th Street, which is for sale for $1,180,000. The brownstone exterior with terra cotta detail and original ironwork, above, appears to be in good condition, but the inside appears to have been stripped of all detail save the staircase. (Lots of interior shots after the jump, below.)

The house is on the corner of 5th Avenue, a busy commercial strip, so residents fear the worst. Neighbors would like to find “new owners who plan on restoring it versus investors who want to rip it apart to make a taller building and/or add unsightly retail on the ground level,” block resident Jeff Sundheim told us. “Since it’s the house closest to the 5th Avenue retail district it’s quite likely that could happen. The same thing happened on my old block nearby and it was tragic,” he said. (more…)

2nd Naval Battalion armory, composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Armories are fascinating buildings. They were built to house National Guard units; our volunteer citizen army, and provide them with permanent places to gather, train, and deploy. Many guard units gained great fame and honor from their service in the Civil War, and a grateful state and local government decided to honor them with facilities worthy of their service. These resulted in huge castle-like buildings built to impress and intimidate.

Every community wanted an armory. They wanted the protection of a citizen militia for emergencies and to put down social unrest. The late 19th century was a time of strikes and uprisings against the economic unfairness of the Gilded Age. They also wanted the armory because it was a great civic building for the community. Armories were perfect for large social gatherings, athletic events, trade shows, and the like. Architects and builders loved armories because they were prestigious commissions, and were cash cows for everyone concerned, and a source of jobs. An armory in one’s neighborhood was a win-win for all concerned. (more…)

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The push to redevelop Sunset Park’s waterfront industrial spaces into a thriving manufacturing center for artisanal goods along the lines of the Navy Yard continues. The de Blasio administration has pledged to invest $100,000,000 into making over 500,000 square feet of the city-owned Brooklyn Army Terminal, pictured above, The Wall Street Journal reported. (more…)

army-terminal-071514

Not a single biotech firm has taken space in the BioBAT biotech facility conceived eight years ago in part of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, although one company is reportedly close to signing a contract. The Sunset Park facility houses two other biotech firms, although not in the BioBAT space specifically created for biotech firms, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal. (more…)

555 39th street sunset park 62014

Here’s an affordable, no-frills one-bedroom in Sunset Park. The kitchen looks serviceable, and the living room is fairly large for a one-bedroom. There’s also a dining room with built-in cabinets that could become an office. But it would be better with a window, and the bedroom is on the small side. Do you think it’s a good deal for $1,390 a month?

555 39th Street, #2F [Elliman] GMAP

59th-street-sunset-park-060214

As part of its ongoing effort to preserve Sunset Park’s historic homes, the Sunset Park Landmarks Committee recently submitted its Request for Evaluation to the Landmarks Preservation Committee, the first application in the landmarking process. “We’ve had an amazing year in our community, finding so much support for a historic district, from residents, community organizations, our community board, our councilman, our state assemblyman, and our congresswoman,” the committee’s Lynn Massimo told us. “We’re hoping the wheels will turn quickly and we’ll get a historic district soon, though we know it’s slow process.”

In the meantime, the group is also giving one of its walking tours of the area on Sunday, June 22. The website copy reads: “Tour the heart of Sunset Park. Learn how Sunset Park’s history makes it special and wonderfully different from other Brownstone Brooklyn nabes. Learn about how its built environment shaped Sunset Park: from the history of Bush Terminal, the 4th Avenue subway, and the first coops in the U.S. in the early 1900s, to the Section 8 housing of the 1970s, which stabilized the neighborhood and helped it transition out of blight.” Above, houses on 59th Street between 4th and 5th avenues in Sunset Park.

The tour starts at 10 am. For tickets or more information, please check the group’s website.

Photo via Sunset Park Landmarks Committee

4200 7th Ave, Sunset Play Center, Carl Forster, LPC

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name:
Sunset Play Center
Address: 4200 7th Avenue
Cross Streets: 41st and 44th streets
Neighborhood: Sunset Park
Year Built: 1935-36
Architectural Style: Art Moderne
Architect: Herbert Magoon
Other Buildings by Architect: Bath houses at Jones Beach and Crotona Parks, as part of his tenure at Parks Department
Landmarked: Yes, individual landmark (2007)

The story: 1936 was a banner year for New York City and its Parks Department. That year 11 pools were opened across the city, built to help cool off the city’s residents struggling through a hot summer in the midst of the Great Depression. The city’s pool projects were funded for the most part by federal money through the Works Progress Administration, the WPA. Other cities had their own recreational and pool projects, but New York’s were blessed by having a superior staff of architects and engineers, all led by the formidable drive and determination of Robert Moses.

Because the Parks Department was using Federal money, there were a lot of requirements and guidelines that had to be followed. Each pool complex had to have a separate swimming, wading and diving pools. There had to be a bath house with locker rooms. The bathhouse could serve as a gymnasium in non-swimming months. The bath houses were the centerpieces of each complex, the design of which would determine the overall design of the entire complex, allowing diversity according to site. (more…)