Name: Wood-framed row houses Address: 322-354 43rd Street Cross Streets: 3rd and 4th avenues Neighborhood: Sunset Park Year Built: Before 1885 Architectural Style: Vernacular Victorian Architect: Unknown Landmarked: No
The story: Sometimes, when wandering around our fair city, you come upon a street that’s just a mystery to people like me who want to know the what, when and why of the architecture of the neighborhood. When were these houses built? Who were they built for, and who built them? Sometimes, after much digging, the truth is revealed. Sometimes, it’s not, but you get a bit more than you had before. Fourth Avenue has become a dividing line between the very late 19th and early 20th century development of the rest of Sunset Park, and What Came Before. Crossing the street is entering an architecturally different world, where the area’s industrial and residential paths cross.
Sunset Park, the park itself, sits on one of the highest ridges of Brooklyn, and affords an incredible view down to the harbor and piers of the old Bush Terminal, and beyond. The hill rolls down from the park to the shore, and the houses on Sunset Park’s streets stair step down the hills, one of that neighborhood’s most charming and picturesque features. When you look at the houses on 43rd Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenue, it’s easy to see some of the changes in Brooklyn’s topography.
These houses are early, in terms of this neighborhood’s growth. The 1888 map of the area shows that this group of wood framed houses is the largest singular block of development in the area. Groups of speculative wood framed row houses are bunched here and there on the surrounding blocks, but none are as large as this; a group of fifteen buildings. They are all set much farther back from the street than other houses on the block, and are all similar in size and design. (more…)
On the plus side, this three-family in Sunset Park has high ceilings, lots of nice old details such as plaster moldings, and a gorgeous brownstone exterior with carved relief work and the original front doors. There are also recently updated kitchens and baths.
On the not-so-plus side, it’s divided into three tiny floorthrough units, each with only one bedroom. And then what’s with the ask of $1,687,000? The last time we looked at Sunset Park listings, row houses were still trading for under $1,000,000. Have prices really doubled in the last six months?
What a difference a century makes. Busy 4th Avenue is one of Brooklyn’s older thoroughfares, an important north-south conduit linking the old towns of New Utrecht and Brooklyn. As the city of Brooklyn developed, the modern neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Park Slope, Gowanus and Downtown Brooklyn all lay along its route. As each neighborhood developed in its own unique way, and in its own time, 4th Avenue developed as well, with a mixture of commercial, residential and civic buildings.
Today, many people think of 4th Avenue as either a street of modern high rise condos or run down stores and auto repair shops. Both may be part of 4th Avenue’s story, but most of the street’s buildings are neither new high rises nor auto shops. There are blocks and blocks of turn of the century flats buildings with stores, many of them quite fine buildings, as well as a great number of churches and municipal buildings such as a courthouse, public library, police and fire stations, and schools.
During the late 19th century, the street was lined with a smattering of row houses, as well as private free standing homes in wood and later bricks and stone. But it was still a busy street, nonetheless — then, as now, juggling both commercial and residential traffic. In 1880, the city wanted to pave 4th, which had recently been made wider, with Belgian block stone. The Brooklyn Eagle opined that it was a waste of time, as it was pretty much common knowledge that an elevated railroad was going to run along it soon, and besides, according to the paper, “at present its chief frequenters are funeral processions on their way to or from Green-Wood Cemetery.” (more…)
A six-story hotel will rise at 833 39th Street in Sunset Park, according to a new building application filed last Friday. The 65-foot building between 8th and 9th avenues will have 88 units spread across 30,021 square feet. Four of the hotel rooms will be duplex suites. Flushing-based Michael Kang Architect will design the hotel. Amenities will include 20 parking spaces, an exercise room, laundry room, bicycle parking, a business center, restaurant and a “kitchen and accessory store,” according to the plan exam application.
The property had been a granite supply business with a storefront and large parking lot. Public records show it sold to an LLC for $3,700,000 in August. Another six-story hotel — with an unusual space-age look – is under construction down the street at 457 39th Street between 4th and 5th avenues. GMAP
A tipster sent us these photos and informed us that work had recently begun on a six-story hotel at 457 39th Street between 4th and 5th avenues in Sunset Park. The space-age-style building will have 70 units spread across 19,928 square feet of commercial space, an exercise room, breakfast area and eight outdoor parking spaces, according to new building permits issued earlier this month.
Michael Kang Architect is designing the building. An LLC bought the property for $565,000 last year and demolished a two-story brick house and a one-story garage.
We’ve included a photo of the building site after the jump. What do you think of the design of the hotel and the parking lot?
Learn about the history and architecture of Sunset Park during a walking tour of the neighborhood’s most interesting historic buildings this Saturday. The Sunset Parks Landmarks Committee is leading the tour, which will begin at the landmarked courthouse at 43rd Street and 4th Avenue and conclude in Brooklyn’s Chinatown at 60th Street and 8th Avenue. Guides will explore the nabe’s history, architecture, development, ethnic diversity, and the potential to become a landmarked historic district. The tour will take place Saturday at 10 am. A donation of $10 is suggested. You can register for a spot here.
The newly revamped Industry City complex in Sunset Park will host a pop-up marketplace showcasing New York City-based independent fashion designers beginning this weekend. The marketplace, called Fashion on the Factory Floor, will feature over 50 designers selling handmade clothing for men, women and children, as well as handbags, jewelry, and other accessories. There will also be several local food vendors present for hungry shoppers. The market will be open from 10 am to 6 pm on two weekends from November 23 until December 1. Industry City’s 16-building, 6,000,000-square-foot complex is located at 241 37th Street in Sunset Park.
After the jump, we’ve included a second photo of what the Fashion on the Factory Floor space looks like.
Set to open soon at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park, the Sims Municipal Recycling Facility makes a case for the social and economic benefits of good design, wrote architectural critic Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times. Designed by the increasingly high profile Selldorf Architects, rather than some engineers as is often the case with municipal works, it will be open to the public for tours, provide jobs in the area, and save New York City some money on waste disposal.
As for the design, “the facility is understated, well proportioned and well planned — elegant, actually, and not just for a garbage site,” he said. “It is an ensemble of modernist boxes squeezing art, and even a little drama, from a relatively meager design budget.”
A gigantic solar roof — Sims says it’s the largest in New York City — will help power the complex. Click through to the New York Times for more photos or to Selldorf’s site for more renderings. What do you think of the design?
Name: Eighth Ward Bank, now mixed-use commercial and residential Address: 3902 3rd Avenue Cross Streets: Corner 39th Street Neighborhood: Sunset Park Year Built: 1893 Architectural Style: Romanesque/Renaissance Revival Architect: William H. Beers Other works by architect: Liebmann Building, Downtown Fulton Street, 87 Remsen Street and other row houses in Park Slope, factory buildings in Williamsburg and Sunset Park Landmarked: No
The story: The behemoth superstructure of the BQE has taken the charm out of 3rd Avenue, which was always an important commercial street in the Gowanus and Sunset Park areas. At the turn of the 20th century, the street had the same kinds of fine buildings that were seen on the other commercial blocks, like 4th and 5th avenues. But as the shadow of the highway, and the noise of industry overpowered charm, the street lost a lot of its architectural interest. But here and there, a trace of what was still remains, although now covered with, well…stuff. This building fared a bit better than most, and it’s still here, and has a great story to tell.
The three-story building was built for John C. Kelley’s Eighth Ward Bank. Kelley was an Irish immigrant who turned himself into one of those great American success stories. He was born in Galway in 1839, and came here with his parents as a child. He came to New York City as a teenager, eager to make his fortune. He ended up in the water meter manufacturing business, and being of a mechanical mind, he invented his own version of the water meter.
This was around 1869. The Civil War was over, and Brooklyn was growing by leaps and bounds. The city fathers had figured out a new way to put money in city coffers, and that was to charge for water usage for businesses. Every commercial building had to have a water meter installed. It just so happened that Kelley’s meter was superior to most, and in 1870, he became president of his National Water Meter Company. He made a fortune. (more…)
Name: Row houses Address: 5403-5411 Sixth Avenue Cross Streets: 54th and 55th Street Neighborhood: Sunset Park Year Built: 1903 Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival Architect: Pohlmann & Patrick Other works by architect: Many other houses and flats buildings in Sunset Park, as well as in Park Slope and other Brooklyn brownstone neighborhoods Landmarked: No, but within a proposed Sunset Park HD. Sunset Park is on the National Register of Historic Places (1988)
The story: Sunset Park was designed as the working man’s neighborhood. Its developers and planners knew their market – hard working children of immigrants, mostly, who wanted homes near their jobs at the new Bush Terminal and the other industry along the bay, as well as in the nearby factories of Gowanus. They had their architects build blocks upon blocks of modest, but beautiful row houses, most of which were two family, so that a family could live in the lower duplex and rent out the apartment above for extra income, or house extended family. Mixed in with the two family houses were many larger flats buildings and low-rise apartment buildings, giving people even more options for living in what would be Brooklyn’s last predominantly row house neighborhood.
Perhaps because of Sunset Park’s location, out beyond Green-Wood Cemetery, or its relative isolation, with only the R train for much of its length, the neighborhood remained pretty much intact for the last hundred years. But as the need for housing and a Wild West attitude towards development takes its toll, a lack of landmarking protection is making it possible for the neighborhood’s handsome streets to start to look more and more like this.
This group of four two-story brownstones was built in 1903. The architects were Pohlmann and Patrick, one of the more prolific architects in the neighborhood. They designed this group of four to be a self-contained unit on the block, with the “A” houses hugging the interior pair. P & P used brownstone, but the designs are pure Renaissance Revival, a style that is almost exclusively in lighter colored limestone. Most of the later row house building in Brooklyn was either limestone or Colonial Revival brick, so the use of the dark brownstone here was an interesting throw back to the “old” Brooklyn, and the wealthier neighborhoods of nearby Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights. (more…)
Industry City is wasting no time realizing its vision for a new era of local manufacturing in Brooklyn since Jamestown Properties came on board as managing partner in September. They’re bringing on artisanal and local manufacturers as tenants, such as Alexandra Ferguson, who makes eco-friendly pillows out of recycled materials, reported NY1. Industry City chief executive officer Andrew Kimball, formerly chief executive of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp., said he hopes to double the number of tenants, currently about 400.
To that end, Industry City is repairing broken windows and other damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to its 16 buildings over 30 acres. Industry City is also flinging open its doors to the public, confident that a mix of retail, manufacturing, food and other attractions, such as art, will bring jobs, revenue, and new commercial tenants to the area. Already on offer are tours and, starting this past weekend, an art exhibit and retail pop-up market. The art exhibit, “Come together: Surviving Sandy” focuses on art about the resilience of the community in the face of Hurricane Sandy. Above, a sculpture outside one of the buildings in Industry City.
A huge pop-up market for New York City designers and makers will take place this weekend and next at Industry City in Sunset Park. Factory Floor, as it is being called, will include furniture, lighting, wall coverings and home accessories over 22,000 square feet in the old Bush Terminal manufacturing complex. There will also be DJs, food trucks and games for children. For a list of designers, go here.
The market is being presented by Industry City, BKLYN Designs and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, with support from Made in NYC and the Pratt Center for Community Development.
“The creative and innovative makers community in Brooklyn and across the city is the key to moving the city’s innovation economy forward through production of sophisticated, high-quality products,” said Andrew Kimball, CEO of Industry City and former chief executive of the Navy Yard Development Corp. in a prepared statement. “Factory Floor will give these local manufacturers an opportunity to showcase and sell their designs to a larger consumer audience.”
The market will run Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm starting October 19 at 241 37th Street.
“Our goal is to remove the bottleneck that exists between design-savvy local consumers and the tremendous cache of indigenous talent creating their products in Brooklyn and city-wide,” said Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “Factory Floor provides a new opportunity to elevate Brooklyn as a worldwide epicenter of design and boutique manufacturing.”