07/28/14 9:00am


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…)

07/15/14 11:30am


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…)

06/10/14 12:15pm

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

06/03/14 4:00pm


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

05/29/14 3:00pm

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

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

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…)

05/21/14 10:45am


Bush Terminal Piers Park on the waterfront in Sunset Park is 95 percent complete, according to city officials, but it’s still not open and will probably not be open this summer. It was originally supposed to ope in 2011, but the brownfield cleanup took longer than expected. Then it was set to open in fall 2013, then in spring this year. Now officials are mum on a target date, according to a story in Brooklyn Bureau.

Phase 1 of the project, located between 45th and 50th Streets along the shore, is 11 acres, with “great views of Lower Manhattan, two ponds, a picnic area, a lawn and wooded zone, plus crucial recreation spaces, including a softball/baseball field and the neighborhood’s first official soccer field.” So far, it has cost $38.5 million.

Eventually, it will hook up with the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway and to “local streetscape improvements.”

Impatience Grows Over Promised Waterfront Park in Sunset Park [BK Bureau]
Photo by City Limits

05/09/14 4:00pm


As part of Design Week, BKLYN Designs is back in Dumbo, and there’s a new show at Industry City about design objects and processes featuring local makers.

BKLYN Designs is a juried show of contemporary furnishings, lighting and accessories made or designed in Brooklyn. There will also be special events over the three-day show, which runs today through Sunday, including a panel on design moderated by New York Magazine’s design editor Wendy Goodman, a walking tour of Dumbo with Architect’s Newspaper editor Alan Brake, and a Kidville Brooklyn outdoor play lounge on Jay Street. The main exhibition space is at St. Ann’s Warehouse at 29 Jay Street. For more information, see the BKLYN Designs website.

Industry City/Design will also have demos, workshops and a “Meet the Maker” series. Participants include ToBeUs, Urban Glass, BHold, Alpi, Tools for Working Wood (pictured), and DDC/BuiltNYC. The show opens Saturday and runs through Tuesday May 20 at 220 36th Street in Sunset Park. For more information, check out the show’s website.

05/09/14 3:00pm

4801-4819 4th Ave, SP, SSpellen 3

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Flats Buildings
Address: 4801-4819 4th Avenue
Cross Streets: 48th and 49th streets
Neighborhood: Sunset Park
Year Built: 1904
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: Henry Pohlman
Other Buildings by Architect: Similar apartment buildings in Park Slope, Prospect and Crown Heights, also row houses in Sunset Park and above neighborhoods.
Landmarked: No, but on the National Register of Historic Places (1988)

The story: Henry Pohlman was a busy man around the turn of the 20th century. His firm, Pohlman & Patrick, was designing flats buildings and row houses in all of the still developing neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and most expansively, Sunset Park. According to the city records, Henry Pohlman was a draughtsman in Brooklyn for ten years, between 1887 and 1897. He then opened his own firm, Pohlman & Patrick, with a partner. I couldn’t find Patrick’s first name anywhere. The man was practically invisible. They weren’t together all that long, anyway.

Pohlman must have been the artistic half of the firm, and he was fortunate to be working when the last big wave of construction was about to take place in these neighborhoods. While designing upper class townhouses and mansions probably was a desired goal of many architects, there was a lot of design lower on the social scale. Attractive housing was being built for the middle and working classes, and there was plenty of work to go around. In Sunset Park, Henry Pohlman ended up with a lot of it. (more…)

05/06/14 4:00pm

Open House New York is hosting a series of tours to highlight how Brooklyn’s small-scale manufacturing is growing in its former industrial spaces. The yearlong program kicks off with three Brooklyn tours in May and June, which will explore the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Navy Yard and the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center.

Later this month, visitors will get to roam the 97-acre Army Terminal complex in Sunset Park and learn about its transformation from the country’s largest military supply base into a multipurpose office and manufacturing space. The Army Terminal tour will take place May 20 at 3 pm. Tickets are available here and cost $15 for OHNY members and $25 for everyone else. To check out the tours happening in June, head over to OHNY.

Image via OHNY

04/21/14 4:00pm

More than 75 artists will open their studios this Saturday for Industry City’s first Open Studios event in Sunset Park. Visitors can meet and explore the work spaces of painters, printmakers, video artists, sculptors, glassblowers, woodworkers and photographers.

You can see the full list of participating artists and a map of their studios, which are scattered across three different buildings, on the Industry City Studios website. Open Studios will happen Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm at 220 36th Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues.

Photo via Industry City Studios

04/08/14 10:00am

A new six-story rental building next to the BQE in Sunset Park has begun leasing one-, two- and three-bedrooms. Although development plans have been in the works since 2007 for 314 52nd Street, construction finally began last fall at the corner site.

Town Residential is marketing the apartments, which start at $1,900 for a one-bedroom, $2,550 for a two-bedroom and $3,300 for a three-bedroom, two-bath. There are eight units on the market now, but the finished building will have 17, according to new building permits. Each unit has stainless steel appliances, including a dishwasher, a laundry hookup, and private outdoor space. Building amenities include a shared roof deck and parking available for an additional fee.

The developer is an LLC who bought the formerly vacant land for the surprisingly low price of $185,000 in 2012, property records show. Click through the jump for more interior photos.

314 52nd Street [Town Residential] GMAP


03/31/14 3:00pm

5200 1st Ave,KL, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former Brooklyn Heights Railroad Company power house
Address: 5200 1st Avenue
Cross Streets: Corner 52nd Street
Neighborhood: Sunset Park
Year Built: 1892
Architectural Style: Rundbogenstil Romanesque Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: Public transportation has always been a necessary component of a vital and growing Brooklyn, and that was as true in the 19th century as it is today. By the end of the 19th century, the new elevated trains were being built all across the city, but below those tracks, the trolley car lines reigned supreme. They had more tracks, went along more streets, and connected parts of the city together that the elevated trains couldn’t or wouldn’t.

All of the transportation companies, whether ground or above, were all private companies. They were a broiling mass of competition, at times merging, breaking away, and then re-consolidating with each other, all in a battle for mastery over public transportation. One of the largest of these was the Brooklyn Heights Railroad Company. They had one of the largest systems of trolley lines in Brooklyn, and they were growing in leaps and bounds.

The company was founded in 1887, and began by running cable cars down Montague Street towards the Wall Street ferry. In 1891, they tested their first electric trolley car on Montague, and then began laying tracks wherever they could; expanding their routes and service area. Trolley car operations still run very much as they did when the system was invented. The cars run on tracks, powered by the electric current that passes through a pole and roller system that connects the car to the cable. The roller does just that, rolls along the live wires, delivering the current that powers the engine of the car.

The electricity needed to power the lines was generated from powerhouses. These were buildings placed in strategic places along the routes that made electricity and fed it to the lines. As can be imagined, this operation took a lot of power, which was all fueled by coal, so powerhouses tended to be next to water, whenever possible, in order for enormous amounts of coal to be easily delivered by boat or barge. Large quantities of water were also necessary to cool down the machinery. (more…)