After months of heated discussion over the rezoning of two public schools in Brooklyn Heights and Vinegar Hill — raising issues of segregation, social class and gentrification — District 13’s Community Education Council (CEC) voted Tuesday in favor of redrawing both school zones.
Starting with the next school year, kids living in Dumbo — Brooklyn’s most expensive nabe — will be zoned to attend Vinegar Hill’s P.S. 307 rather than the overcrowded P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights.
Is this a win for integration and educational equity?
In light of the controversy and parent complaints surrounding the rezoning proposal for Dumbo’s P.S. 8 and Vinegar Hill’s P.S. 307, the Department of Education has decided to hold a two-month discussion period before the plan is submitted to Community Education Council 13 for a formal vote. (more…)
Controversy over the proposed school rezoning in Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights and Vinegar Hill has grown into a national conversation. Tonight, the Department of Education will release its official rezoning proposal to the district’s Community Education Council (CEC). The plan aims to increase the size of the zone for P.S. 307 (pictured above) and decrease it for overcrowded P.S. 8.
But the issues in District 13 encompass more than just these two schools. To get another take, Brownstoner caught up with Rob Underwood — a District 13 parent and CEC member — to hear his perspective on the education needs of the area. No surprise, they’re entangled with the neighborhoods’ new construction.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you care about this school rezoning?
I am an elected member of CEC13 Brooklyn. I will be one of the people voting on the rezoning. I’m also a P.S./M.S. 282 parent (all CEC13 members are District 13 parents and 282 is a D13 school).
A heavily attended town hall meeting Wednesday about the proposed rezoning of P.S. 8 and P.S. 307 turned into an airing of general grievances in regards to gentrification. The meeting, held in the auditorium of P.S. 307, was attended predominantly by concerned parents from the two affected elementary schools, simultaneously representing two halves of a contrasting Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Heights’ P.S. 8 is overcrowded, and its student body is more than 50 percent white. The school’s zone, which includes Dumbo, is one of the largest in Brooklyn — perhaps a holdover from when Dumbo was not very residential. Vinegar Hill’s P.S. 307, which has one of the city’s smallest zones, has room to grow and services mainly black families, including from the Farragut Houses housing project across the street.
Intended as an informational session, the meeting was led by three officials from the Department of Education’s Office of District Planning, the Community Education Council of District 13, and the parent teacher association of P.S. 307.
Vinegar Hill luxury condo development Waterbridge 47 launched sales last week of its two remaining penthouse units, putting both listings up online with previously unseen photos. As it happens, the first of these, Penthouse A, was already in contract, leaving only Penthouse B available.
Both feature open-plan dining and kitchen areas with wraparound windows, terraces and views. The kitchens have stainless steel appliances, Cararra marble islands and white glass and lacquer cabinetry. There are also herringbone patterned tile backsplashes. (more…)
Vinegar Hill is one of our oldest neighborhoods. It remains one of the best locations to see what working class life in pre–Civil War Brooklyn was like in the days of Walt Whitman.
Name: Storefront with upper apartments Address:50-54 Hudson Avenue Cross Streets: Plymouth and Water Streets Neighborhood: Vinegar Hill Year Built: 1828-1831 Architectural Style: Greek Revival Architect: Unknown Landmarked: Yes, part of Vinegar Hill Historic District (1997)
A store and more
Like most of the older buildings in Vinegar Hill, these three-story brick buildings have two floors of apartments over a storefront. They were all built in a simple Greek Revival style, with stone lintels and sills on the upper windows, and simple cornices. The names of the builders are lost to history.
These buildings have stood for almost 190 years in a city that changes rapidly, so it’s no wonder the storefronts are in varying degrees of original authenticity. 50 and 52 Hudson Avenue’s storefronts were last altered sometime after 1977. (more…)
A summertime school switch-up has Dumbo and Vinegar Hill parents reeling. New boundaries have been drawn for the overcrowded, but high-achieving P.S. 8, rezoning many students to the less crowded, albeit less elite P.S. 307, school officials revealed this week.
While better balancing the quantity and diversity of students at each school, the change-up does little to assure improved quality. First, some details of how the student makeup might change under the new rules.
P.S. 8’s current student body is 66 percent white, a number expected to rise to 75 percent with the new boundaries. Meanwhile, P.S. 307’s current student body is 95 percent minority, a number expected to decrease to 55 to 65 percent with the influx of students previously zoned for P.S.8, the Brooklyn Paper reported.
The condos at Waterbridge 47, a boutique development under construction at 47 Bridge Street in Vinegar Hill, are selling quickly. According to the developer, Greystone, 15 of the building’s 25 units — that’s 60 percent — have gone into contract since sales launched in December.
The building has plenty of high-end amenities, including a glass-enclosed wine cellar and tasting room clad in salvaged brick, a fitness center, inner courtyard, children’s playroom, roof deck and bike storage. Two penthouses have wraparound terraces and all units include wood plank floors, marble counter tops and in-unit laundry machines.
Buyers of condos at 185 York Street in Vinegar Hill signed their contracts over two and a half years ago, but they’re still not allowed to move into the building. Dumbo NYC reported the 16-unit development still doesn’t have a certificate of occupancy. Last we heard, owners couldn’t close on their apartments because the building lacked a C of O in February 2013. “I was told there was an issue with the standpipe which resulted in a failed inspection,” a tipster told us at the time.
The buyer who talked to Dumbo NYC said condo owners have been “starved of information” for the intervening two years, and speculated that “the building sponsor seems to be deliberately holding up the closing of the building.” (This is a common complaint we hear in such situations, but usually it’s in the developer’s interest to sell as quickly as possible.)
When the apartments hit the market in July 2012, prices ranged from $375,000 for a 631-square-foot one-bedroom to $845,000 for a 1,193-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath duplex. The above photo shows the building in 2012. It sold out in only seven weeks.
Name: Former Benjamin Moore & Co. factory, now offices Address: 231-233 Front Street Cross Streets: Bridge and Gold streets Neighborhood: Vinegar Hill Year Built: 1908 Architectural Style: Early 20th century commercial Architect: William B. Tubby Other buildings by architect: Charles M. Pratt mansion, Pratt Institute Library, and other Pratt commissions in Clinton Hill. Also fire houses, libraries, row houses and freestanding houses throughout Brooklyn Landmarked: Yes, part of Vinegar Hill Historic District (1997)
The story: Benjamin Moore is one of America’s most well-known commercial products. Anyone who has ever chosen a paint color for their walls knows about Benjamin Moore paint, whether one uses their products or not. But very few people realize that the Benjamin Moore Company started right here in Brooklyn. Even fewer realize that Benjamin Moore himself did not go it alone. He had a brother, and the original name of their paint company was Moore Brothers, and it was headquartered on Atlantic Avenue.
In 1883, Benjamin and his older brother Robert M. Moore opened up their paint and varnish business at 55 Atlantic Avenue, in the middle of an industrial complex that once stood between Hicks, State and Columbia Streets, the same block that now holds the iconic Montero’s Bar. The brothers were from County Monahan, Ireland, and came to the United States in the 1870s. They had pooled their money and with $2000, rented a floor of a five story factory building nestled in the middle of the block, behind the tenement buildings that faced Atlantic. (more…)