02/03/14 10:00am

Coignet Stone - 13 small edit

An anonymous urban explorer sent us these photos of his trip inside the landmarked but dilapidated Coignet building at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street, which Whole Foods is supposed to begin restoring soon. The organic food giant had promised to finish restoring the building before it opened its doors in Gowanus, but construction may have further damaged it. The Landmarks Preservation Commission fined Whole Foods $3,000 in December for failing to maintain the property.

When we stopped by last month, the building was open to the elements, with broken windows accessible on the ground floor and what looked like new structural cracks at the base of the building.

Here’s the explorer’s description of the interior:

“For the most part the interior is characterless in terms of details and finishes, but it’s really neglected, which isn’t justified for it being such a badass New York City landmark. There’s a pretty cool spiral staircase that goes from the basement to the second floor and in the basement there’s a walk-in vault. For some reason I spent most of my time down there — a combination of incredible low light and the feeling like it was the only part that didn’t have a cheap 1950′s renovation. Didn’t Whole Foods make a deal whereby they can straddle the shit out of the Coignet Building as long as they help to restore it? Some of the floors and parts of the staircase are collapsing from water damage so clearly something needs to be done. I would hate to see this follow in the footsteps of Admiral’s Row.”

Click through the jump for the rest of the photos!

City Approves Permits for Whole Foods to Restore Coignet Building [Brownstoner]
Coignet Building in Bad Shape [Brownstoner]
Photos by Gothamr

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06/25/13 11:00am

25-Monroe-Place-061513-6

Living room in emerald green

A self-proclaimed history buff, Logan Gould proudly points out that every piece in his and Margot Heinlein’s collection of artwork and furniture has a personal, meaningful tie to the past. Even the couple’s choice of wall color – an unusual emerald green in the living room and a deep scarlet in the kitchen — links to their story. The couple met at Ohio State, and the jewel-tone red paint, Ohio Buckeye by Martha Stewart Living for Glidden, is named after the tree that inspired the school’s mascot. Heinlein explains why they chose the color for the kitchen: “We wanted to draw attention toward the window, away from the laminate cabinets we couldn’t do anything about.”

Their living room recalls an old-school New York social club, with a leather sofa, framed pennants and antlers mounted on one wall. Softer accents such as a light hued ottoman and pillows in toile fabric downplay the room’s masculinity. Also not to be overlooked are the nautical elements that accent the home: Buoys lie in corners of the living room, a pair of oars hang above the bed, and acrylic and oil paintings of both summer and winter beach scenes adorn walls throughout. Three paintings of scenes significant to the couple were painted by Heinlein herself, who was a fine arts minor in college. Unusual relics in the main living area include a set of five framed nails from the 1720s farmhouse in which Gould grew up in New Hope, Pa. During a renovation of the farmhouse, beams secured by the old iron nails were removed, and his parents gave sets of nails to him and each of his siblings as souvenirs. The wall color, China Green by Martha Stewart Living for Glidden, chosen for its gender neutrality, helps marry the masculine and feminine components of the room. It complements the blue tones of the sky that seep through windows and provides a nice backdrop for the couple’s art collection. (more…)

02/04/13 12:00pm


Late last week Flavor Wire ventured into “Unknown Brooklyn,” which, as Sheepshead Bites put it, is “almost exclusively Southern Brooklyn.” There are some great photos of Sea Gate, Bush Terminal, Calvert Vaux Park, Floyd Bennet Field and the mansions of Mill Basin. News to us was the existence of abandoned Long Island Railroad tracks in Midwood, pictured above. The line actually runs from Bay Ridge through a big part of the borough all the way into Queens. Do readers have any favorite “unknown” spots that the essay doesn’t mention?
Photo Essay: Unknown Brooklyn [Flavor Wire]
Photo by Dave Mandl via Flavor Wire

09/13/12 12:00pm


Last week, we got some really depressing news from the plumber. We have to repipe our third-floor bathroom, and the only way to do it is to drop the the ceiling of the second-floor bathroom (our bathroom), which means tearing out an original window that provides ventilation and access to the air shaft and main stack. Well, we don’t want to do it. But we don’t want to live with the sewer gas smells coming from the three leaks in the lead piping either. The only thing we can think of that might save this situation is to drop the floor of the air shaft into the closet below, so we can reinstall the original window a few inches lower. Crossing our fingers that we’ll discover there are no joists in the way there. (In the photo above, you can see the window, and the hole we cut in the ceiling so the plumbers could inspect.) Have you ever encountered a similar problem, where some urgent mechanical or structural repair necessitated destroying an original architectural or design feature of your house? What did you do? Please post any photos here.

09/06/12 12:15pm


Above is a photo of our kitchen, currently under construction. We’re doing some plumbing work to the right of the fireplace. Once that’s finished, we’ll restore all the moldings in the room, stain the bead board, plaster and paint. The question is, before we plaster, should we put in two points for sconces on each of the short ends of the room? Also, what ceiling fixture should replace the one in the middle of the ceiling? We’re thinking about pendants with flat opal glass shades for over the sink. Though actually we don’t mind the bare Edison bulbs that are there now too much. What about you? What are you using or thinking of using for kitchen lighting? Please share your photos and ideas here. Thanks! (more…)