Somehow we missed this story over the weekend in the Times about renovations that threaten neighboring property. We have been surprised to see how often this issue comes up on Brownstoner. We frequently write about residents evicted because of structural damage to their homes caused by nearby construction, and the topic has also come up recently in the Forum. We are beginning to wonder if structural damage is almost inevitable when renovations involve digging around 19th-century brick row houses. (Makes sense: In San Francisco, where we are from, even an insignificant tremor can damage old, unreinforced masonry.) The story in the Times profiles a property owner in Brooklyn Heights, Elisabeth Cunnick, who is girding for construction of a 9,000-square-foot building next door. (more…)
Exciting news: A farmers market is coming to Pier Six at Brooklyn Bridge Park! This upcoming Monday, the green market organization Down to Earth will present to the Community Board Two Parks Committee a proposal for a market on the upland portion of Pier Six. Down to Earth runs markets upstate, in Park Slope, and in Greenpoint’s McGolrick Park. If they are shooting for a launch this summer, they will join a number of food vendors also slated to set up around the park. Fornino Pizza will serve pizzas from the Pier Six concession stand, as well as beer on the rooftop beer garden. If you’re interested in learning more about the farmers market, the meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 15, at 6 pm at the Brooklyn Hospital at 121 DeKalb Avenue.
Photo by Etienne Frossard via Brooklyn Bridge Park
Looks like a new restaurant or bar is moving into the empty space at 72 Henry in Brooklyn Heights, previously home to Diva Salon. So far, the new exterior is looking very spif. The application for a liquor license posted in the window ID’s the owner of the new business as Sociale LLC. With all the new amenities in the area these days (including further down on Atlantic), maybe Brooklyn Heights will have to shed some of its fuddy-duddy image? GMAP
The entire townhouse at 6 Verandah Place in Cobble Hill is up for rent, asking $10,000 a month through the owner, our very own Cara Greenberg, who used to write the Insider and Outsider columns. As you might expect, it’s a gorgeous place. It’s configured as a two-family with a triplex and a floor-through apartment. According to Cara, “The 22-foot-by-32-foot house between Clinton and Henry has great light, two working fireplaces, a high-end kitchen, parquet floors, original cove moldings and four-panel doors, and a delightful garden. There are five or six bedrooms in total, depending on how you count, and three full baths.” You can see more photos of the home, which has retained many of its original details but has a charming updated kitchen, after the jump. The move in date is July 1. If you’re interested in renting, be in touch with Cara directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6 Verandah Place [FRBO] GMAP P*Shark (more…)
In another sign of just how far the market has come, this 1,250-square-foot co-op at 305 Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights, which traded for $830,000 in 2007, just hit the market with an asking price of $1,300,000. (An apartment downstairs is also on the market.) Granted, the top-floor pad has had a tune-up since then and sports a private roof deck with incredible views, but this is still priced at more than $1,000 a square foot for a walk-up (albeit a very nice one in an old townhouse). Boom times indeed!
305 Hicks Street #4 [Warren Lewis] GMAP P*Shark
This Wednesday the Atlantic Avenue BID, as well as Community Boards Two and Six, will hold a public meeting regarding the Atlantic Avenue Gateway Project. The BID received $75,000 late last year to transform the bridge overpass along Atlantic Avenue underneath the BQE. They recently put out a Request for Proposals for a safer, redesigned pathway that would serve as a “meaningful transition zone” to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The meeting, which will give the public an opportunity to discuss the plans for the gateway, is scheduled for this Wednesday at 6 pm at St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Room 3306.
An RFP out to Redesign the BQE Underpass [Brownstoner]
A Brownstoner reader and P.S. 8 parent got in touch to highlight one particular project up for Participatory Budget funding this year. The proposal allocates $200,000 to M.S. 8, the new middle school extension of P.S. 8, to fund the purchase of laptops, laptop carts, and smartboards. The school opened this past fall without funding allocated towards technology. M.S. 8 serves students from Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, and Vinegar Hill, and is expected to be at full capacity by the 2014-15 school year. Parents are aiming to get the word out and rally votes for the funding. The voting period takes place between between April 1st and 7th; check out the dates and locations for voting right here.
Here’s a new listing for a nice-looking one-bedroom co-op at 155 Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights. The prewar pad is only 650 square feet but there’s lots of original detail, a sensible layout, and good light and views. The monthly maintenance of $927 seems a touch high but the asking price of $445,000 doesn’t seem bad at all to us for a nice prewar situation in this location.
155 Henry Street #7H [Corcoran] GMAP P*Shark
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: The Clark Lane Apartments
Address: 52 Clark Street
Cross Streets: Henry and Hicks Streets
Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights
Year Built: 1927-28
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival with Spanish influences
Architect: Slee & Bryson
Other Work by Architect: Mostly Colonial Revival style houses and apartment buildings in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, Crown Heights North and South, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights
Landmarked: Yes, part of Brooklyn Heights HD (1965)
The story: There has always been a need for small apartments in Brooklyn Heights. In the early days of this neighborhood’s history, many of the homeowners rented out rooms to boarders, and at various times in the long saga of the area, entire houses were given over to boarders, first as rooms, then suites, and then apartments. Many of the larger and older apartment buildings in the Heights began as apartment hotels, and these were often five to nine room suites, with every amenity and room for families with children and perhaps one live-in servant. Only one or two catered to “bachelor’s apartments” or smaller spaces.
But not everyone wanted or could afford such a wealth of space. Because of its proximity to Manhattan, the convenience of public transportation, and other amenities, the Heights attracted many single people, childless couples, the widowed and un-spoused, and empty-nesters who wanted smaller, yet upscale addresses. Career people who wanted to be near their Manhattan jobs didn’t need a lot of room, as they were always working, and many older people no longer needed a lot of room, but didn’t want to give up their independence. They were all attracted to the Heights. This building was designed to serve their needs. (more…)
This one-bedroom in the Brooklyn Heights new build at 75 Clinton Street is asking $4,195 a month. That’s just a little higher than many one-bedrooms were asking when this building hit the market the first time around last year. Can’t argue with the location, and there aren’t many new and shiny developments up in Brooklyn Heights. Think there will be a demand for a unit like this?
75 Clinton Street #8D [Aptsandlofts.com] GMAP P*Shark
2. BROOKLYN HEIGHTS $3,850,000
20 Garden Place GMAP P*Shark
A HOTD back in 2011. This brownstone sold in 2012 in an off-market deal, then was listed again later that year. The home was asking $4,495,000 in 2012. Deed recorded on 3/20/2013.
3. CLINTON HILL $2,925,000
396 Grand Avenue GMAP P*Shark
The sale of this 26-foot-wide single family home, which set the neighborhood record, got its own post. It sold at its asking price. Deed recorded on 3/19/2013.
4. PARK SLOPE $2,650,000
608 6th Street GMAP P*Shark
A HOTD pick over the summer. We said, “It’s got a charming Arts and Crafts interior, with a coffered ceiling that’s particularly impressive. There are lots of other original details as well.” Ask: $2,650,000. Deed recorded on 3/18/2013.
5. BOERUM HILL $2,600,000
161 State Street GMAP P*Shark
An Open House Pick in November of 2012. You can see the listing for this 20-foot-wide Greek Revival townhouse here. The home was asking $2,900,000. Deed recorded on 3/19/2013.
The Brooklyn Heights group Citizens Defending Libraries was out gathering signatures for a petition and holding meetings over the weekend in an effort to stop the sale of the Cadman Plaza branch of the Brooklyn library, reported the Brooklyn Heights Blog. So far the group has gathered 8,300 of the 10,000 signatures that are its goal. Councilwoman Letitia James and a representative of State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery have both attended the group’s meetings. Citizens Defending Libraries organizer Carolyn McIntyre wrote, “News is surfing about more libraries being closed and sold off. We need to make NYPL and BPL accountable and let them know the libraries need to stay public, for all people…It is deeply troubling that our public library systems are on the front line of every budget fight. Libraries are the lifeblood of our communities and are an increasingly rare public space.”
Demo and New Build on Atlantic Avenue [Brownstoner] GMAP
The Squibb Park Bridge opened yesterday, but that is not the only exciting thing happening at Brooklyn Bridge Park right now. According to an update on the BBP website, progress is moving steadily along at Pier Four and Pier Two. Construction workers have broken ground at Pier Four, which will be a beach and a calm water zone. Right now workers are bringing fill into the site to build up the topography. According to BBP, “Twenty-four trucks are pulling into BBP each day carrying 20 to 30 cubic yards of fill each. Over 50,000 cubic yards of fill will be on site once all of the fill has been delivered!” This process will take two-and-a-half months. Over at Pier Two, pictured above, workers are demolishing and reinforcing parts of the pier shed. The portions of the shed that remain on site will provide shading and rain shelter around the planned rec courts, in-line skating rink and picnic tables. The western edge of the shed will be removed to create the open recreation area. This project is scheduled to finish in the late fall.
Construction Updates [Brooklyn Bridge Park]
Photo by Julienne Schaer for Brooklyn Bridge Park
The Squibb Park Bridge opened today, connecting Brooklyn Height’s Squibb Park to the rest of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The bridge, quite a sight to behold, is made of Black Locust timber and bronze and galvanized steel connections. In the design phase, the bridge was envisioned as a gangway in homage to the gangways leading to the vessels back when the area was a shipping port. It consists of two under-slung suspension spans and 42-inch-high lighted railings. The under-slung design allows for some pretty great views of Downtown Manhattan. The bridge is also ADA accessible. The new bridge goes hand in hand with renovations to Squibb Park, which finished back in 2010. Construction of the bridge started up in the spring of 2012. We got to check out a close-up this December, when the bridge was still in two giant pieces inside Brooklyn Bridge Park. Check out more images after the jump! (more…)
Brooklyn Height’s status as the “first suburb” is both a blessing to the neighborhood, and a curse. The blessings are rather obvious: proximity to Manhattan, lots of public transportation, and of course, great architecture, with beautiful homes and apartments. The curse is its proximity to Manhattan; ease of public transportation, and, of course, great architecture. Popularity was going to kill the Heights. Its homes and streetscapes have been re-invented so many times that many of its grand and humble homes have been changed, revamped, and changed yet again, sometimes not for the better.
When the city passed the landmarks law in 1965, Brooklyn Heights became the first landmarked district. And thank goodness, because at the time, this neighborhood was in the midst of two upheavals; with Robert Moses trying to reshape the Heights by tearing it down, and individual landlords seeking to turn what would be left into blocks of small apartment buildings, with new entrances created from removing the stoops and placing entrances on the ground floor.
But neither of these forces were the first to try to change the streetscapes. Back in the early 1920s, another man with big plans began to buy up houses in the Heights. His goal was not to tear them down, but to make those old row houses modern. The Victorian Age would meet the Flapper Age, and James Sarsfield Kennedy was the man to do the job right. (more…)
This three-bedroom co-op at 305 Hicks Street is on the third floor of a charming row house at the southern end of Brooklyn Heights. The apartment has lots of prewar detail, too, but man do they have a lot packed into a single floor of a townhouse. With an asking price of $950,000, this is a chance for a family with two small kids to squeeze into the Heights for under a million bucks, something not easily done these days. Bets on what it sells for?
305 Hicks Street #3 [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP P*Shark
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: “The Heights” Retail Complex
Address: 110 Court Street
Cross Streets: Schermerhorn and State Streets
Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights
Year Built: 1999-2000
Architectural Style: Modernist, Brutalist???
Architect: Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates (HHPA)
Other Work by Architect: Renovation/Restoration of BAM Majestic Theater, Brooklyn. Also restoration of Radio City Music Hall, New Victory and New Amsterdam Theaters, as re-do of Bryant Park, Manhattan. Also many other projects all over the world.
The story: When I first moved to Brooklyn, in 1983, this block was a mess. Downtown Brooklyn was probably at its lowest point in history, and this block, which had small retail stores, a deli, pizza parlor, and a movie theater, was in varying stages of decay. The movie theater, which had opened as the Boro Hall Theater in 1924, was now the Cine-Art Theater, specializing in porn, with occasional live strip shows. It gave class to the whole neighborhood. NOT.
In 1989, even they gave up the ghost, and the theater doors were boarded up, leaving a dark, graffiti-engraved cave-like entrance where the homeless and other desperate people found shelter and a place to relieve themselves or shoot up. One by one the businesses closed, and so when Forest City Ratner bought up the whole block, everyone in the area was quite happy about it. Unfortunately, there was a lot of time between purchase and project, and this block was still dangerous and scary for many years. I remember the wind used to blow garbage and newspapers into the doorways, covering the homeless guy in the theater entryway, and at a time when not much of New York City was ever clean, this was always worse.
Forest City began tearing the old buildings down, and out of the rubble came this strange building. I don’t recall anyone every saying they liked it, and by the time it was finished, it was official – it was strange and quite unattractive. But it gave us a decent, safe and clean movie theater, a 12-plex, even, which downtown hadn’t had in fifty years, and it gave us Barnes & Noble Booksellers, with a Starbucks inside. Who’s going to complain about that? Well, of course, plenty of people. This is Brooklyn, after all. (more…)
A new model for financing public institutions such as libraries and schools is being tested in Brooklyn, where City officials want to sell off two public library buildings to raise money for repairs, reported The New York Times. Developers would then rebuild the branches inside high rise developments elsewhere, at no cost to the city. But as we have reported already, residents are objecting to the loss of the buildings, located in the Heights and Park Slope. Merely replacing the troubled air conditioning system in the Heights branch would cost $3 million; the City gives the entire Brooklyn library system only $15 million a year for repairs, according to the story; other funding comes from donations and other sources. The new approach fits in with current anti-tax sentiment and rising property values in brownstone Brooklyn, said Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban planning at New York University. “Brooklyn is booming and the library system doesn’t want to sit on the sidelines,” he said. The Pacific Street branch, pictured above, would be relocated two blocks away into a 32-story high rise that Two Trees Management is building across from BAM. The old branch would remain open until the new library is completed, then would be torn down. One drawback of the new location is that it would require patrons from Boerum Hill and Park Slope to cross busy Flatbush Avenue. Over in Brooklyn Heights, meanwhile, the library would have to close for two or three years while a new building goes up on the same spot. Do you think this is a good way to raise money for the whole system, or do you regret the loss of these specific buildings?
Saving Schools and Libraries by Giving up the Land They Sit On [NY Times]
Library Reps Will Discuss Pacific Branch Next Week [Brownstoner]
Community Pushes to Landmark Pacific St. Library Branch [Brownstoner]
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Commercial building
Address: 52 Court Street
Cross Streets: Livingston and Joralemon Streets
Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights
Year Built: 1852
Architectural Style: Originally Italianate
Landmarked: Yes, part of Brooklyn Skyscraper District HD (2012)
The story: This is one of those Court Street buildings you walk by and never notice, unless you go to Curves, or grab a bite at the diner. Even so, you never notice the building itself. That’s because, like many small buildings in commercial districts as old as this one, buildings can be transformed so many times, they are now unrecognizable. 52 Court Street is one of the oldest remaining buildings on this block, and because it’s been around for so long – the stories the bricks in here could tell!
It was built in 1852, one of a long row of marble-fronted buildings that stretched from 46 to 64 Court Street. This row can be seen in period photographs that are usually focused on the Temple Bar Building on the next block north. Today, 52 stands alone, but believe it or not, 58-64 Court, now called 62 Court, a single, bland cement covered building with nondescript storefronts, were once four of the buildings in this group. What a downgrade. Who knew? (more…)