When the Carroll Street Bridge opened in 1889, horse-drawn wagons traveled over its boards to visit local farms, wrote the Times. Its cobblestone approaches are still intact, as is an old sign that says “Any Person Driving over this Bridge Faster than a Walk will be Subject to a Penalty of Five Dollars For Each Offence.” It is one of only four retractile bridges in the U.S., and as reported, is closed for a few months while undergoing repairs. Workers are restoring the worn and rotted wooden deck; resetting the cobblestones; and repairing the beams, bulkheads, and electrical components that open the bridge. It should reopen at the end of the summer.
Antique Bridge Closed to Traffic While It’s Open for Repairs [NY Times]
Earlier today the Department of Transportation and Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced some major improvements for the access ramps to and from the Brooklyn Bridge and the FDR Drive. The first ramp, which connects the exit from the bridge’s Manhattan-bound lanes with the FDR Drive, has been expanded from one to two lanes to ease traffic backups. And the second ramp, connecting the southbound FDR Drive with the approach to bridge’s Brooklyn-bound lanes, has been expanded from one to two lanes in an attempt to ease congestion and keep cars from aggressively cutting in. The DOT also announced that they are nearly finished with work on a third ramp on the Brooklyn side of the bridge, which connects the Brooklyn-bound lanes to Cadman Plaza West and Old Fulton Street. This ramp will also be expanded into two travel lanes to expand vehicle capacity and increase safety for the surrounding streets. This is all part of the major Brooklyn Bridge rehab project, which includes repainting the bridge. The whole shebang, which started up in 2010, will cost a total of $508 million and hopefully finish next year. Click through to see more images of the ramp improvements happening. (more…)
Foundation work has started at 682 Bushwick Avenue on a prominent corner across from the Cook Mansion near Myrtle. In October, an application for a new four-story building was approved. The lot has been empty for years, although a beautiful house once stood there. Click through to the jump to see it. (more…)
If you don’t need a lot of interior historic detail to be happy, this 1,704-square-foot three-story, two-family house gets you into Carroll Gardens for not a lot of scratch. (The listing puts it at 1,800 square feet; PropertyShark says it’s 1,704.) The ask is $1,400,000. Do you think it’s a good price for the amount of space?
81 2nd Street [Florenza LoVerme] GMAP P*Shark
Four churches will be participating in this year’s Landmarks Conservancy’s Sacred Sites Open House Weekend. This weekend, check out the art and architecture at the following historic houses of worship (descriptions by Landmarks Conservancy):
Plymouth Church, 75 Hicks Street, erected in 1849-50 (pictured above). Fiery abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher preached here from 1847 until 1887. Among the thousands of worshipers who came to hear him were Mark Twain and Walt Whitman.
First Unitarian Congregational Society, 48 Monroe Place, erected in 1844 in the Gothic Revival style by Minard Lafever. The design of the building was loosely based on late-English Gothic prototypes, such as Kings College Chapel on Cambridge.
South Bushwick Reformed Church, 15 Himrod Street, completed in a park-like setting by Cornelius Woglom in 1853 by families from twenty neighboring farms. The wood-frame church is unusual in its combination of austere Greek Revival forms and is crowned with a Georgian-inspired tower and steeple.
Grace Episcopal Church, 254 Hicks Street, designed by renowned Gothic Revival architect Richard Upjohn and constructed in 1847-1849. The sanctuary features figural stained glass memorial windows by many prominent studios, including three windows by the Tiffany studios.
BuzzBuzzHome rustled up this rendering of a large apartment building designed by architect Karl Fischer for 886 Dahill Road in Borough Park. Developer Wydra Enterprises purchased the site in 2007 for $26 million, got plans approved in 2009, but then didn’t build anything. In July, the developer put the property on the market for $33 million, but apparently there were no takers because in February, Wydra filed a new permit, which was approved a few weeks ago. The new permit, like the old one, calls for nine stories and 171 units. The most recent permit filed asks to amend that to 10 stories.
Mixed-Use Development by Karl Fischer Headed for Borough Park [BuzzBuzzHome]
Rendering via BuzzBuzzHome
A five-story, 24-unit apartment building is going up on a former parking lot at the corner of Dekalb and Throop in Bed Stuy. This corner has been empty for a long time. Tax photos show it was a rubble-strewn lot in the 1970s. The property at 836 Dekalb changed hands in June 2012 for $900,000, having previously sold in 2010 for $100,000 — quite an appreciation in only two years! An application for a new building was approved in August.
The borders of “emerging” Brooklyn neighborhoods are moving further out as prices rise across the borough. DNAinfo profiles one couple who recently moved to the border of Crown Heights and Brownsville in search of more space and reasonable rents.
As pricey “Williamsburg” rents trickle deeper into Bushwick and the once affordable blocks ringing Crown Heights’ booming Franklin Avenue fill up with renters eager to shell out $1,500 and up for studios, people like the Davidsons are looking south to Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and east to the stretch of avenues between the Crown Heights’ Hasidic enclave and its border with Brownsville.
The drawbacks: No dry cleaner, no Seamless Web delivery, no Thai, and no sushi. But there is one restaurant that delivers and plenty of shopping on Utica Avenue.
Bigger Spaces, Smaller Rents Lure New Faces Eastward in Crown Heights [DNAinfo]
This interactive Times feature contrasting the Brooklyn hip hop scene of the ’80s and ’90s with Brooklyn now doesn’t contain any revelations, but it does have links to relevant videos on YouTube. The story starts off with The Notorious B.I.G.’s childhood apartment for sale, and continues on to Jay-Z selling his Nets stake and to Foxy Brown, still living on the block where she grew up in Prospect Heights. Above, a contemporary shot of the block where Biggie Smalls used to live.
Brooklyn, the Remix: A Hip-Hop Tour [NY Times]
Photo by Google Maps
Shocking Street Art Riles Residents [Brooklyn Paper]
Admiring the Details of Two Restored Clinton Hill Houses [Curbed]
Man Arrested in Greenpoint After Crazy Queens Carjacking Spree [Gothamist]
New Lecture Series for Seniors at Carroll Gardens Library [PMFA]
Dance Night Kicks off at Brooklyn Bridge Park [BHB]
Construction Under Way at Aldi Food Market on Nostrand [Sheepshead Bites]
Photo by mcmillianfurlow
The Third Annual Art of Brooklyn Film Festival kicks off next week and will screen a total of 40 films with Brooklyn cred. The films include features, shorts, documentaries, experimental/art films, comedies, dramas, horror and suspense, all of which were either filmed in Brooklyn, feature Brooklyn artists, or are about Brooklyn. If These Knishes Could Talk, a documentary looking into the origin of the Brooklyn accent, will run at the festival, as well as Rescue! Brooklyn, a documentary about Brooklyn’s Sean Casey Animal Rescue. The showings take place at St. Francis College’s Founders Hall and Maroney Theaters and St. Joseph College’s Tuohy Hall Theater, starting on May 15. Check out the full schedule, trailers and ticket information at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival website.
On Untapped Cities, Julia Vitullo-Martin has posted some remarkable interior photos of the Domino Sugar refinery. And she talked with Two Trees developer Jed Walentas about some of the challenges he’ll face transforming the empty industrial site into his vision for a residential and office complex. One of the real challenges will be converting the main brick building. She writes: “For one thing, it has no real floors and no real internal structure, but is instead ‘just a weird labyrinthine of equipment, much of which is completely integrated with the structure of the building,’ says Walentas. Massively big equipment will have to be removed and new space constructed within the empty shell of the building.” See a picture of some of that equipment after the jump and lots more on the Untapped Cities site.
Community Board Six on Monday approved two new bike lanes on Union and Sackett streets between 3rd Avenue and Van Brunt Wednesday night, completing another link in the proposed greenway connecting one end of Brooklyn to the other and into Queens, DNAinfo reported. Above, a map of the Red Hook portion of the greenway. The new lanes will run through Gowanus, Carroll Gardens and Red Hook. The board also rejected a proposal to install a bike corral for eight bikes on Columbia Street in the Columbia Street Waterfront District. The City plans to install the bike lanes “soon,” said the story.
New Brooklyn Bike Lanes But Not Parking Approved for the Waterfront [DNAinfo]
The bike-share program will launch May 27 for people who have bought yearly passes. For all others, it will start June 2. More than 8,000 people have signed up for the yearly memberships, said The New York Times. The system will launch with 6,000 bikes and 330 stations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Eventually, the program will have 10,000 bikes and 600 stations, including in Queens. For access on starting day, riders must buy passes by May 17.
Delayed Bike-Share Program Is to Start on Memorial Day [NY Times]
Bike Share to Launch May 27 [WSJ]
There is a new wrinkle to the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to put massive storage tanks under the Thomas Greene Playground and Douglass Degraw Pool in Gowanus. Not only are neighbors up in arms but the City agrees. The agency wants to install the 8-million-gallon tanks to handle the massive sewage overflow that can run into the Gowanus canal following a heavy rain — as it infamously did when it was caught on video in 2010. The overflow would then be pumped to treatment plants, reducing the wastewater flow into the canal by as much as 78 percent. Residents are against the plan because of the possible lengthy closure of the pool and park and concern about little ones cavorting over massive storage tanks full of raw sewage. But, according to The Brooklyn Paper, the City contends that raw sewage isn’t the canal’s main problem (that is one polluted site when raw sewage isn’t the main problem). (more…)
Our columnist’s computer problems are not quite fixed yet so we are republishing a Building of the Day from a few years ago. We expect to have new columns from Montrose tomorrow.
(Photo: Wikimedia, 2008)
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Brooklyn Museum of Art, built as Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Science
Address: 200 Eastern Parkway, corner of Washington Avenue
Neighborhood: Prospect Heights
Year Built: 1893-1915, new entry pavilion and plaza: 2004
Architectural Style: Beaux-Arts Classical
Architects: McKim, Mead & White, new entry pavilion and plaza: Arata Isosaki/Polshek Partnership
Other buildings by architects: MM&W: Municipal Building, Farley Post Office, Old Penn Station, entrance to Prospect Park. Polshek Partnership: Rose Center for Earth and Space/Hayden Planetarium, New Academic Building, Medgar Evers College.
The story: In honor of the FIRST YEAR ANNIVERSARY of the BOTD, I give you Brooklyn’s masterpiece of civic architecture, the Brooklyn Museum. The story of how the museum came about, from humble beginnings as a library, to what we have today, was told here, here, and here. Charles Follen McKim, who is often overshadowed in reputation by his flashier partner, Stanford White, actually designed the museum. He was a master of the classical elements of the Beaux-Arts School. He purposely designed the building in quadrants, so each section could be built at different times, without leaving the building looking unfinished. The building, as many know, was never finished. Had all four quadrants been built, the Brooklyn Institute would have been the largest museum of its kind in the world, housing not only its vast art collections, but painting and sculpting schools, and centers for the study of various branches of science, mathematics, architecture and technology. When the plans were drawn up, Brooklyn was an independent city. By the time the first quarter of the building was finished, Brooklyn was part of greater New York City, and the powers that be were not willing to keep funding such a project for a borough, fearing it would eclipse the Met, and Manhattan in general. OK, there was more to it than that, but that was certainly a big factor. Another reason why the Big Mistake still reverberates in some corners.(more…)
This three story Bed Stuy brownstone has a lot to recommend it. The garden level renovation includes some very housing bubbly high-end features like a Viking range and refrigerator and a Bosch dishwasher. The ceiling, with plaster between the joists, gives the space a rustic feel and adds little height to the living space. And the owners certainly spent some money on the bathroom renovation. This is a really nice tree-lined block of Macon Street, but the ask of $949,000 for a three story house east of Malcolm X seems a bit, well, housing bubbly. What do you think? Has eastern Bed Stuy come this far in pricing?
643 Macon Street [Core NYC] GMAP P*Shark
The Landmarks Preservation Commission has put together an online presentation about jazz in New York City featuring many locations in Brooklyn. The red house above, 117 Saint Felix Street, is where jazz singer Betty Carter lived from 1972 until her death in 1998. The house was built circa 1859.
Photo by PropertyShark