Borough boundaries seem to matter less and less these days. Yesterday, hyperlocal blog Bedford + Bowery launched and will cover the East Village, Lower East Side, Williamsburg, Bushwick and Greenpoint. It’s a joint effort of New York Magazine and New York University; the editor is Daniel Maurer, who also launched New York Mag’s Grub Street blog. Maybe they’ll add Ridgewood and the South Bronx soon?
Tomorrow, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing on landmarking two Bushwick Avenue buildings: the Ridgewood Masonic Temple at No. 1054 and the Catherine Lipsus House (pictured above) at 670 Bushwick Avenue. In May the LPC voted to calendar the buildings. The Ridgewood Masonic Temple, not currently in use, is a Classical Revival design with Masonic symbolism etched into the building. The Catherine Lipsius House, also known as the Cook Mansion, is a Romanesque Revival Victorian designed by Brooklyn architect Theobald Engelhardt. The full historical writeup for both buildings lives here. The LPC will hold the public hearing at the very beginning of tomorrow’s meeting.
More Brooklyn Buildings on Road for Landmarking [Brownstoner]
It’s a situation likely to repeat itself as the Bushwick lofts area becomes increasingly popular and valuable. The residents and landlord of 13 Thames Street have been fighting for years over the use of a factory space that is not zoned for residential. The tenants, some of whom identify as anarchists and frequently held arts events in the space, were ordered to vacate last year. Now the new owner of the building has applied for a liquor license for a bar in the contested space, according to DNAinfo. The tenants had applied for protection under the loft law that went into effect in 2010, and they sued in January to be allowed back into the building. The order to vacate was for “illegal obstruction of the entrance” and for operating a “nightclub” in the building, according to the DOB. The building was also in the news last year when tenants claimed the landlord had hired a biker gang to harass them. The police have raided the building at least twice, in one case in search of people who were broadcasting live video of Occupy Wall Street protests. The new loft law provides a path for renters of industrial space to legally live there. It passed with the backing of the former State Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who has been extremely influential in housing in Bushwick and throughout New York City. The City considers the Bushwick industrial area “East Williamsburg” but locals have called it Bushwick since at least the early 20th century.
Sued Building Owners Want to Replace Evicted Tenants With Bar [DNAinfo]
Photo by PropertyShark
Starting Monday, Bushwick will be holding its very own Restaurant Week to showcase its burgeoning foodie scene. You can visit the website to check out deals happening in tons of restaurants, bars, and cafes around the neighborhood. Earlier this week Bushwick Daily interviewed the founders of the event, who were inspired to start it after Bushwick came out under-represented during the Dine in Brooklyn week. A few awesome deals to look out for: $5 bottomless cups of coffee from participating cafes, and bottomless ice cream from Evergreen Ice Cream, not to mention discounts on meals from relative newcomers and a variety of cuisines, including Mexican and Indian. We’re hungry already…
Bushwick Restaurant Week [Main Site]
Bushwick Restaurant Week Is Around the Corner [Bushwick Daily]
A look at Brooklyn, then and now.
Our “before and after” today is inspired by a postcard for the opening of the Fraas & Miller Furniture Center, on the corner of Broadway and Linden Street in Bushwick. I find Bushwick’s shopping district to be a fascinating place, with lots of great old store buildings that once housed businesses like Fraas & Miller that are long gone, quite forgotten, and now only points of interest for those who collect Brooklyn ephemera. Still, if you can see past the looming El tracks, and the modern signage, there are a lot of great old buildings left, many of which probably have quite a story to tell.
After a bit of research, I found out that Fraas & Miller was a prominent furniture dealership, here in the Eastern District. The first reference I found for them was in 1902. At that time, they were located at Broadway and Grove Street. In 1906, they bought the lot on the corner of Broadway and Linden and had the existing building torn down. They enlisted the architect Arthur R. Koch to design a new store for their growing furniture and carpet business. In April of 1907, they opened their new emporium, nicknamed “The Furniture Center” to great fanfare.
According to the Brooklyn Eagle, opening day was mobbed, with over 15,000 people showing up for the festivities. At one point, the police had to close the doors, as there were too many people inside the store. The local 47th Regiment band was set up on the mezzanine, and they played popular tunes all afternoon and evening, as people toured the store, and had snacks and punch. Everyone got a souvenir whisk in a decorative holder, and was encouraged to tour all four floors, where furniture and carpeting were on sale. (more…)
After a foreclosure and a sale last year, the five-story, 126-unit apartment building planned for 1209 Dekalb between Bushwick and Evergreen in Bushwick is finally rising. The Wyckoff Heights blog has some details on the fraud that led to the bankruptcy, as well as a rendering of what the building will look like when finished.
Foreclosure Auctions Set for 2 Big North Brooklyn Lots [Brownstoner] GMAP
It’s that time of year again: Bushwick Open Studios takes place this weekend. This is the seventh year for the arts festival (in its current configuration), which has local sponsors, although it is a community organization open to anyone who volunteers and runs on a break-even basis. More than 600 shows this year include not only open houses in artists’ studios and curated group shows but also performances of all kinds, food and drink, discussion panels, music, and kid-friendly events. Those interested in Brooklyn history might want to check out Pioneers of Bushwick, a photography exhibition by Daryl-Ann Saunders, and Defying Devastation: Bushwick Then & Now, which examines Bushwick’s past and present through Meryl Meisler’s photos and Vanessa Mártir’s stories, alongside art from contributors who range in age from eight to 101 years old. The historic Schoolhouse building at 330 Ellery Street will be open, with more than 15 artists showing their work, and there will also be garden tours, a mural launch party, and a bike tour of Bushwick agriculture. For a full list of events, including photos of the work that will be shown, go here. If you haven’t attended Bushwick Open Studios before, it’s a great way to meet the neighbors and local artists.
The west-central area of Bushwick around Myrtle Avenue between Broadway and Wyckoff is gentrifying, thanks to the rerouting of the M train in 2010, reported The Brooklyn Bureau. Riders from Queens and Brooklyn can now ride the M train into midtown Manhattan without transferring. The article details a rise in rents and property prices and, most impressively, ridership. ”Between 2011 and 2012, the first full calendar year of the change, daily ridership at the Central Avenue train station in south Bushwick jumped 18.7 percent, from 2,903 to 3,445 passengers per day, the largest increase in Brooklyn, according to the MTA.” This was the area hardest hit by arson fires in the late 1970s, and now is coming back, the article notes. It also predicts that 20-somethings who now live in the loft area north of Flushing may later decide they want to settle among the brick row houses and parks below Flushing, served by both the M and L, when they have kids.
How the M-train is Gentrifying Bushwick [Brooklyn Bureau]
Photo by Triborough
Here’s a video of an event that took place at Brooklyn Fire Proof earlier this month. It shows people on swings riding through a waterfall, but they don’t get wet. The interactive art installation, called “Waterfall,” was created by Mike O’Toole, Andrew Ratcliff, Ian Charnas and Andrew Witte. A computer anticipates where the rider is going to swing, and makes a hole in the wall of water.
A new judge has taken over the Broadway Triangle case after the previous judge retired, and critics of the proposed housing development worry the new one will approve it because he’s Jewish and has ties to its political backers, such as now-resigned State Assemblyman Vito Lopez. An unnamed “community watchdog group” is considering asking that the judge, state Supreme Court Justice Shlomo Hagler, to recuse himself but has feared to do so because of possible reprisals if he stays on the case, The New York Daily News reported. Legal experts said there was no basis to pull the judge off the case. The project would add about 1,800 apartments on a nine-block area located at the Bed Stuy-Williamsburg-Bushwick border; critics have charged the housing is unfairly intended exclusively for the Hasidic community.
Critics of Triangle Development Worry Judge Will Clear Way for It [NY Daily News]
Today the Landmarks Preservation Commission will vote to calendar three more historic sites in Brooklyn, all in Bushwick — the LPC calendared three buildings last week. First on today’s agenda is the John and Hannah M. De Coudres House at 1090 Greene Avenue (pictured left). Built before 1867 and altered fairly early in its history, it’s a frame house in the Neo Grec and Queen Anne styles that has remained in excellent condition. The house was built for John De Coudres, a brass founder. It was a Building of the Day in 2010. Second is the Ridgewood Masonic Temple at 1054 Bushwick Avenue (pictured center). Architectural firm Koch & Wagner designed and constructed this Classical Revival build in 1919-20. It was built for the Order of the Freemasons and according to the LPC, “Masonic symbolism is found at various locations on the facade, such as the stone panels at the third story and at the recessed spandrels above the second story.” The building is not currently in use. Finally, the LPC will vote to calendar the Catherine Lipsius House, often referred to as the Cook Mansion, at 670 Bushwick Avenue (pictured right). This was also a Building of the Day pick, and previously misattributed as the William Ulmer residence, which was across Willoughby at 680 Bushwick Avenue. The Romanesque Revival style mansion was built for wealthy brewery owner Catherine Lipsius. It was designed by well-known Brooklyn architect Theobald Engelhardt. Read the full LPC writeup for all three historic sites after the jump…
Welcome to the Hot Seat, where we interview folks involved in Brooklyn real estate, architecture, development, and the like. Introducing Corrin Arasa, the founder and creative director at Patina Vintage Rentals, a furniture rental showroom and studio in Bushwick.
Brownstoner: What neighborhood do you live in, and how’d you end up there?
Corrin Arasa: The Patina studio is in Bushwick. I live in Forest Hills and have for ten years. We moved there because it’s a great place to raise a family and it’s one of the prettiest spots in the city. Plus it’s only 10 minutes away from Bushwick — which is great.
BS: Can you talk about the beginnings of the company, and how you got into vintage furniture?
CA: I’ve always been into vintage furniture and décor. I’ve always loved finding hidden treasures at flea markets and estate sales. My mom used to drag us to yard sales all of the time growing up, so I guess the thrill of the hunt is long ingrained. I started an event-marketing agency ten years ago. Many of my clients needed something different from anything that was offered for events, so I started pulling from my own collection and scouting and creating custom pieces for them. As my inventory and sources grew, so did my company. Now I have an inventory of hundreds of pieces which led to the launch of Patina Rentals last summer.
After the jump, Corrin talks about finding a 5,000-square-foot space in Bushwick, what’s happening with Brooklyn design, and the craziest event she provided furniture for… (more…)
The Landmarks Preservation Commission went through a very full agenda Tuesday, voting to calendar three historic Brooklyn sites. The first is the Henry and Susan McDonald House at 128 Clinton Avenue, in Clinton Hill (pictured left). Landmarks says that it’s an “unusually well-preserved and rare free-standing Italianate frame house with Greek Revival style elements” built in 1853-54. It was built for Henry McDonald, a prosperous baker with a business in Manhattan. The second is the Long Island Business College at 143 South 8th Street, in South Williamsburg (pictured right). It’s currently a co-op building, formerly a business college. The Romanesque Revival-style building was constructed in 1890-92 with red brick, brownstone details, and a slate roof. The third is the Peter Huberty House at 1019 Bushwick Avenue (pictured center), a Building of the Day pick. The Colonial Revival mansion was built in 1900. LPC details the facade: “The Huberty House design is cubic in form and is crowned by a hipped roof with dormers. Laid in a Flemish bond, its red brick facades are accented with glazed brick headers, gray brick corner quoins, and stone and terra-cotta window trim. Its main entrance features an impressive Federal-style curved portico with Ionic columns, arched gray brick Gibbs surround, historic double-leaf doors, and stained-glass fanlight.” You can read the full writeup of all three historic structures after the jump. And regarding the vote of a clapboard restoration at 122 Pacific Street, the LPC approved. (more…)
If you’ve got Brooklyn property to sell, fantastic. It’s a seller’s market. People are clamoring for Brooklyn property. Your listing may even ignite a bidding war. You will probably be sitting on a lot of cash after you sell. But then what do you do? Hopefully you’ve got plans to move to, say, Kansas, because buying another place or even finding a rental in Brooklyn is going to be very, very, very difficult, according to DNAinfo. ”Right now is a horrible time to be a buyer or a renter,” said Catherine Witherwax, director of sales for Stribling’s first Brooklyn office. ”There’s very little on the market. We’re seeing unprecedented interest in Brooklyn and people staying in Brooklyn. And we’re seeing a large international component. The borough’s popularity goes beyond New York City and the metropolitan area.” Buyers will need perfect credit and enough funds to win a bidding war with all cash. The story gives an overview of the market in four neighborhoods with tips and deets on prices in each: Crown Heights, Bushwick, Bed Stuy, Dumbo. Crown Heights, for example, “is really starting to boom” with prices for renovated homes in the $1.2 to $1.5 million range. Rents are 10 to 30 percent cheaper than in Manhattan, with studios going for $1,200 to $1,500. Depressed yet? The article has some advice: If you’re priced out, try Queens.
Rent vs. Buy: Navigating Brooklyn’s Tight Real Estate Market [DNAinfo]
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…)
Here’s a cool video looking inside a one-woman distillery in Bushwick. The Noble Experiment, founded by born-and-raised Brooklynite Bridget Firtle, puts out 5,000 cases a year of small-batch spirits a year. Her first product, Owney’s, is a 100 percent molasses-based white rum. The recipe is based on the first spirit distilled in the United States. You can take $10 tours of the distillery on Saturdays. Pick up tickets here.
Unfortunately, our columnist is having computer problems today, so we are republishing a BOTD about some of our favorite Brooklyn buildings.
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Row Houses
Address: 37-53 Linden Street, between Broadway and Bushwick Avenues
Year Built: 1888
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Frank Keith Irving (aka F.K.Irving, F. Keith Irving)
Other buildings by architect: 1332 Bergen St, CHN, 130-132 Prospect Pl, Prospect Hts
Landmarked: No, but should be, as soon as possible.
The story: These are exceptional houses. Everything about them says excellent residential architecture for an urban setting. The scale is small and low, matching the other houses on the block, also built around the same time, and contextual with the neighborhood. The side streets of Bushwick are of much smaller scale than Bushwick Avenue itself, which is a combination of large mansions and taller row houses and tenements. The brick is warm and evokes a sense of comfort and home. The houses are wide enough for comfort, with generously spaced windows. The dog leg stairway adds mass to the faÃ§ade, and allows for the use of some great artistic and whimsical ironwork, which is remarkably intact throughout the group. And then we have the rest of the ornament.
The American Victorian aesthetic was greatly influenced by the English Arts and Crafts Movement, begun in the 1860′s by William Morris and his friends and associates. Central to their philosophy are a love of beauty and pattern, and an appreciation of craftsmanship and artistic talent, a philosophy that would be come to be called the Aesthetic Movement, where beauty for beauty’s sake was treasured. This movement would cross the ocean and be manifested in many, many ways, and in architecture, that love of surface ornament and craftsmanship would be realized in the many kinds of ornament used in Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne architectural styles. Here we have a wealth of terra-cotta, fine ironwork, stained glass, and pressed metal cornices, all of great beauty, and unusual in their wealth of application in middle class homes.
Two as-yet-unbuilt private apartment buildings in the contentious Broadway Triangle area are illegally discriminating against blacks and Hispanics, according to a group called Broadway Triangle Community Coalition, The New York Daily News reported. Hispanics and African Americans who inquired about apartments at 70 Union Avenue and 246 Lynch Street were told there were no applications and turned away, said the group, which sent the applicants. The buildings have already been filled with Hasidim, they said. The buildings are slated to rise in now-empty, privately owned lots in a 31-acre area called Broadway Triangle on the border of Williamsburg, Bushwick and Bed Stuy. Previous plans to build public housing in the area were halted last year by a federal judge on the grounds that the plans “illegally favored Hasidim over blacks and Latinos.” The Broadway Triangle Community Coalition alleges a rezoning of the area in 2009 from industrial to residential use favored the Hasadim, according to the story. A City spokeswoman scoffed at that notion and said, “if private landlords are acting in a discriminatory manner, as is alleged, that is not to be tolerated, and concerned citizens should make a report to the authorities responsible for enforcing laws against discrimination.”
Critics: Two Apartment Buildings Unfairly Filled With Hasidic Families [NY Daily News]
Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark
There aren’t many houses with this amount of detail left in Bushwick — and the price is pretty singular too. The last real brownstone we heard of selling in the area went for about $600,000 a few years ago. That one was also on Bushwick Avenue, a pretty busy thoroughfare. Columbia’s Bushwiki notes the brick and brownstone house was built in 1887 and designed by Theobald M. Engelhardt. Do you think they will get their ask of $1,195,000?
978 Bushwick Avenue [Douglas Elliman] GMAP P*Shark