The use of controversial police tactic stop and frisk has decreased in the City after coming under increased scrutiny and a lawsuit, but spiked in select areas of Brooklyn, The New York Daily News reported. Specifically, stop and frisk was up 66 percent in Brownsville and 45 percent in East New York from 2011 to 2012. Its use in Bed Stuy increased 6 percent, 3 percent in Greenpoint and 2 percent in Bensonhurst, while it dropped precipitously in Williamsburg — by 44 percent. As has been the case for years, very few of those stops found actual law breaking: 89 percent of stops did not result in an arrest or summons, the Daily News reported. Those that did were mostly for marijuana; 12.6 percent
of those stopped were carrying a gun or other weapon. Interpretations of the change in policing varied widely. “We are seeing the next chapter,” said John Jay College professor and former officer Eugene O’Donnell. “Good stop-and-frisk should be targeted. They’ve identified a pattern, a spike in crime, and they are throwing resources at it.” And, on the other side: “The Police Department continues, against any possible rational analysis of the data, to insist that the stop and frisk program is both necessary and effective, and to target young black and Latino New Yorkers, who are so innocent of any wrongdoing that they walk away without a summons,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. What do you think? Is stop and frisk effective and constitutional, or are the police just harassing law abiding citizens who happen to live in the poorest parts of Brooklyn?
Stop and Frisk Is up in Brooklyn [NY Daily News]
Photo by jag9889
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Private house
Address: 107 Pine Street
Cross Streets: Fulton Avenue and Ridgewood Street
Neighborhood: Cypress Hills
Year Built: Unknown, likely between 1886 and 1893
Architectural Style: Now it’s a Colonial Revival
The story: Look at this place! A Colonial Revival temple in the heart of East New York. What an unusual house, in an unusual place. You’ve got to wonder – was this house built with the oversized columns, or were they added later? Who lived here, and what were they thinking? You know there is a story behind these doors, and many questions still remain, but I was able to find out some interesting answers.
From looking at maps, it appears that 107 Pine Street was built somewhere between 1886 and 1893, those being the dates the maps we have were printed. That coincides with the development of Cypress Hills/East New York, a neighborhood that came into its own when the 26th Ward, once the Flatbush town of New Lots, was annexed into the city of Brooklyn in 1886. Several developers, including Edward Linton, who was the topic of this month’s Walkabouts, built blocks of homes for the people who were flocking out here from more crowded parts of the city. But this house was a one of a kind, a small cottage on a large lot. More than likely, the columns were not there. Stylistically, they definitely wouldn’t have been there at that period of time. (more…)
After spending three weeks with Edward Linton of East New York, it’s time to end his story. He was such a major figure in the history of the 26th Ward, I’ve really only touched the surface in relating what a larger-than-life and influential man he was in his day. Any neighborhood would be glad to have such an advocate. True, a lot of what he worked so hard to get for East New York also enriched his own coffers, because as the largest of the area’s landowners and landlords, what was good for the 26th Ward was good for Edward Linton. Fortunately, his was a benevolent despotism. Most of what he lobbied for in the halls of city and state power was necessary for the community as a whole. Transportation, public services and economic opportunities: These were the things that moved Linton to action.
Many of his contemporaries were extremely jealous of him, especially local political functionaries. They managed to keep him out of public office, but they couldn’t keep him off committees and commissions put together by mayors or state officials. Linton didn’t need to be in politics; the politicians were going to come to him, regardless. If they weren’t coming to his door, he would be banging on theirs. And no fight would be bigger than Linton’s to get a sewer system in East New York. (more…)
Believe it or not, it was not easy being Edward F. Linton. It was hard work building an empire in East New York, building a new Brooklyn neighborhood in a town that wasn’t even part of the City of Brooklyn until 1886. When the former town of New Lots became Brooklyn’s 26th Ward, Linton was front and center as head of the powerful Atlantic Avenue Improvement Committee, lobbying hard for improved transportation and infrastructure. He was also amassing a fortune, buying up as many of the old Dutch farms as possible, and reselling the lots, or selling the houses he built on many of those lots. He invested in a baseball club, built a stadium for his club, and rented the field out for other sporting events. Like many wealthy men, he was drawn to the ultimate rich man’s sport, and bought himself a yacht, and a membership in a yacht club.
Linton had a loving wife and children, and a fine home, a former Dutch farmhouse that he had had enlarged and modernized. His real estate and development business had grown to the point that he started his own bank, in order to control his mortgages and real estate investments. He also had a business partner he trusted, William Winberg, his CFO, a man he regarded as a friend as well as former employee. In 1895, Winberg, had tragically tried to kill his wife, and succeeded in killing himself in a drunken jealous rage which may have been exacerbated by an undiagnosed brain tumor. That story and further background can be read in the previous chapters of our story, linked at the end of this chapter. With his death, Linton lost a fine financial mind, and a good friend. (more…)
On November 23, 1889, at three in the afternoon, a group of East New York dignitaries, Brooklyn officials, and well-wishers stood on the corner of Atlantic and Pennsylvania Avenues to watch East New York’s first bank have its cornerstone laid in the ground for its new building. The architect, Richard Upjohn, Jr. did the honors, and the venture was celebrated with speeches, prayers, and well wishes. The keynote speaker, Gustaf Dettloff, reminded his audience of how far East New York had come; from a small town called New Lots, inhabited by Dutch farmers, to the bustling community it was that day. He spoke about how a group of these Dutch farmers and businessmen, whose names read like a map of the city’s streets, had gotten together in 1868 to form the East New York Savings Bank. Most of the men were now gone, but they weren’t forgotten.
One of the East New York dignitaries at the front of the crowd was Edward F. Linton, the president of the Atlantic Avenue Improvement Commission, the local business improvement organization that had lobbied to get the bank built, as well as other amenities and services in the 26th Ward. As Linton listened to the early families being remembered: Schenck, Remsen, Stoothoff, Rapelye, Vanderveer, Lott, Palmer, Wyckoff and others, he must have chuckled to himself. Most of those names were very familiar to him, he had bought their farms, mostly from their heirs, and he was now the largest landowner in the 26th Ward. (more…)
The life and career of Edward F. Linton seemed to be heaven blessed. In the years following the Civil War, he came to Brooklyn by way of Massachusetts and Manhattan, and every endeavor he attempted seemed to be successful. He started his business career as a fireworks company president, and the money amassed from that business enabled him to buy land in the growing community formerly called New Lots, now the 26th Ward of Brooklyn: East New York. Through some canny and fortuitous purchases of old Dutch farmsteads, he rapidly became one of the largest landowners, developers and landlords in East New York. As his power and influence grew, so did his presence in local politics and community planning. Edward Linton had great plans for East New York, and in order to do what he wanted to do, he needed the ears and attention of city and state government. So he did what many wealthy men do, even today, he jumped into politics.
The Republicans ruled Brooklyn in the last quarter of the 19th century, so Linton ran as a Republican candidate for state office. Unfortunately, even though he was a powerful landowner and ENY fixture, he didn’t impress his fellow political animals. He was not liked by the powerful Republican committee heads of the 26th Ward, which was probably as much due to Linton’s own A-type personality and generally pushy manner, as it was to jealousy over his accomplishments and money. He was so disliked that at one point he was asked to leave their company. It took him two years to do so. In the meantime, he lost his bid for the state legislature.
His fellow Republicans may have been able to deny Linton a seat in Albany, but they couldn’t deny his influence with Brooklyn’s city government. Linton had the ears of the mayors of Brooklyn, whoever they might have been over the years. He was the head of the Atlantic Avenue Improvement Commission, a consortium of local business and civic leaders concerned with the business and social development of Atlantic Avenue, as it ran through the 26th Ward. And he was busy; there was a lot going on in the area in the late 1880s, as commerce, public transportation, amenities and people were pushing out towards the Queens border. (more…)
If you live in Brooklyn today, you know that the borough is sports crazy. Having a Brooklyn team means all kinds of city cred to many people, including some of the borough’s biggest and most well-known movers and shakers. That has been true not only recently with the Brooklyn Nets, but for the last century and a half with the Brooklyn Dodgers and, before them, the earliest of Brooklyn’s sports teams. Brooklyn baseball started in the 1850s. The first league club convention of early baseball teams had 16 participating clubs. Brooklyn sent eight of them. Brooklyn’s Eckford, Excelsior and Atlantic clubs dominated baseball for most of the 1860s, and Brooklyn led the way for establishing the first enclosed playing fields, and the first admission fees. But up until the 1870s, baseball was still balancing between being an amateur and a professional sport.
But professionalism eventually won out, especially when it was possible for teams and their owners to actually make money having fun like this, and professional baseball was born. I’m glossing over a lot of history here, because this story is not really about the history of baseball, it’s about the history of one of Brooklyn’s league owners, Edward F. Linton. As we saw in Chapter One, Linton was a wealthy and powerful landowner in the 26th Ward, the new Brooklyn neighborhood called East New York. He actually owned half of it, and was a force in the community when it came to politics, land use, and anything that had to do with his domain. He also liked baseball and other sports, so when professional baseball emerged, it was a gift from heaven, because who is more popular and influential than the guy who owns a baseball team? (more…)
East New York. For many who read these pages, or live in more affluent parts of Brooklyn, the neighborhood of East New York is terra incognita, the land not explored, or rather, the neighborhood passed through as fast as possible in the cab to the airport; that vast stretch of Atlantic Avenue between Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights and the Conduit. If you take the subway a lot, you may have changed trains at the massive hub now called “Broadway Junction,” one of the few stations where three different lines of trains cross over each other, with the LIRR station not too far away, as well.
From the elevated station, one can see across to Jamaica Bay and Kennedy Airport. In the other direction, you can see the Victorian-era cottages and homes that make up the neighborhoods of Cypress Hills and Highland Park. You may even be able to catch a glimpse of Highland Park itself, one of Brooklyn’s larger neighborhood parks. What you may not realize is that practically everything I’ve mentioned was influenced in some way by a man named Edward F. Linton, an East New Yorker who was instrumental in turning much of the old town of New Lots into one of late 19th century Brooklyn’s nicest neighborhoods. This is his story. (more…)
Students in Columbia’s fall Architecture and Urban Design studio picked 12 areas in Brooklyn to explore how the borough can become a “learning city,” adaptable to change, Curbed reported. Spots included Bay Ridge, Atlantic Avenue, East New York and Gowanus. The course asked “Does a city/region learn to better manage its resources? Can a city learn how and where to grow? What are the ways in which a city or region can acquire learning skills, as opposed to reaching a static condition of being ‘smart’ or ‘sustainable’?” A site analysis of Atlantic Avenue from Barclays Center to Broadway Junction found it was on the decline and under-used, with low real estate values and high rates of poverty and childhood obesity and other problems. Recommendations included adaptive reuse and mixed income programming in East New York, with investment there equal in size to the investment made at its city-core counterpart at the other end of Atlantic Avenue: Barclays Center and Atlantic Yards. Click here to see the 12 proposals.
Image from presentation “Spatial Mixology”
Yesterday Streetsblog reported on DOT’s proposal for bike lanes in East New York and Brownsville. The pavement lines (there won’t be protected lanes) will be installed next year on two miles of Pitkin Avenue. This will be accompanied by community events like a helmet fitting and learn-to-ride workshop at an East New York elementary school. DOT also plans to install traffic measures on Pennsylvania Avenue, where there’s a high number of speeding cars and fatalities. The street will be resurfaced, DOT will reduce the number of lanes from three to two in each direction, and they’ll add median extensions and an extra-wide curb parking lane. Residents are also pushing for another bike lane on Mother Gaston Boulevard, where the neighborhood’s only bike shop is located, but DOT is not expected to present that proposal until a later time. Pretty awesome news for East New York, a neighborhood with virtually no bike lanes at this point.
East New York and Brownsville on the Cusp of Getting New Bike Lanes [Streetsblog]
Image by NYT DOT vis Streetsblog
What is reportedly the largest solar panel system in New York state is installed and working on top of a mixed-use affordable housing development under construction at 1149-1166 Elton Street in East New York. The 214,000-watt solar electric photovoltaic system at the 197-unit complex, known as the Gateway Elton, is intended to offset the common area electrical demand by 68 percent. This is equal to almost 300,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year, or equal to almost eight acres of mature trees, according to a release put out by developer The Hudson Companies Inc. and non-profit agency CAMBA. The building is on track to be a certified LEED Platinum development, with vinyl-free construction, EnergyStar appliances and dual-flush toilets. The units are intended to be affordable for families earning below 60 percent of the median income for the area, or $46,080 for a family of four. Construction is expected to create 950 jobs. The application deadline for 156 of the planned units was July.
Walmart’s controversial plan to open its first New York store in East New York is no more, Crain’s reported. The huge retailer and developer Related Cos. could not come to terms. The talks “broke down over financial issues,” said the Journal. Instead, ShopRite grocery, a New Jersey-based cooperative with union employees, struck a deal Friday to move into the space. The planned Gateway II shopping center will be 630,000 square feet. United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 applauded the development. ”ShopRite will bring quality food to this area of Brooklyn as well as good jobs with an economic impact that will be felt throughout the five boroughs. I welcome this company’s newest location with its history of responsible business practices, supporting its workers and the communities they serve,” the Journal story quoted Christine Quinn, city council speaker, as saying. For its part, Walmart said it “remains committed” to opening locations in New York City.
ShopRite Deal Means No Walmart [Crain's]
Brooklyn Walmart Taken off the Table [WSJ]
ShopRite Takes Walmart’s Rumored Location [TRD]
Rendering of Gateway II Mall Via TRD
Brooklyn’s largest condominium development, the MeadowWood at Gateway, is now being marketed by Douglas Elliman. Fillmore first marketed the affordable units, which span over 19 buildings, in 2007. Fifty-three percent of the 1,152 condo units are spoken for, which is up from 50 percent this spring. Prices start at $120,900 for studios, $178,500 for one-bedrooms, $227,000 for two-bedrooms, $299,000 for three-bedrooms and $304,000 for four-bedroom units. Before an investment company purchased this development in 2006, the 19-building complex, known as the Fairfield Towers, housed rental units.
Sales Reach Halfway Point at Huge ENY Condo Conversion [Brownstoner]
Affordable Housing: A Bright Spot? [Brownstoner]
Sales Hummin’ at Huge East New York Conversion [Brownstoner]
Sales Begin at Brooklyn’s Biggest Condo Conversion [Brownstoner] GMAP
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Originally Empire State Dairy, then Borden’s Diary Factory
Address: 2840 Atlantic Avenue
Cross Streets: Barbey and Schenck Streets
Neighborhood: East New York
Year Built: 1914-1915
Architectural Style: Very simplified Medieval German-inspired factory building
Architect: Otto Strack
Other Works by Architect: E.W. Browning Company Building, 11 W. 17th St, Manhattan; Pabst Theater, Kalvelage House, both in Milwaukee.
The story: When we think of important landmarks that should be preserved, we think of buildings like Grand Central Station, or the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, or Gracie Mansion. If we really appreciate architecture, we may expand our list to buildings like the Eagle Warehouse in DUMBO, or the Riverside Apartments in Brooklyn Heights. It’s not very often that we consider factories on these lists, because factories are usually utilitarian, no-nonsense kinds of buildings that aren’t usually known for their architectural or even historical worth. But there are always exceptions to the rule, and East New York’s Borden Dairy Factory is one. (more…)
A Look at Brooklyn, then and now.
If you’ve ever headed east towards Long Island, along Atlantic Avenue, then chances are you’ve seen the 26th Ward Bank, on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Georgia Street, in East New York. If you’ve been here for more than ten years, you’ve seen the changes this building has undergone, if longer then you really have reason to cry. The building is a cautionary tale, told in brick, glass and concrete; of prosperity, the descent into ruin, followed by its “rescue”, and a textbook case of why the landmarking process is a good and valuable thing to have in our fair burg. (more…)
The Daily News had a story last week about how the number of black people living in East New York has increased significantly as other sections of Brooklyn have seen a decrease in the number of black residents: “The East New York numbers mirror an opposite pattern in neighborhoods in Central Brooklyn. In the western part of Bedford Stuyvesant, the white population shot up 634%, while blacks fell 14.6% – from 69% of the population to less than half. Northern Crown Heights lost more than 10,000 black residents, a 12% drop, while the white population grew 186%. Similar changes took place in Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Besides East New York, Canarsie and Flatlands have gained many new black residents.” So how does one look at this from a real estate angle? Via the Pratt Center: “East Brooklyn’s neighborhoods now face both a serious need for affordable housing, and a significant number of foreclosures. Like the rest of the New York City, East Brooklyn experienced a dramatic increase in housing prices from 2000 to 2007 — both rental and sales — while incomes steadily declined. In the neighborhoods of Ocean Hill, Brownsville, Broadway Junction, Cypress Hills, City Line, East New York, New Lots, Spring Creek and Starrett City, almost half the population pays more than 30% of its income on housing, and around one third of residents live in poverty.” This story has a lot of depth, since there’s the question of how many foreclosures we’re dealing with in East New York, as well as how many residents of the neighborhood receive public assistance for their housing. Plus it’s a truly gigantic neighborhood. We have only been to East New York about a half-dozen times over the past few years, so we don’t feel like we have a solid grasp of what the neighborhood is like. Thoughts?
Black Population Surges in East New York as it Falls Across the Borough and City [NY Daily News]
Photo by zachvs
Somehow we missed a Daily News article from late last week about how the conversion of a massive apartment complex in East New York has transformed the area it’s in and lured a significant number of buyers from the neighborhood. The complex in question, MeadowWood at Gateway, has 1,152 units, and since it went on the market in 2006 about half its units have sold, with 85 percent of the buyers coming from the surrounding neighborhood. According to the story, 90 percent of those buyers are first-time homeowners. Starting prices are as follows: $120,000 for studios, $178,500 for one-bedrooms, $227,000 for two-bedrooms, and $299,000 for three-bedrooms. Here’s the block quote:
“When we took over people protested gentrification and feared renters would get evicted,” says [developer] Taconic vice president Dan McInerney, who handles the day-to-day operations at the complex for the company who recently sold 111 Eighth Ave. to Google for approximately $2 billion. “That was never the intention, nor did it happen. It took time to build trust, but what you have now is a strong group of homeowners who want their homes to appreciate in value and to live in a safe, clean and quiet place.” Some of that trust came after Taconic invested over $40 million in capital improvements, renovating hallways, lobbies, upgrading mechanical equipment, landscaping, installing playgrounds, and replacing roofs. They also installed over 8,000 new windows and hired a real estate team from Brooklyn-based Fillmore Real Estate. From the beginning, the sales strategy was to educate potential buyers on how and why to buy and to create high-quality home ownership opportunities for New York’s hardworking middle class. Homeownership seminars taking place in the on-site sales office draw as many as 80 people. On a recent Saturday, full families attended, asking questions on real estate tax abatements and common charges. A credit reparation person was ready in waiting.
The article also has a bunch of quotes from buyers who describe themselves as happy homeowners who feel like they’re living the American dream. The only question this story brings up—and it’s tough to find critical stuff to say about it—is whether Meadowood is truly changing this small section of East New York, a humongous neighborhood, for the better. For example, Stuy Town and Peter Cooper were basically always islands onto themselves, even back in the day, when some people wouldn’t go east of 1st Avenue in Downtown Manhattan. Still and all, there’s this quote from a buyer who considered purchasing in Sunnyside: “‘The prices in Sunnyside were ridiculous,’ she says. ‘I love living here, and I did all by myself. I explore this neighborhood and walk everywhere. I feel comfortable. I don’t know why people say these things about the area.’”
East New York Condo Conversion Becomes a National Model for Home Ownership [NY Daily News]
Back in January, there was news about how the Occupy Wall Street-related takeover of a vacant house in foreclosure in East New York was just a publicity gimmick, and that the homeowner, Wise Ahadzi, who abandoned the house a couple years ago after foreclosure proceedings began, wanted his property back. The OWS group living in the house said they didn’t know that Ahadzi wanted his property back, and said that they were working with him. The latest news, then, is that the Post says the police came to the house and arrested the Occupy-related folks living in it: “Police arrested six Occupy Wall Street members squatting inside a Brooklyn home five months after the movement seized the property amid grand promises to ‘renovate’ it and move in ‘a homeless family.’ Instead, the group moved itself in, wrecked the place, and made a hard situation even worse for a single father who actually owned the East New York home and was trying to save it from foreclosure. Cops cuffed the occupiers after they allegedly smashed a window to get into 702 Vermont St. on April 1.” Ahadzi said he is extremely pleases that the occupiers have been removed from the premises. According to the article, the “bill to fix the damage is at least $12,000, a source said.”
Occupy Squatters Finally Flushed From B’klyn Home [NY Post]
Organizers Defend Occupation of ENY Foreclosure [Brownstoner]
Photo by Brennan Cavanaugh
Representative Edolphus Towns, whose district includes a huge swath of Brooklyn—including Downtown, Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York and Clinton Hill, among many others—is reportedly not seeking a 16th term. According to the Times, there won’t be an official statement on the matter until sometime today, which also notes that Towns was “facing a vigorous primary challenge in Brooklyn’s 10th Congressional District from Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries.” In addition to Jeffries, Councilmember Charles Barron will also be vying for Towns’ seat.
Towns Is Said to Decline to Run Again for Congress [NY Times]
It’s been years since we checked in at the sprawling East New York condo conversion MeadowWood at Gateway, but a press release just announced that the complex is half sold. According to the release, “MeadowWood at Gateway, located at 12205 Flatlands Avenue, has surpassed the ever-important 50 percent-sold milestone with 635 out of 1,152 condominium homes now sold or in contract. Fillmore Real Estate, the exclusive sales agent for MeadowWood at Gateway, attributes the success of this condominium development to the combination of a high quality product at surprisingly attractive prices – starting at $120,900 for the fully renovated, spacious studio to four bedroom homes for just over $300,000.” Before the conversion, the 19-building complex, known as the Fairfield Towers, housed rental units. An investment company purchased the buildings in 2006 and earmarked $40 million for their rehabilitation. Despite condo prices going up here in 2008, sales have remained steady during its almost-five years on the market.
Affordable Housing: A Bright Spot? [Brownstoner]
Sales Hummin’ at Huge East New York Conversion [Brownstoner]
Sales Begin at Brooklyn’s Biggest Condo Conversion [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photo from MeadowWood at Gateway site.