04/24/15 12:00pm

All four of our open house picks sold within six months. 102 Gates Avenue in Clinton Hill closed for more than $150,000 above ask.

The buyer of 396 Vanderbilt got a $100,000 discount in November. The buyer of 470 Macdonough street paid slightly below ask, and the sellers of 67 East 2nd Street in Windsor Terrace got the biggest bump of all when their house closed for $187,000 more than its list price.

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Open House Picks 10/17/14 [Brownstoner]

04/24/15 11:30am
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107 Fishcreek Road, Saugerties: $675,000

We get it. The standard 3 bed/2 bath 1500 square foot split-level Ranch isn’t going to cut it for you. You want something unusual. You want to pull into the driveway and gasp with delight at the house you own. Your friends and acquaintances will invite themselves over just to catch a glimpse of the inside of your house, the coolest house on the block. You want a place that you never, ever, ever want to leave on Monday morning. In that case, cast your discerning eye this-a-way and behold a former Catholic oratory, an eclectic tower, and a geodesic dome, all located in Ulster County, west of the Hudson, approximately 3 hours from Brooklyn.

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Sylvan Electric Baths composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

For as long as mankind has been around, we’ve been trying to find ways to alleviate our aches and pains. In late 19th and early 20th century America, advances in science combined with ancient cures had been shown to produce results.

Mineral and hot springs baths were one popular way to sooth aching limbs and calm agitated organs. The resort towns of Sharon Springs, Saratoga and other locations in upstate New York were popular places to get the cure. Fortunes were made by spa owners, and entire towns dedicated to hosting the guests of these spas flourished for many years.

But you had to have time to go there, and you had to be wealthy, or at least well-off. Didn’t everyone deserve to benefit from nature’s cures? And if you lived in New York City, wouldn’t it be great if there was a place in the city itself where you could take a treatment, and then walk back out onto the street and continue your busy day? Some savvy entrepreneurs thought so, and decided to bring the spa experience to Brooklyn. (more…)

04/24/15 10:00am

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For years now, an anonymous Brooklyn Heights resident has been taking his frustration with the U.S. Postal Service to the streets. Graffitied mailboxes outside his front door remained tagged, even after he submitted unfulfilled requests to the department for refurbishment.

All of this led the sort-of street artist to take matters into his own hands and personally restore them. He estimates he’s repainted about 20 pieces of public property in recent years, including mailboxes, lampposts, call boxes, tree guards, and bike racks.

He’s been profiled in local media and is well-known in the Heights for his efforts, which are technically illegal. Here’s a peek at some of his best work, and what some of it looked like before he “tricked out” chosen objects. (more…)

04/24/15 9:30am

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Big changes are in the works for Pavilion movie theater, a beloved Park Slope institution that has been showing signs of wear. (In recent years it has been in the news for bedbug infestations.)

Developer Hidrock Realty plans to turn the movie house at 188 Prospect Park West into a 24-unit apartment building, but will leave the exterior intact and possibly include a new movie theater in the retail space as well. The developer, which has owned the building since 2006, filed an application for an alteration permit Wednesday, The Real Deal reported. (more…)

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Community group Save the View Now this week sued developer Toll Brothers and Brooklyn Bridge Park over the height of the Pierhouse hotel and condos, now under construction in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The group alleges the height of the buildings has illegally violated the park’s own General Project Plan. State Supreme Court Justice Lawrence Knipel issued a temporary restraining order preventing construction on a section of the development south of the Squibb Bridge, the group announced Thursday.

The details are complex, but suffice to say at issue is whether or not the three-building condo and hotel development at 60, 90 and 130 Furman Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park is blocking views of the Brooklyn Bridge in violation of any laws.

Brownstoner broke the story in September that the northernmost part of the development, 1Hotel at 60 Furman Street, has angered preservationists because it is, in fact, blocking a view of the Brooklyn Bridge a 2005 agreement between the park and another community group, the Brooklyn Heights Association, sought to protect.

But — whether or not the height of the three buildings violates any laws is another question — and one this lawsuit seeks to answer. (more…)

04/24/15 8:30am

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East Wind Snack Shop in Windsor Terrace [NY Times]
Swimmer Finds It Isn’t So Easy to Scrub off Gowanus Gunk [WSJ]
Construction Update: Church Redevelopment at 267 Rogers Avenue, Crown Heights [NYY]
Change of Developer for Walgreens Site in Boerum Hill [TRD]
Adam America Keeps Its Lending Worldly for Brooklyn Projects [TRD]
New Sex Shop Wants to Help Park Slope “Rediscover Sensuality” [DNA]

Domino Sugar Refinery.
Brownstoner on Instagram
Photo by Cate Corcoran

04/23/15 4:28pm

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Sleep Beneath Brooklyn’s Water Tower Bar From $250 a Night [Curbed]
18-Unit Mixed-Use Project Planned for 577 Hart Street in Bushwick [NYY]
The Gowanus Tastes Like Mud, Poop, Grass and Gas, Canal Swimmer Reports [Gothamist]
A Peep Inside Cacao Market: A Place Where Chocolate Dreams Come True [Greenpointers]
Flea Market With Vintage Airstreams Opens on Fulton Street [DNA]
Sinkhole Opens on Bed Stuy Street, FDNY Says [DNA]

Copper bay windows on Pierrepont Street.
Brownstoner on Instagram
Photo by Megan Cerullo

04/23/15 4:00pm

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The countdown to the Red Hook Criterium has literally begun: A timer on the event’s site lets visitors know exactly how many days, hours and minutes are left before the race kicks off this Saturday. The grueling and competitive track bike crit will draw entrants who run the gamut from professional road racers to bike messengers, all of whom will test their handling skills and fitness levels on fixed gear track bicycles.

“It’s the most exciting cycling event I’ve witnessed,” four-time champion Neil Bezdek told us. “It cuts across cycling subcultures by attracting all types of athletes and transcends cycling culture by appealing to a mainstream audience.” (more…)

04/23/15 3:00pm

649-651 Myrtle Ave, CB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Wood-framed store buildings with apartments above
Address: 649-651 Myrtle Avenue
Cross Streets: Franklin and Skillman Avenues
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: Before 1872, probably late 1860s
Architectural Style: Italianate
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: Although we hold up the Brooklyn brownstone as the building block of our city, in truth, buildings like this built Brooklyn. These were the types of buildings that lined the streets in the 1840s, when Walt Whitman was rhapsodizing about his city.

These simple two story wood-framed buildings, with a store on the ground floor and an apartment above lined our commercial streets until well after the Civil War. The fact that any of them have survived anywhere in this constantly changing city to this date is amazing.

Most of this commercial block probably looked like these two houses when they were built, probably in the 1860s. By the 1880’s the twin wood-frames were surrounded by brick and brownstone buildings. Somehow, they survived, probably because they were constantly in use.

The addresses start to appear in 1872. 649 is listed in a city directory as the location for a grocery store owned by Joseph H. Corliss. He and his family lived upstairs. (more…)

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Another cafe has opened in east Bed Stuy. Butch & CoCo Cafe’s weekend brunch menu includes cheddar and blue cheese sliders, chicken tacos, and red velvet waffles and fried chicken. The spot also serves bagels, eggs and sausage, a “tlt” sandwich with turkey bacon, french toast, and a spring salad with artichoke and cucumber.

“It is easy to miss because the signage is not that eyecatching, but their limited menu is super delicious (mostly tacos and sliders),” a Brownstoner reader who lives nearby told us. Inside there is counter seating at the window and reclaimed wood around the main counter and the walls.

T Roc Homestyle Cooking opened nearby on Ralph in October, and Manny’s reopened on Patchen the same month.

For now Butch & CoCo is open only on weekends from 9 to 6:30 pm, workers told us when we stopped by. They deliver. The address is 153 Howard Avenue.  GMAP (more…)