01/20/15 1:30pm

1193 bergen street crown heights 12015

This lavish Renaissance Revival limestone appears to be in move-in condition, going by the photos, with an updated kitchen and baths as well as plenty of original details. Those include an elaborate built-in in the rear parlor, a pier mirror, a wood burning fireplace and five mantels. There is also an outdoor fireplace in the garden.

It’s currently set up as a one-family, although it’s a three, according to the listing, and the floor plan seems intact. It is slightly narrow at about 17 feet 3 inches. Built in 1894 as one of seven in a row, it was designed by architect Albert E. White, according to a Building of the Day post (White also designed 1234 Dean Street).

Do you like it? And with the neighborhood record having recently leapt from $2,108,902 to $2,900,000 for a 27-foot-wide mansion in need of work, do you think the ask of $2,300,000 is reasonable?

1193 Bergen Street [Corcoran] GMAP

01/20/15 12:15pm

455 101st street bay ridge 12015

This three-bedroom house for rent in Bay Ridge seems perfect for a family. The 1,400-square-foot home looks to have been built in the ’30s or ’40s and has a roof deck, garage and finished basement with a separate entrance and a second bath. The living and dining areas are separate and look pretty spacious, and there’s a washer/dryer and dishwasher. It’s across the street from John Paul Jones Park, next to the Verrazano Bridge, and only a few blocks from the Fort Hamilton Army Base. If you’re relying on the subway, the R train is about seven blocks away at 95th Street. Do you think it’ll rent for $3,300 a month?

455 101st Street [All Points Real Estate] GMAP

01/20/15 11:30am

Saturday Night Live aired an amusing skit this past weekend that shows three guys hanging out on a corner in present day Bushwick, talking about how the neighborhood is “getting crazy.” Kevin Hart, Jay Pharaoh and Keenan Thompson start out acting suspicious of people going by, but then they launch into their newfound hobbies: spin class, brunch and trying out the new artisanal mayo spot.

01/20/15 10:45am

Music, Edwardian lady, hairandmakeupartist.com 1Financial scandals, con games and rip-offs have been news since the invention of greed; so they’ve been around a long time. As our media and the 24 hour a day news cycle brings us news more quickly, every big Ponzi scheme, every large stock manipulation, every case of massive embezzlement brings headlines as the “scandal of the year/decade/century.” There have certainly been some doozies; Bernie Madoff being the one most people remember recently, but he certainly wasn’t the first, or even the most ambitious con artist we’ve seen. His profit may have been higher because of the times we live in, but he came from a long line of very smart, ambitious and audacious takers.

One of the greatest entries in the Con Man Hall of Fame has to be a man named F. Donald Coster. His great scandal of the century broke in 1938, here in New York City in the middle of the Great Depression. But Coster wasn’t his real name, and names are very much a part of this story. His family name was really “Musica,” and he and his family were a well-tuned chamber ensemble of white collar crime that went back well before 1938. Here’s their story: (more…)

01/20/15 10:00am


We could swear we’ve seen one of these renderings before, but we must be hallucinating, because a search has turned up nothing. New York YIMBY has published what appears to be the first renderings of the townhouses that are going up at 17-35 Clermont Avenue and 14-38 Vanderbilt Avenue in Wallabout. As we’ve reported before, they are part of the three-part affordable housing development Navy Green, but the 23 townhouses will be market rate.

Each three-story, single family house will have 2,295 square feet of space, according to new building permits. There will also be a 32,000 square foot common space for all the Navy Green buildings, with gardens, lawn and a children’s playground. Curtis + Ginsburg Architects and FXFowle are the designers. The developers are Dunn Development Corp., L+M Development Partners Inc., and the Pratt Area Community Council.

The schedule calls for move-ins to start in July and finish up in September 2016, but as YIMBY points out, those dates will probably move back.

What do you think of the look?

Revealed: Navy Green Townhouses in Fort Greene [NYY]
Navy Green Coverage [Brownstoner]
Renderings from Dunn Development via NYY (more…)

100 willoughby street downtown brooklyn far away 12015

Windows have gone in on the first several floors of Avalon Willoughby West, the 57-story tower rising at 100 Willoughby Street. The monolithic apartment building will surpass 388 Bridge Street as Brooklyn’s tallest high rise and bring 861 apartments to Downtown Brooklyn. It’s also sprouted very quickly, hitting about 35 stories so far. Eventually, the SLCE-designed tower will reach 595 feet. But it won’t remain the borough’s tallest tower for long. JDS and SHoP are planning a 775-foot tower at 345 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension (across from next to Junior’s), and a 674-foot tower is in the works next to City Point at 420 Albee Square, as YIMBY noted in the fall.

Click through for more photos.


01/20/15 9:00am


Hats off to Times reporter Matt Chaban for his piece yesterday about the sad story of 69 Vanderbilt. The owner, 85-year-old retired lawyer Louis Somma, grew up in the house and lived there among piles of refuse and with a cracked foundation until the city ordered him out in 2009. He has refused offers for as much as $800,000 to buy the house. He is holding out for $3,000,000, he told the Times, but now that the city has demo’d the lot, he believes it may be worth $5,000,000. (In 2013, the renovated twin house next door sold for $1,000,000, and Landmarks rules prevent a building taller than four stories.)

Meanwhile, he owes $120,000 in back taxes, and the city has sold the lien, so if he does not pay, the bank will foreclose, leaving him with nothing.

“It was such a nice house, so full of memories, until Louie filled it up with his junk,” said his youngest sister Marie Brown. “He defies everybody. I still don’t know what he thought was going to happen here.”

An Eyesore, Also a Piece of History, Is Demolished in Brooklyn [NY Times]
69 Vanderbilt Coverage [Brownstoner]
City tax photo below via NY Times


01/20/15 8:30am


Critics Say Dumbo Rental 60 Water Blocks Views [NY Times]
Vinegar Hill Man Finds Solace on a Golf Course Made of Trash [NY Times]
A Photographer Finds Layers That Conceal and Reveal in Brooklyn [NY Times]
City Pols, Locals Blast Plan to Convert Coney Boardwalk From Wood to Concrete [NY Daily News]
Red Tape Delays Opening of NYC’s First Kosher Smokehouse in Crown Heights [NY Daily News]
Much-Maligned Pierhouse Condos Top out in Brooklyn Bridge Park [Curbed]
Brooklyn’s Forgotten Lake: Pictures of Mount Prospect Reservoir [Bowery Boys]
127 Winters Ago in Brooklyn [CasaCARA]
Permits Filed: 953 Atlantic Avenue, 98-Unit Clinton Hill Rental Building [NYY]
South Slope Brownstone Renovators Talk Cabinets [BU]
Permits Filed: 21 Powers Street, 10-Unit Williamsburg Condo Building [NYY]
Wheels Turning and Tech Firms Churning at Brooklyn Navy Yard [TRD]
Stockbrokers, Hipsters and Yuppies Are Invading Bay Ridge [TRD]
Sunset Park Families Launch Selfie Campaign to Demand New Schools [DNA]
Volunteers Restore Bed Stuy Center in 72-Hour MLK Day Project [DNA]
Community Calls on Gov. Cuomo to Remove Execs at Interfaith Medical Center [DNA]
Registered Sex Offender Breaks Into Fort Greene Home and Steals Stove [DNA]
Map: Kensington’s 10 Most Dangerous Intersections [DNA]
Library Plots Nooney’s 1970s Photographs of Brooklyn on a Map [DNA]

01/16/15 4:30pm

joel zimmer bokeh gas station

Met Food on Henry Street Becomes a Key Food [PMFA]
Hi I’m Hilary Duff and I Just Moved to Brooklyn [Gawker]
Press Conference Sunday to Demand Iconic Boardwalk Remain Wood [Sheepshead Bites]
Hear Amazing Poets Read at Lark Café This Sunday [Kensington BK]
Nearly 40 Sunset Park Buildings to Remain in Section 8 Program [DNA]
The Future of Atlantic Avenue and Henry Street [Cobble Hill Association]
In Brooklyn, Bratton Defends Broken-Windows Policy [BK Paper]
Patrick Stewart Wants Separate Traffic Lane for Strollers in Park Slope [Brokelyn]

Photo by Joel Zimmer

01/16/15 4:00pm

kings theatre matt lambros

Flatbush’s Kings Theatre is set to re-open for the first time in 40 years with a free debut performance on January 27 by local dancers and musicians, including the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and the Brooklyn Ballet. The beautifully restored venue at 1027 Flatbush Avenue has also announced its lineup of 2015 concerts, which kicks off with Diana Ross and includes Crosby, Stills & Nash, Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, Sarah McLachlan and Gladys Knight. Diana Ross will headline the grand opening concert on February 3, and there will be a free open house tour of the theater on February 7, according to KensingtonBK.

Tickets for the free show on January 27 will be available on the Kings Theatre website starting January 20. Check out the full schedule here. We’re looking forward to seeing the interiors, which just underwent a $94,000,000 renovation led by developer ACE Theatrical Group and Martinez & Johnson Architecture.

Built in 1929, Kings was one of the five Loew’s “wonder theaters” constructed throughout New York and New Jersey. It shuttered in 1977 and remained abandoned until 2012, when the city selected ACE to revive it.

Photo by Matt Lambros