10/21/14 11:31am


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On Saturday, October 25, as you emerge from your apartment to go to brunch or shop at the farmer’s market, you may see a strange sight on the streets of Brooklyn. Those tiny new cars you’ll see parked everywhere don’t mean that your neighborhood has suddenly become populated by hobbits — they’re the first sign that car2go has come to Brooklyn.

These compact wonders are fun to drive, easy to park, and have extremely low CO2 emissions. They’re perfect for all sorts of city trips: errands, shopping, commuting, a quick, one-way trip across town. Live in Williamsburg and you want to meet up with friends at Union Hall in Park Slope? Need to go to Home Depot to pick up supplies for your Prospect Heights apartment? Itching to go for a run along the Shore Parkway in Bay Ridge? Just grab a car and go. (more…)


Back in the day before gentrification had fully hit Crown Heights and sent rents up 17.5 percent and townhouse prices soaring 86 percent in one year — that is, way back in 2010 — Crown Heights residents were upset to learn a pawn shop would be opening on Franklin Avenue. The pawn shop would “degrade the atmosphere of the street” and was a “recipe for disaster,” according to a petition circulated by the Crow Hill Community Association at the time.

After numerous protests, the shop opened as a jewelry store, not a pawn shop — and the most amazing mural appeared on the side of the building. We diplomatically said, “We have no idea what to think of the mural that’s gone up to promote the place. That is one lucky baby.”

Less than three years later, the store was out of business and has since been replaced by literary bookshop Hullabaloo Books.

Literary Book Store Replaces Pawn Shop [Brownstoner]
Crown Heights Pawn Shop is Back [Brownstoner]
Protests Against a Pawn Shop on Franklin [Brownstoner]

10/21/14 10:45am

Dean Street roofscape, Crown Hts North, S.Spellen

Back in 2004 or so, a periodical called, most appropriately, “Brooklyn Magazine” began appearing on the newsstands. The monthly magazine was of a high quality, with photographs and articles about neighborhoods, history, and culture, as well as articles about the new things coming into Brooklyn every day. I think Brooklyn author Jonathan Lethem may have penned an article or two for it. Brooklyn Magazine had its offices on Atlantic Avenue, in the antiques district, very prominently on the block between Hoyt and Bond, where the Hope Vet Clinic is today. This was back when there was an antiques district on Atlantic Avenue.

I liked the magazine, and subscribed to it. One of the topics in an article in 2005 was about the new thing in communication called blogging and the mag published a list of Brooklyn blogs. That was how I discovered Brownstoner. The blog was in its second year by then. I was working in a job with a lot of down time, and I had plenty of opportunity to immerse myself in the site. I was immediately hooked. (more…)

10/21/14 10:00am

21 Commercial St.2

Work is moving forward on a few sites at the massive Greenpoint Landing development at the northern tip of Greenpoint. Excavation is underway at 21 Commercial Street, above. The 82,476 square foot building will have 93 units and 2,577 square feet of commercial space when its complete.

Last week the Daily News took a look at the design of the 22 acre waterfront park that will be an integral part of the development. Rather than building high sea walls to protect the development against future storms like Hurricane Sandy and rising sea levels, the designers are taking a softer approach. They are using sloping terraces and areas planted with salt-tolerant plants. “When people think of resiliency measures, they think they have to look tough and ugly, but there are actually innovative ways to do the same things while still looking soft and beautiful,” Lisa Switkin, one of the landscape architects on the project with James Corner Field Operations, told the News.

Across the street and a bit further south, on Dupont Street, the city’s Department of Environmental Protection has torn down the sludge tank that had been on the site, as reported, and was busy conducting remediation, removing soil, to prepare the site for its transformation to parkland. At 33 Eagle street a block over, the site of another future mixed-income building, construction has yet to begin.

Click through for more images of 21 Commercial Street, a rendering of the park and the sludge tank site.

Rendering Posted for Affordable Greenpoint Landing Building [Brownstoner]
Greenpoint Landing Developer Files First Permit [Brownstoner]
Rendering by James Corner Field Operations

10/21/14 9:30am

76 Lefferts Place

Though construction is still in full swing, apartments at the large development on Lefferts Place between Grand Avenue and Classon Avenue are now on the market. The project, called Lefferts Mews, at 76, 80, 84 and 88 Lefferts Place, will have 31 condominium units. Corcoran, which is handling sales, has put five units on the market, BuzzBuzzHome noticed Friday. They range from a 724-square-foot one-bedroom apartment for $625,000 to a 1,525-square-foot two-bedroom apartment for $1,495,000 — that’s $980 a square foot for the two-bedroom.

The units in the townhouse-style development include duplex garden apartments, duplexes with a roof deck and floor-through units. The units feature Siberian oak floors, large windows. Paul Davis designed both the interiors and the exteriors.

The original developer, an LLC, bought the site in June of 2012 for $3,400,000 and planned to build seven, four-story townhouses, each with three units. In July of 2013 the owner sold the property for $7,850,000 to another LLC. The new owner began construction on this project a month later.

Click through for renderings of the project and interiors. What do you think of the design?

76-88 Lefferts Place Listings [Corcoran]
76 Lefferts Place in Clinton Hill Starts at $625,000 [BBH]
More Units Planned, Foundation Going in at Huge Lefferts Place Build in Clinton Hill [Brownstoner]
Development Finally Coming to Large Lefferts Place Lot [Brownstoner]
Huge Empty Lot on Lefferts Place for Sale Again [Brownstoner] GMAP (more…)

10/21/14 9:00am

Locals in Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens would like to see the long-empty Bedford-Union Armory turned into affordable housing or a fitness center with a swimming pool and basketball court, or possibly a skating rink, they told the city at a planning meeting Sunday. Another public meeting will take place tonight at 671 Prospect Place from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

After years of delays, the City issued a request for proposals from developers late last year, as already reported, and is now going through a process of public hearings, to be followed by a formal land-use review process. The armory, one of two in Crown Heights, is located at 1555 Bedford Avenue between Union and President.

“They’re getting input on community priorities, and they will take that information back to the developers they’ve selected to compete, and they will see what they can make work economically,” Community Board 9 First Chair Laura Imperiale told us.

The city presented various scenarios developers had proposed, including turning the armory into a hotel, which locals objected to, according to a story in DNAinfo.

The building was completed in 1907. It was designed by architecture firm Pilcher and Tachau.

Bedford-Union Armory Coverage [Brownstoner]
Postcard via Brooklyn Public Library

10/21/14 8:30am


Forest City Seeks Sale of Barclays Center Stake [WSJ]
Brooklyn Ebola and Enterovirus Town Hall Set for Wednesday [Eagle]
Walk With American Cancer Society Brings Thousands to Prospect Park [Eagle]
Greenpoint’s McGolrick Park Scores Spruce-up [BK Paper]
See the Destruction of the Domino Sugar Factory [Curbed]
Scarano Architects Files Plans for Greenpoint Hotel Conversion [NYS]
Thor Nabs Williamsburg Properties for Retail Project [NYO]
Clinton Hill Logs More Than 35 Percent of Brooklyn’s Condo Sales [DNA]

10/20/14 4:00pm


Forest City Enterprises is selling its 55 percent majority stake in Barclays Center, according to Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal. Possible candidates include Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who already owns 45 percent of the arena, or the new owners of the Islanders. No price has been named, but investment banking sources quoted by SBJ speculated $750,000,000 would be the top valuation, based on an estimated $30,000,000 in annual cash flow.

Atlantic Yards Report called the sale “curious,” considering the center cost more than $845,000,000 to build, according to various estimates. What do you make of it?

Barclays Center for Sale [SBJ]
Breaking: Ratner’s Selling Share of Barclays Center (at a Loss?) [AYR]

10/20/14 3:00pm

199 Ryerson Walk, Memorial Hall, Pratt, SSpellen 2

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Memorial Hall, Pratt Institute
Address: 199 Ryerson Walk
Cross Streets: Willoughby and DeKalb Avenues
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill
Year Built: 1926-27
Architectural Style: Art Deco
Architect: John Mead Howells
Other Buildings by Architect: On Pratt Campus – Engineering Quadrangle, Willoughby Hall. Also with partner William Hood -Daily News Building, Manhattan, Tribune Tower, Chicago.
Landmarked: No, but on the National Register of Historic Places

The story: John Mead Howells was the son of 19th century author and editor William Dean Howells. He spent his undergraduate days at Harvard, before going on to graduate school there for architecture. In the mid-1890s, he went to Paris and attended the prestigious L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he completed his architectural education. When he came back to New York, he opened up a firm with fellow Paris student, Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, the eldest son of millionaire Anson Phelps Stokes.

While partners, Stokes designed St. Paul’s Chapel at Columbia University, while Howell designed Stormfield, a vacation home for Samuel Clemens, who was a close friend of Howell’s father. Both the chapel and the home were very different from the work both would do later in their careers, but showed that they had a mastery of traditional form, and a knack for tweaking that form to a present-day, and very modern result. (more…)


Burly Cafe (or Burly Coffee, depending on where you’re looking) is planning to open next Monday at 832 Dekalb Avenue near the corner of Throop in Bed Stuy. According to its Facebook page, the cafe will be brewing and retailing Colectivo Coffee, roasted in Milwaukee.

Burly joins a few other new businesses that have sprung up on this corner. Vin de Table wine shop opened nearby at 354 Throop Avenue and Simple Pleasures Cafe opened last week across the street at 833 Dekalb Avenue.

Thanks to a tipster for alerting us to the October 27 opening. Click through to see a photo of the interior nearing completion.

Vin de Table Wine Shop Coming to Throop [Brownstoner]
Simple Pleasures Cafe Opened Monday on Dekalb and Throop in Bed Stuy [Brownstoner]
Lots of Development for Dekalb and Throop Corner
[Brownstoner] GMAP
Second photo by Burly Cafe

10/20/14 1:30pm

102 Gates Ave combo

The parlor and entry of this renovated Clinton Hill townhouse look amazing, as does the bathroom. We love the tile floor, green claw foot tub, sink, lighting — everything, really. The backyard has also been beautifully and creatively landscaped.

We featured 102 Gates Avenue as a House of the Day when it was for sale pre-renovation in 2013 (and attracted 350 people to the open house) and wrote about it again as it was under construction. It was also an Open House Pick last week.

We really wish there were more than two interior shots on the listing. Has anyone see it in person? Is the rest of the renovation as good as the rooms pictured?

The property last sold to developer Austen Colgate LLC for $1,555,000 in 2013 (it was unrenovated). Now the ask is $3,350,000.

102 Gates Avenue [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP
House of the Day: 102 Gates Avenue [Brownstoner]
Clinton Hill Estate Sale With Packed Open House Restored [Brownstoner]