19th century steamship, hasselisland.org 1As the cynical and world-weary people we can be today in 2014, it doesn’t really surprise us when those who are entrusted with much, or are held up as paragons, fail spectacularly. Sadly, we see it almost every day. But 100 years ago, life was simpler. Back then, (and now, as well, to be honest), people expected certain criminal activities like thievery and dishonesty from the classes and groups they felt were beneath them. But they held the upper classes to a higher standard, one of dignity and success through hard work and privilege. Therefore, when one of their own was suspected of, or caught doing wrong, the stories fascinated the newspaper reporters and their editors, as well as the general public. The fall of a prominent lawyer, or a banker, was news for days.

We met Benjamin F. Chadsey last time, the scion of an important Albany area family, and an up and coming lawyer here in Brooklyn at the beginning of the 20th century. He lived here in Brooklyn with his wife at 88 Decatur Street, in an upscale apartment building in Stuyvesant Heights. Like another occupant of the same apartment house, J. Edgar Anthony, the topic of our first story from this building, young Chadsey was also an attorney who worked in estates, wills and trusts. Mr. Chadsey had a fine reputation in the law, and was a rising star in the world of Brooklyn Republican politics. Benjamin Chadsey, it was said, could persuade you to vote for anyone, and his silver tongue was put to use at political rallies all across the city. He was soon on a first name basis with some of New York’s most important Republican political figures.

Unfortunately, Chadsey was arrogant enough to think that he knew best in the matters of his clients, as well as the voters, and had been playing loose with some of his client’s money. He had been administering the estate of Daniel M. Collins, a wealthy Brooklyn Heights jeweler. The deceased Mr. Collins’ wife suspected that her brother-in-law and Chadsey had conspired to cheat her out of her inheritance, and that Chadsey had grossly overbilled her for services rendered. The widow retained another lawyer, and filed suit. A judge agreed, and had chastised Mr. Chadsey, and ordered him to pay back about $900 in overcharged fees. That may not seem like much in today’s money, but in 1902 it was around $20,000 worth, certainly enough for most of us to file suit. (more…)

04/15/14 10:00am

Clinton Hill Library reopened yesterday with an improved interior after five months of renovations. Improvements include a new self-checkout, new central A/C and heating, LEED lighting and ceiling panels, a new paint job, a drawable wall in the children’s room, an updated information desk, new window treatments, new furniture, and a reconfigured, brighter interior space.

The library first opened in 1974 at 380 Washington Avenue. It’s between Lafayette and Greene. Click through to the jump for interior photos.

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04/15/14 9:30am

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Community Board 8 is holding an economic development forum to encourage business and jobs in Crown Heights and Weeksville. The forum is free and open to the public.

“The goal is to educate the community about strategies to invest and diversify investment options in CB8, look at what has been done and look ahead to what could be done,” said Atim Annette Oton, chair of board’s Economic Development Committee. “The board is looking to explore ideas to create businesses and jobs not just in retail and food but manufacturing in our M1 zone as well as attract other business types.”

There will be panels on real estate opportunities in the neighborhood, expanding the cultural assets of the area, and local businesses. Local business owners, including from Docklands and Franklin Park, and financial consultants will talk about the challenges and rewards of owning a business as well as offer advice. Representatives of Weeksville Heritage Center, Friends of Brower Park, Five Miles, Haiti Cultural Exchange, and others will talk about cultural development. There will also be speakers from the New York Business Development Corporation, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and Atlantic Avenue Industrial Center/Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center. The latter’s manufacturing space at 1102 Atlantic Avenue, pictured above, is scheduled to open next year. (more…)

A La Quinta Inn is coming to 1229 Atlantic Avenue near Nostrand, where excavation and foundation work recently began at the large, now vacant lot on the Crown Heights/Bed Stuy border. We found this schematic on the fence after leaving the post office next door. The hotel will rise seven stories with 102 rooms, according to new building permits approved in February.

The 34,902-square-foot building will also feature four off-street parking spaces, a recreation room, lounge, meeting and conference rooms. Hotel plans have been in the works since May 2012, when an LLC snagged the 8,440-square-foot property for $1,600,000 and filed initial new building applications. Askon Architects P.C. is designing the building. The La Quinta will join a few other hotels nearby on Atlantic, including a Best Western on the other side of Nostrand, the Hotel Luxe and the Atlantic Motor Inn.

See what’s behind the fence after the jump. GMAP

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04/15/14 8:30am

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Beyond New York, Rent Is Rising out of Reach of Middle Class [NY Times]
Brooklyn Landlords to Repay Over $1 Million in Fees [NY Times]
Battle Continues to Preserve Jackie Robinson’s Home [NY Post]
“All of Brooklyn’s a Stage,” Proclaims Borough President Eric Adams [NY Daily News]
Bushwick Occult Store Seeks Greenspace Funds [NY Daily News]
Dumbo Parks Seeking Designers for Spruce-up [Brooklyn Paper]
Atlantic Yards B2 Tower Must Speed up Construction to Meet December Deadline [Curbed]
Brooklyn Lawmakers Push to Criminalize “Rent Sabotage” [Capital NY]
FIPS Founder on Leaving Brooklyn and Selling From Afar [Brick Underground]
Fort Greene’s Most Affordable Townhouse [BK to the Fullest]
Anatomy of a Brooklyn Mega Deal [TRD]
Rental Prices at Record Highs in Brownstone Brooklyn, New Report Finds [DNAinfo]
Fourth of July Fireworks Returning to East River [DNAinfo]
Park Slope Parents Sign Vow to Be Responsible Bosses to Nannies [DNAinfo]

 

04/14/14 4:30pm

Coming Soon: Shop the Food Book Fair’s Pop-up at the Wythe Hotel [Racked]
Using Data to Defend the Prospect Park West Bike Lane [FiveThirtyEight]
The Church Avenue Street Fair Is Sunday, April 27 [Ditmas Park Corner]
Community Board 11 Approves 16th Avenue Private School Expansion [Bensonhurst Bean]
Sandy-Ravaged T.G.I. Fridays Redesigned, Set to Reopen April 28 [Sheepshead Bites]
Jesa’s Bay Ridge Cool — House Tour [Apartment Therapy]
Can Vision Zero Survive Tabloid Editorial Boards? [Streetsblog]
How the Real Estate Deal Behind 470 Vanderbilt Avenue Came Together [TRD]
Coney Island’s Luna Park Opens for the Season [DNAinfo]

Photo by Juni Safont

This morning at Borough Hall, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced he plans to make the 166-year-old building LEED certified by retrofitting the windows, installing solar panels, and implementing geothermal heating. “Borough Hall is going to lead by example, that’s L-E-E-D,” said Adams. “If a government building built in 1848 can be transformed into an energy efficient structure, then every building that’s built in this borough and this city can follow.”

He promised to set aside capital funding to update the Greek Revival structure, one of the borough’s oldest public buildings. On top of that, he has already pledged $1,000,000 in capital funds to repair the bluestone and courtyard behind building.

Adams also announced the first meeting of his Renewable and Sustainable Energy Task Force (ReSET), which aims to encourage green building practices in Brooklyn and the rest of the city. “I’m helping the mayor infuse the green technology concept into the [planned] 200,000 units of affordable housing,” he explained.

No word on whether he has already checked with the Landmarks Preservation Commission on his plans for Borough Hall.

04/14/14 3:00pm

267 Lewis Avenue, CB, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row house
Address: 267 Lewis Avenue
Cross Streets: Madison and Monroe Streets
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: Sometime between 1882 and 1888
Architectural Style: High Victorian Gothic
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story:
When I first started this column, it was a paragraph or two about a building. As time went on, and also as more on-line resources became available for researching, I was able to get more info, and the columns grew. But sometimes there are great buildings in Brooklyn that just don’t have a lot of info available on them. But there they are; often anomalies in the middle of a block, a building that I think is unusual, or spectacular, or just eye catching for some reason. Some research into its architect, date, occupants or events turns up nothing much. But still there is a great building there, and sometimes we just have to call attention to them because at the rate Brooklyn is changing, they may not be here the next time you pass.

I saw this house on my way out of Brooklyn last week, as I rolled down Lewis towards the parking lot that is the BQE. I did not have time to stop and take pictures, except from the side, at the light. The bay that juts out is quite eye catching, even from a car, and the brickwork at the top caught my attention. The building looks as if it could be a school or some kind of institution, but it’s not, it’s “just” a house. (more…)

04/14/14 2:00pm

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Menswear maker and retailer By Robert James‘s Williamsburg store has moved around the corner, from 241 Bedford Avenue to 193 Grand Street. The new store, which opened in February and had its grand opening party last month, is between Bedford and Driggs, on the same block as Bird.

The locally made wares include corduroy paisley shirts, animal print jackets and skinny ties. The company is known for its friendly attitude and frequent parties. There is also a second Brooklyn store, at 416 Atlantic Avenue, and the original store on the Lower East Side. 

By Robert James Opens in Williamsburg [Brownstoner] GMAP

04/14/14 1:30pm

This beautifully restored Windsor Terrace house is close in price to some recent Bed Stuy and Crown Heights listings that are in need of a top-to-bottom renovation.

“All plumbing, heating, electrical, insulation, and walls have been replaced within the past seven years,” says the listing, and yet it has many beautiful details, including original floors, a restored staircase, and a vintage style kitchen and baths.

The kitchen has a Monitor Top fridge, vintage Chambers stove and farmhouse sink. The bathrooms have subway tile, marble hex tile, a restored claw foot tub and a walk-in shower. What do you think of it and the ask of $1,900,000?

505 17th Street [Corcoran] GMAP

04/14/14 12:57pm

Asking prices are soaring at Brooklyn’s (arguably) sexiest building, the Richard Meier-designed On Prospect Park. Take this recent listing, a 1,952-square-foot on the sixth floor.

The sixth-floor pad,which sports views over the park, is asking $2,849,000. That’s $1,460 a foot, for those of you keeping score at home!

1 Grand Army Plaza, #6J [Corcoran] GMAP

04/14/14 12:15pm

The newish (2005) condo building on Wyckoff near the Dekalb L train stop has a one-bedroom available for rent. The 520-square-foot pad comes with a balcony, an eat-in kitchen with a dishwasher, a washer and walk-in closet in the bedroom.

Oddly, the listing doesn’t mention a dryer. It’s on the second floor, and the building is a walk-up. What are your thoughts on it for $1,800 a month?

93-95 Wyckoff Avenue, #3C [Elliman] GMAP