09/18/14 10:45am

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Up until 1895, New York City had the reputation of having the most corrupt police department in the country. Like most City agencies at the time, the police owed their allegiance not to the people, or even to each other, but to Tammany Hall; the political “machine” that ran New York. Tammany had a hand in who was hired, who was promoted, who was protected, and who you paid off. There was no such thing as “Protect and Serve,” it was more like “Show me the money.” Then Theodore Roosevelt became President of the Commission of Police. Like the sheriff coming into the lawless town in the Old West, Roosevelt brought law and order to a department that had forgotten what that was. (more…)

09/18/14 10:00am

1260-bushwick-avenue-4-091814

We were astounded to pass by and see the falling-down house at 1260 Bushwick Avenue has been fixed up. If anyone’s wandered these parts, they’ve surely noticed the row house next to an empty lot with its front facade peeling off, porch roof crumbling and, most remarkable and eye-catching of all, huge side wall sheathed in pieces of thin plywood — and some of those coming loose as well. It’s been like this at least since 2007, based on PropertyShark photos and our own visits to the area. Sometimes it looked as though people were living in it, too, although we were never sure. Or perhaps they were squatters.

There had been signs, over the months, that some kind of construction might be imminent, but we didn’t really believe it. In any case, now here it is, with a completely new stucco facade, looking as if it were never abandoned or a likely candidate for a tear-down.

After years of stagnation, there is a frenzy of construction in Bushwick. It’s impossible to walk down the street in Bushwick without seeing new buildings rising and old ones being renovated — generally by investors, not owner occupants. We’ll be showing you more projects over the next week or two.

In the meantime, click through to see more photos of 1260 Bushwick as well as other houses being spruced up — or horribly altered, depending on your point of view. The stucco-over-wood-frame treatment is very popular these days. We saw two more up the avenue. (more…)

09/18/14 9:30am

201 north 11th street williamsburg 92014

The scaffolding has come down from the boutique condo development at 201 North 11th Street near McCarren Park in Williamsburg we’ve been following. And it looks like the side wall is not rusted steel, as commenters had speculated, but rust-colored brick or tile. And the front facade does look like it is wrapped in wood.

The six-story, four-unit development has three duplexes and a penthouse, as well as a small garage for one or two cars on the ground floor, as previously reported. Atelier New York Architecture designed the building. Build 360 is developing the project, and Corcoran will market the condos once construction finishes.

Check out a few more shots and a closeup of the exterior finishes after the jump. What do you think of the look so far?

Rendering out for Condos Rising Near McCarren Park in Williamsburg [Brownstoner] GMAP

(more…)

09/18/14 9:00am

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Filmmaker and actor Brian Crano and David Craig initially planned to buy a brownstone (or an apartment in one) when they moved from L.A. to Brooklyn. But after losing out on several places, they did a complete about-face and created a unique space in a totally generic new-construction building in Vinegar Hill, The New York Times reported.

They combined two one-bedroom apartments plus common hallway space on the top floor of a “developer’s special,” as the Times put it, then embarked on a gut renovation that included a new kitchen from Henrybuilt. They spent a total of $1,228,000 buying the space (including the hallway) and another $500,000 or so on the renovation. (more…)

09/18/14 8:30am

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At Bushwig, Pushing the Boundaries of Drag [NY Times]
A Sobering Future for Dive Bars in Brooklyn and Manhattan [NY Times]
Brooklyn Estates Official Resigns After Office Mishandles $2.2 Million in Assets [NY Post]
Park Slope Clothier Lisa Polansky Shutting After 40 Years [NY Daily News]
Brooklyn Pols Back LICH Nurses Ahead of Thursday’s NYU Hearing [Eagle]
What’s up (or Headed That Way) on Downtown Brooklyn’s Skyline? Part One [Eagle]
Video: A Font Tour of Brooklyn and Queens [Gothamist]
Bushwick Cops Crack Down on Cyclists, Neglect to Investigate Hit and Run Driver [Gothamist]
City Mulls Ways to Spur Brooklyn Office Development [Crain's]
Brooklyn Commercial Properties Flip for High Profits [NYO]
Singer Jason Mraz Gets His Hands Dirty at New Williamsburg Community Garden [DNAinfo]
Seniors Enduring “Harassment” at Park Slope Assisted Living Facility, Caregivers Say [DNAinfo]
NYPD Suspends Officer Caught Kicking Street Fair Vendor in Sunset Park [DNAinfo]

09/17/14 4:30pm

dumbo skyline joel zimmer

Check out Raaka’s Brand New Chocolate Factory in Red Hook [DNA]
The Literati: Bushwick’s Molasses Bookstore Gets Into the Publishing Game [Racked]
The Plan: The Brooklyn Whale Building in Sunset Park [NYO]
Vice’s Grip on Williamsburg Reflects Changes in Gentrifying Neighborhood [NYO]
Things to Do in Prospect Park This Fall [DPC]
Q & A with Heights Group People for Green Space [BHB]
B62 Bus Driver Strikes Cyclist and Pedestrian in Williamsburg [Gothamist]
Inside the Incredible Loew’s Kings Theatre Restoration [Curbed]
Calaveras, a New Mexican Restaurant at 2905 Fort Hamilton Parkway, Is Now Open [Kensington BK]
Comic Tries to Find Affordable Housing in Williamsburg  [B+B]

Photo by Joel Zimmer

09/17/14 4:00pm

From We Live in Brooklyn Baby.Photo by Nema Etebar

Photoville kicks off tomorrow evening in Brooklyn Bridge Park with 60 shipping container exhibits, photography workshops, artist talks and an exhibition showcasing 30 years of Brooklyn street photography curated by photographer Jamel Shabazz. United Photo Industries collaborated with Shabazz, a Red Hook and Flatbush native who’s been documenting the city’s street life for 30 years, to create a powerful collection of images depicting life in Brooklyn from the 1980s through today. (The photo above, by Nema Etebar, is part of the installation.)

The installation, “We Live in Brooklyn, Baby,” will open tomorrow at 7:30 during Photoville’s opening celebration. There will also be seven days worth of workshops and talks on topics ranging from how photographers can market themselves to photographing war zones. You can check out all the Photoville exhibits and events at the Pier 5 uplands at Brooklyn Bridge Park through September 28.

Photo by Nema Etebar

09/17/14 3:00pm

448-450 48th St. SP, NS, PS 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Wood-framed row houses
Address: 448-450 48th Street
Cross Streets: 4th and 5th avenues
Neighborhood: Sunset Park
Year Built: 1890
Architectural Style: Originally Queen Anne
Architect: George Walkinshaw
Landmarked: No, but Sunset Park is on the National Register of Historic Places (1988). Landmarking is needed

The story: The earliest houses still standing in Sunset Park are no older than the early 1880s. This neighborhood was one of the last of Brooklyn’s brownstone neighborhoods to be developed. There’s only one or two of them left, tucked in the brownstone and limestone rows. In the 1890s, builders began putting up the first of the row house groups, and along with those brownstones were also built some rows of attached wood-framed houses. Today, we tend to associate wood-framed houses with earlier times, but many of them were built at the same time as the masonry homes. Wood was just another choice for building materials.

This pair of wooden houses was built in 1890, right at the beginning of serious development here, and represented another choice for buyers, and an opportunity for some interesting design. Unfortunately, that design is now gone. It wasn’t destroyed in the 1950s, or 1970s, but only a couple of years ago, twenty years after the bulk of the neighborhood had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. (more…)

09/17/14 2:00pm

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We’ve received a ton of tips that a Ricky’s NYC is moving into 209 Smith Street, a prominent corner where Carroll Gardens meets Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill. (This is the old Faan space — more recently, Burger on Smith.) Apparently people really care about Ricky’s!

It could be a Halloween popup, but the signage looks like regular Ricky’s. They already have two locations in Brooklyn, one in the Heights and one in Park Slope. So this seems like a logical addition.

Thanks for a tipster for sending in the photo. Anyone know more? GMAP

09/17/14 1:30pm

438 45th street sunset park 92014

It’s not often we see a Sunset Park house with details in move-in condition, so we got excited when we saw this listing for a brownstone at 438 45th Street. There are fireplaces, built-in cupboards, moldings, pocket doors and other original details.

The bad news is that it’s set up as three floor-through apartments so there’s no owner’s duplex. However, there is an extension in the rear of the garden floor and a clean-looking cellar, so the ground-floor unit is more spacious than the average railroad apartment. The house would also be easy enough to convert back to a two-family, which is what we suspect this originally was, going by the floor plan.

A door on the parlor floor unit might be advisable as well, for privacy. What do you think of it and the price of $1,160,000?

438 45th Street [Elliman] GMAP

09/17/14 12:58pm

392 3rd street park slope 92014

The original detail that still exists in the parlor floor of this princely duplex at 392 3rd Street is lovely. We’re not wild about some the renovation decisions however. In particular the surfeit of recessed lighting and exposed brick clashes with the moldings, fireplaces and wood architectural features. Sure, it earns its luxury badge honestly but it doesn’t work as a whole in our view. And for $2,495,000 we’d hope for a more unified design.

392 3rd Street, #1 [Brown Harris Stevens] GMAP

261 fenimore street prospect lefferts gardens 92014

We marveled over the beautiful wooden details in this Prospect Lefferts Gardens limestone when it hit the market in June, and three months later, it’s still on the market and up for rent. The four-bedroom, two-bath home features pocket doors, inlaid floors, stained glass, mantels and a coffered ceiling. The kitchen and baths are updated, and the master bath has a claw foot tub. There’s also an in-law suite with a kitchenette in the basement and a pretty landscaped garden with a fountain and pond. Does anyone out there have $5,800 a month to rent it?

261 Fenimore Street [Stribling] GMAP
House of the Day: 261 Fenimore Street [Brownstoner]