05/19/15 10:46am


Sales have launched at Brookland Capital’s new condo building at 1094 Madison Street in Bushwick, with three out of eight planned units hitting the market.

The condos, all one-bedrooms, run from $425,000 for a 567-square-foot unit to $479,000 for a 896-square-foot duplex. The finishes and layouts look pretty typical of new-construction luxury rentals, although these are not rentals. They have big windows, open plan layouts, Caesarstone countertops, walnut vanities and custom cabinetry.

With prices under $500,000 and under $1,000 a square foot, they seem like they could appeal to first time buyers.

We think the modern metal exterior looks much nicer than typical new-construction buildings of its size in these parts (which tend to be Fedders three-family rental buildings). We don’t think it’s a bad fit for Bushwick, either, although Bed Stuy residents have objected to modern-style new construction in their mostly brownstone neighborhood just a few blocks from here. (more…)


At a contentious meeting of the Cobble Hill Association Monday night, LICH developer Fortis presented plans for an as-of-right 44-story tower and other high-rise apartment buildings that would tower over Cobble Hill. Much of the area is landmarked and no more than four stories high.

Fortis also presented a second plan that would have slightly lower buildings but require a special zoning variance and formal public review, the Brooklyn Paper reported.

Curiously, the $240,000,000 sale has not yet closed, although it was supposed to April 30. A Fortis spokesman said the company expects the sale to go through in the next few weeks but did not explain the delay, said Brooklyn Paper. (more…)

05/19/15 9:00am


The economists have spoken. If you don’t allow your 125-year-old brownstone to be torn down to make room for high-rise apartments, then you hate America.

Or that’s what you might think if you’d read recent stories by New York Magazine, WNYC, and The Real Deal. According to them, a new study by economists Chang-Tai Hsieh of University of Chicago and Enrico Moretti of University of California, Berkeley can be boiled down to one sentence: “Brownstones cost the economy billions.”

The argument is that the entire U.S. economy would be 9.5 percent bigger if just three cities — New York, San Francisco, and San Jose — increased their housing stocks by knocking down their Brooklyn brownstones and historic San Francisco Victorians, and putting up high-rise condos in their places.

Only that’s not at all what the study said. (more…)

05/19/15 8:30am


Mayor de Blasio’s Public Housing Plan to Seek City Aid and More Money From Tenants [NY Times]
Investigating the Journey of a Coffin, With Bones, to a Bushwick Street [NY Times]
A New York Newcomer Embraces Downsizing to a Sunny Studio in Williamsburg [Curbed]
New East Williamsburg Condos Start From a Reasonable $549K [Curbed]
Outer Borough Shopping Centers Becoming a Hot Buy [CO]
Brooklyn’s Dead Horse Bay Is Serene and Filthy [Animal]
State “Abandoning” Seniors Being Forced Out for Luxury Housing, Pols Say [DNA]

Walking down Bainbridge Street.
Brownstoner on Instagram
Photo by Cate Corcoran

05/18/15 5:00pm


NYC DEP Willing to Depend on Eminent Domain to Solve Gowanus Drainage Problems [PMFA]
Should Cars Be Banned From Prospect Park? [South Slope News]
Prospect Park Alliance Plans Improvements For Parade Ground [KensingtonBK]
Inside the Sales Office of The Boerum, Flank’s Newest Condos [Curbed]
The Builder and the Bribe on MacDonough Street (1904) [Brownstone Detectives]

A row house on Bainbridge Street in Ocean Hill.
Brownstoner on Instagram
Photo by Cate Corcoran

05/18/15 4:16pm


After fervent opposition, the city has dialed back a plan to change zoning codes to allow for higher buildings in neighborhoods across the city.

In a letter dated May 15, Carl Weisbrod, chair of the NYC Planning Commission, said the city was backing off by 10 feet on proposed height increases it sought as part of the mayor’s citywide “Zoning for Quality and Affordability Plan.” (more…)

05/18/15 3:12pm


Homeowner’s rights with DOB?

I’m in pretty serious trouble and at risk of losing my life savings in a home I’m invested in. There are issues with the DOB and we’re unable to secure permits, despite having already received “approval” for our job.

I do not believe the professionals I’ve hired are working in my best interests, but the opacity of this process is insane. Does a homeowner have any rights at all? Can I attend a meeting with the borough manager or plan examiner? If not, could I attend along with a licensed professional? (more…)

05/18/15 2:07pm

Even city dwellers need a little green in their lives. A selection of plants can make your backyard, deck, rooftop, countertop, or planter box feel like an urban oasis. If you’re not experienced in plant care, however, the idea of raising your own crop of ferns and flowers can seem daunting.

If you’re wondering how to get started with your urban garden, this post is for you. We’ve spoken to the most skilled green thumbs in Brooklyn – the gardeners and landscape designers of Brownstoner’s Home Pros. Following are our experts’ top tips for choosing the right plants and keeping them healthy.

Tip #1 – Don’t overwater your plants

Brownstoner Home Pros Leaf and JunePhoto by Erica Gannett

“Selecting plants based on the natural sunlight they’ll be receiving is key, even more important than watering.  Overwatering is the quickest way to kill a plant, so feel the soil to gauge whether it’s thirsty. In this space, a palm tree, philodendron and snake plant all do well with plenty of light. That said, snake plants are versatile and are great low-light plants, making them ideal for city dwellers.” – Lisa, Leaf and June (more…)

05/18/15 2:03pm


We can’t make heads or tails of the floor plan of this grand circa-1900 mansion, which was divided into eight “Class A” units in 1948, according to the listing, but has no certificate of occupancy. Designed by architect Thomas Bennett, the house includes what must be the fanciest dining room we’ve ever seen, complete with original painted landscape scenes, coffered ceiling, paneling, a huge and elaborate fireplace and stained glass.

Not every detail is intact: Some of the floors have been replaced with tile, for example. It’s one block from Prospect Park and also has an elevator.

It’s 20 by 82 feet, for a total of 6,136 square feet, according to PropertyShark. The listing claims it would be easy to convert back into a single family.

What do you think of it and the ask of $11,800,000?

106 8th Avenue [Stribling] GMAP (more…)

05/18/15 12:00pm


This bright one-bedroom has a lot going for it. Sweeping views of the harbor and Manhattan skyline are an obvious selling point, and it’s situated in a lovely prewar building on one of Brooklyn Heights’ choicest blocks. At 700 square feet it’s not huge, but the bedroom and living room are reasonably sized, and the maintenance is a relatively gentle $703 a month. (more…)

05/18/15 11:31am


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Paintzen is partnering with their favorite design companies to offer you the chance to win a $2,500 bedroom makeover. The winner’s bedroom will be transformed by Paintzen’s certified paint crew, and will also receive Chasing Paper wallpaper, a new Casper mattress, custom framing from Framebridge, and a one-hour design consultation from Décor Aid to pull it all together. Even your closet will get a makeover, by filling it with clothes from Zady.

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