03/03/15 11:30am

474 grand avenue clinton hill 32015

After nearly a decade in the works, this five-story building at 474 Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill is finally finished and offering eight two- and three-bedrooms priced from $3,475 a month. We spotted its angular, Tetris-like patterned facade last year while it was still under construction, and the finished product looks the same.

There are six apartments listed so far — two-bedroom, two-baths asking as much as $3,975 and a three-bedroom, two-bath duplex penthouse for $6,500. The interiors are very modern, with a mix of white lacquer and mahogany cabinets and glass-tiled backsplashes in the kitchen. We’re not sure what’s going on with those patterned, irregularly shaped showers in the master baths, but it kind of fits with the building’s quirky facade and randomly spaced windows.

Click through for more photos and a floor plan. What do you think of how these turned out?

474 Grand Avenue Listings [StreetEasy]
Surprising Look for Apartment Building Rising on Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill [Brownstoner]


03/03/15 10:45am

Christine Adler, Brooklyn Eagle, 1905Sometimes I write about people who become so real to me I feel as if I know them. Telling their stories becomes much more than simply doing a lot of research and then condensing it. Often I feel a kinship with them because I may have experienced something they experienced, or have been in their homes, or in the places they visited, or in their shoes. Sometimes we did the same things, or sang the same songs. Sometimes literally.

Christine Adler was a turn of the 20th century classical singer. She lived for many years in Bedford, in a house that for a long time I dreamed would be be mine, and a house that I’ve actually been in. I’ve stood at the same mantel she must have stood by; I’ve climbed the same stairs, and looked out of the same windows. At the time, I had never heard of Christine Adler. That didn’t come till much later.

When I did discover her name, I found out that we also share a love of classical vocal music. She was a contralto, the lowest of female voices, although that means something different today than it did in her day. In her day, a contralto included what we call mezzo-soprano today, and includes some of the great operatic repertoire sung by characters such as Carmen, Delilah in “Samson and Delilah”, and Amneris in “Aida.”

I used to sing some of that repertoire too, back in the day, so when I read in the old Brooklyn Eagle pages that Mrs. Adler sang this piece or that piece, I know the piece, and I know what was needed to sing it well. Christine Adler also sang the equivalent of pop and show tunes, because she enjoyed working and entertaining, and she also was a gifted teacher. Although I’m too young to have been taught by her, I certainly could have been taught by someone that she had trained, albeit in that student’s later years. It’s possible; after all, my own real life voice teacher lived to be over 100 years old. So here is the story of Madame Christine Adler, a true diva. (more…)

03/03/15 10:00am


The Department of Buildings is overwhelmed by the number of filings for building permits and can’t keep up, reported The New York Observer. The City is taking almost twice as long to review first submissions of applications for new-building permits — an average of 15.7 days vs. 8.5 last year, according to a report from the Mayor’s Office of Operations. Alt-1 permits average 13.3 days, vs. 11.5 days last year.

The delays are costing big developers big money, said one of Brooklyn’s busiest architects, Gene Kaufman. One day behind schedule for a big project “costs $15,000 to $20,000 in expenses and $30,000 to $60,000 in lost income, depending on project size, so $45,000 to $80,000 a day,” he told the paper. Part of the slowdown can be attributed to code changes at the end of the year.

There’s also the building boom. Filings increased to 3,132 in 2014, vs. 2,549 in 2013. Permits issued increased 11 percent last year to 98,302, vs. 88,290 issued in 2013.

The building department is also down 16 employees, following recent arrests in widespread bribery schemes. The Building Department needs to hire more employees, said the story.

Have you had a problem? What do you think the City should do?

DOB Overwhelmed by Construction Demand [NYO]

03/03/15 9:30am

19-29-Clay-Street rendering 1

6sqft dug up these renderings of a glassy apartment building for 19-29 Clay Street in Greenpoint, which sits a stone’s throw from the Newtown Creek waterfront in an area booming with development. The design from AB Architekten calls for a 12-story, 70,000-square-foot development across the street from the planned Box Street Park. It would have “three sensitively-scaled volumes,” as well as a parking garage, swimming pool and roof deck.

The site, which is up for sale (price undisclosed), is right next to the just-finished six-story development at 1133 Manhattan Avenue. It’s currently home to a single-story warehouse and a two-story warehouse. However, we’re not sure this development will happen anytime soon.

The owners, Pace Plumbing Company on nearby Box Street, told us they don’t have any plans for the property because they have tenants in place for the next five years. A tenant also confirmed that he has five years remaining on a lease. The owners are going to take the plot off the market soon, according to the broker marketing it.

Click through to see more renderings, including the pool, and what the site looks like now.

Even if it’s not happening, what do you think of the look? It seems clean and modernist, albeit out of scale and character with the neighborhood.

Revealed: AB Architekten’s 29 Clay Street to Bring Manhattan Modernism to Greenpoint [6sqft]

Renderings by AB Architekten


03/03/15 9:00am


For years it seemed the murder rate couldn’t go any lower, but it just kept on dropping and dropping. Now the City reports it’s up 20 percent since the beginning of the year, vs. the same period in 2014. New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton blamed pot dealers, DNAinfo reported.

Here are the stats, released at a press conference Monday: There have been 54 murders so far in 2015, vs. 45 during the same period last year. Murders involving drugs ticked up 15 percent so far this year. Of those murders, 60 percent were related to marijuana specifically. The head of detectives said most of the drug-related murders are not turf wars, but rather robberies.

Most of the violence took place in only five of the City’s 77 police precincts, including three in Brooklyn: the 67th, 63rd and 75th precincts — aka Flatbush, Flatlands and East New York.

Shootings were also up 20 percent, reported the Daily News. There have been 149 shootings so far this year, vs. 126 during the same period in 2014.

But, the paper continued, crime is down 11 percent in other categories, including rape, robbery, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft.

Do you think this means we’re going to see a serious rise in crime in Brooklyn, or is this just a one-time statistical fluke that will even out later this year? And what do you think of the marijuana explanation?

Murders up 20 Percent in 2015 in Year-to-Year Comparison, NYPD Says [NY Daily News]
Bratton Blames Marijuana for Surge in Murders [DNA]

03/03/15 8:30am


Brooklyn Deaths Prompt Safety Advocates to Call for Harsher Penalties for Drivers [NY Times]
Report: Brooklyn Bridge Repairs $100 Million Over Budget [NY Times]
Brooklynites Spend 60 Percent of Income on Rent: Study [NY Post]
Knitting Factory to Open Bank-Themed Restaurant [BK Paper]
City Council, Mayor Clashing Over Development in East New York, Sunset Park [Crain's]
Jed Walentas Breaks Ground on Domino Sugar Site, Finally [Crain's]
Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Museum Coming to Williamsburg [Gothamist]
Photos: Prospect Park, Then and Now [Gothamist]
Permits Filed: 432 Keap Street, East Williamsburg [NYY]
Revealed: 245 Manhattan Avenue, East Williamsburg [NYY]
Revealed: Synagogue Expansion at 2085 Ocean Parkway in Sheepshead Bay [NYY]
Church Avenue Businesses Optimistic Despite Artisanal Bakery’s Closure [DNA]
Vote for Brooklyn’s Best Artisanal Spot [DNA]
King Tai Bar to Open Friday on Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights [DNA]


03/02/15 4:30pm

greenpoint reformed church

City Assesses Barclays Safety Following Worker Death [BK Paper]
Film Critic Jonathan Baumbach Sells Prospect Park South Victorian for $1.8 Million [6sqft]
7th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival Celebrates Best of Folk Music [Eagle]
Eight Outstanding Photographers With Studios in Greenpoint [Greenpointers]
Win Tickets to Our Sold out Tour of the Brooklyn Kings Theatre with NYCEDC [Untapped]
Brooklyn Bridge Repair Will Cost More Than $600 Million [NY Daily News]
You Can Bank on Knitting Factory’s Next-Door Restaurant Opening Next [B+B]
Why We Need A Moratorium on Future SBS Routes – Part 3 of 5 [Sheepshead Bites]
Brancaccio’s Sandwiches and More Now Available at Lark [Kensington BK]
Has Cubana Café on Smith Street Closed for Good? [PMFA]
Deep-Sixing Your Outdated Gas (Lighting, That Is) [Brownstone Detectives]
Two Trees Relocates Several Galleries From 111 Front Street in Dumbo [Hyperallergic]

Photo by Jeff Reuben

03/02/15 4:00pm


Pacific Park/Atlantic Yards’ first condo building, 550 Vanderbilt Avenue, will launch sales this summer, a rep told us. Prices will start roughly in the range of $550,000 and go all the way up to around $5,500,000, according to a teaser site that went live last week.

A few more details: Units will range from studios to four-bedrooms and include penthouses and maisonettes. The design will incorporate “minimal and elegant detailing” and “a strong connection to nature,” according to the copy, as well as views of the eponymous Pacific Park that will span eight acres next door. Amenities include a landscaped roof terrace on the eighth floor, residents’ lounge with fireplace, children’s playroom, chef’s kitchen for entertaining and private events, and a fitness center.

Construction will wrap in June 2016, according to a spokesperson.

As we have already reported, the luxury condo development will rise 17 stories and house 278 apartments. There will also be a pool, locker rooms, a shared library, common roof terrace and 198 bike storage spots.

The 100 percent affordable rental building next door at 535 Carlton Avenue, also designed by COOKFOX, is also supposed to wrap in June 2016.

Click through to see a rendering of the whole building.

550 Vanderbilt [Official]
Atlantic Yards Coverage [Brownstoner]
Renderings by COOKFOX


19 Winthrop St. Midwood Sanatorium, NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former Midwood Sanatorium, now CAMBA offices
Address: 19 Winthrop Street
Cross Streets: Flatbush and Bedford avenues
Neighborhood: Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Year Built: 1928-1929
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
Architect: Philip M. Erickson
Other Buildings by Architect: Mostly small projects, like garages, in Brooklyn
Landmarked: No

The story: The first Midwood Sanatorium was a four story wood-framed building built at this location, on Winthrop, near the corner of Flatbush Avenue. Like many small hospitals, the building was probably a private house, repurposed as a sanatorium. Period maps show the grounds of the hospital were quite large, as the buildings now on Flatbush weren’t there then. Northern Flatbush was just starting to see real urban style development, and only blocks away, the row houses of Lefferts Manor were being built. The neighborhood needed a private hospital, and Midwood opened its doors in 1907.

The word “sanatorium” brings to mind a mental hospital or a place where private patients could have quiet surgeries or recover from embarrassing things like out-of-wedlock pregnancies, but the word as Americans use it, usually meant a hospital for long term stays, generally because of tuberculosis. The words “sanatorium” and “sanitarium” are interchangeable. (more…)


When we passed by 253 Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn recently, we noticed big signs in the windows promising “IHOP coming soon 2015.” Another International House of Pancakes nearby, at 276 Livingston Street, shut down in 2014 to make way for TF Cornerstone’s big development at 33 Bond Street. The new location was slated to open in November, according to an article in the Brooklyn Eagle last year. GMAP

03/02/15 1:30pm

937 lincoln place crown heights 22015

Not every bit of wood work in this Renaissance Revival limestone has escaped the paintbrush, but most of it has, and despite being split up into three units, the house seems to have most of its original features still intact. We’d surmise from the floor plan this was originally built as a two-family, with an owner’s duplex on the bottom and a floor-through rental on the top, and it looks easy enough to restore.

There are some glorious inlaid floors, fun fireplace mantels, a pier mirror, and generously rambling layouts at this end cap unit. If it looks familiar, maybe that’s because the top floor apartment was a Rental of the Day last year. Property records show that it traded to an LLC for $130,000 last year after the death of one of the owners; we presume it was not an arm’s length transaction.

What do you think of the house and the ask of $1,395,000?

937 Lincoln Place [Corcoran] GMAP

03/02/15 1:00pm


Sponsored By Brooklyn Bridge Realty.

We have been serving this historic community for almost 30 years. We are your neighborhood resource... for everything!

Created By BlankSlate

A freestanding home on a quarter acre of land in Brooklyn? It may sound unlikely, but that’s what’s up for sale at 690 East 18th Street in Ditmas Park. This gorgeous Victorian home, located in the Fiske Terrace-Midwood Park Historic District, has it all: well-kept historical details, inlaid hardwood floors, a renovated kitchen, and tons of space. There are seven — seven! — total bedrooms over three floors and 2,900 square feet, as well as a private driveway with a single-car garage. As if that weren’t enough, the property comes with an adjoining 50-by-100-foot garden lot big enough to accommodate a pool or large garden.

Other features like the dark wood detailing, pocket doors, stained glass, front porch and the sitting room are pretty much icing on the cake. Overall, just a lovely property. The asking price comes in at $2,275,000.

690 East 18th Street [Brooklyn Bridge Realty] GMAP