Fillmore Real Estate presents #BKOriginal, a series about businesses and personalities that capture the true spirit of Brooklyn. Showcase your #BKOriginal photos for a chance to win prizes at BKOriginal.com.

If you like your fruits and vegetables paired with a charming history lesson and Frank Sinatra on the stereo, you should make the trip to the Golden Gate Fruit Market in South Brooklyn. The owner, John Cortese, is a treasure trove of Brooklyn stories.

John Cortese at Golden Gate Fruit Market

“In 1939, I was 14 years old, delivering orders for my father,” says Cortese. “Since then, the only changes are the scales and the cash register.”

On a crisp Saturday morning, Cortese hustles me around his fruit and vegetable market with an energy that belies his 91 years. He has his son (also named John) climb up on the shelves to show me a picture of Casey Stengel and the Yankees in the clubhouse. Joe DiMaggio is visible in the photo behind the pot-bellied stove, but we can’t find the late Yogi Berra.

As he shows me around, Cortese laments that some vegetables just aren’t popular anymore, like oyster plants (“Like a parsnip with a green top. The German people are familiar with it.”) He shows me a recent New York Times article about him and the shop. When I tell him he must be popular, he of course has an answer for that too.

“Well, don’t tell me you’re not popular, with that smile.”


Halloween is fast approaching, and with it come all sorts of scary scenarios, like a horde of tiny Minions banging at your door shrieking “trick or treat!” when all you have to offer them is a glass of merlot. Or Ricky’s is sold out of every single hot cop/fireman/doctor/superhero costume in your size. Or worst of all, the water stain on your ceiling that may or may not be evidence of a poltergeist reminds you still haven’t gotten around to getting apartment insurance.

Don’t be scared! Getting apartment insurance is easy — especially if you reach out to Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc.

Photo by Seth Werkheiser via Flickr.


Boerum Hill — especially Atlantic Avenue — has changed drastically over the past decade. The historic brownstones and rowhouses are still there, as are the antique stores and the Middle Eastern markets, but they’ve been joined by upscale restaurants, bridal boutiques, and art galleries. Add to that the proximity to institutions like Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and it’s no wonder that demand for housing in Boerum Hill has increased.

The newest change to this upwardly mobile neighborhood is at Atlantic Avenue and Nevins Street, in a lot formerly occupied by the Atlantis Super Wash Center and its oversized, largely unused parking lot.

Architect Morris Adjmi, the man behind Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel, has different plans for the space. Featuring a design meant to complement neighboring rowhouses, 465 Pacific will bring 30 new homes and plenty of retail space to the corner. The residences, ranging from one- to five-bedroom, will include terrace duplex homes and penthouses. The 1,300-square-foot rooftop garden features panoramic city views.


As fall looms and the sun is struggling to get out of bed, you’ll need a little boost to get you going too. Smoothie delivery service Green Blender will have you up and at ‘em in no time. And when you sign up, use promo code BROWNSTONER to receive 20% off on your first box.

Green Blender sends you five new smoothie recipes every week, with all of the ingredients and superfoods you’ll need to make ten smoothies. It’s an easy way to stay healthy and lose weight, and you’ll also feel good about Green Blender’s dedication to only the highest quality farm-fresh ingredients from local and organic farms. 


Big news on the homefront: condo units are now available at Navy Green, a new village of condos and townhomes in the historic neighborhood near the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Located at 8 Vanderbilt Avenue, Navy Green offers 24 market-rate condos on floors 8 through 12, all one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes. Each features open, modern layouts and large windows, filling each unit with natural light. There is five-inch plank, white oak flooring throughout, Kitchen Aid and Bosch kitchen appliances, and Grohe fittings in the baths.


There are some things that, as a New Yorker, you can’t protect yourself from, like pigeons pooping on your head or packed subways on your morning commute. But there is one thing that you can arm yourself against: the cost of wind damage from fall storms. And Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc. can make sure you find the right insurance policy for your needs.

Photo by Anthony Quintano via Flickr


Kitchen and living room in one-bedroom apartment

If you haven’t been to Fort Greene lately, you should check it out — it’s abuzz with activity. Brooklyn’s coolest neighborhood is not only transforming into a great place to live but also borders such other diverse neighborhoods as Downtown Brooklyn and Dumbo.

81 Fleet Place, “The Giovanni,” is a new sixteen-story building located on the cusp of Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn, and is the second of four buildings being developed by John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group along Myrtle Avenue. The 205 market-rate rentals are a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments.


Boerum Hill has been on the rise for a while now. Thanks in part to the revitalization of Atlantic Avenue, this neighborhood perched between Downtown Brooklyn, Cobble Hill, Fort Greene and Park Slope has become a destination in its own right, where historic brownstones are nestled between chic shops and restaurants.

For residents of Boerum Hill, State Street can feel like a hidden gem. The quiet residential street one block north of bustling Atlantic Avenue is now home to State + Bond, a series of five brand-new luxury townhouses. The homes at State + Bond were designed by local firm Ben Hansen Architects and each features over 4,100 square feet of living space spread out over six beautifully laid-out floors.


What’s the worst thing that can happen to your New York apartment in a heat wave? Well, your notoriously finicky elevator could require maintenance and turn your apartment into a 14th story walk-up. At least you’ll get some exercise.

But what happens if your air conditioner unit clogs and has to be turned off while repairs are made or a lightning strike or power surge knocks out the unit? Suddenly, you’re really wishing you’d gotten around to getting renter’s insurance.


If you have a family, you know what it’s like. Every time you try to leave the house with your kids it’s a production every bit as big as that of a Michael Bay blockbuster.

If you’re going to go through all that just to leave the house, you’d better have something worth leaving for.

Navy Green is on the border of two neighborhoods — Fort Greene and Clinton Hill — which should keep you and your family occupied. Navy Green will make that decision to leave even more difficult, but the neighborhood options are endless whether you’ve got the kids, or you’ve paid a sitter for a much-needed break.

The three-story, single-family townhouses at Navy Green have everything you could want in a family home: three or four bedrooms, two full and two half bathrooms, a back garden with a patio, media room dishwasher, utility room with washer/dryer.