Frishberg and his wife Sally, far left, on East 13th Street in Midwood circa the mid 1950s

A lifelong Brooklynite, Kenny Frishberg, this writer’s grandfather, began working at Fair Trade Pharmacy in Midwood in 1954. In the nearly 40 years he worked there — he retired in 1993 –he watched Brooklyn change and morph all the while he filed prescriptions. 


Five months after launching sales, contracts have been signed for every unit at the Gray Stone Condos in Midwood, a spokesperson for Aptsandlofts.com told us. The six-story, 10-unit property at 1329 East 17th Street has one-bedrooms with home offices priced from $395,000 to $435,000. They also have central air, washer/dryer hookups and private outdoor space.

At about 815 square feet each, the prices work out to less than $533 a square foot — considerably more affordable than some parts of Brooklyn but potentially more expensive than an older apartment in Midwood. We won’t know what buyers paid until the sales close and hit public records.

“Boutique” Condos Launch Sales in Midwood [Brownstoner] GMAP
1329 East 17th Street [Aptsandlofts.com] 


A new boutique condo development has hit the market at 1329 East 17th Street in Midwood, with one-bedrooms starting at $399,000. The Gray Stone has “one bedrooms plus home offices,” according to the Aptsandlofts.com listing.

There are currently five units on the market at the six-story building, which has a common roof deck. Each apartment is about 815 square feet and has nine-foot ceilings, washer/dryer hookups, central heating and cooling, and private outdoor space.

1329 East 17th Street [Aptsandlofts.com] GMAP



This junior four co-op at the edge of Midwood and Flatbush Kensington is small but charming. The master bedroom is decently sized and the second one is 8 by 10 feet and off the galley kitchen, according to the floor plan. It seems like a good choice for a couple with a small child or roommates who don’t mind splitting the rent unevenly.

The kitchen and bathroom are recently updated, according to the listing, although the photos don’t show it. The bathroom has kind of a retro feel with the brown accents. Do you think the $1,800 a month rent is ambitious for the location?

770 Ocean Parkway [Fillmore] GMAP

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church
Address: 1073 Ocean Avenue
Cross Streets: Foster Avenue and Farragut Road
Neighborhood: Midwood
Year Built: 1933-1934
Architectural Style: French Gothic
Architect: Henry V. Murphy
Other works by architect: St. Peter Claver School in Bed Stuy, garage/house at 152 Berkeley Place in Park Slope, with Edward H. Lehmann, first four buildings of St. John’s University, Queens.
Landmarked: No

The story: It’s not often we have a good photographic record of a Brooklyn building’s construction. The parishioners at Our Lady of Refuge are fortunate, as are those of us who appreciate church architecture. The Brooklyn Eagle took a lot of pictures when this building was going up, giving us an excellent visual history to go along with the names and dates.

Houses of worship are important parts of neighborhood development, so when Irish and German Catholics began settling in Midwood at the turn of the 20th century, it was important for them to have a church in their midst. Brooklyn’s Catholic Bishop in 1911 was Bishop Charles Edward McDonnell. He authorized the building of a new parish, and sent out Rev. Robert O’Donovan to be the first priest. For some reason it was hard to buy land in this part of Flatbush, but Fr. O’Donovan prevailed, and was able to buy this plot on Ocean Avenue near Foster. The cornerstone for the first church was laid, and a small, one story church was built in 1912.

This simple chapel didn’t take much time to build, and only two weeks later, the first mass was held in the unfinished space. That September, only five months from the ground breaking, the church was done, and was dedicated by the Bishop. Photographs show a modest chapel, which the congregation soon outgrew. By 1928, Our Lady of Refuge was in dire need of more room.

Father O’Donovan organized a fund raising campaign, and eminent Catholic church architect Henry V. Murphy was signed on to design a large new church, big enough to accommodate more community growth. Murphy, who was a very versatile designer of sacred spaces, designed a French Gothic church that still manages to be very 20th century, with a hint of Deco sensibility. Just take a look at his St. Peter Claver School to see him go full blown Catholic Deco.