Not sure whether you should put in an offer on a brownstone with un-permitted repairs? Don’t know how to explain to your 8-year-old why that couple next door is making those funny noises?

Chances are someone else in Brooklyn or beyond has been in a similar situation, and that’s what the Brownstoner Forum is here for. Every day our readers are answering one another’s questions. Read on for the issues that got the most attention in 2015.


Mystery Deepens Around Murdered Landlord’s Unstable ‘Burg Building
Strange real estate happenings in Williamsburg: A contractor has discovered the Department of Buildings has no plans on file for the luxury rental at 120 South 4th Street that experienced an emergency vacate order last month because of structural problems. Or, to be more precise, the DOB does have plans on file — but they are for another building.


1907 photo via Brooklyn Eagle

Beginning in the 1890s and for nearly 40 years after, the Brooklyn Christmas Tree Society brought holiday cheer to Brooklyn’s underprivileged children, treating them to a huge meal, gifts and musical performances.

The annual tradition was founded by a woman named Lena Wilson Sitting, whose legacy of generosity and holiday spirit deserves remembering around this time of year.


A Brownstoner reader is looking to buy a brownstone that needs a plumbing upgrade.

jb1984 says:

I have an offer in on three story, two family brownstone whose mechanicals are, well, not that great. It seems the average cost for all new plumbing for such a house are coming in at about 40k. Is it possible to redo the plumbing for the first two floors, ignoring the third to save money? There’s a kitchen and a bathroom on the top floor that I could, in theory, shut the door on and ignore for a few years until I could come up with the cash to redo.

Does all the building’s plumbing need to happen at once, or can they hold off on some of it for now to save money? Commenters are on board with this idea — if you’ve had a similar experience, share your thoughts over in the original post.

Need a professional opinion? Try Brownstoner Service Pros.

[Photos via Flickr and Flickr]


Photo by Barbara Eldredge

Can visitors to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade still see the breathtaking view of Manhattan they have enjoyed since the Promenade was created in the 1950s? Or has the Pierhouse development ruined it — and if so, can anything be done about it now?

Two community groups have filed yet another suit against Brooklyn Bridge Park and developer Toll Brothers, claiming Pierhouse is in the wrong but that it’s not too late to make things right.


The owners of this late-19th-century two-story wood-frame were ready to abandon their dream of adding square footage, after the first architect they consulted produced a design that would have been way beyond their budget.

But then they were introduced to Thomas Warnke, whose pared-down philosophy enabled the job to go forward at a price the couple could swallow. “I prefer clean and simple lines, not too many competing ideas in one project,” said Warnke, originally from Germany, who established his Brooklyn-based design practice, space4a, in 2007.

Read Part 1 of this story here.

The huge gray cement factory buildings that span Sunset Park’s shoreline between 30th and 37th streets are the remaining structures of Brooklyn’s largest industrial park, Bush Terminal.

The complex was the brainchild of Irving T. Bush, the son of an oilman-turned-yachtsman. Today, these buildings are known as Industry City, an evolving complex made up of workspaces for Brooklyn’s creative economy, as well as future dining, entertainment and shopping destinations.