A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Ah, summertime in New York City as enjoyed at a bungalow by the sea!

A chance to get away from the heat and crowding of the city. An opportunity to feel the salty breezes of the Atlantic Ocean waft over you as you sit in a lawn chair on your own porch in front of your own little cottage, only a block or less from water.

Who wouldn’t want that? But who could afford it in New York City, unless you were rich?

Brooklyn has always had some great beaches. When Coney Island, Manhattan and Brighton Beaches became Brooklyn’s Riviera in the late 19th century, it looked as if only the rich swells would get to enjoy the sun and sand.

They flocked to the shore to stay in enormous luxury resort hotels where they were waited on hand and foot. They were entertained by John Philip Sousa and his marching band, and feasted on food from the finest chefs in the city.

But that all ended when Coney Island became a working-class amusement park. The rich abandoned the hotels for quieter places on Long Island or the Jersey Shore, and eventually the big hotels either burned down or were torn down.

Developers realized that there was opportunity here. Clearly, the working class wanted to enjoy the ocean as much as any upper class family did. If they built it, they would surely come.

But the question was how to build efficiently and cheaply. The answer was found in watching Henry Ford’s cars roll off the assembly lines – mass production.


This Arts and Crafts cottage at 167 Beaumont Street in Manhattan Beach has plenty of cute original details and is close to the beach and parks. There are coffered ceilings and a wood burning Arts and Crafts style brick fireplace.

It has four bedrooms and a garage. The kitchen appears to have been last updated in the 1970s, and there are no pictures of the two bathrooms. The hot water heater and boiler are new, according to the listing.


1. COBBLE HILL $2,730,000
309 Warren Street GMAP P*Shark
A single-family townhouse that hit the market in November, then was relisted this January. It was asking $2,899,000. From the looks of the listing, this is one impressive home. Deed recorded on 3/12/2013.

2. PROSPECT HEIGHTS $1,548,500
651 Vanderbilt Avenue GMAP P*Shark
A HOTD pick way back in 2007. The one-three family home has a ground-level storefront. It’s currently configured as two three-bedroom apartments. According to Streeteasy, the building sold a number of times between 2004 and 2008. It was last listed in August of 2012 for $1,600,000. Deed recorded on 3/14/2013.

3. FISKE TERRACE $1,525,000
65 Wellington Court GMAP P*Shark
This is a lovely stand-alone house in the Fiske Terrace Historic District. Here’s the old listing. This is also an impressive flip: the home sold in 2011 for $425,000, then it was listed the next year for $1,625,000. Deed recorded on 3/15/2013.

4. MANHATTAN BEACH $1,460,000
134 Langham Street GMAP P*Shark
No listing for this home. Deed recorded on 3/13/2013.

5. FORT GREENE $1,425,000
127 St. Felix Street GMAP P*Shark
Why did this two-family home go for cheap? Streeteasy isn’t revealing any details. Deed recorded on 3/15/2013.


1. BROOKLYN HEIGHTS $2,708,545.00
360 Furman Street #1004 GMAP P*Shark
Listing pulled for this two bed/two bath unit. Deed recorded on 3/8/2013.

2. DUMBO $2,647,450
37 Bridge Street, #THA GMAP P*Shark
This is one of the new townhouses at the Kirkman Loft development. The home has three bedrooms over 2,512 square feet. There’s also an elevator in the townhouse! It was listed at the beginning of this year for $2,600,000. Deed recorded on 3/5/2013.

3. MANHATTAN BEACH $1,980,000
183 Gerard Street GMAP P*Shark
Here’s the old listing for this two-family home. The home was on the market for much of 2011 around the mid $2 million mark. Deed recorded on 3/4/2013.

4. BROOKLYN HEIGHTS $1,885,762
20 Henry Street, #2BS GMAP P*Shark
A four bed/three bath condo unit. It hit the market in March 2012 for $1,825,000. Deed recorded on 3/6/2013.

5. BROOKLYN HEIGHTS $1,600,625.50
20 Henry Street, #4BS GMAP P*Shark
A three bed/two bath condo unit. This one entered contract in the get-go, at it’s ask of $1,550,000. Streeteasy shows only one studio unit left at the entire 20 Henry condo development. Deed recorded on 3/8/2013.


Sheepshead Bites dug up this “historic gem” of a 1940s film about the first “lady lifeguards” of Manhattan Beach in the Library of Congress Prelinger Archive. Presumably the ladies were called in to serve during war time, when able-bodied men were scarce. We cannot improve on the New York Times’ description of the film, which called it “a gently leering 10-minute tour de force of visual double-entendre and soul-stirring call-of-duty gee-whiz.”
The Lady Lifeguards of Manhattan Beach [Sheepshead Bites]
By the Sea, Guarded by a Beautiful She [NY Times]


Yesterday Sheepshead Bites reported on a Manhattan Beach property owner’s proposal to turn a 2,599-square-foot rectory into a 7,848-square-foot McMansion, a plan that was approved by the Community Board but which some in the neighborhood are against. The rectory, at 215 Exeter Street, was built in 1920 and sold off a couple of years ago by the church that used to own it. The new owner is seeking a zoning variance because the law only allows him to build out to 4,000 square feet in the spot. While the community board voted 26 to 5 to approve the plan, it’s opposed by the Manhattan Beach Community Group, and the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association president also spoke out the enlargement. The Manhattan Beach Community Group says the case being made for the giant house rests on incorrect data that was used to approve another super-sizing last year: “the evidence of similar sized structures (based on a Floor-Area-Ratio – or FAR – calculation) was based on faulty city data. The group cited an email a Department of City Planning official confirming that the data was inaccurate.” Meanwhile, Alan Ditchek, the president of the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association said the McMansion would be out of character: “Knowing the house as it is now, a former rectory, knowing the other houses on the block, if it was enlarged it wouldn’t conform with the other houses as they appear. …The zoning is being changed, without it being changed. People are building bigger houses than are permitted without our zoning being changed.” It sounds like the proposal still needs the blessing of the Board of Standards and Appeals before it can move forward.
92-Year-Old Manhattan Beach Rectory To Become McMansion [Sheepshead Bites] GMAP
Image from Sheepshead Bites