Brooklyn, one building at a time.

No matter how big or small, excess stuff has to be stored somewhere. Before this great building became a self-storage facility, it stored armaments and supplies for the National Guard.

Name: Former Brooklyn Arsenal, now Extra Space self-storage
Address: 6301 2nd Avenue
Cross Streets: 63rd and 64th streets
Neighborhood: Sunset Park
Year Built: 1924-26
Architectural Style: Fortress
Architect: Sullivan W. Jones
Other works by architect: Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany, City Hall in Buffalo. Also armory in Hempstead, Long Island
Landmarked: No

The crenellated castle armories of the late 19th century were the inspiration for more-modern armory architects. The fortresses on many of our neighborhood streets were built for shock and awe, and that tradition carried through into the new century. But here, overlooking New York Bay, the inspiration came from another military installation.

This arsenal is next door to the U.S. Army Military Ocean Terminal, architect Cass Gilbert’s massive reinforced concrete staging area and warehouse for the military built in 1918. This building was designed to complement it.

Gilbert may have brought the “awe,” but this building provided the “shock.” After all, it was designed to be filled with guns, ammo and the armaments of war.

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This one-bedroom co-op at 570 44th Street in Sunset Park has an open and airy feel, with a dining room as well as a living room and lots of windows. The combined living and dining space is a massive 23 feet long.

There are also original details such as hardwood floors, high ceilings, moldings, built-ins and French doors. Interestingly, the apartment also has an old wall safe that apparently has never been opened — at least not by the current residents.

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MakerBot is one of the powerhouses of the Brooklyn tech and maker scene — a movement that’s bringing back DIY with a tech-friendly twist. Founded in a Dean Street workshop in 2009, the company has experienced some ups and downs. But through it all, they’ve continued manufacturing in Brooklyn.

This week, MakerBot entered a new era with the opening of a facility at Sunset Park’s Industry City (which is about to get its own $1,000,000,000 makeover). The 170,000-square-foot industrial space houses 140-plus employees assembling MakerBot desktop 3D printers.

And it’s a step forward in MakerBot’s plan for the next era in 3D printing.

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When preservationist Joe Svehlak was growing up on 57th Street in the 1940s and ’50s, that neck of the woods was still called Bay Ridge. Much has changed since then, but his former block is still “a study in working class housing built over a century ago.”

Those homes include single-family frame houses, two-family brick houses with porches and garages, and small apartment buildings. On Sunday he’ll discuss his old block and more on a Municipal Art Society walking tour titled “I Remember New York: Sunset Park, Brooklyn, The Early Years.”

In addition to talking architecture and housing stock, Svehlak, a local preservationist and historian, will offer tales of growing up in the area. Hear about life on his old block, and the street games he and his buddies played back in the days when cars were few. 

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Time Inc. is moving to Brooklyn! Well, some of them are. And their dogs.

According to an internal memo that Keith Kelly of The New York Post got his hands on, Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp plans to send the company’s technology, production and engineering (TP&E) department to spacious new offices in Industry City, the so-called “SoHo of Sunset Park.”  Also heading there will be a new “editorial innovation” team under former Entertainment Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Bean.

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Just listed yesterday is this one-bedroom floor-through apartment on the parlor floor of a Sunset Park row house. It has quite a few attractive details, like original molding, an oversized mirror, built-in cabinetry, bay windows and wood floors.

The bedroom features original pocket doors with stained-glass trim that separate the space from an additional room that can be used as an office or dining room. There’s also a walk-in closet.

The rent is $1,650 a month. Do you think it’s a good deal for Sunset Park?

426 47th Street, #2 [Douglas Elliman] GMAP
Interior photos by Douglas Elliman; exterior photo by PropertyShark

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Industry City’s $1 billion plan to rezone and remake the Sunset Park waterfront area into a thriving destination for retail, Brooklyn “makers” and hotels is already encountering deep and powerful opposition. The community board, local elected officials from City Council to the U.S. House of Representatives, and community groups say they want heavy industry with its high-paying jobs, according to stories in Crain’s and The Wall Street Journal. (And just to be clear, no one is asking for housing.) Community group Uprose is planning a rally Sunday.

In Sunset Park, Doubts About Development Plan [WSJ]
Two Pols May Block $1 Billion Hipster Industrial Complex [Crain’s]
Industry City Coverage [Brownstoner]
Rendering from Industry City via Crain’s

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 614-682 44th Street
Cross Streets: 6th and 7th Avenues
Neighborhood: Sunset Park
Year Built: 1903
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: William Kay
Other Buildings by Architect: houses on 45th and 48th Streets, Sunset Park
Landmarked: No, but on National Register of Historic Places – Sunset Park Historic District (1988), and part of a proposed NYC landmark district

The story: For many people, Sunset Park is a large neighborhood filled with blocks of row houses that all look alike. Now it is true that the neighborhood is dominated by blocks of rowhouse streets. But as for all looking alike? Well, anyone who really thinks that just hasn’t looked closely. There is similarity, but also wonderful variety here, and that makes walking around this neighborhood such an architectural adventure.

Sunset Park was one of the last of the Brooklyn brownstone neighborhoods. Whereas many other neighborhoods had periods of great mass growth, the construction of that time was added to what was already there, resulting in many different periods of architecture. Sunset Park only has a handful of houses still standing that predate the mass development of the late 1890s and early 20th century.

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To undertake a $1,000,000,000 redevelopment that is supposed to deliver 20,000 jobs, Sunset Park waterfront industrial complex Industry City will need a rezoning to allow parking and a hotel, as well as $115,000,000 from the city to finance infrastructure improvements, execs said at a press conference Monday. Industry City also released tons of renderings of what the 32-acre area would look like after a remake, published in Crain’s. What do you think of the plan?

$1 Billion Mega-Project Will Be Major Test for de Blasio [Crain’s]
Renderings from Industry City via Crain’s