Thursday, April 30, 2009

Green Wood Cemetery's Blossoms

Come embrace the transient nature of life.

Cherry Trees, branches heavy with princess pink blossoms. Flowering Dogwoods,
white and red cruciforms...
Azaleas ready and willing, their buds bursting at the seams, to open next week?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

IMBY & Armory Plaza celebrate anniversary.

Armory Height Plaza and

April is a special month for both of us. Four years of their construction, three years of blogging about said construction. Certainly a time to reflect on the many lessons learned...
Ummmm... Help me I'm drawing a blank here...

Special thanks to all those many anonymous architectural voyeurs who continue to drop in. Without your hits IMBY would not be the premier commercial-free south Park Slope Brooklyn Internet web site posting within the cyber world today.

Blue side walk sheds and mesh netting.

Some random photos from the past including this satellite aerial shot that captures a moment in time when 15th Street still had places to buy traditional Mexican Conchas and rent a kosher Ford Focus for the day. A time before our earth moved and the surrounding buildings followed.

Back then who could possible think that things (quality of life issues) could actually get worse off than the constant construction noise being generated from months of grinding away at all the old pointing between every bit of masonry making up the Armory's block long facade?

Four years and counting
Sink holes, cracked foundations, and DoB vacate orders: The making of 406-408 15th Street's Armory Heights Plaza in pictures. *click on pics to enlarge*

Mechanical demolition of Rosa's Bakery at 406 15th St. VIDEO LINK

Cracked side wall of 1504 8th Avenue. Eight families were forced out of the building after an emergency DoB vacate order was issued in July of 2006. VIDEO LINK

More than 200 60' long hollow steel tube piles were bored in place in order to construct the Armory Heights Plaza's underground parking garage. The rear and part of the side brick wall of 1504 8th Avenue removed. The building remains vacant to this day.

Excavating the three story deep pit.

The rear yard of 391 16th Street. Sink holes destroy the chain link fence.

The finished product. Yes they have their permanent Certificate of Occupancy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

400 15th Street looking for buyer.

100 days on the market and counting... No one working on the  site for months, permits expiring...
Anyone interested in finishing this baby off? Please? All the hard work is finished!

It comes with a set of easy to follow DoB approved Corporate Design of America, P.C. plans, so if you're good at assembling Ikea furniture for instance, I bet you could do most of the remaining work yourself in your spare time, on nights, and weekends. Ten additional years ought to be more than enough time to get'er done. Just in time for the next speculative real estate bubble cycle to kick in.

Not sure how all those new next door neighbors at the recently completed
Armory Heights Plaza would react to the quality of life issues... They are still moving in, but I bet they would pitch in if you could convince them it's in their own interest to complete this thing ASAP... For their own sanity. 

The tan bricked two story garage building in the foreground is 396 15th street.  The building farther down the street is 402, Rosa's Bakery, and of course the next building is 406-408, our beloved Armory Heights Plaza.

This is the rendering provided with the listing. Not very inspiring.

400 15 St Brooklyn, NY 11215
MLS ID #342576

Blast from the past. Heartache and hardship. Where did all their money go?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Community

Bustling Magnolia Plaza
The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

The Garden

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

"I have to tell the truth: it doesn't take long in community to realize that people are broken and in need of repair. And the minute you realize this, you're liable to think, "I can name this person's problem much better than she can. And I know a thing or two about people. Maybe I can help fix her?" You do this because you love her, of course, and you want to see her get better. You want to see her back on the road, doing the things she was made to do. The problem is, people aren't like cars. We aren't made to run just fine on our own. We're made for community.

Which means we need something more like a garden than a repair shop. Of course, plants get sick just as cars get broken. I'm not saying that you don't get broken people in community or even that some people aren't more broken than others. But I am saying that broken people need what sick plants need. The need someone to tend to the soil around them, give them some extra attention, pull the weeds that threaten to choke them, and wait. It turns out in the end, I think, that we all need that sometimes or another. But the repair show won't do, because we're made for life in a garden. And the only way to grow up into life in the garden is to get your roots in good and stay there."

Source: New Monasticism

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Green Wood Heights: Resistance is Futile

"This residential project is located in Park Slope, a traditional neighborhood of Brooklyn where due to zoning regulations the surrounding buildings remain low rise townhouses. In order for new architecture to coexist with traditional buildings, a relation of amicable contradiction must be established where one complements the other. Big alternate window openings with translucent glass channel surfaces counteract with the traditional small windows of the adjacent buildings. Light is thus introduced to the interior spaces with different qualities and textures, The black brick used in the facade also generates contrast with the adjacent buildings adding variety to the urban streetscape."
-G Ateliers Architecture: Orlando Garcia (Design Architect), Hernan Galvis (Design Architect), Juan David Botero (Project Architect), Luis Echeverri (Project Architect)

"amicable contradiction"

This infill building site, 668 6th Avenue, is positioned one building away from the corner of busy 20th Street just a block below the historic Green Wood Cemetery in the neighborhood known as Greenwood Heights. The lot has been vacant for years, but according to DoB records an eight family residential apartment building existed in this space. Most likely it looked something similar to the two that now stand to the right and the left, four story wood and brick framed. Locals will know that corner as the one time home of Kitchen Bar and Bar B Que.

The surrounding architecture is eclectic. Modest, one hundred year old wood frame houses of all shapes and sizes, some free standing, sit next to multifamily brick walk-ups, and more recently, newly constructed "luxury" condominiums of varying styles, sizes, and quality. This area is no stranger to quality of life violations that surround new construction. Many of the older homes sit on 25 foot wide lots that are perfect tear-down targets for speculative, pushing-the-zoning-envelope type of development. Bricolodged's 266 22nd Street comes to my mind right away.

This area is mostly zoned R6B.

On this part of 6th Avenue, zoning allows for a maximum street front height of forty feet. With the proper set-backs, the maximum buildable height is said to be fifty feet, but with various bulkheads and equipment rooms stuck on top the as-built height usually tops sixty or more feet.

Hernan Galvis and the team at G Ateliers Architecture stylistically like making solid black monolithic structures with lots of big glass windows that move alternately in and then back out, away from the front plane of the building. You can see examples of their other NYC work here on their web site.

This newly permitted building looks to be using all 50 feet up front with none of the usual visual set backs. Instead they are claiming that the top floor is accessory attic space for the fourth floor unit. Is this just another adaptation of the dreaded Scarano-branded mezzanine? Concerned citizens want to know.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Brooklyn's other Park Avenue now Shish-Kabobbing.

326 Park Avenue.

Standing directly beside the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway at the northern most border of the neighborhood known as Clinton Hill, between Grand Avenue and Steuben Street, you can find this address, 326 Park Avenue. This newly constructed two family has been wedged into a rather geometrically-challenged lot right where the Avenue makes a sudden dogleg left.

Spectraflame Broiled

Recently, one
sparkling meatlog has been skewered to the side of the building.
I believe you can choose from one of the following fine mouth watering PPG metal flake marinades: