Monday, March 30, 2009

The architectural beauty of Greenwood Heights

Below the Cemetery

Queen Anne preserved hermetically sealed in vinyl.
Shingle Style miraculously revealed by devastating fire.
Testaments to this neighborhood's past ornamental glory lying in wait.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Greenwood Heights, self-similarity, and the edge of chaos.

"Let us now consider the fractured geometry of the Romanesco Broccoli..."

I got excited today. I stumbled upon an almost exact visual representation for my concept set design of this new Japanese reality TV game show I have been developing... "1, 2, 3, KOMAT'SU!
What are the mathematical odds!

The pitch: 1) Intoxicated strangers, (the contestants) are followed home after a night of heavy drinking, then after they pass out, they are carefully transported by us, still in their actual beds, from their bedrooms, without their knowledge, and relocated to a nearby construction site. 2) Soundly asleep, game show hosts blow obnoxiously loud and annoying air horn sirens awakening the dislocated contestants. 3) These stunned and disoriented game players are then reassuringly directed by close family members to run quickly through a door way, only to stumble down into a muddy excavation pit.
Trapped and confused, contestants are terrorized, hilariously, in their pajamas, by a large piece of funny sounding construction equipment. Hence the name.
There are no prizes awarded. Remember this is actually more for viral Internet exhibition rather than a traditional-major-network-game-show-type-competition.

668 6th Avenue Realty Corp. has plans on building a fifty foot tall four story four family residence on this 25 foot wide slice of Greenwood Heights heaven.

Know why I'm excited again? Because of the architectural firm contracted to do the work... Fractual Architecture, PLLC! Granted I am not yet familiar with the work of Mr. Hernan J. Galvis and his firm, but the name "Fractal Architecture" has certainly tweaked my curiosity.
Fractal geometry, my dear reader, is the formal study of mathematical shapes that display a progression of never-ending, self-similar, meandering detail from the infinitely gigantic to microscopically tiny scales. For example, take a long strip of paper, fold it in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, then fold that half in half, on and on and on and on and on and on forever and ever in infinite iteration, not unlike our crudites extraordinaire, the Romanesco Broccoli.

The edge of chaos.
Applying these geometric mathematical principles to south Brooklyn's architecturally disordered chaos will be a challenge to say the least. Please don't disappoint us Mr. Hernan.

UPDATE: April 1st, 2009

I seldom update my posts but in this case I ought. I misspelled the name of the Architectural firm designing this site. It's "Fractal Architecture", not "Fractual Architecture"... Which cracks me up, because fractually speaking, I am familiar with Mr. Hernan's work. He designed 558 5th Avenue, that dark Modern fortress of a condo next to Domino's Pizza. Ring a bell? Try this link.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grace Cleaners Fire




Insurance information posted on plywood outside Grace Cleaners instructing customers to contact Kevin via Fax at 718-279-1580


A very helpful reader has taken the time to get a copy of the official NYC Fire Department Incident Report describing the fire at Grace Cleaners. If you would like a
PDF copy of this report for insurance purposes please Email me at:
Imby (at) nyc (dot) rr (dot) com and I will send it out asap.

Grace Cleaners was completely destroyed by fire today. The apartments directly above the 511 9th Street dry cleaner had their windows broken out. They were in the process of boarding them up when these photos were taken around 2 pm. There are a couple of fire blackened metal stacks in the side alley behind the store leading to the roof. The blackest, most burnt out part of the cleaners is in the rear near where these stacks are located.
Life Imitating Art
In a surreal coincidence, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" a live action kids pic, is being filmed all along that same corner of 8th Ave and 9th St. The Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer produced remake stars Nicolas Cage and has a scheduled July 2010 release date.

Friday, March 20, 2009

169 16th Street Stop Work Orders

Architect: Karl Fischer
Owner: 15th Street Developers, LLC
5 story 25 unit residential building in the works.

Brooklyn Buildings Department Special Excavation Unit determined that a Full Stop Work Violation was necessary.




The two photos below were taken from the 15th Street side of the block wide construction site. Looks like they are excavating around what's leftover of the Board of Standards and Appeals unapproved foundation. Quite a lot of the previous building's debris in the mix.
Anything salvageable from this beat the clock foundation disaster?
Haste makes waste, I'm afraid.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

347 11th Street Shell

Seeing better days ahead?

Back in 2005, this long empty shell of a two family brownstone would have set you back $999,999.00. That's the price 347 11th Street, L.L.C. paid for it at an intestate estate sale. Good reason to update my last will and testament...

Seems like contractor performance related problems with the Brooklyn Building's Department dating back to April and May of 2007 have put the royal kibosh on their plans to convert the property to a 4 family.

Buildings Department Stop Work Orders Violations were finally lifted on the 18th of March, 2009. There currently are no new permits posted on the construction fence out front.

Monday, March 16, 2009

South Slopers one step closer to spiritual purification.

The Rabbinical Committee of Brownstone Brooklyn

The poured concrete foundation for the 292 Fifteenth Street Mikvah is just about complete judging by our most recent visit. Last December we dropped by the site located just above 6th Avenue, to find that they had just begun breaking ground.

And you thought it was tough getting your plans approved by Brooklyn DOB inspectors.

How complicated could it possible be keeping 191 gallons of rain water Kosher? Check out this fascinating link to Rabbi Howard Jachter's Halacha Files. In them you will find just about everything you ever wanted to know about the design and operation of a Jewish ritual bath...

"...the water in a Mikva must be placed there by God (i.e. without human intervention). Accordingly, water that has been in a receptacle such as a bucket is disqualified for use in a Mikva. If, for example, one drew water from a well with a bucket and placed the water in a hole in the ground, the water would be considered Mayim Sheuvim (drawn water). In the modern context, water from the tap is considered Mayim Sheuvim since (as explained by Rav Moshe Heinemann in a Shiur delivered to the Council of Young Israel rabbis) the water passes through receptacles in purification plants and water meters (also see Chazon Ish Y.D. 123:1)."

"therefore pay careful attention that the pipes that bring the water to the Mikva should not constitute a receptacle. The pipes should ideally be smooth without indentations (see Rama Y.D. 201:36 and Pitchei Teshuva 201:24). Ideally, elbow pipes should be avoided as the Raavad (gloss to Rambam Hilchot Mikvaot 8:7) seems to believe that they constitute a receptacle. For a lengthy discussion of the practical aspects regarding pipes that are used to transport rain from the roof to the Mikva, see Rav Yirmiyah Katz, Mikva Mayim 3:142-218)."

"Hashakah involves two bodies of water that touch each other. This involves filling one pool with Kosher rainwater (with all the great care involved in collecting and transporting this water) and another pool with water from the tap that is considered Mayim Sheuvim . People immerse in the pool filled with tap water and no one immerses in the pool filled with rainwater (the rainwater pool is covered to preserve the water and maintain its cleanliness). The tap water is changed periodically to insure a high level of cleanliness. The two pools are constructed in immediate proximity to each other and a common wall separates the two pools. The tap water is rendered Kosher by its contact with the rainwater through a hole in the common wall that separates the two pools. The Mishna (Mikvaot 6:7) records that the Torah level mandated size of the hole is Kishfoferet Hanod (the opening of a container). The Mishna explains that this is an area in which two fingers can fit comfortably. Twentieth century Rabbinic authorities debate the equivalence of this Shiur in inches. The opinions range from one and a half inches (Rav Avraham Chaim Naeh, Shiurei Mikva p. 163) to three inches (Rav Moshe Feinstein, Teshuvot Igrot Moshe Y.D. 2:89)."

IMBY Posts:
Sunday, December 28, 2008
"292 15th Street: Beds, Ritual Baths, and Beyond."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

2009 Brooklyn St. Patrick's Day Parade

Windsor Terrace is both the beginning and the end point for the Annual Brooklyn Saint Patrick's Day Parade.

Being the good Roman Catholic that I am, I hauled me bagpipes over to Prospect Park West at ten minutes to nine this morning in order to attend the official pre-parade mass at Holy Name Church.

A few hours later, after what I consider a traditional day of driving the areas snakes into the sea, I was able to march me aching shillelagh directly on into Farrell's Bar and Grill for a little A.M. eye opener. Twas conveniently no more than a 100 yard sprint from where I started my journey earlier in the morn.

Almost missed this parade though...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Post Mortem Identification

Drizzling. Misty. Grey.
Across from the Green Wood
at the foot of the chain link security fence surrounding the electrical substation,
I found this bird.
Its skull appears to be crushed. There is a visible dent in the flesh surrounding the eye socket. I suspect his death was accidental.
Can you please identify this creature?

I have never seen his kind before in our neighborhood.