Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Bride Stripped Bare: 413 17th Street Unveiled.

17th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues is a cornucopia of architectural stylings.   Our 413 sits smack in the middle of the block sandwiched between its two recently restored  neighbors 411 and 415.  There are lots of tiny two story wood frames in the area but few remain historically intact, unable to withstand generations of irreversible remudelings.  Cornices fall or are removed to make the application of aluminum siding easier.  Iron work "disappears" overnight never to be replaced.  Facades are completely stripped of wooden details and then replaced with synthetic stucco slathered Styrofoam. In our recent speculator times many stand alone wooden homes sitting on lots over 24 feet have been demolished and replaced by shoddy ill mannered condominiums. 

Some time in the past someone got talked into covering the wood with faux brick inspired asphalt shingles.  With the asphalt siding removed and the multiple layers of paint stripped it certainly is a turning out to be a diamond in the rough. 
New double hung windows... wonderfully detailed cornice.

Original stone stoop is in fine shape with its intact cast iron newel posts and floral inspired balusters hermetically sealed in metallic green auto paint.
It has been mentioned that the property has been recently sold but I find no records on ACRIS.  The DoB  site shows a Partial Stop Work Order is in effect due to unpermitted excavation work and interior demolition.  311 complaints indicate the neighbor's property may have been harmed in some way bringing on the Full Stop Work Order and ECB violation ($400 paid) back on the 17th of July.  Permits were recently applied for and granted on November 25th after most of the work has been completed...Anyway the sign indicates Brooklyn masonry contractor Michael Buscarello is doing the work and may also be the new owner.  What are the chances this property will flip?

What did $2.372 million buy?   For those old timers on the block here's something from the IMBY ARCHIVES.  Not so long ago the neighborhood still had a few properties left to decay by absentee owners... VACANT FOR DECADES recently restored 411 17th Street as it looked prior to a gut renovation.  LINK

South Slope: Prospect Views worth $1,139 a square foot.

Here's 379 Prospect Avenue conceived in 2007.  This 7 unit boutique condominium between 7th and 8th Avenues is the work of Moss and Sayad Architects.      Corcoran has the listing for four of the seven units with pricing set between $1.8 and $2.1 million.  Unit 1B with half its livable space in the cellar comes in at an affordable $743 per square foot, while Unit 3C breaks the bank at $1,139 per square foot...Ambitious for a Prospect Avenue property located on a busy truck route and directly across the street from PS10 Elementary School's playground.  There are floor plans and kitchen/bath photos up on Corcoran.

Corcoran says, "The 379 Prospect Avenue Condominium is a boutique, seven-unit building situated in tree-lined South Park Slope. Each home has a large open concept kitchen with Caeserstone countertops, gray-washed Italian Cabinetry, ocean glass backsplash, and stainless Viking appliance packages. There are over-sized windows, plenty of closet space, and large baths with ceramic tile, walnut Italian cabinetry, and Grohe fixtures. Each unit has video intercom, its own gas-fired water heater and Daikin split heating and cooling systems. The building is pre-wired for cable and offers outdoor parking spots for sale, additional basement storage for sale, and a lovely landscaped common garden for residents. Situated near Prospect Park, subways, specialty food shops, restaurants, boutiques, and night life, you will experience all that Park Slope has to offer for living and entertaining." 

The DoB web page indicates there is currently no Certificate of Occupancy.      Up for grab$,  off $treet parking $paces and cellar $torage.

2008 Archives:  The offices of Marcus Roofing.    Prospect Avenue street scape.  This unusual L shaped property extends up behind the two adjacent apartment buildings on the right heading up towards 8th Avenue.  The 60 foot wide property sold for $1.6 million to a local South Slope developer Mark Zeldin.

Spring 2008 Mechanical Demolition of the office and garage as remembered.


The Legend of Zeldin

Prospect Views

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

IMBY: Massive Tree Removal

My neighbor is taking down this massive Pin Oak tree in her backyard. I believe the new 15th Street apartment building is funding all or part of it's removal as a great portion of it extended over their back yard patio spaces on the second floor. The base at chest height is easily 5 feet in diameter which could mean this tree is close to 180 years old. The houses on our block date from the 1890's. This could be the oldest tree in the South Slope. It survived both the 2010 tornado and Hurricane Sandy basically undamaged.  

It was one spectacular forest of a tree especially with a stiff breeze behind her coming off the harbor.  The sound of the wind rustling through her leaves produced a soothing sound that would drown out everything unnatural including our frequent roaring airplane traffic passing nonstop overhead.  Its spectacular canopy was so large that you could trace the passage of the wind as the waves moved through the leaves and bent the branches in succession.  Every year a murder of crows would stop for a week or so and perch on this dead branch at the very top of the tree before being chased off by the locals...  

Sorry to see you go.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

396 15th Street: A South Slope saga of destruction, resurrection, and finally, conversion.

Pre Birth Certificate 396 15th Street 


IMBY is proud to announce the rebirth of one of our first adopted foster crack children, the little brick building that could, 396 15th Street.  We're excepting visitors, the scaffolding is down but the sidewalk shed is still in place. You can't be too safe. Do you mind washing your hands first? And please don't make any sudden moves or look it directly in the eyes.   Thanks.

Reincarnated 396 15th Street seen here sandwiched between it's nearly completed nemesis 400 15th St. on the left and a prewar walk up apartment building on the right. This will be the third full frontal facade transplant in less than a decade.  Current owners are seeking a change in the certificate of occupancy from light manufacturing/garage use into a more civilized R6B zoned residential two family with off street parking.

Textural brickwork and fenestration details.  Yes ladies, those are real 6 over 6 double hung sashes!  The two story addition constructed of light steel and stucco is setback and concealed from the sidewalk view* as required by R6B sky exposure plane codes.  (As seen from the entrance to the Park Slope Armory YMCA directly across the street)
You know it's been our our raison d'ĂȘtre documenting the architectural folly of Park Slope South for almost a heartbreaking decade now and we can think of no other job site that best represents the misfortune one must endure at the hammy hands of real property speculators, literally brain injured engineers, and their hack-job foundation excavation minions. But somehow this little garage has persisted, and in three different incarnations no less...
So let's celebrate this tenacious survivor by looking back at all its trials and tribulations captured over the last 10 years or so in one of IMBYBRANDS glorious archival photo albums.

 Hubris is not a soil type.   In the beginning 396 or "The GaRage" seen on the right of this stagnant pond cohabited for years next to a large one story warehouse, its address was 400 15th street.  The functioning warehouse was destroyed to make way for a new residential apartment building.  At this time back in 2004 the neighborhood had not been downzoned yet and was still naively zoned R6.  Foundation nubes almost immediately had trouble excavating the glacial till, sand and clay, deposited some 20,000 years ago by the Wisconsin Ice Flow.   Not being able to learn from past mistakes seems to be par for the course.    Both adjoining properties suffered drastic injuries to their 100 year old foundations.

Complaints, violations, stop work orders and remedial reparations.  A frequent sight here in the Slope, metal i-beams shoring the shifting foundation of  The GaRage... Department of Buildings steps into the mess.   This neighborhood's decade of construction debacles made rock stars out of some members of the Department's Forensic Engineering team and supplied construction lawyers with seemingly unending billing cycles.
The Blumpkin.   How does one even get into this mess?   Follow this link to a brief description of the case by lawyers involved in the civil suit.   You can see the entire 100' long foundation and 1st floor wall of adjoining property 402 15th St. (Rojas Mexican Bakery )  has already been replaced.
The GaRage on crack.   The entire building heads for the hole.  Note the enormous crack over the right second story window.  This facade along with the entire side and rear walls will have to be replaced.  Old tax photos show this to be most likely the original facade except for roll down gate wihch replaced a nice set of wooden ones.
Progress!!!???   The GaRage undergoes extensive restoration shown here without walls.  At the same time new constructions continues on basement cellar of 400 15th St.
The Posterchild's Poster.   This is our favorite photo of all time representing the legendary "double blumpkin" that is construction in the South Slope.  If we ever get around to publishing our IMBYBRANDS calendar this year this will be January. I'm not sure how this was even done and I witnessed it with my own eyes.
After years of reconstruction this is the finished GaRAGE.  Not as nice as the original but good enough to put up on the market where it will eventually sell for 1.5 million dollars.   The current owner filed for a change of use and certificate of occupancy in order to convert to residential.  The work will mean that fifteen feet will need to be removed from rear of newly fixed building with jack hammers in order to comply with rear yard setbacks.  Two additional floors ( +2300sqft) are added on top with even more additional outdoor patio space.  
Parting Shot: Wiping away tears from my eyes, a view from my rear window.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Disaster Creation: 315 12th Street Plays Patty Cake

State Farm Insurance has this great toy that allows you to plug in any address and by using google maps, produces a very personal, animated, end of the world scenario featuring bipedal deathbots.

Back in the real world 315 12th Street   Like a pig in shit the excavator mixes the batter for what's churning out to be one hell of a dookie brownie.  One More Folded Sunset is chronicling the assbaking.

Wrong again

Stop Work Order Partially Rescinded to install 3x10 lagging to shore up the cave in.
Missing Paper

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

383 12th Street: Permits Granted for Stalled Money Pit

383 12th Street:  South Slope cellar accrues over $30,000 in unpaid ECB fines This recent photo pictured above pretty much shows what condition the lot was left  in some 10 years ago...A debris filled hole in the ground. You can still see the old foundation's brick footprint.

Signs of Life
 Looks like the developer/owner of this South Slope 25' wide 100' deep empty lot between 6th and 7th Avenues is going ahead with plans to construct a new 4 story building with 8 residential units. At least a new construction fence has been installed with active permit signs posted.

The original vacant 2 story 2 family building was demolished in 2002 after a failure to maintain/ open to the elements/ unsecured property violation sometime in 2000.  After demolition work was signed off in 2003 Department of Buildings then approved new building plans in 2004 for the 8 residential units but no further work was done at the site. Last year, August 2012, a post approval application was approved for the planned new building informing the DOB that there was to be a change of architects on the project.

B.E.S.T  Team Aggravated Escalating Monetary Penalties
Since demolition, this cellar hole has somehow managed to acquire 19 DOB and Environmental Control Board (ECB) violations, 15 of which are still open and not in compliance, including 7 violations for work without a permit.   Incredibly this stalled site has racked up more than $30,000 in unpaid fines over the last decade, most related to the protective construction fence not being properly maintained and permitted.  

Certifying Correction:
In order to close a violation on your property, you must certify correction at the Administrative Enforcement Unit (AEU) at 280 Broadway, 5th Floor in Manhattan, in addition to paying the penalty. The Certificate of Correction form is available online (see link below) or at the AEU window. Evidence of the payment of imposed civil penalties associated with the violation must also be submitted.
AEU will not clear any Work Without a Permit violation without proof of civil penalty payment in the form of a receipt from cashier for payment and/or a written determination that the penalty is not required for the violation and the reason for that determination. The determination will be indicated on the “LL58/88 Affidavit of Registered Architect or Professional Engineer” Form with all necessary documentation and proof of payment.


PDF  "Falling Apart at the Seams.  A Critical Analysis of New York City's Failure to Enforce its Building Code and a Road Map to the Future."   By Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer

  Form AEU2: Certificate of Corrections

PDF   Certification Requirements for the Top 25 ECB Violations

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Prospect Hardware Cocooned.

Major interior and exterior metamorphoses for the old aluminum sided Prospect Hardware on the corner of 17th Street and 7th Avenue across from PS 10.   Peeking through the black mesh veil reveals a new coat of stucco, and big glass. A lot of glass, floor to ceiling.

In the old school Prospect Hardware everything was hung everywhere from hooks or held in wooden bins or had to be found by the guy at the counter, sometimes in back where the customers never can go.  You had to personally  ask for what you needed for a specific job and, based on your ability to explain, you would or would not receive said item.   As for windows I do not recall any.   It certainly met the definition of a "man cave".

They Orthodoxically closed early on Fridays, but you already knew that if you were a patron.

 In the last decade or so South Slope old time bodega owners have been busy updating their store fronts.    Lotto posters, stacked saint candles, and toppled faded fabric softener bottles are out.   They are being replaced by big glass windows sustainably shaded by hemp awnings, colored that certain tint of green signifying  Organic.   Displayed in baskets, locally woven by adderal addicted stay at home dads, are seasonal dragon fruits and virginal-thigh rolled buttery croissants.
(Please check out my Etsy page if you have time.)

Prospect Hardware doesn't even have its own blog, which is why I'm being urged to tell you about it here.  I will post an updated photo of the new exterior the minute she emerges.


Vintage Seventh Avenue Streetscape

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

289 13th Street: Stalled Six Years Site Shows Signs of Life.

 Architect Benjamin Ellis of the Ellis + Donnelly Studio has recently filed new building applications  for the long stalled site 289 13th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.  Original building plans were filed way back in 2006 but soon sank after complaints of unsafe foundation excavation attracted Brooklyn Department of Buildings inspectors who issued an immediate Stop Work Order violation  shutting the entire site down in 2007.

289 13th Street:  Plans call for a 4 story 50 foot tall residential building with 8 dwelling units.  Looks like 2 basement units with cellar accessory space, 2 units on the 1st floor, 2 units on 2nd floor, and 2 more units on the 3rd floor.

From the IMBY Archives:
Progress Report  287 289 13th Street

Unlucky 13th Street

Monday, July 29, 2013

WTF Monday: 315 12th Street Undermines Nice Neighbor

Well that ain't right!?   Unsupported mechanical excavation for new foundation at 315 12th Street caves in creating a  sinkhole that swallows adjoining property owners back yard brick patio and vegetable garden. We haven't covered one of these ham-handed clusterfucks in a while but apparently they still exist.  This eagerly awaited 4 family w/penthouse and cellar is the masterwork of INFOCUS DESIGN and PLANNING P.C.  Building permits for foundation earthworks applications were rewarded to a Nadav Hamo of the  ILE Construction Group IN.                           This job site caught our eye back in March when it was discovered that Demolition Queen and Environmental Control Board fines super scofflaw Marie Grasso was listed as superintendent/site safety manager for Best Buy Demo Inc, the company hired to tear down the existing wood frame at this site.   ALL PHOTOS COURTESY of the ONE MORE FOLDED SUNSET blog.
The South Slope's soil is essentially nothing more than a big pile of deposited sand, gravel, and till left over from the Wisconsin Glacier some 25,000 years ago.       Just for the record Mr. Insurance Agent, these are irreplaceable heirloom tomatoes.

July 22nd next door neighbor worried about the ongoing excavation calls 311.  Brooklyn DOB inspect two days later on the 24th of July and issue a Full Stop Work Order Violation for nonconforming work and for no TR-1's for excavation.  That same day a Partial Stop Work Order is issued in order to allow the workers to properly brace the hole.  Partial Stop Work Orders are often allowed in order to stop any further damage.  Surprisingly, no DOB or ECB violations are listed on the profile page.

DOB  BIS page property profile for 315 12th Street currently showing Partial Stop Work Order

Adjoining property owners might want to forward this information on to their own insurance companies and or lawyers.

Nadav Hamo permit holder

Monday, June 03, 2013

Dumpster Full of Dirt: What's Up at 413 17th Street?

UPDATE: Neighbor's 311 complaint concerning unpermitted excavation and demolition results in Full Stop Work Order Violation for... unpermitted excavation and demolition.

413 17th Street appears to have had its cellar dug out... Anyone know what's happened to the older gentleman who resides there?   I have not seen him in some time.   DOB records show no applications filed or permits drawn.  Does not appear to have been sold either, at least no new deeds filed on ACRIS.
I love this old house for the way he maintains the front stoop in a metalic shiny polished paint color that he must have mixed himself.