Thursday, December 27, 2007

1502 Eighth Avenue facade repair planned.

What more is there to say. We took our eyes off the ball for a week in order to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and totally missed the latest Stop Work Order Violation to be charged against the Armory Plaza. Recent activity on the Department of Buildings web site shows that on December 17th inspectors closed the site down for unsafe working conditions specifically "NO GUARDRAILS AROUND ELEVATOR SHAFTS STAIRWELLS THROUGH-OUT" and "BUILDING CONSTRUCTION FENCE IS LEANING OUT OF BEAMS 3'FT x 20'FT OF FENCE". Three days later, on the 20th, inspectors returned to the site to find everything hunky dorey and fully rescinded the Stop Work Order. That would explain why the masons packed up and left so suddenly. The owners have been issued a couple of new DoB violations.

Facade Repairs

Also of interest, engineers hired by the owners of 1502 8th Avenue have filed for the installation of 96 linear feet of heavy duty pipe scaffolding in preparations for repairs to their building's facade. It was only a matter of time. The building sits directly on the corner of 15th Street and 8th Ave. and shares a side party wall with the still vacated, partly disassembled, 1504 8th Ave.

IMBY is r e a l l y not as vigilant as it used to be. We're getting to the point where no news is got to be better news than what we are used to hearing. So... when the fire department showed up at the site, we assumed it had something to do with the way the workers burn the wood pallets in metal drums to stay warm... or, maybe to pump water out of the flooded basement as they did last summer on water logged foundation sites around Brooklyn, but I never gave their arrival a second thought until I saw it was in response to a complaint about someones building "shaking/vibrating/structural stability affected". Was it someone who resides at 1502 8th Avenue who made the 101th call? There are three new crack monitors attached to the masonry wall above the entrance. Not a good omen.
It seems that 2007 will go out the same way it came in. Which reminds us that we need to get started on our highlights recap of the last 365 days of IMBY Armory Plaza construction coverage.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Rubbish on Fifth Avenue

The Grinch rides Santa like the $2 sock puppet he is. Greg's Express Rubbish Removal Service truck.

Monday, December 17, 2007

99 ¢hristmas

Thorstein Veblen's
South Park Slope 99¢ Holiday Shopping Guide.

This year we're having, what Father Guido Sarducci would call, "a little Christmas".
No explanations. No apologies.
No lavish overnight shipping charges.
No giving of over the top presents, expensive feasts or exotic entertainments this time around.
My idea of conspicuous consumption this season=The purchasing of utilitarian merchandise that has been openly displayed for sale from wire racks or plastic bins out front of the 99¢ stores... actually out on the sidewalk, under a plastic awning. No time to wander the isles? What better place to get it done than our own little swatch of 5th Avenue between 12th and 16th Streets.

Life driven by utility, Last minute stocking stuffers.

Spoiler alert! Family and close friends should read no further.

For all my redundant friends, Tube Socks make great stocking stuffers, again.

South African "Kolgate" Brand Toothpaste containing diethylene glycol instead of dangerous fluoride.

"Knit Winter Glove(s)" Some with only four fingers, some six, yet all pairs guaranteed to total at least ten.

Seven pack of assorted hand saws.

150 FL. OZ (4.68 QT.) 50 LOADS Happy Endings Brand Laundry Detergent

Our 2 year old daughter Hyalophagia, has inherited my spouse's freakish ability to consume hand blown glass ornaments without any visible side effects. She just polished off the remaining Radkos. They've all been plucked from the branches and eaten like clementines so now we need replacement decorations for our tree. We're headed down to 5th Avenue today to see what they have in store. Ten dollar spending limit has been imposed. I'm thinking paper mache.

Santa, the 13th Disciple.
On the other hand, Midwestern Seasonal Crafts Binging has left my side of the family with a collection of hand made ornaments so vast they can no longer fit on the tree at the same time. There is a rotation that I am not privileged to. Some never come out of cryogenic storage, ever.

My mother had a very serious felt addiction beginning in the sixties that went unchecked for years. We took away her Craft Barn Club Card and sent her to rehab. She returned a month later a fundamentalist macrame convert.
For a while I joined her arts and crafts crusade until Carpel Tunnel Syndrome eventually knocked me out at age 12. And then the blackouts started up, waking up in some downtown hobby shop with an empty bottle of Sobo glue in my hand and glitter wedged up under my finger nails. Every day's been a battle. I still have the urge to sneak a peek at Ladies Home Journal from time to time. Having children may have awakened the sleeping monster. I keep a loaded glue gun under my mattress for when the voices return.

I'll take the $7.99 tree. No, the flocked blue spruce on the right. Thank you.

Oh little star...
Shopping carts hung by the $14.99 blankets with care.

Friday, December 14, 2007

406 15th St. ground floor masonry almost complete.

South western corner complete. The bottom tier of windows are to the cellar level medical clinic.

As seen from 15th Street. Pouring concrete over the metal decking and rebar using a pumper truck with boom arm.

The Armory Plaza's south eastern wall as seen from The Memorial Baptist Church parking lot, part of the 100' commercial zoning overlay granted corner buildings. This overlay allows for complete coverage, (actually only about 45' of the building) of the lot with out any 30' rear yard setback. I'm not sure if it allows for lot line windows though? As Doris Day would sing, "Que Sera, Sera".
Bonus: For my crack addicted followers, take a closer look at the photo below, that's the still very vacated 1504 8th Avenue with the tyvek building wrapped facade pictured to the right. Take our Crack Classic Video Tour '06

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

8th Avenue Armory transformation sure and steady.

South Park Slope Armory almost breaks a sweat.
The conversion from National Guard Drill Hall into a world class multi-purpose athletic, recreational, and educational center looks to be entering into the final "punch list" stage.
Last month contractors finished setting new stone steps and entrance doors on the 15th Street side of the building. New track flooring appears to be down and the balcony seating installed. They have been leaving the lights blazing ( SPF-30 protection recommended) all night long which at first I assumed meant that workers were at it 24/7 in order to make up for lost time, but that does not seem to be the case. Earlier in the summer their was a rumor that it was to open this past September in time for the new school year. I guess it's like all major renovation work. The closer one comes to finishing, the slower the work seems to progress. Regardless of the completion date, this $20 million creative/adaptive reuse of a historic building, is turning out to be just spectacular.

If I ever exercised, I'd want to do it here.

Try our male device enlargement and Chicks will adore you promptly.

Brooklyn's enhanced Fourth Avenue as seen from the side streets.

"You Do not like your size.
Girls joke at you.
Solve this problem now.

Try our male device enlargement and Chicks will adore you promptly."

The "Olive Garden Building"
496-504 4th Ave. at 12th Street. Isaac Katan and Park Slope Group LLC are developing an 11-story condominium with 125 units. Brought to you by the adorable Scarano Architects.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Scrap Aluminum

So I guess you know by now my preference for establishing "aluminum-free siding zones" in the South Slope and beyond. As a service to you homeowners thinking of blowing what's left of that sub prime adjustable rate mortgage or home equity loan on a major improvement project this coming Spring, I offer the following pictorial inspiration.
Actually it's my second attempt at getting you to go all natural. The first, "Got Wood" was very well received.
So if you like what you see, but still can't figure out how to cook the books and pay for the work, here's a link to Demolition Scrap Metal and Salvage News. See how much that scrap aluminum is worth in the Five Boroughs. Up to the minute!

Here are a couple of homes in the South Slope to start you off.
This is an interesting juxtaposition between two "identical" wood frame houses sharing a party wall. The home on the left still has its cornice hermetically sealed in aluminum wrap. The house on the right retains the original porch.

(Pictured Below) An unusual side by side comparison between new contextual brick construction and its neighbor, an old wood frame that has been restored. What better argument against the use of these useless intrusive balconies.

I'll build my house of sticks.

Greenwood Heights has it's fair share of facade face lifts. This one, (below) sits right across from Green Wood Cemetery. I like its modern artist's take on the "siding issue". The door and cornice match. The facade is corrugated galvanized metal sheeting.


11th Street Between 3rd and 4th Avenues.

Not that I'm saving the best for last, but this is a remarkable grouping. I can't think of another place in all of Brooklyn where so many of the original wood frame row houses, standing side by side on a single block, have been either recently restored to their former glory or have been so well maintained over the years that they look new. What is even more surprising is that it occurs below 4th Avenue in what I guess you would call the industrial part of Gowanus or, more recently, G-Slope. Nice to see a "Balcony Free" solidarity of vision.

Please feel free to E-mail me a picture of your home at