Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In My Brooklyn Backyard: Lunar Eclipse

Total Lunar Eclipse
This is what I saw standing in my Brooklyn backyard on Tuesday December 21st, 2010 at 3:17 in the morning EST.
 Latitude: 40.66208540915283  Longitude: -73.9831714332103

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Park Slope Section of Brooklyn on Eve of Important Movement.

Another IMBY W.W.W. Train of Thought Leaves the Station.

link: The Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide, February 3rd, 1917 

Park Slope Property a Specialty  

The author of this editorial article, Charles Edward Rickerson was in "Real Estate and Insurance" according to Empire State Notables, but I think he was essentially a well known Brooklyn broker operating in The Slope with an office at 227 Flatbush Avenue.  The New York Times has about a half dozen paragraphs in their archives records listing his recent property sales.  link    The Real Estate Record has many, many, more listings where he leased prominent area townhouses. 

I found this great hand written letter he had sent to then Brooklyn Borough President (1940-1961) John Cashmore, offering up the idea of using Ft. Greene Park as a possible site for a new Brooklyn Dodgers' stadium.  If you recall, in 1957 Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley was threatening to move the team if they didn't get a new ballpark. 

January 4th, 1957   Mr. Rickerson does the math selling Ft. Greene Park to Borough Pres. Cashmore. Link

Why not build a downtown Brooklyn Ballpark?

New York politicians reacted as effectively as possible to the threat of losing their team.  A meeting that included the city’s mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr., Brooklyn’s Borough President Cashmore, the New York City’s Construction Coordinator, and the Dodgers’ owner Walter O'Malley was held to investigate how to acquire the land just to the east of the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues in downtown Brooklyn for a new ballpark. O’Malley indicated that the Dodgers’ had $6 million available to purchase land and build a new ballpark.  

Of course we all know how this story turned out... We lost out to Los Angeles, and the honorable Robert Ferdinand Wagner II was elected to a third term, but hey, he got us fluoridated drinking water and the Mets.

History is funny.  

Priceless memo below. Draw your own parallels.

February 6, 1957
Internal memo from Walter
O'Malley  Link

Take a look at this 1957 Dodgers Autographed Baseball,
  Virtual Tour


Friday, December 17, 2010

My Latest Real Estate Porn Site Addiction

Architectural Voyeurs!

Columbia University Libraries Digital Collection has scanned 54 years worth of easily accessible NYC real estate related ramblings from the weekly gossip publication Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide.

I can't tell you how much time I've spent online, but it certainly was well worth shaving my palms.

...Of Mixed Structural Character
"South of Ninth street the structural character of Eighth avenue is extremely varied all the way to its end at Twentieth street or Greenwood Cemetery. The buildings comprise flats with stores, old fashioned brick and frame two and three-story dwellings, old brownstone fronts that have seen better days and what not."-from Varying Phases of Eighth Avenue, Brooklyn.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

391 14th Street Development Site Changes Hands.

As Is Post Demo:  391 14th Street is located within the proposed Park Slope Historic District expansion area.



Still Building in the South Slope. 

How about this. Looks like 391 14th Street, LLC  has sold this site with approved plans for a 5 story, 5 dwelling unit building to  391 14th St. Realty, LLC for the sum of $950,000.  The deed was recorded on ACRIS 12/14/10.

The new architect of record will be CHRISTOPHER T. MENZIUSO of the firm GRASSO-MENZIUSO ARCHITECTS.  Anyone know of them?

DOB Building info.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wall Street Journal Discovers Park Slope South

We appropriated this entire article for your free reading pleasure.

Attractions Multiply in the South Slope

Amy Sussman for The Wall Street Journal.

A YMCA sports complex opened last year in the Park Slope Armory in Brooklyn's South Slope neighborhood.

Brooklyn's trendsetters have flocked to Park Slope from the beginning of the borough's renaissance into an up-and-coming haven for young families and urban hipsters.

As the area grew in popularity, so did its real-estate prices. While much of that was driven by the northern part of the neighborhood, residents say the southern end of the section is well on its way to catching up.

Amy Sussman for The Wall Street Journal

New restaurants are moving into the South Slope. Thistle Hill Tavern, a gastro-pub, opened in October

Dubbed the South Slope, the area's boundaries are loosely defined as Ninth Street to Prospect Avenue and Fourth Avenue to Prospect Park West, which borders the 585-acre park.

"With a mix of housing options and an added slew of amenities that continue to pop up, the South Slope has just become more accessible," says Dennis McCarthy, a broker with Corcoran Group who lives and works in the area.

While real estate prices in Park Slope as a whole have increased, there are more affordable options in the South Slope due to the mix of housing stock in the area, Mr. McCarthy says.

Multi-million-dollar brownstones and carriage houses mix with older cooperative buildings and new boutique condominiums that continue to be built.

For instance, a 1,100-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment on 16th Street near Fifth Avenue is on the market for $649,000. A few blocks down, a $1.5 million three-story brick townhouse with seven rooms is for sale.

"There's something for everyone here," says Simon Feil, an actor who lives in the area with his wife and 3-month-old baby. He says the couple moved to the South Slope from Manhattan 2½ years ago because they "got priced out of the city."

Earlier this year, the YMCA opened a 144,000-square-foot recreation arena at the historic Park Slope Armory on 15th Street, a multipurpose athletic and educational center with a basketball court and track that underwent a $16.2 million renovation. In addition, eight classrooms were built apart from the recreation area for youth and family fitness classes, and other after-school, summer camp and community programs.

It's like a backyard for the community, says Sharon Tepper, a mother of two and owner of Brownstone Nannies Inc., a child-care referral service. As many as 80 strollers can be lined up at the armory on any given day, says Ms. Tepper, who moved to the South Slope in 2001 from downtown Manhattan.

Amy Sussman for The Wall Street Journal
Thistle Hill Tavern

"You don't even need to make a play date anymore—you just go to the armory and the whole neighborhood is there," she says.

Other amenities are on their way: The 103-year-old Park Slope Library, which closed in October 2009 for renovations to improve accessibility, is set to reopen next year. Meanwhile, construction continues on the lot of the old William Butler School for a new school for the area.

Priced out of the North Slope, new restaurants are moving south. Thistle Hill Tavern, a gastro-pub run by neighborhood residents David Massoni and chef Rebecca Weitzman, opened in October. Similarly, locals Peter Sclafani and his wife, Kristen Hallett, have been steadily expanding their mini-restaurant empire. They opened Provini, a European café and wine bar, last year, joining their nearby Italian restaurants, Bar Toto and Bar Tano.

"Restaurants aren't leading indicators—they're following indicators," says Michael Cairl, president of the Park Slope Civic Council, a volunteer neighborhood association.

"There's very little commercial space on the northern end for any price and entrepreneurs are going where they can find reasonably priced space."

Amid the development and revitalization of the neighborhood, Mr. Cairl says it's up to the residents to make sure Park Slope "preserves its existing character."

For that reason, Mr. Cairl is leading the Civic Council's efforts to expand part of the neighborhood's existing historic district designation to include eight square blocks between Seventh and 15th streets between Seventh and Eighth avenues.

"We don't want huge developments in the neighborhood or buildings that look out of place," he says. "Landmark designation will preserve Park Slope for future generations and allow the city and community to consider the amount of density the neighborhood could support."

The group was successful in 2003 and 2005 in lobbying the city to restrict construction of new buildings to 55 feet on the side streets and 70 feet on Fifth and Seventh avenues.

The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission is expected to make a decision on the area's historic district expansion in 2011.

Write to Shelly Banjo at shelly.banjo@wsj.com