Friday, January 20, 2017

Garage Envy Tour: Windsor Terrace

In most parts of the civilized suburban world repeatedly driving around in circles, up and down blocks, back and forth through a neighborhood's streets might cause alarm, but not here in the South Slope/Windsor Terrace borderlands.  It's a tradition. A right of passage. On Alternate-Side-of-the-Street street cleaning days I often find myself lusting after the many privately owned garages that can be found scattered about.  Possessing a certain styled negligence, a joie de vivre, no two are exactly alike.  They often have nothing architecturally in common with the homes they belong to.  They exist as follies in the best sense of the word.
In the future as people stop learning to drive their own cars and self-driving robotic cars take over and populate the roads, will there be an algorithm driven GPS App able to predetermine the probability that a parking space will exist when you arrive home late on a Sunday evening and need to unload the wife, kids, dogs, and suitcases?  How will your robocar negotiate the endless parking rules one needs to break in order to survive as a NYC auto owner? Double parking during aforementioned street cleaning days for instance...
 History will recall how the Great Parking Robot Wars began on a Monday morning between the hours of 11:30am and 1:00pm.

A fine example of a Terrace Triptych

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Fire Sale: 335 18th Street

                           FIRE SOLD

In August of 2013 a two alarm fire left 335 18th Street in Greenwood Heights, a six family building, uninhabitable.  The building was put up for sale and sold for $2,175,000.  Reconstruction includes the total removal of the front brick facade now shrouded in black safety mesh.  333 18th Street, the neighboring building where the fire reportedly originated, is also in the midst of a gut renovation.

Friday, January 13, 2017

My Precious!

52 East 5th Street :  Oooh La La!  Contemporary modern French Second Empire in Windsor Terrace. Super fine example of Post Civil War Brooklyn General Grant Style opulence on a diminutive residential scale.  

PRE'CIEUX WOOD HOUSE  Square, double dormers, oui, contrasting colored mansard roof, oui, fancy pants slate tile shingles, oui, under the eaves bracketed cornice, oui, wonderfully ornamented portch shed oui, and oui, oui, an imaculate white picketed fence at the gated sidewalk.

THE HAT MAKES THE MAN: Slate fish scale shingles surround this dormer window letting light into the garret living quarters squeezed within the REAL Mansard roof,

LOCATION, LOCATION ;LOCATION  From this 1924 aerial map of bucolic Windsor Terrace Brooklyn you can see that the home site was perfectly nestled between the GreenWood Cemetery and Prospect Park.

The calm before the storm.  This 1951 aerial photo taken just before demolition began for the Prospect Expressway.  Built to alleviate the traffic bottleneck way down on 4th Avenue and Prospect Avenue the expressway would slice through Windsor Terrace displacing some 1250 residents and permanently dividing the neighborhood in half.

Dodged a bullet fired by King Moses,  

Contemporary photo showing just how close petite 52 East 5th Street came from being eminently-domained to death and obliterated from all time.

Street scape East 5th Street

Thursday, January 12, 2017


It should never be confused with defenestration, which is the forceful act of throwing someone through and or from a window.

354A Prospect Avenue Streetscape   Constructing a new 1 family residence. DOB LINK.

 Today's IMBY Architectural Voyeurism post is made possible by a generous grant from the Northeastern American ExhibitionistGlaziers Society of Park Slope South Brooklyn.

Fenestration, architecturally speaking, refers to the orifices in a building's skin.  It's where the outside comes in and the inside comes out. Where the private meets the public and the public meets you in your boxers. Windows, doors, skylights and such provide endless opportunities to observe your exhibitionist neighbors nefarious acts of interior design from a safe and concealed position, especially at night, while walking the dog, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. 


Napoleon the III hired his friend Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann to oversee the modernization of Paris.  The Baron believed that buildings with a uniform neoclassical style and very specific window arrangements across their facades would be most appropriate.  Haussmann had no architectural training yet accomplished really fantastic things, really fantastic, wonderful things, the best wonderful things anyone has ever seen, until he was thrown under the bus by Napoleon and fired for going way over budget. But still huge, really huge fantastic things he did.

Final thoughts on Fenestration... The thing we here at IMBY find problematic about window replacements for older homes is that the window openings are smaller than the originals because they don't remove the old frames like they can do in new construction.  You end up with an extra wide moulding at each side especially with double sash windows. The cheaper replacement look worse with all that flashing surrounding the glass.  Brick to brick is the way to go.  If you see newly installed windows in an old building that are brick to brick you can be sure that the room/house has been gut renovated.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Brooklyn Real Estate Developer Demolishes Old Home and you're not going to believe what didn't happen next!

 IMBY has said it can't be done. Others say it can't be done but apparently they who say it can;t be done are actually proven wrong about it not being able to be done because someone is doing it.  Want to see it?  Want to know where that which is said to be too impossible to do in today's Brooklyn is being done right now as we speak? Want to know who's doing it?

Here it is... 292 16th Street.  When opportunity knocked this developer literally knocked down the house and then built a new house on top of the same 22'x100' patch of R5B zoned earth...WITHOUT REGISTERING A SINGLE COMPLAINT OR  BUILDINGS DEPARTMENT/ECB VIOLATION!

Why all the excitement IMBY?  You say buildings are built all the time in NYC without having to bury immigrants up to their eyeballs in wet concrete or adjacent neighbors having to take out orders of protection against invading ham-handed foundation vandals breaking through their basement walls.  

In the South Slope the developer's pole is set so low for a reason. Serpents don't need that much clearance... Speculators are said to be able squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel. 

Kudos to you,  FAYBYSHEV VYACHESLAV, developer, for raising the bar and walking upright, Kudos to you professional licensed professional General Contractor 615290 Andriy Oliynyk of Fabulous Construction, 171 Prince Street, Brooklyn on a successful build!


292 16th Street 


Past Performance is not an indicator of future results disclaimer: