Open Thread Wednesday

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

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  • JaneonOrange

    I miss the time/temperature sign.

  • AEB

    As do I. My building is situated such that I was able to read the (back of) the sign from a living room window. Much easier than checking my phone or computer for the two facts that orient one throughout the day.

  • Pierre

    Can anyone explain why the space next door to Lassen’s has never been rented out – it has been decades. And does anyone know what is happening with the space next to Iris Nails on Montague as well?

  • winchell’s cavanaugh

    That’s why it took years for me to learn how to tell time! Blame Squibb!!

  • Mark C
  • Banet

    Putting out a request for a specific book (or books).

    My eldest has become quite enamored of The Princess Diaries books by Meg Cabot. After devouring the first 6 books they’re dying to get #7. It will get to the public library in a few days but by any chance does anyone have a copy of “Party Princess” sitting on their child’s shelf and is ready to part with it?

    If so, say so here and leave it in the lending library at Hicks and Grace Court Alley and I’ll pop over and pick it up. (We’d take #s 8 through 12 if you’re looking to clean house.)

    And regardless, the lending library – which was stuffed full just yesterday – is mostly empty again so feel free to do some spring cleaning and drop off some books!

  • Banet

    I think Lassen pays a small amount of rent to store things in there and the landlord is just wealthy enough to not give a crap. I expect we’ll have to wait for them to die before we see an occupant.

  • Banet

    12 years! Just think how much has been foregone. I don’t know what it would rent for but I think an average of $10k/month is not unreasonable to imagine. So $1.44 million dollars just… thrown away. In hopes of… what, exactly?

    Oh, and let’s not forget the property taxes that a triple net lease would have paid. I think the taxes are about $100k annually so that’s another $1.2 million.

    Lastly, a little googling shows the asking rent 9 years ago was $30,000 monthly (so now we know why it’s empty) so maybe my $10k is too low by half and it’s more like $15k monthly or $2.16 million in lost rent plus $1.2 million is property taxes.

    $3.3 million just… set on fire. You’d think the owner’s heirs would have them declared mentally incompetent. After all, what more evidence would a judge ask?

  • peter scott-thomas

    Ebay used to have a used book operation – I think it had the great name, and while it no longer exists, used books are still kind of a business, even if we can agree that free is better. #8 seems to be available used from Strand (online) for $10, … and lists several others for $4 each, although shipping may goose that quite a bit.

  • T.K. Small

    Yesterday a neighborhood mom reported to me that, as she walked home from her daughter’s softball game, they encountered a homeless man pleasuring himself on Montague Street a little after 6 PM.

    Admittedly, I am getting old and more grumpy, but this is not acceptable…

  • Banet

    Oh, I can buy it for not much and they can read it on a Kindle. Or I can buy it new from a local bookstore. Or used as you suggest. And the BPL has a half dozen copies and will get one to us by Saturday or Monday I imagine. But we’re going away for the weekend and when your kid wants to devour a book you do what you can to get that book them asap…

    But that has to balanced with lessons of financial responsibility. It’s silly to spend $10, or even $5, on a book that will be read in two or three nights when the same book is available for free from the public library if one simply has a bit of patience. I think that’s an important lesson to teach any kid – but especially a kid growing up among the relative wealth of Brooklyn Heights.

    And that’s why I put out the call to neighbors. It’s a long shot but I figured I’d give it a try. But thanks for doing the research!

  • karateca2000

    The one on Montague? The time was always wrong by a few minutes.

  • Effective Presenter

    Eight Years in Another World by Hardling Lemay, does anyone have a copy of that book?

  • Andrew Porter

    Are you talking about the one on the TD Bank, at Montague and Cadman Plaza? I notice yesterday is just said “388” or something.

    Speaking of which, what was there before the current (and soon to be gone) building, in a 1909 photo:

  • Andrew Porter
  • JaneonOrange

    I am speaking of the watchtower sign… I too could check it from my apartment…

  • Banet

    What throws me off is the church bells that chime on the corner of Henry and Remsen. I have a 10am meeting every day but they chime at 10:01 or 10:02 — so I'm frequently late. :-/

  • Sweeties

    You are literally the reason that writers, small bookshop owners, and small businesses are going begging and out of business. It's not "silly to spend $10, or even $5 on a book", it feeds an entire small economy. If you want to teach your children a "lesson" about financial resposibility, you should teach them that it benefits everyone, if you can afford to contribute to the businesses and artists in your neighborhood and the world.
    Don't be so cheap!

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    How about Abby Hoffman's "Steal This Book". An excellent treatise on how to save on the expense of purchasing a book through any source.

  • Banet

    Trust me, we do far more than our fair share to support the local community and the author economy. My children and I were quite literally among the first 10 customers inside Books are Magic on Montague Street the morning they opened. We are on our first name basis with the staff. I have at least 1,000 books in my home and most every single one of them I’ve purchased. Mostly new.

    But there must be a balance to everything. And a 12-year-old has to learn that they can’t just throw money around and get whatever they want. It’s a 12 book series.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go read more of the new Amor Towles book. Which I bought new. From Books Are Magic. Full price. The day it was released. It’s excellent by the way. Not as amazing as his first three novels, but a satisfying collection of short stories.

  • Sweeties

    I bet you do. Good luck grifting for second-hand books. You should check out the food bank fridge on Henry, in case you don't fancy giving money to any supermarkets in the neighborhood.

  • MLK Dewey

    Wait until you hear about the library and all the freeloaders who own library cards

  • clarknt67

    It’s said the landlord is asking an unreasonable rent in the hope some big chain like Sephora can afford it. It is a shame it’s been empty so long.

  • clarknt67

    Wait. Do empty units really not pay property taxes?!?! Why would that be. If true that should be fixed. It’s like an incentive to warehouse empty space. While paying them would incentize renting them affordably enough to cover that cost (or selling them if one can’t find a tenant).

  • peter scott-thomas

    I was going to say something – much more temperate – to the same effect.

    Glad I didn't, because Banet is one heck of a counter-puncher.

    And FAR BE IT FROM ME to question how a Mom tries to shape her pre-teen's values! Estimably, in this case.

    But I will say that I fear that Banet's "I think [restraint in this connection is] an important lesson to teach any kid – but especially a kid growing up among the relative wealth of Brooklyn Heights."

    … strikes me as nothing but wishful thinking. (Or maybe, the daughter will be the 1 in 100 Heights kids who makes it to college thinking that all people are created equal.)

    PLUS, … I assume she has an allowance. At 12, it should be HER call as to whether this is money well spent.

  • Banet

    Thanks for the tip but no worries, my family checks that fridge every week. In part because we were part of the group that physically built the shed and painted it and then part because my children volunteer with the fabulous neighborhood organization the Service Collective, and they make meals for that fridge most weeks.

    And for the record, that lending library is to both take books and leave them. And we’ve probably put in twice as many books as we’ve taken. It’s served as a fabulous way to thin out our shelves to make a little more breathing space. I encourage others to do the same.

  • Banet

    Ha. We have those too. And of course that’s where my kid got the first 6 books in the series. I was just trying to find book 7 a bit faster than the book would be transferred locally. I had no idea it would create such a kerfuffle!

  • Banet

    First, thank you for the compliment. It’s nice to hear my words don’t fall on deaf ears.

    Second, $25,000 in books? I never did the math but 1,000 books don’t cost that much as at least are paperback. Many have been purchased used (I miss Heights Books!) and regardless of the cost of purchasing, they go back as far as 40 years so divide $25,000 by 40 and you’re at $625/year or $52/month. I don’t think that’s a wasteful amount to spend on books at all.

    Third, you assume I live in one of those fabulous carriage houses on Grace Court Alley. Maybe I do. Or maybe I live in 2 Grace Court in a modest 2 bedroom apartment I bought 20 years ago for $300,000. Maybe my children go to Packer or maybe they go to PS 8. Regardless, it’s impossible to live in our neighborhood without being aware of the incredible wealth. It’s not as bad as Tribeca but it’s still very, very present.

    Finally, you make an excellent point about allowance. But that’s a longer post for another time.

  • Andrew Porter

    Wasn't the whole point of Starbucks moving further down Montague because the roof leaked and although they complained, the landlord never fixed the problem? So they left.

    I think the roof was fixed in the last year, but the space is too large/too expensive.

  • Peter Scott-Thomas

    Just a quick – and I think you recognize it – "I'm not attacking you!" All of your points are excellent. And most of us ARE frugal in different ways. To call someone "cheap," as happened here, is the kind of boorishness that is all too common these days. I wish it were possible to mediate this section, but I know the blog will disappear before that happens.

    I also wish it were possible to rule out the chance – not tiny in this era when tearing open garbage bags in search of some bottles and cans is ubiquitous – that that little library you love so much isn't being de-stocked by someone re-selling its contents.

    In that Housing Works, my favorite part of non-residential Heights, benefits people (via book donations) in much greater need than 99.9% who might take from "yours," I'm afraid I don't see the point.

    Last – in a curmudgeonly vein – why so many people leave so much on the street that could be brought to Housing Works…what ARE the discarders thinking?