Open Thread Wednesday

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

Share this Story:

Connect with BHB

Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.

  • Peter Scott-Thomas

    I was inspired by Karl J.'s asking ChatGPT for help – roughly – composing a short autobiography. So I gave it THIS "relevant" prompt:

    Tell me the most important things about Brooklyn Heights.

    —– Here's its response —–

    Brooklyn Heights, perched elegantly along the East River, is a captivating neighborhood that encapsulates the essence of historic charm and modern vibrancy. Here are the most significant aspects of this iconic New York City locale:

    1. **Historic Brownstones and Architecture**: Brooklyn Heights boasts some of the most well-preserved brownstone homes in New York City. These elegant, 19th-century residences lend the neighborhood its distinctive character and charm. Walking along tree-lined streets adorned with architectural marvels is like stepping back in time.

    2. **Promenade and Waterfront Views**: The Brooklyn Heights Promenade offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Residents and visitors alike flock to this serene esplanade to enjoy leisurely strolls, jog, or simply soak in the mesmerizing vistas of the cityscape.

    3. **Cultural and Literary Heritage**: Brooklyn Heights has a rich cultural and literary history. It was once home to renowned writers such as Truman Capote and Arthur Miller. The neighborhood's cultural institutions, including the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Brooklyn Public Library, pay homage to its storied past and contribute to its intellectual ambiance.

    4. **Community Vibe and Amenities**: Despite its proximity to the bustling city, Brooklyn Heights maintains a tight-knit community atmosphere. Quaint cafes, trendy boutiques, and cozy restaurants dot the streets, fostering a sense of camaraderie among residents. The neighborhood also boasts excellent schools, parks, and recreational facilities, making it an ideal haven for families and young professionals alike.

    5. **Convenient Transportation**: Brooklyn Heights enjoys convenient access to public transportation, including multiple subway lines and ferry services, facilitating easy commuting to Manhattan and other parts of Brooklyn. This accessibility, coupled with its serene residential ambiance, makes Brooklyn Heights a highly desirable place to live in New York City.

  • AEB

    O joy O rapture unforeseen! The Cadman West entrance of the A-C line is open again! Life has its small compensations and this is one! (And that's four exclamation points, no less! Sorry, five.)

  • clarknt67

    Apparently the former Queen restaurant on Court St has finally been leased. The new tenant is going to be a “Sign museum.” Not ASL, advertising signs. At least it won’t be an ATM Lobby or a cell phone store.

    I didn’t notice Amy’s bread on Hicks had closed but it’s already got a new tenant with a familiar name: Cafe Buon Gusto! Not sure if it is the same establishment that closed on Montague in the pandemic after so many decades.

    It says it’s a wine bar and a gelato place. CBG was my mom’s favorite restaurant when she would visit. She took the closing hard.

  • Barbara Moskowitz

    But is the escalator working? Earlier post said not.

  • AEB

    Up-escalator working. At least it was yesterday.

  • Jorale-man

    The font definitely looks the same as the old place. I hope it's a cafe where you can pop in for a coffee and muffin or croissant, and not just a full sit-down restaurant. That was the beauty of Tazza when it was there.

  • MaggieO

    it is the same company.

  • Bornhere

    (Henry, not Hicks.)

  • Peter Scott-Thomas

    Someone made a comment in this column last week (i.e., a few days ago) to the effect that there might be a valid economic reason (i.e., tax benefit) for a commercial space owner (yes, the long vacant space next to Key on Montague is the "poster child") to leave it empty/unrented.

    It didn't make sense to me – any more than the ability to deduct gambling losses on one's 1040 would be to continue wagering or playing poker if one consistently loses.

    I agree that the internet makes for a bad "doctor" more often than not, but I think this answer to a reader-submitted question on the subject is "game-set-match" on this one:

    "There is no benefit to the landlord derived from leaving retail space vacant. There is no tax benefit other than the fact that s/he receives less income and therefore pays less tax. It would be similar to taking a cut in salary just to pay less in taxes. [YOU SAID IT! – p.s-t.]

    “Furthermore, when a space is vacant, the landlord loses the rental income and the contribution by the tenant to the landlord's real estate taxes.

    “The landlord can petition for a reduction in real estate taxes because of an alleged diminution in the value of the property due to loss of commercial rental income. However, this will NOT offset the economic loss suffered as a result of vacant space.”

  • A Neighbor

    If an owner has income from other sources, he/she can offset some of that with losses elsewhere. In this case, the property owner can uses the costs from this unoccupied building, including hefty property taxes as well as mortgage and maintenance expenses, to offset income from other sources. A big win. And why savvy jurisdictions, many in Cali, charge taxes on unoccupied property. The result, they say? It is rapidly rented or sold.

  • Peter Scott-Thomas

    But ask this. From a "net worth" p.o.v. – AT ANY POINT IN TIME – which way would landlord be better off: Renting it OR Keeping it vacant??

    There may be a good reason to hold a property that isn't worth fixing up so as to make it rentable, but there is NO economic reason not to rent if that is a realistic option. So many people have described the owner as a loon that I'm certain that answers 100% any "WHY?" questions about that property.

    As they used to say on Wall Street, you can't spend a tax benefit.

  • clarknt67

    I am definitely for vacancy tax. I am not a monster. Maybe it doesn’t kick in for a year. But if you can’t rent retail space over many years then maybe it’s time to sell. Or reduce the rent to avoid the penalty.

  • Peter Scott-Thomas

    I can confirm that!

    As a probable (heck, I goofed) source of bad information, mea culpa!

    In the good old days (March and before?) there were 3 escalators on a good day. NOW, there is ONE, probably locked into "up mode," with the other 2 still under construction.

    An MTA employee answered questions yesterday as to what/when/the-other-2 with "Don't hold your breath," but when pressed as to whether 6 months from now we'd still be hiking down, she said, "Probably not that long."

  • toast

    Hey y'all. Any Hotel Bossert updates?

  • Red Leader

    I miss Queen and regret not eating there more often.

  • Andrew Porter

    I always meant to eat there, but put it off, until it was too late, sigh…

  • Andrew Porter
  • Andrew Porter
  • MaggieO

    3 union rats outside St. Francis on Remsen today. sidewalk fencing is present on both Remsen and Joralemon. The current permits appear to only call for interior demolitions, fixture removal, etc., no structural demo. Not sure if that is just a prelude or if there's going to be some re-use of the existing structures rather than complete demolition

  • Banet

    Total demo. A huge tower will go up there.

  • MaggieO

    that's what i assume too, just not seeing the filings to back it up at this point. it's theoretically possible that they could use some portions of the existing buildings and also build a tower on a portion of the site…

  • MaggieO

    hmm, i also missed that 1 of the buildings is an individual landmark so that portion is definitely not going to get demo'd. They have an LPC permit for the interior demo work.

  • Banet

    The tower can go where the ugly 60s building is on the western portion of the school. it's the wider footprint by far. If they have to keep the landmarked building then I expect they can keep the facade and build a tower behind it that integrates nicely with a bit of a setback.

    Personally, I'm all for landmarks — it's what's made out neighborhood so fantastic, but that eastern St. Francis building is not anything special. Given some guidance, I bet a developer could could come up with something spectacular.

  • Red Leader

    We ate there only once. It was delicious and I’m not even a fan of Italian food. Great atmosphere as well.

  • fultonferryres The information about the return of the other two escalators has been posted on an MTA website all along. September 11.

  • tfunk

    A pizzeria is opening at 50 Henry Street (the corner of Henry Street and Cranberry Street). It will be named Jules Pizza.

  • Banet

    Awfully close to Fascati, not to mention Juliana’s, Grimaldi’s CC and that newer place next to Shake Shack.

    Is this the old wine bar location?

  • Peter Scott-Thomas

    Yes…. Don't know if anyone saw the NYT article yesterday about Adams' zoning proposals. One of them is to OK building above commercial structures like Fascati, one would have to figure.

    True, it's phrased as favoring "adding housing above businesses on commercial streets in low-density areas," and "low-density" may or may not include Fascati/Fortune House/3rd place next to them.

    I have mixed feelings about what might be some major changes in Brooklyn Heights, but 70 Henry – less than a block away – proves that change for the better is well within any builder's grasp.

    And given that there are 2 15-story buildings on Henry at Orange & Pierrepont & 3 30-story ones north of Clark St., upzoning that street could be low-hanging fruit. The Times said that the Mayor would likely try to work with the liberal bloc on the City Council, so it could get seriously interesting.

  • MaggieO

    another interesting development – apparently Rockrose bought that little 3-story retail building on the far side of Catholic Charities. The article is paywalled by you can see the headline and photo:

  • Felice Stevens

    So what the heck id it close down for all these months? Ridiculous.