Brooklyn Heights Blog » Real Estate http://brooklynheightsblog.com Dispatches from America's first suburb Tue, 02 Mar 2021 02:20:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 “Moonstruck” House For Sale Againhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/92426 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/92426#comments Mon, 01 Mar 2021 04:22:42 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=92426

As reported by House Beautiful, 19 Cranberry Street, a.k.a. the “Moonstruck House” because it was the principal location for the 1987 romantic comedy Moonstruck, starring Cher and Nicholas Cage, is for sale with an asking price of $12.85 million. Our founder, John “Homer Fink” Loscalzo, noted here that the house was for sale in 2008 with an asking price of $3.95 million, down from an earlier ask of $5 million. Of course, 2008 was the year financial markets went south because of the mortgage loan market crisis.

Perhaps Cosmo’s Moon will inspire someone to buy.

Flickr photo by 24 Gotham

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The Results Are In: BHA’s Future of Montague Street Surveyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/92354 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/92354#comments Wed, 03 Feb 2021 02:39:11 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=92354

The Brooklyn Heights Association recently called for community input on the future of Montague Street, and the survey results are in. BHA promises to use the 1,381 responses “to support the creation of a vibrant and successful Montague Street,” while working with community members, local real estate brokers, and the Montague Street Business Improvement District.

Some highlights from the survey:

1.  Survey respondents want a different retail mix on Montague. Specifically, 80% asked for a bookstore, followed closely by new restaurants and/or cafes. Many would also like to see new types of fresh food establishments, like a butcher, a fishmonger, and a bakery.

2.  Most survey respondents (over 60%) want a greater prioritization of pedestrians/bikes on Montague Street, with more outdoor dining, shopping and seating, along with music and events to bring a more “neighborhood feel” to the street.

3.  Many respondents noted that they currently go elsewhere (DUMBO, Cobble Hill, etc.) to shop and dine. This “retail leakage” could be addressed by bringing more unique and desirable options to Montague Street.

See the complete survey results here.

What’s your wishlist for zhuzhing up Montague Street? Comment below!

 

 

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Brooklyn Heights Association’s Survey for the Future of Montague Streethttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/92178 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/92178#comments Sat, 12 Dec 2020 15:14:51 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=92178

Dear Neighbors – Two things you need to do this weekend:

1.  Fill out Brooklyn Heights Association’s community survey to add your voice for the future of Montague Street.

2.  Read Mary Frost’s (as always) rich and fascinating report in the Eagle on the history of Montague Street retail, and the many reasons for its past and current struggles. Mary digs deep to uncover the issues that go far beyond the obvious, and interviews longtime retailers who offer their frank assessments. A notable quote from Tony Bates, owner of Bentley’s Shoes: “Shopping online is destroying the small businesses. If you want to get an idea of what’s going on on the street, take a look at the UPS store. Take a picture of the people lined up with their returns. This is not Brooklyn Heights, this is Amazon Heights.” A must read.

 

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Comings and Goings on Montague Streethttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/92104 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/92104#comments Wed, 02 Dec 2020 04:00:43 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=92104

This afternoon your correspondent had to walk from his residence to the bank, which entailed going the length of Montague Street. Along the way, he snapped some photos of storefronts either emptied, about to be emptied, or, in one instance, newly occupied, since the outbreak of COVID-19. This doesn’t purport to be an exhaustive survey, but should give a feel for the extent of the pandemic’s effect. Word has it that the Ann Taylor Loft store, at the corner of Montague and Hicks, is soon to be closed.

IMG_4278LPQ, which sits next to Loft, has been empty for some time. As Eater reported in May, the Belgian chain sold its U.S. locations to an American company, Aurify, that operates a number of fast food locations under various brands. Of the 98 LPQ locations Aurify bought, the Eater article says they plan to open “at least 35.” Whether the Montague Street location will be one of them remains to be seen. At least there’s no “For Lease” sign yet.

IMG_4274The site between Henry and Hicks previously occupied by an urgent care facility will, early in 2021, be the home of Oula, “[t]he modern maternity center” that looks forward to “[d]elivering new possibilities.”

IMG_4280B. Good be gone a long time, with no replacement in sight. Upstairs, Choo Choo Cuts has rebranded itself as Capulet’s, thereby claiming the name of what those living here before the mid 1980s may recall as a great bar, located where Cafe Buon Gusto later was until it moved, and which featured Bluegrass sessions every Friday night. The former Capulets/Cafe Buon Gusto location has papered over windows, indicating something new may be going in there.

IMG_4281Ani Sushi? Not ani more.

IMG_4284One new opening! According to Wikipedia, “In the Zen Buddhist tradition, ‘satori’ refers to the tradition of ‘kensho’ [which means] ‘seeing into one’s true nature.'” I suppose hair removal, which the lasers do here, could lead to such a revelation.

IMG_4285Francesca’s appears to be on the way out. Arrivederci!

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Brooklyn Townhouses are Hot; Small Apartments Not?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/92085 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/92085#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2020 03:29:26 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=92085

The publication Mansions Global, which I discovered only because I have a Google alert for anything mentioning Brooklyn Heights (which, along with stuff about our neighborhood, gives me info about a suburb of Cleveland, a poor neighborhood in Nashville, a pizza parlor in Austin, a drag queen popular in the D.C. area, and a race horse), has an article by Michele Lerner with the title “Are Brooklyn Brownstones the New Manhattan Co-op?”

The premise is that COVID-19 has made the wealthy squeamish about having to share building common spaces with potentially contagious fellow residents, guests, and staff. This has made the single family town house (perhaps with a ground level apartment that can be leased at a rental that might be sufficient to pay the mortgage) an attractive proposition. As Ms. Lerner begins her piece:

The allure of owning a condo or co-op in Manhattan, an icon of success for many people, may be fading in favor of something once considered a little mundane: a townhouse in Brooklyn. While the increase in Brooklyn’s desirability has been happening for well over a decade, the pandemic has pushed more people to look for a home with extra indoor and outdoor space and less interaction with neighbors and staff.

She quotes Gerard Splendore, a broker with Warburg Realty, on the attraction of Brooklyn Heights:

Townhouses in Brooklyn Heights are particularly sought-after and tend to have higher prices than some other Brooklyn neighborhoods, said Mr. Splendore, because of their proximity to Manhattan and views of the Manhattan skyline. Williamsburg and Greenpoint also have an easy commute to Manhattan, and Ditmas Park, close to Prospect Park, has freestanding houses as well as townhouses, he said.

Meanwhile, the New York Times has a story by Kim Velsey about the effect of the pandemic on the less affluent. It tells of a couple – James Casey, an associate director of a biology lab at Barnard College, and Erin Boyle, a writer with a blog, Reading My Tea Leaves – who lived happily with their three children, now ranging in age from six years to nine months, in a 500 square foot one bedroom apartment here in Brooklyn Heights. Before the pandemic hit, this was tolerable, because they weren’t almost always all at home at the same time. COVID changed this, and they needed more space, so they’ve now moved to an 800 square foot two bedroom floor-through in Carroll Gardens.

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Permanently Closed: Brooklyn Heights Businesses Lost To The Pandemichttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/91860 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/91860#comments Mon, 12 Oct 2020 01:49:31 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=91860

Seven months into the pandemic, most of our local small businesses are hanging on. With pure grit and ingenuity, restaurants turned parking spots into dining spaces, and retail stores went online until their doors could open again. Tragically, not all of the businesses survived the long shutdown, not to mention the loss of tourists and nearly half of the residents who left town for months. Here, we memorialize the Brooklyn Heights businesses that permanently closed since March 2020.

Jack the Horse Tavern (66 Hicks St.)

Jack the Horse Tavern (66 Hicks St.)

JtH Next Door (66 Hicks St.)

JtH Next Door (66 Hicks St.)

Five Guys (138 Montague St.)

Five Guys (138 Montague St.)

Amy's Bread and East & West Wellness

Amy’s Bread (72 Clark St.)

Chocolate Works (110 Montague St.)

Chocolate Works (110 Montague St.)

The Heights Salon of Brooklyn (136 Montague St.)

The Heights Salon of Brooklyn (136 Montague St.)

Scott J Aveda Salon (119 Montague St.)

Scott J Aveda Salon (119 Montague St.)

B.GOOD (141 Montague St.)

B.GOOD (141 Montague St.)

Heights Nail Salon (60 Henry St.)

Heights Nail Salon (60 Henry St.)

Le Pain Quotidien (121 Montague St.)

Le Pain Quotidien (121 Montague St.)

WMA Karate (67 Atlantic Ave.) (Classes moved online and outdoors - wmakarate.com)

WMA Karate (67 Atlantic Ave.) (Classes moved online and outdoors – wmakarate.com)

Blossom Poke Bowl (153 Remsen St.)

Blossom Poke Bowl (153 Remsen St.)

Cafecito (Clark St. Station)

Cafecito (Clark St. Station)

Emack & Bolio (115 Montague St.) (To close permanently on 10/31/20.) (Photo courtesy of BHB reader.)

Emack & Bolio (115 Montague St.) (To close permanently on 10/31/20.) (Photo courtesy of BHB reader.)

The loss of these small businesses is a blow to the community. Some are simply irreplaceable. What could possibly fill the void that Cranberry’s or Jack the Horse left behind? But we can find hope in knowing that there are already small signs of recovery and renewal. Here are three businesses that opened in the midst of the pandemic and by all indications, are fast becoming favorites of the neighborhood.

Cardinal Mkt (44 Henry St.)

Cardinal Mkt (44 Henry St.)

Vineapple (71 Pineapple St.)

Vineapple (71 Pineapple St.)

Ella Crown Bakehouse (149 Atlantic Ave.)

Ella Crown Bakehouse (149 Atlantic Ave.)

Support our local economy. Support our small businesses.

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Montague BID Head Tapped to Lead Atlantic Avenue BID; Will Have Both Roleshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/91658 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/91658#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2020 02:44:09 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=91658

The Eagle has reported that Kate Chura has been named the new Executive Director of the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District (“BID”), of which she has been serving as interim Executive Director for some time. She has also served as Executive Director of the Montague Street BID for almost five years, and will continue to hold that post concurrently with that at Atlantic Avenue.

The Eagle story quotes Greg Markman, board chair of the Montague Street BID, praising Ms. Chura for her “marketing efforts”; her help in getting a “greenest commercial block” award, and her promotion of “events that brought foot traffic to Montague Street ….” He added that

“Over the past six months, the efforts of Kate and her team have helped some of our businesses remain open during the pandemic. I’m confident that she will help the businesses on Montague Street and Atlantic Avenue continue to navigate the new business landscape and thrive as best as they can.”

The only fly we can see in this ointment is: suppose, after the pandemic fades, there are (as we think there are likely to be) many vacant commercial spaces on both Montague and Atlantic. If rivalry develops over who gets new tenants, can she remain neutral?

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Artist, Philanthropist, Carousel Namesake, Jane Walentas Dies at 76http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/91340 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/91340#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2020 02:56:40 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=91340

As reported by Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Brooklyn Paper, Philanthropist, Artist, Real Estate Developer, and “First Lady of Dumbo,” Jane Walentas passed away July 5th after a brief battle with cancer. She was 76 years old.

The Walentas Family and their management company, Two Trees, is synonymous with DUMBO as we now know it. And the carousel, which has delighted children and adults alike since September 2011, is inseparable from Jane.

A New York Times article from 2011 traces the journey of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel, originally installed in Youngstown, OH in 1922, to Brooklyn. Purchased by the Walentas’ in 1984, much of the tedious scraping away of decades of paint was carried out by Jane herself with an Exacto blade. She told WNYC in 2011, “It’s not a labor of love, it’s an obsession.”

In November 2012 Hurricane Sandy threatened to wash the carousel away. Fortunately, it endured, as will Jane’s legacy of creativity and generosity. We at the blog send our deepest condolences to the entire Walentas family.

Photo credit: SongBirdNYC

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Promenade’s Montague Street Entrance Being Clearedhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/90971 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/90971#comments Mon, 11 May 2020 15:08:21 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=90971

This morning a crew from Everest Scaffolding has been busy removing planks from atop the sidewalk bridge covering the Montague Street entrance to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The bridge is there to protect pedestrians from possible falling debris caused by inspection and repointing of Two Montague Terrace’s facade. Our surmise is that the work on the north facing facade been completed.  It appears they are leaving the bridge covering the sidewalk on the Montague Terrace side.

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Sorry, Brooklyn Heights Did Not Set a Property Value Recordhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/90768 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/90768#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2020 02:23:08 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=90768

There’s been a lot of excitement in various forums since Curbed reported that a “Brooklyn Heights penthouse” sold for $20 million, a record for any residential property in the Borough of Brooklyn. Oddly, the New York Post story Curbed cites gives the correct location of the penthouse: Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Penthouse sits atop Quay Tower, seen in your correspondent’s photo, taken from the Promenade, looming over One Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s what’s just below that brownish structure enclosing the building’s mechanicals. To be fair, the penthouse is higher than Brooklyn Heights, but only because it’s on top of a high rise building built on a littoral plain.

Perhaps, though, we should be grateful that this geographical misattribution might boost property values in the Heights.

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BHA Annual Meeting: BQE, Clark Street Station, Empty Storefronts, and Morehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/90241 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/90241#comments Sat, 29 Feb 2020 22:27:01 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=90241

Wednesday’s Brooklyn Heights Association annual meeting began with a summary, by BHA President Martha Bakos Dietz, of BHA’s accomplishments during the previous year.  First among these was the apparent elimination of the city Department of Transportation’s plan to demolish the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and replace it with a temporary six lane highway. Both the expert panel appointed by Mayor de Blasio and the City Council have now rejected that plan. Still, Ms. Bakos Dietz said, there is work to be done. The BHA has joined with A Better Way NYC and the Cobble Hill Association to form the Coalition for the BQE Transformation which, in conjunction with other affected community groups, will strive to assure a plan for the future of the BQE that respects the needs of these communities and realistically reflects future transportation needs. In the photo above (by and © Andrew Porter) Ms. Bakos Dietz is shown holding the new poster designed for the Coalition, which she said can now replace the “No Highway to Hell” posters.

The planned eight month closure of the Clark Street subway station to replace its three decrepit elevators will, Ms. Bakos Dietz said, begin sometime in 2021. The Transit Authority has given assurances that it will take steps to help the merchants whose shops line the arcade outside the turnstiles by putting up signs that inform the public that the arcade, and the shops, are open during the construction.  During the later question and answer session, someone noted that during an earlier and shorter closure of the station about twenty years ago, the merchants had been given rent abatements.

The Brooklyn House of Detention is outside but close to the Heights, and plans for its expansion, in conjunction with the City’s planned closure of Rikers Island, are a concern for Heights residents. Ms. Bakos Dietz said the existing House of Detention is now closed and will be demolished. Its replacement, scheduled to be completed in 2026, will, thanks to advocacy by the BHA and other community groups, be much lower than the City’s original plan.

Rats have been a problem on the Promenade. Ms. Bakos Dietz said the City Parks Department will provide twenty rat-proof trash receptacles, and increase extermination efforts. During the Q&A period, a Heights resident said the area below the circle at the north end of the Promenade and the walkway paralleling Columbia Heights is a dumping ground for trash and an ideal rat habitat. Andrew Porter pointed out that this area, which is adjacent to the BQE, is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation. Ms. Bakos Dietz said, “We have lots of experience dealing with them.”

Finally, Ms. Bakos Dietz said there is a six month moratorium in effect on film shoots in the North Heights; when it expires a six month moratorium for the South Heights will become effective.

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Ms. Bakos Dietz was recognized for her three years of service as the BHA’s President. Following her report, WNET-13 host and Heights resident Tom Stewart (in red tie in the photo above by C. Scales for BHB; at left in the photo is BHA Executive Director Lara Birnback) presented awards for community service. The first was to architect, urban planner, and Heights resident Marc Wouters (at right in photo above) for his work with the BHA in designing alternative routes for the BQE.

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The other was to a group of local residents who formed the Promenade Gardens Mapping Project to map the locations of plantings in the Promenade Gardens. The map will be a useful resource should BQE work cause damage to the Gardens. Members of the group are in the photo above (by and © Andrew Porter), with Mr. Stewart standing behind them.

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Following the community awards there was a panel discussion on the topic “Empty Storefronts and Our Commercial Corridors: How Can We Help Great Local Businesses Survive and Thrive?” The panelists were (left to right in the photo above, by and © Andrew Porter): Randy Peers, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of CommerceDeborah Marton, Executive Director of the Van Alen Institute and a Heights resident; and Nur Asri, Senior Research Analyst at Streetsense. The moderator, at right, was New York Times reporter and Heights resident Eliza Shapiro.  It quickly became evident that the panelists didn’t think there was any primary cause of the proliferation of vacant commercial properties, or any single or easy solution. High rents have been an important contributing factor, but they have recently been declining. On line shopping has disrupted retail for items like clothing, and even groceries, but it hasn’t affected the demand for restaurants or for services like barber shops and hair stylists, nail salons, and urgent care facilities. Some traditional stores survive because they provide good value and service, and because of a loyal customer base. In some neighborhoods, like Williamsburg, new construction has increased the supply of available commercial space while in others, like Brownsville, spaces that become vacant find few takers. High property taxes, regulations and bureaucratic inefficiency, an example being the long waiting time for liquor licenses, are an impediment to new business formations.

The panelists were unenthusiastic about the efficacy, or desirability, of a “vacancy tax.” During the Q&A, an audience member noted that an owner of a vacant property could, assuming they had another property or properties generating income, get a tax write off for the vacant property.  One panelist suggested that property owners should be encouraged to allow temporary “pop-up” users of vacant spaces.  Perhaps most important was the advice to be loyal to any local business that you love.

For more detail on the BHA Annual Meeting, see  Mary Frost’s Eagle story.

Addendum: an item I should have added to the original post was that, during the Q&A, one audience member raised a perennial issue; that of helicopter noise. He asked if there was any reason helicopters had been hovering above Remsen Street. Another person suggested that an increase in helicopter use of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport might lead to hovering while waiting for landing space. Someone else mentioned the Uber helicopter service from downtown to JFK. Ms. Bakos Dietz said the BHA is aware of the problem, and has contacted the organizers of Stop the Chop to plan a response.

 

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Brooklyn Heights Association Annual Meeting Wednesday Evening, February 26http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/90177 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/90177#comments Thu, 20 Feb 2020 04:01:21 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=90177

The Brooklyn Heights Association will have its 2020 Annual Meeting this coming Wednesday evening, February 26 at Founders Hall, St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street (between Clinton and Court).  The meeting starts at 7:00, but you’re advised to come early. Last year’s meeting was standing room only for later arrivals. All are invited; you need not be a BHA member to attend.

This year’s meeting will feature a panel discussion, followed by Q&A from the audience, on the problem of empty storefronts and how to keep commercial corridors like Henry and Montague streets “alive and thriving.” The BHA will present an update on its work on local issues, including an update on the BQE repair.  Community service awards will be presented to the volunteers who mapped the plantings in the Promenade Gardens to facilitate replacement of anything lost because of the BQE repair, and to architect and urban planner Marc Wouters for his work with the BHA to show there are alternatives to the Department of Transportation’s plan to place a temporary highway at the location of the Promenade.

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What’s in the Crystal Ball for Brooklyn?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89893 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89893#comments Wed, 01 Jan 2020 17:20:06 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=89893

The Eagle’s Mary Frost interviewed prominent Brooklynites, asking for their views on Brooklyn’s future. Carlo Scissura, head of the Mayor’s panel studying the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, predicts that “the BQE will get some much-needed love and attention.” Love? He also thinks the Nets will make the playoffs. Karen Johnson, owner of DUMBO’s Olympia Wine Bar, thinks the BQE will continue to be an issue, along with subway overcrowding (that’s what happens when your only convenient subway is the F train). Both Lara Birnback, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, and Regina Myer, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, believe the re-opening of the historic Gage & Tollner restaurant on Fulton Street will have a major effect. Ms. Birnback predicts it “will become the hottest reservation in town.” Cobble Hill Association president Amy Breedlove says “NYU will break ground and begin construction at 70 Atlantic Ave. on the former LICH campus.” Borough President Eric Adams thinks there will be “new and innovative” ways to deal with the problem of homelessness.

The boldest prediction comes from Brooklyn Brewery co-founder and chairperson Steve Hindy, who thinks “Brooklyn will annex Queens and the Bronx” and secede from New York City.

There’s lots more in Mary’s Eagle story; well worth a read.

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Inside the Hotel Bossert with Montague BIDhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89731 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89731#comments Sat, 30 Nov 2019 20:21:01 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=89731

You may recall earlier this week, Claude reminded us that today is Small Business Saturday and the Montague BID would be hosting a “selfies with elves” event at none other than the lobby of the storied Hotel Bossert. We won’t get into the 7+ years longat times heart-warming, always intriguing, and unendingly mysterious saga of the Bossert. It’s a holiday weekend afterall. Let us just feast our eyes on these photos of the stunning lobby. (For best results, click on photos to enlarge.)

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Radiator Grill with Hotel Logo Inscriptions

Radiator Grill with Hotel Logo Inscriptions

Outside the Bossert, a WPIX van was parked, presumably to report on the event. Inside was a security guard who, to the question, “when is the hotel opening,” replied with all sincerity, “I have no idea.” And let’s not forget the sprightly elf who greeted every shopper with an abundance of holiday cheer.

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This holiday season, shop local, shop small, shop early and don’t stress.

 

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Bossert Blueshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89541 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89541#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2019 00:33:18 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=89541

Like the refugees in Casablanca, those eagerly awaiting the re-opening of the Hotel Bossert must wait…and wait…and wait…

As Brooklyn Eagle reported last week, the scheduled soft opening last month didn’t happen (again). Reporter Lore Crohan couldn’t track down anyone willing to offer any explanations, trying to contact a variety of people associated with the Chetrit Group, which owns the property, to no avail: messages and phone calls yielded no response.

The Eagle story offers context of the building’s history and links galore to previous stories about the hotel’s redevelopment…none of which, sadly, offer much encouragement about what might happen next.

So, like those of us pining for the late, great Squibb Bridge…we wait.

As always, support local journalism and the people who did the work: click here for the full story.

 

 

 

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Housing Works Thrift Shops Coming Back to Montague St.!http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89404 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89404#comments Fri, 04 Oct 2019 23:39:43 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=89404

Who says there’s no good news anymore? The tip came from a friend and neighbor via text tonight.

Housing Works is coming back to Montague St.!

You may recall, to the dismay of the entire neighborhood, Housing Works closed shop at the location on Montague off Henry St. in March 2017, and was replaced by Halstead Real Estate. Housing Works will now move into the location that Halstead vacated at 150 Montague St., next to Francesca’s. The best switcheroo imaginable!

We no longer have to trek to Park Slope to donate gently-used items to help fund Housing Works’ invaluable support of the homeless and people living with HIV. Or to find that like-new, stunning, mid-century sofa you never thought you needed, but really do need.

Our little friend Arie says “thumbs up!”

Housing Works 2

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Goodbye, Teresa’s?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89147 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89147#comments Fri, 06 Sep 2019 02:42:07 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=89147

Thanks to reader AbbeyK we have a link to a real estate ad that lists 80 Montague Street, Teresa’s Restaurant, as for lease. If it is leased to a new tenant, your correspondent may have to go far afield – Greenpoint?; East Village? – to get his tripe soup and kielbasa fix. Moreover, Brooklyn’s elite will have to find a new power breakfast spot. And what could afford the $18K/month rent the ad asks? Applebee’s? The Cheesecake Factory? The Olive Garden? God help us.

Say it ain’t so!

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Chip Shop Space To Go Italian, With “Natural Wines”http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89125 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89125#comments Wed, 04 Sep 2019 02:04:03 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=89125

The New York Times, in today’s Restaurant Review by Florence Fabricant, reveals that the space next door to Colonie, on Atlantic Avenue, previously occupied by your correspondent’s beloved Chip Shop, will become Ping, a “natural wine” bar – that is, one serving “wines that are made with minimal intervention, like chemical additives or commercial yeast.” It will be owned by the owners of Colonie, and

will have mostly bar seating for a list of [these] ‘low-intervention wines’ and Italian-style aperitifs. The food, by Jared Braithwaite, the chef in both places, will be inspired by coastal Italy.

While I still mourn the Chip Shop, I’m looking forward to trying Ping’s wines and fare.

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Latest Montague Street Restaurant Closure and Relocationhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89076 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/89076#comments Sat, 24 Aug 2019 21:57:43 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=89076

Walking past Cafe Buon Gusto this afternoon, I saw this sign in a window: “To all our customers we are moving to a new location 132 Montague starting Sept. 3.” Of course I had to find 132 Montague. It wasn’t hard; it’s on the same block, between Clinton and Henry, on the opposite (north) side. IMG_2309Yes, it’s the site occupied by Dariush, offering “Persian Cuisine” for what seems like just a few months. The sign in the window says “We are temporary [sic] closed!! We will reopen on September 3rd.” If the sign at Cafe Buon Gusto is to be believed, the place will reopen September 3, but as Cafe Buon Gusto, not Dariush.

The downstairs space at 132 Montague has not been a happy one for restaurants of late; it may be the worst in Brooklyn Heights. Before Dariush, it was briefly a Mexican/Spanish place that had very good and inexpensive fish tacos. Before that, also and in my opinion unfortunately briefly, it was an Argentinian steak place that served excellent steaks at reasonable prices. Before that, and for I think several years, it was a Spanish tapas place. Someone with a better memory than mine will have to fill in its earlier incarnations.

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Eagle’s Mary Frost Goes Deep With New BHA Exec Directorhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88893 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88893#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2019 02:21:18 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88893

The Eagle’s Mary Frost interviewed in depth the new Brooklyn Heights Association Executive Director Lara Birnback. Ms. Birnback is a California native, but has lived in the Heights for many years. Her husband grew up here. She has extensive experience in community development in the U.S. and abroad.

As a Heights resident she is aware of the major issues affecting the community: the BQE reconstruction: development around the Heights; and the proposed new jail on Atlantic Avenue. She also wants to focus on “micro” issues, like broken tree pits and rat infestations. She has a special affinity for small businesses and their problems. Education is another of her priorities. She also wants to create closer relationships with our neighbors in Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, DUMBO, and others to deal with issues affecting all these neighborhoods.

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Landmarks Approves Plan for Hotel at 186 Remsenhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88672 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88672#comments Thu, 20 Jun 2019 02:27:40 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88672

Lore Croghan reports in the Eagle that the Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved the design for the Remsen Manor Hotel, which will use as its base the historic Franklin Building at 186 Remsen Street (between Clinton and Court), including restoration of its top two stories, which were destroyed in a fire. There will be a six story addition in a modern style, set back 52 feet from the street facing wall. The LPC’s only condition was that the architects replace the almost white terra cotta panels on the facade of the addition with something that will look less institutional.

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New York Times Notes Transformation of Montague Streethttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88619 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88619#comments Sun, 16 Jun 2019 04:04:41 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88619

In Sunday’s New York Times Metropolitan Section, Ginia Bellafante’s Big City column has the title “The Empty Storefront Crisis and the End of the American Dream”. She begins by telling the story of Sam I-Rumi, proprietor of Pet’s Emporium on Montague Street (photo, by C. Scales), who immigrated to New York in 1980 at the age of eighteen. After nine years here he opened his store on Montague; its survival for thirty years makes Ms. Bellafante describe it, and him, as “the hardiest plant in the most unforgiving weather.”

Of Montague Street as a whole, Ms. Bellafante writes:

“[O]nce the prime shopping artery of an affluent neighborhood, [it] has few of the sort of independent stores that people who live near it actually want. Like so many other commercial stretches of the city, it has storefronts that have been vacant for months and even years. When Sam first established himself in Brooklyn Heights, Yemeni immigrants owned many of the businesses. The narrative that followed featured the predictable story arc: Rents went up and up and up; Amazon and FreshDirect colonized our shopping habits; cellphone stores and urgent-care facilities descended.”

Now, as we know, one of the urgent care facilities on Montague has closed, and its space has been vacant for months.

Ms. Bellafante goes on to note that for immigrants, for many years opening small, storefront businesses “was a viable and important path to prosperity.” Today, that path of opportunity is being blocked. She observes:

“We often talk about the empty-storefront problem as a crisis of urban planning and inadequate regulation, a threat to a beloved and intimate style of consumerism. But what is at stake is much greater than that — a blockage in a pipeline to social mobility when so many other opportunities have been foreclosed.”

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The Eagle Gets the Inside and Topside Scoop on the Bosserthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88573 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88573#comments Sat, 08 Jun 2019 00:52:46 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88573

The Eagle’s Lore Croghan was allowed into the Bossert Hotel, now preparing for a “soft opening” in August, and got great photos (follow the link, after clicking “Read full story” below) of the lobby’s elaborate decor, along with a peek at one of the hotel rooms, and some spectacular shots from the rooftop terrace outside what will be a bar. Bars and restaurants will not be part of the “soft opening”; they will open later at an unspecified time.

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Bye for Meow, Clark Pethttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88473 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88473#comments Tue, 28 May 2019 23:41:15 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88473

Early Monday afternoon, this text message (which I’ve edited for clarity) hit my phone:

Dear valued customers,

This is Mike, the owner of Clark Pet. Due to the very high rent of Clark Pet store, the store is moving to DUMBO, to my giant big branch store named Pet Promise located at 140 Plymouth St. under the Manhattan Bridge. The store is doing full service grooming, boarding, cat sitting, etc. To book a grooming appointment or to have free delivery, you can call or text 347 – 247 – 4963.

By early Tuesday evening, the store at 57 Clark Street was virtually empty, and Mike was both overseeing and participating in the major clean-up and moving operation.

“The new store is huge!” he said enthusiastically, after some obvious disgruntlement at the $11,000 rent now expected for the Clark Street space into which he moved in 2008.

According to the Pet Promise website, the facility also offers self-washing facilities, if you want to wash your own dog without getting soap all over the bathroom.

The phone number at Pet Promise is 718-852-7208.

Not long ago, the North Heights was home to three pet shop/groomers. Let’s hope Rocco and Jezebel and Pets Emporium can both stick around for a while.

Photo by Teresa Genaro

Photo by Teresa Genaro

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Will Hell Freeze Over? Bossert Said to Have “Soft Opening” in Augusthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88327 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88327#comments Fri, 03 May 2019 03:54:42 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88327

Brownstoner reports that the Bossert Hotel, at Montague and Hicks streets, may have a “soft opening” in August, followed by a “hard opening” in September. The owners have applied for a liquor license, in which they have disclosed these details:

The liquor license will cover a restaurant on the ground floor and a bar in the lobby (which will have live piano music), two ballrooms (used for weddings and other events) and a bar on the 14th floor that has both indoor and outdoor seating.

No music is planned for the outdoor area, which will close at 10 p.m. every night, Huey told the community board. The indoor area of the 14th floor will close at 11 p.m., while the restaurant and bar downstairs will close at midnight.

The newly appointed managers of the Bossert are the managers of the Tillary Hotel in downtown Brooklyn. According to the Post story, the Tillary has attracted a young crowd and some neighbors have complained. The story quotes the manager as saying: “At the Bossert, the goal would be higher rates, more corporate clients — we’re aiming toward a five-star hotel.”

PHoto: SongBird NYC for BHB.

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Hearing on Proposed Brooklyn Jail Expansion Thursday Eveninghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88220 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88220#comments Wed, 10 Apr 2019 02:42:47 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88220

The Brooklyn Heights Association has advised us that Brooklyn Community Board 2 will hold a public hearing on this Thursday evening, April 11 from 5:00 to 9:00 (doors open at 4:30), at the Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School Auditorium, 357 Clermont Avenue (Enter off Greene Avenue) — see map here. The nearest subway stop, two blocks away, is the Clinton-Washington Avenue G.

According to the BHA

The hearing is the start of a 7-month land use review process (ULURP) that will culminate with a final decision by the City Council on Mayor de Blasio’s plan to close Rikers Island and construct four new jails, one in each borough except Staten Island. Targeting an eventual jail population of 5,750 detainees – down from the current level of 7,800 – each jail would house up to 1,437 detainees.

The proposed new jail, located at the site of the present jail on Atlantic Avenue near Brooklyn Heights, would be 395 feet tall according to the text supplied by the BHA, although the accompanying illustration says 450 feet. Either would be higher than currently allowed by zoning. It would have underground parking for 292 cars.

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Affordable Housing Lottery Open for The Pierreponthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88113 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88113#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2019 04:35:10 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88113

As seen on the Brooklyn Heights Association’s Facebook page:

There are 23 newly constructed affordable housing units at 146 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn, 11201 currently accepting applications. Preference will be given to people already living in Community Board 2 (Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Clinton Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Ft. Greene, Vinegar Hill).

Applications are due March 27th, 2019. For more information: www.thepierrepontbk.com. To apply: nyc.gov/housingconnect or by mail to 146 Pierrepont Street Apartments, 1357 Broadway, Box 309 New York, NY 10018.

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BQE and Mega-Jail Dominate BHA Annual Meetinghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88032 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88032#comments Fri, 01 Mar 2019 14:33:21 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88032

It was standing room only at the Founders Hall Auditorium of St. Francis College for Tuesday’s Annual Meeting of the Brooklyn Heights Association. As the Eagle’s Mary Frost reports, BHA President Martha Bakos Dietz said the BHA had submitted to the City’s Department of Transportation an alternative plan that would avoid putting a temporary six lane highway in the present location of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and that the DOT has said it is considering this alternative, as well as “three to five others.” Ms. Dietz also announced that the BHA will hold a town hall meeting on the BQE a 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 at Plymouth Church.

The Eagle story also reports that the City’s proposal to increase the size of the Brooklyn House of Detention, located on Atlantic Avenue a few blocks from Brooklyn Heights, to forty stories, is opposed by the BHA for its lack of context and environmental effects, as well as for the City’s failure to have, in Ms. Dietz’s words, any “meaningful engagement with the affected community.” She noted that the City wants to start its land use review process (“ULURP”) for the jail expansion next month. The BHA has urged the City to delay starting ULURP, “identify a second jail site within Brooklyn,” and consider “alternatives to incarceration” for certain inmates.

Photo: Andrew Porter

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Goodbye, Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable? Also 192 Montague, AKA 200 Montague, to be Razed for Residential?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88003 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88003#comments Tue, 19 Feb 2019 23:03:41 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88003

For some years now my wife and I have patronized Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable, at 181 Atlantic Avenue, a few doors west of Sahadi’s, for fresh produce at reasonable prices. It appears this may be coming to an end soon. According to Brooklyn Community Board 2, the agenda for its Land Use Committee meeting to be held at 6:00 PM tomorrow, Wednesday, February 20 at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Dibner Building, Room LC400, 5 Metrotech Center (on the north side of the Metrotech Commons) includes this item:

181 Atlantic Avenue — Brooklyn Heights Historic District — Application is to demolish the existing, one-story, commercial building and construct a new, four-story, apartment building with ground floor retail using concrete masonry unit construction and four-inch face brick, a pre-cast metal cornice, cast stone lintels and at the ground floor, aluminum and glass with custom columns, corbels and cornice.

IMG_1133We earlier noted that a demolition permit had been filed for the four story commercial building at 192 Montague Street (photo above), sometimes known as 200 Montague, but that no plans had been filed for its replacement. Now on the Land Use Committee’s agenda for tomorrow is the following:

200 Montague Street — Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District — Application is to demolish an existing, four-story, “Altered Modern” commercial building and construct a new, 20-story residential building with ground floor retail.

Whatever action is taken by the Land Use Committee tomorrow, these applications will be further considered by the Executive Committee at its meeting to be held at 6:00 pm, Monday, February 25, 2019 at the CB2 District Office, 350 Jay Street, 8th Floor (across from Metrotech).

Photos: Claude Scales for BHB

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Emily Blunt & John Krasinski Buy “A Quiet Place” in Brooklyn Heightshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87780 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87780#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2019 22:39:51 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87780

The Real Deal and WSJ report A-Listers Emily Blunt (“Mary Poppins Returns”) and John Krasinski (The Office) have purchased adjacent apartments at The Standish for a cool $11M. Sources close to the deal say once combined the renovated apartment will take up an entire floor of the building.

The power couple, who starred together in the horror-suspense flick, “A Quiet Place” directed by Krasinski,  joins Matt Damon and family at the famed building on 171 Columbia Heights. Damon’s penthouse purchase for $16.6 broke Brooklyn sales records.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

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