Brooklyn Heights Blog » Real Estate http://brooklynheightsblog.com Dispatches from America's first suburb Mon, 03 Aug 2020 01:32:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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!”

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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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New Life for 186 Remsen? Bye-bye 192 Montague?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87742 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87742#comments Mon, 07 Jan 2019 03:23:24 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87742

In a post this past September I speculated about the future of 186 Remsen Street (photo, by C. Scales), which I have long liked as an example of Victorian Romanesque architecture. In the post I noted that the building had been acquired by Up Ventures LLC, who had filed plans for a fourteen story hotel on the site. Being east of Clinton Street, the site is outside the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, with its fifty foot height limit on new construction, but it is in the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District, which means that the Landmarks Preservation Commission would have to approve any changes to it.

Thanks to Brooklyn Community Board 2 we now know that Up Ventures has made

[a]pplication … to restore the façade, replicate the original two-story mansard roof destroyed by fire, recreate missing iron balconies and fences, install ADA-compliant ramp, reconstruct the rear portion of the building, construct a six-story rooftop addition set back 50 feet, and excavate the rear yard.

This application will be considered at an LPC public hearing to be held on Tuesday, January 15 at One Centre Street, 9th floor, in Manhattan. Hearings are to start at 9:30 AM, and 186 Remsen is the second item on the agenda.

Meanwhile, New York YIMBY reports that demolition permits have been filed for 192 Montague Street, AKA 200 Montague (see linked story for photo), a four story office and retail building on the south side of Montague between Clinton and Court streets. According to the YIMBY story, “It is unclear what plans are in store for the 10,000 square-foot lot as no permits have been filed. According to filings, Matthew Abreu of The Cayre Group is listed as the owner.” Update: According to Lore Croghan in the Eagle, demolition of 192/200 Montague will require Landmarks approval, as it is in the Skyscraper Historic District.

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Local News Round-Up: Kushner Gives Refunds; Changes At Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87625 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87625#comments Fri, 07 Dec 2018 03:41:42 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87625

One need only look the towers rising all around us to know that the little guy doesn’t often survive a battle with Big Real Estate…but at 89 Hicks Street, that’s what happened.

Crain’s reports that after a class-action lawuit by five tenants, Kushner Cos. re-paid $100,000 that it had overcharged them in “skirting” rent regulation laws.

 

Lawyers for the tenants and others in similar situations in Brooklyn Heights buildings purchased by Kushner Co. say that further litigation is likely, despite Kushner Cos.’ attorney’s contention that the matter is settled. Get the full story at Crain’s. 

Water over a troubled bridge? We hear from Curbed that repairs on the long-beleaguered Squibb Bridge will come to an end. But wait! Instead of a revamped bridge, we’re going to get a brand spanking new one…sometime in 2020.

The new bridge will dispense with the sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials that have been heretofore used, replacing them prefab steel and aluminum.

BBP president Eric Landau told Curbed, “We feel really, really strongly that having a functional bridge that doesn’t call into question whether or not it’s going to be open is paramount.”

Well, yeah. That would be good.

Cost of the new bridge is estimated at $6.5 million, just shy of the $7.5 million that’s already gone into it.  More details at Curbed.

At least all the extra steps you’ll be taking to access the Park from the Heights will justify a stop at the bottom of the hill once Ample Hills takes over the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, as reported by Eater. As the ice cream fanatics among us (myself included) know all too well, Ample Hills is already established at the south end of the Park, and if I might editorialize, it was rather nice having two types of ice cream available in the Park. But fans of the Factory, take heart: the owners hope to find another location nearby.

 

As always, please go the sources for these articles for additional details and to support their original reporting and writing. We couldn’t bring the news to you without them, and the world of digital media is not such a happy place to be these days.

Photo credit: Claire Scanlon, used with permission via Pexels

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Goodbye, Chip Shop, and Other Neighborhood Changeshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87607 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87607#comments Mon, 03 Dec 2018 02:26:15 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87607

Your correspondent was deeply saddened, on arriving for his and his wife’s (this time joined by some neighbors) usual Friday night dinner at the Chip Shop, to find at the top of the extensive beers, ales, and ciders menu a note that the place would close at the end of this weekend, having lost its lease. I returned today to enjoy one last Full English Breakfast and the company of others who had been regulars there, as well as some I hadn’t met before, and of long time bartender Liz Drobits (photo).

Atlantic Avenue has lost one other watering hole. Last weekend, as I was walking past, I saw a notice in the window of the empty (on a Saturday afternoon) Roebling Inn, announcing that its last night was the Friday before. Atlantic has thus lost two venues in which fans of English Premier League football (soccer to us Yanks) could gather to cheer their favorites: London’s Arsenal club at the Chip Shop; Liverpool at Roebling.

Reader Haley Geftman-Gold has notified us, on OTW, that the space at the northeast corner of Montague and Henry, above Pinto, formerly occupied by Vegetarian Ginger, is being taken by a chain called Otto’s Tacos. Reader Jorale-man has helpfully given us a link to their menu. There’s another interesting development taking place at 76 Montague, the former Friend of a Farmer location, that’s hardly a secret anymore, but our Teresa Genaro, who has the inside track on this, will be posting about it soon.

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Shop Small? Find Out What Can Be Done To Fight “Mallification” At BHS Thursday Eveninghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87566 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87566#comments Wed, 28 Nov 2018 02:50:13 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87566

This Thursday evening, November 29 starting at 6:30 the Brooklyn Historical Society will present “Malls vs. Bodegas: Resisting the Suburbanization of the City.” This panel discussion will be moderated by Paul Goldberger, contributing editor of Vanity Fair. Admission is $5, or free for BHS members. Make reservations and more information here.

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BHA to Meet With DOT Commissioner on BQE – Promenade Issuehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87460 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87460#comments Mon, 12 Nov 2018 02:17:01 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87460

The Brooklyn Heights Association has announced that they have scheduled a meeting with City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and DOT engineers on Monday, November 19 at which BHA “will press DOT to abandon the 6-lane highway on the Promenade in favor of a better approach to rebuilding the BQE.”

The BHA has retained engineering consultants to evaluate alternatives to DOT’s plan and assess ways to reduce traffic on the BQE during the construction period. Their expertise will greatly assist the BHA in showing DOT that viable alternatives exist and warrant its consideration.

The change in control of the State Senate following last week’s election, the BHA notes, may

pave the way for passage of a long-delayed congestion pricing plan that would place tolls on the East River crossings. This measure would reduce traffic on the BQE, making alternative construction approaches more feasible and mitigating their environmental impacts. With this new political opportunity, the BHA will advocate for the passage of this congestion pricing plan.

Posters (photo) and buttons are available for free at the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange, 55 Pierrepont Street, and at the Montague Key Food. To help finance the BHA’s efforts to save the Promenade, you may donate to their BQE Fund here. You don’t have to be a BHA member to contribute.

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Is 186 Remsen Doomed to the Wrecking Ball?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87060 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87060#comments Mon, 17 Sep 2018 02:54:57 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87060

I wish I could have gotten a better photo of what I consider to be a magnificent building, but the lighting and shadows were against me, as was a bit of sidewalk shed protecting pedestrians from falling debris generated by renovation work on the building at the corner of Court and Remsen. “Magnificent?” I know some readers are thinking. “That old pile?” Old it is, completed in 1887. It was designed by Parfitt & Parfitt, two English brothers who also gave us the Montague and the Grosvenor, on Montague Street. I’ll also confess that I have a love for Victorian Romanesque architecture, of which I think this is a fine example. In 2012, its history was related as a Brownstoner Building of the Day.

As for its recent history, when I arrived in the Heights in 1983 it was the National Headquarters of the NAACP. After the NAACP departed for Baltimore, the building was taken over by the Little Flower Children’s Services. Then it became vacant, and has remained so for some years. I kept hoping St. Francis College, its next door neighbor to the west, would find some use for it. Now, according to this New York YIMBY post, it’s been acquired by Upventures LLC, who have filed plans for a fourteen story hotel on the site. The plans do not contemplate keeping the existing building and adding to it, but demolition plans have not yet been filed.

186 Remsen, which is between Court and Clinton streets, is outside the Heights Historic District, but it is inside the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District, which means that any plan to demolish 186 Remsen would need approval of the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

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Alice’s Tea Cup Coming to Hicks and Middaghhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86982 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86982#comments Tue, 11 Sep 2018 02:52:33 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86982

We’ve been alerted by reader Andrew Porter that

[t]he whimsical teahouse, bakery and restaurant Alice’s Tea Cup will open this year at the corner of Hicks Street and Middagh Street in Brooklyn Heights, across from PS 8.

The photo is from their present location at 102 West 73rd Street, in Manhattan.

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