Brooklyn Heights Blog » Tourism http://brooklynheightsblog.com Dispatches from America's first suburb Fri, 20 Oct 2017 03:30:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 View of Brooklyn Bridge from Promenade Blighted Againhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83322 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83322#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 04:45:45 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83322

As if the Pierhouse’s blotting out of the full view of the arc of the Brooklyn Bridge, which had been visible (apart from two small interruptions caused by rooftop equipment) from the southern portion of the Promenade when the National Cold Storage Warehouse buildings were there (see here), wasn’t enough, a high rise building in Manhattan is now spoiling the view of the East (Brooklyn) Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge. As shown in the photo (by your correspondent) the new building (just north of the Manhattan Bridge on the Manhattan side) is looming over the Brooklyn side tower, thus taking away the view of the tower against the sky, as we’ve always known it.

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Summer Has Come And Gone: Hotel Bossert Yet to Re-Openhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/76334 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/76334#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 03:40:48 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=76334

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s “Eye on Real Estate” has been following the progress of The Hotel Bossert gut-renovation.  The project underway is to include 279 guest rooms and a rooftop restaurant.  Back in March they reported the “Waldorf-Astoria of Brooklyn” re-opening had been pushed back to this summer.  Yet, here we are one week away from Labor day and the remodeling of the former Jehovah’s Witnesses property seems no closer to completion.  A follow up post from August 26th reports inquiries by the Eagle vetted this response from co-owner David Bistricer, “We are moving full blast.”

Construction Permits

Construction Permits

While the hotel has widely been described as a harbinger of increased retail and restaurant revenues, Curbed recently reported on a “glut” of hotels being built in Brooklyn.  The July 24th article sites a new report from Bloomberg Business, “there are 32 hotel properties planned or under construction in Brooklyn, but according to analyst David Loeb of Robert W. Baird & Co., developers are facing declining occupancies there as room costs decrease in Manhattan.”   As of March of this year, Bossert co-owners Bistricer and developer Joseph Chetrit had not named a hotel operator.

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Bill Sponsored by NYC Councilmembers Menchaca, Chin & Rosenthal Takes Aim at Tourist Helicoptershttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/75652 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/75652#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:22:51 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=75652

Stroll the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and you can hear it day and night: the constant thwapping of tourist helicopters.  Flights take off from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport (DMH) located just south of the Seaport and is operated by Saker Aviation Services.  According to the Stop the Chop NY NJ,  “these tours are allowed to operate 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  They fly for 10 hours a day six days a week (Mon – Sat 9:00 am to 7:00 pm) and 8 hours a day on Sundays (9:00 am – 5:00 pm).”

“It’s an issue that goes as far back as the 70’s,” explains Judy Stanton, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association.  But, she points out that the noise has escalated since 2010 when tourist helicopters were banned from using helipads in the East 30’s and West 30’s. “Everything was concentrated at the DMH…I think it was 28,000 flights a year were added to the DMH. And, the DMH then added a barge to create more helipad space.”

LEGISLATION SEEKS TO BAN TOURIST HELICOPTERS

Relief may be on the way in the form of a bill introduced this past Thursday sponsored by City Councilmembers Carlos Menchaca (Red Hook), Margaret Chin (Lower Manhattan, Governor’s Island) and Helen Rosenthal (Upper West Side). The bill seeks to ban sightseeing helicopters that do not comply a specific range of noise levels as determined by the Federal Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990.  It does not include helicopters utilized by the military, media, emergency services (fire, police, coast guard, etc) private or chartered helicopters.

John Dellaportas, Vice President of Stop the Chop had this to say, “[The ban] will substantially curtail the tourist helicopters.  We think it’s a great start.  Frankly we don’t think it goes far enough.  Our organization supports an outright ban of all tourist helicopters over the skies of New York, NY Harbour and all the surrounding waterways.  But, it’s a step in the right direction.”

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Supporters from Stop the Chop NY NJ flank Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Helen Rosenthal on the Steps of City Hall.

At a press conference held on the steps of City Hall, elected officials representing Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island along with grass roots activists and fed-up residents from the Upper West Side to Downtown Brooklyn alike decried the scourge of noise and environmental pollution they attribute to helicopter tourism.  Councilmember Helen Rosenthal began, “We are here to stop the noise that is completely ruining the lives of so many New Yorkers…We look forward to working with the de Blasio administration to pass this legislation.”  Councilmember Chin pleaded, “stop these helicopters that are disrupting the quality of life!”  Chin added, “we welcome tourists to NYC…if they want a beautiful view they can go up to the [observation deck of] World Trade Center,” drawing chants of “Stop the Chop!” from rally attendees.

State Senator Liz Kreuger shared Councilmember Chin’s sentiment, “We can show you other ways to look at NYC.  [It is a] ridiculous argument that tourists will decline [because of this legislation].” Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon was “delighted to support the ban” saying the situation has reached a “crisis point” with Brooklyn Bridge Park in the “direct line” of the helicopters.  She adding her constituents suffer from “disrupted sleep, fumes” and children cannot study or practice music.  Councilman Levin said, “This is something that is long overdue.  I hear from constituents every day in spring, summer and autumn…we’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on Brooklyn Bridge Park.  You can’t enjoy the scenery [or] relaxation…because of the intense noise from this virtually unregulated industry.”

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Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon addressing the press.

Murray Fisher, Founder of the New York Harbor School on Governor’s Island where being outside and near the water is a central element to the curriculum, said the helicopter flights “makes teaching and learning virtually impossible in an outdoor environment.” Paul Reickhoff, Founder and CEO of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and a veteran himself exclaimed, “I hear more helicopters over my house than I ever did in Baghdad.  It’s a quality of life issue..it’s a security issue…[and] it doesn’t help our veterans [who are] battling PTSD. Stop this menace!” A representative from Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s office lamented, “We are only lucky that we have not had more accidents.”

MENACE OR ECONOMIC BENEFIT?

Joining the chorus of electeds and citizens supporting the ban is long-time Brooklyn Heights resident and self proclaimed “noise veteran,” Roberto Gautier.  He lives at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge and has endured the ongoing construction and BQE traffic.  “The kind of fuel [helicopters use] is the dirtiest fuel that you can get.  So not only do you have noise but you have air pollution…there are hundreds of flights and they are all giving [off] emissions.”

Chapin Fay Esq, VP of Mercury, a PR agency that bills itself as “a high-stakes public strategy firm,” who represents Helicopters Matter, told the Brooklyn Heights blog that 300 full time jobs would be lost at the heliport and that this legislation is “banning not just helicopters but banning the industry.”  The organization’s flyer claims helicopters provide over thirty million dollars in revenue which the city uses to “fund schools, hospitals, firefighters and other fundamental government services.”

But supporters of the bill say the revenue generated is exaggerated.  Judy Stanton shared, “The numbers that are quoted, that the Bloomberg Administration [used], I’m seeing with the current Administration. They are just believing everything that EDC (Economic Development Corporation) claims is the benefit from helicopter tours.”  Stanton explained the formula employed by the city incorporates hotel stays, meals and theater tickets, “all of that gets glommed together,” along with the cost of a helicopter flight (Chapin Fay quoted approximately $150 per flight) and is then multiplied by the number of flights per day and 365 days per year.  This is then added to “the small amount that the company that leases the heliport contributes or pays for their lease.  And then they say it’s so many millions of dollars a year for New York City.  But it’s a false number.  The actual lease amount, is something like 4 million annually for a lease.  That’s nothing.”

Helicopters Matters, who call the bill “disgraceful” maintains that less than 1% of noise complaints to 311 are due to helicopters.  Chapin Fay said that some concessions could be made including ensuring flights are not over land, cutting hours of operation and enlarging helicopter tail numbers for easier identification.  Chapin said, “We’d be willing to look at that again.”

Cover Photo Credit: Stop the Chop NY NJ

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Charming Brooklyn Heights Featured in The New York Timeshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/75640 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/75640#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 17:37:48 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=75640

The New York Times featured Brooklyn Heights in their Real Estate section’s July 22nd installment of “Living In,” a blog that offers “the inside scoop on New York City neighborhoods and beyond.”

The post outlines the neighborhood borders and diverse architecture, real estate pricing, schools, restaurants and shops and a brief history.   Reporter, Alison Gregor spoke with Jacob Blickenstaff, a photographer who recently purchased a one- bedroom in Brooklyn Heights with his girlfriend after a two-year search.  Blickenstaff described Brooklyn Heights as “beautiful and peaceful…with an incredible mix of history and architecture that’s unique.”

Gregor also spoke with Judy Stanton, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association who is “delighted to still be here and watch [a] new generation grow up.”  Gregory Williamson, an agent for Douglas Elliman offered that home prices have risen 15 to 20 percent in the last year and a half to two years.

It also cites how Brooklyn Bridge Park has attracted more visitors to the neighborhood and name checks Save Pier 6 and People for Greenspace Foundation’s opposition to development within the park.

What do you think?  Did the Times get it right? Comment away!

Photo: Claude Scales for BHB

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Squibb Park Footbridge Repairs Will Cost $700K, Truth To Cost Morehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/73671 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/73671#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 13:49:27 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=73671

Whatever structural engineering issues are keeping the fancy $5 million Squibb Park Bridge (aka “Bouncy Bridge”) closed until spring must be pretty serious: repairing the distinctively bouncy pedestrian footbridge that failed after only a year will cost about $700,000, and it’s unclear when if ever the public will find out what exactly went wrong. That’s the word straight from the the leadership of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation at a public board meeting on Thursday (2/26).

The BBP board ended up approving the $700,000 repair job as an amendment to an existing contract. Yet when pressed by fellow BBP members about recouping the money or publishing findings on what exactly hobbled the 450-foot-long swaying suspension bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park chair Alicia Glen and president Regina Myer attempted to deflect.

“One question there: we’re offering nearly $700,000 in repairs,” said BBP board member Zeeshan Ott during the meeting. “Is there any we can stipulate that that authorization is contingent on, also an investigation and a public report released on what exactly were the structural concerns there…?”

“Our focus is to get the bridge open and get it fixed,” replied Myer. “Yes, once we have it, um…” before trailing off and pivoting: “The goal is to open the bridge as quickly as possible. It is a very, very important and vital connection to the park. And we focused with our third party engineers on fixing the bridge as quickly as possible. And we have worked with our engineers to ensure we will look into that.”

Steven M. Cohen, BBP board member/lawyer and former top aide to Andrew Cuomo, tried to press the BBP leadership on the issue. “I think the request or question is: what are we doing to pursue recovery of what we’re paying for the remediation? I would assume that whether it was in the design, in the execution of the construction, something clearly went wrong which requires the remediation…”

“We are doing that,” said BBP’s legal counsel. “The priority from a public standpoint is to make sure the bridge is open as soon as possible. We are focused on that. We are not waving any of our legal rights against any parties who could potentially be responsible.”

“But again, just so we’re clear, the answer is you are pursuing that?” Cohen asked. “I understand the priority is opening the bridge, but…”

“We’re doing both at the same time,” Glen said. “We’re going to be getting the bridge open and simultaneously making sure we’re exercising any of our rights under the various assurance and potential claims…these things are not mutually exclusive.”

Ott then noted that it’s important that there’s public confidence in the bridge after it re-opens, and sensibly said that should come in the form of a public report. But when asked about this, Myer waffled, saying leadership had been focusing on using data they’ve gotten from monitoring the bridge, but that they would consider a report. A BBP spokesperson also told The Brooklyn Paper that “work on a study is ongoing” (The Brooklyn Paper’s words) and that repairs would begin soon.

While that report may still materialize and it remains to be seen what happens with recouping the costs of the repairs, the defensive crouching position that BBP park leadership seems to be taking surrounding the Squibb Park Bridge will only add fuel to critics of the board’s transparency (or lack thereof). Meanwhile, the bridge — which opened in March 2013 and closed in September 2014, initially for “2 to 3 weeks” — remains shuttered and off-limits.

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Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour This Saturday November 22, 2014http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/71942 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/71942#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:51:47 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=71942 We walk for the last time this year on Saturday November 22!

Buy tickets here.

Details after the jump.]]>

We walk for the last time this year on Saturday November 22!

BHB publisher/ LICENSED NYC tour guide Homer Fink hosts another edition of his Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour on Saturday (6/14).

Learn about some of the odd, weird, controversial and amusing history of America’s First Suburb. This is 90 minutes of fun! See where Arthur Miller lived, hear the strange tale of the Montague Terrace Horror and find out what the movie Titanic has to do with Brooklyn Heights.

Buy tickets here.

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Baylander, at Pier 5, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Opens to Visitors This Weekendhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/68929 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/68929#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:56:10 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=68929

You may have noticed an odd looking small ship moored near the northeast corner of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 (see photo above) for the past couple of weeks. It’s the Baylander, billed as the “world’s smallest aircraft carrier.” Baylander is a former U.S. Navy vessel, built in the 1960s, that served as a troop and equipment lighter in the Delta region of Vietnam. After the war, she was decommissioned, but was put back into service, with the addition of a flight deck large enough to accommodate a single helicopter, in 1986. In that configuration, she served as a training ship for student helicopter pilots for over 25 years.

Baylander is now owned by the Trenk Family Foundation, established by Al and Abigail Trenk. Mr. Trenk is on the left in the photo above; standing next to him is Captain Scott Koen, skipper of the Baylander. Mr. Trenk said he and his wife were “excited” to have Baylander moved to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Stationing the ship in the soon-to-be-opened Brooklyn Bridge Park Marina will afford thousands of New Yorkers the opportunity to visit, see and learn about a ship that was fully operational and designed to support helicopters from all military services and government agencies.”

The Marina (see rendering above) will lie between Piers 4 and 5. Its piers, docks, and breakwaters are being assembled elsewhere, and will be towed to the site and assembled there, according to spokesperson Carter Craft.

Baylander will be open for free public tours starting this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and on succeeding weekends through Labor Day.

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Video: Parks Department Cleans Graffiti From Fruit Street Sitting Area and We Give You the Truth on How Those Brooklyn Heights Fruit Streets Got Their Namehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/67857 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/67857#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 20:05:26 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=67857

The NYC Parks Department finally got around to cleaning the Fruit Street Sitting Area in Brooklyn Heights today. A crazed and untalented graffiti “writer” defaced the area along with an adjacent Citibike docking station between Monday (6/9) night and Tuesday morning. As we documented earlier this week, the Citibike station was quickly cleaned by Wednesday morning.

The Fruit Street Sitting Area sign, which perpetuates the false story that Lady Middagh named those streets, is still covered in paint.

Our man with a cam, Karl Junkersfeld, documents today’s Parks Department cleanup and lays down some mad knowledge of where the Fruit Street names really came from.

Want to know more Hidden Brooklyn Heights History? Take our Walking Tour Saturday 6/14! Tickets available here.

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Brooklyn Walking Tour Saturday (6/14): Homer Fink’s Hidden Brooklyn Heights Tickets Available Nowhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/67572 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/67572#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 23:00:30 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=67572 We walk again Saturday June 14! BHB publisher/ LICENSED NYC tour guide Homer Fink hosts another edition of his Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour on Saturday (6/14).Learn about some of the odd, weird, controversial and amusing history of America’s First Suburb. This is 90 minutes of fun! See where Arthur Miller lived, hear the strange tale of the Montague Terrace Horror and find out what the movie Titanic has to do with Brooklyn Heights.

Buy tickets here.

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We walk again Saturday June 14!

BHB publisher/ LICENSED NYC tour guide Homer Fink hosts another edition of his Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour on Saturday (6/14).

Learn about some of the odd, weird, controversial and amusing history of America’s First Suburb. This is 90 minutes of fun! See where Arthur Miller lived, hear the strange tale of the Montague Terrace Horror and find out what the movie Titanic has to do with Brooklyn Heights.

Buy tickets here.

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Tickets Available Now for Saturday’s (5/24) Homer Fink’s Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tourhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/67385 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/67385#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 23:45:36 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=67385 Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour on Saturday (5/24).Buy tickets here.]]>

BHB publisher/ LICENSED NYC tour guide Homer Fink is brushing off his walking tour shoes and hosting another edition of his Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour on Saturday (5/24).

Buy tickets here.

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Gotham SideWalks’ Bike Tours Examine Brooklyn’s Glorious Baseball Pasthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/66863 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/66863#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 18:22:48 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=66863

With the Mets’ and Yankees’ seasons in full swing, and thousands of Brooklyn children experiencing the joys of Little League, this Saturday—and again on May 10—Gotham SideWalks will present Bike Brooklyn Baseball Tour, an intimate journey through the formative century of 1850 to 1950 when professional baseball was dominated by New York teams and our beloved borough played a leading role.

Advertised by Rich Garr of Gotham SideWalks, as “100 years of baseball in 10 miles,” Bike Brooklyn Baseball Tour takes a leisurely three-hour trek through the seminal sites and historical record of Brooklyn’s unprecedented place in baseball history.

“Our tour uses the 50s as a bittersweet endpoint,” said Garr in a recent e-mail. “It marks the end of NYC’s dominance in baseball and coincides with a moment in American history when turmoil and controversy took a backseat to patriotic contentment.”

Garr takes participants back to an earlier time—the mid-19th century—when Brooklyn was both a suburb to Manhattan as well as a working class haven packed with industry. According to Garr, then as now it was space that separated the two boroughs, as Brooklyn’s open, underdeveloped spaces set it apart from it’s densely populated neighbor.

Describing the first baseball clubs as “amateur business men organizing and playing against other businesses or industries,” Garr states that the sport now beloved by millions was once a “niche gentleman’s game… similar to what tennis or racquet ball are today.”

With Brooklyn Heights teeming with young men of upper class leisure, in 1854 a gentlemen’s club named the Jolly Bachelors created Brooklyn’s first “base ball club” dubbed the “Excelsiors.” Garr says the Excelsiors “were really good… one of 71 teams from Brooklyn in the first baseball league formed in 1858.” Tweaking our brethren on the other side of the East River, Garr states that “only 25 teams were from Manhattan.”

Starting from the Old Stone House in Park Slope, the Bike Brooklyn Baseball Tour is an excursion deep into the heart of Brooklyn’s past. Beginning in the 1850’s the Old Stone House was the site for informal baseball games, and later in the century early ballparks there housed what would eventual became the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Christy Mathewson began his pro career [at The Old Stone House],” said Garr. “So did Dodger-Yankee-Met legend Casey Stengel. Cy Young pitched his last game here. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

From there the group will bike to the Prospect Park Parade Grounds, described as an “incredible repository” of amateur baseball history.

Whenever Brooklyn is referenced in with what has been called America’s pastime, the beloved Dodgers—untimely ripped from our borough by the villainous Walter O’Malley—are usually the beginning and end notes in any story. No exploration of our borough’s illustrious baseball history would be complete without a visit to the location of legendary Ebbets Field.

The tour travels to Crown Heights, where the former home of the Dodgers was razed in 1960 and replaced by the aptly-named Ebbets Field Apartments. Even though the stadium no longer exists, clues to the site’s former life remain scattered about. While searching for historical markers of Brooklyn’s first and most beloved professional team, Garr will lead a discussion about the Negro Leagues, the first black pro ballplayers in the 1880s, and what he describes as “the eventual triumph of Jackie Robinson.”

According to it’s founder, Gotham SideWalks offers more than just baseball history. Garr, a visual artist who started Gotham in 2008, has an affinity for art-centric adventures. Capitalizing on the notoriety generated by street artist Banksy’s self-proclaimed “NYC residency” last year, Garr’s “Street / Art, Lower East Side” walking tour has been in much demand. Gotham also offers “Coney Island’s Talking Boardwalk,” an extremely popular summer excursion.

Bike Brooklyn Baseball Tour, Saturday, April 26 and May 10. $40 (bikes not included); approximately 3 hours
Meeting Place: the Old Stone House in Park Slope: 336 3rd St. in Washington Park (11215). Trains: F/R train to 4th Ave.
Discounted bike rental available from the nearby Ride Brooklyn bike shop (347-599-1340). Calling to reserve at least one day in advance and mention Gotham SideWalks. 9th Street Cycles (718-768-2453) is also close, though bikes cannot be reserved
For More Information: contact 718-938-1400 / gothamsidewalks@gmail.com

PHOTO: A mural a few blocks from the old stadium in Flatbush is all that remains of Ebbets Field

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Bike Brooklyn Baseball Tour Dates Announcedhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/66657 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/66657#comments Sun, 13 Apr 2014 19:12:10 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=66657

Our pals at Gotham Side Walks have a full slate of tours scheduled for this season, including their very popular Bike Brooklyn Baseball history tour on April 26 and May 10. More info here.

Gotham Side Walks: 100 years of baseball in 10 miles and 3 hours of biking! Whether you’re from Brooklyn or not you’ve probably heard about the great local ballclubs of the 1950s. The Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants battled in New York to rule the major leagues. In fact, 14 of the 20 pennants from the 50’s belonged to a NYC team. But there’s so much more! Brooklyn alone holds an unprecedented place in baseball history. Far beyond Jackie Robinson and the color barrier, the quirks of Ebbets Field, or the meteoric rise of Brooklyn’s own Sandy Koufax lies the unbelievable roots of our nation’s pastime. On the tour we roll back in time into the mid-1800s and gentleman club “base ball” and explore into the modern era and the exodus of the Dodgers in 1957… all this while rolling along one of the finest circuits of urban bike paths in the country. Meet in front of the Old Stone House in Park Slope: 336 3rd St. in Washington Park (11215). Trains: F/R train to 4th Ave. Discounted bike rental is available from the nearby Ride Brooklyn bike shop by calling to reserve at least one day in advance and mentioning Gotham SideWalks (347-599-1340). 9th Street Cycles is also close, though bikes cannot be reserved (718-768-2453718-768-2453).347-599-1340

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Bikelyn: Bike Tours through Brooklynhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/60707 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/60707#comments Sun, 07 Jul 2013 13:58:22 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=60707

Looking for something to do with your summertime guests? Or want to see Brooklyn from two wheels instead of four? Dutch transplant Frank Muller has just the thing—Bikelyn, a series of tours given Mondays and Tuesdays each week (with private tours available upon request).

Muller has taken to his new city rather quickly—after moving here last year, he’s already become a licensed NYC tour guide and launched Bikelyn in part to flex his local knowledge. And Muller’s heritage makes bike tours a natural extension. “In Holland, you learn how to ride a bike as soon as you learn to walk. It’s not cultural like it is here. It’s just the same as buying a car.”

You can BYOB or rent a bike from Rolling Orange Bikes in Cobble Hill, where the tour begins. Monday’s tours are Williamsburg in the morning, and Red Hook in the afternoon; Tuesday’s tours are Park Slope & Prospect Park in the morning and Brooklyn Heights & DUMBO in the afternoon. For private tours, a minimum of four people are requested. Depending on your interests, Muller also makes some food stops, like Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies in Red Hook. And if you book a tour for morning and afternoon, Muller will in a free lunch at Moo Burger.

More information is on Bikelyn’s site and Facebook page. Morning tours are $49 and afternoon are $39.

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OMG! Hot Dog Cart at Montague and Montague Terracehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/60631 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/60631#comments Thu, 04 Jul 2013 16:24:45 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=60631

This enterprising chap no doubt is poised to do business with the hordes headed to the Promenade later in vain hope of seeing the Macy’s fireworks.

(As they say those who don’t remember history repeat it. – Homer)

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Curbed’s Historic Brooklyn Bike Tour Includes Eugene Boisselet Househttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/59669 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/59669#comments Sat, 01 Jun 2013 01:37:15 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=59669 Homer Fink's Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour Saturday (6/1) morning, hop on a bike and hit those other historic sites. Stops in the Heights include the Brooklyn Historical Society (also part of our walking tour), the Hotel St. George and 24 Middagh Street aka the Eugene Boisselet House which is currently in the midst of an exterior renovation:]]>

Curbed has assembled a nifty bike tour of Brooklyn’s best 100 year old plus buildings – all located near Citi Bike docking stations. So after you take in Homer Fink’s Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour Saturday (6/1) morning, hop on a bike and hit those other historic sites. Stops in the Heights include the Brooklyn Historical Society, Herman Behr Mansion (both part of our walking tour), the Hotel St. George and 24 Middagh Street aka the Eugene Boisselet House which is currently in the midst of an exterior renovation:

Curbed: 1824. 24 Middagh Street may not be the most eye-catching house in Brooklyn Heights, but this Federal-style charmer is the oldest house in the ‘hood. It’s one of the best examples of New York’s wood-framed houses (outlawed in the Heights in 1852), and according to Charles Lockwood’s book Bricks and Brownstone (via Brownstoner), the house is “notable for its front doorway with its ‘delicately leaded toplight and sidelights and elegantly carved ornaments’ as well as its rear carriage house and charming garden.”

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Walking Tour: Homer Fink’s OTHER Hidden Brooklyn Heightshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/58623 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/58623#comments Sat, 04 May 2013 11:45:08 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=58623

Brooklyn Bugle kingpin Homer Fink announces his next super-awesome walking tour of our beloved neighborhood: Homer Fink’s OTHER Hidden Brooklyn Heights. First tour date will be announced soon.

This tour is planned to start at Adam Yauch Park in Willowtown and cover some of the Brooklyn Heights’ “hidden history” from the other side of Montague Street.

Date of the next original Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour will also be announced soon.

For updates on our tours, sign up for our tour mailing list.

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Reminder: Homer Fink’s Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour This Saturday April 27http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/57938 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/57938#comments Fri, 26 Apr 2013 01:18:10 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=57938 BUY TICKETS HERE. ]]>

The tour is on for this Saturday (4/27) and there are a limited number of tickets left. Join us for a fun 90 minutes of some of our neighborhood’s “hidden” history.

BUY TICKETS HERE.

Brooklyn Bugle Media Kingpin Homer Fink (Brooklyn Heights Blog, Cobble Hill Blog, The Brooklyn Bugle) hosts his “Hidden Brooklyn Heights” walking tour. Learn about some of the odd, weird, controversial and amusing history of America’s First Suburb. This is 90 minutes of fun! See where Arthur Miller lived, hear the strange tale of the Montague Terrace Horror and find out what the movie Titanic has to do with Brooklyn Heights.

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Update: Brooklyn Heights’ Montague Street Remains Rousing Retail Success Storyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/56290 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/56290#comments Sat, 16 Mar 2013 04:05:57 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=56290

In May 2012, BHB wrote about an appreciable renaissance taking place along the Montague Street retail corridor, during which a dozen new businesses moved in along the avenue over the year preceding. Another snapshot of Brooklyn Heights “Main Street” this week reveals that Montague remains a bustling success story, with restaurants, spas, bodegas, bakeries and clothiers—and only three retail spaces currently awaiting tenants.


Read more: 1976 Montague Street Revitalization Plan

The three vacated spaces:
* 112 Montague Street, which held Starbucks until May 2012, holds the record for the longest-running currently vacated space. The coffee shop relocated to 134 Montague, and today, broker Massey Knakal continues to push the 2-story space, with a recently hung banner that covers the entire second-floor window. The realtor’s website listing notes that it offers 2,500sf on the ground floor and 2,000sf on both the second and basement levels, with “all uses considered.” Remember when it was a swanky Italian restaurant in the mid-1990s?

* In November 2012, St. Mark’s Comics at 148 Montague closed its doors after 24 years. A staffer told BHB then that the building owner hiked the rent beyond its means. Four months later, it remains empty. “No food” is posted on the window of the second-floor space.

* Women’s apparel boutique Ruby and Jenna opened last May at 130 Montague, above beauty salon Dashing Diva (and previously occupied by Migita Sushi). It shuttered March 10, 2013.

In addition:
* The long-empty space at 132 Montague Street, below Heights Vision Center, which housed a combo car service/cigar shop several years ago, is destined to open this spring as locally run Spanish tapas & wine bar “Taperia.” Bobby Cruz, former owner of the UPS Store on Montague, will be one of the new eatery’s managers. Alongside a roomy bar and seating within the surprisingly spacious interior, the restaurant will offer an outdoor dining patio, which backs up to Our Lady Lebanon Cathedral on Remsen Street.

And among new businesses since our previous report:
* In November 2012, Ani Sushi opened at 142 Montague after a lengthy build-out that took some five months. The second-floor space has held a revolving door of restaurants, including Oh My Pasta!, Taze Turkish restaurant and Kapadokya. Aerosoles has been grounded on the first level for more than a decade.

* Of course, the biggest news along Montague Street remains the soon-to-open to the public Bossert Hotel at 98 Montague, which was sold by Jehovah’s Witnesses to David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit for $81 million in November 2012. It is scheduled to open its doors for biz this summer. The 14-story property will update rooms with new design finishes and amenities, and restore the Marine Roof to a restaurant and lounge.

Meanwhile, over the past year or so, we’ve seen the launch of:
* Dellarocco’s of Brooklyn brick-oven pizzeria and bar around the corner from Montague at 214-216 Hicks Street, operated by Brooklyn-bred brothers Greg and Glenn Markman and Joseph Secondino.
* Across the street, the three narrow retail spaces remain filled, which has certainly not been the case for the long term: At 89 Montague is bodega Heights Deli & Convenience, which opened in April 2010… At 91 Montague is Excellence Threading Salon, which opened in December 2012, in the footsteps of Jeffrey Stein Concept Hair Salon and Dimples Kids Spa… And at 93 Montague, since February 2012, is VIP Nails & Salon.
* Le Pain Quotidien at 121 Montague opened in mid-April 2012, after previous Jennifer Convertibles closed in April 2010, leaving the space empty for two years. Business is booming.
* Irish pub Custom House opened at 139 Montague in June 2012, in the former space of La Traviata, which closed in November 2011.
* Area Yoga & Spa Center‘s second location opened on the second floor of 144 Montague, above Bentley’s shoes in May 2012, in the former location of Spring Thyme spa.
* Vietnamese “Bubble Tea & Vietnamese Sandwich” shop Hanco’s opened at 147 Montague in September 2011, and remains a runaway success. The retail space was dark for years, after the closure of previous tenant Mr. Souvlaki.

And there you have it… Success! (Photos: CT)

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Downtown Brooklyn Sprouts Another New Hotel Propertyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/53369 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/53369#comments Fri, 04 Jan 2013 21:01:18 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=53369

A Hampton Inn is coming to 125 Flatbush Avenue Extension, according to a sign posted on the construction fence there. A rendering from hotel developer LodgeWorksBrownstoner provides is offered from Brownstoner. The 13-story building will provide 116 guest rooms with scheduled completion in spring 2014. Work began at the site in December, with plans first announced in March 2012. The Hampton Inn joins the Aloft Hotel and Hotel 718 in Downtown Brooklyn.

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Controversy Continues Over Brooklyn Bridge Park Fieldhousehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/48071 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/48071#comments Fri, 21 Sep 2012 15:51:58 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=48071

Design for the 115,000-square-foot cycling & recreational Fieldhouse planned near Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 has been tweaked, with additional space for sports other than cycling and fewer spectator seats for cycling events, but critics still want to apply the brakes to the controversial project.

Greg Brooks, executive director of New York City Fieldhouse Inc., insists there is “demand and a need for indoor recreation space,” in the latest story about the facility in The New York Daily News. But Peter Flemming, co-chair of the BBP Community Council, believes, “No matter how they say it, this is first & foremost a cycling arena. It’s a bad thing for this park.”

The cycling track will be elevated on support beams to increase rec space to 25,000 square feet, which will allow more simultaneous activities, Brooks says. There will also be moveable equipment for basketball, volleyball, tennis and badminton; with fencing, martial arts, kickball and gymnastics also slated. Additionally, plans called for 2,499 fixed spectator seats and up to 3,300 with temporary seating and standing room. That number has been sliced to 1,200 fixed, and up to 2,000 with temp seating and standing room.

But because of its lack of parking, Brooklyn Heights Association president Jane McGroarty fears traffic snarls: “It’s a potential nightmare,” she says, adding that fans driving in from New England and the mid-Atlantic states will create havoc in the neighborhood. She also claims rec-center fees will be a “challenge for working people with children in Brooklyn.”

As previously reported, the fieldhouse is being funded with a $40 million donation from Joshua Rechnitz. The BBP board and the state must vote to approve the project before the Fieldhouse proceeds.

(Photo: NY Daily News)

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Barclays Center: What Does It Mean For 21st-Century Brooklyn?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/46137 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/46137#comments Mon, 20 Aug 2012 17:44:05 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=46137

While reporting on the ever-controversial Barclays Center across from Atlantic Terminal, is typically outside of Brooklyn Heights Blog’s purview, a lengthy essay in New York magazine is worth exploring, with its analysis of the impact of the arena on the future of the borough as a whole.

Barclays “is now part of the new Brooklyn reality. It is the centerpiece of how the borough, and the city, will be seen for generations to come,” writer Will Leitch surmises. “Imagine it is nothing less than the literal and symbolic centerpiece of a new, 21st-century Brooklyn, one as gleaming and modern as the shiny new structure itself.” Developer Bruce Ratner adds, “People will know this arena from Brooklyn, and people will know Brooklyn from this arena,” which he describes as “another leap forward” for the borough.

The story says: “Ratner & Co. believe Brooklyn as a whole is already well on its way to super-premium status and will never go back. They believe Ratner has built exactly the sort of architectural showpiece and modern sports-and-entertainment megaplex that newly gentrified Brooklynites want. They believe that the idea of Brooklyn itself—the Brooklyn brand, the actual word Brooklyn—has commercial power.”

On page 4 of the New York mag article is an odd observation: “Even in Brooklyn Heights, the borough’s most expensive neighborhood, no one fetishizes being ostentatious with one’s wealth; they’re all spending their money on the illusion of healthy food and preschool.” Uh, huh?

Read the entire piece here. You might want to pour a tall one first. Mighty long.

Flickr photo by AP

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Residents Of 200 Hicks Street Concerned Bossert Hotel Conversion Will Create Noise, Safety Issueshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/45367 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/45367#comments Fri, 10 Aug 2012 14:16:44 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=45367

A group of concerned residents who reside at 200 Hicks Street are taking to task the new owners of the Bossert Hotel at 98 Montague Street. Brooklyn Heights rez Elizabeth Bailey and her comrades believe the conversion plan currently before the Bureau of Standard and Appeals could create serious noise, traffic and safety issues in the area.

She writes to the Brooklyn Heights Blog: “Although residents of Brooklyn are happy, mostly, about our borough’s resurgence, or rather, emergence, those of us who live here because it is a quiet, safe place to live and bring up children, are worried that these developers are showing little regard to neighborhood concerns.”

New owners David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit are seeking a variance to convert the hotel to a “commercial transient facility,” from its status as visitor housing for previous owner Jehovah’s Witnesses. The BSA has scheduled a hearing on the application September 11.

The group of residents at 200 Hicks, located at the northwest corner of Montague, say that the plan could deter the Heights’ peaceful persona “if it is done without regard to the nature and character of our residential community.” Bailey points to a New York Times feature on the Bossert from November 2011, in which Brooklyn Heights Association executive director Judy Stanton notes concerns about upkeep, “since Watchtower society placed a premium on maintenance, including the surrounding sidewalks and parks.” Stanton also intimates that the neighborhood may become livelier if the Bossert is converted into a high-end hotel.

Bailey writes, “The developers are proposing to increase the number of rooms from 224 to 302. Although they speak of creating a boutique hotel, over 300 rooms is a pretty big boutique. They also have plans to build a ground floor restaurant, event spaces (weddings and bar mitzvahs, etc.) and a bar on the rooftop. The developers contend that the increase in traffic on the busy corner of Montague and Hicks from their proposed hotel will be negligible.” She finds this “hard to believe.”

“There have been many articles in the New York press about the negative impact of noisy bars—particularly rooftop bars—on residential neighborhoods,” Bailey adds, citing Times’ stories here and here.

“We understand from press reports that both Chetrit and Bistricer have been publicly criticized for various aspects of their past real estate ventures. Among other controversial matters, Chetrit is one of the investors in the Empire Hotel near Lincoln Center, which has been the subject of a three-year battle that a West 62nd Street coop had to wage in the courts over ‘torment’ from the noise from its rooftop bar well after midnight,” Bailey says. “The developers are also involved with the Chelsea Hotel, which has been the subject of recent controversy. Noise and traffic: That’s what Brooklyn Heights residents are worried about.”

The 200 Hicks Street group proposes that restrictions be put in place on the proposed hotel/bar: “The aim is to limit the increase in noise and traffic that would compromise the safety and the character of this neighborhood.” Bailey invites public discourse of the issue, and is available via email at Elizaabailey@mac.com.

Comments from the BHB community?

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Bossert Not The Only New Hotel Around Town, As LodgeWorks Builds Downtownhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/42795 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/42795#comments Thu, 21 Jun 2012 15:12:10 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=42795

As the Bossert endures community and governmental scrutiny to potentially convert the Montague Street property back to a “first-class” hotel, a national chain intends to build a 117-room inn on a now-vacant lot in Downtown Brooklyn. This spring, Kansas-based hotel developer LodgeWorks acquired 0.11 acres/4,700 square feet at 125 Flatbush Avenue Extension, just west of the Manhattan Bridge entrance. The Real Deal reported in March that it paid $7.75 million for the site.

Brian Dunne, director of marketing for Benchmark Hospitality International, which operates a Hotel 718 that is scheduled to open Downtown this summer, told The New York Times that with so much residential development, Downtown is becoming an evening destination, rather than a neighborhood that empties when workers go home: “Brooklyn isn’t being viewed as the less expensive option to Manhattan. It’s a place people are starting to want to come to first rather than second.”

LodgeWorks’ hotel plan follows a previous attempt to build a similar property there, which fell through in late 2010. The company manages properties for Hyatt Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. CEO Greg Epp says the new hotel will be “a well-known national brand.” LodgeWorks has not determined when they will break ground.

Downtown Brooklyn has seen a boom of new lodging of late. The 176-room Aloft hotel opened last year and the 128-room Hotel 718 will soon open, which includes a spa, rooftop deck and restaurant. The Brooklyn Bridge Marriott on Adams Street, meanwhile, has been deemed the official hotel of the Barclays Center, according to the New York Times article.

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A View To Rememberhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/41391 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/41391#comments Mon, 28 May 2012 22:11:28 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=41391

Photo by M. Hermann/BHB

It’s one flight that even the anti-helicopter caucus could support. A handful of servicemen from Charlie Company, 1st Bn.-9th Marines got this look at Brooklyn Heights today as their MV-22 Osprey, piloted by VMM-264 (“The Black Knights”), set off for a demonstration at Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island. The unit has returned from a recent deployment overseas, and is participating in Fleet Week events. (Click through to view the full-size image.)

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NYC Fleet Week Brings U.S. and Foreign Naval Crews To Visit Brooklynhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/41050 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/41050#comments Wed, 23 May 2012 22:31:37 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=41050

NYC Fleet Week, which takes place every Memorial Day Weekend, brings thousands of young men and women serving our and other nations’ navies to our fine city to visit tourist attractions and take part in numerous special events. It has been a tradition since 1935.

This year’s Fleet Week celebration is highlighted in Brooklyn by the previously reported 2012 Operation Sail Parade (OpSail) and Parade of Ships.

Feel like taking part? An event guide for the coming weekend is here.

(Photo: Chuck Taylor)

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Enterprise Over The Heightshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/39642 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/39642#comments Fri, 27 Apr 2012 16:00:59 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=39642

The Space Shuttle Enterprise, aboard a NASA 747, appears over the Brooklyn Heights skyline this morning on its way to JFK Aiport, and eventually the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. (Photo: M. Hermann/BHB)

Photo by M. Hermann/BHB

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Beantown Writer Calls Brooklyn Heights “La De Da”http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/33771 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/33771#comments Fri, 16 Dec 2011 01:56:11 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=33771 Not for nothin’ but Brooklyn Heights has been called many things over the years but Boston Herald travel writer Bob Young may take the (Junior’s Cheese) cake with this passage included in a recent piece on our fair borough:

Boston Herald: The brownstones of the upscale Cobble Hill area offered a stark architectural contrast to DUMBO and got us ready for the even more la de da Brooklyn Heights. Beacon Hill brownstones — and plenty of Beacon Hill’s residents — would feel right at home on the Heights, which sport some of the best shopping and views in all of New York.

The fabled Promenade, a wonderful esplanade on the Heights with spectacular views of the East River, the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges and Lower Manhattan, is worth a trip to Brooklyn all by itself. Though it was a heartbreaking reminder to see Lower Manhattan without the Twin Towers, it was equally buoying to the spirit to witness the gleaming new structures under construction rising from their ruins.

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NBC New York Looks at Brooklyn Heightshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/28160 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/28160#comments Fri, 08 Apr 2011 01:58:07 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=28160

Sure it’s no Hidden Brooklyn Heights, but it’s an interesting look at our neighborhood nevertheless.  NBC New York Non-Stop – a channel that we only know about because Joey Reynolds has a show on it now – recently took a stroll through the nabe with AM New York’s Rolando Pujol as part of their Hidden City series.

Check it out after the jump.

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Hidden Brooklyn Heights Tour Sunday 3/27http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/27734 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/27734#comments Mon, 21 Mar 2011 14:31:41 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=27734
Spring has sprung and so has tour season! We’ve “remixed” Homer Fink’s Hidden Brooklyn Heights for 2011. As is our tradition, the first tour of the season offers “donation/pay what your want” pricing. We’ll be hitting the pavement this Sunday (3/27) at 1pm.

Read more and buy tickets here.

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Brooklyn Heights 101 Walking Tour March 5http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/26699 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/26699#comments Fri, 18 Feb 2011 17:44:28 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=26699 Spring is in the air! It’s a great time to reserve your spot on the first Brooklyn Bugle Walking Tour of 2010.

Brooklyn Heights 101, led by Annie Fitzsimmons, is a great primer for new residents, visitors, NYC residents looking for a fun day trip or long timers who would like a refresher course on our historic neighborhood.

Follow this link to save 25% off the Regular Ticket price now!

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