Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Familiar Landscape: Still Stalled on Fourth, Fifth, Sixth

535 Fourth Avenue (SWO/Partial SWOs since February, 2016).  Developers: Slate Property Group/Adam America

657 - 665 Fifth (SWO since March, 2015)  Developer; Chaskiel Strulovitch

For a few of our earlier posts on this temple of abandonment, read here, here, and here.  The latest SWO was issued two months ago, the Borough Commisioner:


695 Sixth (SWO/partial SWO since May, 2016).  Developer: Shiraz Sanjana

Pell Street

Pink shorts & walking stick, red shirt, & jacket. A natty combo. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Two More Demolitions

In January I noticed that the owners of two buildings on Third Avenue (577-579) & a lot on 16th, purchased in 2015 for over three million dollars, were attempting a flip, with the properties listed for $6,900,000, and plans for a seven-story residential building filed. Plans still await approval, and no new property sales have been recorded. Demolition's on the way though.

Here's a better look at the stretch of small, pre-1880 rowhouses between 15th & 16th. 579 is at left.

Fenced In

I don't remember seeing this house on 4th Street (Gowanus) before, but I guess it's been around for a couple of years.  The architect is Philippe Baumann, and the one-family "Roman courtyard meets derelict garage" replaces a one-story building.  It's a modern, minimalist design, with an open courtyard & many energy-saving features.  You can see some interior photographs at the architect's website, along with an ominous courtyardHAUS video walkthrough.  The front of the building is covered with a "galvanized steel screen with operating shutters" which "insulates the wood facade from the street and forms an enclosed smoking porch."

Though the shutters can be opened, as seen online, when I went by the place was all screened, making it look a) excessively defensive or b) somewhat penitentiary.

Still Summer

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Gone Fishing

At the Shore

"Is very bad, bad chicken cutlet.  Is tough and tasteless.  I can't eat it.  How do they serve this cutlet?"
"The tourists eat this cutlet."

"Hypothermia, hypoglycemia, I don't know, something like that."

"I tell you.  He has no idea, but you, you are like me. You know how to make things."

Large lady in bathing suit embracing child in salty, sandy, sentimental hug.
"Remember me, OK?"
"But Grandma, I'll see see you tomorrow!"

Monday, August 22, 2016

Going, Gone, Gone ...

With demolition & new building permits in place, the Villa Lillian Long (316 12th Street) will be departing shortly. The sidewalk tree in front of the house has been fenced off, a likely sign of imminent house demolition.  As we noted back in December, a four family, four-story plus penthouse is on the way, with the architect on record as Wu Chen of Infocus Design.  Unfortunately, the website for Infocus appears to have disappeared, but the company is responsible for a number of similar sized apartments in the city, including 315, on the same block.  The developer is Omri Bar-Mashiah, who ... well, you can read about some of his earlier work here.  316 was sold in June for $1,900,000.

Two wooden houses that fell into decline, and suffered fire-damage, have recently disappeared.  Plans were recently filed for a commercial building at 147 11th Street, which was to replace a small, low-lying frame house, whose history you can read a little more of here.  Its condition had become perilous, and likely demolition was inevitable, but we had developed a certain, irrational fondness for it.


Over on 23rd Street, a fire broke out in June at 193, described on the NYC Fire Wire Facebook page as a "a dwelling with colliers (sic) mansion conditions."  The badly-damaged building was ordered demolished by HPD.

December, 2015

Friday, August 19, 2016


Coming next month at the Queens Museum - Mierle Laderman Ukeles:Maintenance Art

This first survey of Ukeles’ work is organized by the Queens Museum’s Larissa Harris and guest co-curator Patricia C. Phillips, who initiated the project in 2012. The show will span five decades, from her work as a pioneer of feminist performance to a practitioner of public art, in which Ukeles invites us to reconsider indispensable urban systems and the workers who maintain them. Ukeles is undoubtedly best-known for her 36+ year role as the official, unsalaried Artist-in-Residence at New York’s Department of Sanitation. Unprecedented when it began in 1978, this residency has now become a model for municipalities engaging with artists as creative agents.

Why are New York City's Streets Always under Construction? (NY Times Interactive)

Manhattan Street Names on Tenement Corners (Ephemeral New York)

Sign a petition to lift the cap on street vendor permits & licenses (

More on De Blasio plans to consolidate private trash collection citywide (Crain's)

Don't forget to water those street trees! (Queens Gazette)

City's Car-Wash Regulations Still on Hold as Union Push Continues (City Limits)

A vision destroyed & a sorry end to the Brooklyn Angel (Luxury Listings)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Third & 22nd

Plans for a 4-storey hotel at Third from 21st to 22nd were approved in 2014, and were renewed this spring. Since work began at the site in '14, the developers have accrued a good number of violations. These include:

failure to safeguard public & property, with demolition machines continually hitting utility lines mechanical demolition work without permit
failure to carry out demolition work as required
failure to provide plans at demo site underpinning not conforming to plans (open)
failure to preserve adjoining structures, w. cracks observed at 22nd & 21st properties (open) 

Overall, four violations remain open.

Hotel views from ground level

This promises to be a squat & shallow sort of hotel, with excellent views of expressway traffic. It might cater to an interesting dual-niche market - johns & Robert Moses acolytes.  Whoever ends up taking a room here - I hope the place is soundproofed.


Two 70's Classics on a Summer Afternoon

Parked outside Luigi's, a customer's Chevelle SS 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Because it's Summer

Here's a trailer for a favorite of mine, Morris Engel & Ruth Orkin's 1953 film,  Little Fugitive. Of the film, Truffaut said:

“Our New Wave would never have come into being, if it hadn’t been for the young American, Morris Engel who showed us the way with his production, Little Fugitive.”

More on the film, and another clip, here.  Catch it any way you can.

On Fifth

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What to Read

Graffiti old & (supermarket sponsored, one supposes) new.

I'd forgotten this one, on site just a few years ago. I'm still all for it.