Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Carriage House Down

Just around the corner from Prospect, on Fourth, a carriage house is going down.  It's right next to Prospect Auto Glass, and abuts the five/six building parcel I mentioned in my last post.  I'm always sad to see a fine old building like this one turn first into a shell, and then disappear entirely.

573 sold four years ago for $900,000, and it's taken a long time to get this project going, but it looks like things are finally moving along for a nine-storey plus penthouse replacement building. You can see a plan here, which shows the scale of a tall and skinny structure on a 22 foot lot, towering high above its neighbors.

CPCC Management

Interior design pics here.

Another sign of our ever onward-and-upward Fourth.  October, 2014.

Excellent Location & Views

Pick any street around here & you'll find a hive of realtors at work.  How about buying a house on Prospect Avenue (known until 1869 as Middle Street) ?  A stroll down Prospect, between Fifth and Third, reveals several possibilities.

207A Prospect Avenue - $1,700,000

Massey Knakal Realty Services is proud to offer this three story brick townhouse situated in Park Slope, Brooklyn. This unique opportunity allows your creative design to complete to your own specifications and offers tremendous flexibility for your fabulous dream home, high income producing investment property, or customized conversion opportunity. Situated on a large lot measuring 20’ wide and 107.75’ deep, towering and offering breathtaking views of Manhattan, this 3,200 sq. ft. spectacle makes for a wonderful opportunity to own in an excellent location next to the F, G and R lines, along with close proximity to all of the exciting retail shops, organic grocery stores, including the new Whole Foods Market, restaurants, nightlife, and all of the best amenities that Park Slope and Brooklyn offers. (Massey Knakal)

MK neglects to mention the fabulous views of the Prospect Expressway merging into the Gowanus, and the steady roar of traffic at your doorway.  

It's not verdant, but at least the trucks are trying.

207 Prospect Avenue - $1,900,000

This one's renovated.

This open plan design with acacia plank flooring, exposed beams and brick, is beautifully complimented by the perfect light from the large windows at the front and back of the house. The kitchen with soapstone counter and rich wood cabinets comes with stainless steel appliances by Fisher / Paykel, GE Profile Stove, and LG washer/dryer. On the next level in the large second bedroom you find the original marble mantel, a feature echoed in the whole house. The master bedroom with soaring ceilings has an en suite windowed bathroom with Lacava, Grohe and Duravit fixtures, these are also found in the equally stunning garden floor bathroom. Central air, an integrated home audio system with two wall mounted Samsung TVs, Sonos distributed audio zones, and in-wall /ceiling surround sound, have all been professionally installed to enhance the owners lifestyle.

189 - 195 Prospect Avenue?  - ?

I'm not sure what the story is here.  In early 2013 189 - 195 Prospect Avenue, a parcel of six buildings, was listed on the market for $6,950,000, but it appears to have been taken off the market by the end of the year.  Corcoran was handling the sale back then:

Rare opportunity for developers and investors in Park Slope! 189-195 Prospect Avenue are two lots (with the configuration of six) that are ideal for a new construction or condo development in this booming Park Slope market. Zoned for both residential and commercial use, the total lot area is 15,628 square feet with 46,402 square feet of allowable floor area. The property is currently comprised of two carriage houses (both two stories), two residential two-family houses, wide open parking lots, and two enclosed garages. This property is conveniently located directly across the street from the R train station at Prospect Avenue. 

Six buildings?  Five buildings?  It's hard to configure this one, but it seems like the parcel is for sale again.  

Let's head to the next block.

173 Prospect Avenue - $950,000

Just off Fourth Avenue, next to an empty corner lot, and a towering apartment building, with an expressway rising in front of the house, 173's been on and off the market for several years

There's no purple prose for this one - just the basics.

169 Prospect Avenue - $1,299,000

Apparently this place has been in the same family for three generations. It looks like a home, rather than a showcase,  There's a laundry pole in the back.  But it's been on the market since the summer, and the price has been reduced.

The sad thing is that both these blocks of Prospect have some fine buildings, but when Moses slashed his way through, the once handsome-streets became half-blocks, losing their symmetry and natural vitality, stranded on the edge of a vehicular abyss.  Today, in our most perverse of markets, it's a landscape with a million dollar price-tag.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Signs on the Avenues

November?  A likely story.  Meanwhile, over on 4th & 10th the Breadfruit Tree Cafe, which has kept irregular hours in recent weeks, seems to be having its own repair issues:

Let's hope the cafe gets things sorted out and back in action.

The Sock Man, wending his weary way along 5th, approaches the shuttered Key Food.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Now Showing

Currently playing at BAM, through October 23rd, the 1981 film by Manfred Kirchheimer - Stations of the Elevated:

"The earliest filmed document of graffiti (shot in the late 70s), Manfred Kirchheimer’s richly chromatic 16mm city symphony sets images of northern Manhattan to a soundtrack that interweaves ambient city noises with the gutbucket gospel squall of jazz titan Charles Mingus."

Changing Tastes

Artisanal ice-cream, pastries & cookies.  Iced coffee with Boba toppings. Some of the staples offered these days to tenants in the food halls of Industry City.  Along the street, at the corner of 36th & Third, only the signs for The Hot & Cold Hero Champ remain.

Friday, October 17, 2014

To Concord

I took the train to Court Street to go to the market, but instead of getting out there, I decided to transfer to Clark Street.  Why?  Because I love this part of Henry, heading down towards Old Fulton, and the station, underneath the old Hotel St. George, has one of those ideal retail set-ups, with tailor, barber, florist, bakery, grocery and (?) sushi joint. And a shoe-shine stand.  Apart from the sushi, you could expect to have found a set-up like that fifty years ago or more.
I followed Henry for a while, then headed back on Cadman Plaza, but once I reached Tillary the October light was so golden it felt like a gift and I thought I'd head over to Concord instead.  There was no hurrying on a day like this. I'd been meaning to go there for ages, but the prospect of dealing with all that traffic was always off-putting.  If not now, when days like this were on the wane, I wouldn't bother again for a good while. Over the Plaza, Adams, Tillary & Flatbush Avenue Extension it was.  Then down left on Duffield and left again.  Here it was, a pocket of pre-civil war Brooklyn, surrounded by bridge-bound traffic, BQE, public housing, and a forest of high-rise. I'd passed here by car, in some tortuous expressway route, but never before on foot.

There's some speculation about the age of 167 Concord, but whether it's 1760s or 1820s, it's quite a survivor. The car outside it is a survivor too: a Didik Long Ranger, a hybrid gas/electric, modified from a 70s CitiCar/Commutacar. Apparently Frank Didik himself, designer and Trans-Global Highway visionary, lives right here at the house!

Of course, those urban explorers Montrose Morris & Kevin Walsh know this spot well, and you can read their posts on Concord at Brownstoner (2011) and Forgotten New York (2007). Frank Didik's design site is here.

On Duffield, back to Borough Hall

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Italian Loaves Still Sitting Forlornly in Key Food Baskets

Two weeks on at Jo, Brian & Joseph's, and the er, "power problem" remains unfixed.  They have another store on Flatbush but I couldn't reach anyone at the number there.   Ominous signs.

Where are We?

Club Xstasy, at Fifth & 26th & across from the cemetery, opened earlier this year.  It replaced La Nortena nightclub.  Xstasy has audaciously billed itself as the first gay lounge in Brooklyn, and with even more territorial daring, as the first gay lounge in Park Slope.  On their Facebook page someone wrote, "Keep it real, the neighborhood is called Sunset Park."  No mention anywhere of Greenwood Heights.

Caution Hot Bread

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Expendables

I always enjoy walking down 19th Street between Fifth and Fourth Avenues. I'm particularly drawn to a group of small houses on the south side - nos. 198 - 204.  They've appeared on this blog before. You can see them below, in pictures taken over the last several years.  There are three back-houses shown here, and another (out of the picture) behind 196.  There are still a number of back-houses in this part of Brooklyn, but four in a row is quite something.  Well three in a row, because 204 (far left) became steadily more derelict as time passed and was finished off this year.

September, 2012

September, 2012

March, 2010

I was drawn to 204, and wondered about its history.  I had idle dreams of fixing it up, and living there.  I wondered about the the network of chainlink fences that ran between the four houses, and what the relationship was between the properties.

October, 2014

It was sad to see little old 204 go, but no surprise, and at least the other houses looked sturdy enough to endure.  Not for much longer it seems.  198 - 204 all belong to the same owners, and the DOB site reveals recent (September) demolition permits for the three remaining structures, - 198 up front, 198 Rear directly behind it, and the adjacent 200 (- 202).  This is a big parcel, so expect something large and ugly appearing in the near future.

Up the block at 224A,  a small frame two-storey rowhouse just hit the market at $989,000 & is billed as a "great opportunity for a developer or homeowner."  Cash only please, ladies & gents.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Garbage Day

I went for the close-to-home option for this years Open House New York visit: off to the Sims Municipal Recycling Center at 29th Street. This is right behind the Federal Prison, beyond Second Avenue and right on the water. A grey sort of a day, with a dark sky shot with light.  From this point, the Red Hook Grain Terminal lines right up with the Manhattan skyline. What exhilaration you feel, seeing the familiar from a shifted perspective.

Of course there's the recycling too.  When you're filled up with enough skyline to last you through mile upon mile of regular, day-to-day city walking, you can go and have some fun with trash.

Stairs & cubicles, and nifty conveyor belts, but no activity, so it was hard to imagine how this Heath Robinson wonder actually functioned.  Next door things were simpler.  Mountains of plastic, and paper, and the slow, steady traffic of trucks.

Outside, the weighing of the trucks