Monday, June 22, 2015

Sterling Town Equities Moves in on 21st

More condos on the way for 21st between Fourth & Fifth.  186-190 21st - a two-storey building and adjacent lot - have just been bought, all cash, for six million dollars.  The buyer is Sterling Town Equities. The deal was brokered by CPEX

“We continue to see demand for development sites along the 4th Avenue corridor,” said Sean R. Kelly, Esq. of CPEX, in a prepared statement. 
Mr. Kelly and colleagues represented the seller,186-190 St LLC (the LLC is represented by Edward B. Saffran, Esq.). CPEX also procured the buyer, who was not represented by a broker, in the all-cash transaction. 
“With a lack of condominium inventory in Brooklyn and an abundance of luxury condominiums priced above $2,000 per square foot coming to market in Manhattan, developers have regained confidence in the Brooklyn condo market,” added Mr. Kelly. 
The building is zoned for a maximum floor area ratio of 2.0, allowing for a total of approximately 20,034 buildable square feet.  (Commercial Observer)

No lack of condo inventory around here, unfortunately, and no demand for development from local residents. But alas, we residents have no say in these matters. The Observer article has the building dating to 1931, but a 2013 application (disapproved) to convert the building from commercial to mixed-use still lists the buildings as wood-frame structures, hardly likely for a 1930s building. But perhaps this is just murky or incompetent record-keeping. The most recent C of O on record dates to 1912 (wood-frame buildings housing an "eating and drinking place,") but there's also a demolition permit on record dated 1968. Are the wooden buildings lurking somewhere beneath a larger and more recent-looking edifice? Or are they gone entirely? I know not. Whatever building originally existed at 190, next door, seems to have been demolished long ago.

A century ago, 186 was the scene of a widely-covered crime story. On November 19th, 1910, eight year old Giuseppe Longo, who lived at the building with his family, was abducted from in front of his home, and a $15,000 ransom was demanded for his safe return. Another local child, Michael Rizzo, of 720 Fifth, was taken at the same time and also held for ransom. On December 8th the children were recovered, from rooms in a tenement on East 63rd Street, and a lengthy Eagle account of the suspects' arraignment in a packed courtroom the following day is heavy on drama and sentiment.

Mrs Longo has become gray since her boy was stolen from her.  As she stroked his head she talked to the reporters.
"You don't know,"she said, pathetically.  "Twenty days he was away. My little Joe.  Every day I have been waiting. In the morning, no little Joe to dress. after school no little Joe, when we went to bed no little Joe.  I wanted to kill myself.  And they cut his hair and sent me some of it, telling me that they would cut off his head if we did not pay money.  See where they cut the hair from?" And Mrs. Longo pulled the dark hair apart to show where the scissors had rudely trimmed off some of his dark locks.
"Do you wonder that I wanted to kill myself?" asked Mrs. Longo.  "They have not treated him well.  He was fat, and had fat cheeks when they took him.  Look at him now."
The little fellow was still well nourished and rosy cheeked, but the mother said that he was much thinner than when he was taken.

A mere twelve days later Marie Rappa was convicted of kidnapping, and the NY Times found "something suggestive of the proverbial  'Jersey justice' "in the rapidity of this conviction.  A co-defendent, Stanislao Pattenza, was found guilty shortly thereafter.  A later Times article, written on December 21st, around the time of sentencing, records Judge Fawcett's words to Pattenza.

You were the brains, the leader, the acknowledged chief of the Black Handers.  You and the others lived on the fruits of your dastardly crimes of kidnapping, bomb-throwing, and blackmail. Your society during the past few years has caused a reign of terror among the good people of your race in this city.  Criminals of your class should never have been admitted to the country.

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