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  1. #121

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    Year old article, but map still relevant.

    Mapping Brooklyn's Spiky Gentrification

    Richard Florida
    Jan 02, 2013

    That Brooklyn houses one of New York City's hottest real estate markets is old news. But a look at some new data shows how uneven and concentrated the borough's transformation is. A number of Brooklyn neighborhoods have seen their residential property values appreciate at an incredible clip. According to PropertyShark's real estate blog:

    Home prices per square foot are up 174 percent in Williamsburg, from $269 per square foot in 2004 to $736 in 2012. As happened in Manhattan’s SoHo decades ago, those that gave Williamsburg its éclat are at risk of being priced out of their very own stomping grounds.

    Residential values in Prospects Lefferts Gardens, a neighborhood of beautiful limestone and brownstone single family houses near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the old Ebbets Field have risen 63 percent, from $235 to $382 per square foot during the period, despite a lack of restaurants, bars, shops, and music venues that Williamsburg is famous for.

    Sandwiched in between Carroll Gardens to the west and Park Slope to its east, property values in gritty Gowanus have gone up more than 50 percent, despite its notoriously polluted canal.



    None of this is particularly surprising. Brooklyn's Park Slope bested Manhattan's Lower East Side for the crown of New York's "most livable" neighborhood in a 2010 ranking by Nate Silver for New York magazine. Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill, Greenpoint, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens/Gowanus, and Prospect Heights all numbered among the top 10. As the map shows, most of the neighborhoods that have seen substantial increases in property values are directly across the river from lower Manhattan, or near Prospect Park, the only exception being Coney Island to the far south.

    But what the map also shows is how localized this gentrification turns out to be. Despite Brooklyn's image as an uber-gentrified, artisanally-over-the-top hipster-ville, the reality is that more than half of Brooklyn's neighborhoods have actually seen their property values grow much more modestly or even slide.



    When you look to the east towards Brownsville, Canarsie, and East Flatbush — where millions of Brooklyn's residents live — property values have declined by double digits. The three neighborhoods that have seen the biggest declines are Cypress Hills, East Flatbush, and Flatbush. When you look to the traditional working class and middle class neighborhoods of Bensonhurst and Midwood, the appreciation is much more modest, in the single digits.

    I have often noted that the world is getting spikier, as economic activity concentrates in certain locations. It happens within cities too — even within boroughs, as some neighborhoods experience stunning growth, and others continue to languish. The map shows how uneven and spiky urban transformation is and how divided our cities remain — a subject I will be writing much more about in the New Year.

    Copyright 2013 The Atlantic Monthly Group

  2. #122
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    Default Windsor Terrace

    ^ Very interesting.


    Windsor Terrace: Less Way Station, More Destination

    By C. J. HUGHES


    Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times
    Brick rowhouses like these on Seeley Street are in great demand; they can sell for about half
    as much as they would in neighboring Park Slope.


    Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times
    1658 10th Avenue - A five-bedroom five-bath two-family rowhouse with bay windows, listed at $1.849 million.



    For decades the curved, somewhat comma-like shape of Windsor Terrace, in central Brooklyn, seemed almost to symbolize its role: a kind of geographic pause between larger flanking neighborhoods. Squeezed between Park Slope and the various parts of the Flatbush area, and linking them in the process, Windsor Terrace never really achieved the stature of its bigger-name peers.

    But after years of sprucing up its parks and adding stylish restaurants, while aggressively protecting its porch-fronted rowhouses from out-of-scale development, the area has become a top-choice destination. Period. Brick rowhouses are the most sought-after, along with wood-frame townhouses, and in the heart of the neighborhood a lack of through streets keeps things quiet.

    Longtime residents, who at times have labored to explain to out-of-towners where they live, express their amazement at the transformation.

    “Fortunately we bought when we did, otherwise we would never be able to afford this place now,” said Geraldine Cassone, 53, who has spent nearly her entire life in Windsor Terrace. In 1992, Ms. Cassone, a retired special-education administrator, paid $172,000 for a Queen Anne that has multiple porches and a backyard view of Prospect Park.

    Though as a “handyman special” it needed a great deal of work — new windows, a roof and a kitchen, among other things — it could sell today for nearly $2 million, Ms. Cassone said, basing her estimate on recent area sales. She shares the home with her husband, Paul, and their two children.

    Beyond being a successful investment, Windsor Terrace is appealing for its neighborliness; residents look out for one another at all hours of the day. Offering an example of this interconnectedness, Ms. Cassone described recently logging on, for the first time, to a blog dedicated to local goings-on, only to learn that her dog, Princess, whom she had seen in the yard moments earlier — and who is distinctive in having lost one of her legs — was on the loose. “I thought my husband was playing a joke on me,” she said.

    And on the Facebook page dedicated to Dari Litchman’s building not long ago, “My neighbor was like: ‘Who has dried cranberries I can borrow? I will return them tomorrow.’ ” Ms. Litchman lives in a two-bedroom prewar co-op for which her husband, Jonathan Dahan, paid around $100,000 in 2001. The place could sell for about five times that today, said Ms. Litchman, who works as a real estate agent.

    A grassroots group of which Ms. Litchman is the lead organizer, Friends of Greenwood Playground, has worked for nearly a decade to improve a triangular public space adjacent to the Prospect Expressway, turning it into a social hub for parents and children in the process. And this month the group is turning its sights outward, asking residents to donate toys, child car seats and strollers for infants living in poverty in Brooklyn, she said.

    When Ms. Litchman moved here a decade ago from Canarsie, people would scratch their heads when she gave the neighborhood’s name. Now, “everybody knows somebody who lives here,” she concluded. “It’s definitely gained respect.”

    What You’ll Find

    The neighborhood of about 20,000 people is sandwiched on about half a square mile between Green-Wood Cemetery and Prospect Park, whose leafy grounds lend a countrified air. Many define the other borders as Prospect Park West and Caton Avenue.

    It may be compact, but it doesn’t feel cramped. Stop signs, instead of lights, give many blocks a small-town vibe, which is reinforced by an abundance of American flags. On Howard Place, which is a block long, columned porches and stained-glass windows grace century-old homes. Many homes along Windsor Place have bay windows, both rounded and faceted; they look out over London plane trees, whose thick old roots have dislodged sidewalks in some places. Temple Court has clapboard Italianates, with cornices painted blue, green and purple. And facing the often-jammed Prospect Expressway, which tore up much of the neighborhood when built in the 1950s, a well-kept Second Empire had marigolds in its window boxes.

    Though tall co-ops face Prospect Park, Windsor Terrace has been kept mostly low-slung. In the early 1990s, residents persuaded the city to rezone a section to prevent a developer from putting up a 22-story condo on Prospect Park Southwest. The final version, called Windsor Tower, clocks in at 10. In 2009 the city similarly down-zoned a nearby area once known for its horse stables.

    Not that there aren’t apartment buildings. A seven-story rental from the Hudson Companies with 73 units is to open in 2015, said David Kramer, a firm principal. There is also a condo at 279 Prospect Park West, between 17th and 18th Streets, in a former paint factory, which was used as a stand-in for a bank in the 1970s heist movie “Dog Day Afternoon,” according to historical accounts.

    Crime rates have plummeted since the 1980s, though statistics have lately been troubling. In 2012 there were two murders in the 72nd precinct, which also includes Sunset Park and Greenwood Heights, but there had been five this year as of late last month, according to police data. There were 177 robberies in 2012, 203 so far in 2013. Cellphone thefts have accounted for some of the crime, said Jeremy Laufer, district manager of Brooklyn Community Board 7.

    What You’ll Pay
    Late last month 15 properties were on the market, including co-ops, condos, townhouses and multifamilies, according to Streeteasy.

    At the high end was a three-story corner building, dating to the 1920s, with two apartments upstairs and retail space on the ground floor, at $2.3 million. The least expensive offering was a studio in the Park Vanderbilt, a postwar co-op, at $255,000.

    With so few properties trading hands, it can be tough to draw meaningful conclusions from sales data, though prices have steadily improved since the recession, brokers said. But rowhouses can trade for half as much as they would in Park Slope, which is slightly closer to Manhattan and which many still consider more desirable, brokers say.

    What to Do

    Windsor Terrace has beefed up its retail offerings in recent years, particularly along Fort Hamilton Parkway, where coffee shops, yoga studios and vegetarian restaurants have popped up.

    New bars like Double Windsor, known for its craft beers, have also energized Prospect Park West, the main shopping area. Yet a retro look persists: The motorized horse outside Windsor Shoes costs a quarter a ride.

    A Key Food on Prospect Avenue, one of the few places to buy groceries, recently closed to make way for a Walgreens pharmacy, upsetting many residents. Fighting back under the slogan “green beans not Walgreens,” they got Walgreens to create space for a small outpost of the store under its roof; that opens next spring.

    The Schools

    Many students attend Public School 130, the Parkside School, which runs through Grade 5, with a diverse student body of 590. On 2013 state exams, 38 percent of third-graders met standards in math, 34 percent in English.

    Middle School 88 in Park Slope, which enrolls 1,100, got an A on its most recent city report card.

    Brooklyn College Academy nearby has one of its two buildings on Coney Island Avenue; the other, for juniors and seniors, is at Brooklyn College. SAT averages in 2012 were 456 in reading, 456 in math and 440 in writing, versus 434, 461 and 430 citywide.

    The Commute

    The F and G trains stop at the edges of the neighborhood, at 15th Street-Prospect Park and at Fort Hamilton Parkway. The F reaches Midtown in about 40 minutes.

    The History

    William M. Calder built and sold 700 homes in the area from 1902 to 1919, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. He originated “the style of architecture known as the two-family house,” according to a New York Times article from 1922.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/08/re...ref=realestate

  3. #123
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    Default Dyker Heights

    Dyker Heights, Brooklyn: A Neighborhood for All Seasons

    By C. J. HUGHES


    Saul Metnick for The New York Times
    Living in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn: A stable, relatively affordable enclave in a borough that has grown almost too popular for its own good.

    Slide show




    Saul Metnick for The New York Times
    8225 Seventh Avenue: A three-bedroom one-and-a-half-bath single-family with a garage, listed at $769,000.

    Dyker Heights, a middle-class, largely Italian-American neighborhood in southwestern Brooklyn, bears signs throughout the year of a place that people deeply care for.

    In warm-weather months, blocks throw parties — the kind featuring three-legged races and barbecues. In tiny front yards that might have been paved over elsewhere, bushes are neatly trimmed to keep their corkscrew shapes.

    And neighbors, who often live a shared driveway away, never seem to make too much of a racket, according to residents, who appreciate the quiet.

    But come December, Dyker Heights — 55,000 residents over one and a half square miles — takes its pride of place to a new and electrifying level. Known as “Dyker Lights,” it’s a vivid tribute to the season, in which yards are filled with a universe of bulbs, garlands, and more than a few life-size “Nutcracker”-style soldiers.

    There are now 250 homes that have decked their halls, and porches and porticoes, too, said James Bonavita, the owner of B & R Christmas Decorators, which was first hired to assist in the displays in 1991 and did 60 properties this year.

    They include Jerry D’Onofrio’s dormered brick colonial on 12th Avenue, which has a nativity scene on one side of the front walk and a cellophane pond with penguins on the other.

    “It can sometimes get a little hectic to turn into your driveway,” with all the cars and tour buses crawling down streets, said Mr. D’Onofrio, who lives with his parents and works at a nearby screen-printing company. “But I think it’s good to give back to the community.”

    Amie Manto, a grade-school computer teacher, knows the spectacle well. She spent some of her childhood in Dyker Heights. And even after moving to Greenwood Heights, where she rents a two-bedroom, she has regularly come home for the holidays to gawk at it.

    Soon, she won’t have to travel so far. Last summer Ms. Manto and her husband, Anthony, bought an early-20th-century rowhouse in Dyker Heights with three bedrooms and a claw-foot tub. The property, which cost $495,000, needed new electrical wiring, plumbing and windows; the renovation is just winding down.

    Though the lights can be almost blinding to visitors, the Mantos are very clearsighted about the neighborhood’s virtues. It remains a stable, relatively affordable enclave in a borough that has grown almost too popular for its own good, Ms. Manto said. And although Fort Greene, Downtown Brooklyn and even Bay Ridge next door have become way too pricey for the non-six-figure-salary set, it is her opinion that “when you work for the city, you should be able to live in the city.”

    She left a job as a TV ad buyer after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to pursue her dream of teaching. Her husband, following a similar path at that time, became a New York City police officer.

    The fact that Dyker Heights is not just another part of hipster Brooklyn makes it all the better, she added. In such areas, cocktail lounges and artisanal boutiques are usually the signal that gentrification lurks just around the corner. “I would say that kind of thing isn’t happening over here,” Ms. Manto said, before catching herself. “I mean, at least not yet.”

    What You’ll Find

    Hugging Gravesend Bay, Dyker Heights almost matches the 11228 ZIP code in area, according to residents and officials.

    To the west, its borders are Fort Hamilton Parkway and the Gowanus Expressway; to the east, 16th Avenue, though some put that area, which increasingly has an Asian presence, in Bensonhurst. At the north is Bay Ridge Avenue, which locals call 69th Street — though others put the boundary farther out, at 65th Street.

    “Prime Dyker,” as brokers call it, is closest to Dyker Beach Golf Course, a public facility that dates in part to the late 1890s, when development began in earnest.

    Perched on the slight ridge responsible for the “Heights” part of the name, these homes, which often evoke the Mediterranean, typically sit on roomy, tree-shaded lots measuring 80 by 100 feet. Even in the summer, they can seem lavishly decorated; a waterfall gurgles at a home at 11th Avenue and 83rd Street, surrounded by white goddess-like figures.
    Few of the mansions that went up at the turn of the last century have survived, though one at 1135 84th Street, a 1901 Tudor-esque confection with half-timbered gables, earned a spot on the state and national historic registers.

    Single-family homes are more prevalent than in Bensonhurst, brokers say. Rowhouses here might not be as fancy as those in adjacent Bay Ridge, but Dyker doesn’t have Bay Ridge’s bulky apartment buildings, either. The tallest structures on the horizon seem to be church steeples.

    South of 86th Street, a microneighborhood that some refer to as Dyker Park has a mix of postwar two-family co-ops and larger standalone homes. Condos are tucked in complexes of half a dozen units, as on 14th Avenue.

    What You’ll Pay

    In mid-December there were 19 properties for sale — condos and co-ops as well as single- and multifamily homes — at an average of $956,300, according to Streeteasy.

    A three-family Victorian with a two-car garage and a pool was the priciest, at $1.5 million. A one-bedroom co-op, in a two-unit building in Dyker Park, was the most affordable, at $225,000.

    Over recent years, prices have climbed. Through mid-December, 78 single-family homes had sold, at a median of $714,100, according to House N Key Realty, a local firm.

    In 2012 there were such 81 sales, at a median of $654,400. And in 2009, after the recession had hit, 46 sold, at a median of $619,000.

    As for two- and three-families, 105 have sold this year, at a median of $780,000; 11 condos have sold, at a median of $523,000.

    Dyker Heights used to be “too far from Downtown Brooklyn,” said Janine Acquafredda, an associate broker with House N Key, “but more people are open to it now.” The area’s popularity stems at least in part from the higher prices in places like Park Slope, she added.

    What to Do

    There are commercial streets, like 13th Avenue and 86th Street, but they don’t offer much in the way of nightlife; people head to Third Avenue in Bay Ridge if they want to grab drinks.

    Some stores have loyal followings, like La Bella Marketplace, which sells homemade soups and fresh mozzarella. Chains like Rite Aid and Outback Steakhouse can be found on 86th.

    The golf course doubles as a park; a walk around the perimeter takes about 45 minutes for Ms. Manto, who for years has made it part of her regimen.

    The Schools

    Public, private and parochial options exist, both in Dyker Heights and just outside. One is Public School 229, in Dyker Park, which was an elementary school until a few years ago, but now also offers Grades 6 through 8.

    The school, which enrolls about 1,100, got an A on its most recent city report card. On state exams last year, 56 percent of third-graders met standards in English, 71 percent in math, versus 28 percent and 33 percent citywide.

    One public high school, New Utrecht, enrolls 3,300 and also got an A from the city. SAT averages in 2012 were 402 in reading, 471 in math and 399 in writing, versus 434, 461 and 430 citywide.

    The Commute

    The area is a bit starved for convenient subway service; only a single line, the D, cuts through one corner, with a stop at 71st Street; a trip to Manhattan from there takes around 45 minutes. Just beyond the boundary are a handful of other D and N stops.

    The x28 express bus gets to Lower Manhattan in about 30 minutes; the x38 gets to Midtown Manhattan in about 50 minutes. Many residents park on the street and drive to work.

    The History

    Joe Rollino, a strongman whose tall-tale-like exploits reportedly include once lifting 485 pounds with his teeth, lived on 14th Avenue for years. In 2010, at 104, he was felled by a minivan on Bay Ridge Parkway. A corner of his old street, at the parkway, is named for him today.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/29/re...ref=realestate

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    Default Kensington

    Affordability in Kensington, Brooklyn

    By ALISON GREGOR


    There are many apartment buildings in the neighborhood, and more are being added, like one here on Ocean
    Parkway near Church Avenue. Christopher Gregory for The New York Times


    Deirdre Lehn became aware of Kensington’s neighborliness as soon as she attended an open house. “We went to the open houses, and all the neighbors would come by, and folks were chatting with us and inviting us to come by for coffee,” Ms. Lehn said. “These were, like, people we didn’t know.”

    That sales pitch, however spontaneous, worked. Just over a year ago, Ms. Lehn and her family, former Cobble Hill residents, bought a two-family Victorian in northern Kensington, where similar homes sell for $850,000 to $900,000.
    Ms. Lehn says there were two reasons for the move. First, the family was being priced out of Cobble Hill; and second, Kensington seemed the kind of community where they could “lay down roots” — a place where people hung out on their front porches and got to know one another.

    With roughly 53,000 residents over about 107 square blocks, densely populated Kensington is known for its diversity; it is home to immigrants from more than 15 countries, and more than 20 languages are spoken, according to census data. The neighborhood has one of the city’s largest Bengali communities and significant populations of Russian, Mexican, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Haitian and Polish immigrants. There is also an enclave of Hasidic Jews.

    Beyond its immigrants, Kensington has an increasing number of young professionals, many of them unable to afford Brooklyn neighborhoods closer to Manhattan, like Park Slope and Windsor Terrace.

    Wholesale gentrification, however, is unlikely, said Liam McCarthy, a broker who founded the agency JMKBK. “This is very much a dynamic neighborhood, as opposed to rich people coming in and pushing everyone out,” he said. “There’s a lot of competition to be in the neighborhood.”

    The competition comes in part from farther-out Brooklyn. Kensington, historically a working-class area, is a landing place for people moving from places like Midwood and Sheepshead Bay, Mr. McCarthy said.

    “Kensington is the last affordable neighborhood before you get to Windsor Terrace and Park Slope if you’re trying to move closer to the city,” he added.

    Even so, longtime residents have noticed changes, both in home prices and population. Amara Mahmood, who has lived in Kensington since the age of 2 and now makes a home there with her husband and two young children, says she no longer sees many stay-at-home mothers or large families, especially in the pricier northern part of Kensington, which is closer to Prospect Park and Windsor Terrace.

    “I find that the parents are older — than me, at least,” Ms. Mahmood said. “I’m not 30 yet, and a lot of the parents I meet are in their late 30s.”

    In her opinion, one thing Kensington lacks is a community space where children can play indoors — though she isn’t sure her neighbors have the same priorities. “I feel like I’m in a minority when it comes to looking for a community space,” she said. “Other people are really looking for coffee shops and bookstores — they want Park Slope-type amenities in this area.”

    What You’ll Find

    Around the turn of the last century, Kensington was named after the borough in West London, and some of its housing seems to reflect that association. Detached and semidetached wood-frame Victorian homes, usually on 30-by-100-foot lots, flank its tree-lined streets, along with the occasional brick or limestone rowhouse.

    “In the northwest corner near Chester Avenue and Story Street, you have a lot of beautiful brick housing,” said Jasmina Nikolov, an agent with RealLifeNYC.com, “and some people say it’s reminiscent of London streets.” Many houses on these quaint side streets are two- and three-families, although Ocean Parkway has 20-story prewar co-ops and rentals. The neighborhood also has its share of six-story postwar apartments, Ms. Nikolov said.

    What You’ll Pay

    A share of the housing along Ocean Parkway is rent-stabilized, but pricing for other apartments and homes has gone up in recent years. As an example of this, brokers pointed to a brick single-family home at 158 East Eighth Street near Prospect Park that sold for $680,000 in early 2011 and appreciated by 40 percent by last summer, selling for $949,000.

    In late January, there were about 17 homes on the market, said Mary LaRosa Lederer, the broker and owner of brooklyn-real. Single-families tend to sell for $750,000 to $950,000, multifamilies from $850,000 to $1.2 million, she said. A home at 241 East Third Street that sold for $1.05 million was the highest-priced single-family to sell in the last year, Ms. LaRosa Lederer said.

    Among co-ops and condominiums, studios sell for $130,000 to $150,000; one-bedrooms for $250,000 to $300,000; two-bedrooms for $400,000 to $450,000; and three-bedrooms for $575,000 to $650,000, she said.

    There are plentiful rental apartments, available in multifamilies and in high-rises, Ms. Nikolov said. Studios and one-bedrooms in multifamilies are renting for about $1,500 a month; two-bedrooms for about $2,000; and the rare three-bedrooms for at least $2,500. In the high-rises, rents can vary widely. One-bedrooms start at $1,200 a month, but they can range up to $2,200, Mr. McCarthy said.

    The Commute

    Most people make the 45-minute commute to Midtown on the F train, which runs along McDonald Avenue; for drivers, the trip via Ocean Parkway can take as little as 25 minutes, if traffic cooperates. The G train also originates at Church Avenue, bound for other Brooklyn neighborhoods. The BM3 and the BM4, both express buses, arrive in Midtown in half an hour.

    What to Do
    Looking for your vodka in a bottle shaped like a Kalashnikov? Kensington’s got it. Addicted to South Asian sweets, like jalebi or gulab jamun? You can get those, too. Not to mention reasonably priced sari or salwar kameez, along with delicious mango ice cream, Argentinian-style glatt kosher steaks or parts for your model train. Visiting the myriad stores that line Church, Ditmas and 18th Avenues is a pastime in the neighborhood. “I’m on Church Avenue at least once a day,” Ms. Mahmood said.

    Two popular businesses are Brooklyn Banya, a Russian-Turkish bath house, where the party organizers Gemini & Scorpio have been holding hipster events of late; and Buzz-A-Rama, billed as the last slot-car racing tracks in the city. Despite the influx of Park Slopers, the amenities of gentrification have been slow to follow, though the first wine bar, Church Cafe, is anticipated soon.

    There is also Prospect Park, and cycling is on offer along the Ocean Parkway bike path to Coney Island. The Kensington Stables are nearby, as are shopping and restaurant rows on Church Avenue, Cortelyou Road and Fort Hamilton Parkway.

    The Schools

    Kensington is zoned for three school districts, but the priciest part of the neighborhood is north of Beverly Road in District 15, which includes Park Slope. “I see prices going up, especially for homes in District 15,” Ms. LaRosa Lederer said.

    Public School 130 the Parkside School, which runs through Grade 5, got a B on its most recent city report card. On state exams last year, 33.7 percent of tested third-graders met standards in English, 37.5 percent in math, versus 28 percent and 33 percent citywide.

    A charter school called Brooklyn Prospect recently opened on Fort Hamilton Parkway for Grades 6 through 10, and eventually Grades 11 and 12 will be added, Ms. LaRosa Lederer said.

    The History

    Developers who began building homes on farmland in Flatbush in the late-19th century were the ones who named the area. Building got underway in earnest during the 1920s, attracting Irish and Italian immigrants. By the early 1980s, Kensington was starting to draw the variety of immigrants that would make it the melting pot it is today.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/re...ref=realestate

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    Default

    South Williamsburg: Catching Up to the North Side

    By C. J. HUGHES

    Slide show


    Credit Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times

    New Yorkers love to debate about which is better. The Nets or the Knicks? This restaurant or that one? Subways or cabs?

    Or, among some residents of Williamsburg, Brooklyn: North or South?

    For years, many residents of the northern side of the neighborhood, or above the dividing line of Grand Street, argued that their half was more desirable, mostly because the highly populated neighborhood had a lot more going on.

    But those on the southern side, or below Grand Street, would counter that they wouldn’t trade the peace and quiet of their emptier industrial blocks for the world.

    Now, however, as the south side ambitiously adds shops, parks and sleek, shimmering apartment buildings — and in the process, begins to resemble its neighbor to the north — any turf battle might be moot. “We’re like how north side was five years ago,” said Jean Chae, who makes organic toys for pets and has been a resident here for seven years. “We’ve changed tremendously, but it’s for the better.”

    Ms. Chae moved to a rental in a three-family house in Greenpoint from Manhattan in 2007. But she had to take care of chores like dragging garbage cans to the curb, which, after years of living in full-service buildings, shocked her enough to want to move. She headed for South Williamsburg, and what she found instead was a type of housing that has only grown in popularity since: a new doorman high-rise, courtesy of Schaefer Landing, a condominium complex on the East River that opened about a decade ago.

    tuyvesantWith hardwood floors and stainless-steel appliances, and an in-unit washer and dryer, the two-bedroom two-bath apartment also offered cinematic views of Manhattan’s skyline. She rented there at first, but then in 2010 was able to buy a different unit in the building for $750,000 in a short sale. Ms. Chae recently put that apartment on the market for $1.38 million; she said its open houses have been busy.

    But she’s not going far: She signed a contract to buy a three-bedroom in the same tower, for $1.47 million. In fact, Ms. Chae likes her building — and her evolving neighborhood — so much that she persuaded her parents to trade their Sutton Place co-op for a unit in the same complex.

    For decades, South Williamsburg struggled with poverty and crime, said Isaac Abraham, who heads the Federation of Tenants Council of Williamsburg, a housing advocacy group with 5,000 families as members. Today, the demand for affordable units is far outstripping supply, said Mr. Abraham, who for more than 30 years has lived in a two-bedroom rental in Roberto Clemente Plaza, a 1970s Mitchell-Lama complex. He recalls the days of the 1980s, when the neighborhood was tainted by drug dealing, prostitution and burning cars.

    Some changes are tough to swallow, like the bike lanes that crisscross the neighborhood, making it too hard to drive. And with thousands more apartments planned — the $1.5 billion Domino Sugar redevelopment on Kent Avenue, by the Williamsburg Bridge, recently received a key go-ahead from the city — car traffic is likely to increase, he said.
    “The city needs to do a better job with infrastructure,” he said, adding that increased bus service might help.

    What You’ll Find
    There is general agreement that Grand Street forms the northern border of the neighborhood and Union Avenue the eastern one, with the East River as the western edge, but the southern edge is in dispute. Longtime residents put the southern border at Flushing Avenue, reflecting a time when the neighborhood was largely populated by Hasidic Jews and Hispanics, groups that still thrive today. But in the last decade or so, brokers and developers have tended to define the neighborhood more narrowly, stopping at Division Avenue, creating a border within which much of the new construction has gone up and where many of the new young residents have moved.


    60 BROADWAY, #7F
    A two-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath condo with  13-foot ceilings, listed at $1,599,500.

    The factories and warehouses that dominated this area for more than a century have often been creatively repurposed, but an industrial flavor remains.

    For instance, the Smith Gray building, where men’s wear was manufactured in the early 1900, added condos in the early 2000s. One of South Williamsburg’s first conversion projects, its six-story cast-iron facade still looms prominently at Broadway and Bedford Avenue. Close on its heels was the makeover of the nearby Gretsch, a condo at 60 Broadway, where guitars and other musical instruments were once produced.

    About 90 percent of the housing stock is rental, according to census data. Newer rentals include 424 Bedford Avenue, formerly known as Zazza, a 20-story, 66-unit high-rise with market-rate units; and 15 Dunham Place, a 14-story, 160-unit tower with market-rate and affordable apartments.

    But ownership opportunities are growing. A huge new project, Oosten, is rising from the full-block site of a former Schaefer beer plant at Wythe Avenue and South Eighth Street. It will deliver 216 condos by 2016.

    What You’ll Pay

    In a low-inventory market, there aren’t a lot of properties for sale; many are in a handful of buildings.

    Just 16 co-ops, condos and townhouses were listed for sale in early April, at an average list price of $1.78 million, according to Streeteasy.com.


    242 SOUTH FIRST STREET, #4E
    A triplex condo with one bedroom, an office and a mezzanine, listed at $1,249,000.

    At the high end was a combined apartment at the Gretsch, with six bedrooms, six baths and eye-catching stonework, for $6.5 million. At the low end was a two-bedroom condo at Schaefer Landing at $975,000.

    In 2009, 61 condos sold, at an average price of $543,716, according to Streeteasy, and in 2013, 122 sold, at an average of $941,183.

    For now, the south side still trades at a discount from the north side, by about 15 percent, brokers say — $1,000 a square foot versus nearly $1,200 — but parity is expected in a few years.
    Rents, meanwhile, are on the high side in new buildings. One-bedrooms at 424 Bedford, for instance, start at $3,000 a month. South Fourth Street, which opened this year, listed a one-bedroom at $4,200 in early April.

    What to Do

    Residents are buzzing about Urban Market of Williamsburg, which opened on Broadway and Kent in December; it brings a long-awaited grocery to the area.

    Restaurants to make an impression include Motorino, a popular pizzeria, which opened a location at 139 Broadway last year after its original East Williamsburg branch was condemned and razed.

    It joins Peter Luger Steakhouse, at 178 Broadway — once the only game around — as well as such standbys as Diner, and Marlow & Sons, at the corner of Berry Street.


    440 KENT AVENUE, #15C
    A two-bedroom two-bath condo in Schaefer Landing, listed at $1,100,000.

    Residents can also now kick back on chairs in a newly formed pedestrian plaza on Broadway, which affords views of the Williamsburg Bridge and the dazzling dome of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank.

    The Schools

    A zoned public elementary option is Public School 84, which focuses on visual arts. It got a C on its recent city report card. Junior High School 050, at 183 South Third Street, is in the neighborhood; it was recently given a B on its report card.

    The nearby Brooklyn Latin School, which opened in 2006 and teaches Grades 9 through 12, emphasizes the classics for 500 students; it requires an entrance exam, and shirts and ties are a must. It received a B on its report card. On the 2013 SAT exams, students averaged 584 on the reading section, 604 math and 577 writing, versus 437, 463 and 433 citywide.

    The Commute

    The elevated J, M and Z trains stop at Marcy Avenue; the J and M at Hewes Street. The financial district can be reached in 15 minutes, though Midtown takes longer. Ferries also run to Manhattan throughout the day from a dock in front of Schaefer Landing.

    The History

    Before the Williamsburg Bridge was completed in 1903, ushering in the first sustained wave of Manhattan transplants, the area was reached by ferry. A smokestack at Grand Ferry Park was salvaged from a molasses plant where Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, founded nearby in 1849, came up with a way to mass-produce penicillin.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/re...C2EDD0&gwt=pay

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    Ridgewood's Radioactive Superfund Site Worries Neighbors

    July 3, 2014, by Nathan Kensinger


    New York City's newest Superfund site is located on a quiet one-block section of Irving Avenue in Ridgewood, Queens. All photos by Nathan Kensinger.

    On May 8, the Environmental Protection Agency officially designated New York City's newest Superfund site, located on an nondescript industrial block of Irving Avenue in Ridgewood, Queens.

    Formerly the home of the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company, the site has been quietly irradiating the neighborhood for decades, leading The New Yorker to call it "The Most Radioactive Place in New York City." The EPA is now beginning the initial steps in what will likely be a lengthy cleanup process. "Just from looking at it, you would never know this is a Superfund site," said Thomas Mongelli, the Remedial Project Manager of the site, but the pollution is still there, in the form of gamma radiation emanating from thorium sludge discarded over 60 years ago. "It's in the soil, underground, in the sewers," said Mongelli. "They just dumped it down the sewers, because that's what you did with waste at that time."

    The cleanup of Wolff-Alport may take up to a decade, resulting in a much improved environment for the neighborhood, but business owners and nearby residents are currently expressing trepidation about the Superfund designation. "It scares the shit out of me," said James McCormick, who lives in a recently converted warehouse a few hundred feet from the site. "But I don't know what to do about it… Is it bad? Should I be living here?" McCormick moved to the area a year and half ago, and estimates that 50 to 60 people now live in his building on Moffat Street, which is located on one of the sewer lines that thorium was dumped into. However, the EPA believes that people outside of the official Superfund area are not in any immediate danger.

    "Radiation is a scary concept. You can't see it, you can't smell it," said Thomas Mongelli. "You hear 'radiation' and you get scared, but there's no real impact to the outside community. It sounds a lot more worrying than it is."


    For businesses located within the Superfund site, which include a bodega, an ice company, and a car repair shop, the cleanup process has already had a negative impact. "From the day they came over here, we are losing business," said Hilda Rodriguez, whose husband owns the Primo Auto Body shop on Irving Avenue. "I had a lot of people before, but now they are not coming."

    Fear of radiation has kept many customers away, despite an immense protective shield that the EPA laid down in the repair shop's driveway and garage. Its layers of steel and lead have not been able to assuage Hilda's own fears. "I don't want to stay here. I want to leave," she said, fighting back tears. "Sometimes I cry. I have a lot of depression."

    At least one business in the neighborhood is already planning to relocate. "We're just going to shut this plant down. I don't have a date yet," said Nelson Rivera, the Distribution Manager for Arctic Glacier, an ice producing company which owns several properties in and near the Wolff-Alport Superfund site. The company's main ice plant in Brooklyn is located across the street from the Superfund, and a constant stream of trucks drives along Irving Avenue to pick up fresh made ice. "We push around 200 tons of ice from here," said Rivera, but the changing neighborhood and the radioactivity are two factors that led to the decision to shut down. "To us, it's more a fear of what is actually happening. What they are not telling you. We're standing on a layer of lead."

    As the cleanup progresses over the coming years, and Ridgewood and Bushwick continue to grow in popularity as residential destinations, this area will no doubt undergo a larger transformation. A new residential building is already going up less than a block away from the Wolff-Alport site, while an empty lot across the street has been slated for residential development. "Everything is on the table at this point," said Mongelli, contemplating the cleanup process. "I can't even say roughly how long it will take."


    The railroad spur that delivered monazite sands from the Belgian Congo to Wolff-Alport is now unused and is part of the Superfund site.
    "This is where they would unload the raw material," said Mongelli.


    The paved-over tracks of the spur continue across Cooper Avenue and into residential Ridgewood.
    An active freight line still runs through in the neighborhood, on aboveground tracks.


    Before the area along Irving Avenue was designated as a Superfund site, a shield of lead and steel was laid
    over the main area of gamma radiation by the EPA. "The shielding worked pretty well," said Mongelli.
    "It's mainly the onsite workers we are concerned about."


    Across the street on Irving Avenue, plans have been made to turn this empty lot into new Bushwick residences,
    according to Mongelli. The borderline between Brooklyn and Queens runs down the middle of the street.


    The quiet streets along the Bushwick/Ridgewood borderline may soon change, as the Superfund process
    continues and as new residents continue to move in. "We'll be doing some more sampling in the next few months,"
    said Mongelli. "There's not much going on at the site right now."

    Ridgewood, NYC's Most Radioactive Place, Now Superfund Site [Curbed]
    Nathan Kensinger [Official]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/0..._neighbors.php

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    Fort Greene, Brooklyn: A Neighborhood With Many Faces

    By JOHN FREEMAN GILL


    Jake Naughton for The New York Times

    Slide Show


    Amid New York’s variegated urban landscape, Fort Greene has been known since the 19th century for its low-rise human habitat: intimately scaled, tree-lined blocks of brownstones, brick rowhouses and occasional frame houses. But a lofty new habitat is emerging on the neighborhood’s western edge, as a forest of mixed-use towers rises in the Brooklyn Cultural District around the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Peter Jay Sharp Building on Lafayette Avenue. Incorporating more than 1,200 new apartments into a kind of high-rise Lincoln Center, the district will be home in the next few years to more than 400,000 square feet of cultural space, including performance, rehearsal and studio facilities.

    “The idea was always concentrating great culture together in a small area to spur economic development and provide the people of this area with great cultural options,” said Andrew Kalish, the director of cultural development for the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a public-private local development corporation.


    274 VANDERBILT AVENUE
    A two-family French Second Empire-style brownstone with a garden, listed at $2,695,000
    Jake Naughton for The New York Times


    Across Ashland Place from BAM’s Sharp building and the BAM Fisher building, which opened in 2012, work has begun on a 32-story tower designed for Two Trees Management by Enrique Norten of Ten Arquitectos. The development will be made up of more than 300 apartments (20 percent below market), a public plaza along Lafayette, retail and 50,000 square feet of city-owned space for organizations like BAM, the Brooklyn Public Library and 651 Arts, a group dedicated to the performing arts of the African diaspora.

    Up the street on Ashland, the Theater for a New Audience last year opened a glass-fronted jewel box of a theater, called the Polonsky Shakespeare Center. It will soon be flanked by two much larger neighbors. To the north, the Gotham Organization has begun excavation for a 52-story mixed-use tower with 586 apartments, roughly half below market rate. To the south, a 10-story mixed-use building will replace a parking lot.

    Several new high-rises are expected nearby, including an Autograph Collection hotel, one of Marriott’s brand of upscale, independently operated properties, on Rockwell Place. The hotel will join 66 Rockwell, a 42-story mixed-income tower that began leasing units this year; two-bedrooms with Chrysler Building views are listed at $4,267 a month.

    Closer to earth, and farther east, Theo Peck is living a more typical Fort Greene life with his wife, Ingrid, and their small son. In 2011, the family moved into an aluminum-sided rowhouse on Clermont Avenue, where they pay $3,000 monthly for a duplex “with a really scary basement with friends in low places.” Their neighbors include a photographer, a video editor and a pastry chef, whom Mr. Peck hired for his prepared-food shop on nearby Myrtle Avenue, called Peck’s.

    “The cultural district is amazing,” Mr. Peck said. He takes in plays at BAM and has attended a panel on artisanal food at BRIC House, an arts and media center on Fulton Street. In October, his wife and son attend the Annual Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest in Fort Greene Park. “It’s a very mixed neighborhood,” Mr. Peck said. “There’s a little bit of everybody and a little bit of everything.”

    What You’ll Find

    Sandwiched between Clinton Hill and Downtown Brooklyn, with which it shares an ambiguous border, Fort Greene is bounded by the Brooklyn Navy Yard to the north and Atlantic Avenue to the south.

    The traditional socioeconomic divide of the neighborhood is Fort Greene Park, a gem designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. To the south are leafy streets lined with brownstones, some of them expensively restored former rooming houses. To the north are public housing developments.

    African-Americans have been an integral part of Fort Greene’s multiracial tapestry since the 19th century, and by the 1970s most of the area’s homes were owned by middle-income blacks, many of whom had bought them during the white exodus for the suburbs in the ’50s and ’60s. A predominantly black creative community flourished. In the 1990s and early 2000s, however, as home prices rose, many black homeowners reached retirement age and sold their houses, said Deb Howard, a 40-year resident and the executive director of the Pratt Area Community Council, a nonprofit community development corporation. In turn, low-income tenants were forced out, as new buyers had bought at higher prices with mortgages that could not be supported by the old rents.

    All of this turnover was compounded by predatory home-repair loans to the elderly, which precipitated a wave of foreclosures, Ms. Howard said. “Eighty to 85 percent of the housing has changed hands since the ’80s,” she added. “But it’s really just in the last 12 years that there’s been such a dramatic upswing in the market.”


    159 CARLTON AVENUE, #3A
    A one-bedroom one-bath condo in a converted stable, listed at $1,150,000.
    Credit Jake Naughton for The New York Times

    A five-year census survey completed in 2012 estimated that 42 percent of the area’s 26,982 residents were black, 27 percent white, 19 percent Hispanic, and 8 percent Asian, according to an analysis of the data performed by Susan Weber-Stoger, a researcher in the sociology department at Queens College. The proportion of whites rose 13 percent since 2000, census data show, while the share of blacks shrunk 15 percent. Median household income in 2012 dollars rose to $56,436 from $44,987.

    Pamela Young, an agent with the Corcoran Group who lived in Fort Greene for a decade and still works there, said that talk of tension over gentrification was overblown. “I’ve seen more tension between drivers and bikers than I’ve seen between longtime residents and new arrivals,” said Ms. Young, who is African-American. “It’s more a sense of wistful nostalgia. It’s not a feeling of people wanting to throw bottles at each other.”

    What You’ll Pay

    Buyers are descending from Manhattan and abroad in droves, and “when a townhouse comes to market, it’s like throwing corn to pigeons,” said Ms. Young of Corcoran. The average townhouse price in the last year was $2,043,153, according to Doug Bowen, a broker at CORE, while co-ops averaged $628 a square foot. Duplex two-bedroom condos in brownstones sell from $850,000 to $1.2 million, Ms. Young said; two-bedroom condos in new buildings range from $650,000 to $1.5 million. A recent search on Streeteasy.com found 52 properties for sale and 143 for rent; one-bedroom rentals ranged from $1,750 to $3,500 per month.

    What to Do


    130 ST. EDWARDS STREET, #7D
    An 1,100-square-foot, three-bedroom co-op with one and a half baths, listed at $595,000.
    Jake Naughton for The New York Times


    DeKalb Avenue is a genuine restaurant row, with diverse fare offered by the likes of Madiba Restaurant, inspired by informal dining halls in South African townships, and Colonia Verde, with its Sunday pig roasts. The strip has become so “of-the-moment” that on a recent afternoon, shoots were underway simultaneously for both an Abercrombie & Fitch ad and an MTV drama called “Eye Candy.”

    On Saturdays from April through November, the schoolyard of Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School hosts Brooklyn Flea, a vibrantly eclectic vintage bazaar and food destination.

    The Schools

    Public school options include the Academy of Arts and Letters on Adelphi Street, which teaches kindergarten through eighth grade and received a B on its most recent city progress report.

    The Brooklyn Technical High School on Fort Greene Place is one of eight city schools that require prospective students to take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test. Average SAT scores in 2013 at Brooklyn Tech were 591 in reading, 659 in math and 582 in writing, versus 437, 463 and 433 citywide.

    The Commute

    Among the trains serving the neighborhood either full- or part-time, the B, Q, D, N, R, 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains stop at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station. The Q runs full-time to DeKalb Avenue. Farther east, the C train stops part-time at Lafayette Avenue.

    The History

    During the Revolutionary War, 11,500 Americans died in British prison ships anchored in nearby Wallabout Bay. Their bones are entombed in Fort Greene Park, beneath a soaring Doric column.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/re...any-faces.html
    Last edited by Merry; September 25th, 2014 at 03:24 AM.

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    Default Vinegar Hill

    Brooklyn’s Sleepy Enclave, Vinegar Hill, Awakens

    By JOHN FREEMAN GILL
    NOV. 12, 2014


    Karsten Moran for The New York Times

    Slide Show

    The Brooklyn waterfront enclave of Vinegar Hill is a tiny carpet remnant of a neighborhood, a rough-edged but charmingly idiosyncratic swatch of land largely cut off from the city around it. At its northern fringe is the dystopian sprawl of a colossal Con Edison substation that separates residents from the tantalizingly close East River. To the east is the fenced 300-acre Brooklyn Navy Yard industrial park. To the south is a mountain range of public housing and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

    But nestled within these gritty urban boundaries, interspersed with warehouses and industrial buildings, are some of the city’s most beguiling scraps of streetscape. Most evocative is Hudson Avenue, which has been put on the map in recent years by Vinegar Hill House, the acclaimed restaurant that opened there in 2008. Flanking the sloping Belgian-block street are rows of diminutive pre-Civil War brick and frame houses with quaint ground-floor storefronts. Vinegar Hill House winks with candlelight by night, and a couple of other street-level spaces house art galleries and offices, but most of the storefronts are curtained residences, lending the street at all hours a drowsy, lost-in-time atmosphere.


    69 GOLD STREET A three-bedroom two-bath townhouse, with an adjacent one-bedroom unit, listed at $3.4 million.
    Karsten Moran for The New York Times

    “It’s a little jewel,” said Dale Nichols, a furniture conservator who in 2005 bought a clapboard house on Hudson for $1 million “with eyes wide open that it needed everything, which all those houses do.”

    Mr. Nichols and his wife, Jennifer Goldberg, rent the storefront, a former 19th-century grocery, to the owners of Vinegar Hill House, who have transformed it into an airy event space called Hillside, where a dinner series takes place. Mr. Nichols walks to work at a restoration studio he rents near the Commandant’s House, a striking Federal-style mansion built around 1806 that overlooks the Navy Yard.

    Residents say a smattering of new apartment buildings has made area streets feel safer, and foot traffic is likely to increase further. At 80 Hudson, a 76,700-square-foot warehouse is on the leasing market for potential development as offices or for other commercial uses, possibly with ground-floor retail.

    A few blocks west, large-scale development is underway. On Bridge Street, considered by many the border between boomtown Dumbo and sleepy-hamlet Vinegar Hill, a pair of old freight rails runs across the Belgian-block street and right into the lobby of the Kirkman Lofts, a soap factory converted to condominiums in 2011. The impression is of Dumbo’s industrial chic and general fabulousness racing eastward, almost literally. Next door to Kirkman, a new brick residential building is rising at 47 Bridge. Known as Waterbridge 47, it is planned as a swanky 25-unit condo, complete with a wine-tasting room.

    So is Vinegar Hill going balsamic? Will it resemble Dumbo before long?

    “Some buildings are being converted to commercial, and that will add people during the day, but at night it’s like this sleepy little dimly lit industrial town,” said David J. Maundrell III, a Dumbo resident and the president of aptsandlofts.com, which is marketing Waterbridge 47. “Dumbo transformed because of Brooklyn Bridge Park and the tourists,” he added, “but Vinegar Hill will remain more of a neighborhood than a tourist attraction.”

    What You’ll Find

    The portion of Vinegar Hill not occupied by Con Edison is only about nine or 10 blocks in size, but the three sections of its historic district, generally between Plymouth and Front Streets, make up one of Brooklyn’s oldest residential neighborhoods. Front Street features a handsome row of three-story Greek Revival brick houses built from 1830 to 1855, as well as an Italianate 1850s former fire house, adapted as housing.


    79 BRIDGE STREET, #5F A two-bedroom, 1,426-square-foot condo with two baths and a terrace, listed at $2,125,000.
    Karsten Moran for The New York Times

    Another row of antebellum Greek Revival brick houses runs south along Gold Street from Water Street. Adam Meshberg, an architect, bought the one on the corner, 69 Gold, along with its adjacent 1920s brick garage, for $1.295 million in 2006. Though the house was a derelict eyesore with holes in the floors and an outside wall that bulged out six inches, Mr. Meshberg had a vision for it.

    Using a 1938 tax photo for reference, he restored the exterior and performed a gut renovation on the interior. With permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, he added three north-facing windows to provide Manhattan-skyline views. Together with the garage, renovated as a potential rental property, the house is on the market with an asking price of $3.4 million, down from $4.3 million in June.

    The house was a liquor store before Prohibition, and the basement had a peculiar Belgian-block spiral staircase and bricked-up windows that Mr. Meshberg believes are evidence of its use as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Such a high-spirited past would certainly be in keeping with the neighborhood’s historic character, for as far back as 1822, a city directory identified almost a quarter of the heads of household in Vinegar Hill as tavern proprietors. The occupations of today’s residents — who number around 580, according to a 2008-2012 census survey — are more diverse. Beginning in the 1970s, many artists and artisans moved in, and in recent years, rising rents have predictably chased off some of those creative types and brought in more professionals.

    What You’ll Pay


    100 GOLD STREET, #PHB A two-bedroom penthouse condo with one and a half baths and a roof deck, listed at $1.3 million.
    Karsten Moran for The New York Times

    Condos and rental buildings have been popping up outside the historic district, with inventory so scarce that apartments tend to trade fast. The 10 condo units of 102 Gold sold out in three months last year for $700 to $850 per square foot, said Christine Blackburn, an associate broker at the Corcoran Group. The average condo price now is $800 per square foot, she added, “but I can see a time when it will be a very exclusive, very expensive enclave matching prices with Brooklyn Heights.”

    Prices have indeed been climbing. At the Kirkman Lofts, condo prices rose to $750 from $600 a square foot between 2011 and 2012, said Roberta Benzilio, the executive vice president of Halstead Property Development Marketing. In July, one of those units resold for $1,300 a square foot, she added.

    Houses in Vinegar Hill rarely change hands, which makes the market tricky to gauge. Last year, a house at 328 Plymouth Street, directly opposite the Con Edison plant, sold for $910,000, city records show. The $3.4 million asking price of Mr. Meshberg’s renovated house at 69 Gold works out to about $1,100 per square foot, and a townhouse on Bridge Street sold this year for above $1,300 per square foot. A recent search of Streeteasy.com found three properties for sale and eight for rent, with one-bedroom rentals listed between $2,100 and $4,095 per month.

    The build-out of nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park has been a great boon. St. Ann’s Warehouse, which hosts avant-garde performances, is on Jay Street and will move into the redeveloped Tobacco Warehouse in the park next year.

    Hillside teams up with nacho chefs from El Gato Nacho for a football-watching gathering on Sundays and Mondays. On Dec. 13 and 14, Hillside, along with Fox Fodder Farm, a floral and garden design studio, will host a Christmas crafts market, one of a regular series of markets featuring the work of women.

    The Schools

    The neighborhood’s sole elementary school is Public School 307 on York Street, although some students are zoned for P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights. Both schools received C’s on their most recent city progress reports. Satellite West Middle School, also on York Street, scored a B.

    The Commute

    The seclusion of Vinegar Hill is a double-edged sword, as only one train, the F, stops nearby, at York Street in Dumbo, a five- or 10-minute walk. The ride to Midtown takes about 20 minutes.

    The History

    John Jackson, a ship builder, named Vinegar Hill after a 1798 Anglo-Irish battle. Jackson ran a shipyard at the foot of Hudson Avenue and built houses nearby for his workers. His sale of land for use as the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the early 1800s sparked further growth in the area.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/16/re...l?ref=nyregion

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    Default Park Slope

    Park Slope, Brooklyn, a Neighborhood to Grow Into

    By JOHN FREEMAN GILL
    JAN. 21, 2015


    The Grand Army Plaza farmers’ market off Prospect Park is open year-round and draws many visitors to the area.
    Alan Chin for The New York Times

    Kate and Kabir Singh have come a long way since moving to Park Slope, Brooklyn, from Greenwich Village a decade ago, hopscotching from home to home to home, but despite their nomadic tendencies they’ve traveled a grand total of five and a half blocks in that time.

    Introduced to the leafy, house-proud neighborhood when Ms. Singh began teaching at a local school, the couple were enticed into putting down roots by the proximity of Prospect Park, the strong reputation of Public School 321 and the alluring rows of well-maintained period brownstones. And as with so many Manhattan transplants, their attachment to the neighborhood has grown along with their family.

    “Once people cross the pond to Park Slope, they’re here forever,” said Jackie Lew, an associate broker with Halstead Property, who has raised her own children there. “Their lifestyle changes and they don’t want to live anywhere else.”

    Nesting was on their minds when Ms. Singh and her husband, who works in finance, moved into their first apartment in the area, a two-bedroom co-op in a walk-up on First Street. Two years and one daughter later, they traded up to a $1.85 million three-bedroom duplex in a limestone co-op across the street, which they bought from friends who were also moving within the neighborhood. Finally, in 2011, after the birth of two sons, they bought a $2 million limestone house on Union Street near Grand Army Plaza.


    LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park opened last winter after a $74 million restoration.
    Alan Chin for The New York Times

    The LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park opened last winter after a $74 million restoration. Credit Alan Chin for The New York Times By then, Ms. Singh said, the family’s lives had become happily entwined with Park Slope.

    “It’s got a real small-town feel,” she said. “On my walk to school with the kids, I know so many people from all different parts of my life: people I know as a teacher, small vendors, real estate people and the parents of my children’s friends.” But if, as some residents say, Park Slope has a “Sesame Street” atmosphere, the area’s rents have risen high enough to push out many mom-and-pop shop owners of Mr. Hooper’s ilk. Seventh Avenue abounds with banks and with real estate offices that have windows full of pricey listings reflecting the neighborhood back on itself. On Union Street, the Tea Lounge, a popular bourgeois-bohemian hangout, recently shuttered.

    Nevertheless, even as parts of Park Slope are increasingly buffed to a high polish, the area still offers a variety of experience. After living much of the last six decades in the North Slope townhouse her seamstress mother had bought in 1949, Lorraine Leong, a health care administrator, decamped to the southwestern fringe of the neighborhood in 2012, paying $693,000 for a two-bedroom condominium on 12th Street and Fourth Avenue, a thoroughfare where blocky residential buildings have sprung up since a 2003 rezoning. Her son, a “foodie” who lives upstairs, keeps her informed, she said, about “all the great restaurants opening up” on Fifth Avenue and Flatbush Avenue.

    “Fourth and Fifth Avenues have that diverse mix that Brooklyn always had, and it’s very appealing to me,” said Ms. Leong, who is of Chinese descent. “There are Italians and Latinos still around, and a guy on my corner sells tacos from a little stand for a dollar. You don’t want to lose that.”

    What You’ll Find

    A principal draw of Park Slope has always been the rolling meadows and sinuous paths of Prospect Park, a masterpiece designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. The neighborhood, home to about 60,000, stretches west from the park to the rumbling river of traffic known as Fourth Avenue, and south from Flatbush Avenue. There is no unanimity on the southern boundary. Many longtime residents define it as 15th Street; others say the vicinity of the Prospect Expressway.


    763 CARROLL STREET A two-family townhouse with nine bedrooms
    and three and a half baths, listed at $3,950,000.
    Alan Chin for The New York Times

    Spurred in part by the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883, a Gold Coast of ornate townhouses and mansions arose around Plaza Street and Prospect Park West. Some of these were later replaced by fine prewar apartment houses, but others survive. On Prospect Park West, a Romanesque Revival limestone mansion houses the Poly Prep Lower School; next door, a neo-Jacobean mansion built for a Bon Ami cleansing powder magnate is now home to the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. At 105 Eighth Avenue, the neoclassical Tracy Mansion, which served for years as a Montessori school, is on the market for $13 million.

    With a few exceptions, houses generally become less grand as one heads south from about Third Street or west down the hill from the park. In the South Slope, the blocks south of Ninth Street, frame houses are common, and residents tend to be a notch or two less affluent, census data show.

    What You’ll Pay

    Big money is pouring in. A seven-bedroom limestone-and-brick townhouse at 45 Montgomery Place recently sold for $10,775,000, a neighborhood record, while median single-family townhouse prices rose 26 percent over all last year to $2,755,000, according to sales data provided by the Corcoran Group. Tight inventory means houses typically sell within 30 days, at or above asking price, said Jessica Buchman, an associate broker at Corcoran. “A quarter of our deals are all cash,” she added. “The wealth is staggering.”

    One-bedroom co-ops fetched an average price of $776 per square foot, up 8 percent from 2013, the Corcoran data showed, while the average for one-bedroom condos was $883, up 15 percent. Two-bedroom co-ops sold for an average of $930 per square foot, up 16 percent; two-bedroom condos were $961, up 15 percent. A mid-January search on StreetEasy.com found 16 houses and 52 apartments for sale.

    Development continues apace on Fourth Avenue. At 278 Sixth, a 12-story rental building that opened in October, 45 of 63 units have been leased, said Joe Cruz, the project’s exclusive broker. Available one-bedrooms are listed at $3,000 per month, a typical price for a new building; two-bedrooms are $3,900, in the middle of the range for a new building.


    708 DEGRAW STREET, #2 A three-bedroom two-bath
    condo with 1,008 square feet, listed at $1,250,000
    Alan Chin for The New York Times

    What to Do

    Every spring, hundreds of diminutive baseball players parade with Norman Rockwell wholesomeness down Seventh Avenue en route to Prospect Park, where they play games organized by the Prospect Park Baseball Association. Also in the park, the two-rink skating complex of the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, which opened last winter after a $74 million restoration, is thronged with ice skaters in cold months and roller skaters in warm.

    Seventh Avenue in the South Slope, with favorites like Talde, and Fifth Avenue, with the can’t-get-in-the-door mainstay Al di Là, both have active restaurant scenes. For organic-food lovers unexcited about working the shifts required of members of the Park Slope Food Co-op, the arrival of Whole Foods on Third Avenue and Third Street in neighboring Gowanus has been a boon. Farmers’ markets in Grand Army Plaza and by the renovated Washington Park thrive as well
    .

    462 SIXTH STREET, #4C A studio with one bath and a
    renovated kitchen in an 18-unit co-op, listed at $319,000.
    Alan Chin for The New York Times

    The Schools

    Public School 321, a well-regarded elementary school on Seventh Avenue, is a major attraction. Last year, 78 percent of students met state standards on the state English test, and 80 percent on the math test, versus 30 and 39 percent citywide. The Berkeley Carroll School, a private institution for prekindergarten through 12th grade, has its lower school on Carroll Street and middle and high schools on Lincoln Place.

    The Commute

    The North Slope is well served by subway lines, including the 2, 3, B and Q, which make stops on Flatbush and reach Midtown Manhattan in about a half-hour. Nine trains stop at Atlantic Avenue - Barclays Center, including the D, N, 4 and 5. The R train serves stations along Fourth Avenue. Center and South Slope residents can catch the F and G on Fourth Avenue, Seventh Avenue and 15th Street-Prospect Park.

    The History

    Washington Park was home to a forerunner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, which used the Old Stone House of Gowanus, a 17th-century structure, as their clubhouse in the late 19th century. A reconstruction of the house stands in the park today.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/25/re...s&emc=rss&_r=0

  10. #130
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Default Boerum Hill

    Boerum Hill, Brooklyn: Urban Energy, Brownstone Charm

    MARCH 11, 2015
    By JOHN FREEMAN GILL


    Alan Chin for The New York Times

    Slide show

    Boerum Hill, a comfortable, brick-and-brownstone neighborhood just south of Downtown Brooklyn, has long been a popular hunting ground for Brooklyn buyers looking to bag one of the area’s coveted 19th-century townhouses. In 2005, less than an hour after a section of a ceiling collapsed onto a child’s bed during an open house at a Bergen Street townhouse, offers began rolling in, setting off a bidding war that concluded with a $1.68 million sale (the asking price was $1.595 million).

    Today, that purchase price seems quaintly low, and with so few neighborhood houses coming to market, developers have hit on a simple solution: They’re building new ones, a trend that would have been unthinkable back in the dilapidated Boerum Hill of the 1980s.


    “The phenomenon of people buying brand-new townhouses has been a really big thing in Boerum Hill,” said Leslie Marshall, an associate broker for the Corcoran Group. “A lot of buyers don’t have the stomach for a gut renovation, which so many of the houses that come on the market need, so new construction is really appealing.”


    90 WYCKOFF STREET A four-bedroom townhouse, with three and a half baths and a garage, listed at $7,200,000.
    Alan Chin for The New York Times

    For some, the “turnkey” condition of newly built townhouses is as much a draw as the neighborhood. In 2007, Louise Whittet, at the time a teacher whose family was “busting out” of its apartment in TriBeCa, she said, was introduced to Boerum Hill when former neighbors invited them to their new home, one of 14 just-completed, modern-style townhouses on State Street.

    “My husband calls it the most expensive brunch we’ve ever had,” Ms. Whittet said. “We go into their house, and the kitchen’s beautifully done, and there’s huge amounts of space. When you come from 1,600 square feet in Manhattan and see 3,000 square feet, it’s mind-boggling.”

    A few months and $2.75 million later, Ms. Whittet and her family had moved into their own new home on the row, a five-story, five-bedroom house with a double-height dining space adjoining a backyard.

    The clincher for Ms. Whittet and her husband, Andy Scruton, who works in finance, was the neighborhood’s proximity to Manhattan, only a 10- or 15-minute subway ride away. But once ensconced, they came to love the area for its own sake.

    “It’s urban but residential, like parts of London,” said Ms. Whittet, who is British. “It offers the energy of an urban environment but with tree-lined streets and lots of space.”

    Some of that space — vacant or underdeveloped lots throughout the neighborhood — is rapidly being filled in. Last year nine more new townhouses down the block from Ms. Whittet were sold for prices ranging from $3.2 million to $4.3 million. Farther down State, east of Hoyt Street, a row of seven one- and two-family townhouses is going up. At 319-325 Pacific Street, four four-story red brick houses are also rising, with elevators and garages behind handsome carriage-house-style doors.

    As holes in the once gaptoothed streetscape are filled in, Ms. Whittet said Boerum Hill seemed very much at the center of things. “It feels we’re at a nexus, where everything meets and branches out again,” she said. “I walk the dog every day in Fort Greene, BAM is a nine-minute walk, and I can walk to the water in 15 minutes if I want to look at Manhattan.”

    What You’ll Find

    Boerum Hill is an easygoing, predominantly low-rise community of about 18,000 residents east of Cobble Hill. Its boundaries, as defined by its civic association, are Court Street to the west, Fourth Avenue to the east, Schermerhorn Street to the north, and Warren and Wyckoff Streets to the south.

    The residential heart of the neighborhood is its small historic district, which takes in parts of Pacific, Dean, Bergen and Wyckoff Streets. Here one finds uncommonly long, cohesive rows of Greek Revival and Italianate houses built mostly between the 1840s and the early 1870s. Adding to the area’s appealing visual jostle are church buildings and carriage houses converted to homes, walk-up rentals of brick or brownstone, and even the odd frame house. Interspersed throughout are charming ground-floor businesses like the atmospheric Italian restaurant Rucola and the aptly named Little Sweet Cafe.


    546 PACIFIC STREET A renovated two-family townhouse with two two-bedroom duplexes, listed at $2,900,000.
    Alan Chin for The New York Times

    The stretch of Atlantic Avenue around the Brooklyn Detention Complex, for decades a hodgepodge of gas stations and parking lots decried by local groups as a “gap” in need of filling, is at last undergoing major development, with commercial and mixed-use buildings on the way. For better or worse, most of the area’s rough edges have been buffed away. Long gone from the commercial strip of Smith Street are the beer-drinking domino players and the dry cleaner with the puffy black-and-white chicken pecking about in the window. Nonetheless, despite the incursion of commercial chains, Smith still has a distinctive sense of place, with small storefronts generally lending an indie vibe to the strip’s thriving restaurant row.

    “The mythology of the neighborhood is that you could walk to your own business, support the local schools, own a 40-seat restaurant or a dress shop,” said Howard Kolins, the president of the Boerum Hill Association. “Some people still do that, and that’s what everyone likes.”

    What You’ll Pay

    Boerum Hill is small, which helps keep inventory low and drives up prices. Only 24 townhouses sold last year, at a median price of $2,996,500, a 15 percent jump from 2013, according to sales data provided by Corcoran. In the last six months, two-bedroom condos averaged $956 per square foot, said Shari Sperling, an associate broker at Halstead Property, while two-bedroom co-ops fetched an average of $1,012 per square foot. At the Boerum, a 210-foot-tall condo planned at 265 State Street, sold units have averaged just over $1,300 per square foot.

    Rental prices vary widely. At the upper end, a three-bedroom penthouse duplex on Dean Street is on the market for $7,250 per month, whereas a one-bedroom apartment above a storefront on Atlantic rents for around $2,500.


    368 STATE STREET, #4 A one-bedroom one-bath co-op with a shared roof deck, listed at $650,000.
    Alan Chin for The New York Times

    A search on StreetEasy.com earlier this month found 32 residential properties for sale and 62 for rent.

    What to Do

    Concerts and sporting events at Barclays Center are within walking distance, as is the vibrant green expanse of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Atlantic Avenue between Third and Fourth Avenues is home to many Islamic and Middle Eastern shops. Farther west, sleek design stores and boutiques like Steven Alan and Atelier Cologne have set up shop, undeterred by the rumbling traffic. October brings the Festival des Soupes, a “soup crawl” in which many of Smith Street’s restaurants serve up tasting cups of house-made fare.

    The Schools

    At Public School 261 on Pacific Street, which serves prekindergarten through fifth grade, 40 percent met state standards on the state English test last year, and 45 percent met standards on the math test, versus 30 and 39 citywide. The Brooklyn Heights Montessori School, its name notwithstanding, is on Court Street in Boerum Hill; it teaches prekindergarten through eighth grade.

    Three well-regarded private schools are within walking distance: the Saint Ann’s School and the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights, and the Brooklyn Friends School in Downtown Brooklyn.

    The Commute

    The area is served by an alphabet soup of subway lines: To the northeast, nine trains stop at Atlantic Avenue — Barclays Center, including the B, Q, D, N and R. The 2, 3, 4 and 5 serve that station as well as Borough Hall, a couple of blocks north of Schermerhorn Street. The A and G stop full time at Hoyt-Schermerhorn, the C part time. The F and G trains come into the Bergen Street station.

    The History

    A fashionable district in the 19th century, the neighborhood had become down-at-heel by the 1960s. In a successful effort to attract middle-class buyers to the area, which some called North Gowanus, pioneering brownstone renovators renamed the area Boerum Hill, after a family that farmed local land in Colonial times.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/15/re...s&emc=rss&_r=0

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