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Clinton Hill House Getting the Attention It Deserves

January 11, 2017

An historic Clinton Hill house, located at 476 Washington Avenue, is finally getting a facelift after years of indifference.

The building went up in 1882 and once had a wonderful porch. But the years have been hard on the house, leading it to literally crumble, with parts of it actually falling down. The Historic District Council’s Kelly Carroll called the site a case of “demolition by neglect.”

Happily, now that a new design has been approved unanimously by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the four-floor, four-apartment residential structure is going to blend in beautifully with its neighboring buildings, at least as far as its height is concerned.

The façade might stand out a bit, as the design by Tom Van Den Bout of NV/design.architecture, seems to be quite modern, with an all-cedar face.
Whatever it is, it is sure to be an improvement to what has become a neighborhood eye-sore.


New Building Holding Lottery for 29 Affordable Apartments

December 15, 2016

As the construction of the mega-apartment building on Myrtle Avenue comes to completion, 29 of the 143 total apartments will be offered to would-be residents through a lottery.

The apartments are located at 50r Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill, an eight-floor mixed-use building. The affordable apartments range in size from studios apartments to two bedrooms, and are reserved for tenants with yearly incomes between $30,206 to $54,360. The monthly rents will vary from $735 for the studio to $888 for the two-bedroom.

The ground floor will be occupied by retail space while the upper floors will contain apartments whose square footage will average about 736 square feet. The building comes with quite a few perks, such as a fitness center, storage space for bicycles, a deck on the roof with dining and barbecue areas, plus laundry facilities.

Residents of Brooklyn Community Board 2 will be given half of the affordable units. Applicants can apply online via NYC Housing Connect or by sending a self-addressed envelope to 504 Myrtle Avenue c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 760, New York, NY 10018. The deadline for applications is February 1st, 2017.

PS/MS 282 to Eliminate Middle School

November 8, 2016

PS/MS 282 in Park Slope. Photo by Jim.henderson.

In Park Slope, there is a school with the rare problem of not enough middle-schoolers and too many grade-schoolers. The K-8 school, PS/MS 282 in District 13, will most likely begin the phasing out of grades 6-8 over the next three years, while simultaneously increasing the number of K-5 students, as soon as the Department of Education’s proposal is approved by the Panel for Educational Policy.

“This proposal is expected to help reduce the excess of middle school capacity in District 13, by decreasing the number of middle school seats at P.S. 282 and allowing this middle school seat capacity to be re-purposed for much needed elementary school capacity,” DOE officials wrote in their Educational Impact Statement.

The makeover will begin during the 2017-2018 school year when sixth graders will no longer be enrolled. In 2018-2019 seventh graders will no longer be accepted, and in 2019-2020 school year eighth graders will no longer be found at PS 282. During these same years, the K-5 population would be allowed to grow by 330 students. The entire school’s population this year is 817.

The proposal is not going to effect the school’s pre-K program of 90 students, not its gifted and talented classes.

Last Remaining Temple-Fronted Home Now on Sale

September 25, 2016
Lefferts-Laidlaw House. Photo by  Onorland.

Lefferts-Laidlaw House. Photo by Onorland.

Looking for a landmark building to call home? With that desire and an additional $4.5 million, the Lefferts-Laidlaw House can be yours. Build in the 1840s, the home received individual landmark status in 2011, and is also part of the Wallabout Historic District, which takes up several blocks adjacent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The home is distinct as Greek Revival style home with a temple front, the last one left in Brooklyn. Even more remarkable, the house at 136 Clinton Avenue was famous for its non-living occupants. In the late 19th century former owner Edward F. Smith complained that he was sharing quarters with ghosts. The story is not so famous any longer, but at the time the tale was the subject of no less than two articles in the New York Times.

Most of the home’s outer details are original, including its clapboard siding, decorative moldings and such. The Corinthian columns that make up the unique Greek temple look have been replaced over the years. The interiors are somewhat wanting, considering the price-tag, but the home is spacious, with 6 bedrooms in 2,250 square feet. There is also lots of wonderful outdoor space surrounding the residence.

Is Your Pet Unemployed? Here are Some Ideas to Get Him Off the Couch

August 25, 2016
Typical hard-working cat

Typical hard-working cat

Is your pet dependent on you for all his needs, without lifting a finger, or should I say paw or hoof, to help? Here are a few New Yorkers of the furry four-legged variety who can teach your lazy, good-for-nothing pet a thing or two about the importance of good, hard work.

Happen to have a goat around? Well if you do, perhaps he can send his resume to the Prospect Park Alliance where they have already hired eight goats from upstate to come down to the city and eat up some of the more annoying and invasive plant species that seem to grow like weeds in the park’s Vale of Cashmere. For a lovely sum of $15,000 the goats have rented out their services to devour goutweed and poison ivy. Although I always thought only ‘little lambs eat ivy,” these goats are so good at what they do that they had to be laid off temporarily in June “due to their voracity.”

What, you don’t have a goat? Well perhaps you have a border collie. If so your collie might like to join the “Geese Chasers.” This group of border collies has hired themselves out to the Hudson River Park to “clear the park of geese.” These dogs are so good at what they do that just the site of them scares the feathers off the geese, and they take off, no questions asked. The hours aren’t bad either; The Geese Chasers’ handlers bring them out to the park three times a day.

There are goat people, dog people, and then there are those who somehow manage to put up with cats. You might think a cat could never be persuaded to actually work to earn their keep, but if you thought that, you would be wrong. Cats are making their own special niche in the workforce at cat cafés around town. At Little Lions in SoHo and Meow Parlour on the Lower East Side, cats are employed to hang with the humans, and in some cases the humans can adopt and take an especially adorable cat home. At the Brooklyn Cat Café the cats charge by the half-hour, at Little Lions the entry fee is $11, and at Koneko’s Cattery it costs $15 to enter the premises.

Falcons, sheep and other animals have found their way into the workforce, so why not your pet, too? Get him off the couch and out to work, it will be good for both of you!

Senator Schumer Introduces Bill to Ban K2 Components

July 21, 2016

Spice was originally sold as an incense, but has now swept the military community with controversy as a ‘legal’ designer drug. However, Marine Corps Order 5355.1, issued Jan. 27, directly prohibits the use, distribution, sale and possession of it and others like it.

The fight to reduce the danger posed by the use of K2, also known as “synthetic marijuana” was intensified last week when Senator Charles Schumer introduce a federal bill to ban some of the more common ingredients of the dangerous drug. Schumer was reacting to a serious uptick in the number of emergency room visits this past month in New York City as a result of K2 use..

New York has been struggling to reduce the number of people harmed by K2. Since January, 2015, the city seemed to be seemed to be succeeding. According to a city health department report released last week, there have been about 8,000 cases of people going to the emergency room because of K2 use. In June, 2016 the number was the lowest it had been at any point during the past year.

Then July came, and between the 11th and 13th of the month 130 K2 victims had to be transported to emergency rooms. On July 13th alone 33 people were sent to the hospital all in one incident.

There is already a city law against the manufacture, sale, or possession of “synthetic cannabinoids.” On Sunday Schumer said that it is impossible to keep up with the labs making K2, since they are always changing their recipes. He said that only a federal ban will improve the situation.

“Banning these drugs quickly will help the feds step up their game of whack-a-mole so that we can help stem the tide of synthetic drug use here in New York City and across the country,” Schumer said.

From Building Ships to Building Companies: New Lab Open for Business

June 23, 2016
Front view artist's rendering of New Lab. Building 128 of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Courtesy of Macro Sea

Front view artist’s rendering of New Lab. Building 128 of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Courtesy of Macro Sea

Tuesday was the opening day of New Lab, branded as the future of tech and manufacturing creativity and innovation in Downtown Brooklyn.

A former space for ship building, the 84,000-square-foot building had been abandoned until David Belt, the Lab’s founder, discovered it in 2011.

“It was still a ruin, but one of the most inspiring buildings I had ever been in,” Belt said.

Located at 63 Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard, New Lab hopes to host as many as 50 companies with 350 workers, according to president of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, David Ehrenberg.

Not only will New Lab house offices and shared work spaces, it will have available high-end product design and manufacturing tools that entrepreneurs can use to create prototypes of their products. Ehrenberg explained that the goal of New Lab is to help companies to expand out of this space, which is acting as a kind of incubator, and leave the Lab and “take more space in the Navy Yard and create more jobs.”

Belt said that during the decades the building was used to assemble ships it was a state-of-the-art manufacturing space. Once again it is hosting “sate of the art manufacturing.”