In New York City there are currently about one million rent stabilized apartments–about 47 percent of the city’s rental units. So why is it so hard to snag one? What are the benefits of having one (other than affordable rent, of course)? According to the New York City Rent Guidelines Board nearly 250,000 rental units have lost the protections of rent regulation since 1994. Why are we “losing” so many of them?
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The story behind cheese-aging facility Crown Finish Caves in Crown Heights tells of an enormous amount of risk and dedication to making something on a small scale; to doing one thing well. It also once again stirs the hive of buzz around today’s Brooklyn. Article after article raises the idea that Brooklyn’s moment as the new hot spot for excellence in food, culture and authentic, hand-crafted goods, is in some quarters regarded as trite and trendy hype with little substance to it.
For some, the underground cheese caves are just one more example: Cheese caves. How Brooklyn. Thirty feet below street level, in the lagering tunnels of a former brewery beneath the Monti Building in Crown Heights, Benton Brown and Susan Boyle spent several years renovating and creating “Brooklyn’s premier cheese-aging facility” complete with state-of-the-art humidity control and cooling systems. The couple created the 70-foot space with advice from the world’s top cheese experts; Crown Finish Caves opened in 2014. On an article in Cheese Notes, a commenter raves: “If I were a mouse, I would move to Crown Heights.”
Image via the Historic Districts Council
What once seemed unheard-of in terms of where to rent or buy in tertiary neighborhoods is now a thing of the past—be it Harlem, Williamsburg, Hell’s Kitchen, Long Island City, or the Lower East Side. But one of the best examples of rapid transformation is Brooklyn. Certainly there are many coveted communities such as Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights, and Park Slope, but there is another neighborhood making what looks like a very successful run at gentrification: Crown Heights.
Between hyper-developed hotspots, main drags in up-and-comers, and those genuinely avoidable areas, there can often be found a city’s “just-right” zones. They aren’t commonly known, but these micro-neighborhoods often hide within them real estate gems coupled with perfectly offbeat vibes. Continuing our Goldilocks Blocks series, this week we look at Lowry Triangle in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
It’s…gritty. But it’s Prospect Heights.
Anchoring an oddly magical Brooklyn crossroads where Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and Clinton Hill meet, bisected by noisy, gritty Atlantic Avenue, Lowry Triangle and its surrounding blocks form a literal mashup of three neighborhoods, all of which began hitting their gentrification strides at slightly different times. On a map it’s legitimately Prospect Heights, whose border is a block to the east at Grand Avenue. It’s a small but decidedly cool zone, open and semi-industrial, where old brick buildings share space with a growing number of sleek, modern boutique condos, compact cubes fronted by vast expanses of glass; a fascinating juxtaposition of old and new.
This converted carriage house in Prospect Heights is back on the market with another price drop, this time, asking $2.499 million. The minimalist 22.5-foot wide home has a touch of European farmhouse charm in a raw modern warehouse, with some vintage accents like reclaimed sinks, found antique gates, repurposed mirrored French doors and tin ceilings. Not to mention the fact that the home comes with a private garage (currently being used as an artist studio space).
As December dawns, the holiday gift markets roll in, and it’s harder than ever to turn around in NYC without encountering a pop-up shop or makeshift mall offering everything anyone could ever want–whether they know it yet or not–for the body, mind, soul and home. We’ve assembled a list of smaller, cooler pop-ups and holiday markets that mix music, food and fun freebies like haircuts, goodie bags and beer with this year’s selection of clever, crafty gifts.
From “coffices” to lab-like minimalist gourmet coffee meccas to cozy neighborhood hangouts, neighborhood cafes are a fine example of the essential “third place” mentioned in discussions of community dynamics: that place, neither work nor home, where regulars gather and everyone’s welcome.
Along with yoga studios, art galleries, community gardens, vintage clothing shops, restaurants with pedigreed owners and adventurous menus and, some say, a change in the offerings on local grocery shelves, cafes are often the earliest sign of neighborhood change. The neighborhood cafe serves as a testing ground for community cohesiveness while adventurous entrepreneurs test the still-unfamiliar waters around them. Beyond the literal gesture of offering sustenance, cafes provide a place where you can actually see who your neighbors are and appreciate the fact that at least some of them are willing to make an investment locally.
New York is known for having spectacular weddings of all shapes and sizes at every venue imaginable. Aside from the bride, the groom and the dress, flowers are often the center of attention at these affairs. And if you have attended one such wedding, Lilli Wright’s centerpieces may have graced your table. As the owner of Mimosa Floral Design Studio based in Crown Heights, Lilli has become one of the city’s most sought after florists. She recently did the flowers for a ceremony at the New York Public Library, and on another weekend she found herself designing flowers for five different weddings.
Lilli—whose full name is Lillian—has always had a flower in her name, but it wasn’t until a friend asked the then-actress to handle flowers at a wedding that she found her true calling. After a slew of floral-related adventures throughout the city, in 2010 Lilli became a bonafide Brooklyn entrepreneur when she started a flower business right out of her apartment. In June of this year, Lilli opened up a brand new storefront studio on Kingston Avenue.
6sqft recently caught up will Lilli at her Brooklyn studio to find out more about her new shop, Crown Heights’ renaissance, and why the New York wedding scene is like no other.
With its beautiful brownstones and tree-lined streets, Crown Heights was once among the city’s premier neighborhoods prior to WWII. And though much has changed in subsequent years, Heritage Equity Partners is betting on its posh roots, acquiring a controlling interest in a new development project at 564 St. John’s Place.
The deal values the property at close to $30 million and plans call for the existing parking garage to be replaced by a 130,000-square-foot residential building, most likely a rental.
Heritage has been an active buyer in Brooklyn’s hot real estate market, most recently converting a church at 163 N. Sixth St. in Williamsburg into rental apartments and a new office building at 19 Kent Ave. in the same neighborhood is in the works.
Madison Realty Capital loaned Heritage $23.5 million to make the acquisition but the total price paid to former owner Rabsky Group was not disclosed. However, Madison’s co-founder, Joshua Zegen, said his firm is in active discussions with Heritage to provide construction funding for the project.
[Via Crain’s New York]