Photo: Cafe Grumpy in Greenpoint by Premshree Pillai cc
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.
Get a fleeting glimpse of old New York City cafe culture in the West Village, meet the future of coffee distribution in Red Hook.
There are lofts, and then there are lofts like this three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath duplex in an 1880s factory building at 420 12th Street. Once home to the Ansonia Clock Company, the building was converted into a co-op by Hurley & Farinella Architects, nearly a century after being constructed. With intentions of keeping the building’s provenance intact, the architects worked diligently to maintain original details like exposed brick, factory beams and wood ceilings, and combined them with modern updates that mesh seamlessly with the building’s historic bones.
See more of this timeless beauty
For all of you who’ve stared down a four-story brownstone and wondered “What family needs all that space?”, the answer appears to be not many. According to the folks over at Douglas Elliman, more and more owners of Brooklyn brownstones are carving their homes into multiple condos for resale. The piecemeal move they say not only manages to bring in more bucks than an individual sale, but also welcomes more housing without compromising the integrity of a neighborhood—i.e. they help keep tall, glass towers at bay.
More on the trend here
This meticulously renovated four-story townhouse located at 27 7th Avenue in Park Slope is a stunning example of the “best of both worlds”. While careful to retain gorgeous period details such as decorative mantels, original millwork, plaster mouldings, pier mirrors and pockets doors, The Brooklyn Home Company left no stone unturned in its quest for modernity within the home’s classic interior.
See how old seamlessly meets new
Homes like this adorably perfect apartment don’t come on the market all that often in this neck of the woods — because who would ever want to leave? Even if Park Slope hadn’t been “New York” magazine’s choice for the ‘Most Livable Neighborhood’ in the city in 2010, one would have to look no further than its charming, small-town feel and notable residents (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kerry Russell and Steve Buscemi, to name a few) to know they hit the neighborhood jackpot. Plus, this gem of a home located at 99 Berkeley Place has a fun bonus all its own. We’ll get to that a little later on.
This way for a great apartment in a great neighborhood
Last week we learned that Opening Ceremony cofounder Carol Lim picked up a $3.43 million Prospect Heights townhouse, and it looks like her partner Humberto Leon got a bit of apartment envy, because he too just purchased a brownstone in nearby Park Slope.
The two fashion magnates met 19 years ago at the University of California, Berkeley and have been joined at the hip ever since, turning their brand into an international destination for streetwise style. So it’s no wonder that their homes share a few similarities; both are four stories, have picturesque backyard spaces, and retain a good amount of historic details. According to city records, Leon nabbed his new digs at 758 Union Street for the asking price of $2.85 million.
From making the list of most popular baby names, to having whole stores devoted to its wares, Brooklyn has become quite the brand these days. But for a classic feel of living in the borough that bucks trends, we can always look to The Brooklyn Home Company for their tasteful, functional, and timeless spaces — like this stunning 5th Street Park Slope townhouse.
The firm undertook the entire interior/exterior renovation, as well as the nine-foot extension that was added to the garden and parlor floors, those which the building owners occupy. They transformed the space with a mix of historic and modern details, custom built-ins, and impressive millwork. During the demolition, the original beams were discovered behind the drop ceiling, a feature that was left exposed and now anchors the entire living space.
Take a tour through the rest of this expertly crafted home
Newer isn’t necessarily better. Over 100 years ago architect Henry Pohlman built the elegant “apartment house” at 261 Garfield Place where you will find this refined yet cozy co-op on the market for $2.1 million. And while we doubt Mr. Pohlman could ever have imagined even the entire building selling for that price, much less a single apartment, it is clear he took great pride in his work.
Throughout the 3BR/2BA residence period details abound, with high ceilings, parquet flooring, ceiling medallions, and decorative moulding at every turn. And a wide gallery/hallway leads you from one end of the home to the other.
See more of this classic home in a classic neighborhood
A brand new building has popped up in Park Slope and it’s got quite an interesting facade. Located at 443 Bergen Street just off of Flatbush Ave, this sleek new addition to the neighborhood boasts 5 stories of living space, a 7KW solar array, reclaimed IPE wood from boardwalks, and triple glazed Passive House windows and doors. According to the building permits, work started in the Fall of last year, and by the looks of things, construction has just about wrapped up.
More on the new solar powered building this way
When Evelyn and Everett Ortner bought their Park Slope brownstone at 272 Berkeley Place in 1963 for $32,000 they probably never imaged it would sell 50 years later for over $3 million. But it was their own historically sensitive and forward-looking vision that helped revitalize the area and make it a much-sought-after Brooklyn neighborhood.
The Ortners moved to Park Slope when brownstones were unfashionable and the rich turned their noses down at the area. They convinced their friends to also buy brownstones in the neighborhood. Evelyn was an interior designer specializing in period interiors, and the couple meticulously restored their home down to every last historic detail. After a 25th anniversary trip to France, where they were inspired by local preservationists working to conserve a crumbling castle in Normandy, Mr. and Mrs. Ortner dedicated themselves to historic preservation efforts in Park Slope until their deaths in 2006 and 2012.
See the results of the couple’s tireless passion