Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to make a proposal on Wednesday that will launch an initiative to transform Downtown Brooklyn into a community that will rival some of its brownstone counterparts. The area has undoubtedly grown significantly over the last decade with new restaurants and cultural institutions that have attracted an influx of residents. However locals feel that the area still feels a bit disconnected. De Blasio’s plan aims to create a greater sense of community in the neighborhood.
Let’s just say you have $23,500 weighing you down and you’re looking for a way to ease your burden. Why don’t you try renting this spectacular apartment at the Belltel Lofts? 365 Bridge Street Apartment 26B is a 2,800-square-foot, 3BR/3BA stunner that just gets cooler as you go along. This two-story loft manages to give you modern amenities in a prewar building, with surprises around every turn, and views to spare, all while putting you right in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn. Sound like something you want to see? Well then come closer…
We’re thinking of becoming local college basketball fans — not necessarily because we love the sport, but because we’re dying to get inside this Long Island University gymnasium that was once the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre. Commissioned in 1928 by Paramount Pictures, with a sister theatre in Times Square, this regal venue was the largest movie theatre in Brooklyn, second largest in the city, and the first theatre designed for talking pictures. Noted theatre architects Rapp and Rapp designed the rococo-style palace with 4,084 burgundy velvet seats, a ceiling painted with clouds, a 60-foot stage curtain decorated with satin-embroidered pheasants, huge chandeliers, and tiered fountains filled with goldfish.
Movie houses struggled during the depression years, and by 1936 the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre had lost $1.5 million since opening. In 1950 Long Island University purchased the building, and twelve years later they renovated the auditorium as their gymnasium keeping the original, ornate details of the space intact. The LIU Blackbirds played their first game in 1963, and in 1975 a second renovation occurred thanks to funding from local businesses.
The city has officially approved a $3 million streetscaping plan as part of the overall plan to create a cultural district on the border of downtown Brooklyn and Fort Greene, according to Crain’s New York. The plan, which will transform public spaces along several streets including Fulton Street, Ashland Place, Lafayette Avenue, will include ripping up the existing sidewalks and replacing them with dark stone slabs embedded with a sprinkling of lights. There will also be new seating and landscaping along a number of blocks north of Atlantic Avenue where patrons of popular institutions like the Brooklyn Academy of Music and BRIC arts and media gather. The idea is to turn that area into a cultural epicenter in Brooklyn, much like Lincoln Center in Manhattan, but comprised of several independent entities.
L to R: Williamsburg Savings Bank (One Hanson), The Brooklyner, 388 Bridge Street, Avalon Willoughby West, The Hub
Construction filings from the Department of Buildings have revealed that Douglas Steiner’s mixed use tower at 333 Schermerhorn Street, dubbed the Hub, will soar 30 feet higher than previously reported; making it the top contender for Brooklyn’s tallest building at 607-feet.
For more than 80 years, the title of Brooklyn’s tallest belonged to the 512-foot Williamsburg Savings Bank tower at 1 Hanson Place. With its beloved 4-sided clock tower and its majestic banking hall, the tower has stood in relative isolation since its construction in 1929. Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards centerpiece building nicknamed “Miss Brooklyn,” was the first to challenge the tower’s dominance and was slated to soar more than 100-feet above the bank building’s dome. The proposal incited uproar from Brooklynites, leading to its eventual downsizing in 2006 to 511-feet, just one foot shorter than the neighboring bank building.
One of the saddest things I heard in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was told to me by the wife of an acquaintance. She said, with a smug sense of pride, that her family — in an act of patriotic protest to the recent attacks on America — would be ending their long-standing Thanksgiving tradition of serving assorted meat and vegetable pies from Damascus Bakery on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. It was a heartbreaking statement of staggering stupidity, offensive on so many levels, not the least of which was personal.
I lived next door to Damascus Bakery in my first Brooklyn apartment. This was before Barney’s, Urban Outfitters and Trader Joe’s arrived. It was when that section of Atlantic Avenue was overwhelmingly Arabic, and I frequented the eateries as often as I could, feasting on delicacies from the Middle East, learning some geography and culture and a little Arabic along the way. And, of course, I met many wonderful people, including the family who owned and operated Damascus Bakery.
Downtown Brooklyn is booming across the board, and buyers are keen to get in on the changes afoot. Five months after hitting the market, Brooklyn’s tallest tower is filling out fast, with half of the units now leased. The SLCE Architects-designed residential skyscraper at 388 Bridge Street rises 590 feet, with 234 rentals and 144 are condominiums spread across 53 stories. The Stahl Organization, who developed the building, says that units are going at a rate of about one per day. 90 apartments remain, and prices range from $2,700 per month for a studio to $6,290 for a two-bedroom apartment.
[Via The Real Deal]
Image via Brooklyn Eagle
Leeser Architects, designer of the Museum of the Moving Image expansion in Astoria, seems to be single-handedly upping the architecture ante in the outer-boroughs. Fresh off the heels of demolition commencing on the site of their multi-faceted 30-story Marriott Autograph Collection tower in the BAM Cultural District, Leeser may also be busy in the conversion of DUMBO’s five-building Jehovah Witness Watchtower complex into a high tech incubator and residential tower.