Real Estate

Pigeons and Protests: The Battle for Tenants Rights at 79 Lorimer Street

Councilman Stephen Levin Speaks at a protest outside of 79 Lorimer Street. Photo by Lucie Levine

At a press conference today in front of 79 Lorimer Street, a multiple-dwelling loft building in South Williamsburg, Councilman Stephen Levin Called the situation “truly Kafkaesque”: three and a half years ago, the building’s tenants were evicted from their homes and workspaces with 24-hours notice. Since that time, they have not been allowed back in the building, but their possessions remain trapped inside. Meanwhile, the property’s spiteful owners have knocked out windows, turning what were once  functioning homes and studio spaces into pigeon roosts. Today, everything the tenants own is covered in pigeon poop.  Continue reading

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Newtown Creek Flows all the way to Utah — The Hook-up (2/8)

Newtown Creek: The Art of Toxic Tides via Slug Magazine

The mighty waters of Newtown Creek will be in fine form this weekend, as lovebirds and sewage nerds turn out for Saturday’s tours of The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, but this week, they’ve taken the spotlight as far away as Utah.

While Utah might have the Great Salt Lake, but artist Kelly Larsen found his muse in Greenpoint, affixing a 9-foot canvas to the wall of the creek to record the ebb and flow of toxic tides.  Continue reading

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Anti-Gentrification Panel Discussion in Long Island City Tonight (12/4)

Money, Power and Politics Poster

The Queens Anti-Gentrification Project and Progress Queens will be hosting an event tonight called “Money, Power and Politics: Queens Democrats Examined.” The Queens County Democratic Party is also known as “The Queens Machine.” According to a press release for the event, “activists will participate in a panel discussion on the upcoming New York City Council speaker’s race, the influence of money on elected officials, and the impact on local Queens communities of legislation and policy favorable to the real estate industry.” The panel’s special focus on issues surrounding real estate development might make it of interest to community members here in Greenpoint grappling with changing landscape of the East River Waterfront.

What: Money, Power and Politics: Queens Democrats Examined

When: Tonight (12/4) 6:30-8:30pm

Where: LaGuardia Community College (31-10 Thomson Ave., Room E242)

Who: Anyone interested in local politics or community advocacy

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Landmark Commission Approves Design for Domino Sugar Refinery

All architectural renderings courtesy of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism

The architectural firm Practice for Architecture and Urbanism has finally succeeded in winning approval for the redesign of the Domino Sugar refinery on Kent Avenue. An earlier redesign proposal was rejected because commissioners expressed the belief that the re-development was turning the building into a shell by removing its roof and interior and exposing it to the elements. Commissioner Michael Goldblum said, “You’re taking a building and unbuilding it, making it a ruin.” He also asked, “Is it appropriate?”

Designing a new use for the building was extremely challenging due to the building’s landmark status—it was officially landmarked a decade ago—which mandated that the industrial façade be preserved. The building, constructed in 1882, was for many years the largest sugar refinery on the planet. It was built with small windows and heavy brick walls meant to prevent fire, always a serious danger in sugar refining. (You can read more about working life in the sugar refinery in our previous post). Incorporating the thick brick walls and tiny windows into a viable modern design has proven to be a massive design challenge. Continue reading

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Pricey Penthouses, Historic Preservation and a Panel on the L-Pocolypse — The Hook-up 9/15

Ready to move into Greenpoint's Priciest Pad? Via 868 On The Park
Ready to move into Greenpoint’s Priciest Pad? Via 868 On The Park

Even though The New York Times has decreed that 2017 is the “Year of the Renter,” The developers over at 868 Lormier on the Park are hoping you’re in the mood to buy. They’re asking $4.01 Million for a 3 bedroom duplex penthouse. If a sale closes at that price, it will be the most expensive condo ever sold in Greenpoint.

Meanwhile, developers were thwarted on Tuesday at 111 Noble Street in Greenpoint’s Historic District. The building’s owner failed to convince the Landmark’s Preservation Commission that the building was structurally unsound and needed to be demolished to make room for a modern apartment building.

Speaking of structurally unsound… The MTA. Last Thursday, Transportation Alternatives hosted a panel of city council members and community groups at Brooklyn Bazaar (150 Greenpoint Avenue) to discuss the coming L-Pocolypse, and how the city might make use of alternate transit to handle the L train closure. Continue reading

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Park Deli, Greedy Landlord or Normal Neighborhood Changes?

Exterior of Park Deli 209 Nassau - Photo Julia Moak
Outside Park Deli  Image: Julia Moak

As New York City, and North Brooklyn in particular, go through massive socioeconomic changes, it’s become very common to hear cries of outrage about gentrification. Since the infamous rezoning in the mid-aughts, Greenpoint/Williamsburg has seen ever-rising rents and an influx of residents (myself included, I arrived here in 2009 from my family home of northeast Queens). This trickles down into situations like the one occurring with the Park Deli (209 Nassau Ave). But sometimes, the story isn’t a “greedy landlord” or “gentrification,” but rather a situation much more complex and completely normal.

Hildegard and Rudolph Daempfle receiving the Borough of Brooklyn Award in 1987  Image: Thomas Handschiegel

There’s no doubt that Park Deli is a Greenpoint institution. Opened in 1931 by German-American William Mullenbrock, the deli has served reasonably priced German-style food ever since. What was Mullenbrock Deli changed hands in the 1950s, and at some point, acquired the name “Park Deli.” Continue reading

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Park Deli Vows to Fight for Survival, But It’s an Uphill Battle

Owner of Park Deli 209 Nassau - Photo Julia Moak
Krystyna Godowa, owner of Park Deli at 209 Nassau – All photos by Julia Moak

There was a time not long ago when Greenpoint was the ground zero for reasonably priced, delicious, home-cooked food. There seemed to be no end to the great cheap mom and pop little restaurants, delis and butchers that offered fresh, hearty food. Little by little, though,those solid family-run businesses have been disappearing, many the victims of rising rent. It seems that the latest victim is the Park Deli (209 Nassau Avenue), but the owner has vowed to fight to keep her business open.

Interior of Park Deli 209 Nassau - Photo Julia Moak
Park Deli’s charming interior

The deli predates the present Polish ownership, going back 86 years when a German-American William Mullenbrock opened the business. His place drew a loyal following of locals who loved their cold cuts, salads and tasty sandwiches, all reasonably priced. Sold by Mullenbrock in the 50s, it stayed a German place until about two decades ago when Poles took it over, but continued to serve the same German-style food that has made the place a Greenpoint institution. Continue reading

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Big N Tall: Greenpoint’s Future Skyline Grows Up

Greenpoint's future skyline (via CityRealty)
Greenpoint’s future skyline, facing Manhattan (via CityRealty)

Another skyscraper is rising along the Greenpoint waterfront, slated for completion in 2018. The area is quickly being transformed into a cordon of gleaming skyscrapers. Some people have jokingly started calling our area “Dubai” in reference to North Brooklyn’s huge skyscrapers.

Developer Andru Coren’s application to build a 12 story 60-unit residential tower at 29 Clay Street was approved by the city. The building will contain 48,000 square feet and an underground garage for parking. The tower will have a single apartment on the first floor, seven on the second and eight each on the third and fourth floors. There will be five apartments each of the second through tenth floors with two on the 11th and a single penthouse apartment on the 12th floor. Continue reading

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Recommended Screenings for the Greenpoint Film Festival (3/17 – 3/20)

Film still from opening night screening

The Greenpoint Film Festival starts tomorrow, and here is our shortlist of recommended movies for you.

The promise of a park in Bushwick Inlet has intrigued Greenpoint residents for a long time. So it is appropriate that festivities begin on Thursday (3/17) at 8 pm with Can Video Bring Us Our (Missing) Park, a presentation of  video footage with a live discussion about our ongoing struggle. Continue reading

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Greenpoint’s Median Home Price Hit Record High in 2015

Greenpoint Landing having a party...without us. Photo: Kim Masson
Greenpoint Landing having a party…without us. Photo: Kim Masson

To absolutely no one’s surprise, 2015 was the year real estate hit an all-time high in Greenpoint, but we’ve got some data to back that up.

Via PropertyShark
Via PropertyShark

At $950,000, this year’s median home price was up 27.1% over 2014, which had clocked in at a modest $747,500, according to PropertyShark. Continue reading

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