Housing + Development

No Comments

The Ladies Who Lunched (and Noshed) at 156 Second Ave.

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

The southeast corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street today (Photo: Ilaria Parogni)

The southeast corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street today (Photo: Ilaria Parogni)

She shot him in the chin. Sigmund Bohn was on the third floor of Café Boulevard when Mary Olah materialized in front of him and pulled the trigger. It was December 20, 1904.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

‘Literally a Rat Hole’: How Seventh Street Squat Grew on a Governor’s Meadow

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

209 E 7 is tucked between Graffiti Baptist Church and the Lower East Side Ecology Center Garden. Credit: Nadeen Shaker)

209 E 7 is tucked between Graffiti Baptist Church and the Lower East Side Ecology Center Garden. Credit: Nadeen Shaker)

In late October, I emailed Fly, a resident of the former Seventh Street Squat, to tell her that I was able to find out when her home of two decades had been built. The six-story apartment building at 209 East 7th Street was completed in 1897. “Interesting!” she wrote back, “There is a marker on the top of our building commemorating 1899 as the year the building was completed.”

Keep Reading »

No Comments

The Loner, the Lover, and the Trap Door of the Merchant’s House

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

The doorway of Seabury Tredwell's house as it appeared in the 1930s (New York Public Library)

The doorway of Seabury Tredwell’s house as it appeared in the 1930s (New York Public Library)

By the time she died in 1984, Helen Worden Erskine had racked up an eclectic but impressive set of interviews. The longtime New York World society writer spoke with Prince Charles of England and presidents Eisenhower and Truman, among other political and cultural luminaries. But she was perhaps most famous for her fascination with the opposite end of society: recluses.

In the late 1930s, Erskine wrote a series of sensationalistic articles about the Collyer brothers, two wealthy hoarders who had all of Harlem talking. Erskine and other reporters launched their careers writing about the sordid details of the brothers’ lives and death, including the nearly month-long search for one of their bodies in 1947, which was eventually discovered in their home beneath piles of junk.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Jeff Koons Balloon Bunny Bout to Make Fanciest Drug Store this Side of Heaven

Photo by Kavitha Surana

Photo by Kavitha Surana

As construction around Astor Place continues to make things noisy and horrible around Cooper Square — for real though, navigating those sidewalks is beginning to feel a little bit like a game of minefield —  there’s a little pocket of weird opening up this Sunday that hints toward a strange future for the area.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Renderings of Extell’s ‘Poor Door’ Released at Community Meeting

Photo by Kavitha Surana

(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

Now that the pile drivers have finished work on the foundations of Extell’s controversial 80-story behemoth on 252 South Street (known as One Manhattan Square), it’s pretty much a done deal.

And last night, a group of Lower East Side residents gathered at the Manny Cantor Center not to protest, this time anyway, but to discuss the inevitable construction issues (like the ones we started seeing almost immediately with the Domino development) and learn more details about the affordable housing portion of the development. Adding to the interiors released a couple weeks ago which included designer bags, the new renderings depict even more things to make rich people feel comfortable, including what’s essentially a “poor door” or, in this case, an entirely separate building.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Williamsburg Basement Collapses, Injuring Three Construction Workers

146 Wilson (Photo by Kavitha Surana)

146 Wilson (Photo by Kavitha Surana)

When Joshua Alvarado drops his son off at Public School 16 in the mornings, he often notices busy construction activity at the brick row houses on Wilson Street, across from the school. But he’s never expecting what happened this morning. At 9:15 a.m. firefighters rushed to the scene of a construction disaster at 146 Wilson Street on Williamsburg’s south side. After an illegal excavation project went wrong, the basement-level collapsed, injuring three construction workers.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

4 St. Marks, Home of Alexander Hamilton Jr. and Now Trash & Vaudeville, Is For Sale

(Courtesy Eastern Consolidated)

(Courtesy Eastern Consolidated)

The former home of Alexander Hamilton’s son, which (for now) houses punk couture shop Trash & Vaudeville, can be yours for a mere $11.9 million. The four-story Federal-style building at 4 St. Marks Place promises “significant future upside,” according to a press release that touts the East Village’s new dorms, offices, and “wide array of hip restaurants and retail shops.”

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Want to Move Into This Fortresslike Bushwick Theater?

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Boarded up and covered in graffiti, the former Imperial Theater on the corner of Irving and De Kalb Avenue in Bushwick needs a serious facelift. Luckily it’s up for lease, and has been for the last two months, according to broker Justin Losh. “We’ve had a lot of interest, mainly from bars, restaurants and retail stores.” The real estate agent’s rendering shows light spilling out from an imagined “Irving Market,” with additional doors and windows having been added to the exisiting building.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Chinatown Residents Rally Against ‘Racist’ Towers They Say Are Displacing Them

(Photo: Jaime Cone)

(Photo: Jaime Cone)

“Where are you, de Blasio?” That was the question of the afternoon when rain-soaked protesters braved the weather at City Hall to protest rezoning that they claim has led to racism and displacement within their community. According to the organizers of the rally, The Coalition to Protect Chinatown & The Lower East Side, Mayor Bill de Blasio told them earlier in the day Wednesday that a representative from his office would come out to address them, but no one showed up. It could have been the rain that kept the nameless flack away, but try telling that to 75 wet, angry people struggling to keep their umbrellas from turning inside out. The next stop, they say, will be Gracie Mansion.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Bushwick Inlet Park Advocates Stage Funeral in Hopes of Killing Tower Deal

Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park march to Midtown Equities' offices. (Credit: Joshua Alvarez)

Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park march to Midtown Equities’ offices. (Credit: Joshua Alvarez)

Halloween came early for a developer seeking to take over a controversial plot on the Williamsburg waterfront; this afternoon activists hauling coffins and headstones tried to spook Midtown Equities out of building on land once destined to become a park. 

Keep Reading »

No Comments

In Williamsburg, Tenants Told to Clear Out For Demolition Dig In and Demand Repairs

Jesenia and her daughter outside their apartment building. (Photo Credit: Sam Gillette)

Jesenia and her daughter outside their apartment building. (Photo Credit: Sam Gillette)

The two-bedroom apartment that Jesenia Ventura shares with her three young children, her sister, and her mother Amalia Martinez is so run-down that some windows will stay open only long enough to smash fingers, while others are stuck open even in winter. Frames of doors are ripped off, floor tiles are pulled up, and there is no running water in the bathroom sink, Jesenia says. There is green and black mold, drooping ceilings and a floor that is so warped that Jesenia’s son once tripped and cut his forehead. Jesenia worries that if she takes her kids to daycare, she’ll be reported to Child Protective Services. She says they regularly wake up in the middle of the night itching from painful-looking bedbug bites, and cockroaches crawl across their beds.

The conditions at 501-505 Grand Street, in Williamsburg, are so poor that in the summer of 2014, Amalia, Jesenia and four others organized a tenant association and filed official complaints to NYC Housing Preservation and Development. They hoped to persuade the building’s new owners, Manny and Eden Ashourzadeh of 501 EMR LLC, to make critical repairs. Keep Reading »

No Comments

Empty Spaces: What’s Up With Wreck Room’s Old Place?

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

Empty Spaces takes a closer look at the buildings that used to house well-loved establishments, shuttered due to inevitable rent hikes or an unfortunate turn of events. When one establishment leaves a building, it is expected that another will take its place. Some, however, remain unoccupied for months or even years. We check in on these Empty Spaces to find out what’s up.

Address: 940 Flushing Avenue, Bushwick

Keep Reading »