There’s an alarming trend happening in New York, and that’s the loss of our historical cornices. Cornices are those decorative horizontal features that adorn the prewar facade/roof corner. The latest tragedy at 383 Himrod Street serves as a grim reminder of the architectural consequences when cornices are removed for the sake of adding an extra story.
371 Stockholm Street in Bushwick Brooklyn has been little more than a parking lot since the 1970s. Prior to that, “The German Presbyterian Ebenezer Church of Brooklyn” occupied the lot. But Bushwick isn’t Long Island, and space can’t be wasted on parking lots when there are residential towers to build. That said, here comes the latest market rate project sure to fuel the fires of gentrification in Bushwick, if it ever completes construction.
In our latest venture into Bushwick, we came across 322 Menahan Street, a partially built structure that’s seen better days. Unfortunately for the community that must bare the eyesore, a partial stop work order has forced an end to construction. The 6 story, 13 unit project stretches from 375 Grove Street to 322 Menahan Street. At the time of our visit, the only activity was the local feline population.
Before we jump back into our analysis of New York real estate, let’s talk about Roosevelt Island and Cornell University’s new open space! Roosevelt Island has gone through its fair share of changes over the course of history. Designed by The High Line’s architect James Corner, “the open space“, a large expanse of wilderness just south of the Cornell campus, is the island’s latest remarkable transformation. Let’s check it out!
Oh how the mighty have fallen, from 1,000 feet to 768 feet to be precise. We’re talking about the Court Square City View Tower, once slated to become the first supertall outside of Manhattan. However, due to a FAA determination, the City View Tower will have to settle for merely being the first building taller than the 658 foot One Court Square, aka the “Big Green Citibank Building in Long Island City”.
Yes, dreams do come true in Brooklyn, and so does affordable housing. The proof is in the pudding, located just outside the A/C/G Hoyt Schermerhorn stop. Out of a total of 375 total units, the 25 story project will contain 74 “affordable” units. The remainder are expected to be residential condos. As an interesting twist, the regulatory agreement filed in ACRIS states the owner receives a LIHTC (Low Income Housing Tax Credit) and a 421-a tax benefit. The same units can be applied to both tax programs to meet eligibitily requirements. This practice has been criticized as double dipping taxpayer dollars.
Proximity to the BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway) seems to be the new “it” amenity in the rental market (if the Gowanus Canal can be, why not?). Construction along this corridor, known for epic traffic jams, seems to be on the rise. This could be the result of this corridor harboring some of the last unused or underutilized parcels remaining in Queens and Brooklyn. We just covered Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, now comes 319 and 329 Broadway in Williamsburg, just east of the BQE.
Jackson Heights has countless things going for it as a community. It has quick and easy access to the 7, E, F, M, and R trains. Finding good eats is simply a matter of walking a block or two. And it’s affordable with a good supply of rent stabilized apartments. And until recently, new development in the area had been limited to small, multi-family buildings. That is changing however, as 71-17 Roosevelt Avenue is making headway towards completion.
Frustration in Bushwick mounts on issues like increasing rents, gentrification, and general unaffordability. Graffiti and construction sites provide an insight into the vibe of the community that DOB databases (and info panels) can’t provide alone. In our trip through Bushwick, we came across several projects with tagged info panels addressing issues ranging from gentrification to lamenting the loss of KFC.
Not long ago, the corridor along Queens Blvd was upzoned to permit a greater density of housing. The stretch of Queens Blvd running just west of Woodhaven Blvd to just east of Sunnyside has always been a historic no-person-land of single story restaurants, auto shops, and parking lots. Essentially, a little slice of Long Island shoved into Queens. With opportunity abound, developers began digging into the landscape and by late spring 2015, 70-26 Queens Blvd was well underway. Then came 70-09 45th Avenue, followed by 46-02 70th Street.
What do all three addresses have in common? Each one sits as a cement monolith with no residents. But what a charming skyline, right?