We have been hearing a lot lately about how attractive Queens is getting: Astoria, Jackson Heights, Ridgewood. These are neighborhoods with reasonably-affordable high-quality housing, convenient transportation and a wealth of authentic ethnic dining options, they tell us. Young people are moving there! Interesting, edgy ones!
Still, we at The Observer remain skeptical about the cool quotient of a borough that will remain forever in our minds as the land of Frank and Estelle Costanza. And Steve Bodow, Executive Producer and former Head Writer at The Daily Show, seems to agree. He and his wife Katherine Profeta-Bodow are planning to flee their home in Jackson Heights for a borough with better-established creative-class bonafides, according to city records, having just purchased a $1.65 million townhouse in the co-op complex at 75 Henry Street, in Brooklyn Heights.
The Jersey-born artist Daniel Colen once collaborated with his friend and frequent creative accomplice Dash Snow on an installation called “Hamster’s Nest,” which showed at the Deitch Projects. Inspired by “trashing hotel rooms while naked, high on coke, Ecstasy, or mushrooms,” according to a 2010 profile in Black Book, the piece required 30 nude volunteers and 2,000 shredded phone books. Sober now and with showings in the Whitney, and the Gagosian and Saatchi galleries to his name, Mr. Colen has adopted mellower habits of late. Now he has a pad to match: the former wild child just paid $2.6 million for a four-bedroom duplex condo in a townhouse at 71 Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights, according to city records.
Earlier this week, the Brooklyn Public Library’s controversial plan to raise funds by selling off its Pacific Street branch suffered a serious setback. As a condition of City Council approval for the nearby BAM South development, the future of the branch will now be determined via a potentially-lengthy community planning process. And though the process doesn’t necessarily preclude a sell-off (the branch is still slated to be replaced by a 16,500-square-foot space in the BAM South development)—it at least leaves open the possibility of salvation.
But with the Pacific Street sale off the table for now, the Brooklyn Public Library is wasting no time in moving forward with its other sell-off plans. Today, it put out a request for proposals seeking redevelopment partners for the Brooklyn Heights branch at 280 Cadman Plaza West.
Civilization and its Discontents
Thus far, the protests against Citi Bike have largely amounted to a war of words and symbolic acts of protest—with the possible exception of flyers pasted on the Fort Greene stations decrying corporate branding in a historic district, critics have kept their attacks verbal and refrained from physically defacing or destroying the racks or bikes.
That’s the way it should be—everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, and fortunately, today there are more than enough forums and platforms for people to express those opinions. And, assuming that we’re now moving out of the general whining about things you can’t change stage and into examining how the program is actually working stage, criticism is important. Provided that it is thoughtful and directed to actual, fixable issues, it can help officials to remedy glitches, introduce improvements and just generally make the program better and more palatable for everyone.
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Here we go again. For the second time in the span of a year, the caffeinated beverage is at the center of a local brew-haha (sorry, we couldn’t resist). And it’s not a neighborhood campaign to eradicate drip coffee.
Once more, Brooklynites are percolating with anger over the smell of coffee. Last winter, Carroll Gardens residents were all up in arms over the odor of roasting coffee. This time it’s Brooklyn Heights residents who can’t bear the stench of brewing coffee.
That’s right. Brewing coffee and green coffee beans Read More
Brooklyn vs the Movies
Another day, another story about how Brooklyn residents are flipping biscuits over the amount of filming on their streets. This time, it’s the good people of Brooklyn Heights complaining that 14 productions in one month have led to impossible parking conditions, the inability to leave one’s home during a Read More
The Mysteries of Brooklyn
“We all live in the area, I’m 10 minutes away, so it just seemed like why not,” Kenn Lowy said yesterday afternoon, sitting inside the small lobby of the Brooklyn Heights Cinema. This reporter had happened by two-screen indie theater in search of a sandwich while waiting out the storm at OEM HQ. Not even the bars were open, though the Chinese Restaurant and the Gristedes further up Henry Street were. The cinema had been showing movies there since 1971, and Mr. Lowy was not about to let something like a hurricane shut him down.
“We were open last year, for Hurricane Irene, and we got a lot of people in, so we figured we would do it again,” he explained. “People get cooped up inside their houses, they get cabin fever, I think it’s good to get out if you can. It’s all locals, though, everybody’s walking. We’re not getting anybody from Park Slope. Nobody wants to get stranded.”
Looking to burn off some of that Hurricane party food? Don’t worry–the Brooklyn Heights Equinox is not letting a small thing like a Hurricane and storm serge stand in the way good health and exercise.
Among the many emails in our inbox canceling yoga classes, book readings, art openings and Halloween was an email letting us know that the gym is open. Even non-members can leave their houses and go get out some of that energy before cabin fever sets in.
Red Carpet Real Estate
We could discuss the upcoming election, or our broken health care system, or the dearth of affordable housing in New York, but there is a more pressing issue—one that demands discussion now: where will Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick move next?
The couple listed their Village townhouse just last week and the speculation is already underway. Never mind that they already own another Village townhouse on Charles Street that was magnificent enough to host both the President and Anna Wintour. Clearly, the fact that the couple is selling 20 East 10th Street, which they bought in 2011, is a manifestation of their insatiable search for real estate perfection rather than a desire to stay put.
The modern masterpiece at 40 Willow Place may not be able to command a sales price like some of its Brooklyn Heights neighbors—to wit, Truman Capote’s old abode at 70 Willow Street set a borough record when it sold for $12 million in March—but in the eyes of the tax assessor’s office, it is the finest in the borough.
Well, new owners Charles Brian and Elizabeth O’Kelley must have been quite taken with the townhouse’s sleek lines as well. It helps that the sleek lines that span a width of more than 45-feet, stretching out over a double lot. City records show that the O’Kelleys paid $7.3 million for the 6,500-square-foot house, apparently undeterred by the taxes they’ll be paying on the property’s assessed market value of $6.35 million (the Capote house, in contrast, has an assessed market value of only $5.14 million, according to Property Shark). The couple’s love affair with clean lines seems to have started some time ago—they list their current address as an equally stylish but much smaller penthouse in the West Village.