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. 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.
For the past few months, work has been progressing on the Hotel Bossert, once known as Brooklyn’s Waldorf-Astoria. It was where many Dodgers greats used to live, and they famously took the trolley from Brooklyn Heights to Ebbets Field, when that sort of thing was still possible.
For decades, the Bossert has served as a hostel for Jehovah’s Witnesses stopping off at the global headquarters here, but as they are moving upstate and getting rid of all their property, developer David Bistricer stepped forward in May to turn the Bossert back into a boutique that still bears the same name it has for nearly a century.
Despite rumors that NewsCorp’s The Daily has been put “on watch,” it seems that publisher Greg Clayman is feeling optimistic about the future.
(Update: It looks like today wasn’t the best day for Mr. Clayman to close on a million-dollar house. A few hours after publishing, news broke that The Daily is planning to lay off a third of its staff.)
Mr. Clayman and wife Amanda have purchased a townhouse co-op in Brooklyn Heights for $1.16 million, according to city records.
Red Carpet Real Estate
It’s time to add a new address to the Girls map: Lena Dunham has snapped up a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn Heights. It’s a big change for the famously reluctant-to-leave-home Ms. Dunham, who will be departing, presumably for good, from her parents’ Tribeca loft. But nothing too jarring—at least she’ll be surrounded by people her parents’ age when she steps outside her door!
“We lived there all through my high-school career, so I have an intense attachment to it,” Ms. Dunham said of the neighborhood in this week’s New York Times Magazine. “Other people think of Brooklyn Heights as where you become elderly, but I think of it as where you try pot for the first time.”