Rapper Real Estate
In the 1980s and early 90s, when jazz greats Branford and Wynton Marsalis owned the townhouse at 374 Washington Avenue, no one dreamed that their then-gritty Clinton Hill neighborhood would soon be attracting private equity honchos and celebrity chefs. It’s debatable, really, whether your average New Yorker would even have heard the terms “private equity” and “celebrity chef” in 1983, when the Marsalis brothers acquired the house. But the state of affairs in Clinton Hill has changed; city records show that Aren and Aliya LeeKong—he a principal at the private equity firm KKR, she a chef and culinary creative director at the Michelin-starred Junoon—have picked up 374 Washington at the asking price of $3.75 million.
“Celebrating every day, no more public housing,” rapped Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. Biggie Smalls, in the single ”Juicy” from his debut album Ready to Die (four years before his actual death), “Thinking back on my one-room shack.”
Not so, says his mother, Volleta Wallace. “I heard I live in a shack!” Ms. Wallace told documentarian Nick Broomfield for his 2002 feature film, Biggie & Tupac. “I had a 7.5-room apartment.”
Brooklyn mansions may a rare commodity, but they can’t command Manhattan trophy prices. At least not yet.
The 31-room mansion at 278 Clinton Avenue, which hit the market for an astounding $10 million in October, is now asking a considerably more modest $5.8 million. Much like the gargantuan Park Slope townhouse at 105 Eighth Avenue, which shifted almost immediately from a $25 million ask to an $18 million one, the mansion has lowered its ambitions considerably.
The Mysteries of Brooklyn
Do you live in Fort Greene? Enjoy sipping seasonal cocktails outside of Roman’s, playing fetch with your dog in Fort Greene park, bragging to all your friends about how low key and undiscovered and underrated Fort Greene is? Well, if you rent you should probably start skimming the real estate listings right now, as Fort Greene has been declared Brooklyn’s most livable neighborhood by The L Magazine.
Of course, its hard to tell if readers of the hipster glossy will take the ranking to heart, following the prevailing counter cultural fashions of the day, or if they will display a contrarian streak, as they are sometimes wont to do, and seek out the next industrial wasteland to remake in their tattooed image.
The saga of Broken Angel House, the hand-crafted Clinton Hill mansion of bizarre angles and strange art, has taken a somewhat odd, though not altogether unexpected twist.
Christopher Wood, the son of artists, house-crafters and erstwhile owners Arthur and Cynthia Wood, has launched a kickstarter campaign to transform the house into a museum, thus staving off the last stages of foreclosure proceedings, Curbed reports.
The building where Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith shared their first apartment has hit the market! But in order to live in the Clinton Hill townhouse prospective owners will need to pony up more than the $80 a month that the couple paid to rent the second floor in 1967—the owner is asking $1 million.
In her book Just Kids, Ms. Smith writes about their first apartment at 160 Hall Street, where the two stayed up late painting and listening to records, making their early forays into the creative endeavors that would shape their lives.
If you were wandering down Fulton Street between Washington Avenue and St. James Place in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Clinton Hill starving and with $3.50 to spend, you might stroll into trendy taqueria Cochinita and exchange it for a pork shoulder taco heaping with pickled onions. A couple of doors down, for the same price, Brooklyn Victory Garden would sell you a bagel slathered with “faux gras” (or, walnut lentil pâté—not that you didn’t know). Where you could not spend that small wad of dollars is the vacant storefront of Joloff, a shuttered Senegalese restaurant that, after 17 years in this location, has recently been nudged out and relocated deep in Bed Stuy.
Also nestled in this block of Fulton is the small campaign headquarters for Democratic congressional hopeful Hakeem Jeffries. On a visit last Sunday, The Observer found an array of frantic, fresh-faced college and high school students, typing away on brought-from-home MacBooks, noshing on tacos from the aforementioned Cochinita, and phone banking furiously. It is an odd (or perhaps perfectly fitting) place for an ideological battle to land: in a neighborhood newly defined by hastening gentrification, the race that has emerged is between an old-guard, ultra-left black Brooklyn politician and a young moderate, modern coalition-builder who has fairly painlessly raised $700,000.
Den of Thieves
As The Observer reported on Wednesday, a coalition of development and labor groups have launched the Responsible Landmarks Coalition to challenge what they see as mission creep on the part of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission and the preservationists that surround it. The argument is that the preservationists are overwhelming the city with their protections and stiffing development, and thus the city’s economy. (F.I.R.E., baby, F.I.R.E.!)
But in Clinton Hill, they are feeling none of the love, as the commission has rejected a community-led effort to have Lefferts Place, just south of Atlantic Avenue, considered for historic district designation, according to The Times-affiliated Local Fort Greene/Clinton Hill blog.
Ever think “Where’s my wallet?” when walking around the Atlantic Terminal or Atlantic Center malls?
It’s probably missing. The shopping centers have become the “singular crime epicenter in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill’s 88th Precinct,” The New York Times reports.
Although a townhouse in Clinton Hill would seem an ideal place to raise a family, textile designer Shelley Goldberg and her husband Tony Writer, founder of the market research firm Headspace, apparently had their hearts set on Carroll Gardens.
The couple has purchased a condo at 240 Carroll Street for $2.27 million, a little over the $2.25 million ask, according to city records. The four-bedroom spread was listed with Corcoran broker Lindsay Barton Barrett and spent less than a month on the market.