Contractors can eat away at a renovation budget until there’s hardly anything left for materials. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to have a barter system? The idea itself isn’t new to me. I’ve often said “I wish I can find a decent contractor who needs a place to live while working on my house.”
Decent being the operative word. I’ve seen Craigslist barter ads from hacks who probably couldn’t get real work anyway.
Enter Ben Erickson. I received an email from the furniture designer/builder saying he will be looking for a new place to live and work within the next year. He currently has a five year lease at one of the most gorgeous mansions in Bed Stuy and with a year left to go, he’s planning ahead.
Ben’s current situation is as follows: “Four years ago, as some of you know, I gutted and renovated the top floor of this very unique freestanding brownstone at 247 Hancock St. in exchange for reduced fixed rent on a 5 year lease. I invested approx $60,000 upfront and we divided that over the 60 months of my lease. The landlord and I assessed the current market value of the apt at $2250 and simply subtracted the $1000/mo. making my rent $1250. “
So, what makes Ben different from these Craigslist guys? Um, he’s got mad skills. Check out his website.
This time around Ben would like to work on a raw loft space. He seems really into Bed Stuy but perhaps he would consider other neighborhoods if it’s the right project.
Know of anything?
posted @ 7:55 am Comments (0)
Got some time to spare tomorrow, January 15th? Well, then come on down to the Landmarks Preservation hearing at One Centre Street in Manhattan. The meeting is to be held on the 9th floor from 10:30-12:00.
It should prove to be interesting as preacher Johnny Ray Youngblood is set to protest. Word around the neighborhood is that he’ll be busing people in who do not live in Bed Stuy, just to make his voice heard.
Why protest something that is in the best interest of the neighborhood and the city? Money. There are some old timers who are under the impression that having to go by Landmarks rules and doing things in a historically correct manner will be unaffordable. Yeah, there are grants to be had from Landmarks. No, they don’t force you to spend money you don’t have. Perhaps these folks will actually listen to the truth at the meeting. Or perhaps they just want to stir the pot.
Anyway, Team Landmark can use your help. No, you do not have to live in Bed Stuy to show your support. If Johnny Ray can bring people in from other areas, we only want to keep it fair by doing the same.
So, see you tomorrow?
posted @ 8:53 am Comments (0)
Bed Stuy has some of the most beautiful brownstones in Brooklyn. You can walk around and see for yourself any day of the year or you can have a peek into some of these glorious homes tomorrow during the 34th Annual Brownstoners of Bed Stuy House Tour.
The self guided tour starts at 11am sharp. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 tomorrow. Click here to find out more details. Meet at the Old Boy’s High School on Marcy and Putnam. It’s simple to get to. The A or C train to Nostrand. Walk north a few blocks to Putnam, hang a right.
posted @ 6:21 am Comments (0)
The house had been sitting empty since the fire in 2003. It always seemed so crazy that a once majestic home was allowed to deteriorate while real estate in this pocket of Bed Stuy has remained tight.
I heard that it was going up for auction. First I saw the “suits” meeting out front. Then came the rubbish removal truck. I knew something was going down.
Today I weaseled my way into 91 Macon while my neighbor was waiting to let the water company in. He was put in charge for the day, flashlight and all. Since I’m a licensed real estate agent and it IS officially on the market, it wasn’t verboten even though I felt like I was trespassing.
So here’s how crazy real estate in Brooklyn is. They are asking $900k as is. Word on the street is that they intend to renovate but leave any detail that’s there (Praise God) and that price will be $1.5m. Public record shows that they purchased it at auction for $600k a few months ago. That’s a hefty profit although not quite the $300k it may look like. Perhaps there were other liens and taxes, clean up costs, legalizing “stuff”, getting rid of squatters or dead bodies…
In any case, high for Bed Stuy? Homes in the area have been hitting over a million. Although $900k seems steep, $800′s seems almost fair. It’s 4000 square feet. I’m gonna predict they either get $850k as is, $1.1 on a crappy flip or $1.3 on a nice restoration.
posted @ 6:43 am Comments (0)
Head’s up! Anyone looking for an inexpensive (relatively speaking) brownstone in an up and coming area of Brooklyn? Before I tell you about the house that’s available, check out Reno Dakota’s (yes, like the song) full Victorian restoration (above). Yes, someone actually lives like that.
Envious? Me too. But what does that ever solve? Do something about it! The house right next door is for sale for a mere $675k, listed with Urban View and hopefully still on the market. It’s got every bit the detail that Reno and Kei’s house has.
My husband said “Let’s sell our house and move there.” I’m tempted but I like my part of southwest Bed Stuy, plus I can’t keep moving every few years. The part of Bed Stuy this home is located in is “Stuyvesant Heights East” near Ocean Hill. It’s clean, quiet and has lovely tree lined streets, but it’s closer to the Bushwick border than Clinton Hill…not that there’s anything wrong with that. The price reflects the eastern location. Homes in the western part of Bed Stuy have been hitting the million mark, so a gorgeous house like this seems like a steal. Plus, it’s getting tougher to find a place with so much detail. Seems like the flippers have gotten to many of them first and ripped out all the beauty.
Personally, if I was in the market for a house in Bed Stuy, I would check this one out ASAP!
posted @ 7:18 am Comments (1)
Block party season is here. This usually means I complain about people barricading an entire street for a few kids to play. If I’m around when it’s my own block, I go inside to my A/C and kvetch about the loud music.
But this year I decided to join in the fun. And guess what? I had a good time!
I grew up in apartment buildings on busy streets, so there were no parties on my block when I was young. I do remember going to my best friend’s block parties on E. 28th Street back when the neighborhood had lots of children of the non-Hasidic persuasion. There were rides and bouncy houses and entertainment. They don’t seem to go all out like that these days.
This block party reminded me that I live in a “neighborhood” of which I’m part of . Although I am friendly with my neighbors and often stop to schmooze with them, I never fully participated in the whole “block” experience.
Now they are not just my friendly neighbors. They are friends.
So, the next time there’s another dumb block party on your block, join in! You might actually enjoy it.
posted @ 6:51 am Comments (0)
Oh great! A new French creperie just opened on Nostrand and Macon, right on the way to my gym. Now I can grab some pastries to nosh on while on the elliptical.
I stopped into Le Paris Dakar after my work out this morning. Keeping fit is overrated anyway.
Yes, the owner is really French! You know what that means? Great croissants! Not that Balthazar crap you find in every cafe in the city. They have plain, almond, chocolate and raisin. I inhaled my plain but I did pick up on the awesomeness of it while doing so.
Disclosure: I only tried the croissant and was too gross and sweaty to do a real interview with owner Mouna, so any info I give you from here on in, I stole from articles in Bed Stuy Patch and Bed Stuy Gateway.
Le Paris has made to order crepes and yummy looking pastries. You can pretty much have breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert here. They offer sweet and savory crepes (with a vegetarian section!), omelette crepes, salads and sandwiches. The “Dakar” comes in to play with the refreshing drinks. The menu also states that they will occasionally serve Senegalese specials. Mouna is of Senegalese ancestry.
posted @ 8:57 am Comments (0)
Some Friday nights when we come home, we see a jazz session through the parlor windows of a beautiful Macon Street brownstone. I always say to my husband “We have to become friends with THOSE people!” Thanks to a frieneighbor who forwarded this NY Times article, I now know that we don’t have to be invited over to 107 Macon on jazz nights. We just have to show up with 20 bucks and we’re in!
Hostess Debbie serves up a fish fry along with the music and welcomes people up to the open mic every week.
Something else I didn’t know. 107 Macon is also the Sankofaaban B&B. You learn something new every day.
posted @ 6:35 am Comments (0)
Over here in Bed Stuy, it’s been awhile since the Fulton Street sidewalk was dug up and temporarily filled with black asphalt. Word on the street was that we were going to get benches and trees, but some of us (me) were worried that they would forget about beautifying this neck of the woods.
Well, the trees have arrived! This lazy author only walked between Nostrand and Restoration Plaza so don’t ask how much of Fulton is getting dolled up. Alls I know is that it’s near my house and I don’t get paid enough to get any more information.
Anyhoo, yay Bed Stuy!
(I know. File under “lame post”.)
posted @ 6:07 am Comments (2)
Bedford Stuyvesant is a huge area broken up into a few neighborhoods such as Stuyvesant Heights, Weeksville, Ocean Hill and Bedford. No, Bedford Corners Historic District is not some new name the realtors just came up with. This part of Bed Stuy exhibits some of the finest architecture in the city but it does need to be preserved.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission will be answering questions and discussing the landmarking process of Bedford Corners Historic District this Wednesday, March 21st. This meeting is said to be the deciding factor as to whether or not the area will be receive landmark designation. The community is urged to come out and show it’s support.
If you live in the south west end of Bed Stuy, please join us at the meeting on Wednesday at Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton Street, lower level. 6:30pm.
posted @ 6:30 am Comments (0)
Thanks to SuperVegan for filling us in on the recently opened vegan bakery at Greene and Classon on the Bed Stuy/Clinton Hill border.
Clementine Bakery will be serving up sweet pies and pastries, but they do have some savory treats as well. The dill and mozzarella biscuits sound delish. Yeah, that would be vegan cheese.
They use 100% fair trade and 90% organic ingredients. Drinks? Roasted Kitten Coffee using the Japanese Hario pour over method and also French press.
See ya there.
posted @ 9:19 am Comments (0)
This home was listed as having “historic details” on the Craigslist ad. Perhaps they meant the one mirror.
This one goes out to all of the real estate investors, flippers and brokers. Stop the insanity in Bed Stuy! Yes, yes, I’m guilty of looking for an investment property to flip myself. What sets me apart from these bozos is that I aim to preserve the historic value of the home and respect the community. The state of the market in Bed Stuy isn’t suitable for my needs right now because all I’m seeing is crap renovations.
Flashback to six years ago when I was looking for my own place to live here. The beautiful thing about these brownstones was that they had so much detail still intact. During the “do or die” years people weren’t gutting their homes. Now that Bed Stuy is suddenly getting popular, it’s hard to find a place that needs some tender lovin’ care.
The prices aren’t bad for these gut jobs and one can always add detail. The thing is, I would never trust these fast-n-cheap flippers to do the right thing. What do you think is lurking behind those new walls and floors? Do you think they replaced rotting wood and pointed the bricks properly? Maybe. But you never know. I kind of doubt their integrity.
Listen you guys, leave some homes left for those folks who don’t want glossy oak floors and Home Depot light fixtures. Your cookie cutter shite doesn’t cut it with everyone. Seriously, people will pay more for plaster detail than new sheetrock. They’ll pay more for that gorgeous pier mirror and mantel that you’re dumping in the trash. They’ll pay more for the pocket doors that are lying in your dumpster out front.
I know they will. I’m one of those people.
Now run along and rape some other neighborhood with yucky housing stock. I hear that Long Islanders like shiny, new things.
posted @ 8:58 am Comments (0)
My Bed Stuy is not a new blog, but I’m sometimes slow in catching on to things. Since the demise of Bed Stuy Blog earlier this year, the local blogosphere has been left with a void. Well, it hasn’t really, but I was unaware it’s been filled.
My Bed Stuy is “just a place for you to come and share all things Bed-Stuy”. Exactly. So, we DO have a neighborhood blog other than the Patch!
And it’s a good one! Go check it out.
posted @ 6:47 am Comments (0)
When I first saw a group of adults installing a garden at Leadership Prep on Macon Street in Bed Stuy, I thought they were building a movie set. Back in the olden days when I was growing up, NYC public school’s didn’t even have a patch of grass. Well, public schools have turned into fancy schmancy charter schools now and the the kids get to learn about stuff like gardening and catching rain water. It’s pretty awesome.
I thought this Bed Stuy school was special until I passed by Frances Perkins Academy in Williamsburg and saw their fabulous garden. They too, had a rainwater system in place. Wonder who gets to bring home the vegetables?
posted @ 6:50 am Comments (0)
Daily Press has been open for months now and I finally got a moment to visit even though I live like 2 (avenue) blocks away. It’s not hard to miss this little Bedford Corners (Ok, ok: Bed Stuy!) hideaway as the only signage is on the window.
So, here’s the deal….
Daily Press located on Franklin just north of Fulton, is a French Press and espresso bar. WTF is French press? It’s that plunger type device you see at your mother in law’s house (or at least MY Old-Country MIL). The coffee they serve is Intelligentsia. Pastries and bread from Balthazar. Terrace bagels. Good stuff, good stuff. My hummus-on-a-heated-croissant sandwich was yummy and the peanut butter cookie I had for dessert was amazing!
But what I really loved about the place was the reclaimed materials used in the renovation (Design by Draft Bench). The air conditioning was blasting to my satisfaction on the thousand degree day and I was able to relax on the upcycled furnishings whilst taking advantage of the wifi. There is a lovely backyard, but did I mention it was a thousand degrees?
What I love most about my neighborhood? After hanging in this hipster-yuppy paradise, I get to cross the street and buy an entire bag full of clothes at Goodwill that costs the same price as my lunch (pound of coffee included).
Bed Stuy Blog‘s write up.
posted @ 6:14 am Comments (0)
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