March 22, 2011

Williamsburgh Savings Bank to Become a Catering Hall

Feast your eyes on some interior views of the landmarked (inside and out) Williamsburgh Savings Bank at Driggs and Broadway (the original Williamsburgh Savings Bank building).


Photo: A|N

The Architect's Newspaper reports that the building will be become a catering hall and museum (catering hall/event space is seemingly the only possible use for opulent former banking hall interiors, viz. Bowery Savings Bank (both the Bowery and 42nd Street branches), 55 Wall Street and that other Williamsburgh Savings Bank on Hanson Place).

March 9, 2011

Merganthaler Linotype Company

35 Ryerson 2
Merganthaler Linotype Company building
35 Ryerson Street, Wallabout
Architect: Lockwood Greene Engineers, Inc. (1942)
Photo: Montrose Morris/Brownstoner

Another very interesting Building of the Day from Brownstoner's Montrose Morris. The Merganthaler building recently got a bright red paint job, and proves to be one of the few buildings that wear that color successfully. The building was constructed for the Merganthaler Linotype company, and was one of many printing and printing-related buildings located in the South Williamsburg/Wallabout area (we've mentioned the McLoughlin Brothers plant before).

Bedford Avenue Theatre

Bedford Avenue Theatre
109 South 6th Street
Architect: W. F. Gaylor
Date: 1891 Photo: WPA

For just over a year now (while we've been quiet) Brownstoner has been posting little daily snippets on Brooklyn's historical buildings. Written by contributor "Montrose Morris", the Building of the Day series is a quick look at buildings that the author finds interesting. Some are more interesting than others, but they are all interesting.

This week, Montrose posted two north Brooklyn buildings, and we thought we'd repost them here. The first one might be familiar, as we have posted on it before - it is the former Bedford Avenue Theatre on South 6th between Bedford and Berry, designed by architect W. F. Gaylor and constructed in 1891.

The building had a short life as a theatre, as its back end was cut off in the early 1900s by the construction of the Williamsburg Bridge. In later years, the building operated as a factory and a warehouse, and today it houses a health club (it was the health club that did the wonderful restoration on the building starting in 2007).

Montrose has added some color to the history, tracking down some information on the early theatre history (including some not kind reviews of the opening play).

We had originally written that the builder of the theatre was W. W. Cole and the architect was not known - errors that we picked up from the AIA Guide and that Montrose passed on in her article. In fact, Cole was the owner and the architect was W. F. Gaylor - the same person who was responsible for the two Smith Gray buildings around the corner on the Broadway.

Check out Montrose's write up for more on the building's history, including its Juicy Juice legacy. And check out Building of the Day every day.

May 16, 2010

The Struggle to Preserve the Brooklyn Navy Yard

In the Times today, a look at Admirals Row and the sorry state of the buildings there. Having found a developer and negotiated a compromise to save two buildings, the latest wrinkle is that one of those two buildings, the Timber Shed, is so far gone that it "might be beyond repair". Demolition by neglect, National Guard style?

December 9, 2009

Upcoming: NAG Holiday Party Thursday Night


This Thursday (10 December) from 7 to 10 pm there is a benefit for NAG (Neighbors Allied for Good Growth - the second G is silent) at the Woods on South 4th Street. No cover, but donations are welcome. There will be plenty of booze, and a silent auction featuring goodies from a ton of local institutions, including:

  • Word Bookstore
  • The Brooklyn Kitchen/The Meat Hook
  • Alter Clothing
  • Southside CSA
  • Third Ward
  • Mast Brothers Chocolate
  • Treehouse Brooklyn
  • Teddy's Bar & Grill
  • The Lecture Series/Book Thug Nation
  • Sodafine
  • The North BK Compost Project
  • Eyebeam Atelier
  • Three Kings Tattoo Parlor
  • Franny & Rooey
  • Cafe Grumpy
  • Enid's
  • The City Reliquary
  • The Gym Park
  • Miranda Restaurant
  • Charm School Design
  • Transient Pictures
  • Kingsland Printing

and even some Polish and ESL lessons!

December 4, 2009

Rose Plaza: Then


Mollenhauer Sugar Refining Co. (between South 10th Street and Division Avenue)
Source: King's Views of Brooklyn, 1905

The photo above (click for a larger image) shows the Rose Plaza site as it looked 105 years ago. The building the "M" on the smokestack is the main refinery of the Mollenhauer Sugar Refining Company, and was located on Kent Avenue between Division Avenue and South 11th Street. The shorter building to the left on the river (technically on Wallabout Channel), a warehouse for the sugar refinery, was between South 10th and South 11th Streets.

The tall building beyond the warehouse is probably part of the Brooklyn Distilling Co., which once occupied the site where Schaefer Landing now sits. To the right of the Mollenhauer refinery is a building with a small tower and a mansard roof - that is one of the buildings of the former McLoughlin Brothers printing company. The building still stands on Wythe between Division and South 11th (it is now artists live/work lofts).

October 25, 2009

Engine 212: Raise the Roof Benefit


Wednesday night (28 October) is the big benefit for the Northside Town Hall capital campaign. In what the Onion's AV Club is calling "the Gen X concert of the year", Charles Bissell of the Wrens, They Might Be Giants and Nada Surf* will be playing a benefit at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Doors open at 8, and tickets are $25 (for $75 you can get VIP tickets with special seating, free wine and food). You can buy tickets at Teddy's or online at TicketMaster.

The benefit supports the capital campaign for the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center, a joint project of two longtime North Brooklyn neighborhood groups, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) and The People's Firehouse, Inc. (PFI). Located in the former Engine Company 212 firehouse in Williamsburg, the Town Hall will serve as a home for these organizations to continue to serve, organize, and advocate for the community. The building will also feature a flexible cultural exhibition and community meeting space on the ground floor.

* The postcard says acoustic - they've changed their minds and are now doing a full electric set.

Photography Show Focuses On Brooklyn’s Industrial Past, Toxic Present

The Brooklyn Lyceum is exhibiting a solo photography show focusing on the "legacy of Brooklyn’s industrial past and the spectrum of pollution in which we live". The exhibition of photographer Robin Michaels' work features "30 photographs of sites in Coney Island, DUMBO, East New York, East Williamsburg, Gowanus, Greenpoint, Red Hook, Sunset Park and Williamsburg where historic uses have saturated the soils and groundwater with a lasting toxicity".

Now through 8 November at the Brooklyn Lyceum (227 4th Avenue).

September 26, 2009

237 Powers Street

237 Powers Armbruster 400px.jpg
237 Powers Street, 1923
Photo: NYPL via Re-Brooklyn

Re-Brooklyn has a then and now comparison of 237 Powers Street. According to the caption on the original photo (which came from the NY Public Library), the house was built in 1855. If that's the case, we'd wager that the entry hood (and flagpole above) were a later addition. As you can see at Re-Brooklyn, the house doesn't look anything like this today, though what you see in the 1923 photo is probably somewhere underneath the lovely vinyl job.

August 25, 2009

118 Greenpoint Avenue - Cornice Do Over

118 Greenpoint Avenue, April 2008
Photo: Brownstoner

A while ago, we unnominated 118 Greenpoint Avenue for an Building Brooklyn Award on the basis of its horrific - and horrifically out of place - cornice. Turns out, the Landmarks Commission felt the same way. We have it on good authority that the cornice that was installed bore no resemblance to the cornice that was approved. Violations were issued, and a year or two down the line, the owner was forced to fix the problem. As seen in the photo below, the work has been ongoing for a while.

A good lesson for would be developers - it's cheaper to do it once.

118 Greenpoint Avenue, June 2009
Photo: WPA

Eberhard Faber