You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘brownstones’ tag.

IMG_1501

WITH DAFFODIL FOLIAGE PUSHING UP in the front yards of brownstone Brooklyn, the winter of my content is coming to an end. I’ve enjoyed this uninterrupted two-month spell of  life in my ever-amazing home borough, where you see things like the movie shoot, above, on Prospect Park West, when you go out for your Sunday morning walk.

IMG_3226

We’ve had our bit of snow (that’s the cherry orchard at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, with the Brooklyn Museum in the distance, above, as it looked a week ago Friday, and the view from my front window, below).  I’ve caught up with old friends and gobbled down some culture (the Matisse show at the Met, the Museum of Arts and Design, French lessons on Saturday afternoons, even an afternoon at the ballet), though not enough of either.

IMG_3222

And at long last, I’m in sight of a closing date on the property I’m buying in East Hampton. On Friday, the house passed its inspection for an updated Certificate of Occupancy, meaning, the Town deems it safe to live in (and that the backfilling of a derelict swimming pool, which I oversaw last month, was done to their satisfaction). And this afternoon I got an email from the seller telling me he is “putting together a crew” to move his two boats and the accumulated furnishings and stuff of 30 years out… this week.

Ye gads. It’s really happening! This means that after weeks of lying on the sofa, leafing languidly through books on Japanese landscaping and ripping pages out of decorating magazines, I’ll soon be putting in actual hard labor. All too soon, perhaps. Am I ready to plunge full-tilt into cleaning, painting, gardening, renovation? It makes me want to settle back on the couch with “The Art of the Japanese Garden” and a cup of tea. I’m already reflecting nostalgically on this temporary period of being a one-home person. I haven’t missed the Long Island Expressway one bit.

IMG_1494

Soon enough, I’ll be in the woods, at the beach, breathing country air and enjoying country silence. Meanwhile, I’m appreciating the beauties at hand, like the freestanding mansions of Victorian Flatbush, above and below, where I went earlier this week for the annual ritual meeting with my accountant.

IMG_1490

Mostly, though, what I appreciate is my Prospect Heights pied-a-terre, below, where I’ve been cozily cocooned. Its cheery yellow walls never fail to boost my spirits, and its two south-facing windows have served my houseplant collection well.

IMG_1488

As the days lengthen, then, onward to what’s next.

CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, I do sometimes go across the river to the little island with the big buildings. And I usually come back with a sigh of relief to the low-rise precincts of Brownstone Brooklyn.

However, a recent stroll through the streets of Chelsea reminded me how very fine Manhattan’s 19th century townhouses can be, especially when bedecked with wisteria, as some of them were last week.

TODAY, ‘THE INSIDER,’ my weekly column on Brownstoner.com, features three projects by the Brooklyn-based design team Nastasi Vail, who’ve made a specialty of attractive, well-designed, reasonably priced built-ins particularly suited to the proportions and storage requirements of 19th century row houses.

I happen to love their work and don’t think I’ve ever seen such attractive built-ins in any Brooklyn brownstone (which is why I featured them).

Take a look here, and if you are so inclined, add a comment to the post, which has been dominated so far today by nay-sayers.

A NOTE ON PHOTOGRAPHY: For the past month or so — since my proper camera was stolen out of my checked luggage on my way to the Canary Islands — all the photos on this blog have been taken with my iPhone 4S (beginning with my posts from Lanzarote). Although the iPhone camera doesn’t do as well in low light and certainly doesn’t have the flexibility of the Canon S95, which regular readers may remember I had just learned to use, it certainly does render outdoor color very well indeed (perhaps even pumps it up a little, but who’s complaining). I didn’t mention this before because… well, because I was embarrassed about my stupidity in having packed my camera in a bag I decided at the last minute to check through.

SO MUCH FOR PRECONCEIVED — or rather, outdated — notions. I hadn’t been to Jersey City in probably ten years, so when I went there yesterday (a distance of 7 whole miles from my home in Brooklyn) to visit a friend, my first reaction on driving through the streets was a surprised “This is NOT BAD!”

In fact, it’s pretty great. There are plenty of grubby areas inland, but the waterfront sections, with their sparkling views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, and many blocks around, have been totally spiffed up. It’s not just hi-rise city, either. Fine blocks of 19th century row houses in the historic neighborhoods are likewise in good shape, which means we’ve missed the boat on real estate investment.

For better or worse, depending on your P.O.V., Jersey City has gentrified, and it happened while I wasn’t paying attention. Walking around with my friend Joe (for as long as we could stand in the bitter cold), we passed a brick row house, right, with a nice Greek Revival doorway, colorfully painted, and a ‘For Sale’ sign. “It’s probably over a million,” Joe said. Said I, ever the victim of wishful thinking. “I’m guessing 899K.” Joe quickly found the listing on his iPhone. He was close: the ask is $1.15M, in ‘as is’ condition.

Of architectural delights, there are plenty. They’ve been hiding in plain sight all this time. Have a look.

 

 

DSCN1611

Prospect Heights looking lush

DSCN1612

Cherry blossoms and brickwork, Prospect Heights

DSCN1731

High style on Columbia Heights, Brooklyn Heights

DSCN1713

Rope wrapped tree, Fourth Avenue, Boerum Hill

DSCN1619

A cornice too pretty for a boiler company, Fourth Avenue, Gowanus

DSCN1726

Window box show, Columbia Heights, Brooklyn Heights

DSCN1727

Something Parisian about this one, Columbia Heights, Brooklyn Heights

DSCN1732

Elegance, Columbia Heights, Brooklyn Heights

Enter your email address below (no spam, promise)

Join 406 other followers

CATEGORIES

ARCHIVES

Blog Stats

  • 926,956 views
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 406 other followers

%d bloggers like this: