10/28/15 4:25pm

Brooklyn Concrete & Steel Construction History

1 Main Street, built for Robert Gair Co. Photo by Suzanne Spellen

When builders first began using reinforced concrete, which bonds the strength and flexibility of steel with the solidity of cast rock, they probably didn’t know the extent to which their experimentation would change architecture.

Their work made it possible to build higher, larger and more inventively than anyone could imagine. It began in France in the 19th century, but it would take an American company, based in New York City, to build wonders across the world. This company had some of its earliest jobs here in Dumbo. (more…)

10/20/15 3:03pm


As in past years, there are several planned activities during the Halloween weekend in Dumbo. The DUMBO Improvement District has organized the March to the Arch parade (with Dumbo’s Great Small Works leading the march with puppets), a kids party under the Archway (with hot chocolate provided by Brooklyn Roasting), pet costume event, and a Halloween costume ball. Look for other fun things like a photobooth (sponsored by Dumbo’s own Brooklyn Central), storytime, hands-on arts with Creatively WILD Art Studio, and beer, wine, and bites at the Archway Lighthouse.

Storefront trick or treating, with 40+ businesses participating is from 4-7pm, October 31, 2015.


10/12/15 2:27pm

MNS, the Brooklyn real estate firm published their September 2015 Brooklyn Rental Market Report last week (along with their Manhattan Rental Market Report). The report notes that average rents across Brooklyn decreased by 0.18% from $2,748.87 in August 2015 to $2,743.83 in September 2015. Over the past 12 months, Brooklyn rents are up 1.53%, from $2,702.59 in September 2014 to $2,743.83 in September 2015.

The largest percentage increase in average prices was seen in one bedroom units in Prospect Lefferts Garden, which grew by 6.84%, due to a relatively higher priced unit at 393 Lefferts Ave entering the market, coupled with a sample size under 10 units. Greenpoint Studios saw the highest decline of 8.91% since the previous month, caused by the sample reacting to a higher priced loft apartment at 738 Leonard St leaving the market.

Williamsburg and DUMBO saw the largest annual upward and downward shifts in rent prices. Williamsburg average rent grew immensely by 10.7%, from the average rent of $3,204 in September 2014 to $2,547 in September 2015. DUMBO experienced a decline in average rent of 3.77%, from $4,422.00 in September 2014 to $4,255 in September 2015. (more…)

09/23/15 3:09pm
Image by NY Times

Image by NY Times

Gothamist, NY Times, DNAinfo, and others reported on the second of two town hall meetings to gather feedback from the community on the preliminary rezoning proposal for District 13 (Brooklyn Heights, parts of Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO and Vinegar Hill) that would place students from Dumbo and Vinegar Hill, currently in P.S. 8 to P.S. 307 in Vinegar Hill.

The proposal has drawn intense opposition not only from the families who would be rezoned from the predominantly white P.S. 8 to the mostly black P.S. 307. The NY Times states, “Some residents of the housing project served by P.S. 307 also oppose the rezoning, worried about how an influx of wealthy, mostly white families could change their school.”

Parents and community members are asking for more time to plan for changes. One parent asked, “If you’re doubling the classroom size, what are the plans in terms of who are you hiring? Who’s going to be training them?”

Gothamist reports that a spokeswoman from The Church of the Open Door, which many residents of the Farragut Houses attend said, “We know some white people don’t want to go to PS 307 because it’s predominantly black, and some of the black people don’t want this influx of white people coming in. To do it so shockingly and so quickly… let’s stop the present plan and fight for the time to create a new plan.”

After the meeting, DOE spokeswoman Devora Kaye issued the following statement:

“These zones were created decades ago and no longer reflect the needs of Downtown Brooklyn families. We’ve proposed a solution that will ensure each school has an appropriate zone size to create better schools for all students. We’re working closely with the CEC, members of both school communities and engaging parents to collect feedback before any final proposal is submitted to best serve the community.”

{Looking for Your Feedback on the Department of Education’s Rezoning of PS8 School Proposal}

09/23/15 2:09pm


While proposed changes in school zoning to alleviate the overcrowding of P.S. 8 is happening, a new private school option for parents is Sage Heights. They are holding a set of open houses for its new progressive private school. Coming to Brooklyn Heights in the fall of 2016, the school offers the unique Harvard approach of Mind Brain Education.

Parents who have children reaching the age of 2 or higher have an opportunity to learn about Sage Heights coming to Brooklyn fall of 2016 at one of their open houses. To RSVP, go to sageheights.com/vip-access

From Sage Heights:

Did you know?

  • Acceptance rates at local private schools are <10%. (St. Ann’s stops counting requests for Kindergarten interviews at 300 for 30 spots)
  • If you are not affiliated with a school by the time your child is 2 you are late to the game. Siblings fill all most all of the 2’s program at The Plymouth Church School. Last year Packer had one male rising Kindergartener who did not start in their Pre-K program.
  • If you are not a legacy, or have a child already enrolled, or if you have not contributed charitably you are less likely to be accepted at the local prestigious private schools
  • So far District 13 (public schools zoned for Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO/Vinegar Hill/Ft. Greene/Downtown Brooklyn) needs ~3000 seats for additional students by 2020 and the city is only prepared to build ~1000

Secure your spot as the Sage Heights Open Houses fill up quickly. RSVP

Why you should attend:

  • You are a parent getting your head around the schools in the area, frustrated by the application process and changes in the district
  • You are interested in a progressive approach to education that focuses not only on high academic achievement but social and emotional development (MBE)
  • You are looking for an opportunity to become a Founding Family, receive the early-entry discounted tuition or secure a long-term spot in a school
  • You are simply exploring all the options for your child(ren) in Brooklyn