Category: brooklyn

Beware door-to-door scammers

This is an old story but one I should have blogged about three years ago. I’m kind of surprised it never made it to BrooklynRowHouse. Maybe I was worried about a lawsuit at the time because it involves a very large home improvement supply company, Andersen. This isn’t a knock on the Andersen product — well, it sort of is — but a complaint about one of their local franchisees for Renewal by Andersen, a home improvement contracting offshoot, operating in the 631 area code (Long Island). It may be completely unique to this particular franchisee too and for all

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Citizen Journalist of the Year

It’s possibly the first crowd-sourced criminal investigation in history leading to federal indictments and convictions. Last February, a friend of mine, former Time/Life war correspondent, Ed Barnes, texted me about a neighborhood blog in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, called Pardon Me For Asking, run by a blogger, Katia Kelly. Katia’s blog isn’t much different than mine, with the exception that she updates hers a helluva lot more frequently than I do mine. For quite some time Ed had been working the international angles on Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s ex-campaign manager. Ed focused on Manafort’s involvement in the corrupt Ukrainian presidential campaign

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Guess what I found hibernating under my kitchen extension?

I’ve posted a few articles about Brooklyn wildlife here over the years. Now I apparently have one of them as a roomate. Last week I broke a tile on my bathroom vanity and decided that today was a good day to fix it. I keep my spare tiles in a barely heated shed under my kitchen extension. As soon as I opened the door to the shed and the gamey smell hit my nose I knew that something wild was living in there. I assumed it was a feral cat or two until I saw a bunch of straw nesting

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My 15ms Of Fame

At the end of August last year, there were reports of the Google Street Views car being seen around the neighborhood. For the half dozen or so people on the planet who don’t know what Street View is, it’s a terrific value-added feature that the Google Maps folks created by photographing many if not most of the primary and secondary streets around the world. Using Street View you can not only see a satellite view of your location but actual cached photos. It’s also rather hard to miss the Google car as it’s about as subtle as a Oscar Meyer

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DOT sidewalk inspection scam?

My doorbell rang this afternoon. It was my cheerful postman, Kevin, and he had a certified letter for me. Certified letters are almost always buzzkillers. I could see from the envelope that this one was from the NYC Dept of Transportation so I knew it wasn’t congratulations from Publishers Clearinghouse. Kevin said that every house on the block, except one, got certified letters from DOT. What the hell, I’ve got nothing to be concerned about My sidewalk and curb are in excellent condition. I signed for the letter and opened it up. Inside was a Notice of Violation that my

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The High Price for Cheap Rent

On a nearby street, a line of ugly, cheaply built, 1980s-vintage row houses stand on a plot of land where there was once a neglected old Victorian. The six houses share a communal front “yard” — a quarter-acre concrete pad that gives the place all the charm of a New Jersey strip mall. To complete that grim visual, cars are illegally parked on it, usually double wide, often obstructing the sidewalk. In fact, there are more cars than one would expect from six single-family homes. A couple of months ago, I deduced why that was when I saw a small

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No Night for Dog Walkers

It’s treacherous out there. After two wet snows since Friday and a day in the upper thirties, the temps crashed after sundown, almost instantly freezing any standing water on the sidewalk and stoops. It’s nights like this that I wish I hadn’t housebroken my dogs so well. They’d sooner cut their own throats than mess in the house. Worse, I can’t even push them out the door to do their business in the back yard. They just sit by the back door looking miserable. It’s also nights like this that I’d like to see public flogging of thoughtless home and

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The Return of Tony Manero

You forty and fifty-somethings will undoubtedly remember the 1977 anthemic film about the disco era, Saturday Night Fever. What you may not know is that it put my neighborhood on the map. “Fever” was about the disco days and the lives of several blue collar kids in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I love talking with my neighbors about those days. They say the movie was an accurate depiction of what life was like here, at least for the disco heads. In 1977, I was a hardcore jazz poser at Berklee College of Music in Boston so I missed it all, geographically,

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So how DO you sell a home in this environment?

Especially an expensive luxury condo that hasn’t been built yet? Especially when it’s NYC and the building isn’t located in Manhattan or fashionable downtown Brooklyn? Especially when the land under it used to be one of the most polluted areas in the city? The media’s fascination with Sarah Palin continues. My friend saw this from the ferry a couple of days ago. It’s a new building being constructed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Developer Jeff Levine of Douglaston Development Corp. hung a seven-story banner from a tower under construction in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg area before the Vice Presidential debate. The idea was by

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    Welcome to Brooklyn Row House

    This blog is about the challenges of renovating an old (1903) Brooklyn, New York row house.

    My last major renovation project was the master bedroom, most of which is about finish carpentry. You’ll find other completed home improvement projects in the Projects submenu at the top of this page.

    I’m not a professional builder and don’t pretend to be. I’m just an experienced amateur raised in a family of committed DIYers. I try to closely follow local and national building codes but don’t mistake anything on this site to be professional or even accurate advice! Your mileage may and definitely will vary.

    This is the third iteration of BrooklynRowHouse.com, from scratch-built to Drupal and now Wordpress. I hope you enjoy your time here.