Category: brooklyn

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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Synchronicity, flashbacks and old photos

Yesterday was one of those strange “theme” days we all experience from time to time. It began with my neighbor, Betsy, and me taking a trip to an art store on 3rd Ave to get some old Brooklyn photos framed that I’d collected over the past year. The centerpiece was something I’d bought from, which I’d discovered on the recommendation of a forum regular on Old House Web. It’s a shot of a freezing cold, February day in Brooklyn Heights circa 1908 with the Manhattan Bridge under construction in the distance. The detail on the photo was mesmerizing (click

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The view from BrooklynRowHouse HQ tonight

I shot the above from my office window a few minutes ago. Tomorrow, of course, is the seventh anniversary of the Sept 11 attacks. Seven years ago tonight, I saw two tall, bright buildings standing there. They were my night light. Tomorrow, the TV will be full of somber ceremonies and remembrances of the 2,998 people killed and the 6,291 injured by sick fanatics. Barack Obama and John McCain are both scheduled to be here for the ceremonies. Flag pins will be worn, anthems will be sung and much patriotic hay will be made. It will continue over the next

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“Moonstruck” house sold

I confess that I like an occasional chick flick and the 1987 Cher/Nicholas Cage flick, “Moonstruck”, was always one of my favorites. It was mostly because director Norman Jewison captured so well the feel of a Brooklyn townhouse and a Brooklyn townhouse neighborhood. This is largely because Jewison shot the movie on location in a real house and in a real neighborhood. There was a scene in the movie when Olympia Dukakis, as Rose Castorini, stands outside the home with her wannabe male suitor. He looks at the house and comments, “My God, it’s a mansion!” “It’s a house!” she

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This would make an awesome train set.

My older brother was the model train buff. Me, I always liked the real thing. As a little kid growing up in Japan, my friends and I used to sneak across the mulberry fields and sit by the train tracks to Yokohama. But the local koban police always took notice of the little white kids and hauled us back home with a stern warning never to do it again. Like that wouldn’t happen a few days later. Bay Ridge is in south Brooklyn, on lower New York Harbor. One the benefits of living here is dozing off to fog horns

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She Talked. This Happened.

Next up in my “Meet The Neighbors” series is one of the largest buildings in NYC, the Brooklyn Army Terminal. It’s not large in vertical terms but as far as the footprint goes, there are few NYC buildings to match it. BAT is located four blocks north of me. Surprisingly, for a complex of its imposing size few people around here know much about it. About the only information I could glean from the locals was, “The Army used to own it. It’s something else now.” With its Pentagon-like utilitarian bulk, the closed-to-the-public perimeter security, the NYPD K-9 facility on

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Street Repaving, Brooklyn-style

Last year, NYC DOT repaved several Brooklyn avenues. Last month, they began ripping up some cross streets, mine included. Even though my street was in good condition, people who have lived on the block for 40 years can’t remember the last it was repaved. I figured this might make a good photo archive moment for my planned neighborhood blog. When I saw the yellow signs pop up all over the street I thought it was going to be yet another annoying film shoot. Over the past couple of years Brooklyn has gotten to be a hot location with Hollywood. You

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Up The Wankers, Amanda.

Amanda Green passed away at 2am this morning from pancreatic cancer. She was only 49. I moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan in 1999. In large part, Amanda is the reason I’m here. What more or less brought me to Brooklyn, and what taught me that Brooklyn isn’t “Injun territory”, as so many Manhattanites believe the boros to be, is a Brooklyn Heights restaurant I became a part of in 1993 called La Bouillabaisse. I met Amanda in 1990 at a small birthday party for me at the Oyster Bar. She was a friend of my sister’s and was living in

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Bay Ridge Hum

Out-worlders would probably expect Brooklyn to sound like inner-city traffic, police sirens and “Yo! Vinnie! T’row me down some money fa a’ egg cream!” Actually, it’s pretty quiet down here by the harbor, except for the low-flying NYPD helicopters. And ambulances.  And La Guardia jets on approach.  And Belt Parkway traffic… Nevertheless, I have two “bizarre noise” stories. I’ll talk about the most public one first and, if I can keep it short, I’ll tell the other one. In late 2005, I was at the dog run when an obviously exhausted woman told me that she was kept awake all

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A Tree Blows Down in Brooklyn

About 5:30am this morning I was suddenly awake. I’m not sure if it was the threatening thunder approaching from the northwest or my shivering, hundred-pound Newfoundland desperately trying to crawl under the covers with me. Outside, it was like War of the Worlds… real Wrath of God stuff. Lightning was flashing like a paparazzi frenzy and the thunder was getting progressively angrier. I heard the rain starting. Within minutes it was coming down in buckets. Seriously, that’s what it sounded like: someone dropping buckets on my roof. By now, most of you have probably heard that Brooklyn experienced its first

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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, from scratch-built to Drupal and now Wordpress. I hope you enjoy your time here.