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Entries in History (127)

Monday
Jul022012

Calexico Construction Underway

When construction paper covers a storefront's windows, that can only mean that work's underway inside the space. And when that construction paper is imprinted with the motto "Eat the Street," along with the telltale logo of a man riding a backwards bull, it can only mean one thing: Calexico is coming. 

I first broke the news back in May, when the super-popular Cali-Mex food cart-turned-burgoening-empire's owners affixed a note to the front foor of the space last occupied by Blue Ribbon Sushi, on Fifth between First and Garfield, confirming that they intended to take over the space. But now the windows have been covered over and construction is officially underway. They most likely had little trouble securing a liquor license. 

No word yet on when they'll be opening up, but when they do, it'll be carne asada quesadillas with crack sauce until 11 PM on weeknights and 2 AM on weekends. 

Thursday
Jun282012

Fourth Avenue's Church of The Redeemer Coming Down

One of the oldest buildings on Fourth Avenue, the 1866 Church of The Redeemer, on the northeast corner of Pacific Street, is slated for demolition. 

Brownstoner reports today that the English Gothic Revival structure, which was constructed only a year after the avenue was widened to its current size, will be soon torn down due to the fact that the building is in "severe disrepair." The congregation has worshipped elsewhere for years, slate shingles have fallen off the roof, and the building itself has begun to sag. 

Nestled directly adjacent to a subway entrance, the church always struck me as an elegant way to emerge onto the sidewalk, incongruous with the rather utilitarian buildings surrounding it. I never actually noticed what poor shape the building is in, largely thanks to its somewhat rugged overall look, with a facade largely of bluestone. 

Apparently there's a plan in place to replace the church with a mixed-use building housing a new church as well as residential units. The razing will be on the docket at tonight's Boerum Hill Association meeting, to be held at 7 PM tonight at the YWCA at 30 Third Avenue.

                                                                                         Brownstoner

Thursday
Jun282012

Closed for Business: Triangle Sporting Goods, 182 Flatbush Avenue

Approximately two months after being sold to a still-unnamed buyer, the 96-year-old Triangle Sporting Goods, occupying the intersection of Fifth, Flatbush, and Dean, has closed. The gates have been rolled down for over a week, and phone calls have gone unanswered. 

One of the oldest establishments in the borough, Triangle started as an Army surplus store in 1916, run by Betsy Shapiro. Army shoes, cots, and raincoats were soon joined by guns and fishing supplies, and in the 1940s the store essentially became what it was until it closed, after taking over the second floor from a dentist.

It was a charmingly cramped hodgepodge of sporting goods and work clothes, cobbled together over the years, and while much of the walls were covered over by white racks, you get the feeling that years of history are still lurking underneath. It was a quintessential independent neighborhood business, and longtime owner Henry Rosa, who started working there as a teenager, resisted requests to sell for years before finally deciding to take a buyout and retire comfortably. 

There's been a push to bring upscale tenants to the neighborhood as the Barclays Center reaches its opening date, and neighborhood uber-landlord Michael Pintchik recently said that he'd like to bring an Apple Store into the area (he also rejected reported attempts by Hooters to move in). It's unclear who the historic building's next tenant will be (I've heard it will be a restaurant, but that's it), but one thing's for certain: There'll never be another store quite like Triangle. 

Founder Betsy Shapiro in 1916

Wednesday
Jun272012

Bareburger's Got an Eye For History

Let's face it: when Atresana moved out of its longtime home on the corner of Seventh Avenue and First Street last year, the building wasn't in such great shape. It still maintained some of its architectural integrity, but the massive awning obscured the original entryway, as well as the fact that one of the two window brackets over it was missing. 

Once Bareburger took over the space, they set up scaffolding and gave the facade an entire revitalization and paint job, and their signage remains unobtrusive as to highlight some of the original architectural details. Their commitment to preserving history, though, became even more impressive earlier this week, when the missing bracket above the doorway was replaced.

As seen in the photo above, the new bracket (in white) very closely matches the style of the original, and it's safe to assume that it'll be painted to match the other one. It's nice to see a business move in (especially a "chain") and go out of their way to acknowledge architectural history. Good for them!

Photo via @DavidAlquist on Twitter

Monday
Jun182012

O'Connor's Bar Closes; Complete Renovation Underway

For the past 81 years, O'Connor's Bar, on Fifth Avenue between Bergen and Dean Streets, was a simple, no-frills watering hole with a fiercely loyal clientele and a just-as-fierce devotion to keeping the past intact. It was one of the last establishments in the city with a working phone booth, tap lines were never installed, the naugahide booths and stools were held together with duct tape, and it exuded that dive bar charm in the best way possible. Warts and all, it was one of the best bars in the city, and a venerable old time capsule. 

All that began to change several years ago when current owner Mike Maher took over; he brightened up the place a bit and gave it a thorough scrubbing, but other than that he essentially left it alone (all good). He had big plans, though, to transform the space into a full-on sports bar/ "Irish pub", with a large back room, a private party room on the new second floor, and a full food menu. Construction on the addition has been underway for over a year, the sign was removed and the bar got a coat of forbidding black paint last year, and it was clear that one day the entire bar would have to be shut down, renovated, and brought up to code in order to serve food. 

Well, that day has arrived. The bar is locked tight, the phone lines have been shut off, the staff let go, and work is underway to incorporate the new additions and bring the old bar into the 21st century, whatever that entails.

Most likely O'Connor's will be open in time for Labor Day, and to attract crowds on their way to and from the Barclays Center. As for what else the future holds for the old bar, only time will tell. 

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