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What's Up with Calder Place?

Tucked into the far southern end of Park Slope, Calder Place is an unassuming one block street with only one building to call its own, #15. 

Looking south from Prospect Ave.
#15, the street's only address

What's its deal?

Looking back at some old maps, it's clear that unlike Jackson Place and Webster Place to its north, Calder was not originally part of the street grid. 

It's not there in the above map, from 1880. Check out Braxton Street at right; that's Windsor Place today.

No Calder Place in this map, either, from 1917.

All signs would point to this street being created when the Prospect Expressway was cut through the neighborhood by our friend Robert Moses in the 1950s. It necessitated the cutoff of 17th Street at about the halfway point between Sixth and Seventh, so Calder Place was most likely tacked on there to prevent 17th from having to become a dead end.

Why the name Calder Place, though? Let's turn to Brooklyn By Name:
Republican William Musgrave Calder (1869-1945) represented New York in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Born in Brooklyn, Calder studied carpentry in evening courses at the Cooper Institute in Manhattan and later became Building Commissioner for Brooklyn. He is credited with building over thirty-five hundred homes and is credited with developing parts of South Brooklyn, Flatbush, and Sheepshead Bay. In his one term as senator (1917-1923), Calder sponsored the first daylight-savings law.
Also on the block is a nice little hidden park that overlooks the expressway, named for Joseph Mayrose, a detective from Bay Ridge who was killed in a car accident in 1989 at age 40. The 1.3 acre park, one of 15 along the highway, opened in 1956 (six years before the completion of the expressway), and it was given its name in 1990. 

Detective Joseph Mayrose Park


The Buildings in the Footprint of the Hotel Grand Prospect

It's been a couple weeks since the announcement that a huge hotel may be coming to the Grand Prospect Hall, and to say that it's a bone of contention in the neighborhood would be an understatement. Those against the plan claim that the hotel would be way too large and out of place, and a letter sent to owner Michael Halkias last week from Community Board and Land Use and Landmarks Committee member John Burns demands answers about the construction timeline, how deep they can dig, jobs created, and environmental impact studies. Local residents (especially commenter #4 in the above link) are concerned about the noise and trash that the hall creates. 

Proponents of the plan, on the other hand, are happy about the included 400-spot parking garage, even though the actual neighborhood access to it is still up in the air.

The hotel, for what it's worth, wouldn't only be built on the site of a current parking lot. There are also buildings lining Prospect Avenue that would need to be demolished, and they look to be from the very early 1900s. Their specific former use is a mystery. They're currently in disrepair, and the land they're sitting on is losing money. Demolishing them to make way for the hotel is apparently more appealing to the owners than renovating them and finding a new use, possibly one that would be open to all members of the community, and not just those using the hall for an event.


137 Fifth Getting Clad in Red

137 Fifth Avenue, the five-story building going up on the corner of Fifth and St. Johns Place, is steadily coming along. The latest step toward completion: a red facade is in the process of being applied. 

Private patios in the back
I'm still torn on this building. The small windows and general design are out of sync with the neighborhood, but it will provide a nice anchor for the block. The red coloring of the facade panels mimic brick, and the ground floor tenant will be paying a hefty sum for the storefront, which will be enclosed with floor-to-ceiling glass. I guess we'll just have to see how it turns out, and what (most likely chain) retailer ends up moving in.


Thai Sky Should Fix Their Awning

Looks like some heavy snow or wind got to the awning at Thai Sky, on Fifth Ave and 6th Street, and knocked it right off its brackets. Come on, now. while it's not the best Thai in the neighborhood, the least any self-respecting restaurant could do is make sure their sign is on straight.


Park Slope's Biggest Fan on Wheels?

Check out that license plate! Someone give that car's owner an award. Looking to get in on the action? According to the DMV, PARKSLOP is still up for grabs.

Via Curbed