Bedford-Stuyvesant

Take a stroll on Marcy Avenue, part two

November 28, 2018 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
On Marcy Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, new apartment buildings like 633 Marcy Ave. have sprung up among old-fashioned rowhouses. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan

Eye On Real Estate

A Montrose Morris mansion and a NYCHA project where Jay-Z grew up.

You can find both on Marcy Avenue.

This historic road runs through the heart of Bedford-Stuyvesant and zigs and zags through the south end of Williamsburg.

It was named after 19th-century politician William Learned Marcy, Leonard Benardo and Jennifer Weiss’ book “Brooklyn by Name” says. Marcy was a U.S. Senator from New York, our state’s Governor and the U.S. Secretary of State under Franklin Pierce.

Marcy Avenue is an excellent route for an autumn walk, which you’ll enjoy a great deal more if you bundle up. ‘Tis the season for down coats and UGG boots.

We’ve split our story into two parts. This is Part Two.

This beautiful old building is on the corner of Marcy and Willoughby avenues.
This beautiful old building is on the corner of Marcy and Willoughby avenues.

 

Old and new together

A good place to start is the intersection of Marcy Avenue and Hart Street, where there’s a mix of old and new housing stock that’s common at this end of Bed-Stuy.

On one corner, at 633 Marcy Ave., a recently constructed eight-story rental-apartment building stands. The developer is an LLC with Zelig Weiss as a member, city Finance Department records indicate.

The site where it stands is an assemblage consisting of properties acquired in three transactions, Finance Department records show:

* The 2001 purchase of 633 Marcy Ave.

* The $90,000 purchase of 631 Marcy Ave. in 2003. This property was sold after a foreclosure on a tax-lien certificate.

* The $470,000 purchase of 629 Marcy Ave. in a 2006 foreclosure sale.

Rows of classic brownstones can be found near two other corners of Marcy Avenue and Hart Street.

 

Who is Dirt Cobain?

There are numerous eye-catching things on nearby blocks. For instance, a mural depicting giant pills is painted on the security gates of shut-down El Miste Deli Grocery at 588 Marcy Ave. This building stands on the corner of Vernon Avenue. A street artist called Dirt Cobain, who was originally from the San Francisco Bay area, painted the mural.

On the opposite corner of Vernon Avenue, an old fashioned rowhouse at 586 Marcy Ave. nestles up against a taller apartment building.

The rowhouse belongs to an LLC with Max Jacobs as a member, which bought the property for $1.15 million in 2015, Finance Department records indicate.

The owner has filed plans with the city Buildings Department to enlarge three-story 586 Marcy Ave. with a horizontal extension and a one-story addition.

The owner of the corner building, 586 Marcy Ave., plans to enlarge it.
The owner of the corner building, 586 Marcy Ave., plans to enlarge it.

 

The day we took our stroll, Marcy & Myrtle Cafe at 574 Marcy Ave. had a sidewalk signboard that made us do a double-take.

“Would you like DREAMS of IMPEACHMENT with your COFFEE?” it said in huge letters.

A bit further up the street, the front of a rowhouse at 527 Marcy Ave. is covered with a mural of a yellow, green and blue parrot set against the backdrop of a purple and yellow sky with palm trees in silhouette. Danish graffiti artist Andreas Welin painted it.  

Won't you fly high, free bird, yeah? (Yes, that's a Lynyrd Skynyrd song.) A mural by Andreas Welin graces the facade of 527 Marcy Avenue.
Won’t you fly high, free bird, yeah? (Yes, that’s a Lynyrd Skynyrd song.) A mural by Andreas Welin graces the facade of 527 Marcy Avenue.

 

‘I’m from Marcy son, just thought I’d remind y’all’

You’ll walk past the Marcy Houses complex, which is located on Marcy Avenue between Myrtle and Flushing avenues.

Music mogul Jay-Z famously grew up in this New York City Housing Authority project, which opened in 1947. So did actor Tracy Morgan.

This is a glimpse of the Marcy Houses.
This is a glimpse of the Marcy Houses.

North of Flushing Avenue, the neighborhood changes from Bed-Stuy to Williamsburg.

Marcy Avenue veers slightly left at the intersection of Flushing Avenue. Adjacent Union Avenue is angled slightly to the right at this complicated intersection, and Gerry Street is further to the right.

Here's Marcy Avenue where it intersects Flushing Avenue.
Here’s Marcy Avenue where it intersects Flushing Avenue.

 

For several blocks, Marcy Avenue runs through an area where many Hasidic residents live.

As you keep walking, you’ll notice a development site at 415 Marcy Ave. on the corner of Walton Street. An apartment building is planned there. The fenced-in site has been bulldozed in preparation for construction.

The property belongs to an LLC with Ezra Unger as authorized signatory, Finance Department records indicate.

This building with eye-catching balconies stands on the corner of Marcy Avenue and Lorimer Street.
This building with eye-catching balconies stands on the corner of Marcy Avenue and Lorimer Street.

 

An armory and a YMCA rooming house

The magnificent New York State Armory stands at 355 Marcy Ave. It was built in 1883, an inscription over one of the doors indicates.

The Marcy Avenue side of the former National Guard armory looks like a red-brick castle with austere, lean lines. The other side of the building, which is on Harrison Avenue, has rounded turrets.

The 47th Regiment Armory, as it was originally known, cost $125,000 to build — and had eight rifle galleries in the basement, a posting on the Forgotten New York website says.    

The armory closed in 2011. Now it is rented out as a venue for community events and film shoots under the name Marcy Armory.

Marcy Armory is an architectural treasure.
Marcy Armory is an architectural treasure.

 

Another fab old-fashioned building is located at 185 Marcy Ave.

It’s an office building now. When it was constructed back in 1905, it was a YMCA rooming house, the Real Deal reported last year.

An LLC with Elliott Neumann as president bought the building for $29.95 million in 2017, Finance Department records indicate. Neumann is the CEO of Acuity Capital Partners.

According to Buildings Department filings, the new owner is renovating 185 Marcy Ave.’s public areas and some tenant areas and relocating the building’s main lobby.

This is 185 Marcy Ave., which changed hands last year.
This is 185 Marcy Ave., which changed hands last year.
Beautiful rowhouses stand on Heyward Street near the corner of Marcy Avenue.
Beautiful rowhouses stand on Heyward Street near the corner of Marcy Avenue.

 

Who is Chris Riggs for Mayor?

Marcy Avenue runs beneath elevated subway tracks as it crosses Broadway.

One of the buildings at this intersection is covered with a mural with flowers and the words “love” and “peace” in overlapping patterns.

The artist who made this mural uses the name Chris Riggs for Mayor. His paintings and sculptures are in museums, galleries and private collections in more than 50 countries, his website says.

The subway station hangs over a mural painted by an artist called Chris Riggs for Mayor.
The subway station hangs over a mural painted by an artist called Chris Riggs for Mayor.

 

After you walk beneath the subway tracks, you’ll see the Marcy Avenue frontage of a development whose address is 277 South 5th St. It’s going to be a 23-story apartment tower.

Construction is well underway at 277 South 5th St.
Construction is well underway at 277 South 5th St.

 

Landmarked, century-old Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh, which is located right next door, will be incorporated into this project that Tavros Development Partners and Charney Construction & Development are building.

Marcy Avenue passes beneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway at South 3rd Street.

Lovely rowhouses stand on South 3rd Street near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
Lovely rowhouses stand on South 3rd Street near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

 

From this point until it ends, the avenue runs alongside the highway — but it has lots of scenic spots. For instance, there are handsome old rowhouses at the Marcy Avenue corners of South 3rd Street, South 2nd Street and Grand Street.

These fine old rowhouses are located on Grand Street at the corner of Marcy Avenue.
These fine old rowhouses are located on Grand Street at the corner of Marcy Avenue.

 

At 38 Marcy Ave. on the corner of Hope Street, there’s an eye-catching abstract mural painted by D. Addison.

A mural by D. Addison decorates the facade of 38 Marcy Ave.
A mural by D. Addison decorates the facade of 38 Marcy Ave.

 

Marcy Avenue ends at Metropolitan Avenue.

The last building on Marcy Avenue is a Capital One Bank branch that was constructed several years ago. Its address is 416 Metropolitan Ave.

This Capital One Bank branch stands on the corner of Marcy and Metropolitan avenues.
This Capital One Bank branch stands on the corner of Marcy and Metropolitan avenues.