Celebrating St. Patty’s Day: The Brooklyn Way

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 5.18.14 PMMarch has rolled back around and people everywhere are getting ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Both a cultural and religious celebration acknowledged around the world, it’s celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. Whether you’re of Irish descent or not, and it seems like everyone is a little Irish on March 17th, it’s a day filled with fun and festivities. If you want to get in on the fun there are numerous things to do in Brooklyn, a borough once known for it’s large Irish population.

With a long history that dates back before Prohibition in the 1920’s, the neighborhood once known as “Irishtown” (roughly located between the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Manhattan bridge, portions of which are currently known as Vinegar Hill) may no longer be in existence, but neighborhoods such as Bay Ridge and the combined areas of Park Slope and Windsor Terrace still reflect some of the borough’s Irish origins.

The celebration extends past the 17th with not one but three local St. Patrick Day parades along with numerous traditional Irish bars where you can toast with a pint of guinness. Grab your family and friends and be ready for some bagpipes, kilts, lots of green, and of course a good time!

If it’s drinks you’re looking for here are some pubs to check out:

  • The Wicked Monk – 9510 3rd Avenue – Located in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, this neighborhood pub transports you back to a Gothic Irish Monastery when you walk through the door. The bar with its original wood and stained glass were shipped directly from the chapel in Greenmount Monastery (Gallows Green), Cork, Ireland, which was built in 1897, replacing a monastery, which stood on the site previously since 800 AD.

The Wicked Monk

  • The Harp – 7710 3rd Avenue – A friendly and causal Irish pub in Bay Ridge that boosts both a fireplace and a backyard beer garden for the nights you just want to be outside.
  • Farrell’s – 215 Prospect Park West – Located in Windsor Terrace Farrell’s has been a staple in the neighborhood since 1933, the year prohibition was repealed.

Farrell's

  • Peggy O’Neill’s – 1904 Surf Avenue – Once located in Bay Ridge, this Coney Island establishment offers both in and outdoor seating along with live music, DJs, and of course a selection of lager.
  • Irish Haven – 5721 4th Avenue – This old school Irish bar in Sunset Park was the location where Scorsese shot the infamous “cranberry juice” scene from the movie, “The Departed.”

Irish Haven

If a parade is on the agenda here’s what’s in store this year:

  • Saturday, March 18th at 1pm, Gerritsen Beach – The 8th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will gather at the VFW Post #107 at Gerritsen Avenue and Whitney Avenue.
  • Sunday, March 19th at 1pm, Park Slope Patrick’s Day Parade – The parade runs from Prospect Park West and 15th Street, then down 15th Street to 7th Avenue to Garfield Place, then to Prospect Park West back to the starting point.
  • Sunday, March 26th at 1pm, Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day – The parade will form at Saint Patrick’s Church at the corner of 95th Street and Fifth Avenue, then head to Marina Ave at 11am, and will begin at 1pm. Marchers will travel north bound on 3rd Avenue from Marine Ave to 94th St., then proceed onto 5th Avenue traveling north bound to 67th Street.

Scenery

Let’s talk about six: What’s a classic six apartment?

Have you ever heard of a “classic six” apartment? From time-to-time in NYC you might’ve crossed this listing term and found yourself curious as to what it actually means. According to Brownstoner, a classic six apartment is “chic, desirable and great for raising a family”. But what makes this style of living just so appealing? What is it makes a “classic six” one of New York City’s most sought after apartment layouts? 

Let’s break it down.

 

The classic layout

A classic six is a prewar (“classic”) apartment with a certain number of separate rooms (you guessed it – “six”). However that’s not all, it must also include a living room, formal dining room with a window, a kitchen, two full bedrooms and a maid’s room (typically smaller than the main bedrooms and usually located off the kitchen). While a classic six can have any number of bathrooms, oftentimes you’ll find the maid’s room also boasts its own full or half-bath.

A Prospect Heights’ classic six floor plan. Image: Brownstoner
A Prospect Heights’ classic six floor plan. Image: Brownstoner

The “other” classics

You might have come across the phrases “classic five” (lacking the maid’s room), or “classic seven” (which includes an additional bedroom), however, the less common, rare surviving “classic eight” with a room for a second maid, also exists.

Searching for six

According to Brownstoner, “the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side are known for having the largest stocks of classic six units in New York, [but] even there, listings are scarce”. Many are in co-op buildings (and occasionally condo buildings) and it’s incredibly rare to find one for rent. 

A good place to start is Brooklyn – Brooklyn Heights, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights or Park Slope – places boasting large-scale pre-war apartment buildings.

Apartment appeal

In addition to the obvious, being the sheer size of a classic six, both the fact that they’re so hard to come across and the distinct layout play a big role in the appeal. More or less impossible to achieve in smaller NYC apartments, the layout of a classic six provides both privacy and a feel of openness. How? The kitchen, dining and entertaining/common areas are often separated from the main bedrooms by a distinct hallway. Because of this, these “apartments” actually have a layout more similar to a classic single family home.

The space separation of the maid’s room to the rest of the home, tucked away by the kitchen, is often a favorite of NYC youth who enjoy the privacy and the idea of occupying their own living quarters. Of course, being so close by the kitchen and that endless supply of coffee, this space also makes for a great home office or studio! If you’ve found yourself with a classic six with a maid’s room that boasts it’s own bathroom or half bath too, why not turn it into a guest bedroom?

A classic six kitchen with a maid’s room converted to a guest bedroom. Image: The Wall Street Journal
A classic six kitchen with a maid’s room converted to a guest bedroom. Image: The Wall Street Journal

Your pre-war classic six: The 2017 update

Given the original construction date on majority of these apartments, chances are, yours might be in need of a little upgrade. Or perhaps you’re ready to do a little renovating to turn that maid’s quarters into your new home office? You might like to enlist the help of someone like All Renovations – specialists in high-end Brooklyn and Manhattan brownstone renovations. Or Brooklyn-based Creative Renovations – whose past client list includes a number of Brooklyn brownstone landmarks!

Getting your deposit back – a moving out cleaning checklist

So you’re excited – you’re finally about to move into your new apartment! Of course, the last thing you want to do is clean out your current place, right? Unfortunately, if you want your deposit back, it’s something you’re just going to have to do! That’s why we’ve put together the following checklist to help you make sure you’ve covered your bases when it comes time for your moving out clean up.

#1 Everything – including the kitchen sink

  • Get rid of all old food from the cupboards and fridge. Come across some spare canned foods? Before you send them straight to the trash, why not donate them to a NYC charity for those in need? Organizations like The Bowery Mission accept donations 24/7 – plus, you’ll receive an in-kind gift receipt for your donation.
Image: Bowery Mission
Image: Bowery Mission
  •  Clean cabinets and liners
  • Clean and disinfect all countertops, including the sink and faucet
  • Clean your refrigerator inside and out
  • Scrub the oven inside and out. Handy hint: use steel wool to clean shelving, burners and drip pans
  • Clean the microwave inside and out

#2 Bathe in reassurance

  • Be sure to clear out the drawers, shelving and vanity of any personal belongings, not forgetting to remove any hair – you might need to remove liners too
  • Clean soap scum off the tiles in the tub/shower and around the sink
  • Clean the toilet
  • Wipe down and disinfect the mirror
  • Dust, sweep, vacuum and mop the floors and surrounding surfaces

Looking for the right products to clean your kitchen or bathroom? Check out Brooklyn’s Common Good – you’ll find cleaning products made of 100% natural ingredients and pure essential oils.

#3 Putting doubt to bed

  • Once you have cleared the room of all your belongings, don’t forget to dust, sweep, vacuum and mop all rooms
  • Wipe down window sills and around any window unit air conditioners

#4 Common (area) mistakes

  • Clean windows
  • Vacuum any carpeted areas. If you’ve come across any hard to remove stains or you think this particular job might be best let to the pros, enlist the help of a local carpet cleaner like Green Choice Carpet Cleaner in Williamsburg

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  • Wipe down/disinfect door knobs, doors, light switches and outlets
  • Clean all marks off the walls and kickboards
  • Dust ceiling fixtures
  • Remove anything hanging on the walls and take all fixtures out of the wall (nails, screws etc.) – you may need to putty these surfaces to cover holes
  • Ensure all rooms are empty and clean before leaving
  • Clean laundry areas
  • Dust, sweep, vacuum and mop entry way
  • Clean and dust the blinds
  • Remove all trash

#5 Thinking outside the house

  • Clean out and sweep the garage
  • Cut the grass and pull weeds (where applicable)
  • Clean and sweep patio

Now it’s time to relax, and enjoy moving to your new home!

Top 4 Ideas for Fun Stay-cations In Brooklyn

#1 Girl’s Night

sleepover.jpg
Photo by elycerose

Try out some new cosmetics like these face paints that are actually facial masks from  memeboxMemebox. Flex your artistic muscles painting masterpieces on your friends’ faces and nourish your skin in the process. The sets are customizeable so you can choose the exact treatments that you think you and your ladies will need.

Also, you can keep everyone’s glasses full and conversation flowing with a wine delivery from Minibar.

#2 Family Fun

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Photo by Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Try organizing a scavenger hunt to keep the kids occupied and working together for hours. You can set up the hunt in your home or somewhere else like the Brooklyn Children’s Museum to bring some new excitement to a place that you might have already visited.

You can also try planning an indoor camping trip. Children have such vivid imaginations that simply sleeping somewhere besides their own beds can transport them to a different world. Eat s’mores, sing campfire songs, stay up a little past your bedtime and create memories that will last them a lifetime!

#3 Date Night

coulple
enl150Lock the doors, set your phones to silent and plan some quality time with your other half. Heat things up with some sexy board games that are sure to elicit some giggles.

You may not be able to visit another country but you can try their food! If you do decide to venture out into the cold, try something a little more exotic than your usual pizza spot. Take a look at this epic list from Thrillist of the best places to find every cuisine in NYC.

#4 Singles’ Paradise

coffee

Nothing beats curling up in your PJs and watching your favorite shows when you’re flying mestizohotchocolate_10ozsolo for the weekend. Netflix is releasing a bunch of new original series like White Rabbit Project and Chasing Cameron in December to fuel your next binge watching session. You can check out the line-up here. If movies are more your thing, Hulu has a whole list of great films being released in December.

Of course you need the proper refreshments to enhance your viewing experience. Marie Belle offers same day deliveries of their gourmet hot chocolate all over New York!

How to Find the Right Real Estate Agent for You

handshake business people isolated over white background
Photo courtesy of coryccreamer

Buying or selling your home can be a scary prospect but with the right agent, the process can go much more smoothly. Just a few easy steps can insure that you’ll have a qualified person with your best interests at heart to guide you along your way.

Find out the word on the Street(easy)

With websites like Streeteasy, Zillow, Trulia, and , you can quickly check what others have to say about your prospective agent. People usually only take the time to write an online review if they’ve had an extraordinary experience. If the agent has more than a couple five star reviews it can be a good indication that your working relationship will be a good one.

Put them to the test

Don’t be afraid to ask your agent about how long they have been in the business, how long they have been working in this neighborhood, and info about their license. If you didn’t find enough info about them  online, go ahead and ask them for references. A good agent will have no problem answering these questions if it will put your mind at ease.

Communication is key

If you notice early on in your working relationship that it takes hours for your realtor to respond to you, you might want to consider moving on the someone else (during the day of course, we don’t recommend texting your realtor in the middle of the night!). An open line of communication will help you to feel more comfortable with the process. Also a few hours can mean the difference between closing a deal or not.

Get your figures straight

You will often be required to pay a commission to your realtor (especially if you are a seller). Be sure that you are clear about what will be expected from you so you won’t have a costly surprise when it comes time to sign the papers.

Go with your gut

Above all, trust your instincts. Ask yourself,” Do I feel like this person really wants what’s best for me?”. You can usually get a good sense of a person after working with them for a short period of time.  Listen to the answer you give yourself!

You can start the search for your next realtor by browsing our qualified agents here!

5 Tips for Moving in Winter

The temperature is dropping which means you might be concerned about your future move being a little tougher. Not to worry! We’ve scoured the internet to bring you the best tips to make your move go smoothly.

winter-moving
Photo courtesy of Two Men and a Truck

#1 Harness the Power of Professionals 

According to Two Men and a Truck, springing for some extra help is worth the cash. Professionals are trained to deal with unpredictable cold and icy conditions. If you attempt the move on your own you’ll risk injury and damage to your possessions.

#2 Rise with the Sun

The Huffington Post suggests that you set your alarm and get a pot of coffee brewing to accommodate the decreased hours of daylight. You don’t want the added difficulty of trying to move in the dark. So, get a good night’s  sleep and get moving early!

#3 Make Sure You’re Covered

Get a cheap tarp to throw down over high traffic areas in your old and new home. imove.com has pointed out that things can get messy quickly when snow and slush is on the ground. Save yourself some clean up time by planning ahead.

#4 Bundle up Your Plants

MakeSpace advises that you protect your indoor plants from the cold by wrapping them in plastic or blankets (being sure to leave an opening at the top so they can breathe). If your plants have spent their entire lives inside, the shock of cold air can cause a lot of damage. So, while you’re piling on the layers your self don’t forget your plants!

#5 Give Your Landlord a Ring

You don’t want to show up to your new home to find there’s no heat! GoGetter urges you to call your landlord and make sure they know when you plan to move, to be sure your first night will be nice and cozy.

Brooklyn Comfort Foods

Sometimes when the temperature drops, your spirits do too. While you might want to stay inside and hibernate all winter, we’ve found some delicious foods throughout Brooklyn that will entice you to leave your apartment and warm you right up.

 

peter-sHearty Home-Cooking
You could’ve fooled us, we think Peter has been doing chicken way before 1969, if not before the egg. Peter’s Since 1969 is back to basics, comfort food in a casual, family style setting. Named after the former Williamsburg tenant, Peter Kuper of B & B Meat Market, who ran the neighborhood butcher shop with his wife Lucy since 1969, the new Rotisserie Chicken concept was born in the location in 2007. The herb-marinated chicken roasts and self-bastes over an open flame, resulting in the perfect crispness on the outside and soft, juicy tenderness within. Humble, filing sides like mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, stewed okra and green beans are served out of Le Creuset cast iron pots. Chicken and two sides will set you back between $10-$15.
168 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg.

 

Soothing Slicesdifarapizza_t700
We have to be honest, there won’t be anything comforting about the wait, but the reward will certainly be worth it. For over 50 years, Di Fara has been plating up perfect pies in Midwood. With a no-frills reputation, Anthony Bourdain once proclaimed this spot to be “the best of the best”, which is why you can expect to be waiting in line a while for your iconic, thin-crust slice. For almost five decades owner Dom DeMarco insisted on making every single legendary and delicious pie by himself, slowly, but methodically. He now shares the responsibility with his sons. At $5 a slice, you can bet that this pizza, made from scratch with the best, imported ingredients will be exceptional.
424 Avenue J, Midwood.

 

starMeat an Unbeatable Burger
When a pizza place is known for having a burger on the menu, you know it is going to be something special. Emily in Clinton Hill is an intimate pizza restaurant serving up an overwhelming selection of creative pies, however, the real standout is the critically-acclaimed Emmy Burger. The Emmy Burger features a dry-aged patty which is quickly seared in clarified butter then showered in black pepper before being topped with rich melted Vermont cheddar, sweet caramelized onions and a house-made aioli sauce inside of a sturdy pretzel bun. A limited amount of burgers are served every night so head here on a Sunday for lunch when the burgers are plentiful and unforgettable.
919 Fulton Street, Clinton Hill.

 

Superstar Startermac
Mac and cheese might just be the ultimate comfort food. Creamy, crunchy and carbolicious. The Brooklyn Star serves New American cuisine with a nod to the traditions and style of the South and Southwest. Quintessential to a Southern-style menu is of course, mac and cheese. An all-time favorite at the Star, served in a cozy cast iron skillet, this mac is superior to many macs, with its game-changing ingredient, bacon. This mac and cheese is meaty from the bacon bits, rich from the generous cheese and crispy from the buttery breadcrumbs. Served at brunch or dinner for $9, you will be thinking about the taste and texture of this meal long after the weather is warm again.
593 Lorimer Street, Williamsburg.