Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hollywood Comes to Sunset Park, Sort Of..

Filmrise new headquarters in Industry City

The website Commercial  Observer informs us that Filmrise a distributor of digital media has moved into Industry City. There are already several other film and video production companies that are located in Sunset Park and Filmrise is the latest addition to the roster. On their website we have a good indication of the breath of their offerings and announcements of acquisitions to digital rights of some iconic productions. As more companies move into the industrial part of the neighborhood we will be seeing more and more of this stuff. Of course this is clearly more an indication of the gentrification and commercial expansion that is happening in the neighborhood. Filmrise will be joining other film and video production companies located here such as Holystone StudiosShoe Box Story and others. We are living in interesting times in Sunset Park these days..



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More Signs of Gefntrification In Sunset Park, Losing Section 8

DNAinfo/Nikhita Venugopal

The website DNAINFO.com has a piece on the recent decision by E&M  Associates which owns a lot of housing stock in Sunset Park to not renew their section 8 housing contract when it expires. E&M has a total of 24 buildings with 270 units. The decision appears to be purely an economic one as rents on the average in the neighborhood now fetch from $2000 to $2100 for an average sized apartment in the neighborhood. This is in keeping with the rents in the Greenwood Heights section of Sunset Park which are slightly higher and signs that the gentrification wave is reaching southern Sunset Park. Opting out of section 8 housing would give E&M the opportunity to get higher rental income from their properties. It may also be that due to the rising real estate values they are considering getting rid of some of their properties... READ MORE HERE..


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A tourists' Guide To Sunset Park

The website RACKED.COM  has a tourist guide titled "Thrifting, Bowling and Dim Sum in Sunset Park" obviously written for outsiders who don't live in Sunset Park. However, even Sunset Parkers or recent newcomers to the nabe might enjoy the selection of spots to visit and drop by. How many local residents have actually taken a tour of Green Wood Cemetery? My parents are buried there, so I go there quite often. The article includes none other than our own Pacificana Restaurant featured on our website. Take a peek at the piece and make your own plans.


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Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunset Park's Industry City Makes The News, Again.

AM NY that newspaper you get for free when you take it out of one of those bins when getting on the subway has an article on the impact on the local Sunset Park economy by the Industry City complex titled "Business is booming at Sunset Park's Industry City".  The article begins;
The rows of unassuming, concrete buildings give little hint of the area's rich history as a hub of early 20th century industrial progress, nor do they quite convey Industry City's recent resurgence as Brooklyn's new home base for creative and innovative companies. But it's there. A convergence of past, present and future -- right in Sunset Park.

Startups, manufacturers, design firms, event planners and food makers have been flocking to the 16-building complex, formerly known as Bush Terminal, since it began undergoing a massive renovation last year.

What is clear is that Sunset Park is faring far better than other Brooklyn neighborhoods. Despite the rather sluggish economy everywhere else, the impact of capital being invested in the neighborhood especially at Industry City is having a substantial effect on the rest of the neighborhood.  There are plans afoot to build an even larger market at Industry City than the one at Chelsea in Manhattan. And let's not leave out the investment being made at the Brooklyn Army Terminal also in Sunset Park that is seeing a comeback of Artist space for artists as well and an influx of other enterprises into that complex as the City pours more money into expanding and renovating the place. We mustn't leave out the massive influx of mainland Chinese money which is also pouring into the Chinatown section of our neighborhood with new hotel construction adding to an already high concentration of hotels and a massive development being planned for 62nd street and 8th Avenue.

Along with all this economic activity we are seeing an acceleration of the gentrification process in the neighborhood. If you've been keeping track of rental and real estate prices you are seeing apartments that mere a year ago went for $1500 a month to an average of $2000 a month today. Real estate prices have gone up 21% in the last two years and we can expect an acceleration of that process as properties are being bought up not only for residential purposes but as an investment. All in all we are seeing a very quick transformation happening in the neighborhood right before our very eyes. Three areas are the center of this economic boom that the neighborhood is experiencing, Chinatown, Industry City and The Brooklyn Army Terminal. As space becomes scarce at these three locations their periphery will also see a resurgence in the next couple of years as well. Unless the national economy collapses we are in for a very heady ride. Fasten your seat belts folks. If you think the change in our neighborhood has been heady dizzying these last couple of years, you ain't seen nothing yet...

Related: Massive Development Planned For Sunset Park
             Art is back in Sunset Park
             Sunset Park is now "Trendy" accoding to RE marketing..



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Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Sunset Park Story Telling Event Tomorrrow (Friday)

The website DNAinfo New York has a piece on an upcoming event in which many local artists and residents will participate in telling their stories in a Sunset Park themed. The event will take place at the Recreation Center which is located inside Sunset Park (The park itself). According to0 the website;
"The Five Boro Story Project is teaming up with the Laundromat Project’s "Create Change" program, an initiative that seeks to connect communities and artists, for “Stories at Sunset,” which will take place from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Sunset Park Recreation Center located at 43rd Street and Seventh Avenue."

 So, if you haven't heard about it and you have time to kill by all means drop in. The event is FREE.


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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Art is back in Sunset Park

After a short lapse art is back in Sunset Park. When Industry City turned over ownership and development plans many artists who had rented space there had to look for other less expensive digs due to thee raise in rents. For a while Sunset Park was loosing creative people to other parts and other boroughs. Now it appears they are making a comeback, this time at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. The local NYC channel NY1 has a video covering this story on their website..


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Move Over Godiva Sunset Park is King of Chocolate

The Daily News has an article describing how Sunset Park is becoming the center of gourmet food manufacturing, including Li-Lac Chocolates a premier chocolatier with stores in Manhattan and producing their chocolates right here in our nabe. Much of this activity centers around Industry City and in some cases you can go to some of the outlet stores located in the buildings and get tours of the factory areas.Last year another major chocolatier, Jacques Torres moved it's manufacturing facilities to a 40,000 sq. ft facility at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. As things start to progress and Industry City  develops it will be a dinning and shopping target for the well to do and people with cash to spare. As of now there is also a French Pastry manufacturer also with an outlet next to their production facilities, Colson Patisserie. Also in the complex nearby is Blue Marble Ice Cream another gourmet treat. So as far as gourmet food goes Sunset Park is becoming the destination in Brooklyn. Things are changing quickly in the nabe and it's not just Mexican and Chinese food.


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Monday, October 20, 2014

Sunset Park is Hollywood East For Another Day

If you happened to be strolling along 8th Avenue near 49th street this morning you saw the movie equipment trucks unloading their equipment. With many major films  such as "Saturday Night Fever", "Crocodile Dundee, "Cop Out" and others having been partially shot in Sunset Park. Our nabe has been for sometime been a prime location for feature films and TV series set in New York. The latest add to the mix is an independent production of a film tentatively named "Feral Mix". I am not sure what the subject matter of the film is or what genre. In any case it's good to see the neighborhood and many of it's locations being used this way. We will have to wait until it hits the theaters to see if we recognize any scenes that jog our memories. 


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Friday, October 17, 2014

Massive Development Planned For Sunset Park

An article on another development  in downtown Brooklyn had a link to this story that somehow went under my radar in The Brooklyn Paper. Apparently someone has big plans for the empty lot next to the N train station on 62nd street and 8th Avenue. The lot recently changed hands for it's previous owner for, get this, an astounding $51.5 million. That kind of outside money coming into the neighborhood is what is changing the dynamics of the hood. With mainland Chinese money being heavily invested in New York City (The recent sale of the Waldorf Astoria to the Chinese for example) it would only be natural that one of the places it would end up would be what has become New York's premiere Chinatown our own neighborhood of Sunset Park. According to the article the plans are for a "Plans call for a three-story, Chelsea Market-style retail space to cover the entire site, which is covers an area about as big as three football fields. Rising from that base will be a 150-room hotel standing about 10 stories, two 15-story residential towers with a combined 350 apartments, and an office tower standing 17 stories". Additionally plans also call for "A public green space and sculpture garden will cover exposed sections of the retail building’s roof, and a library, computer lab, and space for a pre-kindergarten program will serve the area’s burgeoning immigrant population". Nothing this massive has ever been done recently in the neighborhood. With all the additional money coming into the Industry City area on the other side of 3rd Avenue we will see a completely different neighborhood in the next ten years if not sooner increasing a process of gentrification that has snowballed into an ever increasing acceleration in the last two years. The question for our neighborhood is whether to oppose it, accept it or ignore it. The only two places where we can make our voices heard in whichever direction you fall is The community board and our local City council member Carlos Menchaca. Notice that none of this was in the news and most of us in the neighborhood are the last to hear about it. And yes, the plans include yet another Hotel in the neighborhood. It might be good for tourists but I'm not sure about the rest of us. I have to wonder what other projects are being planned in the neighborhood that we are unaware of. With billions in Chinese investment money looking for a place to park you can rest assured this neighborhood will get a chunk of it. Trying to stop it will be difficult for us peasants with limited resources when reality and history shows that "money talks". Hold on to your seatbelts, we're in for an interesting ride. I urge all readers of this blog who live in the neighborhood to pick up the phone and call the community board to voice your opinions and throw in Menchaca's office as well, don't let him off the hook. To read more about this you can read the whole article right here.


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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Crime TV Series Shoots Sunset Park

If you were walking on 5th Avenue around 51st street earlier today you may have seen lots of film crew trucks parked on on side of the avenue for several blocks. They were shooting a tv show apparently called Crime in the neighborhood. Since I am not a tv watcher I have no clue who they are. I hope though they put the neighborhood in a good eye. This is just the latest of many shows and movies that have been shot in the neighborhood. If anyone can comment on the nature of this show all comments are welcome below.


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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Spanish Entrepreneurs Hit Sunset Park, Live in a "Mansion".

The tech website Tchinca.ly has a story about a group of Spanish entrepreneurs taking an intensive course on entrepreneurship right here in Sunset Park. The title of the post "A bunch of Spanish entrepreneurs are living in a mansion in Sunset Park"  was what interested me as I wasn't aware there were any mansions in this neighborhood. If the above picture is any indication someone has a sense of humor. Nevertheless the article is rather interesting to read and indicative of how Sunset Park is slowly attracting High Tech to the neighborhood at Industry City and the surrounding buildings and attracting a lot of attention, not just in the city but from abroad as well. 


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Party to Fight Gentrification

The website Brownstoner posted an announcement for a party to be held at Irish Haven this October 18. The party is to raise funds by the Sunset Park Landmarks Committee. 

In an email, Lynn Massimo, the committee’s project manager, said that both preservation and affordable housing are important to the future of the neighborhood. “Together we, the community groups and our electeds, must keep Sunset Park viable for a diverse population. That doesn’t have just one answer. It has multiple answers. Affordable housing, safe streets, cultural diversity, economic diversity, local jobs, and yes, preservation of historic rowhouses,” she said.

The event will be held at Irish Haven at 5721 4th Avenue at 58th Street this Saturday, October 18, from 7 to 10 pm. Tickets are only available at the door.

Photo by Sunset Park Landmarks Committee


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Thursday, October 9, 2014

New Hotel Coming to 4th Avenue?

Rumor from the locals has it that the properties on the corner of 52nd street and 4th Avenue have been acquired by a Chinese developer and are slated to be torn down to build a hotel. Sunset Park already has the highest concentration of hotels in the borough. The PASUBA (Parkslope, Sunset Park, Bay Ridge) corridor along 4th Avenue has easy access to the R and N lines and easy access to Manhattan so it makes sense as the subway station is right there. With mainland Chinese money being invested in the area hotels make economic sens as well since there is no need to rezone the properties to get one built. All the hotels in the neighborhood charge a fraction of what a hotel room in Manhattan costs and with easy access to the city are more profitable than residential rentals. Time will tell if the rumor turns out to be true, but based on past experience they are usually right. The stores on this corner have been emptying for the last couple of months and it appears the new owners are not interested in renting them out. A clue that the buildings are on the way to be demolished since there are no for rent signs up. 

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Another New Hotel Coming to 39th street.

After a one month hiatus taking care of some personal stuff we are back blogging. In what used to be the old Kings Construction Materials location on 39th street between 8th and 9th Avenue, I can say after speaking to the new owner that a hotel is slated to come to that location. It seems that the KINGS HOTEL located right across the street is about to get some competition.  Now whether this is some disinformation by the new owner remains to be seen. The current location is undergoing demolition to make way for new construction. We will have to see how long the process will take. The location is ideal only a half block away from the 9th Avenue D station and only a half hour to midtown Manhattan. Does Sunset Park need a new hotel? Considering that all the other hotels in the neighborhood are doing brisk business and turning a profit, it appears there is room for one more.

Update 8-10-2014: For further reading Sunset Park gets new 88 room hotel.
Sunset Park to get an 88-room hotel
Sunset Park to get an 88-room hotel


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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sunset Park is now "Trendy" accoding to RE marketing..

I get notices in my mailbox when when there are rentals posted in Sunset Park to keep an eye on the local Real Estate market so I can see what's developing around me. lately I have been seeing an all too familiar pattern that I saw before in the gentrification of our northern neck of the neighborhood when the section towards 17th street from 30th street was slowly transformed into Greenwood Heights. Some realtors in the small print on their pages will note that it's a subdivision or subset of Sunset Park. But unless you ask them they will never volunteer that information, until now.. Well, they can't rename the core of Sunset Park something else. So, the next available option is to give it an adjective like "trendy", "up and coming", "upcoming", "gentrifying", "fashionable", "popular" etc.. So when I got this latest listing in my mailbox as "Live in Trendy Sunset Park Brooklyn"  I knew that we have arrived as the next target of the hipsterization wave in Brooklyn. Gone are the days when the neighborhood was know as "Gunset Park", "Needle Park, "grimy", "working class", "ethnic enclave", "industrial", "crime ridden", "blue collar neighborhood", "working class" etc.. No, those days appear to be gone, we are now trendy and fashionable. I wonder how many hipsters are stupid enough to fall for that marketing ploy. Well, judging by the accelerated changes around us and the fact that the realtors are managing to get the rents they are asking for, quite a few.  And so goes the process of gentrification. The neighborhood I moved into some 45 years ago has changed and continues to change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not so.. The only constant in life is change and that is true in Sunset Park as it is anywhere else...


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Sunset Park on The Web: New art, Photos, Charity Walk

The Brooklyn Paper does a writeup on local artist Rachel Youen and her current food based art show at the 440 Gallery in Park Slope.

A New York photo blogger named Kitty took the above shot while visiting our Chinatown in our neighborhood. For more shots of New York visit her blog..

A local SunsetPark Charity for cancer awareness is holding a walk on Saturday, September 10th. See their event post here or visit their facebook page here..

Friday, August 22, 2014

Business of The Day: Acapulco Car Service

In 1984 a young man named Ramon emigrated to the United States from Mexico. It is a typical immigrant success story through hard work, resilience and persistence. His first job was a dishwasher in a restaurant where after a few years he was promoted to chef. He put aside enough money so that in 1996 he opened his own restaurant.  By 2004 the stresses and long hours prompted him to close it and he drove for a car service (Acapulco)while he plotted his next move. Within five years in 2009 he bought Acapulco  Car service and two years later he bought two competing outfits, Morenita and Azteca Car service on 53rd street. Soon Acapulco will move their location around the corner to 40th street. So if you've seen these cars driving around the neighborhood or have used their services. This is the short version of their story. You can find their pages on our main website. Here and Here

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Video of Motorbike Ride up 4th Avenue in Sunset Park

Somebody just posted this video of a motorbike ride going North on Fourth Avenue on YouTube. Many residents of the neighborhood will know exactly where they are and recognize the buildings on the sides. Kudos to the rider for videoing it. Aren't you glad I track these things on the web? :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More on Gentrification in Sunset Park

The website Voices of New York has an article (translated from Chinese) on a different perspective about the process of gentrification and Sunset Park and adds a bit on the Chinese contribution to the process and notes that mainland Chinese investment in the neighborhood is also helping to drive out working class Chinese from the neighborhood by making it more expensive to live in their own Chinatown. The piece by CUNY Professor Tarry Hun argues for trying to maintain Sunset Park a working class neighborhood. You can read the piece here and if you are a Chinese reader of this blog you can read the original Chinese article here..


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Friday, August 15, 2014

Hipsteria and Gentrification in Sunset Park

Hipsteria takes over Industry city at Mister Sunday dance parties.

They used to be known as Yuppies at one time, but how do you name a disease after yuppies? No, hipster is more fitting a word to invent hipsteria. A disease that invades sleepy neighborhoods of the old fashioned Brooklyn type and turn them into high priced rental spaces with restaurants that sell birdfood sized servings on a plate priced accordingly for the well heeled anorexic and bolemic, always on a diet over paid urban professionals whose idea of work is pushing a sheet of paper around the desk a few times. These are the invaders who are the vanguard of a well orchestrated plot by developers to turn or Sunset Park into yet another version of village like downtown Manhattan. At the website Fast Company writer Erica Berger has an excellent essay explaining the tactics being employed with Jamestown developers in the lead to gentrify Sunset Park. It makes for sober reading and reveals a bit of the underlying process that is changing our neighborhood.   Meanwhile, over at Gawker is another article timely in it's appearance, since it names another culprit spreading the disease.. Also, Caesar Zuniga has an open letter against gentrification in the Brooklyn spectator, Mr. Zuniga wants to be our assemblyman. My take on the subject is that opposing these waves of gentrification have always proved fruitless as history has tended to show. It's like trying to drain the ocean with a thimble.