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77TH YEAR, NO. 3,961THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2017TWO SECTIONS50 CENTSMourn ‘Mayor of Montague Street’ Robert Richard O’Neill, Ex-Cop, Vet SEE PAGE…
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77TH YEAR, NO. 3,961THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2017TWO SECTIONS50 CENTSMourn ‘Mayor of Montague Street’ Robert Richard O’Neill, Ex-Cop, Vet SEE PAGE 3Watchtower’s Massive Parking Lot Up for SaleTHIS MASSIVE PARKING LOT (IN RED) IN A PRIME AREA OF DUMBO HAS BEEN LISTED FOR SALE BY THE WATCHTOWER. THIS IS THE RELIGIOUS GROUP’S LAST property in DUMBO. See page 2. Photo courtesy of the Jehovah’s WitnessesHeights Penthouse Set to Break Borough Price Record By Paul Frangipane Brooklyn Heights PressThe penthouse at the old Standish Hotel at 171 Columbia Heights is set to break Brooklyn’s price record of $15.5 million by more than a million dollars, according to The Real Deal. The last asking price for the six-bedroom condominium with a 3,366-square-foot terrace was $16.645 million. The price works out to $2,677 per square foot for the space’s 6,218 square feet. DDG and Westbrook bought the former hotel for $60 million in 2014 from Taurus Investment Holdings. Taurus Investment Holdings transformed the hotel into 94 apartments after they scooped it up fromThe old Standish Hotel at 171 Columbia Heights.Heights Press file photo by Lore Croghan.the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2007, The Real Deal reported. DDG and Westbrook downsized it to 33 larger apartments. The penthouse would break the $15.5-million record set by 117 Pacific St. in Cobble Hill, bought by photographer Jay Maisel in 2015. Multiple deals came close to breaking the borough’s price record in 2017, including the penthouse at the Clock Tower in DUMBO that closed at $15 million and Kushner Companies’ 27 Monroe Place townhouse at $12.9 million. The former Standish Arms Hotel operated as an open hotel until the Jehovah’s Witnesses bought it in 1981 and turned it into housing.Jehovah’s Witnesses Put Massive DUMBO Parking Lot up for SaleThe End Approaches For Watchtower Properties in Brooklyn By Mary Frost Brooklyn Heights PressThe Watchtower is selling its massive parking lot at 1 York St., a prime site just north of the Brooklyn Bridge, in DUMBO. The property is the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ last site in DUMBO, though the religious organization still owns several properties in Brooklyn Heights. The 52,171-square-foot site, which the Watchtower has dubbed ONEYORK, is steps from Brooklyn Bridge Park and is outside of the DUMBO Historic District. It has frontage on Front Street. According to the Watchtower’s offering, the property is under a medium-density residential zoning designation (R7-1), but is “primed for achieving enhanced ZFA (Zoning Floor Area) rights” and is “a strong candidate for destination retail if a mixed-use zoning overlay is achieved.” The offering comes near the end of the Watchtower’s multiyear process of selling off its real estate holdings in DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights. The Jehovah’s Witnesses opened their new headquarters in upstate Warwick in September 2016, after having a major presence in Brooklyn for more than a century. According to Finance Department records, the Watchtower purchased 1 York St. in 1977 from The Katz Parking System of York St. Inc. A spokesperson for the Jehovah’s Witnesses was not immediately available for comment on Thursday, as he was organizing long-term relief for hurricane victims in Texas. (The situation in Houston “is ugly,” he told the Brooklyn Heights Press.) Check back for updates on ONEYORK from the Watchtower’s Office of Public Information. According to Brownstoner.com, which first reported the offering, the property could fetch from $54 to $78 million, based on past sales in the area. Previous Watchtower property sales in Brooklyn Some previous sales of Jehovah’s Witnesses properties in Brooklyn include: • Hawkins Way Capital has closed on the purchase of 117125 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights for $18 million and expected to close a deal for 97 Columbia Heights by the end of August, real estate reporter Lore Croghan reported in the Heights Press on Aug. 17. • A development site in DUMBO at 74 Adams St. was purchased by Jeffrey Gershon of Hope Street Capital in May. The site has been one-story (plus-mezzanine) vehicle-maintenance facility. • Also in May, the Watchtower closed on the $87.5 million sale of 107 Columbia Heights, a gated L-shaped residential building 2 • Brooklyn Heights Press • Thursday, September 7, 2017This massive parking lot in a prime area of DUMBO has been listed for sale by the Watchtower. This is the religious group’s last property in DUMBO. Photo courtesy of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District. The building, which has frontage on Orange and Willow streets, is located near an entrance to Brooklyn Heights' Promenade. The purchaser was an affiliate of publicly traded Clipper Realty Inc., which is headed by David Bistricer. • Bistricer also co-owns is Brooklyn Heights' Hotel Bossert, which was also purchased from the Jehovah's Witnesses. The Watchtower had used the Bossert to provide lodging for its members who were visiting the religious organization's world headquarters. • The purchaser of another DUMBO development site, 69 Adams St., was the Rabsky Group, which paid $65 million for it in November 2016. The site was occupied by a four-story building with a tennis court on top. • Another huge parking lot at 85 Jay St. in DUMBO was sold to the Kushner Cos. (headed by Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner) and its investment partners for $345 million in December 2016. The investment group said it is planning a mixeduse project at the site. • The Kushner Cos. also purchased the Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower building at 25, 30, 50 and 58 Columbia Heights and 55 Furman St. for $340 million in 2016. Joint-venture partners include CIM Group and LIVWRK. The complex previously belonged to pharmaceutical giant E.R. Squibb & Sons. • The Kushner Cos, along with partners RFR Realty and LIVWRK purchased the complex at 175 Pearl St., 77 Sands St., 117 Adams St., 81 Prospect St. and 55 Prospect St. for $375 million in October 2013. The group developed the site into the Dumbo Heights complex. Watchtower Property in Brooklyn Not Yet Sold • 80 Willow St. in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, a3-story, 11-unit residence. • A 2-story carriage house 86 Willow St., in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, with two residential units. • The Watchtower has listed “The Towers,” at 21 Clark St., called an “architectural gem” in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District. The 16-story building was formerly the Leverich Towers Hotel, one of Brooklyn Heights’ grand hotels dating back to 1927. The Watchtower purchased it in 1975 for $1.99 million, Finance Department records show, then remodeled it to serve as a residence and dining room. — Additional information from Heights Press reporter Lore Croghan322¡1HLOO%HORYHG+HLJKWV)LJXUH,QV'LHVDW By John Alexander%URRNO\Q+HLJKWV3UHVVPolice Officer Robert O’Neill, who patrolled in Brooklyn Heights during the 1970s, and was known as the unofficial “Mayor of Montague Street,â€? has died at the age of 77. The Brooklyn native was a “true-blue, old fashioned beat cop who people loved and respected,â€? recalled Dozier Hasty, longtime published of the Brooklyn Heights Press. Officer O’Neill came from an era of neighborhood policing that allowed beat cops to become part of the neighborhood. O’Neill was an example of the best of neighborhood patrols: he knew all of the local characters. He knew who was a good citizen and who might be trouble. “There is a famous story, maybe mythologized today, about Bobby O’Neill walking past a car illegally parked in front Grace Church,â€? added Hasty. “O’Neill walked over and felt the hood of the car; it was warm,â€? Hasty recalled. “It’s probably just a mom dropping off her kid at the nursery school,â€? O’Neill said. He did not write a ticket, but waited a few minutes. The mother emerged from the school rushed to her car and called out, ‘I’m not parking, just dropping off...’â€? He made her day. But he also made her feel safe, just by his presence, according to Hasty. “He was a beloved neighborhood cop that everyone knew.â€? O’Neill was born in Brooklyn on March 29, 1940 to the late Robert J. and Dorothy H. O’Neill. He attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice while serving as a police officer in the NYPD’s 84th Precinct. O’Neill actually earned the title “Mayor of Montague Streetâ€? while patrolling the neighborhood. He was a proud veteran of the U.S. Army, who served in Germany during his time in the service. He was deeply steeped in the history of the war years, and fulfilled a long-held wish some years back to go and visit the beaches of Normandy, bringing back sand from each of the major sites. O’Neill was known for his wonderful sense of humor and great love of sports, particularly the New York Mets and the football Giants. In 1982 O’Neill married the love of his life, Agnes Szechy. He is survived by Agnes and children Kelly, Robert and Sean. O’Neill was always devoted to his family. “With his fierce love of his children, Bob wanted more than anything else for Kelly, Bobby and Sean to live with him,â€? said Agnes. “And in 1984, when the police departmentWÄ‚ĆšĆŒĹ˝ĹŻĹľÄ‚ĹśZĹ˝Ä?ÄžĆŒĆšKÍ›EÄžĹ?ĹŻĹŻƚĂůŏĹ?ĹśĹ?ƚŽÄ‚ĆšĆŒĆľÄ?ĹŹÄšĆŒĹ?Ç€ÄžĆŒƾŜůŽĂĚĹ?ĹśĹ?Ä?ŽŜÄ?ĆŒÄžĆšÄžĆ‰ĹŻÄ‚ĹśĆšÄžĆŒĆ?͘ retired him for an injury, Bobby and Sean did indeed come to live with us.â€? In 1985 the family moved to East Brunswick, New Jersey. According to Agnes, “It was not an easy time of transition for any of us — Bob was Brooklyn born and bred and found the burbs to be very different.â€? The couple enjoyed traveling together and in 2001 they finally took their long-planned trip to Europe which coincided with the 40th anniversary of O’Neill’s last tour of duty in the army. Agnes summed up her feelings for her husband by saying, “Bob was my,ÄžĹ?Ĺ?ŚƚĆ?WĆŒÄžĆ?Ć? ĨĹ?ĹŻÄžƉŚŽƚŽstrength, my support, my other half. He was the wind beneath my wings.â€? A gathering for family and friends was held on Thursday, Aug. 31 at the Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home at 214 Clinton Street, Delaware City, DE, where a celebration of his life took place that afternoon. In lieu of flowers, contributions in O’Neill’s memory may be made to the Wildlife Conservation Society, Attn: Donations, 2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10460 or to the Environmental Defense Fund, 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20009.7KXUVGD\6HSWHPEHU‡ %URRNO\Q+HLJKWV3UHVV ‡ Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Celebrates Second Anniversary of Environmental Education Center The Ed C enter has Prov en to b e a V alu ab le R esou rce f or The C om m u nity By J oh n A lex and er Brooklyn Heights PressBrooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy is planning the second-year anniversary of the opening of the Environmental Education Center. To celebrate the occasion, the Conservancy has invited the public to special open hours on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 1– 5 p.m. The day will feature puppet shows, animal feeding, craft projects and free refreshments. The Ed Center serves as the home base for the Conservancy’s innovative education programming in Brooklyn Bridge Park. In its first two years, it hosted 18,857 students from school and camp programs. Taking advantage of its unique waterfront location, the center offers students and teachers one-of-a-kind experiences. The Great Brooklyn Bridge class, for example, allows students to tour the bridge and learn about engineering concepts, while the Awesome Oyster program empowers children to make scientific measurements through hands-on work with oysters. Outside of school programs, the center also hosts open hours for the general public. During these free sessions, visitors learn about the history and ecology of the park. With over 1,000 hours to date, the center has served 21,596 children and families. “The Environmental Education Center has been a great resource for the community,” said Nancy Webster, executive director of Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. “With rotating exhibits, new displays, and original programming, you learn more and more about the park with every visit.” Since it opened its doors two years ago, the Environmental Education Center has been a great success. “We are thrilled to see so manyB rook lyn B ridge P ark Conserv anc y’ s new E nv ironmental Education Center is planning its sec ond anniv ersary. Heights Press photo by M ary F rostfamilies taking advantage of these programs,” said Eric Landau, Brooklyn Bridge Park president. “We know the Ed Center will be enjoyed by many more visitors in the years to come. I congratulate the Conservancy on its continued success.” Anticipation is building for next week’s events. “We’re excited to celebrate the Ed Center’s anniversary next Sunday,” said Isa del Bello, director of education at the Conservancy. “We’ll have special activities and crafts to mark the anniversary of this incredible learning space.” Major support for the Environmental Education Center has been provided by New York City Councilmember Stephen Levin and Con Edison. “Our communal spaces are not just an opportunity for much-needT:10” ed recreation, but education as well,” said Levin. “Brooklyn BridgePark has done an outstanding job providing communities across the borough opportunities to learn more about local ecology and resiliency efforts. I look forward to yet another year of enriching our community’s next generation of leaders.” “We’re proud of how much the Environmental Education Center has accomplished in just two years,” said Frances A. Resheske, Con Edison senior vice president of corporate affairs. “With each year, it will continue to be a rich learning experience for anyone who visits.” In addition to its school-based classes, the Conservancy provides over 600 free cultural, educational and recreational events in the park each year.Introducingnewyork-presbyterianbrooklyn methodist hospital. We’re bringing the people of Brooklyn the type of care that comes from being part of NewYork-Presbyterian. We’ve expanded our services and added more world-class specialists from Weill Cornell Medicine. They join the skilled doctors already here serving the community. Learn more at nyp.org/brooklyn T:7”4 • Brooklyn Heights Press • Thursday, September 7, 2017NYBM4171 BrooklynMethodist Announcement Ad 10x7 composite FINAL. CompositeBROOKLYN EAGLESee Dyker Heights Without its LightsUNLESS YOU LIVE HERE, YOU MIGHT NOT RECOGNIZE THIS SCENERY IN THE LIGHT OF DAY. MOST PEOPLE SEE DYKER HEIGHTS AT NIGHT, AROUND Christmas, because of its famous holiday lights. But it’s a great place for a warm-weather stroll thanks to its Mediterranean-style villas and lawns decorated with statues and waterfalls. Take a virtual tour in EYE ON REAL ESTATE, pages 3, 6 and 7. Eagle photo by Lore CroghanVolume 18, No. 4Two SectionsTHURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2017$1.00Summer’s Last Hurrah (Almost) on Coney Island Summer did everybody a big favor and came back to Brooklyn on Labor Day. Raincoats and umbrellas were needed this past Saturday and Sunday. But blissful bikini weather returned to the borough on Monday. And beachgoers flocked to Coney Island. Shown above: Cirilo Leyva (far right) builds a sand castle with his kids Samantha (center) and Sebastian (near right) and nephew Joseph Torres (left). Eagle photo by Lore CroghanWe Can Expand Your Reach To New Customers EXPONENTIALLY Using Images and Social Media Along Call Today! With Our Popular Websites and Blogs 718-422-74002 • Brooklyn Eagle • Thursday, September 7, 2017See Dyker Heights Without its Famous Holiday LightsMediterranean Villas, Waterfalls, Statues and Other Eye Candy By Lore Croghan Brooklyn EagleThese aren’t vacation snapshots of villas on the Mediterranean. But if you glance quickly, you might think so. There are waterfalls, graceful statues, palm fronds in the landscaping and stone and stucco mansions. Unless you live in the neighborhood where these homes can be found, you might not recognize this scenery in the light of day. Welcome to Dyker Heights. Many residents of the tri-state area know what this neighborhood looks like at night, around Christmas, when it’s decked out with its famous holiday lights. If you haven’t seen the Dyker Lights, they are every bit as amazing as people say they are. But when you’re looking for a stellar spot for a warmweather stroll, Dyker Heights is a great choice. The best place to find suburban eye candy is the area between 10th and 13th avenues and 80th and 86th streets. “Suburban” is a fitting adjective because the man who developed Dyker Heights more than a century ago wanted homebuy-This eye-catching home at 8220 12th Ave. has a gazebo.ers to think of it as a suburb.Wonderful Waterfalls and Stunning Statues A good place to start is the intersection of 11th Avenue and 83rd Street, where two houses have wonderful waterfalls and stunning statues. One house, 8220 11th Ave., belongs to Emanuele Alaimo and Lina Alaimo, city Finance Department records indicate. The owners of the other house, 8302 11th Ave., are Salvatore Basile and Josephine Basile, Finance Department records show. Another eye-pleasing 11th Avenue property with statues on its lawn is called Villa Abitino. It’s located at 8124 11th Ave. on the corner of 82nd Street. It is named after its owners. According to Finance Department records, Mario Abitino and Anna Abitino bought it for $1.7 million in 2007. One of 12th Avenue’s many attention-grabbing homes, 8220 12th Ave., has a dramatic porch with columns and is situated on a hilltop. Plus it has a gazebo — and a three-car garage, which is useful since subway stations are far away. This house, which is on the corner of 12th Avenue and 83rd Street, belongs to Roger Loughlin and Lucretia Loughlin,Fierce statues on the corner of 11th Avenue and 84th Street make us think of “Game of Thrones.” Finance Department records show.Walter L. Johnson Was the Neighborhood’s Developer Some Dyker Heights houses have historic roots. They were built when the neighborhood was developed more than a century ago by Walter L. Johnson. Continued on page 6INSET: Welcome to Dyker Heights, which is full of picturesque houses such as 8302 11th Ave.Eagle photos by Lore CroghanThursday, September 7, 2017 • Brooklyn Eagle • 3INDONESIA — PERSECUTION AGAINST MINORITY POPULATION CONTINUES: Rohingya Muslim protesters are seen through razor wire barricades during a rally against the persecution of the minority group outside the Myanmar Embassy in Jakarta on Wednesday. The several thousand marchers called on the country’s government to halt the persecution of its Rohingya
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