Weep All Your Tears Into This Tub

When I schlep to Fort Greene Park to partake in communal outdoor space because I have none of my own, I often stare dreamily at the row of brownstones that line the north side of the park and fantasize at how lovely it would be to live in one of them. Not only would your view be of sexy soccer players on the dirt patch, er, lawn and the Prison Ship Martyrs Memorial (which you should totally read about and wonder like me, if the highest point in the park is that high because it’s built as a funerary mound – 11,500 Revolutionary War dead were buried there after they were removed from East River – or if it’s just a hill) BUT ALSO! because I could just open my front door and boot my kids out to play across the street until the streetlights come on.

158 Washington Park is one of those brownstones and it is for rent. The whole damn thing for one family or you and your four best friends (4 bedrooms! You split $7,150 four ways and it’s a steal!). You see those two massive Chesterfields snuggling up to that working fireplace? This house makes them look small.

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You can cook on this massive stove and not bump elbows with whoever’s chopping onions for you. Your dog can sit next to you begging for scraps and you will not trip over him when you make a step in either direction (*this claim cannot be verified. Maybe you have a terrible dog?). Had a tough day? Step into your clawfoot bathtub:

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STAHHHHHHHP!

Whatever. Here look at the stupidly spacious bedrooms that you can use for yourself and your very small children (which you can somehow afford at the same time as affording this house) and one thousand of their friends. Plus a bonus floor plan to make you weep.

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158 Washington Park, photos via Corcoran

Not a House for Mere Mortals

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There are houses for normal people with uneven floors, mice that live in the walls and closet-sized bedrooms, then there are houses like this one on Grace Court Alley. This is one of those houses you see and you wonder who the hell lives there. I’ll tell you who: not you. Not me. People who live here eat ambrosia – the real Greek god kind, no the Jell-o and Cool Whip kind – for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they never get fat. They buy new underwear when all the pairs they own are dirty and just throw the old ones away. They have Netflix accounts of their own and don’t even share the password with all of their family members. This is not a house for mere mortals.

Grace Court Alley is in Brooklyn Heights and it looks like a set of what you imagine quaint New York City looks like (Forgotten New York has a deep dive if you want to read it). It’s a movie set of itself. Cars may drive down this alley sometimes, but only the cars that pull into the private garages of the homes here. Anyone else who drives down it immediately thinks to themselves, “Oh god! Oh god! What did I do? I DON’T BELONG HERE!” At one point in time this alley was just the entry point for the stables that belonged to the real showpieces of the neighborhood. But now, most of us would kill to live in the stables of those houses. Because now they don’t look like stables, they look like this:

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Son. Of. A. Bitch.

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Can you imagine eating cereal in your t-shirt and 13-year-old comfy pants one morning in a room this pretty? Well you’re not allowed to. Those pants deserve to be put in the trash just like a pair of single-use underwear. And just forget about sunbathing on this deck or watching the snow gently fall from your glass-enclosed reading nook, ok?

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But maybe you’re a fancy person and you’ve got $10M to spare (up 270%!!!! from its last sale in 2011). If so, 6 Grace Court Alley is the place for you.

 

Welcome to House Scouting!

I am guilty of being an incurable house scouter. I live in Brooklyn, NY – the epicenter of housing that is both desired and unaffordable at the same time. The envy that I feel, the what-ifs that roll around in my brain, the mental gymnastics that I go through to figure out just how I could land myself in this brownstone, or that apartment, or that other upstate cabin borders on pathological.

It’s pretty silly that I am constantly looking in the first place. I’m one of those few lucky people who’s been in her rent-stabilized, larger-than-average apartment for 16 years. It fits most of my needs (just barely). To keep myself in good standing as a tenant, I do repairs myself and scream at my kids not to stomp too loudly on the floor so they don’t disturb the super who lives below us. I pay my rent on time and try to fly as far under my landlord’s radar as possible. But I’d consider trading one of my stompy children for a second bathroom, or a postage-stamp sized outdoor space, or maybe another bedroom in a heartbeat.

Rather than trafficking in illegal human trade, I figured I’d do something with this never-ending hunt that I’m on and share it with you. Maybe you need an apartment! Maybe you’re a real estate obsessive like I am! I plan on posting good deals in great neighborhoods, absurdly un-great deals in even greater neighborhoods, apartments and houses that you and I are never going to get to live in but love peeking into anyway, and maybe some design scores that you totally should buy. After all, a good chair may be in your budget even if a corner brownstone is not.

If you see an amazing place that you think I should share, by all means, send it to me at: housescoutingsite@gmail.com because sharing is caring.