New Businesses on Kingston — Brooklynian

New Businesses on Kingston

The awnings are up for two new stores: 1. Eyeglasses 99, in the old Metro PCS at 266 Kingston at Lincoln. It appears to be the second branch of an eyewear store on Coney Island Avenue in Midwood. 2. Unique Enterprises, an Internet café, recording studio, and graphic design shop at 241 Kingston between St. Johns and Sterling, in what used to be half of a shipping company. I also saw some activity a few weeks ago at 139 Kingston, next to the bodega near the corner of St. Marks, but nothing since. Anyone heard anything?



  • 266 Kingston, now Eyeglasses 99

    241 Kingston, now Unique Enterprises

    139 Kingston

  • Spoke to the owner of 239-241 Kingston. The internet place is going in 241 and the antique store that was closer to E.P. is going into 239. Says the internet cafe should be open 9/1.

  • edited December 2013

    I'm interested in seeing whether an internet cafe survives.

    In much of NYC, the populace has internet access and desktop computers, and the cafes have closed. Some people just bring their laptops to the local coffee shops and use the wifi there.

    ...will there be enough people on Kingston who don't already have internet access and don't own laptops, yet have the $ to pay for it on occasion that they support an internet cafe?

  • edited December 2013

    Not so much to access the internet but you'd be surprised how many people come into my office and ask me to print stuff for them (which I don't do) so the money to be made might come from printing resumes and such that are on peoples' thumb drives.

  • That could work.

    I have a sense that those mutli-service centers (the ones that help folks fill out basic forms, and navigate public agencies), perform a vital role.

    Although I see them mostly in immigrant neighborhoods, I bet a hybrid one could work on Kingston, as one approaches Atlantic.

  • The idea of opening an internet cafe seems very late 90's/early 2000s to me, but I'll reserve judgement until it opens and I can see what they have to offer. In general, I think that the more new businesses coming to Kingston Ave, the better!

  • Nothinglike states it is actually going to be "an Internet café, recording studio, and graphic design shop".

    So, something like Kinko's used to be, but with music?

  • I don't know why, but I was assuming the Internet cafe would make most of its money from graphic design, doing party posters and fliers like the shops on Utica. FYI, the awning also says CD Duplication, Avon Products, and Fashion Jewelry.

    Here's a pic of Eyeglasses 99 from about a month ago. They were open for business almost as soon as the awning went up.

    Attached files image
  • I have got to hand it to Metro PCS. It pays top dollar to renovate storefronts, which it then closes and leaves for future tenants.

    Very nice of them.

  • We may have an answer to what's going on at 139 Kingston. A note posted on the gate says the day care is closed from 9-23 to 9-27 because it's under construction. I've never seen any sign of a day care there but some googling turns up a yeshivah yeshvos chaim school at that address.

    By the way, "For Rent" signs are up at 106 Kingston between Dean & Bergen, 237 Kingston (the former record store) between Sterling & St. Johns, and 257 Kingston (the former barber shop) between St. Johns and Lincoln, so hopefully we'll have a lot fewer vacant storefronts soon.

    An older guy on the street told me it'll be the first time the record store's been rented out in the last 15 or 16 years. The security gate's been up recently for the first time in at least the last two years and I was able to catch a pic of the old-school pay phone in the entryway, which has since been removed.

    Attached files image
  • The awning is now up for the day care center at 139 Kingston.

    Attached files image
  • And a work permit for the demolition of 287 Kingston appeared on its construction fence last week. I guess that shouldn't be a surprise since you can see the sky through the windows.

    Attached files image
  • I wonder if they are going to keep the facade, but add on a few stories.

  • Looks like we're getting our second real estate office for the year. Noticed work earlier this week at 1028 Lincoln Place, just off Kingston (next to Basil). Seems to belong to this company:

    Attached files image
  • I haven't heard of them before, but hope they have the capital and drive to become the next MySpace.

    MySpace was quite small a few years ago.....

  • Updates:

    The internet café/recording studio/gift shop at 241 Kingston, Unique Enterprises, opened at the end of November. Its grand opening flier lists cassette and VHS conversion, computer repairs, party favors, and phone cases among its many products and services. From what I can see, the front area is set up as an internet café on one side and variety store on the other.

    Since MySpace took over the listing for the old record store at 237 Kingston, it's been totally gutted and even got a new glass storefront.

    Workers were carrying debris out of the old barber shop at 257 Kingston this morning -- first time I've seen the awning up in a while.

    And there's one new space to add to the "for rent" list: 267 Kingston between Lincoln and St. Johns. The awning says In Touch Blue Inc. furniture, but it was never open in the last 2-1/2 years. Recently a sign was added explaining that it's the showroom for Brooklyn Value Center, the discount store across the street.

    Attached files image
  • edited April 2014
    Since my last update, the Chesed Center at 271 Kingston between Lincoln and St Johns has also come up for rent.

  • Religious places are not exempt from having to break even.

    I wonder if the other Hasidic religious businesses nearby will soon be unable to compete in the present market.
  • It wouldn't surprise me if they moved to a bigger space somewhere.
  • The proprieters might be able to get a larger space for about the same price near Empire.
  • The Chesed Center's facebook page still has the old address but points to the website for Ahavas Chesed at 642 Eastern Parkway at New York Ave (even through Google thinks they're at 720 Lefferts at Troy). I guess either way they've already moved.

    Also for rent now is the bodega at 250 Kingston, on the same block. Almost all of the stores on Kingston that have come up for rent in the past couple of years were either shuttered for a while or had been sitting unused. This is one of the few active businesses that I have seen close.

    250 Bodega
  • edited April 2014
    I'd be interested in learning not only what the new rents are, but also what the old rents were.
  • Many of the stores that were on the even side of Kingston were run by the owners of the building. My ex father in law owned 252 and we ran our insurance business out of there. He owned that building for about 40 years. He sold it back in 2004. My rent, after he retired was $900 which was about market rate back then but that was back in 2002. The store at 256 was a hat shop owned by Herbert Robinson but he owned that building too. At 264, the laundromat is run by the man who owns the building. And the diner on the corner of Kingston and St. Johns is also run by the owner of that building. I was and still am the insurance broker on a few of those buildings.
  • Went into Unique Enterprises, the Internet cafe and more, for the first time this weekend because I needed a last-minute printout and was all out of ink at home. For anyone else who might find themselves in a similar situation, computer time is $5 an hour (they didn't charge me for the whole hour) and black and white prints are 15 cents a page.
  • Good to know. All the people that come into my office asking me to print stuff, which I don't do, will now be sent over there.
  • edited May 2014
    Heads up, it looks like a restaurant may be in the works for 116 Kingston, near Bergen. An entity "Mango Taste" has requested an initial inspection: Heights/39872/Mango+Taste+Inc

    Might become an Indian Restaurant:
  • That's interesting, since there are a ton of empty store fronts right in that area, but there is currently an opening & functioning Crown Fried Chicken at that specific address. 
  • edited May 2014
    It's days may be numbered:


    Several Crown Fried Chickens in the area have already been closed.

  • I did notice that this address, along with 104 Kingston, were on the list for the Department of Finance's Lien Sale this past Friday (they were also both listed as having additional debt).  Maybe we will soon see some welcomed changes coming to this block!
  • Because initial kitchen inspections take so long to happen, they are often requested even before the properties change hands.

    As a result, we may know that the CFC employees are about to be laid off, while they do not....
  • edited June 2014
    Is this CFC still open?

    For better or worse, Crown Heights is down to 7:

    Crown Fried Chicken
    431 Ralph Ave 11233(347) 406 5225

    Crown Fried Chicken
    848 Nostrand Ave 11225(718) 484 1930

    Crown Fried Chicken
    116 Kingston Ave 11213(718) 493 4900

    Crown Fried Chicken
    642 Nostrand Ave 11216(718) 467 7044

    Crown Fried Chicken
    148 Utica Ave 11213(917) 966 2500

    Crown Fried Chicken & Pizza
    226 Utica Ave 11213(718) 221 6898

    Crown Fried Chicken And Pizza
    228 Albany Ave 11213(718) 785 3390
  • Yup, it's still open.

    As a result, we may know that the CFC employees are about to be laid off, while they do not....
    That's sad. Especially because, as @M_Pond said, there are a number of vacant storefronts right there. Just four stores away from Crown, 106 Kingston is for rent; 104 seems to be spillover, mostly used bicycles, from the thrift store at 102 (which used to have an awning that said Grace Telecommuncations, brought with them when they moved from the corner across the street that will eventually become "Meat"). Here's that strip.

    102-106 Kingston

    And just off to right of this pic (the brown awning) is the short-lived sandwich shop My Cousin's Place, which became the short-lived seafood place Knick Knacks. So that block has plenty of room for new stores without anyone losing their job. I know it doesn't work like that in real life, but one can hope. 
  • @pitmama put me on to this: Bobby's Coffee Shop, the old-school diner at 248 Kingston and St. Johns, is for sale as a development site. We'll both be sad to see it go.
  • edited July 2014
    That's a pretty big corner lot. AKA 1090 St. Johns

    The R6 zoning should allow easily allow a 4 story building with 8 big units.

    I'll try to get in that diner before it is gone.
  • The owner must be ready to retire. She's been there for at least 30 years that I know of and owns the property. I guess the two smaller stores (cell phone place and news stand) will be moving out as well. Her sons work there too so I'm sure that there will be enough money to go around. The lot isn't that deep....maybe 12 feet so I don't know how big the apartments might be.
  • I suspect she has earned more from the appreciation of her land over the last 4 years, than she did serving food.

  • Without a doubt but she was like everyone's mom and people came in to talk as much as eat.
  • I popped in Friday morning, and, when a customer she hadn't seen in 10 years came in, she said so many of her old customers have been coming by to check on her and they keep telling her she should write a book since she's seen so many of the neighborhood's changes. She said she's lived in the area since 1956. I'm glad that decades of working hard will pay off for her.
  • Property Shark shows the lot as 1275 sq ft but like I said, there's no depth to it. Can't build apartments facing St. Johns because it's not deep enough and can't build facing Kingston because it's not wide enough. It's a frame building so it's not hard to knock down but what would end up there certainly doesn't seem like it would be residential. Makes me wonder if it was her idea to sell or some real estate agent was prospecting and she agreed to see what they could get for it. Notice there are no dimensions of the lot on the Trulia listing which the agent placed.
  • edited July 2014
    yea, that isn't as big as it appears in the phot.

    This ad states the lot is 100 x 13:

    I assume they actually mean 100 x 12.75. So, if they build 4 stories they end up with 8 studios (stairwell in center), or 4 very nice 2 BRs (stairwell on one end of lot).

  • Still, 12 feet isn't very wide and the rooms would probably only end up being about 9.5 feet at the widest figuring that you'd need some kind of foyer to walk through to get to the rooms before the last room which could be a big square. Even the smallest brownstones are 18 feet wide so this is going to keep some architect up quite a few nights.
  • I've seen 16 foot wide brownstones in the Slope.
  • edited July 2014
    The building that housed Brooklyn Pizza Factory (on Vanderbilt) is only 12" wide.

    This photo shows how much they did with the space:

    The same could be done on Kingston.
  • Maybe so but is the site worth over $1 mil? That's the question.
  • edited July 2014
    This article seems to argue it could be:

    ...and I'd like to root for her getting that price.
  • @Whynot...Of course we hope she gets her price but assuming she does by the time a new building gets done you're looking at probably $2.5 mil all in. Going to be a long time to recover that money unless it's going to be coop/condo where they can be sold for possibly $700,000 and that's figuring on the two bedroom units you were speculating about. If it's one bedroom there would have to be more of them and if it's rental it's would be a long time to recover the investment.
  • Because the local schools don't match the expectations of folks with $700k to spend, I'd build big 1 BR units.

    Go for "luxury"
  • I don't know if that area would be considered a "luxury" area. Maybe if there was a roof garden.
  • As the businesses catch up with the preferences and means of people who have moved into the area, it will be considered by many to be luxury.

    If all goes well, the building could be occupied by 2017.
  • The building might be but the area is going to need some work as the other dwellings won't be so quick to be updated. I write the insurance on quite a few of the buildings near there and the landlords aren't the type to do any more than they have to so even though their buildings are mortgage free they're not investing dollars because the tenants have been there quite awhile and aren't paying enough in rents to be worth it. So whatever goes in this lot may just have to make it on its own.
  • But if the gentrification pattern elsewhere hold true, those reticent landlords may soon be induced to sell their properties, and the purchasers may find ways to remove the longtime, low-rent-paying tenants..
  • True....but the people who live in these buildings have a right to be there as long as they pay the rent. Why does everyone want to get rid of people who are not in their income class. Is that so important?????
  • New owners pay so much for buildings that they have to buyout (or somehow get rid of) the existing tenants in order to get a ROI.

    The landlords make a calculated bet that "enough" long term tenants will leave, and are usually right.
  • That's true enough if the buildings are sold. But the current landlords that I know are doing ok as long as the rent is paid. When people are thrown out of the place where they live they usually end up in one place where the rents are lower and the buildings are kept like crap. What's the word for that.......slum or maybe ghetto. Sometimes the poorer people should be able to share in the betterment of their current neighborhoods.
  • That would be nice.

    ...the problem is that even the "satisfied" current landlords eventually retire or die.

    I agree with you, the low income folks who have been in the neighborhood for decades haven't done anything wrong.

    Assuming their income hasn't changed over the years and they earn around $50k, a few years ago, they may have been among their block's richest and more successful., they are the face of the "poor".
  • edited July 2014
    The people who live in those buildings do not necessarily have the right to live there so long as they pay the rent. Unless the apartments are rent stabilized, the landlord is entitled to refuse to renew the leases of his tenants. So the tenants have the right to live there until their leases expire, period.
  • edited July 2014
    Being priced out (or simply denied a new lease) clearly sucks.

    However, my mind has been wondering whether it is worse than when landlords burned buildings for the insurance money, or tore them down as part of urban renewal plans.

    Must See Classic Music video:

    Make sure to listen to the words...
  • In Sept 2013, Nothinlike wrote:
    By the way, "For Rent" signs are up at 106 Kingston between Dean & Bergen 

    They may now have listed it more professionally.   They'd like $4100.
  • Geez, times have changed. A few years back they would have been lucky to get one-third of that.
  • A birdie told me that 271 Kingston Ave, the former Chesed Center, will be a kosher burger and beer spot, described as some sort of "better burger" location with a variety of beers on tap.  Looking forward.
  • edited August 2014
    Excellent! That will continue that space's mission of maintaining the faithful.
    Since my last update, the Chesed Center at 271 Kingston between Lincoln and St Johns has also come up for rent.

  • They were doing work this morning.
  • Any word on whether said burger place will be kosher?

    I.E. Will we be able to get cheese on our burger?
  • @whynote_31, The burger place will be kosher; i.e., "no soup cheese for you." 

    ...a kosher burger and beer spot, described as some sort of "better burger" location with a variety of beers on tap.
  • For those unaware, this means that bacon will also be unavailable.

    And, Friday evenings and Saturdays they will be closed.

    (Some of our readers may have recently moved here from the Midwest).
  • (Some of our readers may have recently moved here from the Midwest).

    And Saturday nights (with the exception of July and August) will most likely be packed, similar to Basil which has a line out the door.
  • Overdue updates on some of the other storefronts:

    Kut "N" Lime, the sliver of a barbershop at 248B Kingston between the for rent bodega Push Push Grocery & Variety Store and the for sale Bobby's Coffee Shop, is also for rent.

    Another barber shop, Finesse Talent at 98 Kingston, closed and the salon next door, Quirsi's Beauty Parlor, moved into its space, leaving the corner property at 96 Kingston empty. 
    98 Kingston before

    98 Kingston after

    96 Kingston after
  • Brothers Mark V, the shuttered variety store at 163 Kingston is for rent.


    Here's a rare peek inside from last September. It's the only time I ever saw the gate up in three and half years.

    2013-09-24 18.43.36
  • 70 Kingston, home to Kingston Kids Little Castle Day Care Center is for sale. Here's the Corcoran listing:

  • And finally, the internet cafe, Unique Enterprises, at 241 Kingston, hasn't been open in months.
  • edited September 2014
    The small, local daycares are disappearing fast.

    I believe it is a combination of:
    1. UPK causing few parents to need to pay for daycare.

    2. HRA/ACS vouchers being less available, because the holders (low income families) are being priced out of the neighborhood.

    3. Increasing rents, and/or the owners selling the properties rather than continuing to rent them out.
  • Geez, I wish I had known that the internet cafe was closed, I've been sending people there whenever they needed something printed. Oops.
    In any event, I'll see the owner of the building this week and ask him what happened. He told me they were always late on the rent. I guess they were unable to pay at all.
  • Wow, the Kingston kids castle space would be an amazing deal for someone who wanted to live above their store. $750,000! It would be more attractive if it had two stories of living space.
  • Just spoke to the owner of 241 Kingston. Told me the internet cafe guy still pays the rent but he's having some kind of trouble with Con Ed and for some reason they won't turn on the electricity. But it seems he's trying to keep the place going.
  • Stopped in to talk to the owner of Bobby's on Kingston and St. Johns. Says she's hoping to be out by the end of the year. Potential buyers are going to knock down the existing and put up a new restaurant according to her. They can widen the building a few inches which doesn't seem like much but the lot is 100 feet long so there's still room for tables and a cooking area. It seemed like she hasn't signed a contract of sale yet.
  • edited September 2014
    Nice. It sounds like they are making sure the site will accomodate their plans before they sign anything.

    If I was about to spend $1.3M, I would too.

  • New to the "For Rent" list is 262 Kingston, which was Bnos Chomesh Academy, a high school for Lubavitch girls. 

    262 Kingston
  • edited September 2014
    Since my last update, the Chesed Center at 271 Kingston between Lincoln and St Johns has also come up for rent.

    As stated above, this place would like to become a burger place: "Beouf & Bun".

    They are scheduled to appear in front of CB8 to seek support for a beer and wine lic on October 6th.
  • A representative appeared tonight. They will just be serving beer and wine.

    CB8 supported the application.
  • @whynot_31 - did they mention when they intend to open, hours, or how many seats they intend to have?
  • They did.

    However, I paid little attention to said details. I do recall that they will be closed on Friday nights and on Saturday.
  • Basil is Thrillist's pick for best bar off the 3 at Kingston. I guess it didn't have much competition, but since it serves only beer and wine, it's not much of a drinking destination. Hopefully when Maxwell's opens, there will be more of a choice.

    Anyway, NoBar, Franklin Park, Covenhoven, and G. Lee's, and Castle Hill also made it onto the list.
  • I was going to ask for thoughts on a bar east of Rogers and south of St. Johns where some guys looking looking to relax midweek after the kids go to bed can hang out for an hour or two; a simple unpretentious place to get a beer or three.  So, any thoughts? 
  • edited October 2014
    Boeuf & Bun -  The test kitchen looks ("OMG" :) ) yummy and the space is looking good.
  • I was going to ask for thoughts on a bar east of Rogers and south of St. Johns where some guys looking looking to relax midweek after the kids go to bed can hang out for an hour or two; a simple unpretentious place to get a beer or three.  So, any thoughts? 
    How about on Rogers, near Union?   Regardless of whether that is close enough, it is in the works:
  • Thanks @whynot_31.  This is actually one I've been following and looking forward to it opening.  Seems like it is taking a while though.
  • Since those photos on Boeuf & Bun's Facebook page were taken, hanging lights have been installed with Edison bulbs (of course). They definitely have the new Brooklyn aesthetic down.

    And the food does look good. I have no doubt they'll be packed. 
  • Boeuf & Bun hopes to open in early November, according to their facebook page (which is filled with photos of delicious looking burgers):


  • "They will also serve a full appetizer menu which will include, among other items: hand cut fries, beer battered onion rings, pulled beef nachos and beef chili fries. Salads, soups, desserts and beverages will also be available. Local /micro-brewery beer and some of koshers finest wine will be served once a license is obtained. Some of the artisanal burgers you can look forward to are:
    • Bondi Burger: Iceberg Lettuce, Fried Egg, Grilled Pineapple Ring, Fresh Beet, B&B Sauce
    • Morning Scramble: Fried Egg, House Cured “Bacon”, Mushroom Compote, Potato Sticks, Horseradish Aioli
    • Down South: Slow Cooked BBQ Pulled Beef, Purple Cabbage Slaw, Fried Pickles, BBQ Sauce
    • Chicken “BLT”: Fresh Ground Chicken, House Cured “Bacon”, Spring Mix Lettuce, Tomato, Chipotle Sun-dried Tomato Aioli"
  • In other news, the bodega on Park and Kingston seems to have closed once again...
  • I've been doing a lot of late night walking down Kingston towards Empire, and am shocked by all the goodness that is over there that I was heretofore unaware of. A number of delicious smelling bakeries, a couple of fro-yo places and several Kosher delis. I'm going to have to eat my way down that strip over the next few months.
  • @homeowner - Enjoy the goodness.  It get's better as you get closer to Empire.  But the bakery on President is worth noting as well.
  • My favorite is Gombo's bakery, which is on Kingston and (I think) President. At Hanukah time, they turn the bakery over to baking the most fantastic jelly doughnuts. A warm jelly doughnut on a cold day is just delightful.
  • edited November 2014
    Gombo's Heimishe Bakery - That is the bakery I was referring to, located on the Northwest corner of President and Kingston.

    DNA from last Hanukah: Doughnut Lovers 'Jam' Crown Heights Bakery For Traditional Hanukkah Treat -
  • edited November 2014
    @thecosmicrain I noticed that too but I don't have any info. I hope they reopen, as I prefer them to the bodega on the corner. The gate was up this morning and there were some people inside but it didn't look open for business. It's 225 Kingston for those following along. 

    In other Kingston business news...

    The hair salon two doors down, Orquidea's Beauty Salon at 229 Kingston, just celebrated its second anniversary. It's been my go-to salon since it opened, so I'm glad it's doing well. Some press from El Diario (in Spanish): and

    Maxwell's, at 259A Kingston, has been open for about three weeks now.


    And Boeuf & Bun, at 271 Kingston, got a new storefront with cantilevered doors. This pic is from about a week ago; the old awning came down Wednesday.

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