In The News: Cropsey Community Farm

Brooker Engineering was involved in a project close to home in Rockland County, providing a structural engineering evaluation of the barn at Cropsey Community Farm, which dates back to the Revolutionary War Era. Brian Brooker visited the site to conduct the inspection. Click the link below to read more on LoHud.

http://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/clarkstown/2015/08/21/cropsey-barn-new-city-gets-inspected-future-plan/32053855/

 

The Renny’s Historic Past

“The Renaissance opened in 1921. There was nothing like it.”

 

In a massive city like New York – where things always seem to be changing and newer, taller buildings seem to be rising – it is easy to forget about what once was.

If you visited the corner of West 138th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Harlem a few months ago, you would have seen rocks, dirt, and weeds. Today the beginnings of a foundation are being poured and, in the future, a new 8-story affordable residential building will stand.

Abandoned building, before demolition - 06/09/2014

Abandoned building, before demolition – 06/09/2014

In the midst of all the excitement, it’s easy to forget the historic building that once stood at this site, the site of one of Brooker Engineering’s current projects. Completed in 1924, the Harlem Renaissance Ballroom was set to become a critical game piece in the vitalization of the area’s culture. “Prize fights, concerts, dance marathons, film screenings, and stage acts were held at the Renaissance, along with elegant parties and meetings of the most influential social clubs and political organizations in Harlem. The community’s elite gathered to dance the Charleston and the Black Bottom to live entertainment by the most renowned jazz musicians of the age.” If you could take yourself back for a moment, to the roaring 20s when so much change was coming to America, you can picture the atmosphere of “The Rennie.” Colored lightbulbs in gorgeous chandeliers once hung from the ceiling, illuminating the dance floor. Large signs regarding upcoming acts once graced the walls, exciting those who enjoyed the entertainment of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Ella Fitzgerald.

But the exhilarating dancing and sensational performances weren’t the only historic thing that occurred here. The Renny was also the home of the nation’s first all-black professional basketball team, back in a time when they weren’t yet allowed in the NBA. The Harlem Rens, in their best season, “set a record with 88 consecutive wins that has yet to be broken.”

Of course, as they say, all good things must come to an end. And in the case of this vibrant and moving ballroom, it was a slow decent to closing. As integration opened many other clubs to African Americans throughout the 60s, business declined until it closed in 1979. In 1991, the Abyssinian Baptist Church purchased the mortgage with plans to restore it to its former glory. But those plans got delayed, landmark consideration was taken off the table, and the Church sold to BRP Development.

Though the building is “too dilapidated and unsafe to restore” and also not landmarked, BRP Development has worked with preservationists to do its best to commemorate the memory of the old ballroom. Architectural elements, including the same size and color bricks and diamond mosaics around the second floor, have been incorporated into the design. The Harlem Renaissance may be in the past, but its memory will live on in The Renny.

 

Sources:

NYTimes

AbandonedNYC

DNAInfo

Increase in Affordable Housing

Brooker Engineering’s latest projects help to increase affordable housing in NYC.

New York City is currently the largest metropolitan area in the United States, and widely known as “the city that never sleeps” with its ever-changing skyline and never-ending activity. The city’s newest buildings – including its tallest residential tower at 432 Park Ave – aren’t the only things rising sky-high – rent prices in all neighborhoods have increased since 2009. In Tribeca, the 2015 median rent was $6,095, compared to $4,800 in 2009 – a $1,295 difference over the course of just 6 years. Even in Astoria, a neighborhood known to have semi-affordable prices, the median rent increased from $1,675 to $2,200 over the same increment of time. With these price increases come increased troubles for those who already struggled to devote such a high percentage of their salaries to rent. (Curbed)

As a result, the affordable housing market has taken off. While they may not be the most lucrative of investments, there are quite a few companies conducting business that focus particularly on buildings to contain affordable units. Only those within a certain salary bracket would be able to apply and live there.

Brooker Engineering is happy to have been involved with and also currently be working on many affordable housing projects throughout the NY metropolitan area. Some of our most notable past projects include:

  • Boricua Village, Bronx, NY: 770,000 square feet, 7 buildings, 698 affordable units (named the “Construction Project of the Year” by the NYSSPE in 2010)
  • St. Ann’s Terrace, Bronx, NY: 855,000 square feet, 8 buildings, 600 affordable units
  • Crossroads Plaza, Bronx, NY: 665,000 square feet, 3 buildings, 430 affordable units

Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the site of one of our current projects last week, located at 950 Summit Ave in the Bronx, to give a speech on his plan to bring an even greater number of affordable housing structures in the future and how important it truly is. In an article written by Jennifer Fermino of the NY Daily News, he was quoted saying, “This is what we’re doing to make sure that people can stay in the neighborhood they love, in the city they love, that they have helped to create and build. This is our commitment.” De Blasio has made a 10 year goal to bring an additional 200,000 units of affordable housing to the city in the next 10 years, a goal he is on his way to beat. “The de Blasio administration built or preserved 20,325 affordable-housing units during the past 12 months, a 25-year record.” (Fermino)

While it may seem like the opposite, as so many luxury apartment buildings are in the news, the push for affordable housing is also growing.

Sources:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/bill-de-blasio-sets-25-year-record-affordable-housing-article-1.2291267
http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/06/04/mapping_new_york_neighborhoods_hit_hardest_by_high_rents.php

Team Brooker at Relay for Life of Ramsey

On June 5, 2015, Brooker Engineering, PLLC participated as a team in the Ramsey Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society. After several months, the team raised a total of $2,310 to benefit the fight against cancer. Our slogan was, “Building awareness, support, and hope!” Thank you to all that donated. We had a great time and are looking forward to participating again next year!

brooker-relay-for-life-834

 

brooker-relay-for-life-850

 

brooker-relay-for-life-8451

More information about the Relay for Life of Ramsey, NJ can be found on the event page.

A Glimpse Into Our Future

The scaffolding and overhead protection over the sidewalk to our new office building has been removed! If you happen to be in town or near 74 Lafayette Ave soon, stop by and take a look at the progress. The anticipation and excitement to move into our new home are greater than ever.

 

 

For more information regarding this project, click here.

12th Annual Lower Hudson Valley Engineering Expo

Engineering is all around us, even in places where most of us may not realize it. Engineers have played a huge role in shaping the way our society operates, from how we get around to the ways we entertain ourselves. For this reason, we find it essential that young students are exposed to what engineering really is – and how exciting it can be.

On March 22, our company participated in the 12th Annual Lower Hudson Valley Engineering Expo at White Plains High School. Over 100 engineering exhibitors participated in teaching young middle to high school students about the world of engineering through informational and hands-on exhibits.

Our staff had a great day talking to the students and their parents about what it means to be a civil engineer. However, the highlights of the day came from watching the students design their own bridges in our engineering challenge – utilizing only 6-inch rulers, 12 pennies, and 4 plastic cups. The longest bridge measured at an astounding 23 inches and supported the weight of a weighed down toy car.

It is our hope that the next generations are inspired by little things like this, and choose to pursue a passionate career in something that excites them.

Brooker Engineering Website Relaunch

After nearly five years, we’ve relaunched a new website for Brooker Engineering, PLLC! Our new virtual home shows off our new updated company image.

The site’s homepage welcomes visitors with bold colors, a clean uncluttered design, and moving images with featured content focused on providing visitors with the most up-to-date information relating to our company. Our new site has been designed to ensure that whether visitors view the site using a mobile device, tablet or traditional computer browser they will be able to view the site content with ease.

The website is divided into five (5) main sections: WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE DO, PROJECTS, NEWS and CONTACT. The Who We Are section is where visitors can find out about our philosophy, our company history and the amazing people who make us one of the premier engineering firms in the metropolitan New York area. Visitors can find out about the five core services we provide under the What We Do area. The Projects section is where we provide a pictorial journey of some of the many client projects we’ve completed. The News section is where visitors can find out all the latest Brooker Engineering news as well as related industry news. Lastly the Contact area is where you can contact us directly using an interactive contact form or get directions to our offices.

The website will be updated on a regular basis. We encourage visitors to contact us through the website to provide us with your feedback.

If you experience any problems using the new website or if you have any suggestions, please contact us at info@brookerengineering.com.

A New Building to Call Home

As the temperature outside drops, our new home rises. Brooker Engineering, PLLC is excited to announce the construction of our new offices at 74 Lafayette Avenue in Suffern, NY.

For many years the lot adjacent to our current offices sat vacant, overrun with weeds and the remnants of a building that used to stand between 72 and 76 Lafayette Avenue. This past year has been full of changes for our company, and the beginning of construction on our new office space has proven to be the most exhilarating of them all. We have officially outgrown the place that we call home – and it is time to plant our roots in a more fitting abode.

Lafayette Centre is a four story structure, with a lower level, comprised of approximately 26,000 square feet. The first floor will consist of commercial space while the lower level and second through fourth floors will consist of upscale office space. The building will be comprised of a brick facade, as well as large windows overlooking Lafayette Avenue. It was designed to portray the essence of the “postmodern” era, with metal awnings over the primary entrances.

The building has also been designed to be energy efficient by integrating various renewable energy technologies into its construction. This will help to reduce energy bills, enhance comfort, and provide a healthier indoor environment while reducing the carbon footprint. These design features will include geo-thermal heating, high efficiency lighting, highly insulated exterior walls, and roof and high-performance windows.

Our estimated move into Lafayette Centre will be December 2015, less than 11 short months away. Brooker Engineering will be the primary tenant in Lafayette Centre, occupying most of the third and fourth floors. It will provide a new, upscale, modern alternative for commercial space and be a welcome addition to the downtown region of Suffern, New York. We can’t wait for move in day!