Daily digest: Demolition permit filed for Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall, flooding damages Trump’s border wall, and more

Forces of Nature

Daily digest: Demolition permit filed for Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall, flooding damages Trump’s border wall, and more

The National Register of Historic Places-listed Grand Prospect Hall in Park Slope, Brooklyn. (Courtesy Google Maps)

Happy Monday and welcome back to another top-of-the-week roundup of news.

For millions of Americans, this weekend’s big news event was, of course, Henri, a somewhat fickle tropical storm with a fancy French handle that threatened to crash the Hamptons. Although the impacts of Henri, which shifted east of Long Island and made landfall near the Connecticut/Rhode Island border on Sunday afternoon, haven’t been as dire as initially feared, the slow-moving storm has deluged the Northeast with soaking thunderstorms and storm surge, and tens of thousands of utility customers across multiple states remain without electricity as the system, now a moisture-packed tropical depression, sits stalled over New England.

Here’s what you need to know today:

The dream has come to an end for the most Brooklyn of Brooklyn banquet halls

The end is nigh for Grand Prospect Hall, a “distinctly elegant yet affordable” Victorian banquet hall in Park Slope, Brooklyn, famous (locally, at least) for its opulent interiors (courtesy former longtime owners Michael and Alice Halkias, who purchased the 1892 French Renaissance-style building in 1981) and low-budget, high-enthusiasm adverts that were a late-night television mainstay in New York from the late-1980s and on. (The commercials reached the pinnacle of Big Apple pop culture ubiquity with a Saturday Night Live spoof that aired in 2019.)

As first reported late last week by the Brooklyn Paper, electrical contractor Angelo Rigas, under the LLC Gowanus Cubes, has filed for a yet-to-be-approved demolition permit for a 12-parcel assemblage that flanks Prospect Avenue and includes the National Register of Historic Places-listed event hall. Rigas purchased the properties in mid-July as part of a $30 million deal, with the historic, four-story building itself valued at $22.5 million. The facility was permanently shuttered at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic with Michael Halkias succumbing to the virus in May 2020. And while it’s unclear what will take the place of Grand Prospect Hall (what possibly could?), its gauzy, gaudy memory will no doubt live on in the hearts of many.

H/t to the Brooklyn Paper

Flooding washes away gates along sections of the border wall in Arizona

Drenching, record-busting rains have seriously damaged a portion of Donald Trump’s border wall near historic San Bernardino Ranch on the Arizona-Sonora border. As reported by Gizmodo, monsoon-induced flooding took down a total of six floodgates at one single location, while gates in other locations along the wall were reportedly damaged as well.

While the roughly 452 miles of border wall completed under Trump’s watch was far from inexpensive (as promised by the former president in 2015 while on the campaign trail), much of it was hastily constructed by private contractors tapped by the Trump administration; in many cases, these companies circumvented environmental and cultural protection laws in place to prevent, among other things, large-scale failures brought about by acts of Mother Nature. “It’s clear that these were not companies that really were taking the long-term integrity of the product into account,” Myles Traphagen, borderlands program coordinator of the Wildlands Network, told Gizmodo.

H/t to Gizmodo

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the earthquake that shuttered the Washington Monument

It’s been 10 years since a 5.8-magnitude earthquake rattled the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. With an epicenter in Louisa County, Virginia, the tremor was felt as far south as Atlanta, as far north as Quebec City, and as far west as Illinois. While no deaths, only minor injuries, were reported following the quake, a large number of structures across the region sustained mild to moderate structural damage including in Washington, D.C., where the Smithsonian Castle, the National Cathedral, and the Treasury Building all suffered damage. Most notably, the quake caused cracks to appear near the top of the Washington Monument. The 555-foot-tall obelisk immediately closed to the public to undergo repairs and didn’t reopen until 2014. Coincidentally, the Washington Monument remains temporarily closed after an August 15 lighting strike scrambled its electronic access system.

The Bioscleave House has found a new owner

The Biosleave House, a death-defying experimental abode in East Hampton, New York, has finally found a new owner after several somewhat white-knuckle years on and off the market.

Completed in 2008 for a reported cost of $2 million by avant-garde artists, designers, and authors, Arakawa and Madeline Gins, the four-bedroom dwelling, also known as the Lifespan Expanding Villa, was designed as an “inter-active laboratory of everyday life” in which every domestic feature, from the wonky windows to uneven floors, is meant to “reverse the effects of aging and transform the personal well-being and longevity of its inhabitants” according to its (now deceased) designers. First listed for sale in 2018 (and subsequently avoiding a premature death via the wrecking ball), the home reappeared on the market earlier this summer with a reduced asking price of $975,000. (The Arakawa and Gins-designed cubist structure is actually an addition to the original  ’60’s-era A-frame on the property.)

As recently reported by Diana Budds for Curbed, an unnamed buyer recently made an undisclosed offer that the property’s sellers, an entity known as the Professors Group LLC, couldn’t refuse. “The sellers and the buyer met in Manhattan for coffee and a slice of pizza, and they talked for two and a half to three hours,” JB D’Santos, a real-estate agent with Brown Harris Stevens, told Curbed. “They said, ‘These are the people we like very much and we think will be good stewards for the property, and we would like to move forward.’”

H/t to Curbed

a colorful, sculptural sound installation in a park
Sonic Bloom by Yuri Suzuki (Pentagram Design/Courtesy Alter-Projects)

A multi-sensory, interactive art installation is now in “bloom” in Mayfair, London

Sonic Bloom, a multi-sensory public art installation-slash-COVID-safe community communication tool commissioned by Alter-Projects and designed by sound artist, electronic musician, and Pentagram partner Yuri Suzuki, has debuted at Brown Hart Gardens in North Mayfair, London. The somewhat Dr. Seussian sculptural piece is comprised of a brightly hued jumble of horn-shaped elements that come together to form a “magical, interactive flower;” the sculpture amplifies sounds absorbed from the bustling urban environment while transporting voice recordings from people at street level through its stems. As noted in a press release, “Sonic Bloom is a social catalyst in the form of a ‘phygital’ experience that not only compels participants to engage with the installation on an artistic level, but also invites them to explore the very essence of human connection.”