Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: 239 Banker Street

November 24, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

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There is a spectacular array of garbage gracing this illegal loft conversion property today! I wonder where the night regulation/street cleaning sign came from?

Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: 239 Banker Keeps Up Appearances

October 24, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

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It would appear that not only has yours truly’s favorite illegal conversion in an Industrial Business Zone seen fit to invest in stick-on letters and numbers…

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but they have spruced up the foyer as well! Because, as we all know, nothing exudes “class”— even in illegally converted manufacturing buildings with a standing Stop Work Order and thousands of dollars in unpaid fines— quite like the addition of some potted plants. I mean just look at the difference they make here:

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part III: What To Do About Illegal Hotels?

airbnb239banker1350amonthMore specifically: What do I do when I learn that a fellow tenant is renting out his/her apartment via Airbnb? E.g.; What recourse do I have when some drunken asshat breaks my front door lock at 2:00 a.m. in the morning or simply walks in and hands my husband his luggage?

A tipster writes:

Heather!

Illegal Hotels, formally known as transient occupancy units (TOU’s) are Class “A” residential units that have been converted for short-term stays of 30 days or less without adhering to the fire codes, tax laws, Certificates of Occupancy and zoning restrictions of hotel use. The illegal conversion of residential buildings into hotels presents serious problems for permanent residents, limits the supply of available housing – in particular, rent-regulated and low-income housing. By lacking the necessary fire-safety measures that legal hotels are required to have by law, which are more stringent than multiple dwelling buildings, TOU’s also present substantial safety hazards to permanent, legal residents as well as short-term guests; many are dangerous firetraps.

The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (“OSE”), headed by Kathleen McGee, pulls together the various enforcement agencies to go after TOUs when they are reported. I know people don’t believe it, but for this people need to file 311 Complaints, being sure to tell the operator that they want it to go to OSE. Kathleen has worked to get complaints that are incorrectly taken for HPD or DOB re-routed to her shop (and has been largely successful).

The District Manager or local elected officials can also forward complaints directly to Kathleen, and can even do so anonymously. It can be hard to get OSE out immediately, unless there is a present and imminent fire hazard, but they are very good at going out to problem locations (ie: repeated complaints or severe activity). They have been stepping up their enforcement recently.*

So far, there isn’t much proactive enforcement based off of sites like AirBnB, although with recent changes in the law, which raised the fines for landlords and allows tenants to be fined as well, some landlords have started to patrol the websites to catch tenants and proactively inform OSE.

*No shit.

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From The New York Shitty Inbox: Greetings From 239 Banker Street— Once Again

NYSscSome of you might recall that I recently received a piece of correspondence from an individual who called this place home. He/she was none too happy about it too.   This is why he/she was moving out. As you can imagine, gentle readers, I had a number of questions for this person. WTFsmallToday I am pleased to announce I not only got some answers— but some visuals to accompany them! One is the charming image at right. But I am getting ahead of myself— without further ado, here we go! NOTE: I have excised some material so as to preserve some semblance of anonymity for the parties involved.

Hi Heather, I stupidly did not take any photos of the piss/shit fiasco- I opened the camera to do it but immediately thought “no- this is fucking vile! I’m leaving” and the SMELL! yikes I’m out of there now, but I came to live there because I was moving back to NYC (had been in SF for a year) and my friend who I was looking for a place with had said “hey, I found this spot in Greenpoint with two rooms open”… I went with it… I have some more photos ill send over as well. sorry for so many emails but I can’t attach via the mail app and have no computer access for a couple days. Also made a clip, hope it helps to convey the space better.

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…so these first two are the bathroom tub and what is almost certainly mold growing- along w/ Shitpissgate (Apparently the first floor of this building had to be vacated after Hurricane Sandy due to flooding— this included a back-up of raw sewage. Yummy. — Ed. Note), there was an incident with the bathtub backing up dirty water full of black specks up to the brim (last photo- however it only depicts minimal drain, it was a photo I took to send to the super in a “THIS STILL EXISTS HOURS LATER”! message)

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the third is the wood rising up after Shitpissgate, and the fourth is an example of all the arbitrary holes in the deplorable re-flooring job.

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Now let’s proceed to the “bedroom”, shall we?

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Yeah, the photos do not do much to describe this space. As the video footage makes all too clear: this is because there isn’t really much space to describe!

I know what you’re thinking:

How much does such a closet room cost?

Well, prepare to be amazed. I certainly was.

$925. And the bigger rooms (slightly, but you know as well as I do how sometimes that extra six inches of a room helps) with windows were $925. Again, against my better judgment, shame on me, etc. but I’m glad I found the legal hurdle.

Those of you who are wondering what this hurdle/loophole was— or simply care about such trivial matters as fire code— will undoubtedly find the following passage from the “Loft Law” (Thanks NAG!) quite illuminating:

…Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (i), (iii) and (iv) of subdivision two of this section, but subject to paragraphs (i) and (ii) of subdivision one of this section and paragraph (ii) of subdivision two of this section, the term “interim multiple dwelling” shall include buildings, structures or portions thereof that are located in a city of more than one million persons which were occupied for residential purposes as the residence or home of any three or more families living independently from one another for a period of twelve consecutive months during the period commencing January first, two thousand eight, and ending December thirty-first, two thousand nine, provided that the unit: is not located in a basement or cellar and has at least one entrance that does not require passage through another residential unit to obtain access to the unit, has at least one window opening onto a street or a lawful yard or court as defined in the zoning resolution for such municipality…

Whoops. Now if you don’t mind I have some bunk beds to install in my tool shed… 

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Greetings From 239 Banker Street

May 29, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

A person we’ll “X” writes:

Hello Heather,

I love and applaud your coverage of 239 Banker Street. I have been living in this dump for the past five months and am eagerly awaiting my leave next week. I share your disdain for the illegal occupation of this building, and the complete disregard of the laws and stop work order violations by the management company. Perhaps you’re already aware but I figured I’d share a couple things with you-

Windowless rooms are being rented as bedrooms, which is a fire hazard/illegal.

Secondly, there was recently a backup of plumbing on the first floor, and several apartments were flooded in the bathrooms out to the kitchen area, this water containing REAL HUMAN SHIT AND PISS (Emphasis mine— Ed. Note). Sorry, but it was atrocious. As a result the floor has buckled up and I can say with certainty that since the post-Sandy re-flooring job was done lazily (spaces as large as 3/16″ in certain parts of it), I am positive there is mold growing. I’m feeling extra spiteful of the building today so figured I’d shoot you an email.

Thanks— I honestly do not know what else to say (that I haven’t said many times before)…

Today’s Moment Of Greenpoint Real Estate Insanity: Special 239 Banker Street Edition

May 22, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Wow, WTF 

239banker5222013You can probably imagine, gentle readers, the recent decision regarding a fellow renting out his apartment (condominium, actually) via Airbnb was of great interest to yours truly. Not that I had to search for it, mind you. Yesterday I awakened in yet another morning episode of allergy hell to find reporting on the subject on my Facebook page and inbox. It’s nice to know people care.

And on that note I am going to pass the love forward to my friends at 239 Banker Street. Today I had a thought while walking by this edifice/poster child for Loft Law abuse. It was as follows:

Gee, wouldn’t it be funny if this building— which was converted from industrial/commercial use to housing illegally— under the pretext of being permissible as a hotel— had a listing on AirBnb (now that it has been established that AirBnb is illegal in our fair city)?

Well, grab hold of your Shit Tits fellow Garden Spotters— it does! What’s more, it is was very easy to discern. Before I proceed, I’d like share to take a moment to share Airbnb’s “response” to the recent court decision (once again, from Gawker):

This decision runs contrary to the stated intention and the plain text of New York law, so obviously we are disappointed. But more importantly, this decision makes it even more critical that New York law be clarified to make sure regular New Yorkers can occasionally rent out their own homes. There is universal agreement that occasional hosts like Nigel Warren were not the target of the 2010 law, but that agreement provides little comfort to the handful of people, like Nigel, who find themselves targeted by overzealous enforcement officials. It is time to fix this law and protect hosts who occasionally rent out their own homes. 87 percent of Airbnb hosts in New York list just a home they live in — they are average New Yorkers trying to make ends meet, not illegal hotels that should be subject to the 2010 law.

Well, given what I have learned recently, we have an exceptional lot of New Yorkers in Greenpoint. Sure, they’re trying to make ends “meet”— but are they home owners? No they are not. Meet “Joseph”. One of the 13%.

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This “average” New Yorker is not only a fashion/celebrity photographer, but he has a rather snazzy profile photo and by all appearances resides at 239 Banker Street.

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The “giveaway”? Well for starters the buildings gracing “Joseph’s” (AirBnb certified) “rooftop view”: Pop’s Clothing and House of Vans respectively. Here’s an alternate view from 7 Franklin Street (“Pop’s”) courtesy of Google Maps:

7franklinstreetGooglemaplookingeasthilitedNYS

I have highlighted 239 Banker Street. But wait, there’s more! “Joseph” has done all the homework for me— albeit unintentionally— via a second listing on AirBnb!

BUSTED

Busted!

To recap:

  1. The owners of 239 Banker Street were granted permits to convert this manufacturing/commercial building into a hotel. This is perfectly legal given it is located in an Industrial Business Zone.
  2. Instead, the owners converted it into residences and leased it as such. For $2,100- $2,200 a month.
  3. 239 Banker Street was vacated by the Department of Buildings for conditions hazardous to said residents.
  4. Under new “ownership” 239 Banker is rented out once again as residential lofts. This time for substantially more money.
  5. I raise hell.
  6. I receive an email from my City Councilman regarding the matter. I blog it.
  7. A Loft Law application, however inapplicable it may be presently, is filed.
  8. And now we have a legally-sanctioned hotel converted illegally into residences which, in turn, one resident is illegally employing his apartment as a hotel via AirBnb. Ostensibly to “make ends meet”.

Wouldn’t it have simply been better/easier if this property was a hotel in the first place?

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(Priceless)

The Word On The Street: Banker Street

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P.S.: While I am on the subject, there’s a pretty magnificent array of filth gracing 239 Banker Street…

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New York Shitty Feral Furniture Watch: 239 Banker Street

May 4, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

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Taken May 4, 2013.

Mark Your Calendars: Community Board 1 Joint Public Safety & SLA Review Committee Meeting

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Today yours truly decided to celebrate this, a one lovely May Day by taking a little sojourn through my community’s Industrial Business Zone. You can imagine my bemused interest, gentle readers, when I beheld the above liquor license hearing notice. The Corporation listed is Nineteen Twenty Four Incorporated. After checking the New York State Department of State Corporation Database and doing a little more poking around online, I discerned this is none other than Robertas. It would appear this establishment whose backyard garden, as some of you might recall, was recently the source of some controversy is seeking a liquor license for a backyard garden located at 268 Moore Street. Very odd.

Whether or not this is the same garden for which Robertas placed a Craigslist advertisement seeking an unpaid intern to oversee/maintain remains to be seen. Regardless of how you feel about this issue (and methinks I have just made my position quite clear), those of you who have something to say about Robertas as a neighbor should make it a point to attend this meeting. I have a creeping suspicion it will be quite lively.

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Who knows, maybe “Wiener Buttface” will make an appearance? I for one can only hope so…

Community Board 1 Joint Public Safety & SLA Review Committee Meeting
May 9, 2013 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Community Board 1 Office
435 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211

*This solicitation was found objectionable by party poopers who support such concepts as Labor Law enforcement and do not think pizza— even that be had at this hallowed establishment— qualifies as compensation. (tongue firmly in cheek) Some folks simply do not have a sense of humor. Go figure…

New York Shitty Street Seating Du Jour, Part I: 239 Banker Street

February 21, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Street Furniture 

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Taken February 23, 2013.