Spotted At 239 Banker Street: Pure Love

May 1, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Taken May 1, 2011.

Miss Heather

P.S.: On a related note I recently received an email which would suggest someone is living here. Anonymous writes:

I was past 239 Banker this morning when I saw one of the secondary doors (one of the ones between the main door and Meserole) open, and a gentleman walk out, carrying a plastic bag and wheeling a bicycle. When I walked by the door, I saw someone had taken that blue painter’s masking tape, and cut pieces to mark the door with a “239″…

If it was someone living there to make sure the place wasn’t vandalized, I could almost be sympathetic, but the number on the door makes me feel like something else is up.
I called it in to 311 (who just hands it over to the 94th, and I will call the non-emergency number later myself), and asked them to transfer me to DOB to file that complaint as well. According to BIS, Full Vacate still exists on that property.

Some of you might recall this Vacate Order was served back in 2009. If not, this might refresh your memory. As far as I know none of the former tenants of this building have received their security deposits back.

New York Shitty Street Seating Du Jour: Question of the Day

January 12, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11211, Bloomblight, Street Furniture, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

What do you do when you find a teal colored chaise lounge dumped at your construction site?

Answer: If you are 262 North 9th Street you deposit it across the street!

Miss Heather

Where The Sidewalk Ends

This is the impediment which faced the Mister and I as we endeavored to go to Kenny’s Trattoria last night (we crossed the street because the sidewalk along McCarren Park along Bedford Avenue was a mess). It is located where the Automobile High School ends and Parks Department property astensibly our open space begins. A cordon sanitaire or simple incompetence? I’ll leave you, dear readers, to make the call. All, I’m saying is I saw Parks employees spreading copious amounts of salt at the corner of Bedford Avenue and North 12 Street yesterday morning. Yup.

Miss Heather

P.S. and while I am on the subject:

Where’s the sidewalk? I ask because walking on Union Avenue is friggin’ scary.

There should be a sidewalk here.

You have no idea how grimly amusing I find our mayor facilitating over-development by fly-by-night developers such as the shit heap you see at left (there were buildings there once— I swear) and then is seemingly surprised when very people he has enabled to move into north Brooklyn (who will undoubtedly inhabit the edifice to the right) have the temerity to complain.

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: Signs of Life at The Sweater Factory Lofts?

December 28, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

The tipster who took the above photograph writes:

Open? Vacate notices removed and door propped open. There’s even someone shoveling sidewalk out front.

New York Shitty “glass half full” analysis:

At least they are cleaning the sidewalk.

New York Shitty “glass half empty” analysis:

There is still a Vacate Order on this property.

Whoops.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part I: A Question About 467 Troutman

May 14, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11231, Bushwick, Bushwick Brooklyn 

J writes:

Miss Heather:

I’m apologize in advance if I am wasting your time, but you seem like you might be able to shed some light on a certain amount of confusion I have around 467 Troutman.

I’m looking to move into a 3 BR loft in the area and have been shown several decent options. We were recently shown a space in 467 Troutman – I went in with very low expectations resulting from some internet research and a landlord/manager that I (think) I respect telling me the following:

Eeks! 467 troutman st has no certificate of occupancy, same landlord as 260 Moore street + 315 siegel .I don’t recommend living in that particular landlords buildings-besides the dept of building violations the buildings has bedbug issues and shanty build out of the building…

Anyway, the space I saw was the nicest I’ve seen so far – kitchen/bathroom seemed relatively new and clean, the hallways clean, the buildout seemed better than most I’ve seen, etc…. the overall vibe seemed good – and the the tenant who currently occupies the space told us she’d been there 4 years and had nothing negative to say about the landlord.

Do you know of any good reason to not live there? My feeling is that the building had issues in the past but things are better now… Am I missing something? It seems like Max Starck and 467 Troutman come up often enough on your website in a negative light… so I thought I’d ask you for your opinion.

Thanks so much for any info you might be able to provide, and thanks for doing what you do. It’s an invaluable resource.

Aside from having walked by 467 Troutman (and knowing that Max Starck) is its owner I know very little about this building. For this reason I am putting your inquiry to my readers, J. This having been written I am familiar with a number of Mr. Starck’s other buildings. For the purposes of this post I am going to narrow my focus to two: the Sweater Factory Lofts and the Greenpoint Hotel. Both are located in Greenpoint.

As you have probably learned by perusing my site, the Sweater Factory Lofts were vacated by the Department of Buildings last year for harboring conditions dangerous to human life. Among the violations cited were uncapped electrical wires and sprinklers being sealed over with sheet rock. A rather appalling fire safety hazard if you ask me. It should also be noted that the space in question (239 Banker Street) was zoned to be a hotel but Mr. Starck and his partner were marketing it as residential property. This may seem trivial but the fact of the matter is there are different safety requirements for transient and residential properties. See where I am going with this?

Now let’s consider the Greenpoint Hotel for a moment. Until fairly recently it was owned by Mr. Starck. The new owner (whom I have met and it should be noted acquired this property at a public auction— it was seized) is spending a lot of money to get this facility back to code. Among the violations being corrected are a sagging wall, an inoperative bathroom and, drum roll please, repairing a number of inoperative sprinkler heads.

These are but two examples be they are enough to establish a pattern of neglect and general disregard for tenant safety. I have little doubt if you were to search his other properties (like 315 Seigel Street, for example) you will find similar such stuff. While I applaud your due diligence for talking to a tenant of 467 Troutman Street I have to go with the landlord/manager on this one: keep away from anything this chap owns.

This having been written does anyone— preferably tenants of Mr. Starck’s properties— have any advice for J? If so please leave them in the comments or email them to me at: missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. All tips/anecdotes will be kept anonymous if you so desire.

Thanks!

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Turn Out The Lights

(Or, 239 Banker Street Revisited)

Today on a lark I decided to swing by 239 Banker Street (formerly known as the Sweater Factory Lofts) to see what’s shaking. I was not disappointed.

After I shot the above photograph a gaggle of hipsters took notice and stopped. One of them (who I would presume to be their leader) initiated contact:

I’m guessing you broke that glass because the landlord ripped you off?

I turned around, pointed to the plywood gracing the entrance and replied:

Like I would live in a place like this? I don’t think so.

There was a pregnant pause and then my new friend told me about how the former tenants of this building were ordered out of the building, screwed out of their security deposits and so on and so forth. Although I know of all of this already I listened attentively as he gave me the whole run-down. After he concluded his speech out rolled the corker: he was one of the tenants vacated from this building! There is undoubtedly a life lesson to be had here, dear readers. I will leave it to you to ascertain what it is. But I digress.

When this gent finished his tale of woe I brought it to his attention that he and his neighbors were not the only people Max and his funky bunch owe money to:

(Insert punchline here.)

Miss Heather

P.S.: In (somewhat) related news it would appear that someone has egged the entrance to the Pencil Factory Lofts.

New York Shitty Day Ender: All Apologies

MAX

whoops

From 239 Banker Street.*

Miss Heather

P.S.: Those of you who are wondering about 718-STANDUP’s provenance you can see it here. I suppose Max was a supporter of Isaac Abraham for the 33rd City Council District.

*Formerly known as the Sweater Factory Lofts.

Reader Comment Du Jour: Advice For Someone DOB’d From The Sweater Factory Lofts?

October 13, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

239bankerMost folks (myself included) would consider the evacuation of 239 Banker Street to be yesterday’s news. However, when the following comment came to my attention today I simply had to post it here.  Action writes:

The vacate happened 3 days before I was supposed to move in. I’m working with Brooklyn Civil Court to start the process to get my money back. Does anyone know of alternative routes to take? Maybe a class action case?

I do not profess to be an attorney (or even playing one on t.v.). Although I have some tenant-landlord court experience Action’s problem is way off my radar. Does anyone have some advice or thoughts for Action? If so please leave them in the comments. Thanks!

Miss Heather

BREAKING: The Sweater Factory Lofts Gets DOB’d Again!

September 24, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Remember the Sweater Factory Lofts?

SFLscreencap

You know, the building at 239 Banker Street that is zoned as a hotel but is actuality being used as residential space? The one which despite being fined $5,000 for violating a long standing Stop Work Order kept on working anyway? Day and night. Well, something very interesting came to pass there this afternoon.

vacate1

Anonymous writes (at 3:19 p.m.):

Breaking news! That building next to what was studio B is being served vacated notice right now….

ousted

Unhappy residents on an unpaid vacate(ion). I’m sure Curbed will be interested. Building dept guys didn’t like me snapping pics.

WOW. I wonder how my buddy Max took the news? Just under two weeks ago he sold the Greenpoint Hotel for a paltry $3.5 millionand now this!?! I’m not too sure what motivated the Department of Buildings to issue a vacate order but if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say non-compliance with fire code had something to do with it.

Miss Heather

UPDATE, 5:27 p.m.: Apparently the Red Cross has been brought in to help displaced tenants from this building (pets and all) find a place to hang their respective hats. Per a reader:

The DOB showed up today, I think, around 2, and cleared the whole building. There’s an order to vacate posted on the front (“occupancy is perilous to life”), and a  (new?) stop work order plastered on the front door, plus about a 6 yellow sheets that I didn’t get close enough to read, mainly because all the tenants were trying to read them. Probably on their arrival home from work. I do feel a bit bad for those who moved in without a clue what they were getting themselves into.*

The Red Cross is outside finding people places to live, the landlord is scurrying around, and the tenants are outside with suitcases and their cats in carriers.

Curious what finally caused the DOB to crack down?

UPDATE, 7:29 p.m.: Musings on ‘point offers his expertise:

It’s not a fire issue, FD would have been present. It’s probably a combo of two things: it’s a factory, not a residence and structural issues; the facade seems to be falling off.  The DOB is loathe to vacate solely because of occupancy contrary to the CO (see 475 Kent) but “perilous” is usually code for “we think it might fall down.” I haven’t been following this or researched it but that would be my guess. If it’s not, I wouldn’t want to be living at 475, because they’re just as susceptible to just such selective enforcement.

*I agree. The Red Cross should NOT be pressed into providing housing to individuals whose only mistake was not being informed consumers. This organization was not founded to assist people who have found themselves homeless as a result of a landlord’s malfeasance and this city’s ineptitude and/or lack of responsiveness when it comes to protecting and serving its citizens. The blame for should be laid where it is truly due:

  1. This city and the agencies charged with enforcing housing/building/fire code. Had the standing Stop Work Order on this property been enforced, this would never had happened.
  2. The landlord: for not obeying the the aforementioned Stop Work Order and having a disregard for the safety of his tenants.
  3. The real estate agents who leased out these “residential” lofts knowing full well that they are illegal and hazardous. Anything for a buck.

UPDATE, 11:44 p.m.: another reader sends photographs:

redcrossNYSsmall

DEREKLEE1

Maybe this one will stick?

New York Shitty Day Ender: What A Difference A Stop Work Order Makes!

August 26, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

239bankerDOBBIS

foodiej81 writes (in regards to this post):

This weekend as we were walking by 239 Banker my partner and I noticed that the door was unlocked so we decided to take a stroll through our new neighborhood “hotel”. Well there are definitely people living there, there is mail being delivered and I saw a man taking his dog out for a walk. The “apartments” are still under construction though. We have an acquaintance that put money down on an apartment but is now waiting for a refund because they were told the place will not be ready for another month. Word is they are renovating one dwelling at a time because they have run out of money and won’t be able to finish the project till 70% are rented.
I also saw two men waiting outside the building at around 730 on Monday night; two traditionally dressed Jewish men pulled up in a minivan and met them to show an apartment. I don’t know if anyone has been there recently but the message on the door is asking for “max” to get them a real front door

Regardless I called 311 yesterday and sent in 3 anonymous complaints regarding the building at 239 Banker. It’s a ridiculous project and I wish the DOB would be more proactive in following up on the stop work order.

He (or she) is not the only who feels this way. Follows are a few photographs I received just this evening (in an email entitled “Stop Work Order In Action!) from an anonymous tipster which show just how seriously Max and his funky bunch are taking their recent visit by the Department of Buildings (and the $5,000 fine they were issued as a result).

bobcat

cans

Note the numerous residential garbage cans at left. I wonder what they’re doing?

drywall

Installing and patching drywall— silly me.

breaktime

Workers taking a breather at the freight elevator. It’s a tough job working after hours and violating a Stop Work Order!

Miss Heather