New York Shitty Day Starter: 239 Banker Street Craigslist Advertisement Du Jour

September 5, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Now they’re calling it the Rustic House. Nice.

 

New York Shitty Day Starter: The Latest Craigslist Advertisement for 239 Banker Street

September 1, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

AKA: GREAT LOFT CON

It would appear more “community organizing/displacement prevention” might be needed…

The Word On The Street, Part II: Silence Speaks Volumes

Unless you have been on vacation in Timbuktu, fellow north Brooklynites, you are undoubtedly aware of the recent allegations of sexual harassment as practiced by the fellow at left: the Honorable Assemblyman Vito Lopez. I for one found the whole affair so repulsive I saw fit to mention it on this site.

Mr. “Gropez” (as I have taken to calling him) has received a great deal of media attention as a result. I do not see this changing in the foreseeable future. The same goes for commentary* and questions tendered by my fellow citizens— and I can assure you there are many. But as of late the prevailing sentiment seems to be as follows:

Why haven’t our elected officials/public servants spoken up about (or at least acknowledged) this turn of events?

I for one think this is an excellent question.

Let’s take Christopher Olechowski, for example. As you can see from the above piece of campaign literature our current chair of Community Board 1 purports to be the voice of our community. I find this fascinating given he continues to be curiously quiet. To my knowledge Mr. Olechowski has yet to respond to inquiries regarding his “leadership” role in the fight against the TGE plant or requests that he participate in a debate with our current 50th Assembly District Leader, Lincoln Restler.

Perhaps silence is the voice of our community? The lack of any acknowledgement— much less a response— from fellow Assemblyman Joseph Lentol regarding Mr. “Gropez’s” alleged activities would certainly indicate this. But I digress.

This morning I:

  • a resident of Community Board 1
  • a constituent of the 50th Assembly District and
  • a very pissed off  registered voter with a vagina (and free time)

mulled the matter over. Finally I decided:

Fuck it. If they want to act like there’s not a problem, I will remind them there is one. On their proverbial doorstep.

So I dug into my war chest of Crayola sidewalk crayons (mere sidewalk chalk would not suffice), tossed on some flip-flops and took a walk.

A very long walk.

Here’s the deal, folks…

These public servants work for us, not the other way around. They are accountable to us, their constituents. Our votes can and have placed these individuals in office— and our votes can remove them. How much time and/or effort would have been required of Mr. Olechowski, Mr. Lentol or, dare I say, our City Councilman** to simply state (or have a staff member “tweet”) the following:

In light of recent allegations against Assemblyman Vito Lopez, I (insert name here) want to make it clear I do not condone sexual harassment. I want to assure you, my constituents/neighbors, I will be watching this matter very carefully.

My educated guess would be “very little”— and yet this has yet to happen. Think about this when you cast your votes in upcoming elections, north Brooklynites.

I know I will.

UPDATE, August 30, 2012: I have received both an email and telephone call from Mr. Lentol! You can read the first by clicking here.

*Including my personal favorite. A piquant observation which comes from a lady named Sarah:

Hey, Vito, don’t let the door hit you in the DICK on the way out.

**Stephen Levin, former Chief of Staff for Mr. Gropez Lopez.

 

From The New York Shitty Inbox: An Excellent Question

August 26, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

A person we’ll call “G” writes today, August 26, 2012:

Miss Heather,

I’ve been apartment hunting in Williamsburg/Greenpoint for the last month and came across 239 Banker the other day. After meeting some spacecase “agent” and getting a tour of the building, I kept it on the list of potential rentals. Today I came across your blog and all this shitty info on the building/landlord/owners. How are they even allowed to be showing the place and renting it out? A couple happened to be getting a tour with me and my roommate as well and after, they put a deposit down on a 3 bedroom. Where can I get more info on this shady business? Thanks for the help.
Cheers…

“G” exercised something called “due diligence”. Thus, I recommended to him/her that before signing the lease to any apartment, one should consult the Department of Buildings’s web site.

As you can clearly see, in the case of 239 Banker Street there are quite a few red flags. As for why this space is still being showed by real estate agents: well, we’ll just say that is a result of “community organizing”

New York Shitty Day Starter: And On It Goes

Looks like some more Loft Law “awareness”/“changing the script” needs to happen at 239 Banker Street.

Because the rest of us simply aren’t “getting it”.

P.S.: You didn’t really think I was going to quit showcasing the wretchedly comical farce that is this edifice? In any case “Joe” seems to specialize in room shares. For example:

  1. This
  2. And this.

But by far the following advertisement is my personal favorite.

If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say the towel holders are what made this apartment jump $300 in the above listing.

As you can see, they are quite nice. Nonetheless, Bushwick is just that: Bushwick.


View Larger Map

From The New York Shitty Inbox: And Now A Word From Our City Councilman

This evening I was forwarded a most interesting piece of campaign literature which is being distributed at our local housing projects from an anonymous tipster. Without further ado, here it is:

Note that a cell phone number has been provided. So, I suppose, one can ask questions.* I wonder why nothing like this was circulated in Greenpoint? Anyone?

*Or simply pass it along— with a fully changed cell phones with unlimited minutes— to 50th Assembly District youths and tell them it belongs to Santa Claus. Not that I recommend this, mind you.

Coming To Nassau Avenue (Sort Of): Annual Block Party

August 22, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

That’s right folks: per this flyer this upcoming Saturday, August 25th, the Nassau Avenue Block Association along with our City Councilman, Steve Levin*, will be hosting their annual block party on Morgan Avenue between Nassau Avenue and Driggs Avenue. Note the small text: any/all motorists must move their cars by 9:00 a.m.— so plan accordingly!

*Who gets big props for clarifying the location of this event. Thanks!

New York Shitty Day Ender: And Now A Few More Words From Chris Olechowski

(And his “friends”*)

Courtesy of a mailer sent to Chez Shitty!

How many folks do you recognize in the following group photo, 50th Assembly District Democrats?

Speaking as someone who calls Mrs. Klementovicz a neighbor (and a friend— the above footage of her being awesome hails from a meeting a few months ago. A meeting, I’ll note at which Mr. Olechowski was not present.) I really have to wonder if she is aware of the claims Mr. Olechowski has been making in terms of his role in the fight against the TGE plant. I doubt it.** In any case, I found the following endorsement fascinating:

I am proud to support Chris because he has always shown the extraodinary ability to bring our community together. — NYC City Councilmember Stephen Levin.

Behold Mr. Olechowski’s “community building” rhetoric for yourself.

(No Comment)

**As of today, August 22, she is. Here is a rundown of what happened:

…just came back from shopping on Manhattan Ave and Irene was strolling by, (For those that don’t know Irene was an activist from at least the 1970’s, she’s 83 now and was one of the leaders that eventually got the Greenpoint Incinerator shut down.) I told her the story that “some one”, leaving Chris’ name out, who was running for political office was taking credit for the TGE battle. She raised her eyebrows only as Irene can and at the end I told her it was Chris and her brows went up another notch. …she told me this story about supporting Chris. Chris approached her for support on environmental issues and Irene asked, “but what did you do?” Chris answered, “I supported you.” I’ll leave it at that…

So there have you.

*For example, this other mailer we received today.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Dispatch From 400 McGuinness

As I indicated in an update on this post this “open house” was not, in fact, open to the general public. The reason for this given was (presumably to those who were turned away) that the email I received was incorrect and this was by invitation only. Go figure.

In any case, I know someone who was invited and she was kind enough to tell me a little about what came to pass. A lady named Laura writes:

Hi Heather!
I couldn’t attend the open house, but Mike did. The “open house” was not open to the public. It was by invitation only. Mike took notice that only two elected officials were represented at this open house.  Rami (Metal, Community Liaison for our City Councilman — Ed Note) attended for Steve Levin. And of course Lincoln (Restler — Ed. Note) attended.  No other elected officials attended or were represented. If it hadn’t been for Rami and Lincoln talking to the director, the people who showed up  wouldn’t have been able to get in. That’s including the local business owners. So they aren’t being community inclusive at all. In fact, since Meredith Hoffmann from DNAinfo was late, and didn’t have Lincoln or Rami with her, she couldn’t get in. She was waiting outside when the tour was over.

The things that stuck out to Mike were that this will be on average, a 21 day assessment facility, where clients come after they’ve been to the 30th & 1st intake center. After 21 days of being at 400 McGuiness, clients will be place in permanent shelters. There will be shuttle buses running for clients that will let them off at 21st in LIC, as to not “impact” the community. There will be an advisory board which folks can become part of, only by calling the main #(212) 803-5700 at BRC. You can provide your name and need to make reference to 400 McGuiness. Attached are the handouts that Mike received.

You can view these above-mentioned handouts by clicking here.

New York Shitty Day Ender: 239 Banker Street, Revisited…

August 19, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

possibly, probably for the final time.

Another day (August 19, 2012 to be specific), another move-in at 239 Banker Street.

Another day, another advertisement for the “Sweater Factory Lofts” on Craigslist.

I know what you’re thinking, gentle readers:

Why is this allowed to continue?

I have been long remiss in sharing the good news so here it is: what you have just seen is not a failure on, say, our municipal agencies and/or elected officials to defend the public’s interest/safety. It is a community organizing success story. You read me correctly: S-U-C-C-E-S-S. S-T-O-R-Y!

This I learned from none other than a Community Board 1 member who also happens to be a Community Organizer for an organization called “Neighbors Allied For Good Growth”.* She writes— after educating me on the specifics of Loft Law eligibility regarding landlords willing to “build out” (such units are eligible, as I learned) and I pointing out to her that by the time window allotted by the law alone 239 Banker does not qualify or Loft Law protection. I have taken the liberty of bold-facing my favorite passages.

It seems like everyone is waiting to see families (I thought they didn’t rent to those —Ed. Note)evicted onto the streets (again) and for these tenats to loose all sorts of cash (again). Filing the application protected these tenants from being further victimized. They arent stupid and can do the math. They understand that they dont qualify and they really dont need you to spell it out for them. However lame you may find it, the application will allow them leverage to get back deposits, gives them time to find new homes, and changes the script from them being victims in the scenario to having a voice in what goes down.

Let’s review/play Devil’s Advocate for a moment:

1. If I were able to afford an “apartment” to the sum of $2,700 – $3,200 a month (which is in my opinion a lot of money) methinks a little due diligence would be in order. A simple Google search reveals this building’s dubious history.

2. Hell, some disgruntled neighbor even noted this ON 239 Banker Street itself not too long ago (as seen at left).

3. But I suppose mistakes will be made— over and over— and that’s why we need “Community organizers”. Nevermind the fact tenants who can outlay the kind of money to reside in such a building can probably also afford to hire an attorney and file a class action suit.

But there I go again being “lame”. What’s worse, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Naturally, I was very intrigued by what this Community Organizer/Community Board 1 member had to say. Especially since she had an active hand in the Loft Law application in question:

i know who filed the app. Kinda goes with the territory of tenant organizer. It’s not easy to stop a slumlord. Spend one day in housing court or read the articles about the buildings we focused on for our tenant rights rally a couple of weeks ago and you will see all sorts of outrageous behavior. the slash and burn budgets of bloomberg dont help anything but it is more than just a city issue. dhcr — a state agency– has an average 2 year wait for a first hearing on an overcharge….

After informing this Community Organizer that I had, in fact, experienced some rather outrageous landlord behavior myself (over a $850/month apartment, no less, and have been to housing court) I pressed on:

If the applicant(s) knew what they were getting into was illegal; know they are ineligible for protection and you are bemoaning the fact our city agencies, the loft board among them— which has a 15 month backlog— why are you adding to the problem (e.g., filing this application in the first place)? This strikes me as being inconsistent. Is that 15 month window why the landlord “going along for the ride”? Just curious.

To wit I was informed:

they didnt know it was illegal when they signed the lease. filing the application was the only way to get them due process. it is also a great way to get the landlord into a city agency. the old tenants could never find him to serve him, etc. once a tenant files, there is no way for a landlord to stop the action–something this landlord tried to do. trust me, he doesnt want any rent stabilized tenants. in the end, you will probs end up with a hotel in that space….

…probs…

That’s my prob. This property was issued permits by the Department of Buildings under the ostensible purpose of it being a hotel. It didn’t exactly pan out that way.

Fifteen months to two years (possibly more) is a very long time— especially when a slew of elections are around the corner. And politicians will do anything for votes.

New York Shitty analysis:

1. Contrary to what this individual alleges, I do NOT want to see people thrown out on the street.
2. Rather, I (and I suspect a lot of folks who read this site) would have preferred to see this nipped in the proverbial bud. But it wasn’t.
3. Numerous complaints were filed about what was happening at 239 Banker Street and (other) Community Board members have brought it to the table both via correspondence and during public meetings. All to no avail.
4. This leads me to no other conclusion than other, higher forces are at work here. Not that I’m pointing fingers, mind you.

I’m not.

What this seemingly well-intentioned individual fails to comprehend is there is a flip-side to her “organizing”. Namely, that while protecting the interests of these tenants she is also basically enabling the landlord to go about “business as usual” (as clearly illustrated by the images gracing the beginning of this post).

Be it violating a Stop Work Order— repeatedly, dumping bricks into some neighbor’s backyard (and in so doing, destroying his barbecue grill) or real estate agents (acting on the behalf of the landlord/”management”, apparently) luring in more “victims” (her words, not mine) into leasing apartments in this quite illegal space. “Victims” who (apparently) need her assistance so as to become empowered.

Am I the only person who thinks this is total and utter bullshit? As a friend of mine recently opined:

Nothing refreshes disillusionment quite like ethics (or in this case, the law — Ed. Note) unequally applied.

Consider yours truly “refreshed”.

No amount of pointing out how utterly absurd this situation has become is going to change the fact the landlord(s) at this property have basically done whatever they wanted— for years— and have for all intents and purposes suffered no consequences for their actions.

I suppose I should simply drink the Kool Aid and see the glass half full:

Our public officials and municipal agencies charged with upholding the law and serving in the public’s interest did not fail. Rather, 239 Banker Street was (is) a stellar example of community organizing in north Brooklyn.

*Formerly known as Neighbors Allied Against Garbage.

  • NYS Flickr Pool

    Homeless JesusWilliam Wegman Dog MuralLove ConeBrownsvilleCanarsie PierMeat MarketAmerican & Puerto Rican FlagsFootprints
  • Ads