Breaking In Williamsburg: BUSTED!
I have just received word that 112 North 6 Street (AKA: Zip112) has been vacated by the Department of Buildings for being an illegal hostel. Apparently there were up to sixteen people living in each “apartment”, no sprinkler systems were in place and there was no means of “second egress”, e.g.: fire escapes. My buddy over at Brooklyn 11211 has some interesting things to say about this development. You can read ’em by clicking here.
UPDATE, March 28, 7:59 p.m.: It would appear there was not one, but two hostels operating at this location. Zip112 has been allowed to continue operation. Aaron Short has the full run-down here.
UPDATE, 5:16 p.m.: Here’s an update/statement of Assemblyman Joe Lentol’s office.
Northside Williamsburg Building Evacuated for Being Illegal (and dangerous) Hostel and a Fire Hazard
Assemblyman Joe Lentol has just learned that a building in his district, at 112 North 6th street is currently being evacuated by the FDNY and the buildings department for being an illegal hostel. Also on site are the Office of Emergency Management and the Red Cross. According to information given to Assemblyman Joe Lentol’s office the building is zoned commercial but had been divided into 12 apartments with up to 16 people living in each apartment for a potential capacity of 192 people. Lentol’s office was also told that there were no fire escapes or sprinkler system and no secondary exit should an emergency arise.
“My heart goes out to the people affected by this and I am very relieved to hear that emergency services and the red cross are available to them. My office is as well,” the assemblyman added. “We are going to do everything we can to help the people affected and to ensure these things don’t happen in the future. I intend to work with the city and my colleagues in state government to find ways to improve the system to try to prevent this to the best of our abilities.”
“This type of situation, where people are being kicked out on the street, should not be allowed to occur in the first place. Its simply unacceptable. I never want to see people on the street in my district. I am very glad that the Department of Buildings is stepping in to ensure that everyone is safe going forward but I think we need to be asking ourselves how did it get to this point?”
“This is certainly not the first time people have been put out on the street because they find out that the landlord doesn’t have the proper zoning or safety requirements for what he is renting out. The other day a constituent told me that his real estate agent told him he could also live in the building he was buying to operate a business. He found out she was wrong. If he hadn’t checked for himself, he could have ended up on the street for violating the zoning and also lost a lot of money.”
“It points to a larger problem where too often the owners or the renters of buildings are trying to do things, or are being told by real estate agents that they can do things, on a wink and a nod and the people living there get the short end of the stick. In some cases the risk is monetary, in some of these cases of serious fire hazards they are risking much more”
“For some time now, my office has been trying to look at ways that we can try to remove the guesswork from the system so that when you move into a building you know what you can and cannot do with it, you know whether the owner has a certificate of occupancy, you know the legal situation of where you are living, so that we can avoid this,” said Lentol. “This situation the perfect example of why we need to do that. It put peoples lives in real danger. That cannot happen again.”
“I always believe in prevention first, but now that we are in this situation, I will be sure to work the Mayors office to help everyone involved. And then we focus on learning from our mistakes.”
UPDATE, 10:22 p.m.: It would appear the New York Post is on the story. I’m happy one of my commenters could be of assistance. Who needs to do research when they sit on their ass, surf the Interwebs and get it for free?