From The New York Shitty Inbox: Trouble At The House Of Vans?

This week, dear readers, I have the honor of passing along a rather dubious Greenpoint first. Plenty of noise and quality of life complaints find their way to my inbox, to be certain— but regarding an establishment that is not technically open to the public yet? Well, this has indeed come to pass and the honoree of the hour is House of Vans. Anonymous writes:

As you probably remember, Vans (the skateboarding shoe company) took over that old Odwalla warehouse on Franklin next to Pop’s Popular Clothing at 25 Franklin. They had their grand opening Saturday night, and it was a mess. People parked illegally, people doubleparked, people parking their cars in the middle of the street, tons of honking as cabs & car services attempted to drop people off.

It was also very loud. I appreciate that there is no residential on any side of them, but the space clearly has no kind of insulation or soundproofing. We could hear the bass in our living room with the windows closed.

The biggest issue was kids who were congregating on the street corners near us afterward. But there’s nothing they can really do about that and I don’t expect them to, but a “Please respect our neighbors as you make your way home” wouldn’t kill them.

What I’d like to see from Vans for future large events of this nature:
–Have a security guard out front directing traffic and dealing with cabs and pickups/dropoffs. Everyone seemed to arrive in a cab or car service. It’s not that far away from public transportation and it was a nice night. And these were skaters?!
–Check the volume down the block in the residential area; if it’s too loud, drop it to 11 please

I have no objections to this being a skatepark. In fact, I think it’s a great reuse of a building. I don’t even have objections for it being used for the occasional live event. I would, however, like to know how many of these large loud parties they plan on holding each year. The Vans spokesperson described it as “a hub for doing grassroots skate events”* but it didn’t look that grassroots to me on Saturday night.

Funnily enough I cannot find anything about 25 Franklin St. on DOB BIS. Says it is not a valid address. doesn’t have it either. Curious about permits. You understand.

I for one am curious as to what the FDNY would have to say about this. Obviously if this warehouse is going to be repurposed as a public venue it will have to be complaint with fire code. If anyone reading this has an expertise in this respect I would love to hear from you be it via comments or email at: missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. In addition, I would think a Place of Assembly permit may be in or order— or at the very least an amended Certificate of Occupancy. Finally (and in closing)— taking into consideration what my tipster observed last Saturday in regards to traffic, double parking, etc. and the fact Kent Avenue has less traffic capacity— I have to wonder how these events are going to impact the surrounding residential community in terms of vehicular congestion. In my opinion the outlook isn’t very good.

Miss Heather

UPDATE, 10/21/10 3:36 p.m.: I have received an email from a very nice chap from Vans. You can look forward to a follow-up post (about this missive) in the near future!

*E.g.; (according this site)

  • 25,000 square feet; 15,000 indoors and 10,000 sq. ft outdoor enclosed patio and skate plaza
  • raised indoor flowing concrete bowl with numerous contours, shapes, banks & transitions
  • outdoor skate plaza with steps and railings
  • permanent, removable professional stage, lighting and sound system
  • performer “green room”
  • installed custom art by Mike Giant
  • will serve as Vans’ East Coast marketing headquarters with two full time employees at launch
  • home to Vans’ East Coast touring RV


8 Comments on From The New York Shitty Inbox: Trouble At The House Of Vans?

  1. Will on Wed, 20th Oct 2010 7:25 pm
  2. wow, 25k sq ft space and they managed to employ two whole people?

  3. missheather on Wed, 20th Oct 2010 7:25 pm
  4. Yeah. I wonder how many guys Odawalla employed? I’m going to go out on a limb and say more than two.

  5. Seth on Thu, 21st Oct 2010 9:42 am
  6. A company that employs thousands worldwide and has had an significant impact on a lot of people’s live invests a few million dollars into your neighborhood, and all you can do is complain and try to get it in trouble with big brother? Knowing Vans and their holding company Vanity Fair, there is no doubt that they did this the right way with the proper permits and fire inspections. If you actually took a look inside, you would have seen an extremely professional and organized event. Get a life, instead of crying about other people doing things that improve your community, do something yourself.

  7. Seth on Thu, 21st Oct 2010 9:49 am
  8. Sorry, typo with the ‘an’, supposed to be ‘a significant impact’

  9. a neighbor on Thu, 21st Oct 2010 11:14 am
  10. Fine, Seth, since you work there, how about organizing an open house for neighbors so we can see the inside? That party was a PRIVATE party, entrance by invitation only and enforced by many large bouncers. How is someone supposed to “actually take a look inside”?

    Secondly, I don’t define getting people to wear trendy & fashionable clothing as “having a significant impact on people’s lives”.

    The post said that they welcomed the skatepark. If you knew anything about the neighborhood, which you obviously don’t, Mr. Person Who Works At Vans In Some Capacity, you would know that the area your building is in has had a real problem with people getting correct permits. Lack of permits impacts people’s lives.

    Finally, Miss Heather is a neighborhood activist already and has been for many years before your company decided to grace us with its presence. A little reading comprehension on this site would have tipped you off to that.

  11. missheather on Thu, 21st Oct 2010 11:19 am
  12. Millions of dollars of investment and only two full time jobs created (to replace whatever jobs— and probably union ones at that— were lost when Odwalla left) hardly strikes me as being an investment in our community.

  13. Seth on Sat, 23rd Oct 2010 8:33 pm
  14. 1. I don’t work for Vans. I am an entrepreneur who personally employs 35-50 people depending on the season.
    2. There are plenty of pictures floating around online to see what the place looks like.
    3. Vans has an impact on people’s lives because they employ thousands and, at least for skateboarders, have made a significant impact on their lives and culture.
    4. I have a problem with overzealous HOAs, busybodies, and code enforcement agencies who do nothing but get into other people’s business.
    5. As far as job creation goes, sure Vans may not employ a lot of people at this specific location, however the marketing power of it will grow their business, which in turn grows their employment base worldwide. Would you really want to live in a society where we give preference to private ownership of commercial space based on the number of people the owners will employ there?

    Also, as an aside, Miss Heather why are union jobs more valuable than non union jobs? Are non-union members less valuable to society?

  15. Seth on Mon, 25th Oct 2010 12:59 am
  16. Looking back, I apologize for coming on here as a troll stirring up the pot. I still think its wrong to try and get someone in trouble by looking for code violations and to complain about a private entity’s job creation over another which left voluntarily, but I came about it the wrong way. I look forward to your update.

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