News From The Snow Globe Factory: VANDALISM!

June 30, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Or: Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

The last few days have been spent sealing snow globes, cleaning and organizing. When I left one snow globe unattended today— in the privacy of my own home— the unthinkable happened.

liberty NYS

It. Was. Vandalized. ONCE AGAIN: VANDALIZED!

We all know that graffiti is a problem in Greenpoint— but with HO scale people? This not only besmirched New York City’s name, but my fair community’s as well.  The Greenpoint Gazette has made this quite clear.  I certainly hope this was not captured on Google street view! I, as a citizen, will not stand for this shit.

BP aaron short BS

So I took a page from Tony Argento’s book and offered a bounty to my fellow citizens so as to apprehend the miscreant responsible. With a twist— and on a much more modest, pragmatic level.

If there’s one thing I have come to understand about “The Argentos” it is this; they are quite “generous” with campaign donations and local charitable organizations. I call this “spreading the fertilizer”. It makes the land “fertile” for whatever BS they plan to do— or have already done. CASE IN POINT:

denail

 

NYC BIS page 5

 

NYC BIS page 6

NYC BIS page 7

NYCBICpage9

But I do not have these kind of resources. So I asked myself:

What creature acts most like a politician/opportunist? Someone willing to say or do anything for the end result— moral scruples be damned— and CHEAP?

NYS

It did not take me long to figure it out: Katz CATS!

  • First I stole a dollar from the Mister’s wallet.
  • Secondly, I “infused” my ill-gotten gains with catnip.
  • Thirdly, so as to kick things off, I placed a little— LITTLE— catnip on the floor. Just enough for a taste. I was playing “benefactor”.

Sure enough, they fought over it.

Then I asked my question and waved a catnip-infused dollar.

This is how “politics” works in Greenpoint (and New York City). You can be a slumlord, operate an illegal waste trade business, get busted for it; owe the Internal Revenue Service over a half a million dollars in tax liens and owe $30,000 in fines to the Department of Buildings on one building alone— but as long as you donate “generously”, you will be a pillar of the community and your complaint about someone vandalizing your property to the extent of $8,000 whole dollars— will be taken seriously. Let’s take the following 94th Precinct Community Council meeting which came to pass in April 2013.

Even if you say “SB”. (Instead of BS— The following video is even better!)

wheres levin NYSNote: the Business Integrity Commission decision of which I included passages was issued the very next month! One has to admire that kind of bald-faced hypocrisy. Which brings me back to the video gracing the beginning of this post. It was shot on August 23, 2012. So, as Mr. Levin was extolling upon what great corporate citizens Gina and Tony are, they were busy operating an illegal waste trade business. In Greenpoint. Among other things. Do the math— and please read this. It is always refreshing  to see a City Councilman allocating money outside his own district. When one receives the largess of the Argentos, it comes with strings attached…

Intermediary Search Result GINA ARGENTO 1

 

strawe donorss page 2

But as you see below, gentle readers, it was money well spent!

EMAILnys

Update, July 1st 2014: Oh, how could I forget something a reporter from Crains recently brought to my attention!?!

lobbyistreport

Hmm…

P.S.: No animals were hurt during the filming of these videos. They just got really, seriously, stoned on catnip.

*Monica Holowacz is either an Office Assistant or owner of this company. Either way, I find it very, VERY difficult to believe she had the funds to make a $4,000 donation to Mr. DeBlasio’s campaign. This of course begs the question as to where this money really came from. Anyone?

Live From The ULURP Review Meeting: 77 Commercial Street Presents

Pretty Shot

Borough Of Brooklyn

Chris O Is In The House

Rami Is In The House

175 AMI

As promised, here comes the footage from last night’s hearing regarding 77 Commercial Street. Enjoy!

The public speaking session starts.

And the ostensible “Voice of Our Community”, Christopher Olechowski, is nowhere to be found.

No worries, there were plenty of citizens with something to say. Like one of north ‘Point’s foremost and formidable badasses: Laura Hofmann! You can read her statement here.

Clipper Equity? That sounds vaguely familiar

New York Shitty Day Starter: East River Ferry Service Resumes Today…

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

but not for Greenpoint!

 

Highlights From Community Board 1: Let’s Talk Trash

One of the more provocative parts of last week’s convocation— and there were quite a few, I assure you— were two ladies speaking on the subject of illegal garbage can holders.

More specifically: these garbage can holders. Behold the Community Board 1 action regarding them for yourselves, gentle readers (start at 7:28).

New York Shitty analysis:

1. Exactly what constitutes a “beautiful” garbage can holder? If there is in fact such a thing, it in the eye of the beholder.
2. While certainly nice, they are placed on public property (READ: the sidewalk). This is a big no-no.

As these ladies noted, their neighbor is obeying the law:

3. This is not to suggest I am not sympathetic to these ladies’s plight. I am. They brought up a very salient point: the developer of their respective properties did not consider trash collection when designing their respective condominiums. This is clearly a problem. One which should have been prevented at the “planning stage”. Which brings me to…

Yesterday I decided to see how 239 Banker Street’s illegal garbage fixture cum bicycle rack was faring.

Not only is it still there, but among the assorted detritus I found something of interest.

Not one but two boxes which formerly contained stoves. (For those of you who are not in the know, “estufa” means stove in Spanish. Somewhere my high school Spanish teacher is smiling!)  As you can see the powers that be behind this illegal conversion are scarcely concerned about getting caught. What’s more, I learned at last week’s proceedings why.

So there have you: fines are simply part and parcel of “doing business”. Given the “lofts” at 239 Banker Street are going for anywhere between $2,700 – $3,400 for 700 square foot (if that) of “living space” nowadays, well, it has become all too clear how effective these “penalties” have been as a deterrent against this landlord continuing to illegal legally lease out this property as residential space.

Yup.

In closing I will leave you, gentle readers, with the latest bit of “immaculate construction” I spied at 239 Banker Street.

As the screencap of a video I shot on June 3rd of this year indicates, what is now an “apartment” used to be a doorway.* But don’t take my word for it: view the video for yourself.

*For those of you who are wondering, this is perfectly in keeping with the plans for this “hotel”…

Plans: This is what a "hotel" looks like at 239 Banker Street

in 2009.

New York Shitty Day Ender: Greenpoint Halloween Watch

Those of you who were wondering where Chairman Chris’s brain was at this week’s Community Board meeting, no worries, I found it.

It’s on Humboldt Street. Note the nutritional content.

The Word On The Street: A Nassau Avenue Call To Action

Taken October 12, 2012.

239 Banker Street: $15,000 in Stop Work Order Fines & Counting!

October 3, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

I know what some of you are asking:

Why do you have such a big problem with 239 Banker Street?

Well, among other things:

1. Using the pretext of “Loft Law” protection (which was ostensibly put in place to preserve “our” artistic community) for “lofts” sporting stainless steel appliances and $2,700+ rent is laughable— and hypocritical.

2. Claiming that this measure protects “families” from being displaced, and the “Community Organizer” seemingly responsible for this loft law application seems to be under this impression, is wretchedly comical. From what I have been told, families are actually being steered away from this property (which is in and of itself illegal). What’s more, windows upon windows of identical “loft beds” do not exactly inspire confidence that this is a family friendly place.

3bunkbeds

Rather, it screams “college dormitory”.

3. Let us consider this complaint, shall we?

Had these fellows simply perused Craigslist they would know there’s plenty going on. No inspection required!

Methinks the better questions are:

  • Why was the above-listed advertisement for the former “Sweater Factory Lofts” listed as 245 Banker Street  as opposed to 239 Banker Street?
  • Why so many others have had a problem with 239 Banker Street?

(Those of you have patience and wherewithal can view the rest of this litany of complaints by clicking here.)

  • And why our City Councilman, who did not even reside in Greenpoint (or the 33rd City Council District for that matter) when this shit show started, saw fit to email me about it?

In closing, and for everyone’s edification, I have complied a photo set highlighting the immaculate construction of 239 Banker Street. Without further ado, here it is. Enjoy!

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: Presenting PollWatch

A lady named Alexis writes:

Hey Ms. Heather,

I thought you’d be interested in this awesome new app being developed for election day and beta tested tomorrow in Lincoln Restler’s race. We need to get the word out, and I thought NY Shitty readers (myself among them) would be just the target audience to take advantage of this 21st century solution to the antiquated election process which can turn off voters. Common Cause/NY (my client), really wants to engage people to use the crowd sourcing tool and help us perfect the technology for a full launch on November. We’re beta testing in only two races: Lincoln’s and the 31st Senatorial District in Upper Manhattan.

Here’s the deal: ordinarily I eschew pitching products on this site. However (and as we have all borne witness), the race between Mr. Restler and Mr. Olechowski is anything but ordinary. So what does this product do, you ask? Well here are two of the most interesting:

  1. Report any/all problems irregularities at polling stations.
  2. Learn where you polling station is located.

Those who are interested (or simply curious) can learn more about this app does by checking out this City Room article. Otherwise you can download this application by clicking here. Regardless, get out and vote tomorrow north Brooklynites!

Greenpoint Photo Du Jour: Men At Work

September 10, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This vision hails from none other than 239 Banker Street and was taken today, September 10, 2012.

Oh yeah, for those of you who are wondering this building still has a Stop Work Order on it.

 

239 Banker Street Craigslist Advertisement Du Jour

September 4th, 2012

You know what they say:

Here today, gone tomorrow.

This is doubly the case when it comes to the smash-jaw world of north Brooklyn Real Estate. For example: the latest advertisement posted by this fellow on September 7th:

As you can see:

  1. Greenpoint has been dispensed with altogether
  2. as has the wretchedly comical moniker “The Rustic House”.

Perhaps the latter is due to the fact this factory (which is firmly located in the 11222 zip code) was divested of bricks and other construction/demolition-related material September 6th? That would certainly make it less “rustic”. Regardless, this individual’s new angle is one of safety, luxury and of course: Williamsburg. I find this fascinating for a number of reasons. Follows are two:

1. A recent account from someone who inquired about one of these “apartments”:

I have viewed one of these units, cuz, you know, looking for 3 bedrooms I was cruising Craigslist and I was *very* bewildered when they came up. Oh. My. God. Even the realtor (first week on the job, just moved to NYC and is couch surfing) said “Yeah. I’m sorry. I don’t know why they said that. It’s not a 3 bedroom at all. And I wouldn’t bring a kid here, no way”

This sort of negates the safety argument— among other things.

2. I have previously noted a “Community Organizer” from NAG (Neighbors Allied For Good Growth) had some involvement in someone filing a Loft Law application for this property. It’s been my personal experience the most damning thing one can do to a hypocrite is to use his (or her) own words. So here it goes:

…NAG has been a big proponent of industrial retention and affordable housing. It is our goal to protect the little guy, both small manufacturing and loft tenants. We have advocated continuously for mixed use districting in our neighborhood, supporting standards that allow manufacturing and creative residences to share space safely and effectively.  Our neighborhood has the immense pressure of luxury housing constantly looming and we feel that the Loft Law expansion can help alleviate displacement of residents from the Greenpoint & Williamsburg community

Let’s take a very rational look at 239 Banker Street.

1. Exactly HOW is “organizing” residents, who were seemingly unaware of this property’s “history” (if said “organizer” is to be believed)— but are willing to pay $2,700- $3,300 a month in rent, going to realistically address the issue of “displacement” in Greenpoint is it actually exists? (Answer: It won’t.)

2. The above-listed advertisements purporting roof-top views, stainless steel appliances, etc., strike me as being amenities associated with “luxury” housing.

3. How does enabling the conversion of 239 Banker Street (and other properties like it) to become residential property by legislation (as opposed to going through our Community Board, of which the aforementioned “Community Organizer” is a member) help “the little guy”— be it an artist seeking an inexpensive place to work, a small business, mom and pop landlords or (especially) long term residents— the latter of whom made this community “safe” in the first place?  (Answer: it does not.)

4. The Certificate of Occupancy on file states it was (is?) a factory building. Sort of.

As you will note Job number 302260871 has been listed— but alas there is no Certificate of Occupancy available and/or on file. Here’s a synopsis:

NOTE:

  • This application was approved on July 21, 2008 but the permit was not issued until January 25th, 2011.
  • This application seeks to convert 239 Banker Street to J-1 Residential (Hotel).

Now let’s jump back to NAG’s Loft Law page (which states the revised requirements for Loft Law protection):

  • Three or more units in your building must have been put to residential use during any consecutive 12 month period from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009. (239 Banker does not qualify. NAG’s “Community Organizer” certainly made quite me aware of this fact.)
  • Some portion of your building must have previously been occupied for either manufacturing, warehousing, or commercial purposes. (239 Banker does qualify.)
  • Your building must currently lack a residential certificate of occupancy. (We’ll get to this shortly.)
  • Your unit must have at least one window opening to the street, a yard, or court. (I suspect this is why neighbors were complaining about bricks falling in their backyard and why bricks and other debris were hauled out of 239 Banker two days ago: these windows were being made.)
  • Your unit must be at least 550 square feet. (239 Banker’s “hotel rooms” are.)
  • Your unit cannot be located in a basement or cellar. (Inasmuch as I know none are at 239 Banker Street.)
  • Your unit cannot be in a building that, as of June 21, 2010, contained certain uses determined by the Loft Board to be incompatible with residential use. (Very, very vague. I’m guessing 239 Banker will pass.).

To wrap it all up: How can 239 Banker Street be taxed as a hotel (which it never has been) without a Certificate of Occupancy? That is a question for the New York City Department of Finance. As to why the present owners of 239 Banker Street have seemingly gotten away with little more than a slap on the wrist, perhaps that has something to do with the following?

Anyone care to guess who “He”  really is?

  • NYS Flickr Pool

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