Today’s Moment Of Greenpoint Real Estate Insanity: Special 239 Banker Street Edition

May 22, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Wow, WTF 

239banker5222013You can probably imagine, gentle readers, the recent decision regarding a fellow renting out his apartment (condominium, actually) via Airbnb was of great interest to yours truly. Not that I had to search for it, mind you. Yesterday I awakened in yet another morning episode of allergy hell to find reporting on the subject on my Facebook page and inbox. It’s nice to know people care.

And on that note I am going to pass the love forward to my friends at 239 Banker Street. Today I had a thought while walking by this edifice/poster child for Loft Law abuse. It was as follows:

Gee, wouldn’t it be funny if this building— which was converted from industrial/commercial use to housing illegally— under the pretext of being permissible as a hotel— had a listing on AirBnb (now that it has been established that AirBnb is illegal in our fair city)?

Well, grab hold of your Shit Tits fellow Garden Spotters— it does! What’s more, it is was very easy to discern. Before I proceed, I’d like share to take a moment to share Airbnb’s “response” to the recent court decision (once again, from Gawker):

This decision runs contrary to the stated intention and the plain text of New York law, so obviously we are disappointed. But more importantly, this decision makes it even more critical that New York law be clarified to make sure regular New Yorkers can occasionally rent out their own homes. There is universal agreement that occasional hosts like Nigel Warren were not the target of the 2010 law, but that agreement provides little comfort to the handful of people, like Nigel, who find themselves targeted by overzealous enforcement officials. It is time to fix this law and protect hosts who occasionally rent out their own homes. 87 percent of Airbnb hosts in New York list just a home they live in — they are average New Yorkers trying to make ends meet, not illegal hotels that should be subject to the 2010 law.

Well, given what I have learned recently, we have an exceptional lot of New Yorkers in Greenpoint. Sure, they’re trying to make ends “meet”— but are they home owners? No they are not. Meet “Joseph”. One of the 13%.

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room1

This “average” New Yorker is not only a fashion/celebrity photographer, but he has a rather snazzy profile photo and by all appearances resides at 239 Banker Street.

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The “giveaway”? Well for starters the buildings gracing “Joseph’s” (AirBnb certified) “rooftop view”: Pop’s Clothing and House of Vans respectively. Here’s an alternate view from 7 Franklin Street (“Pop’s”) courtesy of Google Maps:

7franklinstreetGooglemaplookingeasthilitedNYS

I have highlighted 239 Banker Street. But wait, there’s more! “Joseph” has done all the homework for me— albeit unintentionally— via a second listing on AirBnb!

BUSTED

Busted!

To recap:

  1. The owners of 239 Banker Street were granted permits to convert this manufacturing/commercial building into a hotel. This is perfectly legal given it is located in an Industrial Business Zone.
  2. Instead, the owners converted it into residences and leased it as such. For $2,100- $2,200 a month.
  3. 239 Banker Street was vacated by the Department of Buildings for conditions hazardous to said residents.
  4. Under new “ownership” 239 Banker is rented out once again as residential lofts. This time for substantially more money.
  5. I raise hell.
  6. I receive an email from my City Councilman regarding the matter. I blog it.
  7. A Loft Law application, however inapplicable it may be presently, is filed.
  8. And now we have a legally-sanctioned hotel converted illegally into residences which, in turn, one resident is illegally employing his apartment as a hotel via AirBnb. Ostensibly to “make ends meet”.

Wouldn’t it have simply been better/easier if this property was a hotel in the first place?

Priceless

(Priceless)

Today In Real Estate Insanity: How To Live In Greenpoint For Under $1,000/Month

apartmentwanted

umnothanksYours truly has developed quite a fixation on AirBnb lately. This is not simply due to the lawsuit unfolding either. Rather, the Mister and I had the pleasure of having a trio of miscreants walk into our apartment at 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. The leader of this group announced that they were here from AirBnb and tried to hand his luggage to the Mister (who was still in his pajamas). The landlord (who had no knowledge this was going on) was called. I searched AirBnb for the listing, found it, took screengrabs and sent them to landlord. Let’s just say this did not go over well.

In any case, parsing through ~450 listings for Greenpoint (and being awakened by one’s husband rolling out more f-bombs in 2 minutes than I have ever heard him utter— much less yell— in 10+ years will motivate one to do this kind of thing) made me aware that this is a pervasive practice. I am surprised? No, not really. Still, it is wretchedly comical on occasion— especially when compared to the solicitation which graces the beginning of this post. CASE IN POINT:

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But wait folks— there’s more…

COZY!

Much more— like what the fuck is up with the slide?

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No worries, the “host” of these digs gives full disclosure:

Hello Traveler,

I’m an Artist living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I share my 3 bedroom Classic Artist’s Loft with travelers from Airbnb. I am respectful, kind and accommodating. I am seeking the same out of you! This is a fairly large apartment, it’s spacious feeling even when everyone is home. I have been very lucky and met amazing people through this service. Much of my furniture was custom made by the artist Jean-Marie Mauclet of JEMA Design and all my lighting is eco-friendly LED’s.

You are welcome to stay in my guest loft. This is a great short-term space for the budget traveler that does not require much privacy. If this space is booked, you are looking for a longer stay or need more privacy check out my “Private Room in Classic Loft” or “Brite Room in Classic Artist’s Loft.” Both are just as cool, better for long stays and have more privacy! The “Cozy Loft” is built above the door in the main living area. When at home, I tend to hang out in my bedroom on my computer or on the roof when the weather is nice. The weekends can be a bit livelier, but not by much! I will provide clean sheets for your double-bed and warm blankets if needed. I also have plenty of storage space if you should need it. Under the loft I have a wardrobe just for your use with plenty of drawers and a place to lock up your computer or other small valuables if you are concerned. The loft is relatively private, comfortable and clean. However, it is not great for couples seeking a romantic vacation or anyone who needs absolute silence to sleep. It has the unusual entrance and exit of an industrial slide. It is not particularly challenging to use, but can be a problem If you are a bit tipsy from going on a pub crawl in the neighborhood, uncoordinated or tired.

My Artist’s Loft is located on the top floor on a quiet street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This is a very safe and friendly part of Brooklyn to visit. I have a manually operated freight elevator that is off limits (* Ed. note) but can be used to transport heavy items if you require. I have fantastic roof access with beautiful views of the New York Skyline. Bring your lap top computer and connect to my WiFi. If you sit in the right space you can enjoy the WiFi in the open air on the roof.

The Franklin Ave (Street — Ed. Note) shops, restaurants and bars are just around the corner. The closest Subway station is the Greenpoint Ave G, also in walking distance is the Bedford Ave L and the Vernon Blvd 7. By subway, I am located 25 minutes from Union Square, 26 minutes from Times Square, 30 minutes from Central Park, 38 minutes from Tribeca and 25 minutes from the East Village. The B61 and B43 bus stop is only a block away and very helpful when weather is uncomfortable. JFK is one hour away by public transport and LGA is 25 minutes away by Cab. Get Ready for your “morning slide!”  I look forward to meeting you. – (excised)

cosynest

So what do members of AirBnb’s “community” have to say? See for yourself. Reading is believing!

reviews

By all appearances —and until recently yours truly lived on the block in question for ten years— these cozy accommodations appear to hail from 125 Green Street. What’s more, Google backs me up!

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The funny thing is NAG (formerly Neighbors Allied Against Garbage, now Neighbors Allied For Good Growth) tried to organize this building. Under the pretext that such industrial spaces cum artists space preserved the “artistic integrity” of the community.

Confused About The Loft Law?

One year later, there is neither a Loft Law application— nor Certificate of Occupancy for this property for that matter. But it has a cozy loft available for $975.00 a month. 

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Slide on!

P.S.: The front door of this artists’ abode has Freddy Mercury on it.

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Awesome. Totally awesome.

Spotted At St. Cyril’s & Methodius: Stop Work Order

May 5, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

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SWO

It would appear that the residential conversion of the former St. Cyril’s and Methodius School has hit a snag in the way of a Stop Work Order.

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Given work has been conducted on this site for some time, I find the reason stated (as seen above) rather odd. Is it just me or is the Department of Buildings being a mite more “vigilant”  (if selectively so) hereabouts than usual?

Quicklink: Get To The ‘Point!

March 15, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, WTF 

NYpoScreencapBack in January, Dave Maundrell, president of aptsandlofts.com, hosted an open house for the building he was unveiling — a modest, 7,100-square-foot affair at 48 Box St. in Greenpoint, consisting of six condos.

“All the two-bedrooms were from $650,000 to $700,000,” says Maundrell. A 1,463-square-foot three-bedroom was asking $1.03 million.

Of course, such condo prices are not so unusual in the adjoining upscale Williamsburg. But Greenpoint has always been plagued by the lack of subway options (the nabe’s infamous G line doesn’t go through Manhattan) and somewhat tired housing stock.

But you’d never know it if you were at Maundrell’s open house — 250 people crowded in to look at the six units on offer.

“We basically sold out the first night marketing,” says Maundrell, adding, “everything above ask.” …I moved there with my family almost 10 years ago, exactly,” says Alan Hill*, who bought a townhouse on Java Street. Back then, Greenpoint “seemed more family-friendly and more affordable,” than other Brooklyn neighborhoods.

“There’s been a complete revival of Franklin Street,” says Hill, referring to the artery running parallel to the waterfront. “When we [moved in], the street was truly desolate — there was a bar on one end, a cafe on the other, and nothing in between.”

(you can read this tome in its entirety here)

There are a number of reasons your truly found this tome fascinating. Firstly, you have the rendering the authors of this tome elected to use. It hails from McGuinness Boulevard. I can assure you, gentle readers, 48 Box Street looks nothing like this. It is much, much uglier (which is probably why the Post elected to roll with something else). In fact, I’d go so far as to say 48 Box Street is Greenpoint Ugly! Then of course there is the checkered history of 48 Box to consider. No mention is made of this. Read ’em and weep!

  • http://www.newyorkshitty.com/greenpoint-goodness/3691
  • http://www.newyorkshitty.com/greenpoint-goodness/40517
  • http://www.newyorkshitty.com/greenpoint-goodness/3902

And oh yeah: did I mention that this building still does not have a Certificate of Occupancy?

DOBBIS48box3162013

Whoops.

*Au contraire, Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn Board Member**/home-owner, Mr. Hill! Franklin Street was not “desolate”. Businesses were located there and people were employed by them. They were simply not businesses which cater to you.

**It costs a couple grand to have this sinecure.

Spotted At 120 South 4 Street: Work

February 27, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11211, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn, WTF 

120south4d

120south4c

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As my previously blogged bit of zen courtesy of 646 Manhattan Avenue would suggest, today was filled with many an interesting discovery! This was certainly the case when I walked by 120 South 4 Street and saw men at work. More specifically, they were installing windows. I found this interesting for a number of reasons. Foremost among them:

DOBBIS120south4HAZMAT

this property has a standing Stop Work Order on it. Not that the owners of this property seemed to be terribly troubled about this technicality, mind you. Why should they be? They have amassed a litany of unpaid ECB fines and no real, substantive action has been taken.

penalties120south4nys,

Anyone care to do the math?

UPDATE, March 3, 2013:

It would appear that the Department of Building’s Emergency Response Team paid this site a visit the next day!

BUSTED!

Naturally I had to bring this to my Community Board’s attention:

Email to Community Board 1

Update, March 4, 2013: Not only did I get a response from Community Board 1, but apparently they have received other complaints as well. They’re on it!

P.S.: Last October a man was found stabbed to death in this building. You can read about this gruesome and sad turn of events here. Be sure to take a moment to look through all the photos.

Four months later

In so doing, gentle readers, you’ll quickly ascertain that 120 South 4 Street has acquired quite a few new windows in the last four months.

P.S.#2: Here is something that might be illuminating regarding what constitutes a HAZMAT site.

Greenpoint Photo Du Jour: What Is Wrong With This Picture?

February 27, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Wow, WTF 

646manhattan

I spied the above bit of hilarity this afternoon while waiting for the bus. Curiosity piqued, I looked up this building on the Department of Buildings database. What I discovered was interesting.

DOBBIS646manave

Sure enough, complaints have been lodged regarding this property. As the lattermost item indicates, the Department of Building’s Emergency Response Team paid this edifice a visit January 4, 2013. No “construction activity” was noted. The fact there is a door (replete with a lock, no less) where one usually expects to find a window seems to be missed as well. Or maybe it wasn’t? North Brooklyn is funny that way!

planrejected

 

Follows is the most relevant permit issued by the Department of Buildings to the owner of this property.

permitissued

 

Perhaps the Emergency Response Team should pay another visit?

Williamsburg Street Art Du Jour: Bedford Avenue

February 12, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11211, Street Art, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

captainbaby

Taken February 12, 2013.

Greenpoint Photo Du Jour: Moving Day

February 10, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

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I was unable to ascertain whether this moving truck was in the hire of a new or soon-to-be former resident. Nonetheless, it serves as a good opportunity as any to note someone has lodged a complaint regarding the elevator at this residence…

DOBBIS239banker

 

45 days ago. Fascinating…

New York Shitty Feral Mattress Watch: Special Bloomblight Edition

November 13, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11211, Bloomblight, Feral Furniture, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

This ad hoc loft bed hails from Havemeyer Street.

P.S.: Those of you who are curious as to exactly what happened here can get the 411 by watching this video.

Spotted On McGuinness Boulevard: More Bloomblight

October 30, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Bloomblight, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists please take note some of the traffic and crosswalk signals at McGuinness Boulevard (such as this one at Java Street) are not working. Be safe and look out for each other, Greenpointers!

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