Spotted At 239 Banker Street: Signs Of Habitation

March 21, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Taken March 21, 2012.

New York Shitty Day Starter: Great Moments of Real Estate Hyperbole

March 5, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Wow, WTF 

(Or: The “Hart” of Greenpoint)

There is real estate insanity and then there is real estate insanity. This apartment, located at the immensely bucolic intersection of Green Street and Manhattan Avenue, has a manifold number of advertisements on Craigslist. But by far this one was the most imaginative (hence why I decided it merited mention). Nothing says “luxury” like a toilet ready, willing and able to do its duty  juxtaposed against a tropical paradise (which Greenpoint, my beloved home, is decidedly not). Citing the G train as an enticement is rather dubious as well. The previous having been written, here are the rest.

All these listings are purportedly  “by owner”. Damn.

P.S.: Lest any of you, dear readers, are wondering why I was looking at apartment advertisements on Craigslist in this draconian price bracket I’ll tell you. I had the pleasure of bumping into yet another group of people waiting to view “apartments” at 239 Banker Street this weekend! Here’s what one had to say afterward:

Hi Heather. Thanks, again, for the heads up on the shady business at Banker St. today. The apartment had very bad craftsmanship and the only elevator in the building was a scary freight elevator that had a sign stating it was unlawful for any person other than the operator to ride in the elevator…the guy renting out the spaces is named Saul (917-549-XXXX) and he’s got them listed multiple times on craigslist. We’re obviously going to pass on that building but we really loved the area. Do you have any tips/leads on finding an apartment around there? I’d appreciate any help you could offer!

I have tendered my advice to this (incredibly nice) person. If any of you, dear readers, have tips/advice as well please share them via comments or via email at missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. This having been written, it would appear Saul’s advertisements regarding 239 Banker Street have since disappeared into the ether. No worries, I found this…

and this.

 

Now At 39 Meserole Avenue: The Factory Building

February 14, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Yes gentle readers, it would appear the place formerly known as the Sweater Factory Lofts is not only continuing its brave endeavor to press a transient hotel into service as residential space, but now it has a new address, new name and these will set you back an additional $700.00 plus a month! The newly christened Factory Lofts listing on Street Easy (as seen above) can be perused by clicking here. Please do take a moment to give this a read. Follows is a sample of the ad copy which awaits your delectation:

The lofts at The FACTORY BUILDING are made for unique individuals. Each loft apartment remains different, and there are endless opportunities to divide, reimagine and design your own personal space. Yes, we’ve thrown in new amenities to make sure that you’re living in modern comfort, but how you decide to live is up to you. These are raw, chic spaces ready for you to make your mark.
Another huge perk of The FACTORY BUILDING lofts is the preservation of old windows from when the building was a factory. Come for a viewing on a bright day. Sunlight pours through the windows and adds a wonderful aura to the spaces. We’ve reinsulated and reinstalled all apartment fixtures, so you get old world ambiance with new improvements.

These words struck me as being eerily familiar. After a little research I discovered why:

It is the same exact ad copy used to pitch the Sweater Factory Lofts in 2009! And of course we all know what came of “old world ambiance meets new improvements” that time around…

 Caveat emptor, apartment hunters.

New York Shitty Day Starter: 239 Banker Street, Continued

January 12, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

As yesterday’s “Day Ender”  suggests there were clear signs of (yet more) activity at 239 Banker Street. More specifically: there were not one, not two, but THREE young men waiting to be shown apartments therein. I know this because I asked them. Not wishing to see these nice fellows ending up on the street like their predecessors, I gave them a warning— and my card. I asked them to tell me what they saw. Guess what? One did! Via comments in the previously-mentioned post:

I’m actually one of the young gentlemen photographed above, and I got the opportunity to view the apartments within this afternoon.

We specifically asked the realtor whether the building was residentially zoned and he lied to our faces. When we pointed to the fluttering pennants affixed to the light posts in front of the building which read “Greenpoint Industrial Zone”, he told us that they were old and that the zoning has been changed. There seemed to already be several units which were occupied on the third floor where the heating was on, but the second floor was freezing cold and seemed to be generally still under construction.

Fascinating!

New York Shitty Day Ender: 239 Banker Street*

January 11, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Yup.

*Both photos taken today, January 11th, 2012.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Apartments For Rent At 239 Banker?

January 8, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

An anonymous tipster writes:

Hello Heather,

I’ve been apartment hunting in Greenpoint and responded to this Craigslist ad about a “newly converted warehouse”:

http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/abo/2786376022.html

The agent set up a showing with me today, and told me to meet her at the corner of Meserole and Franklin. When I arrived, she was 10 minutes late, so I called her phone and she told me to come meet her outside of 239 Banker.

Well I know quite a bit about 239 Banker, thanks to your blog. And I couldn’t resist going in and having a look-see.

I asked the agent whether this is the same building where all the tenants were forced out because the building was unsafe/illegal. She tried dodging the question at first but eventually conceded that it was in fact the same building. I then asked her if the building was still owned by the same guy, and whether it was up to code/legal. She assured me it was and that he had fixed all of those issues.

She showed me a number of units on the 4th floor, all priced between $3000 for a moderately-sized studio loft up to $3300 for a larger loft, and apparently all prices are negotiable. In fact when I told her I’d looked at a different loft building on Kent (59 Kent), she pressed me for details on how much they were charging for units there.

I’d say the units seem semi-habitable. Some looked as though they’d recently been spruced up, most did not yet have any appliances, and the laundry rooms did not have any machines in them. One unit still had evidence of the old tenants- a makeshift lofted space still intact, and some artwork left sitting above the kitchen cabinets.

One unit I looked at literally had a hole in the brick wall about the size of a baseball that went straight through to the outdoors. I joked that perhaps there were squirrels living in the unit. The agent did not seem amused.

Many of the floors showed signs of water/environmental damage. They were uneven in many units, and peeling up in others. It’s actually quite sad, because the space could be very nice. The original details are great, and the square footage of the units are pretty well-sized.

Anyways, I thought I’d let you know because I’m VERY curious to know if 239 Banker is legally habitable. Regardless, I won’t be renting there given the history of the building.

To address Anonymous’s question, the answer is an emphatic NO.

239 Banker Street is located in an Industrial Business Zone. Curiously enough, hotels are permissible in such areas (take the proliferation of such establishments on the Northside, for example). Residential property, however, is not. The owners of 239 Banker Street could seek a zoning variance through our local Community Board to make this arrangement legal. (They haven’t.) They can also file paperwork with the Department of Buildings to “convert” this manufacturing property into residential. This they tried…

and it was declined. Inasmuch as I can ascertain work has been conducted on this property without the auspices of any applicable permits whatsoever. Peruse the permits on file and see for yourself. This just goes to show if something strikes you as being amiss about an apartment you are viewing, gentle readers, it is best to go with those instincts (and consult the Department of Buildings’s Building Information System).

Caveat emptor, apartment shoppers.

UPDATE, January 9, 2012: It would appear this tome has come to the attention of a former resident. Here’s what he/she has to say:

Hilarious! Those pictures (well, two of them) are of my former pad pre-vacate order.

Classy.

UPDATE, January 9, 2012; 5:40 p.m.: A tipster found these units listed on Street Easy.

He/she writes:

FYI

All units are up on street easy as available.  I started a discussion at the bottom.  Good looking out.

While this is clearly a listing from the previous owner, it is informative nonetheless. In 2009 these “units” went for $2,100 plus. Three years later you can have the luxury of living in this illegal apartment building at the starting price of $3,000 a month! Nice.

P.S.: In the event the above-mentioned apartment advertisement is removed by Craigslist, you can view a screencap of it by clicking here. Do give it a read. Your truly’s favorite passage is as follows:

Several units to choose from at this point! Some are complete 2 or 3 bedrooms while other are beautiful open spaces.

One has to admire this rather artful spin on an illegal (and unfinished) apartment building. And yes, there are plenty of units to choose from after a building has been, say, vacated by the Department of Buildings for conditions imminently perilous to human life. Genius!

From The New York Shitty Inbox: What’s Up At 259 Banker Street?

August 17, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

I have received a number of inquiries regarding this property. Follows are a few so you, gentle readers, can get the gist:

Hey Heather,

If you get a chance, take a look at the current partial stop work order on 259 Banker.  I was out of town, and am not sure entirely what happened but my upstairs neighbor has been on them like a rabid dog in the past couple of weeks.

She also told me they filed for, and were granted, a cabaret license for their “artist’s studio” but I didn’t have time to find any verification of that myself. She said she was able to find via the paper trail that they have spent over $200,000 on renovations that sound suspiciously like the renovations you’d make to a nightclub.

Maybe the artist living there is only doing so temporarily and was actually planning all along to make it back into a (legal) club? It sounds very, very familiar to me, although this time, they might actually have all the permits in place….

…a stop work order has been issued on this property but there are still doing work I believe they are making this a club again it is zoned industrial only no living

…Just some info a stop work order was issued at this same address recently yet work continues with no care for neighbors in the area or there safety.  This is a indutrial zone area we do not want another studio b it seems thats what is going to happen here

Here’s the deal…

Inasmuch as I can ascertain 259 Banker Street has been issued two permits. One is for a curb cut (Yes, this exciting stuff!). The other, as seen above, is for changing the occupancy of the second floor to an “eating and drinking establishment” and joining it with the first floor. To my knowledge neither a liquor license nor a cabaret license has been applied for. NOTE: both of the previous have to undergo a hearing via the Public Safety Committee of our local community board. Thus far I have seen no mention of 259 Banker Street on their agenda (which can be found online at Community Board 1’s web site). This does not mean the owner of this property does not plan to convert this space into some facsimile of its predecessor, Studio B, it simply means either he/she has not filed the paperwork yet or it has not matriculated through the system. The previous having been written, if/when I see this property on their docket I will post all the details on this site. As for the Stop Work Order…

Make that Partial Stop Work Order.

This was issued for debris falling into an adjacent property. As you can see this has been partially rescinded so the construction company can (ostensibly) erect some kind of scaffolding/protection for its afflicted neighbor. This may or may not be happening because…

another complaint has been filed for ongoing construction despite a Stop Work Order. As you can see, no construction activity was noted.

This is all I know (and probably can be known) at this time. For the time being here’s my advice for the folks who have contacted me (or anyone in a similar such situation):

  1. Email ALL complaints to our/your local community board. Be sure to include any all complaint numbers and general description of what happened/is happening. The email address for Community Board 1 is: bk01@cb.nyc.gov
  2. Watch the agendas for the Public Safety Committee. Any and all liquor license and cabaret license applications (the latter, I will note, are very rare) will find their way there before being issued.

I hope this has been helpful— or at least informative!

UPDATE, August 18, 2011: I have been contacted by the person residing at 259 Banker! We are in going to meet next week so he can tell me what’s going on!

Miss Heather

 

 

 

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: Live From 400 McGuinness Boulevard

August 16, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

After seemingly being dormant for a few weeks 400 McGuinness, the site of a proposed 200 bed assessment center for single homeless men, is abuzz with activity! As you can see there is not a dumpster on the premises so the sidewalk has been pressed into service. My tipster was rather displeased by this and has vowed to file a 311 complaint. Note: the gentle removal of fiber glass insulation in the last image.

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Photo du Jour: 239 Banker Street

July 31, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

It would appear the mysterious resident (caretaker?) of 239 Banker Street has installed a second air conditioner.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: St. Elias Revisited

April 7, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Bloomblight, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Some of you might recall that last month I got word that the cross gracing St. Elias was showing signs of instability. Well, it has since been removed and a chap named Don has the scoop as to how this came to pass. He writes:

Miss Heather:
First – Love your blog, I read it religiously! Just thought I’d send you a quick follow-up picture to one of your posts back on March 29th about the church on Kent Street (http://www.newyorkshitty.com/greenpoint-goodness/?p=57333). Turns out the FDNY was there on Sunday removing the cross.
Um, isn’t the landlord’s responsibility to maintain his/her property?
In any case, the Department of Buildings failed to see a problem so I find this development curious to say the very least.

Miss Heather

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