From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: Angry At Alma

January 31, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11211, Criminal Activity, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

Today was designated by yours truly to be a quiet day at Chez Shitty doing housework. As is usually the case, this has been rendered totally asunder by a proliferation of very angry emails from my fellow citizens. Take this missive from D, for example. He writes:

Heather,

As a regular reader of your blog, I’ve have noticed that you’re in touch with the north Brooklyn neighborhood happenings.

I’m writing on behalf of the residents who live directly above the Alma lounge (229 Roebling / South 3rd st). To keep this email succinct I’ll say that we have had problems since their opening in April, 2010. Our primary concern is the chronic noise/bass levels that shake our apartments (Wed-Sun, 11:00pm-5:00am).  However, despite ongoing police intervention we have ample evidence of loitering, fights, violence…

and Alma’s promotion of illegal-unlicensed exotic dancers, valet parking, hookah smoking. But to be clear, we’re only concerned with the noise/bass.

What’s Happening? For more than 10 months we’ve tried to diplomatically navigate multiple mediation channels:

1) Asking Alma’s owner to simply turn it down. Alma’s management has been unsurprisingly uncooperative.

2) Asking our landlord (S&C Management) to comply with the habitability clause of our lease and intervene. S&C has been unsurprisingly silent.

3) Calling 311 on a nightly basis – All 5 tenants suffering from alma have submitted weekly complaints and surprisingly the 90th precinct’s registered responses conflict with our experiences of watching the officer cars stop in front of the club, speak to the bouncer, drive away (e.g “The Police Department responded to the complaint and took action to fix the condition.”). This has been completely ineffective.

4) Attending the 90th precinct’s monthly community affairs and pleading directly with Deputy Inspector Michael Kemper and Detective Bruno Vidal. Additionally, we have been in phone contact with both Kemper and Vidal asking for their intervention. Both Kemper and Vidal have been very professional and really do seem like they’re doing all that’s in their power.

5) Attending the Community Board (CB1) public hearing and speaking directly with the public safety chair, Kalita. Additionally, we have been emailing with Maria Viera and although her correspondence has been brief, appears to be facilitating a dialog with the 90th precinct and the DEP. I’ll be attending this month’s public safety (02/03) and public hearing (02/08)

6) Submitting multiple complaints to the NYSLA. We have not received any response.

7) Patiently worked with DEP to schedule a first sound reading and finally in December a summons was issued (NOV# 00266115X) was issued with a 01/25/11 hearing date (See Attached). The irony is that even the DEP inspectors noticed Alma trying to turn the music down as they arrived. On 01/26/11 we were informed that Alma’s hearing was adjourned and rescheduled 03/22/11. DEP is recommending not to schedule a second sound reading until after the  postponed hearing (two more months?) WTF?

What’s Next? If the March hearing happens as scheduled, it will basically be a full year of suffering and bureaucrazy just to protect our rights to live in our homes (vs. a sub-woofer). After every phone call/meeting/email, it becomes increasingly unclear to us laymen-advocates who is accountable.  While our apartment’s shake us into lucid insomnia, we ask ourselves questions like: Why did the landlord allow a dance club to open below residential apartments? Does the Alma dance club even have a Cabaret license? What’s the point of 311? Why does it take so long to address a clearly chronic violation? Are we being irrational?

As a long time resident of north Brooklyn, we’ve seen several clubs shut down (triple crown, studio b, sound fix) and Alma’s noise/bass is just as problematic (if not worse). I’m reaching out to you because we don’t know what else to do. If you have any thoughts or encouragement I’d love to buy you coffee / lunch for your troubles.

Thanks for the offer of coffee and/or lunch, D, it is truly appreciated— but not necessary! By all appearances you have gone through all the proper channels and have demonstrated an admirable amount of due diligence. I have forwarded your missive to a few folks and I am quite interested to see what they have to say on the matter. In the meantime, if anyone has advice— or would care to commiserate with/corraborate the above testament by D please share via comments or via email at missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. Your identity will remain anonymous if you so desire. Thanks.

Update, 3:09 p.m.: Here’s what my building code/use wizard friend has to say:

They missed the most egregious violation: it’s not a restaurant and there’s certainly no PA there (not sure how big it is).  There’s a self certified ALT 2 they just filed to convert it to “eating and drinking” but this is so very wrong.  It has to be filed as an ALT 1.  I would start lobbing complaints regarding their ANSUL  system (not filed nor approved), illegal commercial kitchen, and possible PA to the FD.  Complaints to the DOB for occupancy contrary to the certificate of occupancy AND I would write a letter to the Brooklyn borough commissioner of the DOB requesting an audit of the application I linked to.  They’d have to have a pretty serious life safety violation to get a vacate, so I doubt that happens, but that’s a good start to some serious nut twisting.  If it should be a PA, I’d go directly to the FD PA unit instead of 311…

Oh, and I wouldn’t wait to make more noise complaints.  If I’m repping the restaurant, I’m going to adjourn that shit again for another 2-3 months.  You’re allowed up to 3 adjournments before it will default… Lastly, if memory serves me, this is the same architect that filed the Studio B CO amendment.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Party At 66 North 1st Street?

August 1, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

As noted on Brownstoner this property has had a rather troubled history. Nonetheless 66 North 1 Street recently went back on the market— and as of two weeks ago had nine units in contract. If my inbox is any indication, I’d hazard to guess at least one of them has sold.

Anonymous writes (in an email written at 7:24 this morning and is entitled “Al Fresco Dance Party”):

My wife and I and our 16 month old daughter have been kept up all night by a quite clearly illegal dance party hosted in a stalled condo project on North 1st, between kent and wythe I called the police a total of 4 times during the night, and 311 as well. Do you know how to get hold of the details of the owners of buildings like this ? Also, is there anything we can do as members of the community ? Community board meetings or similar? It’s 7.30 and it’s still going on. I’m concerned that if they think the cops are powerless, they will carry on for the rest of the summer. If they do, we’re moving out. Any suggestions you could make would be greatly appreciated.

Um, is that lady wearing a boa? On a Sunday?

Not just one— not just two— but three turntables. This is one professional operation!

He goes on to write:

90th were on the case last night apparently. They sent out cars 3/4 times apparently and just asked them to turn it down (?!?!)… Actually got in touch with the developers.

Anonymous has called the police and contacted the developer of this property. This is a good start. Regrettably the police did not fix the problem and exactly how the developer will respond remains to be seen. I would recommend he follow-up at the next 90th Precinct Community Council meeting. If my memory serves me correctly the 94th (which I am much more familiar with) does not conduct meetings in August. Therefore, I would encourage him to call their Community Affairs Office at: (718) 963 – 5309 and learn when the next meeting is scheduled (I’m guessing September).

Although this is clearly a police matter, attending the next Community Board 1 meeting might also be worth Anonymous’s time. The next combined public hearing/board meeting will be September 15, 2010 starting at 6:30 p.m. (NOTE/CAVEAT: you must sign up to speak by or before 6:00 p.m.). In the meantime CB1 can be contacted via email at:

bk01(at) cb (dot) nyc (dot) gov

Other resources/contacts I’d recommend are:

  1. His local City Councilman, who happens to be Steve Levin. His district office can be reached via telephone at: (718) 875-5200
  2. And of course there is his local state Assemblyman, Joe Lentol. His office can be reached via telephone at (718) 383-7474.
  3. Lastly, Anonymous’s State Assemblyman is Daniel Squadron. His office can be contacted via email at: squadron (at) senate (dot) state (dot) ny (dot) us

This is just a short list. Anyone out there have advice to tender? If so please submit them via comments or email at: missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. Your identity will remain anonymous if you so desire. In closing it goes without saying that Anonymous could contact the neighbors in question. My recommendation would be to wait a few more hours. They’re probably sleeping.

Miss Heather

UPDATE, 6:20 p.m.: An eagle-eyed reader (and I would presume, disgruntled neighbor) writes:

That stupid party at 66 North 1st finally stopped at 9 am. Did you notice the 2 gas cylinders on either side of the DJ table? I wonder if they’re oxygen, acetylene, or maybe nitrous oxide?

I have now! This latest revelation has been a source of serious debate between the Mister and me. He says they’ve been “huffing”. I beg to differ. Being the kind of gal who likes to see the glass gas tank as “half full” I prefer to see these tanks filling balloons for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding reception. Is the barefoot woman in white Hillary? One can only hope so. After all, Willyburg already has one Bill— what’s another one?

Update, 8:40 p.m.: Per a commenter no one lives in this building at all! And so the mystery of the 66 North 1st Street “party” continues. It is also interesting to note a complaint was filed on June 9, 2010 stating this was a derelict construction site. The Department of Building’s inspection (which dates from July 14, 2010) is as follows:

Heh.

Update, August 2, 2010: and now a word from this building’s PR firm…

I handle the public relations for 66 North1st, and I just saw the recent post on 66 North 1st. Wanted to let you know that it was definitely not a pr/sales stunt and the brokers truly had no idea. This party was held without permission from the owners and without management’s knowledge…

Update, August 3, 2010: it would appear this was the second party thrown at this nondo. A tipster writes:

That was the second of those parties at 66 North 1st. The first was a month or two ago. It was just as loud, but must have ended sometime during the night, because I couldn’t hear it in the morning.

But it was definitely at that location, because I could see the lights in the back yard.

Photo Credits: 66 North 1 Street thumbnail comes courtesy of Brownstoner.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Noise Woes

July 12, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

A person we’ll call N writes:

Hey Heather,

I hate to beat a dead horse, but this problem just won’t go away.  I was up again until 4am because of Coco66’s monthly dub step night.  The 2nd Saturday of every month, Coco’s really loves to just blast that bass until the wee hours of the morning. I called 311 and made a complaint.  The funny thing is, I looked up the status just now (as seen at left — Ed. Note) and it said the Police took action and fixed the problem, which is a most blatant lie.  They didn’t do anything, as I said I was up until 4am.  I’ve also contacted the Community Board twice now, once in May (never to hear a response) and again last week.  At this point I don’t know what’s left for me to do other than move, which I really shouldn’t have to do if the city just upheld it’s own ordinance laws.  Do you have any advice?

Although I have outlined the protocol for this kind of thing numerous times (and despite the fact it appears to not to be working for N so far) here they are again:

1. Contact Community Board 1 and forward all pertinent documentation— including 311 complaint numbers— to them. Their email address is: bk01 (at) cb (dot) nyc (dot) gov

2. Contact Assemblyman Joe Lentol’s Office. This too can be done quickly and easily via email: lentolj (at) assembly (dot) state (dot) ny (dot) ny (dot) us

3. Contact Councilman Steve Levin’s office. His email address is as follows: slevin (at) council (dot) nyc (dot) gov

4. Go to the next 94th Precinct Community Council and make D. I. Fulton aware that the officers under his watch did not resolve the noise problem to your satisfaction. I suspect the next meeting will, unfortunately, be in September. But you should contact them via telephone and confirm this.

5. And in N’s case talk to your neighbors and see if they too are experiencing sleepless nights due to CoCo66’s din. The more people you have following steps #1 through #4 the better!

In closing (and in reference to point #5), has noise from CoCo66 (or CoCo68, for that matter) been a problem for you? If so I’d very much like to hear from you. Please tender you two cents via comments or email at: missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. Your identity will remain anonymous if you so desire. Thanks!

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Ice Cream Truck Haiku

Spring (among other things) is definitely in the air in north Brooklyn. The weather is pleasant. The Peeps have come to roost at Newtown Creek. And the ice cream trucks have awakened from their wintertime slumber to ply their trade. Much to other peeps dismay— and rage.

E writes: Dear Miss Heather,

I think of myself as a fairly rational and calm person.  I understand, of course, that introducing myself as such makes me automatically sound insane.  Nevertheless, I do think that I’m pretty laid back and non-confrontational in most respects.  Perhaps then you or your readers can share with me (1) why I feel compelled to purchase a stinger missile when the ice cream truck fires up its incessant midi file each Spring, and (2) how this can possibly be legal.  I seriously go from nice guy to raging asshole in a split second.  For the time being I have opted for a haiku instead of the aforementioned shoulder-fired weapon.

CAVEAT: I do not “get” the furor over ice cream trucks. This probably has to do with living on Clay Street back when it (and many of the people contained therein) were “hoppin”. Ice cream trucks would trawl my block at 11:00 p.m. Often later. I’ll leave the sundries they were offering to your imagination. Crack vials were common and no one in his (or her) right mind would ever attempt to get on the Pulaski Bridge via the stairwell on Ash Street. It was minefield laden with feces (canine and otherwise), used hypodermic needles, crack vials, homeless people and drug addicts. This is no longer the case.

I often wonder what happened to these people (and they were— are— human beings, first and foremost). On the other hand, I would be a liar if I didn’t admit that being able to use this stairwell is rather nice. Nonetheless it is a bittersweet pleasure: I suspect many of the people who once called the Pulaski their home are dead. As a (reluctant) white liberal I have grown to (reluctantly) accept I had (albeit unwittingly) some hand in this. Not knowing and/or simply not caring.

I have since learned empathy. I have come to understand that some things bother people more than others. While ice cream trucks may not bother me, they bother others hereabouts. A LOT. For this reason I decided a little film footage should accompany E’s haiku. When I walked around McCarren Park yesterday afternoon I could not find a single ice cream truck. Just a lot of 20-somethings and nannies with strollers— which I found infinitely more irritating. I’ll take a dorky jingle from an ice cream truck— over and over— before listening to a toddler (or dozen) shriek.

If I wanted to hear this shit I would have children instead of cats.

I thought to myself. Then I had an epiphany:

My screaming toddler aversion is another person’s ice cream truck hatred. Both are annoying. Both are things we could just as well do without.

Ice cream trucks fall within the letter of the law, alas wailing children don’t. That’s life for you: it fucks you coming and going. It’s best to just roll with it and have a good time. And roll I did. Without further ado, here it is: Ice Cream Truck Haiku with a little (if muted) musical accompaniment.

If any of you, dear readers, are bothered by ice cream trucks (or other noise problems) please follow the protocol I have already outlined. Call 311, file a complaint, get a complaint number and forward everything to:

Miss Heather

P.S.: This post is dedicated to the New York Post. For obvious reasons.

  • NYS Flickr Pool

    MagnoliaOnderdonk HouseIMG_0683Rear-door onlyOne Step at a TimeSocial DistancingUrban CowboyFace mask in the Rain
  • Ads