New York Shitty Day Starter: And On It Goes

Looks like some more Loft Law “awareness”/“changing the script” needs to happen at 239 Banker Street.

Because the rest of us simply aren’t “getting it”.

P.S.: You didn’t really think I was going to quit showcasing the wretchedly comical farce that is this edifice? In any case “Joe” seems to specialize in room shares. For example:

  1. This
  2. And this.

But by far the following advertisement is my personal favorite.

If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say the towel holders are what made this apartment jump $300 in the above listing.

As you can see, they are quite nice. Nonetheless, Bushwick is just that: Bushwick.


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New York Shitty Day Ender: 239 Banker Street, Revisited…

August 19, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

possibly, probably for the final time.

Another day (August 19, 2012 to be specific), another move-in at 239 Banker Street.

Another day, another advertisement for the “Sweater Factory Lofts” on Craigslist.

I know what you’re thinking, gentle readers:

Why is this allowed to continue?

I have been long remiss in sharing the good news so here it is: what you have just seen is not a failure on, say, our municipal agencies and/or elected officials to defend the public’s interest/safety. It is a community organizing success story. You read me correctly: S-U-C-C-E-S-S. S-T-O-R-Y!

This I learned from none other than a Community Board 1 member who also happens to be a Community Organizer for an organization called “Neighbors Allied For Good Growth”.* She writes— after educating me on the specifics of Loft Law eligibility regarding landlords willing to “build out” (such units are eligible, as I learned) and I pointing out to her that by the time window allotted by the law alone 239 Banker does not qualify or Loft Law protection. I have taken the liberty of bold-facing my favorite passages.

It seems like everyone is waiting to see families (I thought they didn’t rent to those —Ed. Note)evicted onto the streets (again) and for these tenats to loose all sorts of cash (again). Filing the application protected these tenants from being further victimized. They arent stupid and can do the math. They understand that they dont qualify and they really dont need you to spell it out for them. However lame you may find it, the application will allow them leverage to get back deposits, gives them time to find new homes, and changes the script from them being victims in the scenario to having a voice in what goes down.

Let’s review/play Devil’s Advocate for a moment:

1. If I were able to afford an “apartment” to the sum of $2,700 – $3,200 a month (which is in my opinion a lot of money) methinks a little due diligence would be in order. A simple Google search reveals this building’s dubious history.

2. Hell, some disgruntled neighbor even noted this ON 239 Banker Street itself not too long ago (as seen at left).

3. But I suppose mistakes will be made— over and over— and that’s why we need “Community organizers”. Nevermind the fact tenants who can outlay the kind of money to reside in such a building can probably also afford to hire an attorney and file a class action suit.

But there I go again being “lame”. What’s worse, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Naturally, I was very intrigued by what this Community Organizer/Community Board 1 member had to say. Especially since she had an active hand in the Loft Law application in question:

i know who filed the app. Kinda goes with the territory of tenant organizer. It’s not easy to stop a slumlord. Spend one day in housing court or read the articles about the buildings we focused on for our tenant rights rally a couple of weeks ago and you will see all sorts of outrageous behavior. the slash and burn budgets of bloomberg dont help anything but it is more than just a city issue. dhcr — a state agency– has an average 2 year wait for a first hearing on an overcharge….

After informing this Community Organizer that I had, in fact, experienced some rather outrageous landlord behavior myself (over a $850/month apartment, no less, and have been to housing court) I pressed on:

If the applicant(s) knew what they were getting into was illegal; know they are ineligible for protection and you are bemoaning the fact our city agencies, the loft board among them— which has a 15 month backlog— why are you adding to the problem (e.g., filing this application in the first place)? This strikes me as being inconsistent. Is that 15 month window why the landlord “going along for the ride”? Just curious.

To wit I was informed:

they didnt know it was illegal when they signed the lease. filing the application was the only way to get them due process. it is also a great way to get the landlord into a city agency. the old tenants could never find him to serve him, etc. once a tenant files, there is no way for a landlord to stop the action–something this landlord tried to do. trust me, he doesnt want any rent stabilized tenants. in the end, you will probs end up with a hotel in that space….

…probs…

That’s my prob. This property was issued permits by the Department of Buildings under the ostensible purpose of it being a hotel. It didn’t exactly pan out that way.

Fifteen months to two years (possibly more) is a very long time— especially when a slew of elections are around the corner. And politicians will do anything for votes.

New York Shitty analysis:

1. Contrary to what this individual alleges, I do NOT want to see people thrown out on the street.
2. Rather, I (and I suspect a lot of folks who read this site) would have preferred to see this nipped in the proverbial bud. But it wasn’t.
3. Numerous complaints were filed about what was happening at 239 Banker Street and (other) Community Board members have brought it to the table both via correspondence and during public meetings. All to no avail.
4. This leads me to no other conclusion than other, higher forces are at work here. Not that I’m pointing fingers, mind you.

I’m not.

What this seemingly well-intentioned individual fails to comprehend is there is a flip-side to her “organizing”. Namely, that while protecting the interests of these tenants she is also basically enabling the landlord to go about “business as usual” (as clearly illustrated by the images gracing the beginning of this post).

Be it violating a Stop Work Order— repeatedly, dumping bricks into some neighbor’s backyard (and in so doing, destroying his barbecue grill) or real estate agents (acting on the behalf of the landlord/”management”, apparently) luring in more “victims” (her words, not mine) into leasing apartments in this quite illegal space. “Victims” who (apparently) need her assistance so as to become empowered.

Am I the only person who thinks this is total and utter bullshit? As a friend of mine recently opined:

Nothing refreshes disillusionment quite like ethics (or in this case, the law — Ed. Note) unequally applied.

Consider yours truly “refreshed”.

No amount of pointing out how utterly absurd this situation has become is going to change the fact the landlord(s) at this property have basically done whatever they wanted— for years— and have for all intents and purposes suffered no consequences for their actions.

I suppose I should simply drink the Kool Aid and see the glass half full:

Our public officials and municipal agencies charged with upholding the law and serving in the public’s interest did not fail. Rather, 239 Banker Street was (is) a stellar example of community organizing in north Brooklyn.

*Formerly known as Neighbors Allied Against Garbage.

New York Shitty Video Du Jour: Today At 239 Banker Street

August 6, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

(NOTE: If you watch very carefully between .30 and .33 of this video you will see a worker removing something from a window. No sir, no funny business going on here!)

As you can see these fellows are taking that Stop Work Order very seriously.

… With regard to 239 Banker Street, I cannot say whether they will be covered by the Loft Law.  However, when the building was vacated in 2009, many tenants suddenly lost their living spaces as well as thousands of dollars in rent and security deposits.  I do not want to see a repeat of that event.  I will work to ensure that all building code issues at 239 Banker are addressed, but I hope to avoid seeing another vacate order if possible… — City Councilman of the 33rd District, Stephen Levin.

UPDATE, 9:10 p.m.: It would appear that someone has complained to the Department of Buildings.

Actually, I know for a fact that two complaints were called in. The latter person/tipster was advised by the 311 operator they are not accepting duplicate complaints. Your tax dollars/civil servants at work, folks!

Today At 239 Banker Street…

July 26, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

…an agent showing the property to a prospective client?

And of course this.

It would appear that not merely being satisfied with illegally leasing out spaces at this edifice as residential space (and violating a Stop Work Order) our friends at 239 Banker have decided to kick it up a notch by adding this garbage can holder— or is it a bike rack?

It’s kind of hard to tell. In any case I can assure you this is quite illegal (it’s located on city property). Anyone care to call 311? Rounding out this, the latest but certainly not to be last, post about this property I leave you with this Craigslist advertisement…

and this recently issued disposition from the Department of Buildings.

Hilarious.

New York Shitty Day Starter: 239 Banker Street

July 23, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Two selections from Craigslist:

I keep posting ’em and little happens. I wonder why?

New York Shitty Day Starter: Today’s Selections On Craigslist

July 20, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Everyone needs a hobby during the dog days of summer.

I have decided featuring a few of (the manifold number of) advertisements on Craigslist for the former “Sweater Factory Lofts” in this site will be mine.

As you can see there are quite a few of them.

Hmm…

Greenpoint Photo Du Jour: 239 Banker Street, Revisited Once More

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

Curious to see the latest Stop Work Order issued to this property today I decided a trip to this, Greenpoint’s most (in)famous address, was in order. Not surprisingly, there was nary one to be found.

As you can imagine I found this quite fascinating. Thus, on a lark, I decided to see what gives on the Department of Buildings Information System.

It would appear that this property not only still has a standing Stop Work Order on it…

but they have wasted little time violating it!

To be continued, no doubt…

P.S.: Here’s a yet-to-be-investigated complaint yours truly found rather amusing.

Word of advice to “Zoey”: If/when advertising an illegal residential space in an Industrial Business Zone, it maybe advisable to refrain posting a photo of the building in question which clearly features a sign in the foreground that reads “Industrial Business Zone”.

 

 

239 Banker Street: SWO’d (Yet) Again

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

As Kurt Vonnegut would say:

So it goes.

 

Reader Comment Du Jour: A Dispatch From 239 Banker Street

July 2, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Some of you might recall that last week I posted an item about Greenpoint’s my favorite illegal residential conversion: 239 Banker Street. More specifically that this— one of Greenpoint’s more notorious “loft spaces”— was to have an “open house” last weekend (as seen at left). In this tome I wrote:

Your eyes are not deceiving you, Greenpointers. This weekend there will be an open house at 239 Banker Street! Those of you who are curious to see what an illegal residential conversion in an Industrial Business Zone looks like (or simply want to ask Mr. McHale a lot of really uncomfortable questions about the legal status and history of this building) this is your golden opportunity!

Guess what? Someone did! A commenter who calls himself/herself “gittlebass” writes today, July 2nd, 2012 (NOTE: I have taken the liberty of bold-facing my favorite passages— and there are many!):

i went to this.

1) the first broker never showed. when asked if we could see an apartment he said “if the door is open just go in and look around” which i did, and it was a horror show reminiscent of the basement scene from the burbs, i just couldn’t find the furnace. Also, they did the ol’ “This apt is on calyer and franklin” then when i got there “oh its a mistake in the ad, go to 239 banker st”

2) he said the rooms can be built out to whatever i would like. Ok, ill bite, how about…i dont know…windows and floors!? there was a huge mound of dirt in the middle of the hallway and bricks for where there should be a window. the realtor on the phone assured me that this would be ready for july 15th, which is impossible just short of a miracle in which jesus returns as the carpenter he was in order to build lofts for the poor.

3) All the apts had to be moved in by august 1st, no exceptions. i found this odd and asked them about it, they didn’t have a reason why, just that they had to be occupied. I was offered a free months rent to get me in there

4) It was a realtor frenzy there. I asked about the legality of the building because of its sordid past, and they offered to show me the documents that proved they were legal, only thing is, they had the docs in the office and had to go get them if we wanted to see them. i said i did and that i’d wait patiently, but she couldn’t leave cause there were other people coming to check out the place (red flag). She also told me that all my info was wrong and that no one was ever evicted. then there was this other broker who asked if i had a broker,  i said he didn’t show up and then the broker who was there did the “money rub” with his fingers and at that point i left

overall it’s a shit show there and i feel bad for anyone who gets duped. save your money and get a nice place to live for cheaper. hell, even the gawdy condos they keep building are cheaper and LEGAL.

Fascinating!

UPDATE, 11:45 p.m.: It would appear 239 Banker Street was served a Stop Work Order this weekend. Click here for the deets (they’re interesting to say the least).


 

From The North Brooklyn Community Group*: Open House!

June 28, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Greenwich Village 

Your eyes are not deceiving you, Greenpointers. This weekend there will be an open house at 239 Banker Street! Those of you who are curious to see what an illegal residential conversion in an Industrial Business Zone looks like (or simply want to ask Mr. McHale a lot of really uncomfortable questions about the legal status and history of this building) this is your golden opportunity!


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Tell him New York Shitty sent you.

*Here’s what a member of said forum (a real estate agent, no less) had to say when I pointed out these lofts are NOT legally allowable for residential use:

Well damn. At some point they’re gonna have to tell them that the space is not zoned for living. Its gonna say it right on the lease!

Heh.

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