From The New York Shitty Inbox: Greetings From 239 Banker Street— Once Again

NYSscSome of you might recall that I recently received a piece of correspondence from an individual who called this place home. He/she was none too happy about it too.   This is why he/she was moving out. As you can imagine, gentle readers, I had a number of questions for this person. WTFsmallToday I am pleased to announce I not only got some answers— but some visuals to accompany them! One is the charming image at right. But I am getting ahead of myself— without further ado, here we go! NOTE: I have excised some material so as to preserve some semblance of anonymity for the parties involved.

Hi Heather, I stupidly did not take any photos of the piss/shit fiasco- I opened the camera to do it but immediately thought “no- this is fucking vile! I’m leaving” and the SMELL! yikes I’m out of there now, but I came to live there because I was moving back to NYC (had been in SF for a year) and my friend who I was looking for a place with had said “hey, I found this spot in Greenpoint with two rooms open”… I went with it… I have some more photos ill send over as well. sorry for so many emails but I can’t attach via the mail app and have no computer access for a couple days. Also made a clip, hope it helps to convey the space better.

bathroom1 bathroom2

…so these first two are the bathroom tub and what is almost certainly mold growing- along w/ Shitpissgate (Apparently the first floor of this building had to be vacated after Hurricane Sandy due to flooding— this included a back-up of raw sewage. Yummy. — Ed. Note), there was an incident with the bathtub backing up dirty water full of black specks up to the brim (last photo- however it only depicts minimal drain, it was a photo I took to send to the super in a “THIS STILL EXISTS HOURS LATER”! message)

WTF

the third is the wood rising up after Shitpissgate, and the fourth is an example of all the arbitrary holes in the deplorable re-flooring job.

floor1

floor2

Now let’s proceed to the “bedroom”, shall we?

photo 3nys

photo 2nys

photo 1nys

Yeah, the photos do not do much to describe this space. As the video footage makes all too clear: this is because there isn’t really much space to describe!

I know what you’re thinking:

How much does such a closet room cost?

Well, prepare to be amazed. I certainly was.

$925. And the bigger rooms (slightly, but you know as well as I do how sometimes that extra six inches of a room helps) with windows were $925. Again, against my better judgment, shame on me, etc. but I’m glad I found the legal hurdle.

Those of you who are wondering what this hurdle/loophole was— or simply care about such trivial matters as fire code— will undoubtedly find the following passage from the “Loft Law” (Thanks NAG!) quite illuminating:

…Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (i), (iii) and (iv) of subdivision two of this section, but subject to paragraphs (i) and (ii) of subdivision one of this section and paragraph (ii) of subdivision two of this section, the term “interim multiple dwelling” shall include buildings, structures or portions thereof that are located in a city of more than one million persons which were occupied for residential purposes as the residence or home of any three or more families living independently from one another for a period of twelve consecutive months during the period commencing January first, two thousand eight, and ending December thirty-first, two thousand nine, provided that the unit: is not located in a basement or cellar and has at least one entrance that does not require passage through another residential unit to obtain access to the unit, has at least one window opening onto a street or a lawful yard or court as defined in the zoning resolution for such municipality…

Whoops. Now if you don’t mind I have some bunk beds to install in my tool shed… 

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Greetings From 239 Banker Street

May 29, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

A person we’ll “X” writes:

Hello Heather,

I love and applaud your coverage of 239 Banker Street. I have been living in this dump for the past five months and am eagerly awaiting my leave next week. I share your disdain for the illegal occupation of this building, and the complete disregard of the laws and stop work order violations by the management company. Perhaps you’re already aware but I figured I’d share a couple things with you-

Windowless rooms are being rented as bedrooms, which is a fire hazard/illegal.

Secondly, there was recently a backup of plumbing on the first floor, and several apartments were flooded in the bathrooms out to the kitchen area, this water containing REAL HUMAN SHIT AND PISS (Emphasis mine— Ed. Note). Sorry, but it was atrocious. As a result the floor has buckled up and I can say with certainty that since the post-Sandy re-flooring job was done lazily (spaces as large as 3/16″ in certain parts of it), I am positive there is mold growing. I’m feeling extra spiteful of the building today so figured I’d shoot you an email.

Thanks— I honestly do not know what else to say (that I haven’t said many times before)…

New York Shitty Street Seating Du Jour, Part I: 239 Banker Street

February 21, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Street Furniture 

239bankerstreet

Taken February 23, 2013.

Greenpoint Photo Du Jour: Moving Day

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

239banker2102013

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…

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.

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!

New York Shitty Day Starter: 239 Banker Street Craigslist Advertisement Du Jour

September 5, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Now they’re calling it the Rustic House. Nice.

 

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.


View Larger Map

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!

  • NYS Flickr Pool

    The old ThunderboltCHRISTIANE F.Angulo Rojo IIStencil Graffiti ArtDumbo DropElephant Man IIFlushing AvenueUkrainian National Home
  • Ads