Quicklink/A New York Shitty Op Ed: 173 Green Street

Or: Breakin’ The Law!

stonerscYesterday morning I had this article (which is screencapped at left) brought to my attention by my comrade over at Queens Crap. I pointed and clicked my way over to Brownstoner. This is what they elected to say about 173 Green Street:

An unusually shaped building designed by architect Natalia Donskoy is going up at 173 Green Street in Greenpoint. The front of the building is not straight across but angles in four directions.

The Alt-1 permit calls for four stories and seven units. Donskoy, a former employee of Robert Scarano, is becoming known for sometimes mold-breaking designs in North Brooklyn. What do you think of the design?

This, their post, left me absolutely flummoxed for a number of reasons. Follows are two:

1. Although it is clearly discernable in the second photo they elected to publish, no mention whatsoever is made of the Stop Work Orders. Yes, this property has not one— but two.

2. As it would happen I reside in the general area. I have seen the shitshow that is 173 Green unfold. A number of my neighbors/buddies have as well. Aesthetic considerations aside, we all agree on one thing:

These Stop Work Orders issued were well-deserved.

Speaking for myself, the first sign that 173 Green may be a less-than-professional operation was when they commenced demolishing modifying the original structure which graced this lot.

side view

You can get an indication of what it was in the above photograph: it is a vestige of a one story extension of 1020 Manhattan Avenue.


This extension sported two storefronts and a (questionably legal) studio apartment. I know this because I know the fellow who called it his home. Then the building sold and out he went.

ACRIS 1 nys

ACRIS 2 nys

ACRIS 3 nys

ACRIS 4 nys

Note the address: 543 Bedford Avenue #264. Interesting things turn up when one “Googles” it. This and this to name a couple.


Anyway, with him went this rather charming Polish travel agency. It was operated by two brothers: twins who not infrequently wore matching outfits. For wont of a better way of putting it, it was vaguely reminiscent of something one would see in a David Lynch movie. But of course this was real life and that is what made Seweryn even more awesome— but I digress. Let’s get back to what I saw which gave me the impression that something may be amiss at 173 Green.

One morning I walked by and beheld three – four men wielding sledgehammers. These they used to break down cinder block walls. The rubble which resulted was taken, on foot/in hand, and dumped into a truck which was idling across the street.  Speaking as someone who has resided in north Brooklyn for fourteen years (and blogged about it for over eight) I have seen more than my fair share of questionably professional “construction”. Bearing this in mind, I feel compelled to note this may well have been the worst. In any case it is certainly in the top three— and given what I have seen I can attest they come out on top of some mighty stiff competition. This is no small accomplishment.

173green7302014 anno1

But why take my word for it? Let’s consult the professionals: the Department of Buildings!

stop work orders

Surely they must have something to say about 173 Green Street since they have seen fit to post not one— but two Stop Work Orders? It has been my observation this is reserved for the most select of scofflaws.



  • eleven complaints
  • three DOB violations
  • fourteen ECB violations
  • civil penalties due and
  • violating of a Stop Work Order

That’s pretty impressive. Let’s keep digging, shall we?


A $5,000 fine. Hilarious. Let’s plow on!




Holy shitburgers!


So help me, I think I am beginning to see a pattern here.


Wow, this was less than two weeks ago! In any case, it would appear that the powers that be behind 173 Green Street harbor apathy— if not total and utter contempt— for the law.

I for one find this rather ironic given who the architect is for this project. Once again (from Brownstoner):

…Donskoy, a former employee of Robert Scarano…

That name, Robert Scarano, sounds familiar. Oh wait now I remember!


It was his “Scarano Special” which straddles Tommy’s Tavern (addresses 1037 Manhattan Avenue and 158 Freeman respectively)  which resulted in Mr. Scarano being banned from filing plans in our fair city! You see, he decided to fudge with the facts a bit. He stated 1037 Manhattan Avenue and 158 Freeman Street  were one contiguous lot. He did so in order to build taller than what is legally permissible. Whoops. And now the punchline…


This masterpiece of the ethically-challenged is a mere block away from 173 Green Street! This begs the question (in my mind, anyway) if his protege is following in his (rather dubious) footsteps. By all appearances, this would appear to be the case. But it is time to wrap this up— and answer the question:

What do you think of the design?

After I got done taking the photographs which grace this post, I bumped into a friend of mine who happens to live on the same block as 173 Green Street. A neighbor, if you will. A neighbor who informed me that he/she has in fact lodged a number of complaints about 173 Green Street. Among the things this person has observed:

  • Construction in violation of a Stop Work Order— at 6:00 on Sunday morning.
  • Violation of Stop Work Orders has been the modus operandi at 173 Green Street. One time even the police showed up.
  • The adjacent Green Oaks Club property was inadvertently (?) divested of some of its aluminum siding. Those of you who know this community’s affection for the aforementioned product understand that this is probably a hanging offense.
  • The use of step ladders for workers to get from floor to floor. What would OSHA say about this?
  • And a litany of other offenses which generally make people upset and call 311.

Once this person was done giving me the 411, I told him/her that Brownstoner published an article about 173 Green Street yesterday— and the question they were posing was whether or not folks liked the design. Before I tender his/her answer, I will tender my own verdict:

Of course it will be ugly. That is the Greenpoint way!

And now— with no further ado— the most apropos answer: that of someone who calls 173 Green Street a neighbor. It went (more or less) as follows:

Are you fucking kidding me?

Well said.

UPDATE, August 1st 2014: Thanks to Queens Crap linking back to this tome  we have some very interesting advice/analysis from a commenter:

diggin your cross promotion here crappy.

lets start at the top:

#1, it’s four floors and a mezz, the half floor above the 2nd is clearly a mezz.

#2, concrete enforcement is on it. those guys don’t screw around and they’ve got a direct line to the borough commissioner and people with serious leverage. 

#3, CEU is under the umbrella of tim lynch, the mythical god of DOB who will not stand to see the city get embarrassed. he will go there and put a fence up himself if he has to, because he’s a little crazy, but he is not someone you want to see on a job site, ever.

#4, DOB can and will post a vacate on the building, which would subject any violators and the developer to major civil and CRIMINAL penalties. FDNY and NYPD are bound by these, and these things happen.

#4, if they violate the SWO, in addition to $5k per violation, the city will generally walk around and ticket every loose guardrail, every missing screw from the job, every person not in a harness, everything. all of it. write that check for $15k to the city of NY please.

#5, the developer will never get a CO unless all these fines are paid. they’ve got a roughly $20k tab right now.

so what do you do? keep calling 311. 

BIS listed a phone number for concrete enforcement in one of the complaints — 212-393-2730. it’s a cell phone, but you’ll get someone who knows the site and what’s going on. but be aware, many in CEU are very intimidating and they WILL ask how you got the number. it’s on BIS.


Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: 239 Banker Keeps Up Appearances

October 24, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 


It would appear that not only has yours truly’s favorite illegal conversion in an Industrial Business Zone seen fit to invest in stick-on letters and numbers…


but they have spruced up the foyer as well! Because, as we all know, nothing exudes “class”— even in illegally converted manufacturing buildings with a standing Stop Work Order and thousands of dollars in unpaid fines— quite like the addition of some potted plants. I mean just look at the difference they make here:

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

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



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.


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?

Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: If At First You Do Not Succeed…

April 29, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Bloomblight, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 








If what I saw while walking by this dreary afternoon is any indication, it would appear the epic piece of Bloomblight at 55 Eckford Street will be with us for the foreseeable future…

From The New York Shitty Photo Pool: 17 Monitor Street

April 29, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Stop Work

Lisacat who spied the above missive April 24th writes:

They had already filled a couple container/dumpsters before someone stepped in.


For those of you who are not in the know, 17 Monitor Street happens to be the old St. Cecilia’s School. A plan has been submitted— but disapproved— to convert this facility into residences. This has been some source of controversy in the community.

Size ?    ?  Sort ?    ? All    ?  Info    ?  Rotate All With tags Without tags (3) With people Without people (3) In sets Not in sets (3)



When I walked by today nary a Stop Work Order was to be found. Perhaps they got their proverbial ducks in a row? In any case, it is going to be interesting to watch this one unfold…

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?



*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 




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:


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.


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!


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.

Now At 74 Kent Street: Stop Work Order

December 20, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Fuck This Shit, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Many of you have undoubtedly noticed the blog has been quite sporadic of late. I can assure you, gentle readers, there is a very sound reason for this: I have acquired the cold/sinus yuckiness that is making the rounds hereabouts. Nonetheless, today I decided to venture out for a short walk. If there’s one thing yours truly acquires quite quickly it is “cabin fever”. It was during said peregrinations I stumbled upon this freshly issued Stop Work Order. I find it fascinating for a number of reasons. Among them:

1. First you have work without a permit in a landmark district. That’s pretty bad. But wait folks it gets even better— and by better I mean worse!

2. Not even 24 hours before the above-listed complaint was called in there was a presentation given to Community Board 1’s Land Use Committee seeking a variance to convert the above-depicted property from F4 (Factory Industrial) into market rate residential apartments replete with a penthouse! How do I know this you ask? Very simple: I attended the aforementioned meeting!

Given my feelings about commercial/manufacturing space being pressed into service as luxury apartments, dear readers, you can imagine I had a few things to say about this— and say them I did. Nonetheless, I got quite a chuckle when I passed by today only to discovered to see these fellows have proceeded to work anyway. Do what you damned well please, pay the fines (cost of business) and deal with any semblance of civil process later. If there is one thing 239 Banker Street has taught us it is: this is the Greenpoint way!

UPDATE, 4:23 p.m.: It has been brought to my attention that the above-cited structure might actually be legit! It may have been put in place so LPC (the Landmarks Preservation Commission) can get a sense of the visibility of said penthouse. Hilarious.

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.


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.

Greenpoint Photo Du Jour: Men At Work

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

This vision hails from none other than 239 Banker Street and was taken today, September 10, 2012.

Oh yeah, for those of you who are wondering this building still has a Stop Work Order on it.


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