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

September 21, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Asshole, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Now they’re employing YouTube footage.

New York Shitty analysis:

  • It would probably be advisable to remove the personal items from the previous tenants (who were vacated by the Department of Buildings) before filming.
  • Then again, who cares?

But the insanity does not end there. Let’s proceed, shall we?

So now:

  • 239 Banker Street
  • The Sweater Factory Lofts
  • The Factory Lofts
  • The 39 Meserole Avenue Lofts
  • The “Rustic House” Artists Lofts

are now known as 245 Banker Street. Fascinating. By any other address it still has Stop Work Order.

 

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?

From The New York Shitty Inbox: And Now A Word From Our City Councilman

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

It would appear, at long last, my coverage of 239 Banker Street (which is clearly being followed by real estate notables such as Brownstoner and Curbed, real estate agents and ostensible tenants of said space) has gotten the attention of our City Councilman! Steve Levin writes:

Heather,

I have noticed your posts and am glad you continue to bring light to the issue of lofts in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The Loft Law was designed to protect residential tenants who, knowingly or unknowingly, moved into manufacturing or commercial spaces and it may grant rights for tenants to save and stabilize their housing and avoid the excessive costs associated with being vacated.  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.  All I can do is try to spread the word about the Loft Law so that tenants in such spaces can apply for coverage that they may be legally entitled to.  Of course, the Loft Board will make final determinations about each application individually.

Sincerely yours,
Stephen Levin
Councilmember

To wit I replied (sans visual aides):

Hey,

First off I appreciate the email— and I agree that the loft law (which is much-needed) may or may not applicable in this case. What really upsets me is we are for all intents and purposes seeing the exact same situation (as 2009) play itself out again, e.g.; a commercial building—without the applicable permits I’ll add— is being converted into residential space, this space is being willfully and deliberately marketed/presented as residential space;

people are moving in under the illusion it is legally inhabitable space, etc.

This would suggest that lessons were not learned (bye it by the owner of this property, our enforcement agencies, etc.) the first time around and/or whatever consequences borne by the owner of this space were not a sufficient deterrent from engaging in this (illegal) behavior again. Or to put it differently: the “system” we have in place is not working. I have a very big problem with this. What is the point of having laws on the books, agencies deemed with the enforcement of said laws and due process if they can be bypassed, quite flagrantly I’ll note, in such a manner?

Do I want to see people thrown out on the street again? No, not really. But I am also getting very tired of this building’s owners total disregard for the law— and the fact they have been basically enabled by the upholders of said laws to do so. No matter how you cut it, this is appalling. They tried via the Department of Buildings to have this space reclassified as residential. It was refused.

They could (theoretically) go through our Community Board and get a zoning variance— but have seen fit not to do so. Why should they? There are for all intents and purposes no consequences for their actions, thus they do whatever they want.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t add in closing that real estate agents are seemingly eager participants in this fraud. Each and every one of them (in my opinion) should be reported to the Department of State and have their licenses revoked.

Thanks again!

H

With all due respect, what seems to be lost by our City Councilman is he can, in fact, stop another “repeat” of this event. By simply asking the Department of Buildings to do its job. Months ago.

Photo Credits: All taken today, April 11, 2012, by yours truly.

The Word On The Street: Green Point Beach

This rather amusing bit of vandalism hails from 239 Banker Street; AKA: the Sweater Factory Lofts. And if what I saw this afternoon is any indication this building is— beyond any shadow of a doubt— being quite illegally pressed into service as residential space. Let’s review my findings, shall we?

For starters, you have a very residential throw pillow propping open a window and this rather stylish lamp. Not convinced yet? No worries, gentle readers. I am just getting warmed up.

There were not one— but two people— waiting to view apartments therein. Naturally I took it upon myself to give them a very general run-down of the history of this building. E.g.: it was not legally permissible to reside at 239 Banker Street (by virtue of it being located in an Industrial Business Zone); it had been pressed into service as residential space previously; and this ended with a Vacate Order as issued by the Department of Buildings— and a class action suit filed by a number of tenants (who are, to my understanding, still waiting to get their deposit money back). Were they happy to hear this? No, they were not.

Just as I was not happy to watch this couple (tenants, presumably) exiting said building…

and this family moving their son into it. Naturally I took a moment to speak with them. They, as did everyone else I chatted with on Banker Street this afternoon, had a number of questions for me. Follows are a few:

  1. Our lawyer saw nothing wrong with the paperwork, so what makes you think this building is illegal to live in? My answer: check my site.
  2. If this building is illegal to live in, why are they leasing it as residential space? My answer: Excellent question. (But if I had to hazard to guess, I’d say greed.)
  3. If the Department of Buildings has been alerted that this space is being illegally leased as residential space, why aren’t they doing anything about it? My answer (once again): Excellent question…

This is a disgrace, folks…

BREAKING: The Sweater Factory Lofts Gets DOB’d Again!

September 24, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Remember the Sweater Factory Lofts?

SFLscreencap

You know, the building at 239 Banker Street that is zoned as a hotel but is actuality being used as residential space? The one which despite being fined $5,000 for violating a long standing Stop Work Order kept on working anyway? Day and night. Well, something very interesting came to pass there this afternoon.

vacate1

Anonymous writes (at 3:19 p.m.):

Breaking news! That building next to what was studio B is being served vacated notice right now….

ousted

Unhappy residents on an unpaid vacate(ion). I’m sure Curbed will be interested. Building dept guys didn’t like me snapping pics.

WOW. I wonder how my buddy Max took the news? Just under two weeks ago he sold the Greenpoint Hotel for a paltry $3.5 millionand now this!?! I’m not too sure what motivated the Department of Buildings to issue a vacate order but if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say non-compliance with fire code had something to do with it.

Miss Heather

UPDATE, 5:27 p.m.: Apparently the Red Cross has been brought in to help displaced tenants from this building (pets and all) find a place to hang their respective hats. Per a reader:

The DOB showed up today, I think, around 2, and cleared the whole building. There’s an order to vacate posted on the front (“occupancy is perilous to life”), and a  (new?) stop work order plastered on the front door, plus about a 6 yellow sheets that I didn’t get close enough to read, mainly because all the tenants were trying to read them. Probably on their arrival home from work. I do feel a bit bad for those who moved in without a clue what they were getting themselves into.*

The Red Cross is outside finding people places to live, the landlord is scurrying around, and the tenants are outside with suitcases and their cats in carriers.

Curious what finally caused the DOB to crack down?

UPDATE, 7:29 p.m.: Musings on ‘point offers his expertise:

It’s not a fire issue, FD would have been present. It’s probably a combo of two things: it’s a factory, not a residence and structural issues; the facade seems to be falling off.  The DOB is loathe to vacate solely because of occupancy contrary to the CO (see 475 Kent) but “perilous” is usually code for “we think it might fall down.” I haven’t been following this or researched it but that would be my guess. If it’s not, I wouldn’t want to be living at 475, because they’re just as susceptible to just such selective enforcement.

*I agree. The Red Cross should NOT be pressed into providing housing to individuals whose only mistake was not being informed consumers. This organization was not founded to assist people who have found themselves homeless as a result of a landlord’s malfeasance and this city’s ineptitude and/or lack of responsiveness when it comes to protecting and serving its citizens. The blame for should be laid where it is truly due:

  1. This city and the agencies charged with enforcing housing/building/fire code. Had the standing Stop Work Order on this property been enforced, this would never had happened.
  2. The landlord: for not obeying the the aforementioned Stop Work Order and having a disregard for the safety of his tenants.
  3. The real estate agents who leased out these “residential” lofts knowing full well that they are illegal and hazardous. Anything for a buck.

UPDATE, 11:44 p.m.: another reader sends photographs:

redcrossNYSsmall

DEREKLEE1

Maybe this one will stick?

New York Shitty Day Ender: What A Difference A Stop Work Order Makes!

August 26, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

239bankerDOBBIS

foodiej81 writes (in regards to this post):

This weekend as we were walking by 239 Banker my partner and I noticed that the door was unlocked so we decided to take a stroll through our new neighborhood “hotel”. Well there are definitely people living there, there is mail being delivered and I saw a man taking his dog out for a walk. The “apartments” are still under construction though. We have an acquaintance that put money down on an apartment but is now waiting for a refund because they were told the place will not be ready for another month. Word is they are renovating one dwelling at a time because they have run out of money and won’t be able to finish the project till 70% are rented.
I also saw two men waiting outside the building at around 730 on Monday night; two traditionally dressed Jewish men pulled up in a minivan and met them to show an apartment. I don’t know if anyone has been there recently but the message on the door is asking for “max” to get them a real front door

Regardless I called 311 yesterday and sent in 3 anonymous complaints regarding the building at 239 Banker. It’s a ridiculous project and I wish the DOB would be more proactive in following up on the stop work order.

He (or she) is not the only who feels this way. Follows are a few photographs I received just this evening (in an email entitled “Stop Work Order In Action!) from an anonymous tipster which show just how seriously Max and his funky bunch are taking their recent visit by the Department of Buildings (and the $5,000 fine they were issued as a result).

bobcat

cans

Note the numerous residential garbage cans at left. I wonder what they’re doing?

drywall

Installing and patching drywall— silly me.

breaktime

Workers taking a breather at the freight elevator. It’s a tough job working after hours and violating a Stop Work Order!

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: The Sweater Lofts Get DOB’d

August 12, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

DOBBIS239Banker

Anonymous writes (in an email entitled “DOB is SO STUPID”):

“NO VISIBLE MEANS. OF EGRESS INTO BUILDING ” are you fucking KIDDING me?

239bankerst

I guess they didn’t notice the front door(s).* This is sort of funny given the tenants of this building clearly have.

penske

As Kurt Vonnegut would say:

So it goes…

Miss Heather

*And then of course there is the freight elevator where Max Stark’s funky bunch were thoughtful enough to post the plans for this hotel these residential lofts.

Greenpoint Photos Du Jour: If Anyone From The Department Of Buildings Is Reading This

July 26, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

CLOSED

If you want access to 239 Banker Street (AKA: The Sweater Lofts) today is your big day!

239banker72609

As of 4:40 this afternoon, Sunday, July 26, they were working.

freightelevator

As you can see the freight elevator is open!

plansNYS

What’s more, they were even thoughtful enough to post plans in said elevator for the edification of passersby. (Click on the above jpeg to see the “floor plans” for this “hotel” in their replete glory).

Hope this has been helpful,

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Lofts For Rent

July 22, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

239bankerst

As you can see that Stop Work Order, thousands of dollars in (unpaid) fines and the little matter of this building being zoned as a hotel are doing a smash-up job of deterring Greenpoint’s good friend, Max Stark, from shilling his illegal apartments. How much more “in your face” can it possibly get than this? This is a disgrace.

Miss Heather

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