Just to follow up quickly on that 889 Broadway in Bushwick eviction we mentioned last week: we heard from tenant Shawn Gallagher, who disputed our assumption that the landlords left tenants holding the bag when the Department of Buildings shut down the building.
Gallagher says he never saw any exposed electrical wires, which were a major theme of the complaints that led to the eviction — the other being the absence of a sprinkler system. “I never had the feeling that I was living in a death trap,” he says.
He also says the DOB guys were jerks, telling astonished residents on the morning of August 6, to leave, “Take what you can carry,” and “If you don’t comply, the police are right behind us.” Since they conducted their raid at 8:30, relatively late in the morning, a lot of tenants were already at work, and came home to find their doors padlocked, says Gallagher, who has been couch-surfing ever since.
We have questions in with the building management, who are quite voluble off the record but slow in responding for publication. They do have a Twitter feed to update tenants, and they also send them emails; at present they report that the DOB has rejected their offer to hire a person to be a “fire-watch” — though the building code doesn’t require any such thing — and that they are discussing terms for the sprinkler system.
Gallagher says the landlords have been great to him, and even offered him $100 a day to help get him through the eviction period. Another tenant we talked to was less enthusiastic and referred to sveral building problems, including roofs leaking so badly “it was like pouring inside the building.” Brooklyn 11211 looks over the filings and says the city has a clear cause, and well as a legal obligation, to take action. (DOB has reclassified the building’s status to “partial vacate,” but that doesn’t necessarily change their situation much.)
We’ll stay on this. Meantime here’s a story of 60 more citizens, this time in Chinatown, also thrown into the street for violations.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 13, 2009