Monday, October 23, 2006

Squatter Colony at Abandoned Gowanus Landmark

Power Station

Last week, we featured a slideshow of photos posted on flickr of the former MTA Power Plant in Gowanus. (Sorry, the photos have subequently been de-posted.) It's that looming, red brick building that sits on the property that might someday become "Gowanus Village."

Well, today, Jotham Sederstrom over at the Daily News hits us up with a story about all the people living at the building, which is nicknamed "The Bat Cave":
:A long-vacant building has been taken over by homeless squatters from across the country - smack in the middle of some of Brooklyn's priciest real estate, the Daily News has learned.

Dozens of kids from California, Long Island, Queens and a hodgepodge of Midwestern states call the red-brick, graffiti-stained building near the Gowanus Canal home.

"It's like a dorm," said Sasha, 18, who ran away from her Long Island City, Queens, home four years ago to live in the labyrinthine Bat Cave, just off Third St. and named for the bats that once lived in the four-story building.

The squatters sleep in the building that was once a power station, despite a decadent drug culture consumed with vicious fighting....The site, across from a proposed Whole Foods store, is only blocks from $1.5 million brownstones. Owned by mega-developer Shaya Boymelgreen, the building is expected to become a luxury condo complex called Gowanus Village.

Among other shockers, squatters claim a homeless man was thrown from a window and a junkie who overdosed was carted away in a wheelchair and left on the street for police.
Check out the story for more. We'll only say here that a security guard at a nearby property says of the squatters: "They look like they're punk rockers - Mohawks, Army bags, hoodies. They seem real nice, well-mannered."


Anonymous Nicolo Macchiavelli said...

These people are assholes. Anyone who encourages them deserves what they get. They kick over the neighbors garbage cans at 4AM while they roam the neighborhood yelling at the people who live there. They threaten people and extort food and drink at block parties, tear up the subway system.

Squatters are one thing, homelessness is another. These are violent dangerous people. It is a tribute to what the Gentry has brought to this neighborhood. In the bad old days they would have had the shit kicked out of them. Now they get a "please don't do that" from the people who have plopped down their life savings to live on these blocks.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first commenter must have been one of the people who complained to Assemblywoman Millman who got the kids kicked out and the building boarded up. How Nicolo is sure the the Batcave kids are the only mischiefmakers in the 'hood is beyond me, but i do know that this blog is responsible for taking away their home. How does that feel? And for what? So you can seem cool that your blogger friend got in the building? A building that they did not abuse, but has been empty for years and years until the bloggers got in.

I doubt that they are dangerous people. Squatting happened in the East Village for decades. Now, with these damn bloggers. no home is sacred.

Really, I want to know how GL feels about being responsible for the squatters losing thir home.

There are squatter-looking kids all over the city, nicolo, you can't blame every piece of mischief on them. I see more neighborhood young adults acting like bullies and making noise. Should I say that they should be beaten up because they look Italian? Uh, no.

I have probalems with squatters, but I'm also a libertarian, and if there is an empty building, than someone should be able to squat there.

Until a blogger comes along and ruins everything.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous hashstuff said...

When the Bat Cave first started there were a few people who took it upon themselves to keep the place a viable place for people to hang. They had rules about hard drugs and detrimental illegal activity. They lived there for a number of years. Around 2 years ago the owners found out that "squatters" were living there and they had them evicted and some arrests. Those who used to take care of the place left and then the place fell apart. Hard drugs, overdose, and general attitude going downhill became the way of life. Some who just wanted to squat were overshadowed by those who just destroyed the communal way of life that was once there. There was a sort of bike shop there in the beginning, some people picked up broken bikes, stripped them then made great bikes out of the parts. I had met some of the early squatters and had some great conversations with them. What started the downfall of the place was when some drunk assholes decided to throw rocks at passing cars from the rooftop and the cops were called in. That was when the first evictions started. I don’t know who they were but they should be thanked for fucking up a good thing.

10:58 PM  

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