Tuesday, January 22, 2008

475 Kent Update: Holdout Says It's "Creepy as Hell"

The fallout from the clear out of 475 Kent, in which nearly 200 tenants, many of them long-time residents, continues. Phillip Anderson, a resident and filmmaker who had emailed us repeatedly during the initial clear out on Sunday night, said last night that he was still in the building. His phone battery had died and he had no way to get his charger so he was communicating via email and IM (the way many people do an average day, anyway). At 6:40 PM he emailed to say:
i am actually still here. right now i am hoping that the cops banging the shit out of doors down the hall go away. i'm on gchat constantly at the moment.
Around 11 PM he emailed again:
i 'm unable to use the phone right now. my charger is elsewhere and i can't go get it. but yeah, i'm still here with the dog. i have a feeling this will be the last night i ever spend here. it just feels that way. creepy as hell around here right now.
Earlier in the day, he had told Metro:
"I don’t think anyone was terribly surprised that the building wasn’t 100 percent to code, but I never knew there was a bakery in the basement," Anderson said. "Though the building wasn’t perfect, it is literally surrounded by occupied buildings in far worse shape."
The primary danger cited in the building was the illegal matzo factory in the basement and stored grain that could have exploded. The building had a history of complaints (the most recent being one called in about a crumbling sidewalk shed on January 19) and violations, with more than 100 in the Department of Buildings system going back many, many years. It's unknown when, if ever, residents will be allowed to return. They were allowed to clear possessions yesterday and can do so again today, but after that, admission is on a case by case basis. Residents have also set up a 475 Kent message board.

Articles and Posts:
For Evacuated Building's Tenants, An Uncertain Future [NYT]
Residents of B'klyn loft evicted for fire code violations [amNY]
A first person account of an eviction [amNY]
A Holdout Stays in Brooklyn Loft [Metro]
475 Kent Evacuated [Gothamist]
475 Kent Evacuated [Brooklyn 11211]
Dispatches from the Frigid Mass Evacuation at 475 Kent [GL]
475 Kent Photostream [flickr]

[Photo courtesy of jteore/flickr]

UPDATE: As of mid-afternoon a crowd of 50-60 angry, frustrated residents was reported to be waiting to get in despite assurances that the building would be open from 10AM-4PM so that people could remove belongings. The "explosive grain" from the illegal matzo factory in the basement was supposed to be removed today, according to Council Member David Yassky, who was calling on the city to allow residents to return to their homes to live. Mr. Yassky was accusing the city of "implementing a policy of making homeless citizens out of loft residents."



Blogger J$ said...

great reporting from the front lines GL!

12:01 PM  

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