There was a time that even yours truly lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn before it was trendy and over run with hipsters and faux wannabes and all sorts of quirky kids from Iowa and whatever who never had a problem paying for $4 caffe lattes and the rents that come with them. I finally got out in 2004 much ironically the same way as the tenants in the building described below are being asked to leave. We were all evicted out of our artist work space because a court order mandated it was time to go bixches…
nypost: “The people like us who made Williamsburg cool are now the ones being given the boot,” said David Opdyke, 43, who moved into 338 Berry St. in 1995 and lives in the former noodle factory with his wife and their two young children.
Opdyke and his neighbors in the building — including dancers, painters and other artists — are fighting mad about the brush-off they got from a judge in an eviction dispute with their landlord.
At the time we lived on South 1st between Berry and Whythe where the city one day deemed the cavernous structure, once a textiles factory as a fire hazard. This despite the artist residency community who wished to work with the owner in establishing safety codes. The owner instead had different ideas, they eventually demolished the whole structure only to replace it with a new modern loft quarters, at of course 20 times the prices we had all been paying (or to be succint whenever I had money to pay rent…).
Most of the seven-story building is already vacant.
All that’s left is 10 large lofts filled with dozens of pioneers who moved to Williamsburg in the mid-1990s, when it was still isolated, crime-ridden and full of factories.
They paved the way for the subsequent hipster invasion — which sent property values skyrocketing.
From there the NY Post examines the underlying tension between the new landlord, Mona Gora Friedman who argues she had only bought the building in the first place in 2005 for $12 million with the understanding that the residents would move out by 2011 as per agreement that had been signed by the building’s long term residents at the time and its then owners.
At dispute is a law, the Loft law that was enacted in 2010 designed to protect long term renters and migrate them to rent stabilization protection. Unfortunately for the tenants Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bert Bunyan sided with Ms Friedman in demanding that the tenants had no alternative but to go.
And thus begins the final exodus of some of Williamsburg’s last remaining long term artists, performers into a new terrain. They have the choice of moving to new higher priced artist lofts in the community or moving to where the rent is cheaper, and one suspects that is not necessarily Bushwick which in and of itself has started to become a faux hipster enclave with fast approaching high prices.
Welcome to NYC, where the gutsy amongst you can still dare to live and become artists without your parent’s money or day jobs.