475 Kent "Surprise" Evacuation

The tragic, sudden mass evacuation of a building occupied for years by hundreds of people is sadly nothing new in NYC. But, 475 Kent seems to be hitting a bit of a nerve and getting at least a bit of temporary press, perhaps since some it’s “squaters” were paying huge rents and work for media outlets in town. The buildings location on prime waterfront property in one of the city’s most trendy neighborhoods looks a might bit suspect, especially since the area was recently re zoned to allow huge expensive residential buildings.

Of course nobody had ever noticed all the windows with curtains, neither the landlord nor the city saw it? Well, the reason is pretty clear-that when the neighborhood was dead, unwanted and uncool for rich folks, people didn’t want to notice. In effect, these people were used by everyone as a way to break the stupid zoning codes. Now, the artists have done their job and it’s time to fumigate the area and let the cash roll in.

The artist/blogger Deborah Fisher puts it this way

The known unknown: now the Department of Buildings “knows” that a lot of people were living under commercial leases in the building. This tends to be one of those things that is technically illegal and that everybody knows about, but that nobody enforces. There are exceptions to this. DUMBO was effectively cleared of artists about eight or nine years ago using this Fire Department–DOB combo punch.

There are lots of questions.

Is 475 Kent being cleared out to make way for waterfront condos?

Will Bloomberg take a stand to protect artists’ homes or will he enforce the law?

Can the loft board do anything to help?

Will everyone have to move?

Will I ever go to another fantastic party in that building again?

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