It Ain’t Girls: The Greenpoint Hotel

Greenpoint Hotel Resident Harold Francis

With the proposed ten luxury high rises coming to Greenpoint, adding over 5000 new homes to the area, nearby residents of The Greenpoint Hotel currently live in deplorable conditions. With rents on the rise, are low income residents being victimized by landlords looking to cash in on valuable real estate?

It ain’t the Greenpoint depicted in Girls – that’s for sure.

In 2006, the NY Times described the The Greenpoint Hotel on Manhattan Ave, reporting that the “hallways stink of marijuana and urine; the bathrooms – one per floor – are caked in dirt, and hot water is rare. The front desk is barricaded shut with sheets of plywood. Theft and violence are a constant threat.” Since then, not much has changed.

Last week a public walk thru took place after 30 residents of this Single Room Occupancy (SRO) had their first court appearance to file a law suit to address violations, which were described in a Greenline article in December to include, mold, rats, sporadic heat and hot water and electrical issues. Since then, none of the issues have been addressed by the landlord.

Advocating for the residents, Greg Hanlon of St. Nicks Alliance provided us with photos from the walk thru and the following statement:

The situation at 1109 Manhattan is an egregious and unconscionable example of what has become a common trend in North Brooklyn: Unscrupulous landlords’ forcing out longtime tenants by any means possible, so that they can make more money from their buildings. In some cases, it’s harassment and intimidation; in some, neglect. In this case, it’s both.

These tenants pay around $250 to $350 a month. We’re talking about prime real estate in Greenpoint, a stone’s throw away from the proposed Greenpoint Landing Development, which will have ripple effects on property values throughout the neighborhood. Tenants have told us that the landlord, Jay Deutchman, is trying to sell the building. It’s not too hard to see what’s going on here, and what Mr. Deutchman’s motivations are.

Greenpoint Hotel Resident Bill (above) hangs his belongings to keep them out of reach of the rats.

Along with St. Nick’s Alliance, Council Member Stephen Levin was at the walk thru and had this to say:

For years, the Greenpoint Hotel has been a haven for miserable living conditions. Rats, broken toilets, and collapsing ceilings have become a part of everyday life at the Hotel so that the landlord can vacate the building and sell it. 

We cannot allow this to happen in our city. No New Yorker should be taken advantage of like this. No New Yorker should be subjected to live in this type of environment. That’s why I have called HPD repeatedly to complain about the state of the building and commend the legal action taken on behalf of the residents to make sure these conditions do not persist.

It’s fortunate that the residents of The Greenpoint Hotel have spoken up and sought help. We hope we can count on our public leaders to help improve conditions there and be an advocate for other Greenpointers in similar situations.

With housing prices on the rise in Greenpoint, will more low-income residents be mistreated like by landlords who want to raise rent? Have you or your neighbors been the victim of such neglect?

About Jen G

After living in NYC my entire life, I found the strongest sense of community in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Running this blog is truly an honor and the best part is meeting its readers in real life. Everyday I am energized by smiles and inspiring conversations with fellow Greenpointers who tirelessly do and create incredible things that are good for our community and share the same love I have for life here. If you see me walking with my little dog "D" - please say hi!

7 Comments

  1. Thank you for this!! I’m having anxiety about this beautiful little place called Greenpoint. My, how the gentrification train is going to cause a culture shock. This is a great article.

    Reply
  2. Grnpntr says:

    I am very familiar with the Greenpoint Hotel and while I absolutely don’t agree with the living conditions, I must point out that this isn’t new and is most definitely not as related to rising property values. I have been in that neighborhood since the late 80′s and the conditions of the hotel have been exactly the same. The low rent means you have ex-cons and varying degrees of mentally ill people. I’ve always seen it as a halfway house and found its existence to be a detriment to the area. Of course it smells like weed and piss, they’re not normal people. I’ve seen them follow and harass local women. I’ve seem them drunkenly intimidate passerby’s. I’ve seen them openly buy drugs. Not all of the residents are this way, many of them are simply only able to afford this but it doesn’t take away from the fact that a good number of them are dangerous and a threat to the community. Why are you defending this? There are plenty of low income families in that area who I am sure are facing real problems with their landlords.

    Reply
    • Jen G says:

      I do not think that the rising property values have anything to do with The Greenpoint Hotel – in fact this place most likely negatively impacts property value very close to it. I also point out that the conditions there have not changed in years. That is the problem. Regardless of the residents’ issues with addiction and mental illness – they do not deserve to live in squalor. Perhaps they’d have a better go at things if conditions were improved. And the landlord shouldn’t get away with it.

      Reply
  3. Andrew says:

    I must say I am quite pleased to see so many blogs, Greenpointers included, address this issue. While this and the proposed “new plans” for Greenpoint are quite disturbing, it is somewhat comforting to see a community fight “the good fight” even if the task seems impossible to take on.

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  4. The sad thing is for what the city pays for these rat holes, the people could be housed in good hotels. Ridiculous. It’s a form of punishment for being downtrodden.

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  5. Greg Hanlon says:

    Thanks so much for the coverage, Jen.

    I wanted to point out that all of the tenants say that conditions have gotten much, much worse since Jay Deutchman took over three years ago. They’re also under the impression that he’s trying hard to sell the building, or, failing that, to bring in a non-profit three-quarter-house type program in which he gets paid much more per tenant than $250. Either way, the more rent-stabilized tenants who are out, the better for him.

    I can’t say for sure whether he’s being strategic here or just criminally negligent, because I’m not in the man’s head. But St. Nicks, and other tenant advocates in the neighborhood, are very familiar with landlords using any method at their disposable to remove their rent-stabilized tenants, and this is certainly of a piece with that.

    Also, Grnpnt’s comments about the residents amount to an incorrect blanket statement. Many of these residents have problems (many of them are veterans), but the vast, vast majority of them are decent people who don’t bother anybody. Lumping all of them together is simply incorrect. Most of these residents are decent people. Either way, they’re entitled by law to clean, safe living conditions.

    Also, Deutchman’s repeated contentions that the tenants are responsible for the state of the building are ludicrous; that’s victim-blaming and stigmatization at it’s worst. Did the tenants turn off the heat for months on end during the winter? Did the tenants rip the floors out? Please…

    Thanks again for covering this, Jen.

    Greg

    Reply

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