NYC

Brooklyn Art Collective Forced Out Of Warehouse, Trailers, After Building Inspection

04/15/2011 08:44 am ET | Updated Jun 14, 2011

The Metro reported Thursday that everyone's favorite trailer park hipsters have been evicted from their warehouse on Meserole Street in Bushwick, and the Red Cross was there to hand out $50 debit cards, two nights free stay at a Days Inn, and counseling services to the "homeless" artists.

Last month, the twenty residents, who go by the name Brooklyn Project For The Arts, had been living in trailers parked illegally in a lot behind the warehouse, until a Long Island Railroad inspector discovered them and alerted authorities, who promptly ordered the young artist collective out.

Without a place outside, the group moved their trailers indoors to the warehouse, where they rent legally and are on a lease, according to The Brooklyn Paper.

The trouble Thursday came from the FDNY who said the space at 304 Meserole Street contains, "conditions imminently perilous to life" and a building inspector issued a vacate order after discovering illegal wiring and a woodworking shop in the basement.

Ryan Fitzgibbon, spokesman for the Department of Buildings, told the Brooklyn Paper, "The way to resolve it is to remove the trailers. The backyard is a violation of zoning, and the first floor is illegal use because it's supposed to be a factory."

But the Brooklyn Project For The Arts denies these accusations about their home- a space that includes, according to Metro, a "music studio, skate ramp, darkroom, painting studio, video sculpture installation, silk screening facilities, an accordion repair room, and even a koi pond".

For the most part, the residents of the trailer park seem frustrated and confused since it's unclear what the fire department would consider "safe." They have removed the trailers, and "the warehouse has sprinklers, and front and rear egress." Hayden Cummings, one of the founders, says, "We've spent a lot of money bringing this space up to code. Nobody will tell us exactly what is unsafe about this space. They only say that the order is coming from above their heads."

After today's eviction, Bushwick trailer park member and 20 year-old NYU student Daphne Dodd told the Metro "I don't consider myself homeless, but in the eyes of the law, I am. I didn't expect to go to college and then deal with this."

The group is documenting their clash with the city, as well their extensive media coverage, here.

This is not the first time Brooklyn's burgeoning art scene has bumped heads with city officials over building codes and zoning violations. Last summer, the art-party den Rubulad in Clinton Hill was shut down and Bushwick's Third Ward was raided by police.

For photos of the makeshift trailer park/art commune, go here.

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