Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Jungle Grows On Smith Street

Screen Shot 2012-06-06 at 1.15.11 PM
Once upon a time, several one-story buildings stood at the corner of Smith and Douglass Street. About 15 years ago, one of them housed SUR, a popular Argentinian steakhouse that helped spark Smith Street's revival. Another was home to a bicycle shop, if my memory serves me right.

By 2006, the stores closed, and shortly afterwards, the buildings were demolished, presumably to make way for a new building.

Since then, the big empty lot at 232-240 Smith Street, has been sitting empty and in the last few years, its owner, SON CLAIRE REALTY LLC, has amassed not only a Stop Work Order from DOB, but also a very impressive amount of violations for 'work without permit' as well as for 'failure to maintain construction fence" from NYC Department Of Buildings.

In addition, fines adding up to several thousand dollars have been imposed.

Yet, on a regular basis, sections of the plywood fence continue to warp or to fall down as well as restrict half of the sidewalk on the Smith Street side.

Over the years, trees and weeds have taken over the lot.  Neighbors continue to call 311, without much result, it would seem.


Martine said...

Hi Katia,

We've just been discussing mural projects with kids for the summer. IF you think the owner (or with pressure from our community) will put up proper plywood, we are happy to do the murals with kids as a project. We already have the paint. We've been talking about a mural with flowers, butterflies, snails, spiders and bugs. Where the overall design is from our artists and the kids have individual parts that they can do on their own as they please.

Just a thought.

Martine Bisagni, Director
THE COAL SHOP: Brooklyn Workshop Gallery
Workshop Gallery Artists Foundation, Inc.
393 Hoyt Street Brooklyn NY 11231

Katia said...

Great idea, Martine. I am sure everyone in the community would welcome it.

For those of you who don't know the THE COAL SHOP: Brooklyn Workshop Gallery, you are missing out. Head on over to its Facebook page:
or pay them a visit on Hoyt Street.

Anonymous said...

If my memory is intact, i threw my old bike in here in 1967, complete with a Tony, the Tiger horn!!

Anonymous said...

I would gladly take a mural on newly installed plywood that is moved back so that we can have the entire sidewalk back. Smith St is very difficult to navigate there because of the convergence of the fence and the parking meters.

Anonymous said...

Why are they permitted to obstruct half the sidewalk for years with impunity? What are our elected representatives doing about it?

Katia said...

Short answer? Nothing. That fence has been obstructing half the sidewalk since 2008.

Anonymous said...

Pishaw!! Don't ask for a mural here. That owner won't even fix or maintain or pay fines. The residents are harrassed who call because he knows who has been complaining.
but somehow a film crew gained access inside probably because they paid the owner for it.
Call 311. There are lots like this all over town. This one needs reporting. Ok. Everyone call or report online 311.
I'm over slipping on the subway grates or walking in the street dodging warped fencing.

Rob said...

I was just thinking about this yesterday as I walked by. I couldn't tell if there were actual trees growing over the fence or weeds it's so bad.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for writing about this. I have called 311 several times about the obstruction of the sidewalk. Between the mailbox, the lampposts, the subway grating and the parking meters, there are places that have only a few feet of clearance. Can that be to code? Has anyone been in touch with the owner? Maybe they should get a few dozen calls from neighbors?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of violations.... Pane E Vino 174 Smith Street, this place operating dancing club on weekends without Cabaret Licensed, they made so much loud noise from the music and people screaming while they dancing. We have to do something about this place. I called DCA and asked about their license and they do not have Cabaret license.

Little Earthquake said...

SUR was actually across the street, where there is now a clothing store, on the northeast corner of Smith & Butler. (In the store called Smith + Butler.)

Katia said...

You are right, but they only moved to that location AFTER they had to leave the one story building that I described.

Anonymous said...

I've called 311. I've filed complaints online. I've done everything but speak to the owner directly. Whoever it is they JUST DON'T CARE! And they use the lot as storage for construction supplies that they also store in the moving trucks often seen parked on Smith. Illegal construction work done at night from the trucks. Highly doubt any level of cooperation from their end.

I'm all for knocking down the fence, filling in the big whole and starting a community garden!

Anonymous said...

I am all about a night mission to take that fence down.

Anonymous said...

SUR wasn't so popular - it closed.
Let us know if Pane E Vino keeps up the noise...I'll complain too. good that the bunker on wyckoff/smith getting developed and baltic/smith moving again too.
hope this site and degraw also get their act together.

If want to take photos of eyesore...check the sidewalk/curb at that Burger/Smith on the Baltic side....litter everywhere and turning into a slum looking bldg.

Anonymous said...

Just read somewhere else that lot will soon be sold to a
bank. let's see or is the owner just

Zen Zochniak said...

Looks like something big is coming: