Crack House Clean-Up

Sun 2/4/2007

There has been a remarkable transformation in my neighborhood in the past few weeks. There is this totally decrepit, busted up old house right up the street from my place. According to one of my neighbors, the power and water have been shut off in that building for the last 10 years.

There were always a couple of people hanging around in front of the building, dealing drugs or just loitering, going in and out of the house. It was seriously sketchy. It's right by the subway stop and everyone in my neighborhood just knew to get off at the exit on the other side of the street, because you never knew who was going to be hanging around in the dark in front of this house.

Then, like two weeks ago, this crew shows up one morning with a huge 20-foot dumpster (shown above), rips down the fence in front of the house and starts throwing out the huge piles of garbage that are stacked everywhere. And I'm not even kidding, they filled this ENTIRE dumpster EVERY DAY for TWO WEEKS. And some of the stuff they were pulling out of this house was insane! Baby carriages, tons and tons of rotting books, shredded tarps, bicycle parts and one day I saw them taking out all these CAR TIRES (???) Plus "other" stuff... (You can image the mess, with people squatting in there for ten years with no running water!)

Then yesterday as I was walking to the subway I actually did a DOUBLE TAKE. The rotting, falling apart building had been covered with brand new, sparkling clean plastic siding (show above) and the spray-painted plywood covered windows had been replaced with brand new GLASS ones! I wish to god I had taken a "BEFORE" picture, so you could have seen how disguisting this building used to be. To get some idea, check out the awning over the front door. Anyways, it's HILLARIOUS that they are just going to fix up this bombed out building and rent it to new people...

"Honey, is it just me, or does this apartment have a weird SMELL?"

16 comments on this entry

You live in Bushwick, right? Yeah. That's why. They've been doing that to the crackhouses in that 'hood for years now. In fact that is what our old landlord (when we lived in Bushwick) used to do - buy shitty old crackhouses and flip them for a profit. Actually that's what our old building used to be! Then your rent will go up because your neighborhood will become more "hip". Once you get a sushi restaurant in your neighborhood a rent increase won't be far behind!

Liz Feb05

Yeah Liz, I'm out in Bushwick. Aaron's place (one stop closer to the city than mine) has a natural food store, a coffe shop and a little art gallery space all within a stone's throw of the subway stop. Mine's not quite there, but you can tell it won't be long. I'll probably come back and visit this place in 10 years and not recognize it!

Alec Feb05

history's a pretty freaky thing--- there was an article in TONY awhile ago that focused on how willing people would be to buy nyc property where recent violent crime had occurred for a huge price cut [ie. stuff like son kills his parents, guy snaps and goes on serial murder spree, etc.]...

i couldn't live in a place knowing this, but you'd be surprised how many people CAN... for the right price!!!

stephanie Feb05

Man, you should go in there when you're done, and if it seems nice, you should call that company if you ever need repairs! If they can fix that, they can fix anything.

Or, more likely, they're spackling and painting over all the shit just enough to cover the mass of the smell and bring it vaguely up to code.

Matt Feb05

I'd do it- I figure a thing like that happens only once in awhile, so right after it happens is the safest time to move in.

Matt Feb05

For some reason I had a dream last night that I came to visit you in New York. You seemed pretty disinterested and distracted, probably because I'm a random stranger from the internet! :D

fetjuel Feb05

is that house on star street by any chance?

jason Feb06

the tires thing reminds me of a time i went inside a old radio station and was surprised to find it was filled wall to wall with toliets!

zack empire Feb07

Im not sure if you listened to This American Life last week... but I am almost positive the show is about that EXACT building... the show entitled "Houses of Ill Repute" ... It's on Starr, in Bushwick... which is right near your house. The content you described is exactly what they talked about... it would be good to listen to now... to get the story of the people living there. Very very interesting.

Aaron Feb07

hey aaron...that's why i was asking if that house was on star street...i think it's the same house too...

jason Feb08

The house IS on Starr street, and the timing would have been right (since they've been cleaning it up for a few weeks now and that episode aired last week). I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet though.

I could tonight... but I'm pulling an all-nighter and I need ROCK MUSIC to keep me awake. I think Ira Glass would have me snoring with my forehead against my drawing board tonight. But I'll listen SOON and see if it's the same house!

Alec Feb09

oh man, definitely listen to that episode. the story about that house is amazing.. especially when she gets to walk through at the end. the house aaron and i lived in on rodney street in pdx was apparently a crackhouse and was a complete disaster before we moved in. we got to see sarah oleksyk's place upstairs before they cleaned it and it was disgusting (they said not nearly as bad as ours had been, which i couldn't believe). not quite up to the point that the house in TAL was, but from that experience, i can definitely picture it. crackhouses are fuggin grrrrross!

nate Feb11

Well, I finally listened to that episode of This American Life. I'm pretty sure it's got to be the same house, mostly because it said the guy who owned the house had all those books and there were a couple of days where whole sections of the dumpster were filled with these huge stacks of old, rotting books. Ahh Bushwick... BLECH!

Alec Feb11

I live a few blocks away from the Starr Street crack house. I'm a reporter and I just started working on an article about the house. If you guys know more about the house or if you know someone, who is familiar with its history, please email me. Thanks

cathy Feb16

I'm just wondering - what KIND of smell? I've been smelling something for two days now and I'm wondering if they've started a new business upstairs! Does it smell, by any chance like wart remover?

Cindy Oct28

I also am interested in what kind of "smell" it is. I moved into a house 2 months ago and just found out from a neighbor that it was once a crack house. There is a horrible odor similar to moldy or musty smell but cannot locate where it is coming from.

Yvonne Apr20

Post your comment here:

Food sucks.
I'm not sure if I fell asleep last night, or if I just passed out from not eating enough food ..
Don Rosa Interview
UH... I'm pretty sure this won't interest too many people, especially because it's almost two hours ..