Monday, March 9, 2009

I want to know...

A commenter asked what happened to the folks whose light was blocked off by the expansion of their mansion. Are you living in a dark apartment? Have you moved? Please log in and leave your stories. I'm especially curious as to what happened to the low-income folks in the building on the northern end of the Zwirner mansion who were the original victims of the expansion.

In our building, nearly everyone on the line of blocked windows has sold their apartment. Most have been living there so long that they made a profit, even in this market. So, not all bad news. But who could blame them?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Art of the day

The Zwirners are online

When we first started this blog, it took about 3 months to get indexed in Google, presumably because someone kept flagging it as inappropriate. (Hey, Blogger is OWNED by Google.)

One of our neighbors wrote a Wiki entry on David Zwirner last year. This entry briefly mentioned his career and noted that he was in a dispute with his neighbors. The Zwirners (I no longer have the IP, damn!) modified their Wiki, removing the link and filling in some of the details of his life. Now it has been taken down, along with the history of the entry. Too bad, because it is almost certainly the Zwirners (or one of their many employees) that they have been posting positive comments about themselves here and on Curbed!

Sure there are always folks who make suspect comments on blogs, but all of the pro-Zwirner entries are logged in as anonymous guest users. Go figure.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I thought it would be a good idea to summarize the events to date. As most readers have gathered, this is a blog on which neighbors on 12th and 13th Streets surrounding the ever expanding Zwirner mansion post. It is not fair to say that we are organized. The username and password were posted in a few of the neighboring buildings, and any neighbor can post to the blog.

David Zwirner, is a well known art dealer. Monica Zwirner designs handbags for elite NY socialites. The family first turned a multiple dwelling unit into a single family mansion about 3 years ago. At that time, they blocked the light of four low-income tenants at 234 E. 13th St. without compensation. They were able to do this mostly because the light encroachment laws for this block date back to the 1800s. While it was legal, it was unethical, and they upset many of the people on the block.

Throughout the first phase of the construction, they worked beyond the legally allowed limits, working late at night and through Saturday and Sunday. The Department of Buildings didn't seem to do much to stop them. Either that, or they paid the fines.

One neighbor did bake them a pie, and he received a note from their lawyer a month later with a thank you note. They realize how much they are disliked.

Nonetheless, this year, they purchased another neighboring building, and again expanded it, blocking the light of 4 more apartments. Despite their resources, they are using immigrant labor. The poor guys are walking on 2 X 4 planks without safety harnesses or other forms of protection. Once, I heard screaming coming from the construction site. I assume someone fell, but couldn't make out what had happened.

The tenants at 228 E. 13th St. notified various representatives about the light encroachment issue, but even the elected representatives received a form letter from the Zwirner's lawyer in response. I was impressed with our representative's caring and rapid response to this issue. We hope that the laws will be changed to protect future neighbors.

Their building was condemned with a red X on the front, but somehow, they continued construction.

It is a classic move for out of touch art dealers to move into a neighborhood that used to be on the cutting edge of the art scene, but whose days have long passed. First it was SoHo, now, the East Village. The problem is that the wealthy folks moving in with their Mc Mansions don't really seem to care about the low-income populations they displace. I'm sure that the Zwirners will pack up and move to Williamsburg sometime in the next few years once they realize that it is the "hot place" (though it never was, it has thus been advertised).

The only way that David Zwirner can survive in the art world is by dealing with previously recognized top artists. If he had to go by any sense of aesthetic, he would never survive. After all, he is old German money, with no sense of reality.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Making a home

Talking to people on 12th and 13th Sts., it's always striking how much people dislike having the Zwirners as neighbors.

It must be strange making a home while surrounded by folks that absolutely hate you.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Social priorities

I think it's just terrible how a gal like me who stays up all night working in an emergency room helping the poor is forced to stay awake all day listening to construction noise from that "mega-mansion."

[[[Sorry, I had to edit her text out here due to the content. Must keep this civil, folks.]]]

Saturday, August 18, 2007

8 am saturday morning construction!!!!!


Here it goes again, construction/demolition started this week and this morning at 8am I was woken by the "joyful" sounds of very loud shoveling, scraping, dragging, dropping and talking. This morning the Zwirners' construction crew are excavating and moving around big loads of brick, earth and stones. Now, as I sit at my computer, I can barely hear the radio which is set at the volume I usually listen to. In a moment, I will get up or rather give up, and turn up the volume.

For two years during the last construction project of the Zwirners, we were disturbed for most of our Saturdays by their interminable construction noise. I was under the impression that one had to apply each time for a one time specially approved Saturday work permit.

We should find out it this is legal.

Would Brooke Astor have put up with this?!!!!!!

Do you think that this time the Zwirners will at least be living next door to their Saturday morning noise?

Doubt it.