Today’s news:

Trailer trash! RV community sues over ‘illegal’ eviction from Williamsburg

The Brooklyn Paper

Y’all come back now!

A troupe of trailer park tenants are suing the Long Island Rail Road and a cement mixing company for evicting them from a vacant Williamsburg lot where they have lodged for 15 months.

Workers from Kings Building Supply towed away two-dozen RVs on March 13, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Settler Joe Diamond, one of the hardscrabble leaders of the collective, said that every trailer had been “brutalized” and the trailers were illegally evicted.

“The hitches have been broken beyond repair, some of the tires came off, one RV’s hood is caved in, and an Old Toyota will never drive again,” said Diamond, who filed court papers on Tuesday on behalf of the group, the Bushwick Project for the Arts.

What began as a down-home art cooperative has now been shattered like most hearts whenever Dolly sings “Jolene” on the radio.

About 25 plaid-clad pastorals hitched their trailers to a dream in a former nut-roasting factory on Meserole Street in 2009 — paying a mere $600 a month for rent and utilities.

The collective’s creatives were drawn to the vehicle village’s video editing and painting studios, wood and ceramic shops, free-range chicken farm, fish pond, and of course, the BBQ.

But the complaints of neighbors who didn’t understand country living — and disliked the smell of propane — forced the trailers to move to a back yard leased by Kings near Waterbury Street.

Kings had no problem with the arrangement, according to Diamond.

“That back yard hadn’t been used for 20 years — and we made it usable,” said Diamond. “It was a junkyard with everyone’s trash. We cleaned it all up.”

For more than a year, residents made art and ate barbecue without interference from the outside world — until a surveyor for the railroad, which owns the yard, discovered them last month and charged the pilgrims with trespassing.

The cement company, which leases the lot, agreed, dragging the motor homes with forklifts and front loaders out of the lot.

Now the trailer park denizens are on the road again.

Some have hauled their RVs to India Street in Greenpoint while others are camped at nearby Johnson Street.

Diamond has remained country strong — he hopes to return to the yard he called home. A court date has been set for April 15.

“Ideally, the land would be our preference,” said Diamond. “There’s no bad guy in this.”

The Long Island Rail Road agrees with that.

“This is property we released to someone else over 10 years,” said Vice President Paul Victor. “We haven’t met or heard about these guys — and we’re apparently being sued as well.”

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anywho says:
I just don't get why these hipsters do this stuff. Just because an entity condones your activities does not make it right. Why in the world would you want to live like that? This is 2011 not 1968.

Again, think of some weird thing, bring it to North Brooklyn and then blame everyone but yourself when others do not like it.

Go upstate, buy some land and live like hippies on a commune. Go back to history to seek your future (while on shrooms).
March 31, 2011, 8:16 am
O2 from Wburg says:
live like that? u mean they should live like you which is all ok right? these folks have a very small footprint, dont bother people, & pursue their art. i vote for more to move-in.
March 31, 2011, 9:52 am
Denise from greenpoint says:
great so now they are parked up on a public street for how long? agreed, head upstate. or stone henge
March 31, 2011, 9:55 am
BadCommentBuster says:
You people should be ashamed for criticizing another person's way of living. How would you like it if they told you you were living in an inferior way via the internet?
March 31, 2011, 10:29 am
Lawrence from Park Slope says:
Living in manufactured housing (residential trailers) is very common in New York State. It is not common in New York City, but still an available option. I recall a trailer park located on Staten Island. Not sure if it still exists, though.

In any event, the manufactured trailer parks must comply with sanitary codes, zoning and certain building department regulations. Beyond that, trailer park living is as American as apple pie.
March 31, 2011, 11:06 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
c'mon LIRR just give these squatters the lot, like you gave Atlantic Yards to Ratner...hey Paul Victor, are you going to retire on a disability pension too?
March 31, 2011, 12:13 pm
jon from south brookyn says:
why is it when white people do something blatantly illegal, they think they're right and even sue.
March 31, 2011, 1:15 pm
Lawrence from Park Slope says:
The Brooklyn Paper shows its provincialism, "You'all come back now" is playing off a very old Southern stereotype. The reality does not match up to the stereotype as this story indicates. Mobile homes have been a housing option in New York State for more than sixty years. Mobile homes first appeared in New York’s case law in 1939.
March 31, 2011, 1:46 pm
freddy from slope says:
but trailer park living has been illegal since 1961-ish. the staten island park predates the zoning change and is grandfathered in.
March 31, 2011, 2:21 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
if they want to live like hobos let them,they should buy land and conform to all the rest of the city regulations that every other citizen of New York has to abide by.
March 31, 2011, 4:01 pm
Todd from Greenpoint says:
Or, of course, the people who do own and rent the land could actually try to be responsible citizens of MY COMMUNITY and maintain their lots. You know what these lots were before humans hipsters pulled in there and cared for them? Dumping grounds. Come on out to our neighborhood and see what happens to vacant lots. Who's complaining when random construction vehicles pull up to these lots at 2am and dump asbestos, old carpet, dry wall, paint and other —— in there? You know how many morons I see leaving giant piles of cat food for the six million stray cats that infest these lots? Not to mention the needles, the broken booze bottles, the abandoned mattresses, the human and canine feces. It goes on and on. But a few kids move in, clean up and then grill up some burgers and these wonderful neighborhood citizens get their panties in a bunch. WHATEVER.
March 31, 2011, 4:23 pm
Outraged from williamsburg says:
The bottom line is that the NYPD shouldn't be assisting in eviction, that is something that should be going to housing court.
If the land belongs to Kings, as they claimed, why did they let the trailers in there in the first place.
Additionally, why did they deliver building supplies to the trailer park residents so they could fix up the lot.

The trailer park was there for over a year, with the full knowledge of the people who came in and destroyed their property. If they claim the property is now theirs, their is a legal procedure for evicting someone.

This procedure was not followed and if someone evicts someone illegally, it is a criminal offense.
March 31, 2011, 5:13 pm
Laura Hofmann from Greenpoint says:
You think that living in a trailer is wrong because you don't understand it. People live in trailers all over the U.S. Since the community doesn't know the entire story, our first concern should be that these people are basically homeless now. How will they get help? Where are they going to use toilets? Shower? Come on people! Have a heart!
March 31, 2011, 5:59 pm
live/work from williamsburg says:
can someone explain to me why the cops didnt stop Kings buidling supply from evicting the trailer park. if someone is in a space longer than 30 days, I thought they have to go to housing court.
March 31, 2011, 6:49 pm
Ann-Marie from Williamsburg says:
Whether or not a person or group of persons has the right to remain living somewhere is a decision to be made by a court of law, not the lessor whose lessee allowed those persons there. Addtionally unless there was a court order to permit the eviction no one, not even law enforcement has the right to order an eviction.

I can only imagine the police acted on a call from someone at LIRR believing blindly the agency had gone through the propper procedures. Not so! And if any of the residents had brought up the fact, the eviction may have been halted. There were many oversights and wrongs. The LIRR and Kings should be held financially responsible for all damages AND the residents should be allowed to apply for squatters rights.
March 31, 2011, 7:24 pm
Jennifer from Greenpoint says:
I read about this in the Times and thought the same thing I think now: trailer parks are sooooo 2010.
March 31, 2011, 10:51 pm
Eric from Greenpoint says:
How can I score one of them chickens?
April 1, 2011, 3:56 pm
Mark from Flatbush says:
Take your trailers and get out of NYC. How's that for a solution? Check out the blog for the trailer people there's a pic of their trailers parked all over the street after their "eviction".

From reading this article there was obviously a misunderstanding and they didn't know that the lot was owned by the railroad. Now the LIRR should have to deal with this headache because they feel they are entitled to live there??????
April 1, 2011, 11:10 pm
Michael from Bushwick says:
There was no no eviction! Nobody was residing in the trailers at the time of their removal on March 13, 2011. NYC Dept of Building issued a vacate order on February 7, 2011. The vacate order was issued because: "There was imminent danger to life" These guys hooked up the trailers with electrical cords exposed to rain and snow "creating a fire hazard to the occupants". The vacate order stated: the property thereof "remain vacant and unoccupied"... "it shall be unlawful to fail to comply with an order of the commissioner"
Can anyone imagine if the occupants got trapped in a fire blaze? don't we care about human lives? How about the law?
April 8, 2011, 5 pm
Mercedes from Williamsburg says:
We all need to give everyone a chance to live and servive.We need to bring the trailers back i think it would be nice. We just have to find a place to set them all up.We need to help one another, rents are to high.
April 9, 2011, 6:19 am
Alex from BedStuy says:
There is actually a strong legal precedent for allowing the use of unclaimed or derelict abandoned lots to be reclaimed by new tenants or owners of a property. Look at any restaurant or apartment building with a back yard off of Broadway. I think its as simple as no one having interest in this space until it was cleaned up enough to become once again valuable to its owners, who suddenly after a decade of neglect decided that they wanted use of this property again. This is, of course, only after thousands of dollars in labor had been poured into this sliver of land, which had presumably been used as a dump for both Kings and for the warehouse that the "trailer people" rented (yeah, RENTED) as a studio space. This is ——ing dumb. The people who put in the work to make this space usable who are entitled to it, not the owners who left it long abandoned.
April 27, 2011, 12:10 am
trailersweretrash from bushwick says:
I saw those trailers when I was roomhunting at the time. They were filthy over the top dusty abandoned for 30 years piece of junks for rent for 550/month. Simply a Disgusting deal. Convince me that the person in charge is an artist lover. No one would want to have their dog live in such a thing.
June 7, 2013, 10:40 pm

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