The Future of Artists' Lofts

Thursday, June 24, 2010

James Panero, art critic and managing editor for The New Criterion,  talks about an expansion of the loft law protecting New York City tenants in manufacturing or commercial space converted for residential lofts.


James Panero

Comments [17]

Elizabeth from Bayridge from Brooklyn

I'm ready to move in, just tell me where when and how!!!

Nov. 18 2010 06:38 PM
caroline Falby from brooklyn

It's a shame that these laws were not enforced 15 years ago when older artists were cashing out instead of passing their spaces along to a new generation. They should have also been extended to Brooklyn, where hundreds of people were evicted from warehouses they had lived in for years (see: There is an entire generation of working artists in this city who do not have access to appropriate working conditions because violators of the law want the "romance" of living in an artist loft. After profiting from their community enrichment, he city owes artists affordable live/WORK space.

Nov. 17 2010 11:18 AM

Among the least productive people in society are those whose only job is to buy up condos and renting them out at every increasing prices.

Jun. 26 2010 03:33 AM
gabo from NYC

Excuse me, we're not talking about so-called "artists" here...we're talking about the rich and privileged children of America's seemingly infinite suburban class. The people rushing in to such fictitious neighborhoods as East Williamsburg do not enrich the city, but rather are the plowshare of the vacuous and nihilist white culture that the city, by virtue of the strength of its local culture and successive waves of immigration has been able to resist until now...that resistance however was obviously doomed, but we can now say, that the city has been captured.

Jun. 25 2010 03:43 AM
ann shipley from Connecticut

very interesting discussion of the new loft law. James Panero was excellent. Having been to Bushwick recently, it seems like the artists are the best hope for an area that otherwise looks like a war zone with blocks and blocks of empty buildings. This is not a vibrant industrial area. Good for Governor Paterson.

Jun. 24 2010 11:16 AM
Greg from Greenpoint

In the early '70s a handful of artists occupied lofts in Williamsburg when I moved in paying $150 for 1200 SF. Though illegal, lofters were tolerated by the
police, fire and city since we expanded the local economy and tax base. Enterprising artists clued loft lords to the burgeoning bonanza and rents soared. Lofters rebelled. In the early '80s my loft building caught fire. Investigators said it was deliberately set.

Jun. 24 2010 11:09 AM
Tara from Brooklyn

My boy friend and his brother lived right across from the Boar's head factory. They moved out of the neighborhood due to the fact that neighbors complained about the smell of their oil paints and other materials that used in the paintings and sculptures.

Jun. 24 2010 11:05 AM
Don from Clinton Hill

If you don't think this is a land rush that will have all the artists in those buildings gone within three years, you're out of your mind.

Jun. 24 2010 11:01 AM
Dorothy from Jersey City Heights

NYC is terrible for artists, Williamsburg is overpriced, Bushwick is filled with rats. I'm in JC now and I love it! 1/2 the price of NYC, clean, spacious, Artists, come to Jersey City! It's great here. :)

Jun. 24 2010 10:59 AM

This woman is not being very honest.... the industrial jobs are already living the City; otherwise these spaces would not have become empty to begin with.

Jun. 24 2010 10:58 AM
J from Brooklyn

Last September, after 6+ years residence, my partner and I (and all our neighbors) were forcibly vacated from our half-converted S. Williamsburg building by the DOH and the NYFD with less than 12 hours advance notice. I don't know that loft-laws would have stopped that, or made it easier, but in an attempt to punish the building owner for his negligence, the city screwed up a huge number of people's lives for months. Subsequently the building was renovated, and rent skyrocketed, sending us packing.

Jun. 24 2010 10:57 AM
Barbara Fisher

The first loft building that was legal for artists to live and work in was 799 Greenwich Street, which in 1967 was converted by the J. M. Kaplan Fund and sold back to the artists at cost. The Kaplan family was so pleased by the conversion and the first group of tenants they then created Westbeth. The Artists Tenants Association worked for many years to have the multiple dwelling laws changed to allow for this.

Jun. 24 2010 10:56 AM
paul colin from tribeca

Thank God!
I have been living in my building in Tribeca for 40 years.
Our landlord has not brought the building to code in compliance with the loft law, mostly because the fine for violations levied by the loft board was capped at $1000. The new law provides for up to $17,000 in fines for violations. This is very good! I'm sick and tired of living in a slum! The guy had the effrontary to create a multimillion dollar condo next door and left our building in a shameful condtion.

Jun. 24 2010 10:56 AM

NYers have to decide if they want art in their city or not. Artists will never be able to afford to live in manhattan, so if you want artists, there has to be legal way for that to happen. So, we can just be a city of rich bankers, brokers and other boring folks.

Jun. 24 2010 10:51 AM
Eric from manhattan

the original loft law was passed in order to mandate reasonable living conditions for people who were being taken advantage of (no hot water, no water, no bathrooms). even if they had a sweet deal, they still had no law to use to get basic living conditions. that was the original intent of the law.

Jun. 24 2010 10:51 AM
Bowery Boy from Bowery

I'm a theater artist living in a commercial building on the Bowery for 10 years. I'm currently in Eviction proceedings, and this new loft law may be my Hail Mary. Still trying to figure out if I qualify, but as my landlord wants to tear down my building, this is the closest thing I've found to answering my prayers. I love the Bowery and do anything I can to make it a better place - I don't want to be tossed out.

Jun. 24 2010 10:47 AM
Robert from NYC

If the mayor is against it I'm for it. I'm sick of his billionaire attitudes of total free/open market especially for his developer friends. That's what it is his greedy, money mongering developer friends. Years down the line we will see what a mess he has made of this city with regard to real estate and development.

Jun. 24 2010 10:46 AM

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