Loft Laws in Brooklyn

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

WGSN’s own Youth Trends Editor, Sarah Owen, explores the unique loft interiors of her neighbours at 151 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for today’s New York Times Magazine blog. Due to prohibitively expensive rent costs in NYC, vanishing factory activity and therefore vacant industrial space in Brooklyn, artists and those not so gainfully but passionately self-employed in their trades sought cheaper rent, over the last few decades, in buildings that used to house a variety of operations from food processing to doll-making.

Although many resided in the old factories and warehouses, the buildings in many cases did not meet the New York City standards of residential use and were therefore illegal. Tenants often lived for a decade or more with tenuous and unspoken agreements with landlords. A new, and contentious, legislation now offers residents of formerly industrial lofts the chance to submit applications to have their buildings considered for residential status. The article not only sheds light on a new law that stands to benefit some loft-dwellers, but also gives us a peak into the ways that people transform unconventional living spaces with eccentric furniture and semi-architectural forms, and the diversity of lifestyles that one warehouse can hold; from the usual impoverished musician/writer scenario to that of more stable creative professional and family. Regardless of their thoughts about the new Loft Law, artful living seems to a common thread among the warehouse tenants. Thanks to Sarah for an inside look.