Say goodbye to the precious summer nights spent drunkenly stumbling around the McKibbin lofts. The loft residents at 248 McKibbin lost their access to the roof on August 20th.
The 248 building has had a history of people throwing things off the roof, but one tenant claimed that the access was revoked to a mysterious person throwing a bicycle off the roof and almost maiming a young passerby. Gideon Heine, resident of 244 McKibbin, stated that the roof closure is “terrible news.” A recent Aussie transplant, he lamented the loss of the roof as a community, saying, “New York can be a lonely place sometimes but on that rooftop, you don’t feel that way.”
Complaints about the building’s tendency to be a Russian roulette of flying debris have been piling up for a few months now. A letter from Carnegie Management Inc. was sent out to tenants stating the NYPD’s 90th precinct had received a ledger of complaints against the building. “They presented to us several police reports as well as video clips of objects flying off the roof deck, which could have killed individuals passing by on the ground,” said Heine. The letter states “the roof deck was designated fro the tenant’s enjoyment and not to receive complaints of disturbances from the neighborhood buildings.” It also states that the closure comes not from the management company itself, but the police and, most disturbingly, the community at large.
“I think we need a [key] for roof access that is different from the front door access. Some sort of special deposit you put down… sign some official rules.” said resident Morgan Howard in the lofts Collective Action Vested Interest Board Facebook group. The group aims to be a place for “(permanent) residents” to “solve mutually and maturely thru [sic] collective action and peaceful democratic arbitration (if needed).” The group was started by long time resident Tom “Imateacher” who commented, “it only takes one asshole to ruin shit for everyone.” There is a looming air of suspicion in regards to the culprits of such terrible rooftop etiquette. The building’s location coupled with the rising fame of Bushwick as a tourist destination has made it a prime Airbnb location, and with hundreds of tenants renting out space to make extra cash, the traffic flow has increased heavily. Resident Joe Figueroa has strong reservations about Airbnb. “It’s hard to keep people out that don’t live in the building. It’s usually the weekend that brings people who are willing to throw a damn bike off the roof.”
Carnegie Management said they’re working with “the NYPD and Community Board 1 to open the roof deck to tenants sometime in the near future.” But a ‘McKibbin Batman’ might be an internal solution needed to police rooftop behavior. “Be a vigilante and active in telling someone else off if they are disrespecting the rooftop,” said Heine. Figueroa added to that, saying, “there has been a lot of damage done to the property during weekends. If the building can figure out how to manage that, maybe [we can] just have roof access during the weekday.” The Facebook collective suggest visiting Community Board 1 on their own turf and requesting the reopening of the roof.
The management company has been inundated with emails and letters from both residents who are members of the Collective Action group as well as non-members. In a response to one resident, management expressed sympathy with the tenants. “We know how important the roof is for the tenants. We are now in the process of preparing a proposal to present to the police department, community board and the church hopefully they will accept it and allow us to reopen the roof.”
If you’d like to help save the roof, attend the upcoming McKibbin Loft Community Council meeting with the 90th Preceint Community Council. They meet the second Wednesday of the month at 7pm at 20 Montrose Ave in the Community room. The date of each meeting may be the subject of a future change. For more information please contact the 90th Precinct Community Affairs Officer, at (718) 963-5309.