As part of what seems like a city crackdown on artist's loft spaces this week, Clinton Hill's Rubulad has been shut down, and artists began moving out their possessions on Tuesday when they were presented with a padlock and an eviction notice.
According to the Brooklyn Paper, the city is moving to evict them from their two-story Flushing Avenue space, claiming that they are running an illegal social club, and also citing them for not providing adequate fire safety. City documentation shows they have received a dozen violations for parties over the past two years.
Members of Rubulad say that the city is simply against their "communal, artsy lifestyle," and that they do not run a social club inside. Member Jeff Stark told the paper, “that’s inaccurate. Unlike real clubs, we don’t operate every night, there’s not always a big crowd and we have so many different types of art events.” However, one Yelp commenter says the place is "always good, always mobbed." We've contacted the woman who runs the space, and will update with further developments.
UPDATE: Sari, owner of the space, sent along the following statement:
On the morning of Tuesday, July 20th, NYC fire marshals entered Rubulad and announced we were being "evicted." We were informed that representatives of the Department of Buildings were on their way to padlock the space and that we had an hour to remove our essential belongings.
There appears to be some element of harassment at work here as, at the close of business on the third day of this ongoing fiasco, the DOB has not arrived to padlock the premises and indeed we have spoken with them on the phone and they have assured us they have no intention of doing so.
However, the fire department has issued an "Order to Vacate" disallowing us from entering the ground floor of our space. The DOB represents that they can and will undo the Order, but again nothing further has happened and as of now the Order stands.
Meanwhile, our space is in total disarray as many sympathetic friends and arts groups heard our cry of distress and came to help move our belongings and supplies into storage lockers in (retrospectively unwarranted) anticipation of being padlocked.
It's unclear to us how much of this harassment is due to a) the furor over the new loft laws, b) the fact that the fire department finds our parties annoying or c) any actual or imagined safety issues.
What is clear is that while we have been ordered to vacate the ground floor, we have not been evicted in the sense of being irrevocably thrown out on the street.