City boots artists from studio–turned-nightclub

for The Brooklyn Paper
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A group of Clinton Hill artists will have to fight for their right to party, as the city is moving to evict them from their Flushing Avenue workspace because of their allegedly wild bashes.

The dozens of creative types who share the two-story industrial building between Classon Avenue and Taaffe Place have racked up more than a dozen violations in the past two years, stemming from their popular parties, according to city documents.

Their most recent event two weeks ago got way out of hand, neighbors said, and the city issued the eviction notice on Tuesday.

Citations included operating an illegal social club and failing to provide adequate fire safety.

But the artists say the city is over-reacting.

“The city says we operate as an illegal social club, but that’s inaccurate,” said Jeff Stark, who often works with the coalition of artists, known as Rubulad, which rents the warehouse. “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.”

The bigger issue, say some members of Rubulad, is that the city is a stuffy old granddad that doesn’t like their communal, artsy lifestyle.

“The city generally harasses us,” said Sari Rupinstein, a Rubulad spokeswoman and performance artist. “We’ve been here for five years, but this time the Fire Commissioner just showed up and said the Department of Buildings is going to padlock us out.”

Rupinstein was one of several Rubulad artists moving sculptures, paintings and tools into a storage space across the street in preparation of a lockout, which is expected to take place on Wednesday.

City officials could not be reached for comment.

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Reader Feedback

purple from wmsburg says:
Rubulad has been going on in one warehouse or another for 20 odd years, the parties make thousands of dollars every month & Sari is the boss and pays people crap, it used to be a bunch of friends but the business of the parties has been ugly in recent years & many of her closest friends have ditched the scene. They also used to be really grown-up events but now theyre full of wasted teens & so much drug BS, just not fun any more, theyre just lucky no one has died at a party there yet.
July 21, 2010, 1:26 pm
Bobs from Bushwick says:
Wow, "purple" you sound super jaded. What happened? You are sorely, and sadly, misinformed. The fact that you don't even have it close how long Rubulad has been going on shows your ignorance. More showingly, Rubulad is an integral part of the underground arts in New York, nothing else compares with the amount of artists it supports and in such a caring community of friends. Sounds like we just aren't friends with you, and that's most definitely best! Pointless to defend Rubulad really, you are probably an angry cop.
July 21, 2010, 2:43 pm
Machinelf from Bushwick says:
As an angry cop I take exception to your comment. I say, keeping the freaks in one place makes foe easier policing. And as for drugs and wildness... Rubulad is (was?) extremely tame, you definitely need to get out more.
July 21, 2010, 3 pm
Vox from Williamsburg says:
It's a shame that there is such a concerted effort by vision-less bureaucrats to attack such a historical cultural landmark as rubulad clearly is.

The rubulad family should get a medal of honor for providing a safe and interesting place for people to enjoy life for a while.

Typically the authorities reach into a well worn bag of tricks in order to achieve their objectives. In this case they are attempting to utilize the various fire and building codes in order to a) Circumvent the 4th amendment. b) Vacate the premises on bogus grounds.

Often times these bogus tactics cannot withstand even a cursory defense much less a vigorous one.

And it is critical to bring the pressure of the community to bear on this unfair and unwarranted intrusion into the PRIVATE ART FACILITY which has served and BENEFITED new york city for over 15 years.

(i've got your back sari)
July 21, 2010, 4:39 pm
just saying- from bushwick says:
As a member/business-owner in the neighborhood-

I think certain groups (religious?!) are against these types because of their life styles. Because of their strong numbers in voting power, they're preferences are sometimes heard first.

It's sad. But true.
July 21, 2010, 8:28 pm
what he said from greenpoint says:
Just saying hit the nail on the head. The noise complaints are definitely an ongoing battle with the neighborhood which, let's just say, might prefer not to have parties raging on a Friday night.
July 21, 2010, 10:39 pm
just sayin-- from bushwick says:
i meant "their" not "they're"- sorry.
July 21, 2010, 11:07 pm
Just from fort green says:
It a druggie and stoned out of your mind spot. Someone was killed over there a year or two ago. I avoid the area after dark
July 22, 2010, 10:29 am
whuh? from fortstyliamsburg says:
nobody was killed at rubulad ever
July 22, 2010, 5:13 pm
jellycat from bedstuy says:
someone was shot in the head and stomach in broad daylight in the deli across from rubulad about 8 months ago. that had nothing to do with rubulad.
July 22, 2010, 6:18 pm
fotochik from Park Slope says:
It was crowded, but any good night club is as well! Totally controlled, and noise????? They were really good about keeping noise levels down!! They never allowed people to hang out outside. I'm a newbie to Rubulad, just started going a couple months ago, if this is truly the end, i will be really sad! I never experienced a party quite like it!!
July 26, 2010, 4:32 pm
motorgirl from redhook says:
Rubulad was a loving and careful introduction into New York Art Happenings for me, almost ten years ago. I went maybe 20-30 times over the course of maybe six years. I never saw one fight, their security is polite and in control, both to patrons and to police/fire workers. Yes, its crowded, and yes, if FEELS like mayhem, but really its a grand new york style festival, with layers and layers of arty decor and a general drunken weekend vibe... but they clean up the street afterward, they have enough bathrooms to serve everyone, and COME ON Y'ALL! its a bunch of arty kids hanging out relatively safely ALL NIGHT LONG. I totally agree that it is the local Hasid community making it impossible to continue. That said, Sari, when you move to new digs (again, as ever) please scrap your email list and start fresh, maybe we can have a first year more like the original rubulads. more punk and fun and less high-school yuppies-to-be.
July 27, 2010, 10:24 am
Lizzie from Brooklyn says:
This is ridiculous. Rubulad is the only party in New York City where a working class New York native can feel at home, safe away from the gentrifying masses of the sickening bourgeois and middle-class values that have destroyed my city. What can we do to help? is the question I want to ask, and the question I want ask all of you who care about New York.
July 27, 2010, 7:44 pm
Drew from Rutherford NJ says:
I like how the stuffy ba$tard on these city "councils" can never be reached for comment. Aren't they supposed to be held accountable for what they do? Maybe they were within their rights closing the place down, maybe they weren't. It would just be nice to at least hear an answer for their actions. Even if it's somethin like, "they're a bunch of shmucks! They're outta heeyah!" That would be better than, "We have no comment fa what we're doin heeyah! We don't need to comment!"
Aug. 19, 2010, 11:02 am
Steve use to be from NYC from Midtown says:
OMG lol the "gentrifying masses of the sickening bourgeois and middle-class values"? That is the perfect troll line. I will have to remember that. Look, if the party is making too much noise and keeping the neighborhood up, they should be quiet or be shut down. But then I suppose that politeness and respect for other people are "bourgeois middle-class values".
Aug. 19, 2010, 10:49 pm
glad you moved from LIC says:
Did it hurt when you got that stick up your butt?
Aug. 20, 2010, 9:15 am
HELP from Williamsburg says:
hahahah it sounds like it did. ouch.

anyway, there are a lot of really polite and smart people commenting here, which speaks volumes to those caring for and attending Rubulad.

I've also attended about 20-30 times, over the past 6 years, but I can attest to Motorgirl's words a few comments back. Thank you.

I am genuinely interested in helping to resurface this energy and attitude of creativity and excitement, somewhere, maybe not around such close-minded people in such a rotten neighborhood.. but SOMEWHERE.
Aug. 25, 2010, 11:23 am
Morgan from Bushwick says:
Theres nothing historical about a bunch of dumb hipsters abusing the word "art" - to get drunk, ——ed up and act stupid.

Hipsters have contributed to ruining the NYC party scene and neighborhoods in general.

They deserved to get evicted and think theyre above the laws because theyre over priviledged brats. Some one will die at a rubulad - probably an overdose - or just getting drunk and hurt in general. Theres no supervision or any thing.

You people make me sick- with all your false causes - it's all a trend - until you get knocked up or married and move to park slope to breed.

Half of you people dont even do art - and if you do its bad. Sitting around doing nothing with your lives, acting as weird as possible and as famous artists have in the past - spray painting a tv and calling it art - does not make you an artist.

Real artists DO.
Fake artists - fake.

Take a ——ing bath once in a while too... and stop dressing like retards.
Feb. 12, 2011, 9:48 pm

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