McKibbin Lofts are party — and crime — central

The Brooklyn Paper
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Gun-toting muggers used a Williamsburg loft building as their personal Best Buy last week, hitting a hipster-filled McKibbin Street building at least three times.

Several armed robbers broke into unlocked rooms and stole thousands of dollars worth of video game systems and laptops at gunpoint in the incidents at 255 McKibbin St. for a total of three crimes in a span of four days — each the result of perps gaining access to the building and entering unlocked apartment doors inside the hipster hive.

The reign of terror began on May 16, two thieves entered a first-floor apartment just before 8 pm to find the tenant playing his video game. The thieves threatened to kill him if he screamed, and began rummaging through his stuff before grabbing the gaming system, plus the victim’s iPhone and wallet.

The next day, a burglar broke into a third-floor apartment at 6:15 pm and swiped a video game console and laptop while the resident was in another room.

Two days later, a violent robber walked into a fifth-floor apartment at 12:40 am to find its tenants watching TV.

“Give me all your stuff, I have a gun, I shoot people,” he shouted before loading the tenants’ laptops, cellphones, iPods and Xbox games into a white shopping bags.

“I been shot three times,” he shared before fleeing.

And that’s just the action inside the building.

On May 14, another robber stole an iPhone from a woman in front of the loft building at 5 pm as she was coming home from work.

The violent robberies brought dozens of police to the block known more for its late-night record release parties, video shoots, and impromptu performance art exhibitions.

The building has unabashedly assumed the label as Williamsburg’s hipster headquarters, or at least its first encounter.

Its tenants, many of whom are college students and new residents to Brooklyn, are attracted to the twin converted factories because of its cheap rent — but find themselves subjected to cramped, subdivided quarters and minimal privacy.

Now they’re worried about its lax security.

McKibbin dweller Roy Cherion, whose apartment was burglarized this week, said it is easy for people to come in and out of his building but few residents are taking necessary precautions.

“We’re definitely more paranoid about making sure we check before letting someone in but so far we haven’t noticed anything drastically different,” said Cherion.

And resident Amelia Trask wasn’t surprised about the robberies.

“It’s a good target,” said Task. “Everybody in here is an artist. Everybody has video or music equipment.”

That could change, said former tenant Ashley Rambo, who is worried that the violence will permanently end the party.

“I want to be open to other people in the neighborhood, but it creates a dynamic where you’re not sure if that’s possible,” said Rambo. “McKibbin was an open place where people kept door unlocked — now it’s almost a gated community.”

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Reader Feedback

hipster hater from brooklyn says:
f**k hipsters there to scared to face the way life usted to be before they moved in there such pussaaaays and whoever the writer of this article is a loser isnt there interesting things to write about?
May 25, 2011, 2:21 am
joebkny says:
whats a hispter?
May 25, 2011, 2:23 am
bulldoze says:
Bulldoze the Bushwick Houses. Crime problem solved.
May 25, 2011, 7:48 am
Walem En from 11211 says:
Yeah, how dare the paper write about thugs from the bushwick houses/future rikers residents robbing people at gunpoint. I don't like skinny jeans, so if you don't catch a bullet for your xbox you are a ——. Idiot. Put a wall around the bushwick houses.
May 25, 2011, 9:24 am
O2 from W'burg says:
last time an "armed" thief demanded money, I told him he'd have to show the gun (im an iraq vet)...he ran away. and i was lookin forward to stomping his sorry ass !
May 25, 2011, 11:30 am
Brooklyn born and raised from BK all day says:
Good job Brooklynites. Keep em coming and show these trustfund douches what it is to live and die in bklyn
May 25, 2011, 1:17 pm
Walem En from 11211 says:
The real story here is that the city makes it too hard for law abiding citizens to keep a piece at home. The McKibben kids ought to keep an armed lookout and open fire next time these thugs come around.
May 25, 2011, 1:28 pm
Manhatposeur from Manhathan says:
Time to smash the projects and create condos and art galleries.
May 25, 2011, 2:59 pm
Noah from Mckibbin says:
Hey Rob, how about the next time you answer the door and somebody sticks a gun in YOUR face, you go ahead and let us know how quickly you handed over your stuff.

Are the Mckibbin houses an easy target for bored kids who all just got out on summer break? You bet. But that doesn't mean ANYBODY deserves to be threatened with violence in their own home.
May 25, 2011, 3:15 pm
Noah from Mckibbin says:
On that note, lock your friggin' doors, you idiots.
May 25, 2011, 3:17 pm
gf from dfas says:
May 25, 2011, 3:42 pm
antwan from williamsburg says:
all of those "Bushwick Houses" comments are not only terrible, but make anyone agreeing with them a bigot. Not to mention that they are without basis until you get evidence that the assailants came from there.

For all you know they went to NYU and live off Bedford Ave. and robbed the place because it was easy.

It sucks for everyone, but don't go blaming the projects...

Lock your doors and if the locks are broken, get your landlords to fix them and don't pay rent until they do!
May 25, 2011, 3:46 pm
Dwight Framtid Eisenhower from 11206 says:
everyone is retarded
May 25, 2011, 4:04 pm
Ruth Nineke from Bushwick says:
Whatever. As long as educated, fortunate, and entitled intellectuals migrate to where the rent is cheap they run the risk of getting robbed by people who were there before and who are poor. It's age old. It's black and white, but not "black and white." Rent is cheap in certain areas because they are poor areas. Poor areas have less educated people who struggle with their being poor. Then you come in and you're enjoying life, living semi-comfortably in this magical place that you love because the rent is cheap. And then you get robbed. Wake up. This is how life is in New York. You want to not get robbed? Move to Williamsburg, LIC, or UWS/UES. If you're in Bushwick then lock your doors. Duh.

Or take it one step further and find a way to build a real community without displacing those who came first. Find a way to put an end to the separation of us and them. Get to know and appreciate the neighborhood and the city you've landed in instead of pretending you're on some new planet made just for you.

"When it's time to eat a meal I rob and steal." ~ Notorious B.I.G.
May 25, 2011, 5:49 pm
Poor Righteous Armed Robber from Bushwick says:
Robbing people at gunpoint is ok, if they are new to the neighborhood and have more money than you. Its not a crime if the perpetrator is a poor.
May 25, 2011, 6:22 pm
K. from Arkady says:
I presume they just look at the behaviour of the people across the river down on Wall St, and figure "If they can do it, why can't I?"
May 25, 2011, 9:35 pm
calvin says:
i moved to the williamsburg about 4 years ago and im hearing about all these iphone robberies and muggings. about 6 years ago i turned my life around from fighting on the weekends every other week. im really stressed at work and ill honestly say i really want someone to try something on me just so i can vent my stress legally. cant wait, fingers crossed
May 25, 2011, 11:32 pm
Ruth Nineke from Bushwick says:
Oh, robbery is still a crime. But you don't make crime stop by making arrests. You make crime stop by examining circumstances honestly and coming up with preventive solutions. But our society doesn't have time for things like that. So poor kids will continue to rob rich kids, and middle-class white collar, college educated 9-5ers will continue to ride the train to and fro teeming with aggression, and the guys on wall street will continue to be jerks motivated by greed, skimming fractions of pennies off the dollar. And we'll make comments on blogs like this one.
May 26, 2011, 2:10 am
bozo from bronx says:
Restaurant on the stakeout, so order the food to take-out.
May 26, 2011, 2:31 am
HS from Manhattan says:
"You make crime stop by examining circumstances honestly and coming up with preventive solutions"

The circumstances is that the building is nestled between two housing projects.

The solution is not to live next to housing projects.
May 26, 2011, 11:32 am
Smart Guy from Brooklyn Heights says:
Bravo Ruth.
May 26, 2011, 1:31 pm
k from gp says:
Only a small percentage of the people in the those projects are criminals, but that is enough to f it up for everyone around them: their families, neighbors, and friends.
May 27, 2011, 1:56 am
Aaron Watkins from mckibbin says:
it is fascinating to read this article and the subsequent comments, being that i am so intimately involved. i live in mckibs and have so for the last 7 years. mckibbin is the most magical, fantastic, raw, diverse, inspiring, disgusting, enlightening and progressive audio/video experience that you could hope to have in nyc, hands down. i was home when the first robbery happened. if one of the doors into my loft had been left unlocked, then myself and 4 other roommates would have been robbed and you would have seen my picture up there in this article, rather than my friends and neighbors. in each instance, the robbers entered the apartments through unlocked apartment doors. thats ridiculous! this is nyc, you need to lock your door peoples.

as for peoples comments about the bushwick houses and such. thats just a copout and misinformation, i.e. ignorance. most people who live in the projects are hardworking people. williamsburg prices are off the hook so yes, bushwick is certainly in the midst of gentrification but many people look at that as an opportunity to make new friends. mckibbin and bushwick houses have been longtime neighbors and i have watched many of these kids grow up. there are several crews of friends that come over from the bushwick houses and party over here each week. we all know each other by name.

i talked to one of the kids that got robbed on the fifth floor, he indicated to me that it was evident to him and his roommates that at least one of the robbers seemed high off some kind of narcotic. it is important to note the destruction and violence that addictions can plague on a community, gentrified or not.

so far as the lax security of the building that article mentioned. i would have to agree with you. however, i i have never heard of anyone getting robbed at gunpoint in the building before and i have lived here for seven years. the owner of the building actually has someone who comes in on the weekends and at least walks through the halls and stairwells. unfortunately, all of the robberies occurred during the week and early evening when residents are most comfortable. one of the cops passing out flyers called it "suburban ignorance" that so many residents don't find it necessary to lock their door. trust me, i get it. you were just across the hall for a minute talking to your neighbor in their kitchen... no need to lock the door...oh i would love to hear that new song and 15 minutes later...door still unlocked. in a way, the recent rash of robberies has vindicated my paranoia because i am constantly reminding my roommates to lock the f'ing door. i love mckibbin. i have great neighbors and i think they are amazing individuals, but i lock the door when i take out the trash or check the mail.

oh and i have to say it, but robbing a notorios artist loft building with cameras in the halls and stairwells is insane. the police are so on to these guys. and another thing, these lofts are expensive as hell. you rob me, you just gettin practice. i don't have an iphone and you can have this outdated laptop. i have a big jar of change and some really, really, really dope ass paintings on oversized canvases. is that worth 3-5 years of your life?

either way, the block is hot. popo, narcos, dt's, criminals, paranoid gun toting citizens... man i'm a pacifist. peace and blessings to you all.

bushwick is amazing, i host a local cable show about bushwick and the amount of growth and transformation going on within the borders of this neighborhood would really surprise you.
May 27, 2011, 4:59 am
Lebural Gilt from Bushwick says:
Acknowledging that residents of the hive of anti-social behavior and criminality that is the bushwick houses are responsible for sticking a gun in hipsters faces and robbing them is not ignorance. It awareness which is the opposite of ignorance.

"Most of them are good hardworking people" - well enough of them are shoving guns in peoples faces and stealing from them that something needs to be done about it. If a NYCHA resident was guilty of this, their entire family should be inelgible for NYCHA housing in perpetuity.
May 27, 2011, 9:53 am
straight lolin' from s. side chicago says:
this is hilarious. these fine young men are modern day Robin Hoods. we need more of them to teach these trust-fund adult babies a lesson. godspeed to them!
May 27, 2011, 10:38 am
Emma from Greenpoint says:
"It is the harmony of organic growth which produces variety of color and form, the complete whole we admire in the flower. Analogously will the organized activity of free human beings, imbued with the spirit of solidarity, result in the perfection of social harmony, which we call Anarchism. In fact, Anarchism alone makes non-authoritarian organization of common interests possible, since it abolishes the existing antagonism between individuals and classes. "Under present conditions the antagonism of economic and social interests results in relentless war among the social units, and creates an insurmountable obstacle in the way of a co-operative commonwealth."
May 27, 2011, 6:29 pm
Mr's Thomas from Williamsburg says:
This is sad. I use to live in Bushwick on central ave to be exact near the M train. My neighborhood was pretty rough and yet on the verge of gentrification. My rent was super cheap $950 for a spacious 1 bedroom apt. I can totally relate to what Ruth is saying about the "us and them" factor. I had a drunk neighbor who was cursing out his wife at one time and I told him to be quiet because my apt was on the first floor. He looks at me and says something along the lines "I know you think your better than me with your college educated self" which was ironic because I've never been to college.

Ruth you sound like you have a plan. No need to wait on the government to do anything. You have the power to do something about it. Start a movement.
June 1, 2011, 5:28 am
dave from from mckibbin says:
Some of the people in these buildings may have trust funds, but some of us showed up with 100$ in their pocket, and made something of our lives in this City. Half of the people you refer to as "hipsters" grow up in DIY scenes and work in media/ or service sector jobs where we can dress as we please or work strange hours. Most of us work hard and don't deserve to be robbed mid day like anyone else. However obviously people need to lock their doors, not everyone isn't a barbarian.
June 1, 2011, 1:31 pm
not trust funded from mckibben says:
why is everyone here assuming that all the people living in mckibben lofts are "haves" taking advantage of a "have not" neighborhood? I live here, I struggle to make rent, and I choose to stay because it's one of the only affordable AND conveniently located areas in NYC. I've been sexually assaulted and chased on separate I deserve to live in fear of being robbed at gunpoint too? Would I deserve it if my parents paid my rent? Sounds crazy to me.
June 7, 2011, 5:52 pm
CDog from Williamsburg says:
I find some of these "Robin Hood" comments offensive. I lived in Bushwick when I first moved to the city and granted I am educated and more fortunate than some but I do not have a trust fund. I have student loans and worked hard for what I have. Even if I did have a trust fund it would not give some scum bag thug the right to take what does not belong to them. These theives are just that, THIEVES, worthless scum bag theives. They are not robbing from the rich to give to the poor anyway. They are most likely robbing to support their habbit.
Oct. 25, 2011, 6:21 pm
mirror from does it matter? says:
1. Who said that everyone who lives in the mckibben lofts are "bored rich kids" or they are all "artists". They dont ALL "come from money". The ones who do, grow up in such a strange world that when it comes time for the real world, (not by any fault of their own..its mom and dad) they need some extra time to get on their feet, they also feel more comfortable in a college type environment. It used to be Murray Hill, now its areas like this.

2. Also, stop saying "the rent is cheap" and making it like its a bad thing. In todays economy a lot of us (mid to late 30's, 40's,& 50's )are looking for just this...CHEAP is our main concern. These children were never taught to lock the door, and would be way 2 scared not to let the person standing behind them through the door. (we know that they care about what people think of them much more than they care about their own safety -in the moment)

3. Artists and writers.....yes, they are ALL slackers who dont care about anything. Who are you people that write this stuff???? People in these industries work just as hard or harder..they hustle constantly to make a living!!!

4. I have one more point to make. We are all the same. Black, White, Red, Blue, Purple, Man, Women...we all want the same things. to say what you said Ruth..."Or take it one step further and find a way to build a real community without displacing those who came first. Find a way to put an end to the separation of us and them. Get to know and appreciate the neighborhood and the city you've landed in instead of pretending you're on some new planet made just for you." and then go and quote Biggie, made me laugh only because you arent looking at this the right way. If you really think this is their responsibility than we can all laugh together. None of these people displaced anybody. I cant even devote another second to this point. You get it though right? The anger, the robberies, the guns, ummm and its the OTHER people who have chosen to live in this communitys fault? Come on.....we are all mirrors of each other.
Feb. 8, 2012, 5:24 pm
Glen Mary from Brookside Park says:
Ex New Yorker livin' in Colorado. Reading all of your comments gives me the ethereal sense of existing in paradise and glimpsing an episode of Hell. Wow.
July 16, 2012, 10:31 am
Jack from Williamsburg says:
Bulldoze the Bushwick houses and all public housing. Just cause you are there now does not give you a right to stay. Renting does not equal ownership. If you don't want to be displaced, either pay the rising rent or buy a house. If you can't afford it, then you can't afford to be in New York. This is not your city anymore, thugs.

And yeah, I'm going to start carrying a gun. Come at me and you will be paralyzed. I'll shoot both your kneecaps and both of your hands. Then you'll be taking out my garbage, if you can even do that.
June 9, 2013, 10:52 pm
K from Milwaukee/Williamsburg says:
Who let the a-hole talk from Chicago?

"straight lolin' from s. side chicago says:
this is hilarious. these fine young men are modern day Robin Hoods. we need more of them to teach these trust-fund adult babies a lesson. godspeed to them!"
May 27, 2011, 10:38 am

You are absolutely disgusting. From the deepest and darkest place of my heart, your comment will forever be.

Rest in hell.
Oct. 28, 2013, 6:46 pm
lou from mckibben says:
I grew up on mckibben st. from 1956 to 1963, very diverse community, german, Puerto rican, Italian, black, the best memories of my life. couple of grocery stores, one shoe store, two restaurants Puertorican, serving the hundreds of factory workers. no violent crimes within the community. but there were at least 6 violent gangs, Quintos, jesters, horseman, Ellery bops, etc. who hated each other. heroin needles and 22 cal. casing all over the place Saturday mornings. every single factory was loaded with local employees. I live 2 doors from the famous lofts. WE played in the loading docks as kids. my father owned a Puerto rican restaurant next to p.s. 147, never made a penny. Being poor is no excuse for robbery or violence. the few criminals are germs, bacteria, a cancer that grows whether black or white. the young people that live there should have cameras, and good security. mckibben is in my heart forever. enjoy! while your there and consider yourself lucky. p.s. the wall at the Colombia factory was exclusively for handball with a pinky ball. we had fun. adios amigos!!
Jan. 16, 2015, 4:51 pm
lou from mckibben says:
If any of the young people want to know more about mckibben st. contact me at
Jan. 16, 2015, 4:54 pm

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