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Beat it! Williamsburg Hasids chase party space out of neighborhood

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The Brooklyn artist collective, Rubulad, is leaving its Flushing Avenue warehouse after six years of throwing late-night reveries — pushed out by their ultra-religious Hasidic neighbors.

Rubulad’s co-founders Chris Thomas and Sari Rubinstein considered putting in $40,000 to fix up the Flushing building, but personal complaints from their Orthodox neighbors convinced them to move.

“The people surrounding us felt really upset about ‘public nudity,’ which was actually just people wearing shorts,” said Rubinstein. “There’s no way our people aren’t going to walk through the neighborhood in shorts and short-sleeve shirts in the summer, so we feel we’d be better off in another neighborho­od.”

The Warhol-inspired Rubulad loft has hosted art parties at a two-story brick Clinton Hill fortress on the edge of the Hasidic quarter since 2005. But last year, complaints from neighbors brought in city inspectors, who subsequently shut down the party house and threw out its residents amid fire code violations.

The tenants were allowed back, but the party was over for all intents and purposes. Rubinstein and Thomas ended up holding many of their events at warehouses elsewhere in the borough.

But the neighborly strife began again this summer, after several Orthodox neighbors in new buildings abutting Rubulad complained about scantily costumed revelers.

So far, Thomas and Rubinstein have raised $18,813 from 250 people, a little over half their goal of $35,000, which they need to attain by Friday.

Donors who pledge $20 through Kickstarter can receive tickets to the official 2011 Santacon afterparty, when a mob of hundreds of costumed Santas will converge at Rubulad on Saturday.

That ought to make the neighbors happy.

Santacon Afterparty at Rubulad (338 Flushing Ave. between Classon Avenue and Taaffee Place in Clinton Hill, no phone), Dec. 10, 10 pm. Tickets, $20 via www.kickstarter.com/projects/rubulad/make-rubulads-dream-home-come-true.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.

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Reader Feedback

anywho says:
How corny.
Dec. 8, 2011, 6:47 am
judahspechal from bedstuy says:
Welcome to the American age of Censorship. Religious at that! Not to be taken lightly!
Dec. 8, 2011, 8:54 am
Manhatposeur from Portlyn Lakes Park says:
Well another "Hipster vrs. Hassid" article. Like I always said,the Hassid's are a "benign", if there ever is such a thing, form of the Taliban.
Dec. 8, 2011, 9:13 am
diehipster from NON-Gentrified Brooklyn says:
Just look at those pictures. Filthy suburban flyover state over-priviledged adult toddlers masking every annoying thing they do in working class Brooklyn neighborhoods with the word "art". Isn't it amazing how they afford some of the highest rents in Brooklyn yet don't have full time jobs?
Dec. 8, 2011, 10:44 am
Juniper from Greenpoint says:
Thanks BP for horiable yet again biased journalism if you can even call it that. The Rubland parties which started back in 1998 on S. 5 and then moved to Flushing have always been fire traps. They would cram as many people as they can get in the space just to make money.
They were also shut down for the rampant drug use and the drugs that were sold there "brownie" anyone. As for artists that is a loose term also. Stop blaming the Hasidic community for these peoples illegal activity. I walk in shorts all the time in Williamsburg and never had a problem they simply look away if they have a problem. Your paper is so detrimental to ineterfaith relations. you call smoke where their is no fire and stupid hipsters believe you.
Dec. 8, 2011, 11:18 am
Greg from Greenpoint says:
Everyone should be able to exercise their rights as Americans. There are laws against drug use, excessive noise, fire hazards, etc. and these are legitimate reasons to pursue against the warehouse.

Wearing shorts or anything else is not. If the Hasidim want other people to respect their rights, which they have every right to expect, they also are expected to respect every other citizen's right to be on a public street while obeying the law. They can't paint over bike lanes because they don't like bike shorts, or whatever reason they use. They can't make statements about their "area" and try to force people out, like they have done with hundreds of Hispanics. They live in New York City and can't force people out to create a mythical Hasidim-land.

The law goes both ways.
Dec. 8, 2011, 11:39 am
TONY from WILLIAMSBURG says:
Aaron i am quite appalled how low u can get and accusing Hasidim, your whole story is baseless, no facts.
It’s clear the renters were violating the fire code and building code, the parties used to be attended by hundreds of people and the place had only 1 way of egress, this is a major fire hazard .
Let’s not forget the fire that accrued in the Bronx, in an illegal club a few years ago, how many people got killed in that fire? Well same situation as with this illegal loft, there was only one fire exit. (If only the fire & building department would have closed the Bronx club , before the fire).
The closing has nothing to do with hasidim .this is cheap mudslinging.
They go their way of life and don’t bother anybody.
Aaron your headline should read “city avoids disaster and closes a major fire hazardous building “
Dec. 8, 2011, 1:06 pm
ty from pps says:
Tony -- I agree this is definitely the usual level of reporting done by this paper, but...

"They go their way of life and don’t bother anybody."

HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAHHAAA!!
Dec. 8, 2011, 1:41 pm
manhatposeur from Portlyn Lakes Park says:
Tell you wbat TY & all you haters.
I dont care how the Hassids or ghetto people live, as long as they dontr try impose violence on anyone or force their way of life.
Jsut because a some girl in a flowerly short-hemmed summer dress and tight high jean shorts and skinny jeans man is walking around shouldnt be cause for hatred. "Umad bro?"
Dec. 8, 2011, 3:49 pm
William says:
Indeed. The Hassids are an eyesore (and nosesore), but does that mean that we can kick them out of the neighborhood? This is not Afghanistan.
Dec. 8, 2011, 4:10 pm
Ethan Pettit from "Bushwick" says:
Oi gevalt! This calls for mediation. It is a blow to the Bohemo-Judaic relationship that has done so much to gentrify Williamsburg and other Brooklyn neighborhoods over the past three decades. Hello? Is the "Gemein" falling apart? Is this the end of the age of conciliation between Hassidic landlords and Bohemian loft renters? Es Schlug meyn Herz! I'm devastated. This never would have happened in the old days, before your Zayze moved to Jersey I mean.
Dec. 8, 2011, 4:44 pm
Josh from Park Slope says:
Im Shocked, how people are shocked at Aaron short, its the same Aaron in every article. This phoney story, might get him another phoney mega award, that will surely be a TOP STORY in the national media, like the last one. ( well i didn't really see it in the national media, but upon reading this paper, I am sure it was.)

Objective investigative journalism
Dec. 8, 2011, 5:08 pm
JC from Williamsburg says:
William, the only nosesore I know of is when your Mom opens her legs real wide.
Dec. 8, 2011, 6:23 pm
Editor from Journalismville says:
Exclamation Point! Then a Headline That Attempts to Foment Needless Strife in Our Community.
Dec. 8, 2011, 9:01 pm
MissAnnThrope says:
So a building that is a firetrap and a disaster waiting to happen hosts parties in a very religious community. You knew the Hassid community was there when you moved in. You know they're ultra-Orthodox. I'm wondering how many of you complain about Muslims wanting to change the face of America, but it's ok when you do it?

Let's face facts. The building needs more work than it's worth. The fire hazard, well, I guess none of you staycationers were around for the Happy Land fire in the Bronx that killed nearly 90 people. There were lots of violations that had closed it down previously. It was also an illegal social club.

More recently, The Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island killed nearly 100 people. White Snake's tour manager did jail time for that fire and the civil suits were numerous.

So yeah, if you have zero common sense, then letting a place like this continue to operate is a great idea. But remember, all you need is one flashpot to cause massive casualties and end up homeless from the civil suits from the families. All while you're sitting in a state prison for operating under dangerous circumstances.

I think all you fly over state immigrants to Brooklyn were dropped on your heads as babies.
Dec. 9, 2011, 1:08 am
manhatposeur from Portlyn Lakes Park says:
@ Missann Thrope
Don't worry they get as much equal opportunity fighting and force as much as the Hassids.
Its only when either the Muslims and the Hassids try to impose their values that secular loving people fight back.
You can worship your gods as you please but disrupt the peace where all can coexist its time to call to arms.
Dec. 9, 2011, 8:35 am
Homey from Crooklyn says:
That is one motley crew of skanks in that photo...
my eyes hurt
Dec. 9, 2011, 10:39 am
Ethan Pettit from "Bushwick" says:
Ah you're all mamsy-pamsy. Answer to your question: Yes, we are changing the face of culture in Brooklyn. We are paganizing it. And we're doing it faster than all the Hassidim, Muslims, and Puerto Ricans you care to condescend to. It's not up for grabs, sweetheart, it's what's for dinner. You don't like hipsters? Then leave Brooklyn.

The only point to be borne from this story is that the Hassidim are now reevaluating their economic relationship with Bohemia. That's fine. But it has nothing to do with any pious blather about cultural differences between the Hassidim and Bohemia. The Hassidim had no problem with Bohemian culture during the 30 years that we were laying the seeds of gentrification. Now that the neighborhood finally has economic traction, what, they want us out because we're "immoral?" ——.
Dec. 9, 2011, 1:11 pm
Ethan Pettit from "Bushwick" says:
Meschugene! Bohemians and Hassidim are the two groups in Williamsburg that have not been losing population. They are the players for the new hood. Eventually, they both have to start showing some bling.
Dec. 9, 2011, 1:19 pm
AFS from Bushhead Bayslope says:
Enough with the attacks on Midwesterners. Bob Dylan and Chris Noth are from Minnesota and Wisconsin, respectively, and are bigger NY icons than you. Go vote for Vito Fossella or Anthony Weiner some more, Bensonhurst Betties.
Dec. 9, 2011, 2:31 pm
Friday from Brooklyn says:
3 for 1.....Bedbugs, meth and stds.. ..what a sad bunch. Hope they don't come pollutin Bed Stuy with that motley burbia mess.
Dec. 9, 2011, 8:20 pm
k says:
i cant believe the hasids got there way, how often does that happen?
Dec. 9, 2011, 11:36 pm
diehipster from NON-Gentrified Brooklyn says:
Anybody care to guess what Ethan Pettit looks and sounds like? Most likely shaped like Olive Oyl, has a closet full of lumberjack shirts that would probably be tight on Gilligan, trusty Buddy Holly glasses, painted on jeans rolled up on the bottom in case of flood, Converse sneakers with authentic McCarren Park dirt rubbed on them, Adams Apple protruding through licey neckbeard, sustainable Fedora hat, some sort of man purse and a voice like Mickey Mouse with a kazoo stuck in his throat.
Dec. 10, 2011, 10:38 am
Ethan Pettit from "Bushwick" says:
Ah, I am glad to see you appreciate "guignol" and that you have an understanding of the fact that eccentricity is at the root of your whole hipster universe. But what was this conversation about?
Dec. 10, 2011, 2:41 pm
Ethan Pettit from "Bushwick" says:
Okay. Immoral sexual behavior in public in the neighborhood. So what was Kent Avenue all about in the 80s and 90s? We also take notes hey. Sexual deviance in public as the basis of an eviction is fool-hearty in its hypocrisy in this case, and I too speak for the guilty. It can only end darkly for the "chosen people" I'm afraid. Rubalad will be fine, they have a huge reputation, they're the only surviving warehouse party in Williamsburg. But you don't just suddenly "lean on" a local and longstanding temple of art in such a belligerent and below-the-belt fashion. And wear a wig at the same time. The rebbes will be haunted by a stigma of desecration for this. A desecration, moreover, by the lowest means. In the standoff between the "two temples" of Williamsburg gentrification — Enlightenment and Zion — now comes the contest for the land between the Creek and the River.
Dec. 10, 2011, 3:43 pm
Hey editor from Journalismville says:
Where do you work?
Dec. 10, 2011, 6:40 pm
nancy from coney says:
the hasids have taken over my neighborhood in the last couple of yrs. while some of them are ok the rest of them are something else i once came home from the beach in short shorts and a tank top i had the straps off and it looked like a halter and one of them told me why dont i go put some clothes on and another time it was the same thing with another one all this while im in front of my own house i wasnt naked they have some nerve should i dress covered from head 2 toe why not just rent a tent dont look if u dont like mmost of them think who they are. while im all 4 freadom of expression those burg artsy fartsy people are strange they call what they do art walking around like they do put a shirt on at least with shorts ur not on beach if the hasids wanna complain come 2 bay 21 coney the way some people are is gross nowwhen u c that u can complain. theres gotta be a happy medium and there is the safey issue 2 as for t he jewish people ur not in isreal with ur own kind you live in a mixed group get over ur issues or go somewhere where no other groups will intrude on you or go back 2 iserel
Dec. 11, 2011, 8:46 am
Ethan Pettit from "Bushwick" says:
Nancy, the only reason why you can even think about wearing a tank top anywhere near this neighborhood is because those "bug artsy fartsy people" at Rubalad pioneered the way for you. So put your own shirt on before you tell them to put theirs on. Either you cover up and join the Hassidim, or you shut up and show some bootie. No, there's no happy medium, nancy.
Dec. 11, 2011, 12:34 pm
nancy from coney says:
there is a happy medium ethan if they dont like what they are looking at dont look but you cant walk around the street without a shirt your not on the beach and im not from billyburg im near coney. i was talking about what im living with where iam and in that neigborhoog billyburg they are a little bit out of the ordinary if peole dont like what they seeing dont go in that area or look away but ur in public so shorts and a shirt isnt much 2 ask 4 i was in shorts and a tank top and was told 2 put clotes on and i told them hey what do i have on and cant tell me what 2 do in front of my own house as long as the goodies are covered up whats the deal and the show place is small thats a fire trap there thats dangerous im surprise theres a stink usulla hasidics avoid areas where people show skin or look away there are some that say something
Dec. 11, 2011, 10:35 pm
rubulover from willoughby says:
let me throw some actual facts at you, 1) Rubulad group are not hipsters, many were born in NYC (including myself and I'm 49 years old fyi far too old to be a hipster), they are all ages and races, Rubulad parties started in 1993..long before the hipster movement 2) The Rubulad building did not have 1 means of egress, it had 2 exits in the front, 2 in the back, a fire escape to the roof that joined 2 other building and a gigantic loading dock roll up door 3) Hasidic men would REGULARLY attend our party, I even saw one dancing and romancing with a transgender woman, I and two of male community members have been propositioned by hasids, 4) the landlords that own the building are hasidic and never cared enough to make Rubulad leave 5) the community complaints were never about fire trap conditions, they were about exposed elbows and knees, they used the fire department as their goon squad to enforce their religious restrictions and 6) as a result of these restrictions Rubulad could not allow lines of party goers on the street waiting a turn to get in so guests had a choice, go home or pack it in, guess what they chose to do? This problem was a result of the community, not the party 7) a successful Rubulad made money, no one was getting rich i assure you, it was enough to keep throwing the event, the good times covered the unfortunate times when the party got shut down yet EVERY ARTIST STILL GOT PAID, i know it seems like the successful parties are raking in tons of dough but the finger pointers aren't around when Rubulad staff is in court paying thousands of dollars in fines and bailing their djs and bartenders out of jail! there is a lot of risk involved in having a party like Rubulad!! 8) a typical year has 15 Rubulad parties TOTAL that is 15 days that that the hasidic community is asked to be flexible with their neighbor's lifestyle, is that really so difficult?!!?!?! Brooklyn is marvelously diverse, the jewish community should be a tolerant as the rest of the communities in the boro that live together side by side.
Dec. 11, 2011, 10:44 pm
Ethan Pettit from "Bushwick" says:
Well, fair enough nancy, I didn't realize you were talking about Coney. Yes, I do appreciate the differences and nuances there. @rubulover, thanks for the words on Rubulad.

I used to go to Rubulad sometimes when it first opened in the early 90s. There is one of the great Brooklyn hangs from the old school itself. That whole early 90s thing in Williamsburg was not just about nightlife. It was one of the great outer-borough freak shows of New York City nightlife history. Not Max's Kansas City, but up there with things like "The House of Labasia." And that's saying a lot.
Dec. 12, 2011, 9:54 am

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