City boots artists from studio–turned-nightclub

Beat it! Williamsburg Hasids chase party space out of neighborhood
Photo by Bess Adler

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.