G’point author pens novel on squatters in ’90s Williamsburg

G’point author pens novel on squatters in ’90s Williamsburg
Akashic Books

It is a squat plot!

A Greenpoint author has written a novel based on her experiences living in a Williamsburg squat in the 1990s. The book is a celebration of the do-it-yourself living ethos that allowed many punks to live communally in New York City at the end of the last century, but it is also a cautionary tale about the struggles of trying to get along when living in large groups, said the writer.

“I want the readers to see this world through the eyes of the main character, who is definitely looking at the world of squatters through rose colored glasses when she arrives,” said Stacy Wakefield, who will read from her novel “The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory” at Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene on April 30. “It was not all happy and fun. There were a lot of power struggles.”
Like Wakefield, the story’s main protagonist Sid is a starry-eyed idealist when she arrives in New York City in the early ’90s and starts looking for a place to squat. And also like Wakefield, Sid gives up on squatting in Manhattan and comes looking for a vacant building in then-gritty Williamsburg, ultimately settling inside a burned-out bakery.

But Wakefield, who showed up in the Big Apple with a pocketful of contacts, said she didn’t base Sid entirely on herself — she also drew from a variety of people she knew in her squatting days.

Wakefield, who squatted in Holland and England before ending up in Brooklyn, gave up her vagabond ways years ago. She is now has two stable homes — one in Greenpoint and one in the Catskills — but she said she is grateful for what she learned as a squatter, which still informs her views about housing in the city today.

“Housing should be a basic human right, but in New York City, it is just seen as a financial transaction to make people rich,” she said. “It is just too bad. There should be more diversity of people and income levels.”

Stacy Wakefield reads from “The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory” at Greenlight Books [686 Fulton St. at S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenlightbookstore.com]. April 30 at 7:30 pm. Free

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Akashic Books