30 December 2007

Rat Heaven



Isn't he a pretty picture of contentment, sunning himself on the permanently open fourth-floor window of this 19th-century brick walk-up on Kane Street in Cobble Hill?

Vermin apparently have such complete run of the abandoned, bedraggled spectacle that is 149 Kane Street that they don't mind sunbathing out in the open, as if to state to the world, "I have no fear of reprisal or extermination. I run this place!" The building is the one eyesore of the elegant block between Henry and Hicks. The roof is sagging, the stoop and facade are cracked, the cornice is loose and hanging, some windows are boarded over while others are open.

The Department of Building website lists dozens of complaints and violations against the property, all laid at the foot of one Arlene Karlsen (or Karlson), who has been assessed tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Recently, parts of the house fell onto the lawn of a neighboring property. Even members of the FDNY have filed complaints! And yet, nothing has changed in the years I've been eyeballing the house. The thing's going to fall any moment, I swear, guys. (Oh, guess what, freinds! The building is landmarked!)

A very angry old lady who lives next door, and has signed many a petition over the years, told me the owner of the horror bought it 20 years ago "for a song," and has done nothing with it ever since. She said the roof leaks constantly. A little rain, however, never bothered our fat friend, the suntanned rat.

UPDATE (1/2/2007): This item has since been picked up by Brownstowner, Curbed and New York Magazine, to which sites I am gratefull. I no longer care whether it's a rat, squirrel, small dog or armadillo. I just want that that building saved from the clutches of its absent landlord.

16 comments:

bb said...

That's pretty obviously a squirrel, not a rat.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

BB: I and my friend, the old lady, looked at it a long time, and agreed it was a rat. It looked like a rat. It behaved like a rat. It had a fatness I've seen in rats, but never in squirrels. And, most importantly, it has a rat's tail, not a squirrel's.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i have to go with BB on this one, it's definitely a squirrel.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

All I can say, guys, is your resolute opinions are based on looking at a picture on a website and mine and the old lady's are based on staring at the thing in person for five minutes. But, for the sake of argument, let's go your way: it's a squirrel. So, that building is in much better shape than I thought, right? It's not a rat-infested public hazard, it's a squirrel-infested public hazard! Call off the DOB! The point of the post is the old building is in need of saving an a landlord intervention.

Carol Gardens said...

I always wondered about this building. Maybe the owner will decide that it is good time to cash out and sell it to someone who has the energy to fix it up. Even if that IS a squirrel, the place is in shambles.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

My hope exactly, Carol.

Fior said...

If the squirrel/rat's tenancy is rent controlled and it's a holdover with no certificates of non-harassment, it can't be evicted. Heads up, folks. The price may look low, but you'll be stuck with that varmint and its entire family in perpetuity, for the low, low rent of...nuts or garbage, depending which it is.

morpheusrex said...

Never mind the collapsing house, we need to settle a more important issue. It's definitely a squirrel. Look at that tail!

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Oy.

Rat ? said...

It looks like a very small DOG

Carroll Gardens Lady said...

Totally a squirrel...the tail may be lacking fluff...but it isn't small enough. Please be a squirrel!!!

niksixart said...

Hello, I'm a journalist and would like to set up an interview with the blogger. How can I get in contact with Brooks of Sheffield?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Niksixart: Just use the Contact link on the right hand side of the blog to contact me. I'll write you back.

Cheva-Cheva said...

I live right near the place, and can tell you for sure it is a squirrel. They also have a pigeon issue in the same building. The roof is slumping, there is a whole in the stoop, and there is no sign of anything happening to fix it. If you go to propertyshark.com and type in the address(Which I will not provide) you can see that it has not been really taken care for over 20 years. There is a woman that goes in from time to time, but I can't image what she is doing.

JackSzwergold said...

Rats don’t sleep above ground. Squirrels do. I have tons of photos of squirrels that have slept on branches outside my window and that is a squirrel.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jackszwergold/2254170382

robert said...

Its a squirrel. I own the house to the right and watch the squirrel climb up my fire escape (backyard) into her house.

And also watched it sitting on top of the front window then climb down (inside the house) from the 3rd floor to the 1st floor window many times.