Bushwick Trailer Park

If You're Wondering Where They Eat or Sleep, or Other Science Facts, Repeat to Yourself, "It's Just Bushwick, I Should Really Just Relax"

In the NYT

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/29/artists-trailer-park-is-history/?partner=rss&emc=rss

 

 

In the Media, Again

If there’s one thing the residents of the trailer park are going to take away from this fiasco, it’s the realization that it’s very, very easy for the media to get things wrong. Since our early days, there have been more than a few articles that have left us scratching our heads in utter amazement. We shouldn’t name names, because it would only encourage more tedious hillbilly metaphors in the next article.

 

the engines were running indoors

Sorry, we’ve only ever had two trailers that could drive under their own power (“class C motorhomes” for those of you in the know) and we would never run them indoors, even in our warehouse. They were meant for the outdoors and that’s where we lived in them. We have no idea where this ‘gas leak’ information came from, we don’t have the gas to leak. The decision was made early on never to use propane but to power every trailer electrically.

the fire department evicted everyone from the warehouse in february 2010

the department of buildings did not want people living in trailers inside the warehouse- and the trailers were indoors for the early part of winter 2009 because we didn’t have the manpower to get them out back easily- we eventually had to build a ramp, and any time trailers were moved it was an manual operation involving 10-15 people pushing and lifting. We complied with the department of buildings and if you take the time to look up the violations on the nyc.gov website you will find that our violations have all been marked as such. No police set foot inside. But there were so many errors and insults in the press in february that we decided to keep to ourselves about the existence of the trailer park in the back lot. They were our homes and bedrooms, and we didn’t want further attention, ecspecially when it was all going to be fodder for bad creative writing exercises. Besides, the last article said we were all gone, so it was better everyone thought that.

hipster

One of the main epithets we’ve heard surrounding the trailer park. It’s a way for blogs to generate message board furor. No one knows exactly what the word means, but there sure are a lot of them in williamsburg and bushwick, right? We can’t convince anyone who doesn’t want to be convinced, but we’ll state this- after a few months of living in a trailer the irony wears off. Look, it’s about half-and-half art and music space, most everyone who lives here does it because having a live/work space is what suits them the best.

you are banjo playing hillbillies/cowboys/white trash/southerners who aren’t real new yorkers

Among our residents, we have had about four native new yorkers, a bunch of people from new jersey and philidelphia, a couple from texas, one from kansas, a few from virginia and north carolina, a few from california and a whole host of foreigners- from germany, sweden, france, brazil and el salvador. We have one dedicated banjo player, and he’s really good.

you guys were trespassing

You can’t trespass on land you had permission to enter- and you can’t be evicted from land you’ve been living on for over year, even the humblest strip, without 30 days notice. Claims that Kings Construction Supply had no idea we were back there are completely ridiculous- how does one overlook 20 caravans in your backyard? Do a google map search, you can practically see us from space.

you can’t live in an industrially zoned space

technically you can’t live anywhere in manhattan, but somehow people do.

 

Save The Bushwick Trailer Park

Let’s start at the beginning. Since November of 2009 a group of 20 artists have been renting out an industrial space in Bushwick, Brooklyn and living in a trailer park behind the building. We pay rent on the first floor of the warehouse in front of the trailers and use it as our workspaces and gallery. We aren’t in it for the irony, and we aren’t doing it illegally. We do it because living in trailers allows us to have more studio space and more gallery space than any one of us alone could ever hope to afford. I don’t know of any gallery in Bushwick or Williamsburg that has as much space as we have. Because we’ve been willing to live without luxury and without a few basic conveniences we’ve carved out a unique opportunity that virtually no young artist in this city could afford on their own.

But a few days ago the city and the police towed our homes to the street. No 30-day eviction notice, no due process. We have a pro-bono lawyer, we are exploring all kinds of options, and everyone says we’ve got a good case, but it won’t help the fact that in the very immediate future our streetside trailers are all going to be sent to a landfill.

None of us know what to do. We’re asking all our friends, friends-of-friends and now complete strangers on the internet if anyone has or knows of a place we can send the trailers-even just one- before the city wipes us out. We’re not asking for a new permanent home, we’ve all found places to stay for the time being, we’re just trying to park our empty trailers somewhere to buy us even a little bit of time.

So do you know anyone with a garage, a backyard, or a lot? We would be forever in your debt.


Wet Plate photography of the trailerpark by Robyn Hasty

all photos by Robin Hastyfor her project Homeland: a Wet Plate Collodion Photo Essay