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Another Post-Sandy Mural; Construction Hazard In Chelsea

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STATEN ISLAND?Similar to this Groundswell-organized project in the Rockaways, a group of local teenagers has banded together to create a mural that commemorates Hurricane Sandy, which was unveiled this week. Emblazoned with the cheesy-yet-heartfelt motto, "You Can Take Our Homes But You Can't Take Our Hearts," the 17-foot-high design is painted on the side of New Dorp High School, which served as a community gathering place and shelter in the wake over the superstorm. [CurbedWire Inbox; previously]

CITYWIDE?Apartment rental startup Zumper, which also tracks all-important data like median NYC rents over which every tenant obsesses, just launched an iPhone app meant to help the everyman look for their next pad. You can search listings and filter by price, bedroom count, pets, and fees, as well as send messages to the rental companies or landlords through the app itself. [CurbedWire Inbox; previously]


CHELSEA?A tipster has written in with a complaint about a building that has a bit of a mysterious?and hazardous?past.

I live in Chelsea around the corner from a neglected building, 201 West 22nd St. According to the DOB, this building, owned by Errol Rainess, has 57 open violations including one stating that the scaffolding/shed is dangerous and detaching from the building. The permits for the scaffolding expired on 2/13/11. The construction company was fined, but it's not clear what their legal obligation is if it falls down on someone. The iconic square with an X inside is visible on both the the building and scaffolding, indicative that both are dangerous. I have taken to walking on the other side of the street for fear of the whole thing collapsing. Interestingly, the owner has also neglected a lighthouse in Canada as indicated in this website. Errol Rainess has let this building, on the corner of 22nd Street and Seventh Avenue, go to ruin for quite some time now, and it's only gotten worse since we last wrote about the building's history in early 2012. Now here's the story behind this negligent landlord's lighthouse, which, though far from NYC, sounds like it has been similarly left to ruin:

In May of 1999, Lighthouse Digest declared the neglected Grand Harbour Lighthouse to be "North America's Most Endangered Lighthouse" and launched a fundraising campaign through the American Lighthouse Foundation to save the structure. Errol Rainess, who lived in New York and purchased Ross Island, sight unseen, from a Maine lumber company in 1984, agreed to match any funds that could be raised in sixty days. $10,000 was reportedly collected through the effort, but after a check for that amount was sent to Rainess, he eluded further contact. Rainess seems to be developing a reputation for not maintaining his properties as a 2009 article on Chelsea Now noted that over thirty-one complaints have been filed since 1997 against a now-abandoned six-story property Rainess owns on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 22nd Street in Manhattan. A coffee shop had been operating in the ground floor of the property but was forced to close in 2002 after Rainess doubled the rent. A couple of prospective tenants have tried to develop the property but gave up when dealing with Rainess proved too difficult. Rainess apparently spends most of his time in Belgium, returning to New York City only during the summer. According to DOB records, a partial stop work order is in effect for the Chelsea site. What will happen to it next, and what is up with absentee Landlord Rainess? If anyone has more intel, let us know. [CurbedWire Inbox; previously]