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Brooklyn On Line

Park Slope Blink Unsafe For Any Exercise

Public Bath Number 7, a now defaced landmark building seems to be housing a chain gym called "Blink Fitness" on three floors.

What is wrong with that you ask?

Those of you that attended Brooklyn Repertory Opera, or other theatrical events at the Brooklyn Lyceum will remember the building did not have 3 floors. It had a main performance space that was a set of stairs DOWN from the lobby, and a floor above the lobby that was used for storage, that was never certified by the NYC DOB for use.

Now a visit to the same building shows that the old second floor, which was never legal for occupancy post 1943, is now a third floor. The mezzanine floor, which used to house the coffee shop and the ticket sales for shows, has been removed. The rear balcony which was used to great effect in many stage productions for years has also been removed.

The 6 inch concrete slab floor that was the main stage floor has been removed and the area excuvated 6 feet deeper.

You might expect that the space would have even higher ceilings than you remember, but you would be wrong. The developer, Greystone, then installed a new floor between the first floor and the second floor. Thus turning the second floor into the third floor. This new floor is about 2 feet below the level of the old mezzanine. This ludicrous plan makes the original Men's and Women's doorways dubious at best as emergency exits, especially given that the southern mezzanine is 2 feet above the new second floor, and the southern stairs have had more than one riser removed causing a hazzard to anyone attempting to exit the building via that route.

In addition to creating a new floor out of whole cloth Greystone removed 5 fire seperated stairwells that were part of the emergency escape routes from the building. They also added an open lift for handicapped access from the new center front door to the new second floor and an elevator from the first floor to the third floor. For stairs they added 2 fire seperated stairwells, one at the front and one at the back of the building. These new stairs run between all three floors. These new stairs are in different locations than the original stairs which were ripped out. While on the subject of stairs there are 2 new open stairs. One from the new front door to the new second floor and one from the new second floor to the now third floor.

In addition to the already mentioned new front middle door they cut a hole in the south side of the building and installed a new door at the southeast corner.

The aforementioned changes were major work, which is generally not able to be self certified, but in any case self certification is only allowed, as far as we have been able to determine, when there is no change of use or egress. Clearly wholesale changes to all the building stairs, and exits as well as using floors that were previously not approved for use, and adding new floors has changed the use and egress. Greystone needed to file for a new certificate of occupancy and have the entire building inspected. Rather than follow the rules, which are in place for public safety, the Greystone Money Machine leased the whole "renovated" building to Blink Fitness.

Some of these shortcomings have already resulted in convictions on Department of Buildings Violations which have yet to be remediated.

The bottom line is the building has no valid certificate of occupancy, has been issued safety citations for use of the top floor (now the third floor), and seems to be a diaster waiting to happen, not to mention the Landmarks violations and facade damage done during the renovation and leasing to Blink.

I suspect that if something does not change Blink Fitness will be gone in the blink of an eye.

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