Working as an architect in Brooklyn for the past year, I have come across a slew of resources for determining the legitimacy of that potential apartment — or if it is known, verifying whether there have been any prior complaints. One of these resources is OASIS, the Open Accessible Space Information System for New York City. OASIS is a mapping system supplied by the City of New York that contains information on every address in the five boroughs.
An OASIS in a Sea of Industry
On looking up 1717 Troutman, we are able to determine that its land use is set for zoning and manufacturing, that there are no residential units, and by linking to its Department of Buildings file, that it has a total of 76 complaints filed against it, 13 open Department of Building violations, and 52 open Environmental Control Board violations. Had I known about about these complaints prior to renting at 1717 Troutman, I doubt I would have signed on.
You mean this was illegal?
It was not so much a room as a plywood cocoon, floating above the living space and accessed through a hatch in the floor. At a height of less than 6 feet, I had to crouch in order to clear the ceiling, and the only natural light came in through a stained glass window that opened out into the living room.
Whoa. I can't believe it. Who would have thought?