Thursday, December 08, 2011

Beat it! Williamsburg Hasids chase party space out of neighborhood 

The Brooklyn artist collective, Rubulad, is leaving its Flushing Avenue warehouse after six years of throwing late-night reveries — pushed out by their ultra-religious Hasidic neighbors.

Rubulad's co-founders Chris Thomas and Sari Rubinstein considered putting in $40,000 to fix up the Flushing building, but personal complaints from their Orthodox neighbors convinced them to move.  

"The people surrounding us felt really upset about 'public nudity,' which was actually just people wearing shorts," said Rubinstein. "There's no way our people aren't going to walk through the neighborhood in shorts and short-sleeve shirts in the summer, so we feel we'd be better off in another neighborhood."

The Warhol-inspired Rubulad loft has hosted art parties at a two-story brick Clinton Hill fortress on the edge of the Hasidic quarter since 2005. But last year, complaints from neighbors brought in city inspectors, who subsequently shut down the party house and threw out its residents amid fire code violations.

The tenants were allowed back, but the party was over for all intents and purposes. Rubinstein and Thomas ended up holding many of their events at warehouses elsewhere in the borough.

But the neighborly strife began again this summer, after several Orthodox neighbors in new buildings abutting Rubulad complained about scantily costumed revelers.

So far, Thomas and Rubinstein have raised $18,813 from 250 people, a little over half their goal of $35,000, which they need to attain by Friday.

Donors who pledge $20 through Kickstarter can receive tickets to the official 2011 Santacon afterparty, when a mob of hundreds of costumed Santas will converge at Rubulad on Saturday. That ought to make the neighbors happy.


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