Inside a legal Williamsburg hostel

The Brooklyn Paper
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The hostel that was allowed to remain open after last week’s raid got permission to do so thanks to a single foldable ladder.

Zip112 owner Young Yang showed city building inspectors a portable ladder that connects the hostel’s patio to a neighboring roof, and was allowed to stay in business thanks to that second exit point.

But even though it worked out this time, Yang is still worried about the future of his hotel in a two-floor duplex apartment on N. Sixth Street at Berry Street.

The hotel, like Loftstel, which was shuttered by the city, has been operating in the six-story commercial building for two years.

Unlike Loftstel, which charges $1,000 per month and caters to long-term residents such as international students and interns working in Manhattan, Zip112 focuses on short-term tenants, mostly young women traveling from Europe and Asia, at rates around $45 a night.

Two days after the city’s raid, Yang gave The Brooklyn Paper a tour of his hostel. Zip112 resembled a typical hotel — though with bunk beds and health-club style storage lockers. Guests were on the town seeing the sights, and the two-floor, three-room warren of bunk beds and a patio was spotless — except the bedrooms, which Yang says he does not clean until a guest departs.

The hostel’s best feature is its fifth-floor wooden patio. The deck had an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline and the surrounding neighborhood, easily orienting even the most confused international traveler.

It was the ladder on the deck that saved Yang on Friday. He called the encounter with the city inspector, “the scariest moment I ever had.”

Despite the city crackdown on its neighbor, Zip112 is accepting reservations through the spring, Yang said, though he is worried because the building itself does not have a certificate of occupancy.

Ideally, Yang said he’d like to buy his own building for a small hotel, but buildings are expensive and loans are hard to get.

For now, he just doesn’t want any more surprises.

“I don’t know what is going to happen next week,” said Yang. “If the city says I have to move out, then I guess I have no choice.”

Updated 5:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

sid from boerum hill says:
it can't be a legal if there is no C of O...and that is why the landlord told him to stop it. If it were legal he could tell the landlord to go fly a kite.
March 31, 2010, 10:53 pm

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