Legal hostel shut down — but not by the city!

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The hostel that was allowed to remain open after last week’s raid by the city has been shut down by the owner of the N. Sixth Street building in which it operated.

Zip112 owner Young Yang told the Williamsburg Courier on Wednesday that he was ordered to shut down his hipster hostel because the building owner was worried that the city would make a return inspection and hit him with a fine.

“I have canceled all my reservatio­ns,” said Yang. “The guests are so upset. Basically, I am losing everything. It’s crazy.”

The closure caps a topsy-turvy week for the hotelier Yang. Last Friday, a city raid spared Zip112 from eviction because Yang showed an inspector a second emergency exit from the hostel.

But even though it worked out that time, Yang was still worried about the future of two-floor hotel — apparently with good reason.

The demise of Zip112 will leave a small hole in the boom Williamsburg hostel market, adding Yang’s joint to Loftstel, the N. Sixth Street hotel that was shuttered by the city in the raid.

Unlike Loftstel, which charged $1,000 per month and caters to long-term residents such as international students and interns working in Manhattan, Zip112 focused 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 had given the Courier 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 said he does not clean until a guest departs.

The hostel’s best feature was 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.”

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.

“I don’t know what is going to happen now,” said Yang. “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

Ken from Financial District, Manhattan says:
Contrary to the caption under the photo accompanying this piece, Zip112 is not "a legal lodge carved out of an apartment". That commercial building at 112 N. 6th Street is not authorized for residential use of any kind.

Understandably enough, commercial buildings do not have to meet the same kind of building & fire safety code regulations as do buildings with a Certificate of Occupancy for residential quarters. So the landlord is rightly worried that the hostel's continued operation puts him at risk. Not only with the City, but legal liability in the event of a fire, for example. Did you ask Mr. Yang to produce documentation that he carried appropriate hotelier's insurance which would have compensated his guests if, e.g., they suffered injuries or property loss as a result of a fire?

Frankly, I have no sympathy for Mr. Yang. The illicit nature of his enterprise is underscored by (a) his failure to assess the requisite sales/hotel taxes, and (b) this first-hand account from a member of the TripAdvisor NYC forum who went to check it out:
April 1, 2010, 12:26 pm

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