Pot Bust and Evictions at 127 Rivington Street
127 Rivington Street is a pretty nondescript residential tenement building, which also houses Mexican eatery Neighburrito on the ground level. On Monday night, one fire call from a resident reportedly snowballed into hours worth of drama. Strap in for this one, it’s a doozy!
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A tipster sent along the following report of the action:
Some pretty interesting stuff went down on Monday night, all of it taking place at 127 Rivington. I live next door and watched most of the scene unfold. There was a fire call around 9:30 pm or so and several ladder trucks and the suburban type vehicles all showed up. After getting into the building, they discovered it was some sort of steam leak from the boiler that caused a resident to call in a fire. Once that was straightened out, the FDNY started looking for basement access and in the process discovered that the back half of the building was considered uninhabitable due to no means of egress. There is no fire escape on the back of the building and apparently the stairs out the ground floor of the back of the building have been ripped out.
This meant that half of the building had to be kicked out of their apartments. I listened on the sidewalk while FDNY spoke to the landlord on the phone and she was apparently arguing like mad, telling them that she wasn’t responsible for that, etc.
Then things got really interesting….The FDNY was inspecting the building and went into the basement below Neighburrito. They opened a door down there and found a full-on pot farm. I heard them saying there was 150-200 plants down there. They of course, called the Po-Po. The next couple of hours seemed to be a combination of police and fire action as the police were cuffing and interrogating the owner of Neighburrito and the FDNY was busy handing out vacate notices to half of the building.
In the end, the Red Cross showed (at about 2am) and helped some of the residents find another place to stay until the building violations are fixed and people were arrested for what i would assume would have to be one of the bigger pot operations going on in the neighborhood. I would love to know more of how this whole thing played out (or is playing out), as the store seems to be open. But i did hear from a tenant that it’s going to be a while before anyone can return to those vacated apartments.
UPDATE: Neighburrito’s lawyers reached out earlier to assure us that their client is in no way involved with the so-called pot farm. Here is a statement of their story:
On Moday night at about 9:30, there was a call to the Fire Department reporting at 127 Rivington. While the FDNY was inspecting the building (they found numerous violations), they opened a space in the basement located below a portion of Neighburrito. The FDNY gained access to this space by going through the Neighburrito basement space and then breaching a locked door. Inside this other tenant’s space the FDNY discovered was a large marijuana growing operation, and the NYPD was contacted. At about 11:30pm, the NYPD asked one of the Neighburrito employees to contact the owner of Neighburrito and request that they come to the restaurant to speak to them. The owner promptly complied and went down to Neighburrito and met with the police who asked a few preliminary questions, like if they knew who rented the space, how long have they had it, etc. Neighburrito’s owner referred them to the landlord. The police subsequently called a representative of the landlord who apparently gave them the tenants information. The police did continue to question the Neighburrito owner and employee but at no time were either of them ever detained, cuffed, or otherwise given the impression that we were going to be arrested. A short while later, the tenant of the space where the marijuana was discovered showed up and turned himself over to the police. Soon after, the owner and employee of Neighburrito were told that they were not needed anymore and could leave. They haven’t heard from the NYPD since.