In March, Frank Gibbs noticed men moving bunk beds into the apartment building where he lives. Twice a day, vans began pulling up in front of the building on Grand Avenue in Brooklyn, and young Russian tourists would spill out, dragging their suitcases up the stairs.

 

Almost overnight, Gibbs said, his Clinton Hill home had been converted into a youth hostel. Some tourists stayed all summer; others were gone after only one night.

 

“They sit in the front yard, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes,” said Gibbs, 40. “And they have loud parties on the roof.”

 

The practice of landlords converting residential apartments into flophouses has long existed on the Upper West Side, but is now spreading to neighborhoods like Clinton Hill, Williamsburg and Bushwick.

 

Pending legislation would make hotel conversions illegal; apartments may not be rented for less than 30 days, under a proposed new law. Gov. David Paterson has until Saturday to approve or veto the bill.


Opponents say the hotel conversions are legal and enhance tourism in New York City.