Monday, December 7, 2015

Senator Klein demands removal of ad for Airbnb ‘Animal House’

Wild backyard parties at Bronx ‘B&B’ feature strippers, lewd whipped cream acts, giant TV screens and DJs spinning loud music as revelers party into the wee hours of the night

Legislation will be introduced to stop one- and two-family homes from short term rentals

State Senator Jeff Klein, joined by Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, community leaders and angry residents, demanded on Monday that Airbnb and similar sites remove an advertisement for “Fenton Lounge,” placed by a homeowner who is renting out his two-family residence for raucous, lewd, late night parties in a quiet neighborhood.
Senator Klein will also introduce legislation to ban one- and two-family homes from short-term rentals. These residences are exempted from the 30-day minimum rule for renting out multiple dwellings.
“Transforming a home on a residential street into a nightclub-for-rent will not be tolerated. Airbnb and other sites with ads for Fenton Lounge must immediately remove these posts. Clearly, strippers dancing on poles, a woman wearing less than a dash of whipped cream lying on a deck, crowds of revelers and DJs spinning music into the wee hours of the night have no place in a residential backyard. This is an illegal B&B gone wild. This activity must end and I will introduce legislation to prevent one- and two-family homes from being rented out on a short-term basis,” said State Senator Klein.

The lewd and crude activities on Fenton Avenue must be stopped. This type of behavior will not be tolerated in our residential neighborhoods. There is a time and place for those looking for that type of activity, and it is certainly not here. I will do all in my legislative power to prevent this from happening again,” said Assemblyman Gjonaj.

Fenton Lounge, owned by Nebi Ayele, commands a price of $750 for 30 or more guests with a $1,000 security deposit and $100 cleaning fee for parties, according to its Airbnb advertisement.
During one party thrown by the Pelham Gardens homeowner for the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight, dubbed in a promotional flyer as the “Party in the Ghetto,” photos on Facebook show the backyard bash in action: a stripper swinging on a pole, a woman licking whipped cream off of a topless woman, lapdances on patio furniture, jumbo televisions and projectors  playing, with DJs spinning music late into the night.
Inside Fenton Lounge, where guests were charged a $5 cover, girls served up neon jello shots to the masses. Guests were encouraged to tip bartenders and paid for burgers, wings and shish-kabobs, according to social media posts.
Hosting outdoor events at Fenton Lounge such as Birthday parties, bachelorette parties, Summer BBQs, New years eve, etc. for up to 75 guests will start at the rates posted below and up. I can include a projector, drop screen, pro lighting and sound system at an additional fee,” the ad reads.

Irate neighbors on Fenton Avenue said that their peaceful street has transformed into a noisy, club-like atmosphere ever since the homeowner began renting it as a B&B and party lounge. DJs often play music until sunrise and fights have broken out on the street.
“The quality of life of our neighborhood is deteriorating because of the actions of one individual who has no regard for the residents of this community. He rents his outdoor space for extremely loud parties that go on until 5 a.m.. The last event resulted in a street fight. This has to stop,” said Fenton Avenue neighbors Sal and Jean Presta.

The Prestas, neighbors on Fenton Avenue and on surrounding blocks compiled a petition expressing their concerns about downgraded quality of life, especially because of noise. The residents alerted Senator Klein and Community Board #11 that Ayele circulated a letter before the spring Mayweather/Pacquiao party, apologizing in advance for the inconvenience of noise, crowds and parking spaces taken by guests. Ayele claimed in the note that he “registered the event with local police” and told neighbors to call “Officer Gil” if they had concerns or complaints with his guests.
Local police told the Office of State Senator Klein that “Officer Gil” did not work for the NYPD. Police have had to respond to Fenton Lounge in the past to address disorderly conduct.

Fenton Lounge faces other problems with the Department of Buildings. The agency issued a partial stop work order at the home back in 2012, after an inspector discovered that workers had demolished a wall in the basement without a permit. A complaint had been lodged that interior and exterior work was taking place without proper permits. The partial stop work order is still open. Nevertheless, that work was completed. Pictures on Airbnb of the property show a remodeled basement with the Fenton Lounge logo painted on the wall and business is booming. Residents said the latest party took place on November 28.
Rooms on Airbnb are booked through mid-December and the end of January.

This is long overdue as they were utilizing this location as a commercial establishment in a residential area," said Community Board 11 Chairman Anthony Vitaliano.
“Community Board 11 received its first complaint about this 'B&B' on Monday, November 30. A full week hasn't even gone by, and Senator Klein is already on the case. In Community Board #11, the Senator knows it's not about a place to party. It's about family and respect for one's neighbors,” said Community Board 11 District Manager Jeremy Warneke.
“This house is located in the middle of one- and two-family homes located on Fenton Ave, a once quiet sedate neighborhood where working families raised their children and those children could play in front of their homes.” said 49th Precinct Community Council President Joe Thompson.


Left - State Senator Jeff Klein is surrounded by residents, community leaders and members of the Hotel Trades Workers Union to protest the use of a private home as a 'B & B'.
Right - Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj also has a few words to say about the nuisance on the block.

Left - Neighborhood resident Sal Presta tells what goes on during one of the events.
Right - Joe Thompson President of the 49th Pct. Council tells of the bad neighbor that the owner of Fenton Avenue is by bringing the all night party atmosphere and other problems that come with such a party.

Left - You can see the smile on the owner of Fenton Lounge Neba Ayele who is having fun arguing with State Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj.
Right - Both elected officials would have no part of Mr. Ayele's publicity game and they both left. 

Left - Mr. Ayele will argue with anyone who will take his bait for publicity. Any publicity is good publicity to some people, and there are those who may want to know when the next party is going to be. 
Right - You can see that Mr. Ayele is holding today's New York Post which had a story on the Fenton Lounge, and that there is a big smile on his face for the camera.

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