(Photo by Leighton O’Connor)
Last Thursday, we reported on the potentially hazardous situation at the Windjammer Motor Inn on Emmons Ave. City officials had inspected the motel for reports of no alternate means of egress in case of fire, and issued a violation for 15 of the interior rooms for failing to provide natural light and ventilation.
I made a number of calls to the Windjammer to try to get some more information. Terrence Lyght, Manager, invited me to come and take pictures of the unventilated rooms. He said that the Windjammer continued in operation without any problem, ever since it was bought from the original owner. Mr. Lyght believes that that the original owner, Mr. Levenbaum, had those rooms built with no windows, because there are some patrons who want privacy without the potential of someone being able to peer through windows. I’m guessing that way back when they built the place, curtains and drapes had not been invented.
In our first conversation, I asked Mr. Lyght, if he was planning on having the rooms mentioned in the violation open for rent. His response was, “We have 17 days in which we can answer the violation. In the meantime, we assume that we can [rent the rooms].” Gene Berardelli, of the Sheepshead Bay/Plumb Beach Civic Association, said that it is his understanding that according to the violation code, use of rooms where there are no windows and no ventilation, should be discontinued.
When I asked Mr. Lyght how often they conduct fire and safety drills on site, he said that they are conducted regularly. When I asked how regularly that would be, he said that they conduct fire drills according to the codes. Mr. Lyght was unsure how often the code requires safety drills, but he is certain that the Windjammer conducts them every couple of weeks.
Before I could make the appointment to go in to get pictures for you, readers, management had changed its mind. Mr. Lyght now insists that I come in so that I could meet him in person and show him my identification, but I will not be allowed to take any photographs. Apparently, the Brooklyn View newspaper made a visit to the Windjammer and they were not allowed to get pictures. It seems that now, too, that our questions to Mr. Lyght about the rooms being in operation may have prompted him to question his original assumption that it would be okay to rent out the 15 firetraps mentioned in the violation, since it appears that management has had a change of heart on this issue.
At no time during the conversation, did Mr. Lyght mention that they are working to remedy the situation about the unventilated rooms. There was no talk about reconstruction or fixes to make it safe for guests, but there was talk about answering the violation and waiting to see what would happen. I would suggest that while waiting to hear from the court about whether housing people in potentially dangerous boxes is within the law, you might like to shed some light into this situation by calling some reputable contractors.
Sorry, all you Windjammers, who were just banging down the doors to get your windowless, ultra-private, super-dark, extra-stuffy interior rooms, you’ll have to wait until the judge strikes his gavel for us to see what the Windjammer thinks of your safety.