Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Long Wait: Surviving Foreclosure in Brooklyn

Sofia, Gloria and Macario Reinoso outside their store in Bushwick. (Photo by Gillian Mohney)

On the third floor of the Brooklyn Supreme Court, the list goes up every morning. The daily record of scheduled foreclosure mediation meetings lists each case, along with the corresponding plaintiff, defendant and the past number of conferences.

The list is posted outside two rooms where the meetings are held — ordinary courtrooms that have become battlegrounds. Inside, homeowners and mortgage lenders wrangle over the future of the brownstones, pre-war co-ops, warehouses and lofts that make up New York City.

By 9:30 a.m. on a recent Friday, many of the people on the list had already arrived. Lawyers and residents on opposing sides of foreclosure cases calmly occupied the same hallway. Many checked their phones or their paperwork. They rarely made eye contact with one another. Some homeowners had brought their children, who slumped sleepily against their parents.

Toward the end of the hallway, Sophia Reinoso sat on a bench with her mother, Gloria, as they waited for their name to be called. It was their 13th time going into a conference.

Both of the buildings owned by Sophia’s father, Macario, have been in the foreclosure process for nearly two years. “It’s never-ending,” Sophia said. Read More