A group of longtime residents of the Bowery will gather on the street in front of their homes Monday to officially announce their public fight against their landlord, who also owns nine other Bowery apartment buildings. A “couple dozen” tenants from adjacent numbers 83 and 85 have come forward to say they’ve been treated unfairly ever since the buildings were acquired by Joseph Betesh, according to Sarah Ahn, volunteer organizer for a tenants’ association that recently formed to address these issues.
Housing + Development
Lower East Siders rallied against a 56-story building due to rise over the former Pathmark site, with some saying its luxury apartments constituted “racist development.”
You’d have to be living under a rock to be surprised to hear Bushwick is undergoing some explosive changes. It feels like streetscapes here are transforming faster than anywhere else in the city and many longtime residents feel they’re losing grip on their neighborhood. But Bushwick is in a strange limbo right now. While the northeast corner is bubbling over with ritzy new restaurants, bars, clothing stores, and art galleries, all increasingly patronized by German tourists and chiseled young bro dudes with man buns, for now at least the southern section closer to the graveyard has resisted these striking demographic shifts and skyrocketing rents. “We need to make moves now,” explained Drew Vanderburg, a resident of Bushwick and a graduate student at Parsons in the Design and Urban Ecologies program.
After months of hiding inside of a wooden box while his eponymous triangle was rebuilt, Peter Cooper has come out to smell the roses (or to smell a rat, depending who you ask). The Stanford White-designed statue, dedicated in 1897, was boxed up for its own protection last April but has now reemerged, even as the redesign of Peter Cooper Triangle continues around it. Meanwhile, over on Astor Place, construction of Alamo Plaza seems to have stalled, and it may be a while before we see the Astor Place cube again.
Can’t get your landlord to fix your sink? Is there a nebulous blob of black mold festering on your bedroom ceiling? Well maybe you and your roommates can pick up some hot tips on how to stick it to your slumlord from a new exhibition at Interference Archive which focuses on collective action organized by tenants in a city that often seems to choose development over preservation. “We Won’t Move: Tenants Organize in New York City” opens tonight (7-10 pm) at the Gowanus archive and event space dedicated to social movements, labor history, and activism.
When the 21-floor Level Hotel opens in Williamsburg, on the corner of Wythe Avenue and North 13th Street, it’ll have a look that’s closer to The Standard, High Line than to the neighboring Wythe Hotel. The owners, Yoel Goldman and Zelig Weiss (Weiss also owns the Condor Hotel in Williamsburg) considered going the red-brick route, but decided against creating “this big giant building and pretending that it was always there” in part because “that’s not what the neighborhood is about,” said Mordy Steinfeld, director of operations and development with Riverside Developers. “It’s about authenticity and creating the space you need for the area you serve.”
In yet another example of unique Williamsburg institutions being displaced by the standard apartment building de jour, Motorgrrl has officially moved to Greenpoint. The motorcycle garage and storage facility, which has an interest in empowering female riders, began transitioning into its new digs at 42 Dobbins Street in December. Meanwhile, a permit was filed Monday with the Department of Buildings to demolish Motorgrrl’s former location.
The future of Bushwick Inlet Park looks bright — or at least, it will be on Friday night. North Brooklyn residents will push for the conversion of the CitiStorage site into a park by projecting “light graffiti” on the building’s charred remains.
East Village survivors and history buffs should plan to head over to Dumbo on April 2, to celebrate the publication of Ash Thayer’s Kill City: Lower East Side Squatters 1992-2000. The book is a visual time capsule, catching a time when the streets of Alphabet City teemed with junkies and crawled with criminal activity. At the same time, “there was a sense of openness and possibility about the East Village then,” Thayer tells the New York Times.
News that the incoming Williamsburg Hotel would feature a rooftop bar inside of a water tower really made a splash earlier this month. Now we’ve obtained renderings of the seven-story hotel that show it will offer an outdoor rooftop pool, a basement dance club, and a “stylish restaurant,” among other splashy amenities.
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“What do we want? Rent freeze! When do we want it? Now!” chanted protestors at a rally on the steps of City Hall this afternoon. Lawmakers and community members joined forces to say the rent is too damn high, and they plan to do something about it.
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