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Tenants Marched to City Hall to Boost Bills Aimed at Fighting Harassment

Tenants rally in Chinatown to protest construction harassment with Stand for Tenant Safety Coalition (Photo by Nicole Disser)

Tenants rally in Chinatown to protest construction harassment with Stand for Tenant Safety Coalition (Photo by Nicole Disser)

Tenants and activists who are part of the Stand for Tenant Safety Coalition (STS) rallied outside of 90 Elizabeth Street this morning before marching to City Hall to show their support for a package of bills that would address construction-related harassment. Today marks an important landmark for the coalition’s fight against landlords who are taking advantage of a lack of oversight and toothless fines.

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Embittered By Corruption and Displacement, LES Neighbors Coalition Demands to See the Mayor

At the Chinatown coalition's meeting (Photo: )

At the Chinatown coalition’s meeting (Photo: Anneke Rautenbach)

At an emotional Lower East Side town hall meeting on Saturday afternoon, hundreds of concerned residents, a number of small business owners, and representatives of community organizations were visibly upset. Instead of being met by Mayor Bill de Blasio himself, they were greeted by a representative from the administration. “We have been reaching out to him for months,” Jei Fong, a coalition representative, told B+B. “We personally invited him to this meeting. This is a real slap in the face.”

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Protesters Sent a Message to the BK Real Estate Summit: ‘Brooklyn’s Not For Sale!’

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

Swiping in at the Nassau stop yesterday, I happened to look down to the ground, and instead of spent MetroCards, I found a smattering of small flyers printed by the Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN) depicting two rather gentlemanly pigs looking fondly into one another’s eyes, carving up a piece of juicy meat with utensils. The fat slab reads “Brooklyn,” while the rest of the flyer called on residents to join BAN outside the Brooklyn Museum. Starting at 7 a.m., protestors demonstrated their outrage against the annual Brooklyn Real Estate Summit happening inside, and emphasizing that, in general, they’re not really cool with Brooklyn being treated like a fine cut of meat. “Land is for people, not necessarily for the elite,” a community garden activist told the crowd. “Brooklyn’s not for sale! Brooklyn’s not for sale!” the protestors chanted back.

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Support Sanders By Berning Up Brooklyn or Partying With the Bushwick Berners

(Flyer via Facebook)

(Flyer via Facebook)

Hillarymania may have already staked its claim in Brooklyn Heights, but Bernie Fever has been something of a slow burner across the borough. A couple of upcoming fundraising events are evidence that Bernie supporters are now igniting on-the-ground efforts in Bushwick and beyond, tapping into what Jon Fuhrer, organizer of the Bushwick Berners, describes as the “young white hipsterish” demographic. Fuhrer explained fundraising events like his aren’t just for “keeping things fresh and fun for that group of people” — they also aim to “get people excited so they actually want to go into the community and help organize.”

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Clayton Patterson Fights ‘Homogenization, Destruction of Anything Independent and Outside’

Outside In at Howl! Happening (Photo: Nicole Disser)

“Outside In” at Howl! Happening (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Last year, Clayton Patterson announced that he and Elsa Rensaa, his partner and collaborator of more than 40 years, were moving from the Lower East Side to a small spa town in Austria. Lucky for anyone who admires his unflagging commitment to keeping it real and his tirades against the processes of gentrification and corporatization (see: his damning of Taylor Swift as the city’s cultural ambassador), the 66-year-old outsider artist, photographer, tattoo artist, dissident, and haberdasher who is known to many as the neighborhood’s “last bohemian” is not just still residing there, he also has a new solo exhibition. If you haven’t had a chance to see “Outside In” at Howl! Happening, tonight is the night to do so: the gallery will be screening Captured, the must-see documentary about Clayton’s obsessive documentation of the city as it once was.

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Rent Guidelines Board Weighs Rollbacks: ‘Oh Where, Oh Where Has Our Affordable Housing Gone?’

(Photo via Flickr, Angela Radulescu)

Tenants protesting sale of a Mitchell-Lama building  (Photo via Flickr, Angela Radulescu)

The Rent Guidelines Board met last Thursday ahead of voting to determine the maximum allowable rent increase for rent regulated apartments throughout New York City. The same review happens annually, but this year there’s a special sense of urgency as rents continue to rise amidst falling incomes and a precipitous drop in rent regulated housing stock, which account for some 1 million homes in the city. Proponents of rent regulation agree that the system is badly in need of reform, but it remains to be seen what exactly that might look like when Albany revisits the rent regulation laws, which expire on June 15. Many affordable housing advocates are worried that powerful real estate interests might prevail. But for now, it’s up to the RGB to decide whether or not to continue on a course of raising rents for rent regulated tenants or take the advice of some lawmakers and freeze rents.

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Zakia Salime: Gender and Sexuality in the Arab Uprisings

Zakia Salime is a scholar of sociology and women and gender studies, whose work focuses on the fascinating intersection of feminist and Islamist politics. Her bookBetween Feminism and Islam: Human Rights and Sharia Law in Morocco (2011) examines the interplay between global concepts of human rights and localised alternatives. In so doing, the study reveals how these complex negotiations have led to the feminization of the Islamist movement one the one hand, and the Islamization of the feminist movement on the other. If you’re sick of reading simplistic arguments about the subjugation or otherwise of Muslim women, Salime is a breath of fresh air. Her work forgoes the common conception of Islam and feminism as inherently antagonistic doctrines, and reframes Muslim women as agents negotiating global policies and building alternative understandings of rights.

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Lefty Lions Ralph Nader and Elizabeth Warren Are Plugging New Books

warrenJust a few days after Chelsea Clinton announced at the Lower Eastside Girls Club that she’ll soon make Bill & Hill grandparents, Liberal Dream Week continues with a pair of progressive pols putting in appearances at Barnes & Noble Union Square.

Tonight at 7 p.m., five-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader will promote his new book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. A bookseller at the store said Nader will most likely give a reading and sign copies.
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Cornel West Praises Catholic Anarchist, Thinks Obama Is ‘Not Worth Breakdancing Over’

(Photo: Mary Reinholz)

(Photo: Mary Reinholz)

Cornel West dropped into the East Village’s Maryhouse on Friday to deliver a holy-rolling birthday tribute to Dorothy Day, the Catholic-anarchist writer who would’ve turned 116.

Decked out in his signature tux, West described Day as a “God wrestler” who was “broke as the Ten Commandments financially” but “spiritually as rich as anyone could imagine.”
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Hasidic Williamsburg Is Full of Thompson Twins, But Not Quite Completely

Check out the New York Times map depicting the outcome of Tuesday’s mayoral Democratic primaries and you can pretty much guess what Williamsburg looks like. A clear line separates the north and south sides, revealing a politically (and otherwise) divided neighborhood. Whereas Bill de Blasio won the gentrified section north of Broadway, Bill Thompson swept the Hasidic-dominated section south of Broadway and east of Williamsburg Street.
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Some Bushwick Seniors Had to Salsa Alone After Vito Lopez Stood Them Up

Party time! (Photo: Natalie Rinn)

Party time! (Photo: Natalie Rinn)

A small group of protesters and a festive group of old folks congregated today at the Borinquen Plaza Senior Center in Bushwick. The seniors were there to party with a salsa DJ while the protesters looked for a man who would never show up: Vito Lopez.
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