Tuesday, January 15, 2008
1520 Sedgwick :: The Battle Continues

This morning, DJ Kool Herc, Senator Charles Schumer, the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, and tenants from 1520 Sedgwick had a press conference to announce the Save 1520 Coalition's demand the right of tenants to purchase the building that is the birthplace of hip-hop. This right is granted to residents of city-subsidized protected housing.

As the Times is reporting, this all comes about as a real estate developer known for flipping the famous Bank of America pyramid building in San Francisco has been revealed to be among the buyers.

Why is Mark Karasick interested in buying a 100-unit apartment building for working-class residents in the Bronx where rents average $1000?

One of the organizers, Dina Levy, says she believes he may be flipping the building to foreign buyers--whether for the building's historical value or its strategic location for gentrification of the West Bronx is unclear. More than 40,000 units of similar city-subsidized affordable housing have been lost in New York City in recent years.

The tenants are now in negotiation with Karasick and others, but Karasick is asking for a price almost 3 times the expected value of the building.

To support the tenants' fight with a donation, please visit to Save1520.org.

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posted by Zentronix @ 10:10 AM   2 comments links to this post


At 1/15/08, 10:10 PM, Anonymous Clarence said...

What is fascinating about this battle are the arguments being made (not by tenants, but, by those opposed to saving 1520 Sedgwick).

In the NYT article you linked to, many of the comments are revealing in terms of how disjointed the situation truly is.

On the one hand, we have a possibly soon to be federally recognized monument in 1520 Sedgwick. On the other side, many argue that saving the property continues to facilitate a degraded situation that is pervasive in housing projects.

(I can't acknowledge claims that this is not the birthplace of Hip-hop -- the exposure to the rap game as music, and the culture itself).

Even if the tenants demands to purchase the property are honored, and they are successfully able to do so -- wouldn't another outside party still try to snatch this away at some point? This is not to say they should not fight, but, I suspect this is only the beginning.

From battle, to war.

At 1/18/08, 12:38 AM, Anonymous lynne d said...

Man I know lots of folks who grew up there who can't believe what's happening.


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