Flashback: The destruction of 316 E. Eighth St.

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Tya Scott is escorted by a police officer out of 316 E. Eighth St. prior to the building’s demolition. Villager file photos by Betsy Herzog

BY YANNIC RACK | The city took a wrecking ball to an East Village squatter family’s home, and the community didn’t like it one bit.

The squatter clan and dozens of supportive neighbors gathered to protest the demolition of a building in the East Village 17 years ago.

In a story that shone a spotlight on a familiar conflict of that time, The Villager published an account of the destruction of 316 E. Eighth St., a six-story walk-up, on April 6, 1989.

“It was past noon time when police emerged with Tya Scott, a 52-year-old woman who had worked on the building for close to five years and had lived there with her sons, daughter-in-law and grandchildren,” the article reported.

“Scott was emotional after being brought out. ‘They don’t have a vacate order,’ said Scott. ‘I’ve devoted my life to this building.’ ”

The reporter also quoted a local activist complaining about the pressure to take down buildings in the neighborhood to make way for market-rate development — a complaint still heard in the neighborhood today, even though the squatters are long gone.

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Another officer carried a dog out of the building.

The protesters in this incident managed to hold up the demolition for quite some time by storming police barricades, hurling rocks and even taking aim at a commanding officer.

Michael Julian, head of the Ninth Precinct, dressed in civilian garb, found himself in the middle of a scuffle when some protesters grew frustrated and tried storming a nearby luxury condo building — a symbol of the neighborhood’s gentrification.

“When Julian grabbed one man who had thrown a rock and broken a lobby window at the Christadora, another man threw a brick directly at Julian, narrowly missing him,” The Villager reported, noting that the top cop thought he was likely mistaken for a resident of the condominium.

“The Deputy Inspector chased the man across the street into Tompkins Square Park, and when he caught up with the man, a woman jumped on Julian’s back and pulled on his hair,” the article said.

But, ultimately, the fight was futile: The family’s belongings were dumped on the sidewalk and the crane began to claw away at the building, with the crowd gathered to watch it crumble.

Although the city claimed the demolition was proper and required to protect health and safety, Scott complained bitterly.

“‘The children’s belongings were all thrown to the ground,’ ” she told a reporter. “ ‘I didn’t have to be treated like an animal.’ ”

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