Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of Feb. 8, 2018

At a meet-and-greet with new District 2 Councilmember Carlina Rivera earlier this week, community members, like the woman above, wore stickers urging her to support rezoning protections for Broadway and Univeristy Place south of 14th St. or else not approve the city’s planned “Tech Hub” project for E. 14th St. between Third and Fourth Aves. Rivera did discuss the Tech Hub in her remarks, but mainly focused on how the building could provide sorely needed digital-jobs-training skills for her primarily East Side constituents. Rivera said she also supports creating affordable housing in the area. However, she did not commit to backing the rezoning and landmarking protections that the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has been advocating for. Andrew Berman, executive director of G.V.S.H.P., said he could not comment because he did not attend the event since he was under the weather. Harry Bubbins, G.V.S.H.P.’s East Village and special projects director, did attend but deferred comment to Berman.  Photo by Tequila Minsky

Hard to stomach: In an act of desperation, to be allowed to return to their homes, displaced tenants from 85 Bowery will start a hunger strike on Thurs., Feb. 8, at 11 a.m., outside the offices of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, at 100 Gold St. The 75 low-income tenants were forced to evacuate the building on the cold night of Jan. 18, and the city gave the landlord, Joe Betesh — who is also the owner of the Dr. Jay’s chain of stores — two weeks to fix a dangerously slanting staircase. With that deadline passed, tenants are now taking drastic measures, as witnessed by the hunger strike. A press conference and rally will accompany the kickoff of the food-forgoing action, all of which is sponsored by the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and Lower East Side and the 83-85 Bowery Tenants Association. In a statement, a spokesperson for Bowery 8385 LLC, said, “Our team is working diligently each day to repair the severely damaged infrastructure of 85 Bowery and make the building safe for habitation. Any reports claiming that we seek to demolish the building or replace it with a hotel or condominiums are false. We all share the same goal — moving families back into their homes as quickly as possible. We understand this is a very difficult time for families of 85 Bowery and we are providing quality hotel accommodations in Chinatown for the duration of repairs, so families are able to remain in the local community while our work continues.” The spokesperson added Betesh is providing 18 rooms at the nearby Wyndham Garden hotel for 85 Bowery families, and those rooms will remain available, at the owner’s expense, until the repairs are complete.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *