The Plight of Taylor Mead Amidst Ludlow Landlord Harassment

Posted on: February 26th, 2013 at 6:09 am by

163-ludlow-row

At 87, Taylor Mead remains a Lower East Side legend. His creative achievements are many, including appearances in numerous Andy Warhol films, published as poet, and being shown in the Whitney Biennial. But the prolific artist resides in an area which is now deemed Hell Square. And for him, the name rings true.

Mead lives on the fifth floor of 163 Ludlow Street, his home of thirty-three years. Now in the twilight of his life, the artist is allegedly on the receiving end of landlord harassment. Hated real estate baron Ben Shaoul is allegedly culprit, having purchased the row of tenements last summer for $16.5 million. The overarching story here is nothing new, often repeated throughout the neighborhood (e.g. tenants at 143 Ludlow). Make living conditions so awful to force self-eviction, then profit from the departure with astronomical rents.

To be fair, though, the previous landlord was no walk in the park, either. Mead told the Villager back in November that:

The last landlord was starting to not give heat during the winter,” he noted, “like a brochure on how to get rid of tenants. The last winter they didn’t fix the roof door — it was left open and the entire building was like a hurricane.

Clayton Patterson wrote more about his plight a few weeks ago, noting that:

He is one of the few remaining tenants in his building. The whole place is a construction site with all the expected noise, dust, obstacles, worker traffic, open doors, coldness and activities that come with construction. There is pounding on his walls, floors and hallways from early morning till late Saturday evening. Then there is the intrusion of the holes drilled through his walls. The dust. To have to live with this would be enough to send a young person over the edge. His home life has become unbearable.

A quick check of the DOB online database shows that numerous permits are in place for interior renovations…joined also by 16 complaints.

[Photo: Clayton Patterson]

[Photo: Clayton Patterson]

Down the block, meanwhile, Filmmakers’ Co-op head M.M. Serra is reportedly experiencing the same drama in her own building, where long-term tenants are also being harassed.

Some locals are trying to fight back by sending letters to our local politicians for some sort of action. Seems the argument is falling on deaf ears, though, with barely a shrug.

Recent Stories

Harper's 1898, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck
Revisiting the Iconic (and Photogenic) Tenement Fire Escapes

Ah, the iconic New York City fire escape. Sitting out on your “escape” really is just that. The breeze. The city below your feet. The views. The sounds. The smell (to each their own). Fire escapes have always been crucial to New Yorkers for a variety of reasons, least of which, surprisingly, was escaping fire. […]

Forgtmenot family is opening a new Greek spot a few doors down
Forgtmenot Family is Opening a Traditional Greek Restaurant on Division Street Called Kiki’s

For the moment, it remains the epicenter of cool. The eastern terminus of Division Street continues its hot streak, yet will see more change in the next few months. We have it on good authority that the Chinese supply business at number 130 – Zhen Ling Tan Taoist – is to become a new restaurant. […]

pike-street-benches
Seatless Benches Along Allen Street Mall are Missing Slats Due to Manufacturer Defect

When the city revamped the Allen Street Mall a couple years ago, residents welcomed the spiffy new street furniture. Late-night conversation sessions or mahjong games are a common sight around here. Not to mention homeless pitching camp for cookouts. However, the equipment is proving fairly cheap and unreliable. Those curvy benches in the medians are […]

abcnorio-mural
ABC No Rio Commissions New Mural by Dasic Fernandez

Continuing the apparent bi-annual painting schedule, ABC No Rio this week replaced the two-year-old “hands” mural thrown up by Brian George in 2012. Its successor is more colorful and exudes somewhat of a political tone. For its latest piece, the beloved Rivington Street art collective commissioned the services of Dasic Fernandez to decorate its exterior […]

40clinton-street
Blue Bayer Design Studio Opening an Eclectic Jewelry Boutique on Clinton Street

Ever since the departure (and subsequent relocation) of Vector Gallery back in July, the south store of 40 Clinton Street has been a vacancy. The wait is over. Blue Bayer, a New York-based craftsman, is opening his jewelry boutique here in the coming days. It’s called Blue Bayer Design, and specializes in eclectic, “risky jewelry and […]