New Landlord of 135-137 Eldridge Street Reportedly Harassing Longtime Chinese Tenants

Posted on: October 29th, 2014 at 5:28 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

It’s open season on the Lower East Side for corruption. Another day, another rent regulated building targeted, purchased, and (allegedly) harassed into submission. The newest instance is near the southwest corner of Eldridge and Delancey, a block that continues on its trajectory of gentrification.

What’s happening at 135-137 Eldridge is a textbook case of landlord harassment. The double-tenement building was purchased earlier this month by Eldridge Associates LLC for a whopping $11 million. As you might imagine, the new owner – a shell company for R.A. Cohen & Associates –  is apparently wasting no time in booting the longtime tenants for maximum profits. After all, this real estate company claims itself a “proven performer as an owner/manager who can create and enhance value.”

This image has been archived or removed.

Keyless entry at the entrance to 135 Eldridge

The housing stock inside 135-137 Eldridge is comprised of 28 rent regulated apartments (controlled and stabilized), and occupied predominantly by Chinese families. Indeed, sources tell us that the demographic is 95% Chinese, with some having lived there for fifty years.

We are told that, in the last few weeks, notices were distributed to some, but not all, residents living here. Translators were also hired to (presumably) spread fear and push for buyouts, especially if “occupants don’t have legal residency.”

Other tactics employed here reportedly include:

  • Installing surveillance cameras on every floor.
  • Threatening the two commercial store tenants.
  • Not accepting many residents’ monthly rent payments.
  • Installing a Keyless Entry System on the front door to limit resident access and track entry. Tenants are reportedly being forced to register in the main office with government-issued identification.

Thus far, we don’t see any DOB permits on file for renovation work. However, there is an unresolved complaint regarding construction on the fifth floor that caused “large debris” to fall onto the fourth floor.

This image has been archived or removed.

Security camera recently installed on the 2nd Floor

The only silver lining here is that tenants are now in contact with Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who actually helped delay the installation of the above-mentioned keyless entry system and registration. Also supporting their plight are Asian Americans for Equality, MFY Legal Services, New York Legal Assistance Group, and tenant advocate attorney John D. Gorman.

It’s also worth noting that 135-137 Eldridge has a checkered past as it is. DOB records indicate that there were illegally subdivided apartments (10 people in one room!) and a partial-vacate order that still stands for an illegal cellar dwelling.

Recent Stories

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Hillman Houses Vandalized with Antisemitic Graffiti

Yesterday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, also marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. Here on the Lower East Side, though, it was apparently occasion for some antisemitism. Someone scrawled an antisemitic message – “fuck Jews” paired with botched swastika – inside the Hillman Houses at 500 Grand Street. The […]

Watch the First Teaser for Upcoming Beastie Boys Doc on Apple+

Yesterday, Apple unveiled the first trailer for its highly anticipated Beastie Boys documentary. It’s a teaser in the truest sense, squeaking by at about thirty seconds. Beastie Boys Story is billed as a “live documentary experience” as told by surviving members Mike D. and Adam “Ad Rock” Horovitz. It’s based on the bestselling Beastie Boys Book […]

Mount Sinai Opening Group Clinic on Delancey Street

There hasn’t been a steady tenant at 104 Delancey Street since the Chase Bank closed and consolidated with the branch across the street in 2012. Instead, eight years of pop-up players persisted, from Gagosian (2012) and Hanksy (2014) to Spirit Halloween (2015), All Leather, and Chabad LES. Now, landlord Samy Mahfar is switching it up completely. […]

Onlookers Rush to Lift SUV from Atop Pedestrian on Delancey Street [VIDEO]

Did you happen to see this clip from yesterday evening? An SUV driver purportedly hit a pedestrian on the doorstep of Essex Crossing, in the intersection of Delancey and Norfolk Street. Seeing the accident unfold, several pedestrians rush to the vehicle in order to literally lift it from atop the victim. Apparently her ankle was […]

On the ‘Ground’ with the New Madison Street Soccer Pitch

In the month-and-change since we broke the news, the large-scale indoor soccer field on Madison Street is making quick progress. Transforming a long-vacant commercial warehouse on the edge of Chinatown. Last week, The Ground, which was founded last year around the corner on Monroe, made the expansion official by whitewashing 130 Madison and imparting branded […]