At City Hall with the 85 Bowery Hunger Strike [PHOTOS]

Posted on: May 31st, 2018 at 5:06 am by

Photo: Caitlyn Kelmar

Displaced tenants of 85 Bowery gathered yesterday on the steps of City Hall to protest their plight. The rally was a resumption of the media-friendly hunger strike meant to humanize the frustration due to the ongoing displacement and delays in building repairs. And to put an end to Mayor de Blasio’s so-called “displacement agenda.” Seven tenants are fasting.

Demands of Hizzoner are as follows:

  • Guarantee on paper a deadline by which the tenants can return home to 85 Bowery
  • Stop having City agencies evict tenants on behalf of landlords
  • End pro-developers displacement agenda; instead, pass community-led rezoning plans like the Chinatown Working Group plan

Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, a staunch political advocate, remains on the front line of this battle.

Photo: Caitlyn Kelmar

“It has been almost half a year since these tenants were evacuated, and still, [landlord Joseph Betesh has] no clear idea of when they will be able to return home,” Niou said in a public statement. “It has been one delay after another. “85 Bowery tenants were initially supposed to move back into their apartments at the end of March, now, there’s a chance that some work will not be complete until late in summer. I urge the city and the landlord to provide a transparent and clear timeline that includes a date for tenants to move back in. I continue to stand with the tenants of 85 Bowery, and I hope that we can work together to bring these families home swiftly.”

Landlord Joseph Betesh, meanwhile, maintains that work is moving as fast as possible.

“Our team has been working every day for months to make 85 Bowery safe and to correct dangerous conditions which predated our ownership, and which caused the Department of Buildings to order the building repaired because the ‘public is at risk,'” a Betesh spokesperson tells us. “Our expenditures so far have included an architect selected by the tenants with whom we and the DOB have been working on a plan to rehabilitate the apartments, work which we expect to finish as soon as the building is safe. Throughout this time, we have provided quality hotel accommodations in Chinatown at our expense for families of 85 Bowery to ensure they are able to remain in the local community while the work continues. Additionally, we are providing storage space for the residents’ belongings.”

Photo: Caitlyn Kelmar

Recent Stories

Gone are the Lulav Vendors of the Lower East Side

The traditional rush to pick up Lulav and Etrog – which always begins after Yom Kippur – is different this year on the Lower East Side. The old-time holdout vendors – who usually peddle at the confluence of Essex, Rutgers, and Canal Streets – are nowhere in sight. No tables, hustle, nor bustle. Their presence […]

Manousheh Readies New Grand Street Restaurant

Manousheh, the popular Lebanese eatery of Greenwich Village, is nearing the finish line for its first expansion. The new restaurant at 403 Grand Street, in the shadow of Seward Park Co-op. The former 7-Eleven space, owned by the co-op and managed by Charles H. Greenthal, is transformed into a large, open layout eatery. Four tables […]

‘Open Streets’ Create Open Trash Mess on Lower East Side

The intersection of Orchard and Broome Streets has become a dumping grounds on weekends, according to several neighbors. Comparisons abound to Hell Square immediately north of Delancey Street. This block, like many others, takes advantage of the city’s “Open Streets” plan that allows restaurants to push onto the streets and sidewalks to serve customers. A […]

Getting by: Hugging Trees with Vicki Rovere on Ludlow Street

In our ongoing series “Getting By,” Lower East Side residents and business owners share, in their own words, how they’re navigating the new normal of pandemic times. In this installment, operator of the longtime Ludlow Street Free Store, Vicki Rovere, penned her thoughts. I live alone, and after a while in lockdown, I really hankered […]

Sam Chang Plans 13-Story Hotel to Replace Chinatown Garage

Another downtown parking garage is doomed for replacement, with a new hotel on the way. Down at 62 Mulberry Street, the five-floor car-park is ready for redevelopment. Prolific hotelier Sam Chang is gunning to construct a thirteen-story beast, with design by frequent collaborator Gene Kaufman Architect. The proposed hotel will boast 103 keys spread across […]