For 85 Bowery Residents, a Lion’s Welcome Home
It was a holiday Friday, but that didn’t prevent the buildup of a media circus outside 85 Bowery in Chinatown.
This was the official homecoming, and final chapter in the 85 Bowery saga, for dozens of tenants who were displaced eight months ago when their tenement home was deemed unsafe by the city. The nighttime eviction had set off a chain reaction of activist involvement from around the community against landlord Joseph Betesh. Litigation (since settled), rallies, hunger strikes, tweets, email blasts, and the like.
Yet, Friday afternoon, you wouldn’t have known that. With the city’s vacate order lifted, tenants are finally back home. Building repairs completed – including replacement of the brittle staircase. No hard feelings were apparent in the air. A rally outside the rehabilitated tenement attracted locals, reporters, electeds, and even folks from the Betesh camp. There were lion dances, speeches, and requisite applause.
It was a celebratory atmosphere on both sides of the aisle, with cheering, and didn’t appear to be any lingering animosity. Onward…