Thursday, March 26, 2015

All Publicity is Not Good Publicity

The Italian-American Museum in NYC owns several buildings on Mulberry Street in the area still called Little Italy - even though there are hardly any Italian Americans living there. Like the rest of Manhattan, it is gentrified and apartments are extremely expensive.

One of the few remaining is 85-year-old Adele Sarno, who has lived in the same apartment since the mid-1960s. She was born in the area and has lived there for most of her life.

The museum is trying to evict her so that they can raise the rate from the current rent of $820/mo to market rent, which would be $3500 to $4500. The apartment isn't subject to rent control or rent stabilization laws.

I am sure that they are legally within their rights. They're still assholes, or they come off as such. Making the Times in this particular way is very likely to cost them patrons and money.


kalimac said...

The museum's argument, quoted in the article, is that they're not running a charity and rely on the rents to raise money.

Leaving aside questions like are they an NPO? if so, they are a charity, it's still staggeringly heartless. They're already charging market rents on the other apartments; they can leave an 85-year-old in peace. If she were 25, they could expect her to pick up her life and move.

That's all given the assumption that gouging people for living space is ethical at all, of course.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Yes, they're a nonprofit organization, so, yes, literally a charity, just not one whose purpose is dedicated to providing housing for low-income persons.

They apparently are not getting good advice on publicity and public relations, considering what they are doing and what they have said about it.

Chanterelle said...

I'm surprised to learn that the elderly are not protected from eviction. In some places you cannot evict a tenant older than 59. But then again NYC is increasingly favoring the interests of wealthy real estate players over those of neighborhoods and tenants.