Gothamist's Nathan Tempey just published a piece on 60 Clarkson that gets the story right. At least, the story thus far. This quote from our pal Merlinda gets it about right:
"[Residents] participate in block parties, they send their kids to the public schools, they're active in local civic life," she said. "It's a community. You can't just destroy that because you see dollar signs when you close your eyes."As she describes it, the building is like a family. People have really pulled together to make the best of a tough situation, many waiting for years for the chance to exchange vouchers for a permanent residence. That is, it's really tough to get back on your feet when you don't have an address to call your own.
As Paul Harvey used to say "and now for the rest of the story..."
Please set aside some time to come by 60 Clarkson tomorrow for a meaningful rally and press conference. We'll try to have as many of the families and block residents and press and elected officials as possible to stand in solidarity, asking the landlord Barry Hers(ko) not kick out tenants immediately, but give them a chance to use vouchers and other means to find a decent next place to live. Is 60, 90 days too much to ask? The Q thinks it makes sense for current homeless clients to be allowed to stay longterm and turn their vouchers into leases right there if they choose, as proper rent stabilized tenants. But the reality is that 60 Clarkson is not going to be a decent home as long as Hersko has his way with it. The best we can hope for is that he's held accountable for his practices and slumlording, and that the building remains affordable to all comers. Though we've heard through the street that he wants to rent to white people now. So don't expect any new navigation from his busted moral compass.
Please join us tomorrow. At the very least, it'll be fun to see everyone out and supporting each other. If that's not what this life is about, then I simply don't know what is.