Seven months ago, holdouts in the Toy Building at 200 Fifth Avenue were warned that "life for the remaining tenants come March 2006 would be 'very uncomfortable.'" The problem was that new owner Joseph Chetrit wanted to convert the Madison Square building to luxury condos, but some businesses still had leases up and running. Since that ominous warning, we haven't heard anything from the inside. Could that be because everyone is holded up in a corner, sweating and screaming for help in the darkness and praying for their well-being? The Post reports that the remaining 50 or so tenants are suing Chetrit over what they say is a "harassment campaign" to get them out. The tactics:
First, the air conditioning in the hallways and lobbies was shut off. Then tenants began receiving letters saying they would have to provide their own power, [tenants' lawyer David] Jaroslawicz said. In the bathrooms, light bulbs and toilet paper were not replaced, locks were broken and toilets backed up, he claimed, adding that most of the elevators were shut off.
Sounds like most East Village rentals. Anyhoo, the quote of the case goes to Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick, who said at a hearing: "In the old times, they used to send people to beat the crap out of people [to get them out]. We have gotten a little past that but not as much as I would like."
· Rage in Toy Land [NYPost]
· Toy Center Survivors Still Clinging to Occupancy [Curbed]