The owners of the block of mom-and-pop shops on 9th Avenue between 17th and 18th Streets will be systematically evicted by new landlord Morris Moinian, who bought 112-126 9th Avenue for $31 million. He plans to upscale them all. Now, local activists Miguel Acevedo and Gloria Sukenik are organizing a demonstration in support of the businesses. While some may look at this block and see a blemish on the Botoxed-face of ever-spreading MePa, many New Yorkers find the comforts of home here. It’s one of the last places where the battle between old and new Chelsea still rages on.
Miguel says that one of the deli owners is trying to honor a stipulation in his lease by doing a $50,000 renovation of his store. The landlord, however, refuses to sign the permits, forcing the deli owner to violate the lease and face eviction. Acevedo also says the landlord has been harassing not only the business owners, but the rent-regulated tenants as well. Already, the building is emptying out. The superintendent, who looked after the building for more than 30 years, was fired and subsequently suffered a heart attack.
“We want to bring attention to this problem and make a lot of noise. We hope to negotiate with the landlord,” said Acevedo, “and get these small businesses rent increases they can afford.” But this block is part of the ever-expanding circumference of unstoppable MePa. To all those drunk girls in pointy shoes, it’s simply in the way. The demonstration is on Saturday May 3, at 1:00 on the same block.
· Death of a Block [Jeremiah's Vanishing New York]