Thursday, December 10, 2009

A voice from the Christodora's past

Yesterday, a new comment appeared on an old post, The Lower East Side: There goes the neighborhood, from June 2008.

Yes, I paid $3M for the Christodora House and I borrowed $2M of that at 24% interest. What a great building! What fun it was to renovate. The Black Panthers had been the last occupants. It was TRASHED. While my flooring subcontractors were installing the last of the oak flooring in the building, someone stole the engine and back seat out of their car which they had parked across the street from the building. The neighborhood was off the charts. I loved it. Sam Glasser December 9, 2009 1:41 AM

I'm not sure if this is actually from the Sam Glasser, who's now developing property in downtown St. Louis. Or maybe Sam Glasser did stumble upon the post and wanted to reminisce...

And I'm not really sure what to make of the comment, real or not. Hey, it was great back then! Sorry that I ruined the neighborhood! Not to bring all this up again, but, you know, the Christodora House was viewed as a symbol of gentrification in the neighborhood, and later a focal point of the "yuppie scum" protests during the 1988 Tompkins Square Park riots. (Read more at The Shadow.)

And if you're interested in a little more of the Christodora's history, there are plenty of sources, including this more recent piece from the Times dated Aug. 26, 1988:

In the 1960's, according to a search of historical records conducted by the building's developer, the city rented Christadora House to a variety of community groups, including the Black Panthers. But it was eventually boarded up, and then sold at auction in 1978 to a private bidder for $63,000.

The building changed hands several times before it was purchased in 1984 by a group headed by Samuel Glasser, who oversaw its conversion into 85 modern condominium apartments, using a $6.5 million loan from Citibank and tax abatements and exemptions under the Government's J-51 tax program.

"Nobody really had the nerve to develop such a big building in the East Village because it wasn't a tested market," said Amos B. Harris, an executive in Mr. Glasser's firm, SMG Construction Inc. We took the plunge and it worked."

Offering most of the apartments for $114,000 to $495,000, Mr. Glasser sold the majority of the units in six months, Mr. Harris said.

During the protests, many demonstrators accused developers of exerting pressure on the city to impose a curfew on the park to encourage gentrification. But building residents and Mr. Glasser said they had made no effort to influence the city's policy.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Lower East Side: There goes the neighborhood


Jill said...

Ha, you sussed out Sam Glasser!

EV Grieve said...

Think that it's really him, Jill?

Jill said...

I think so, but the husband has no recollection of the story about the car engine being stolen, and that's the kind of thing he would remember.