Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When Hotel Toshi took over an East Village building

There's a terrific piece in the last issue of The Villager titled Toshi checked in and turned our lives upside down. In the article, Nancy Koan discusses the horror show that resulted from Hotel Toshi taking over units in her unnamed tenement building.

A few of the many choice excerpts:

When a new owner bought the building in the summer, the air grew increasingly tense. Suddenly, there were “suits” in and out and a sense of danger. We, the core tenants, were basically looked upon as if we were antiquated machinery that should be replaced by new, shinier mechanisms, especially ones that could and would pay a higher rent. A few people heard whispers of buyout, but basically none of us knew what was going on.

And after Toshi took over some unit...

Now, day and night, tourists were dragging their suitcases up the stairs for a stay in real New York for half the price of a proper hotel. The people were very nice, but they were so pissed off at what they found, that they complained to us, the regular tenants, endlessly. The hallways were still in their original deconstructed tenement look, much different from what the visitors expected. In fact, the workers were laying down a kind of cement on the floors, which created a horrid dust. Unfortunately for me, the cement was laid so high, I couldn’t open my front door, and New York’s Bravest firemen had to come and break up the cement so I could exit my apartment.

After a lot of outreach, the tenants were successful in pushing Toshi out. But not without a price.

Perhaps in retaliation for our activism, we, the old, worn-out tenants, found ourselves without heat or hot water during the coldest days in November and December. The new management company says it was because a new boiler had not yet been properly fitted; either way, we were without working heat or an available superintendent.

Now our little group is in court, trying to get an abatement for the hardships we’ve endured and hoping to get violations in the building and our apartments rectified. Buyouts are still being whispered about, but for the time being, we are holding on.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Hotel Toshi takes over 325 E. 10th St.

Read the whole Villager article here.

No comments: