By James Maher
Name: Sarah "Sas" Stewart
Occupation: Environmental Engineering Marketing and Communications
Location: Avenue C between 7th and 8th
Time: 12:20 on Sunday, Sept. 30
I was born in Detroit originally; that’s where a lot of my family still is. I spent a couple of years in Hawaii, in Kauai, surfing, scuba diving and doing accounting — you know, the usual. Then I moved to New York about 6 years ago and have been living in the East Village for 4 years. Adventure brought me here. I had never lived here before or been here before and I just fell in love.
We were living in a small apartment that we loved a couple years ago and had very much made our own — until we got a letter saying that we were not going to be allowed to renew our lease. Then, shortly after, we got a lease and so we signed it and sent it back.
After a lot of trips to the public records department, we found out that our apartment had been illegally destabilized and they were trying to kick us out to turnover the apartment. It was a battle. The Cooper Square Committee helped us out and can tell you a lot of people’s stories similar to this. We had to get a lawyer and were lucky to find someone who would do it for free. It was terrible and they tried to take us to court and get us on a blacklist ... but it didn’t make us leave the neighborhood. We technically settled out of court and we haven’t had to really press to see if we still are on that list. A husband and wife own the building that we live in now and they’re wonderful and approachable and respectful.
This neighborhood has been a large part of our lives, but my fiancé got an opportunity to work in Vermont — and it was an opportunity that we couldn't turn down. So he moved up there recently and commutes to the city on the weekends and I will be following him up probably in the next year, but we're definitely going to be back. How can we stay away?
James Maher is a fine art and studio photographer based in the East Village. Find his website here.