Gothamist has a long read on 192-194 First Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street, where just a handful of long-term tenants still remain after the Nazarian Property Group bought the building in June 2016 for $13 million.
There's Jean, age 95, who lived in a second-floor unit with her husband for 65 years. She's still there, paying $84 a month for the rent-controlled unit.
Jean says she has felt under siege since Lionel Nazarian bought the building last June for $13 million. He's since put her and a small group of rent-regulated tenants through hell, they say, sending them threatening emails, cutting off utilities, pestering them with buyout offers, and turning their building into a chaotic, illegal construction zone as part of a campaign to force them out of their homes and replace them with market rate tenants.
Without a working buzzer, Jean, who can't walk downstairs alone, is unable to receive guests. She hasn't had a working stove in five months, and last September, as construction crews demolished neighboring apartments, a portion of the ceiling fell in her bedroom. She tripped and fell on the debris and ended up with six stitches to her head.
The post goes on to explore the practice of tenant harassment as a business model, a tactic found in the East Village as well as many other neighborhoods. (Nazarian and his lawyers did not respond to requests for comments.)
Now back to Jean.
"I told him, 'You want this to be the death of me,'" she said, of Nazarian. "'I've been here a long time,' I told him, 'and I intend to die here.'"
One of the retail spaces here was home to the Nepture, the Polish-American diner that closed last December after 15 years in business.
Chelsea Thai, which has operated a stall in the Chelsea Market for 19 years, has signed a 10-year-lease for the space.
The Gothamist piece reports that the Cooper Square Committee is helping Jean and her neighbors sue Nazarian in housing court.
Gothamist has an update on the situation:
"An East Village landlord who tenants say has put them through hell agreed to a judge's timeline to correct hazardous conditions and pay thousands of dollars in fines in housing court Thursday."