Before its redevelopment, the building had been orphaned and had fallen into the City’s hands, which earmarked it for use as a neighborhood community center. When the financing and organization to put it to this use fell through, the building was sold to private developers who promptly and contrarily converted it into luxury condominiums in 1986.
Previously expected to serve the public but now inhabited exclusively by wealthy private residents, the building quickly became a target for expressions of outrage towards the burgeoning gentrification the East Village was experiencing. After tensions boiled over in the Tompkins Square Park riot of 1988, the Christadora House’s windows were broken frequently and its walls were often graffitied. Tenants were assaulted outside the building as they came and went and extra security was eventually required. “Class Struggle Erupts Along Avenue B,” ran an August 10, 1988 New York Times headline that detailed the state of affairs in the neighborhood.
That’s from a long essay
on East Village gentrification in March
magazine from a few years back. Regarding Christadora, it sagely concludes, “Christadora House, less than 20 years since its facelift, affects a conservative and stately presence on the Park; it is hardly imaginable as a flashpoint of urban tension
as recent as 1992.”
Further reading: discussion of Christadora at GothamCenter; history about the block at the always engaging New York Songlines; and photos of a huge 1BR apartment in Christadora (now, alas, rented) with some sassy outdoor space just right for a screw-the-poor-folks fête.
· A Genealogy of Gentrification [March Magazine]
· Dorm-at [Man. Myth. Morland.]
· Christadora House Discussion [GothamCenter.org via Morland]
· 9th Street [New York Songlines]
· 143 Avenue B [Custom Brokers]
Proving once again that midtown shouldn’t have all the funand by “fun,” we mean “soul-ruining architecture”plans are afoot to build a towering 23-story dormitory on Avenue B adjacent to Tompkins Square Park. Good news: it’s going to be a dormitory! Even better news: to make room for the superstructureaptly described as “somewhat resembling a smaller United Nations Secretariat building in shape”they’ll only have to demolish the historic school building that long held the cultural center CHARAS/El Bohio. Worried about the loss of cultural diversity? Not to fearthe new dorm will have a plaza withyes!”trees and active recreational uses for the students, such as basketball, handball and rollerblading.” Besides, CHARAS was evicted two years ago after the building was sold to the current developer. (CHARAS supporters famously released thousands of crickets at the city-run auction for the site, but the chirping did not halt the proceedings.)
Naturally, the development has East Villagers, including our old friend Anna Sawaryn, up in arms. Protest marches are in the works. Oh, this will be fun. Brace yourselves.
· Towering Dorm is Proposed on former CHARAS Site [The Villager]
As a timely follow-up to our California Scrapbook, Times reporter Motoko Rich reports today on the sizzling market for one bedroom apartments in Manhattan:
For around $470,000
, recent listings show, you could buy a four-bedroom, four-bathroom traditional house in Dallas with granite kitchen countertops and vaulted living room ceilings. In Columbus, Ohio, you could buy a sprawling four-bedroom house with two fireplaces, a whirlpool and a ravine outside your front door.
Or you could buy a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.
Well, slam us with a 2×4! (Granted, the ravine is a nice touch.) Doing a little poking around this morning on the real estate websites of uberbrokers Corcoran and Douglas Elliman, we’re chagrined to note that Ms. Rich may have a point. We’re particularly fond of this featured view from a $650,000 one bedroom at 345 Grand Street
. “For the discerning lover of air ducts and rogue restaurant odors comes this oh-so-now update on tenement chic…” Jesus, we’re plunging in now before prices double tonight.
· One Bedroom, Many Bids