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2 CITY LIMITS '

'ember 1.85
LI'Ify LIMITS
Volume X Number 9
City Limits is published ten times per year.
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ment policy and performance.
Urban Homesteading Assistance Boord. a tech-
nical assistance organization providing
assistance to low income tenant cooperatives in
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City Limits (ISSN 0199-0330)
(212) 239-8440
Editor
Annette Fuentes
Auoclate Editor
Doug Turetsky
Buain_ Manager
Paul Smith
Copyright c 1985. All Rights Reserved.
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EDITORIAL
A Ruinous Choice
A new department of City Limits makes its debut in this issue. It's called
Neighborhood Notes and advance reviews indicate it will become one of the
most well-read columns, rivaling even the job ads. The idea is to get more
of the on-going news of community and housing affairs in the five boroughs
that doesn't always fit into the more formal format of our other departments.
To do that, weve found four stringers with noses for news in their borough
beats who are intimately involved in the stuff of neighborhood life and the
city's housing struggles for survival.
As City Limits goes to press, word of the possible appointment of Richard
Runes as policy advisor to state housing commissioner William Eimicke is
making the rounds. Suspicions surfaced early October and tenant and hous-
ing advocates leapt into action, sending a letter to Gov. Cuomo. Their pro-
found alarm stems from Runes' pro-landlord position in the past three years
as counsel to the Republican-controlled Senate Housing Committee. As chief
staff negotiator on the Omnibus Housing Act of 1983, he was instrumental
in the Rent Stabilization Association's redrafting of a rent code so pro-landlord
it was turned down. While involved in the OHA work, Runes represented
a landlord in a lease assignment suit directly tied to changes he supported
in the OHA. The judge in the case, Ira Gammerman, noted a conflict of in-
terest in his opinion and refused to reopen the case against the tenants.
But what really worries tenant and housing activists is that Runes would
be just the hachet man the state is seekmg to demolish the existing rent con-
trol code. Cuomo has called for a report on rent regulation by December 1986.
While officials at the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal deny
that Runes has been hired and are vague about his potential role, a Post piece
based on information from Eimicke's assistant James Miller says Runes will
help rewrite the city's rent codes. Talk about the fox guarding the chicken coop.
Let's hope pressure from activists makes Cuomo and Eimicke rethink the
Runes choice. But more importantly, the governor and his housing chief must
understand that it is not just Runes that is objectionable but what he
represents: a threat to tenant's rights and strong rent control legislation. 0
Correction
In October's article on squatting
("Squatting in New York," by Pat
Lamiell) , incorrect information was
given regarding the Tenant Interim
Lease program. The budget for the pro-
gram is $8 million, not $1.5 million,
which is the budget for the city's
homesteading program. And any im-
plication that TIL building residents
are not legal tenants is not correct. We
regret any misunderstanding the mis-
information may have caused. A.F.
Iobert Glick / NY Chinatown Hlltor, I'roject
INSIDE
FEATURES
Putting the Homeless to Work 8
The Work Experience Program pays homeless men 62
an hour, a policy some feel is unethical and illegal.
The Chill Is Still on in Fresh Meadows 13
Less than a year after Helmsley-Spear agreed to halt
racial quotas in a Queens complex, a co-op plan threat-
ens to continue the discrimination.
Chinatown: A Community Grapples 16
with Its Future
High-priced development has come to Chinatown, rock-
ing the garment industry and spurring community
organizing.
DEPARTMENTS
Editorial
A Ruinous Choice 2
Short Term Notes
Rent Hikes Hurt Poor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Return of the Nuke Trucks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
A Hilton Comes to Brooklyn. . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Neighborhood Notes
Brooklyn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Bronx.. .............. ...... ..... .... 6
Manhattan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Queens........ ................. ..... 7
Pipeline
If You're Thinking of Living in a Trailer. . .. 11
Legislation
A Little-noted Victory for SRO Residents . .. 15
Tenants' Tactics
How to Fight Harassment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 23
Cityview
New York's Garbage Disposal Dilemma. . . .. 24
Culture
Murals Unite Art and Community ........ 26
Film Festival Celebrates Housing Struggles. 27
Reviews
Neighborhood Newsstand .. ... 1... ... .... 30
Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 30
Resources/Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 31
November 1985 CITY LIMITS 3
Trailers for the Homeless/Page 11
~ r t f : j ~ ~ I
Chinatown/Page 16
Community Murals/Page 26
4 CITY LIMITS November 1915
SHORT TERM NOTES
RENT HIKES HIT POOR
When Geraldine Ferraro
addressed the Hispanic
Housing Coalition's annual
conference September 4, her
keynote address took aim at
a variety of inequities that
plague New York City's
housing market. But the
former Congresswoman and
vice presidential hopeful
zeroed in on one particular
issue for attack: the Rent
Guidelines Board's new rent
increases.
What outraged Ferraro
and is still outrageous to
tenant advocates is not
merely the four percent
increase for one-year and
six and a half percent raise
for two-year leases com-
mencing October 1, 1985 to
September 30, 1986. It's the
$15 "surcharge" that will be
tacked on to those increases
for people now paying
under $300 a month.
This isn't the first year
such a surcharge has been
granted, according to Bill
Rowen of the New York State
Tenant and Neighborhood
Coalition (NYSTNC). For the
past two years, a $10 sur-
lryI ....... ln:
charge hos been levied on
apartments rented under a
certain amount. In 1983, it
was for rents tinder $200;
last year it was imposed on
rents under $250. "The thrust
is to broaden the group of
people who have to pay
these increases," remarks
Rowen. "Every time you go
up $50 in rent level, you
affect many more tenants."
The justification for sur-
charges is from landlords
who say the percentage
scarcely covers expenses in
low rent apartments.
But this year, the sur-
charge jumped by $5, com-
pounding the normal rent
increases which are far
above the inflation rate and
worse, say tenant advocates,
compensating landlords far
more than they really
spend. 'We told the Rent
Guidelines Board chair,
Amalia Betanzos, in June
that this would hurt low
income tenants," claims Bill
Rowen. An analysis of the
impact of the surcharge
done by NYSTNC reveals
that 76 percent of tenants in
the under-$300 rent
category will be effected.
They will pay 10.5 percent
and 13 percent more in rent
for one- and two-year leases
respectively, and 18 or 20.5
percent for apartments
which become vacant and
are rented anew.
The full brunt of these
increases-the highest since
1981-will be felt by the
city's poorest tenants, says
NYSTNC. The tenants who
face the surcharge have an
average household income
under $9,000; 40 percent of
them are living below the
poverty line. NYSTNC's
report also points out that
57 percent of the under-$300
apartments are in the Bronx
and Brooklyn and are mostly
tenement buildings and
more likely to be
dilapidated.
Betanzos, ,who was
appointed to the Board by
Mayor Koch at the end of
1984, defends the increases
as necessary. "It's a very
difficult issue that took a lot
of soul searching," she says.
''I'm not happy about it, but
landlords say if they can't
charge more than $300, they
can't survive." She denies
that NYSTNC approached
her about the issue in June:
...., Gul."" ..... ,.,,_1 ..... '_y. flffrect .....", .. - __ '., .utll_
''I'm surprised they're com-
menting at this time since
there were no statements
from tenant groups at the
public hearings."
Tenant advocates who
were present at the public
hearings in June state that
there was no discussion
among Board members
about the $15 surcharge. "It
was clear from the begin-
ning, there was no question
that the supplemental would
be passed," says Rowen.
"They had already worked it
out before and didn't discuss
whether it would be $10 or
$15." On October 7, he and
other NYSTNC members
attended the Rent Guide-
lines Board meeting and
made a motion. to rescind
the $15 surcharge but, "they
looked at us with blank
faces." 0 A.F.
RETURN OF THE
NUKE TRUCKS
If the federal Department
of Transportation has its
way, there will soon be an
additional hazard to contend
with on New York City
I
I
roads- trucks bearing
nuclear waste. With legal
challenges overturned,
spent nuclear fuel rods,
which retain about 60 per-
cent of their original content
of uranium, can now be
trucked from the Brook-
haven National Laboratory
in Upton, Long Island, along
the Long Island Expressway,
over the Throgs Neck
Bridge, and through the
Bronx into Westchester. The
final destination is a repro-
cessing plant in Idaho.
This will not be the first
time nuclear waste has been
shipped through the most
densely populated city in
the country. From 1954 to
1976, spent radioactive fuel
was carried over the 59th
Street Bridge and along
Third Avenue to the George
Washington Bridge. In 1976
the city passed a local law
prohibiting these shipments.
But in 1982 DOT overruled
local ordinances banning
hazardous shipments. The
city successfully challenged
DOT's re!:lulations in federal
District Court, but the U.S.
Court of Appeals overturned
the decision, upholding the
Department's right to over-
rule local laws. Brookhaven
proceeded to send 16 ship-
ments through the city be-
fore halting them during
negotiations over the type of
cask in which to ship the
radioactive wastes.
City officials have con-
tinued to look for ways to
block the shipments, but on
September 9 federal regula-
tors ruled against the city's
most recent appeal. Mayor
Koch has vowed to "press
this matter until the last
court has had an opportuni-
ty to render justice." Mean-
while, Connecticut state
officials who feared that the
shipments would be routed
through their state are jubi-
lant. Connecticut Attorney
General Joseph I. lieber-
man proclaimed, 'We've
taken a little bite out of the
Big Apple."
November 1985 CITY LIMITS 5
The Department of Energy
believes New York City resi-
dents have nothing to fear
since the fuel rods are
shipped in casks designed to
withstand virtually any kind
of impact or explosion. A
spokeswoman for Brook-
haven Laboratory told The
New York Times that even if
a cask was to break open,
no radioactive particles
would spread through the
air because the rods are
solid. She that an
area of only a few hundred
yards would have to be
evacuated.
But who would do the
evacuating? Calls to the fed-
eral and city's offices of
emergency management
found that no one seemed
to know who was responsi-
ble for a highway evacuation
procedure. So drive careful-
ly. O D.T.
HILTON COMES TO
BROOKLYN
Brooklynites having trou-
ble finding an affordable
place to live might find
some solace in knowing that
out-of-town guest will soon
'be able to stay in the
borough's very own Hilton
Hotel. The five-story hotel
will be part of the $150 mil-
lion Renaissance Plaza
project, a key link in
Borough President Howard
Golden's program for
revitalizing downtown
Brooklyn. "It has been obvi-
ous for a long time that it [a
prominent hotel] has been a
major need," says Harriet
Lyons, a spokesperson for
the borough president's
office.
Current design plans for
the hotel include conference
and banquet facilities for
2,000 people as well as a
health club. Construction
and financing arrangements
for the Plaza have moved
along at a remarkable pace.
Plaza developer Joshua
Muss anticipates construc-
tion can start in six to seven
months, with completion of
the project about one and a
half to two years later. The
New York City Public
Development Corporation,
which negotiated the project
with Muss, has promised to
push forward the public
r4!'view process of Renais-
sance Plaza. The Plaza's
financial package is a
bonanza: $6 million from the
city's Municipal Assistance
Corporation surplus, $6.2
million from the city's capital
budget and $8 million in a
federal Urban Development
Action Grant. In addition,
the project will benefit from
city programs that reduce
energy costs and lower the
commercial occupancy tax,
as well as a 22-year Indus-
trial and Commercial Incen-
tive Program tax abatement.
There will also be $110 mil-
lion double tax-exempt
Industrial Revenue Bonds.
Muss has commented that
this lucrative public aid
helped make the hotel deal
attractive to Hilton.
Lyons believes the public
underwriting of this private
development project is well
worth the expense. "It's
going to create jobs-first
construction, then the ser-
vice jobs." She says that
minority hiring is called for
in the construction contracts
and that the city has under-
scored the importance of
hiring Brooklyn residents to
work at the completed
Plaza.OD.T.
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6 CITY LIMITS November 1985
NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES
Brooklyn
Anatomy of a Speculation
Big money has entered the Brook-
lyn real estate market. Over the past
five years, IsraelZipes, president of the
real estate firm E. Osborne Smith, has
bought over 200 homes in select Brook-
lyn neighborhoods with other people's
money. His latest venture - called
Oppenheimer Brooklyn Renaissance
Associates - has purchased 40 proper-
ties with a simple goal in mind: to hold
and then sell them in five to seven
years.
The prospectus for the $4 million
investment plan states, "Brooklyn is
experiencing a revitalization and
renaissance of its neighborhoods,
which are being transformed from
working class areas into affluent and
attractive communities .... This
neighborhood conversion, often
termed 'gentrification: is having a dra-
matic impact on rents and property
values." The prospectus calls this a
"speculative opportunity."
The plan is chillingly simple: buy
cheap and sell dear. Zipes has targeted
five Brooklyn neighborhoods for
investment: Carroll Gardens (where
co-ops "are considered inevitable"),
Cobble Hill (where property values are
up dramatically), Park Slope (where
the "transformation from a moderate to
middle income area is now continuing
as a transformation to an upper income
area"), Boerum Hill ("tucked between
Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights"),
and Windsor Terrace (where rents are
increasing) .
Israel Zipes is amazed at the trans-
formation in Brooklyn. In his search
for investors, he says, "I used to go
around with my hat in my hand. Now
it's as easy as apple pie:'
Foreclosed Futures
The City of New York, meanwhile,
is going to court to take title to 17,0.00
properties in Brooklyn. The
are subject to the foreclosure action
because the owners have been behind
in taxes for over a year.
State Senator Velmanette Mont-
gomery, whose district includes Bed-
ford Stuyvesant, Fort Greene and
Crown Heights, protests the city's
move: "The city tax collector's policy
and process ends up and results in
what I consider a raid on property of
poor people in the city."
Montgomery has called for a
gO-day moratorium on court proce.ed-
ings to allow homeowners to make pay-
ment arrangements. She is also
seeking increased city assistance to
low income homeowners. She con-
tends that the neighborhoods she
represents are actually over-taxed by
the city due to improper assessment.
Back to the Streets?
Hardship is what 160 young men
face if the city has its way and closes
the Hanson Place shelter to make way
for fancy state offices. The shelter, at 55
Hanson Place, is the only one in the
city for young people.
Bob Hayes, of the Coalition for the
Homeless, has gone to court to protest
the closing. Hayes says that the city has
less than 20 beds available for the
homeless in the area.
. The local Community Board and
Borough President Golden's office have
adopted a "hands-off' policy with
regard to the homeless. But if someone
doesn't show some leadership soon,
this will be a cold and cruel winter for
several hundred of Brooklyn's home-
less.O Robert Neuwirth
Bronx
The City As Landlord
South Bronx People for Change, a
church-based organizing group, is
generating a campaign to identify and
mobilize key city-owned buildings in
seven South Bronx neighborhoods:
Melrose, Hunts Point, West Farms,
Claremont, Highbridge, Morris
Heights and Bathgate. By zeroing in on
14 buildings that are occupied by
action-minded tenants, the housing
campaign's objective is to convince
HPD's In Rem Property Management
division to upgrade the systems at
these sites and help preserve them for
many winters to come. In an area
where the city is the major property
owner- city-owned buildings and
vacant land represent nearly 50 per-
cent of South Bronx residential
property - the campaign for more city
investments is looking at the very
future of the South Bronx.
People for Change hopes to pick
up on the successes of an eight-month
initiative in the Northwest Bronx,
which is facing similar needs for city.
investments in housing and better
management of the city's Alternative
Management Programs. Tenant-land-
lord face-offs have taken on a new per-
specUve slnce the Northwest Bronx
Community and Clergy Coalition
formed a City-owned Tenants Commit-
tee comprised of hundreds of tenants.
The Committee has staged public
meetings with HPD's Assistant Com-
missioner for Property Management
Joseph Shuldiner. At issue: the future
of in rem and alternative management
buildings in the University Heights,
Fordham, Bedford, Crotona and Kings-
bridge neighborhoods. Since last win-
ter, when the City-owned Campaign
leadership brought 300 constituents to
discuss the fate of over 30 buildings,
the city has begun making improve-
ments. Shuldiner took a guided tour of
many of the places, managers are
responding and some repairs are being
made.
Deal Out the Bronx
When the Mount Hope Improve-
ment Association marched to the 46th
Precinct back in February, there was lit-
tle expectation that it would lead to a
meeting with U.S. Attorney Rudolph
Giuliani, the city's arch-drugbuster. On
September 28, the day after Gloria
stormed through the barren streets of
the Grand Concourse, over 400 angry
residents shook the same street cor-
ners, demanding that their region be
designated a Federal Narcotics Zone,
focusing stiff penalties, targeted
patrols and speedy prosecutions on
the dealers. Police Commissioner Ben-
jamin Ward ducked prior calls for
meetings, then came through with
more patrol commitments. In the fIrst
week of October, 30 community lead-
ers, including Reverend Dimas Planas-
Belfort of the original Mount Hope
Group, presented a set of proposals as
powerful arguments before Mr. Giu-
liani at his New York City headquar-
ters. How powerful? Giuliani has taken
on the proposals as part of his agenda.
o Angel Garcia
Manhattan
Vacant Rooms for Homeless Folk
While the media were glued to the
ravages of Hurricane Gloria, over 150
tenants, homeless and religious
activists gathered outside the Lennox
Hotel September 28 to protest ware-
housing of vacant apartments. Com-
peting against a natural disaster for
press coverage, organizers found that
most reporters were up in Connecticut
following the storm. But protestors
predict real tragedy if decent dwellings
like the Lennox on West 44 St. are held
vacant by greedy landlords with plans
for co-op conversions.
The Lennox, an SRO adjacent to
the site of developer Harry Macklowe's
illegal "midnight demolition," contains
vacant, but recently renovated rooms.
A preliminary survey by the Housing
Justice Campaign, sponsor of the rally,
found 1,700 warehoused SRO rooms in
Manhattans West Side alone. The St.
Clair, at 69 W. 38 St., added some 60
units to that tally this summer when
long-term residents were forced out.
. The st. Claire and the Lennox
illustrate the ineffectiveness of the
recently-passed moratorium on con-
versions of SRO hotels since it exempts
many buildings and prevents only
obtaining alteration permits, not
harassment of tenants nor warehous-
ing of vacant rooms, point out Cam-
paign members.
Celebrating Survival
This August, East Harlem tenants
and friends celebrated a victory when
30 families returned to their homes at
80 E. 116 St. A fire in the building in
November of 1984 relegated all the
tenants to homelessness. But no more.
While the gathering at St. Paul's
Church was festive, participants took
time to remember the eight months of
legal negotiating with city officials that
made their homecoming possible.
Out of Site
Site 30, part of the Upper West
Side Urban Renewal Area near 90 St.
and Columbus Ave., is the subject of
intense debate. Originally intending it
for low income housing, the city now
supports a plan for a 21-story, luxury
tower constructed with federal funds
for 80 percent market rate and 20 per-
cent subsidized housing. A lawsuit by
Stryker's Bay Neighborhood Council
charges such a switch in plans is ille-
gal. Papers filed in federal district
court in September cite the Fair Hous-
ing Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1968,
alleging a "greater adverse impact on
housing opportunities for minority
families ... "
Clinton Clearance
Clinton residents continue the
battle against development of Urban
Renewal Sites 7, 8 and 9c. In separate
legal actions, the Clinton Pre'Servation
Local Development Corporation and
the Women's Inter Art Center are
challenging the city's plan to permit
further clearance of occupied build-
ings for luxury housing and industrial
development. The community's alter-
native proposal would produce low
and moderate income housing and
retain commercial spaces without
demolition of existing structures. Jim
McPartlin, head of Clinton LDC,
characterizes HPD's actions as "trying
to steam roll their plan through against
the wishes of the community." 0 Mary
Breen
Queens
Community Board 2 in Queens,
which encompasses Woodside, Sun-
nyside and Long Island City, is the site
of a good deal of new investment, a
mixed blessing to say the least. Resi-
dents are concerned that Port
Authority plans for waterfront
development, the proposed Citibank
towers on Jackson Avenue, the Interna-
tional Design Center, increased co-op
conversion, construction of luxury
housing and other development
projects may cause or escalate dis-
November 1985 CITY LIMITS 7
placement of long-time residents and
businesses. The housing committee of
CB 2, known for their yearly Housing
Matters conference, decided that the
best way to confront fears about and
possibly prevent displacement was
with knowledge and understanding of
the process. .
Committee members have put
together an eight-session workshop
that would study in depth the whole
phenomenon of displacement and
gentrification. Special emphasis
would be placed on providing work-
shop participants with the information
and skills necessary to negotiate with
developers. Workshop attendees, board
members, housing committee mem-
bers, city agency reps, local agency
people and local group leaders would
learn about development and displace-
ment with an eye toward solving the
local problem.- Participants at the
workshops are urged to ask: Can dis-
placement happen here? If so, how?
What form will it take? What can the
community do to minimize the
impact? Most importantly, can invest-
ment be accommodated without dis-
placement?
The eight workshops cover the fol-
lowing topics: Displacement: How to
identify it and what the effects are;
Understanding the real estate market;
What's happening to rental housing?;
Local case studies: Hoboken and Park
Slope; The state-wide perspective-
examples from California and Con-
necticut; Zoning as a strategy; legisla-
tive strategies; and Directions for CB 2.
Workshops were held Mondays, Sep-
. tember 9th through November 9th.
In addition to the workShops,
several local social service agencies are
engaged in a survey which may, over
the course of a year, provide data on
displacement by looking at the area's
changing housing needs. These activi-
ties mark a first for the borough of
Queens, a recognition that displace-
ment can happen in the "bedroom bor-
ough," too, as development in
Manhattan produces a ripple effect.
Organizers and housing activists
interested in more information on the
CB 2 Housing Seminar on Displace-
ment should contact the CB 2 Housing
Committee at 55-11 Queens Blvd.,
Woodside, NY 11377.0 Irma
Rodriguez
----ClJ1UMITS - November 1985
FEATURE
Putting the Homeless to. Work
BY ERIC ROTH
T
he rumor spread fast. Jose
Fernandez, new director of the
Atlantic Avenue Armory Shelter
in Brooklyn, planned to expel 50
homeless men for refusing to work 20
hours for $12.50. It appeared the
Human Resources Administration's
(HRA) long-stated policy would finally
be enforced.
But it turned out to be just rumor.
The Atlantic Armory management
made no attempt to evict any resident
for noncompliance with its Work
Experience Program (WEP) that week.
However, HRA spokespeople are
explicit in asserting their legal and
moral right to reassign shelter resi-
dents if they refuse to participate in
WEP.
"If the city provides food, clothing
and shelter;' replies Larry Millender,
director of the city shelters Work Expe-
rience Program, "the least the city can
do is ask residents to clean their own
shelter and contribute something to
the community." Kathy Ruby, head of
public relations, emphasizes that "the
program is voluntary. We provide
shelter to anyone who requests it."
"The $12.50 is an added incentive,"
explains Millender. "It is a stipend, not
a salary. Twelve-fifty is not peanuts
when you get everything free."
It is a modern truism that every-
thing is relative, especially where
money is concerned, but opinions on
the value of the Work Experience Pro-
gram are conflicting. All parties agree
on the program's fundamental facts
concerning size, cost, duration and
pay. The fierce debate begins when
evaluating the program's success, legal
status and moral implications. Propo-
nents credit the program with restor-
ing shelter residents' self-esteem,
improving shelter living conditions
and creating a positive image of large
shelters in the local communities.
Critics charge that the program humili-
ates participants, creates false expecta-
tions and provides city agencies with
Nonnon ~ t _ . tleputy "Irector of. "-'-.... 1_ In .... N_ Tortr:
H. ,hlnlt. ,h. prtlflram ra/ ... moral. bu, coulll poy more.
laborers paid $.62 an hour.
Larry Millender organized the
first pilot Work Experience Program at
the Harlem Men's Shelter in 1983 to
alleviate residents' boredom, provide a
daily structure, and improve commu-
nity relations. "Can you imagine any-
thing worse than just standing aro\lnd
watching TV. all day with nothing to
do?" he asks. The program was a direct
response to the growing percentage of
young males in the shelter and com-
munity fears of higher crime rates.
All able-bodied residents were
required to work 20 hours a week
washing laundry, cleaning the build-
ing grounds, and maintaining local
parks and subways. In exchange, resi-
dents received the opportunity to learn
good work skills (such as getting up in
the morning and completing an as-
signed task) and a $12.50 stipend for
WIlli ... to -"::
hH' 62 centa on hour WE,. port/dpon'. do '0"'" ,ho, _ ,ho H.A oll",/ta I. _, reo' ,oil '""n' ....
personal expenses. The Work Experi-
ence Program left time .for job inter-.
views and other appointments.
Nonparticipants were reassigned to
other shelters run by the HRA.
Two years later, the Program has
expanded to 15 shelters and includes
2,546 participants who work outside
. the shelters as well . Residents clean
toilets, subway platforms and empty
lots. A HRA brochure quotes City Parks
Commissioner Henry Stern saying,
"We have parks that urgently need to be
cleaned and HRA has people who qre
in need of work. This is a marriage of
two great needs." The program is
scheduled to expand to 3,000 by next
June. The program costs the HRA $25
per individual per week, half for the
stipend and the rest for running the
program.
"This is not real work nor is it job
training:' continues Millender. "It is a
work experience program. The big
thing is it makes people feel better
about themselves.
"I have seen men who were dead
corne back to life:' Millender adds.
"Morale is very, very high," proclaims
Norman Trosten, deputy director of the
Brooklyn Men's Shelter in East New
York, where 146 men participate in
WEP.
Another benefit of WEP, accord-
ing to Trosten, is community reaction.
"The men see they can live here, and
the community will accept them. We
are changing the image of homeless
shelters." Trosten immediately
produces a letter from the Atlantic
Senior Center praising the "very hard-
working, dependable and perfect gen-
tlemen" from the Work Experience
Program who helped clean their
center.
Another View
Ray Richardson, a two-year,
shelter-system resident, sees the pro-
gram in a very different light. "New
York should not run modern planta-
tions," says Richardson, who has been
expelled from two shelters for refusing
to participate in WEP. "How can HRA
November 1985 CITY LIMITS 9
say we must work for something we are
guaranteed under the law?
"It doesn't produce pride," con-
tinues Richardson, "it creates frustra-
tion and degradation. You are forced to
work for $12.50 and told it will help
you escape the shelter. Where can you
rent an apartment on $12.50 a week?"
thinks the program is
plainly illegal and that HRA should
make the prQgram truly voluntary by
removing the threat of transfer and pay
at least minimum wage. "Work experi-
ence is not job training," adds Richard-
son. "You can't put lifting boxes and
cleaning toilets on your resume. It is
nothing but slave labor."
Richardson, a 37-year-old former
bookkeeper and sales manager, is
organizing resistance to the Work
Experience Program within the shelter
system. His group, called Home-
Grown, provides information on jobs,
housing and legal rights to "house less
individuals." The four-month-old
t
organization represents 250 men and
_ women and receives some funding
2 from Catholic Charities. "We don't want
$ better shelters; we want housing:' says
... Richardson.
Other critics of the program repeat
Richardson's arguments. If the Work
Experience Program provided job
training, then a small stipend might be
acceptable. But ifWEP is just work that
leads to no job, then residents must be
paid minimum wage. Critics also
charge that the program leads to fur-
ther dependence on the shelter while
reducing the residents' confidence.
Is It Legal?
"If this was a private group, the DA
would have raided it and put it out of
business," says Connie Lesold, a Crown
Heights community activist, referring
to the Christian Brothers and Sisters,
who have been paying $10 per week
plus room and board to workers clean-
ing rugs. "The homeless are not sup-
posed to be indentured servants or
slave laborers. HRA is destroying the
whole minimum wage structure:'
The Coalition for the Homeless is
also convinced WEP is illegal and was
planning an action against the reli-
gious group. "We had hoped to file a
suit pretty soon:' says Mark Bullock, a
shelter monitor for the Coalition. "But
10 CITY LIMITS November 1985
HRA spokespeople are explicit in asserting their legal and moral
rfght to reassign shelter residents if they refuse to participate in
the Work Experience Program.
the law firm (Brown, Wood, and Ivy)
found a conflict of interest:' The Coa-
lition is searching for another firm to
take the case on a pro bono basis, but
might handle it themselves. "We are
considering our options;' he says.
The suit will charge that WEP vio-
lates both federal minimum wage laws
and state regulations for homeless
shelters. "Either create a real work
experience program with job training
or pay regular wages;' says Bullock.
But, so far no legal suits have actu-
ally been filed. "The program is legal;'
contends HRXs Ruby, who notes the
significant difference between filing a
suit and winning a court case.
"We agree that something is better
than nothing," concedes Bullock. "The
WEP is at least a germ of an idea that
might work." The Coalition previously
pressured HRA to form a work pro-
by the Vera Institute, Fortune Society,
and the Private Industry Council as
models HRA should look at more
closely.
"WEP ultimately causes more
frustration because it creates unrealis-
tic expectations:' explains Bullock.
"Only a lucky few find jobs, and they
are usually too low paying to leave the
shelter system." HRA statistics show
that over 100 people have found jobs
through WEP, but the vast majority are
jobs within the shelter system.
Naturally, HRA defends the pro-
gram. Still, HRA officials think a few
minor changes would improve WEP.
"The weakest part is the pay;' admits
Millender. "Fifteen dollars for 20 hours
just sounds better." Trosten goes even
further in advocating reform. '1 think
$15 for 15 hours is more realistic;' he
reasons.
But Ray Richardson suggests
another way of providing practical
work experience along with material
and psychological benefits. "If the
mayor would let the houseless
rehabilitate vacant buildings, then the
shelters could eventually be closed:' O
Eric Roth is a reporter for The Phoenix
in Brooklyn.
gram in the shelters.
Aside from the legal questions,
Bullock blames HRA for mismanaging
the program: "The city is coercing peo-
ple into work. but does not even pro-
vide structure of work:' Further, he
says, the demeaning low pay guaran-
tees a negative attitude toward work by
denying the benefits of labor.
A Belter Program
An effective WEP, according to
Bullock, would require significant
changes. First, residents should join
voluntarily and be paid minimum
wage. Second, HRA should screen
applicants and establish smaller, tran-
sitional shelters with more privacy.
Finally, any effective, long term pro-
gram must include education, job
training and housing components.
Bullock refers to several programs run
CITY'S SHELTER
RESIDENTS PROTEST
HRA ACTIONS
Residents of city shelters for the
homeless are organizing to demand
better conditions and a job-training
program. On September 19, Brooklyn
State Assemblymember Clarence Nor-
man, Jr. led 40 shelter residents across
the Brooklyn Bridge for a rally outside
City Hall. The Brooklyn NAACP, the
Black United Front and Home Grown
organized the rally to highlight the Hu-
man Resources Administration's
management of the shelter system. Pro-
testers came from six shelters and wel-
fare hotels, according to organizers.
Norman, chairperson of the As-
sembly's subcommittee on the home-
less, promised to investigate the Work
Experience Program. "We are going to
find out why HRA is paying slave
wages," declared Norman. "Justice de-
mands we stop this inhumane policy."
A press release called for implemen-
tation of a meaningful job skills de-
' .......... 1-.
",.,. .,. few '''' .... ,...1<1_,. at" do fa "u .... ,,'z.
'''.'r IHtrrodcII". mel' .....
velopment program and increasing
stipends to at least minimum wage.
The primary victory of Mayor Ed
Koch, according to Norman, makes the
political struggle more difficult. "The
only glimmer of hope is the state.
President Reagan and Mayor Koch cer-
tainly are not going to do anything
positive for poor people."
Several other HRA policies, in-
cluding the planned closing of the
Hanson Place shelter in Brooklyn,
were also attacked. "Where are we sup-
posed to sleep?" asked one resident
afraid to give his name. "We don't want
to live on the street." Eight Hanson
Place shelter residents came to the
march.
Almost every speaker referred to
the low turnout of protesters. "Dear
God; prayed Charles Joshua, executive
director of the Central Brooklyn Coor-
dinating Council , "please ignore that
so few of us are here. Look after the
homeless and poor who don't want to
be poor any more." African Americans
for Bread, Not Bombs, the Association
of Community Organizations for Re-
form Now and Community Board 3
also endorsed the march. 0 E.R.
November 1985 CITY LIMITS 11
PIPELINE
If You're Thinking of Living in a Trailer
The compact convenience of
trailer living, once inaccessible to
urban dwellers except on vacations,
will become a reality for a select group
of homeless families in New York City.
During winter 1986-87, the first
two sites for mobile home units should
be ready to receive families who have
lost their housing through fire, poverty
and other displacement forces.
Although officials are reluctant to "let
the cat out of the bag" and disclose pre-
cise locations being considered for the
two mobile home parks, they have
indicated that the Bronx and Brooklyn
are the most likely. Only those
boroughs contain the large, vacant
acreage needed to accomodate some
100 trailer units.
The trailer park plan is the brain-
child of Mayor Ed Koch, who referred
to it in his "State of the City" speech this
past spring. "The mayor realized that
a large percentage of all housing in this
country is mobile homes," recounts
Rudy Renaldi at the Mayor's Office on
Construction. His office, along with
the Building Department and the
Human Resources Administration is
working to test the mayor's novel
approach to transitional housing for
the city's growing homeless popu-
lation.
Each trailer park site would con-
tain approximately 50 mobile homes
on 40-foot lots. The units themselves
will have three bedrooms, a kitchen
and all the amenities of a "typical
trailer" according to Renaldi. He says
a trailer park in Staten Island - the
city's only one - was a model for their
plan. Renaldi emphasizes that these
units do not have wheels and so are not
really mobile. He likes to use the term
"premanufactured unit."
The cost of this pilot project is
covered by a $5 million appropriation
in the city's 1986 capital budget. It
includes site preparation, such as
landscaping, laying foundations for
the units, utility hook-ups and the
price of the trailers. Renaldi estimates
that a trailer sells for between $12,000
and $20,000. Total estimated cost per
unit, including work,
will be $30-50,000.
There are several hurdles to clear
before the park project moves from the
drawing board and out to the field.
First and foremost, suitable property
must be located. "It's hard to find
vacant, cleared, city-owned property
that's also zoned residential," asserts
Barry Cox, at Deputy Mayor Esnard's
office. But Bob Lemieux, director of the
Mayor's Office of Construction notes
12 CITY LIMITS November 1985
another factor in site selection -
community approval. "In the past , the
siting of facilities for homeless
individuals or families has been
problematic," says Lemieux, referring
to the fact that the homeless often do
not get welcome-wagon treatment in
residential areas. The trailer park sites,
once chosen, must undergo the Uni-
form Land Use Review Process that
could take seven months and involve
protracted community debate.
National standards governing
trailer construction are much less
stringent than city building codes,
posing another pitfall for the parks'
developers. Says Rudy Renaldi, "Nor-
mal trailers are not built for the density
of New York City, and don't meet city
codes. The wiring, for example, does
not meet our codes. So we can either
modify the codes or modify the units.
First we'll try to modify the units:'
He says the Request for Proposals
to manufacturers of trailer units will
specify city requirements. But it will
also indicate where alternatives can be
offered. "Let's say we ask for an eight-
foot ceiling," hypothesizes Renaldi ,
"and they all make six- or seven-foot
ceilings. They could say they'll
increase it so much and the city will
lower its required height so much:'
The HRA, which operates the
city's shelters for homeless people, will
issue its own Request for Proposals to
contract with a nonprofit group to
operate the trailer sites and provide
services. Ken Murphy, HRA
spokesperson, says, "On site social
workers will replicate what's provided
at the hotels. They'll do needs assess-
ment , enroll children in school and
help with local clinics."
Just how homeless families will
be selected to live in the trailers
remains to be worked out. ''I'm not sure
how the parks will work, as {ar as eligi-
bility," says Murphy, "whether the facil-
ities will be '"'reserved for those who
can't pay rent or for fire victims." What
is certain is that the parks will provide
housing for six-month stays and resi-
dents will be encouraged to find hous-
ing on their own.
Officials who are working to make
the mayor's notion a reality see the
trailer parks as an alternative to current
sheltering methods that will please
everyone. "We have had two criticisms
of the homeless programs," notes
Renaldi. "One is that there isn't enough
of it. The other is that it's not humane.
This [the trailers] are something blue
collar, low income people would be
happy to have." If the trailer park con-
cept proves sucessful, and Mayor Koch
wins another term, maybe we can
expect other such innovative ways to
deal with homelessness. Camp-
grounds with family-sized tents and
outdoor cooking facilities could pro-
vide homeless families with shelter
and a sense of adventure as well! 0 A.F.
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November 1985 CITY LIMITS 13
FEATURE
The Chill Is Still on
in Fresh Meadows
BY DOUG TURETSKY
P
olice Officer Valerie Stroud's dai-
ly beat often took her past
Helmsley-Spear's housing
development in Fresh Meadows,
Queens. A pleasant area, convenient to
her work, she would have liked to live
there. But Stroud, who is black,
believed it was useless to apply for an
apartment. '1 rarely, if ever, saw black
people in the Fresh Meadows housing
complex," she stated in a court
affadavit. "It was my understanding
that ... Fresh Meadows did not rent to
black people."
Valerie Stroud was not alone in
her belief. A number of other blacks
stepped forward two years ago to
recount their own feelings of being
effectively shut out of the 3,200-unit
complex. Their determination led to a
court action and settlement with
Helmsley-Spear. But now another legal
attion is challenging Helmsley-Spear's
new attempts to circumvent fair
housing.
In November 1983, the NAACP
Legal Defense and Education Fund
and the law firm of Teitelbaum & Hiller
filed a suit against Helmsley-Spear,
charging the city's largest realtor with
racial discrimination. Among the
plaintiffs was Elaine Gmuca, a white
woman who had worked in the Fresh
Meadows rental office for over two
years. In her affadavit, Gmuca said, "I
know that documents were marked
with a light pencil stroke to indicate an
applicant's race and that they were so
prepared with a view to destroying or
altering the penciled notation on the
document if any 'trouble' should arise."
Rather than entering into a pro-
tracted and costly court battle, the
It. nice piece to rei ... "",Uy:
Only 0 Itondlul 0' "lock "'mlll Ito_ .... n ,..""Itfed '0 _loy tit u,roundl"". 0' tit. , .. ."
Nt_do..,. complex.
NAACP and Helmsley-Spear agreed to
a Consent Judgement and Order.
Issued on November 30, 1984, the order
prohibited Helmsley-Spear from fail-
ing or refusing to rent an apartment on
the basis of race or national origin. It
spelled out a list of terms to encourage
integration of the Fresh Meadows
apartments over a five-year period. In
return, Helmsley-Spear was never con-
victed of violating fair-housing laws
and their name was removed from the
list of defendants. (The management of
the complex is now known as Fresh
Meadows Associates, though a call to
Helmsley-Spear's headquarters
quickly provided the phone number of
the Fresh Meadows rental office.)
But now Helmsley-Spear is back
in court as the NAACP arid Teitelbaum
& Hiller charge the realtor with violat-
ing terms of the court order. In April
1985, just five months after the consent
agreement was issued, Helmsley-
Spear announced that it was taking its
Fresh Meadows complex off the rental
market and considering co-oping the
apartments. The lawyers challenging
Helmsley-Spear's action claim that
removing available apartments from
rental undermines the court ordered
agreement and perpetuates the pattern
of segregation.
Circumventing Justice
Helmsley-Spear denies that its
actions violate the consent agreement.
Lloyd Kaplan, of Howard Rubenstein
14 CITY LIMITS November 1985
Although Helmsley-Spear denies any form of discrimination, less
than 5 percent of the Fresh Meadows complex's 3,200 apartments
are occupied by blacks.
Gat_v to an enclave:
,lte en'ranc. '0 ,It. " It Nlaado_ compl ,'n". a cI,cu/a, d,I" "adad by',.... and bu.It ...
Associates public relations and a
spokesperson for the realtor, says they
are "fully carrying out the spirit of the
agreemenC' The company is continu-
ing to rent apartments and "process"
the rental applications of those named
in the original court case. Lawyers for
Helmsley-Spear claim that the order
did not specify that apartments had to
be rented for five years, only that
specific guidelines had to be followed
during a five-year period if renting
continued.
But Lowell Johnston of the NAACP
Legal Defense Fund disagrees. "They
can co-op the apartments if they want,
but first they have to rent the apart-
ments:' He contends that without a
five-year period of continued rental,
the process of integration called for in
the order cannot be carried out. "This
case is about whether blal..::S who have
systematically been shut out of Fresh
Meadows will continue to be," states
Susan Sturm, a lawyer with Teitel-
baum & Hiller. The lawyers are asking
the court to declare Helmsley-Spear in
contempt, to rent the approximately
180 available apartments within 30
days and to award $5,000 in damages
to each qualified applicant who has
been denied an apartment.
Helmsley-Spear's lawyers claim
that according to New York state law,
the realtor can hold 10 percent of its
Fresh Meadows apartments off the
market for five months before filing
papers for co-op conversion. They also
state that the consent agreement allows
for "significant and legitimate business
reasons" for taking the complex off the
rental market. To deny Helmsley-Spear
this option, say their lawyers, would be
an infringement of the realtor's
property rights.
While Helmsley-Spear sees the
potential co-op conversion as a "neu-
tral action" in terms of fair housing,
Sturm and Johnston believe the con-
tinued rental of apartments for five
years is the only way to achieve integra-
tion of the Fresh Meadows complex.
They note that blacks wanting apart-
ments after the contemplated conver-
sion would have to pay a higher price
than the handful of black families
offered the "insider's price" for the
apartments they currently rent. Sturm
and Johnston also claim that following
the consent agreement the Fresh
Meadows rental office still failed to
offer the best available apartments to
black applicants. Lloyd Kaplan denies
this, stating, "There's no pattern to any
of the apartments being offered."
Although Helmsley-Spear con-
tends they have never practiced any
form of discrimination nor racial steer-
ing, less than 5 percent of the Fresh
Meadows complex apartments are
occupied by blacks. Susan Sturm
refuses to speculate on Helmsley-
Spear's motivations for ceasing to rent
apartments. "When you have a consent
judgement you don't have to get into
the issue of their intentions. It is
enough to show that their actions will
perpetuate the past segregation." The
NAACP's Johnston adds, "It is most
unusual for a company like Helmsley-
Spear to act this way ... It shows they
have no intention of abiding by the
law." 0
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November 1985 CITY LIMITS 15
LEGISLATION
Little-Noted Victory lor SRO Residents
BY JOEL GALLOB
In a city where the demise of
single-room-occupancy hotels has
come to epitomize the crisis in afford-
able housing, a small but significant
victory for SRO dwellers was won June
28.
When the Rent Guidelines Board
met that day, it passed its regular
increases for rent stabilized apartments
and an increase for hotel owners. The
landlord lobby had asked for 9.5 per-
cent but was only given a 2 percent rent
increase, an amount well below even
the 1984 Consumer Price Index of 5
percent for the New York area.
Given the SRO hotels' history of
frequent landlord harassment and
abuse of tenants to squeeze out higher
rents or squeeze out residents, the
small increase may be more than
justice called for. But in a bleak hous-
ing scenario, the RGB decision was a
real coup for hotel tenants and their
advocates.
In addition to the 2 percent
increase, two other positive provisions
of the approved Hotel Order No. 15
were included. New hotel tenants can
be charged a rent no more than 2 per-
cent above the previous rent, a stipu-
lation maintained from previous years.
Additionally, the 1985 hotel guidelines
now contain a stringent anti-
warehousing provision. In buildings
with more than 30 units a 2 percent
increase in rent will not be allowed if
more than 5 percent of the units have
been vacant for 60 days. Previously, the
Board had required that 40 percent of
units be held vacant before prohibiting
rent increases. Owners of SRO hotels
will have to prove to the state Division
of Housing and Community Renewal
that they have attempted, in good faith,
to rent those units.
Whether DHCR has the capacity
to actually enforce this regulation is a
question time will answer. Since
owners who warehouse properties are
thinking about big profits from co-op
conversions and are not too worried
about short-term rents, this regulation
may have a limited effect. And hotel
vacancy rent regulation has already
proved something of a paper tiger
because new tenants rarely know what
their predecessors were charged for
rent. Weak though they are, these regu-
lations are still a tool for tenants.
Lowering the acceptable vacancy level
means that tenant organizers will be
able to move more rapidly in defend-
ing some of their constituents.
Three key organizations defend-
ing the rights of SRO residents are the
West Side SRO Law Project, the East
Side SRO Legal Services Project and
the Coalition of Apartment Hotel
Tenants Associations. In the years
before the Projects were created, hotel
landlords received increases ranging
from 4 percent to 10 percent. The lar-
gest rent increase was granted in 1981,
the year in which the SRO Projects
were created. Then, starting in 1982,
the increases were limited to 2 percent,
4 percent and 0 percent.
The landlords' request for a 9.5
percent increase was based on a study
of hotel costs commissioned by the
Rent Guidelines Board from Urban
Systems Research and Engineering. In
computing its Hotels Operating Price
Index, Urban Systems included a var-
iety of costs in its base, grouping them
into categories and then deriving an
overall hotel operating cost index for
comparisons from year to year. The
report had major flaws and was cri-
tiqued by the West Side SRO Project for
being biased and using unverified
information supplied by the landlords.
The Project found that residential
hotel owners claimed an array of yearly
expenses for each dwelling unit that
stretched credibility: $42.22 for faucet
washers, $29.43 for ledger paper, $3.28
for mopping buckets and $3.40 for
pushbrooms (which averages out to
$196.18 for brooms in one year!) .
Landlord respondents to Urban
Systems' questionnaire also claimed to
spend $2.87 per unit every year on
leases although virtually no SRO
tenants have leases. Management fees
were listed as $72.84, newspaper ads at
$8.45 and real estate agency fees at
$3.12 per unit yearly. Yet no SRO hotel
uses a management firm, advertises for
tenants nor needs realtors to rent
rooms.
Finding flaws big enough to drive
a bulldozer through has seldom been
enough to convince city agencies of
obvious discrepencies. The SRO
Projects also turned out people to
attend the Rent Guidelines Board hear-
ings to maintain pressure on Board
members. Perhaps the Board was
swayed by a 1980 Human Resources
Administration report, "Shelter Care
for Men;' which states that "the most
frequently cited living arrangement for
the sample was hotels, which included
both SRO's and Bowery lodging
houses, with 45 percent of the men
spending all or part of their time" in
them. Or maybe it was the 1981 Vera
Institute study that found 39 percent of
first-timers in a women's shelter had
previously lived in an SRO hotel.
The next step in protecting this
badly needed, low-income housing
resource and its tenants is enforcing
the moratorium on SRO hotel conver-
sions recently passed by the City
Council. Getting a strong anti-
warehousing law passed would also
help. The provision of rental subsidies /
for these hotels, strengthened tenant
protection laws and consistent prose-
cution of hotel owners who violate the
rent regulations or harass .tenants
would round out a serious legislative
package to preserve SRO hotels. 0
Joel Gallob is a freelance writer and
photographer.
m Y Y O U ~
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16 CITY LIMITS November 1985
FEATURE
Chinatown: A Community
Grapples with Its Future
BYJOANNLUM
T
he bustling streets, mouth-water-
ing aromas, souvenir shops
packed with porcelain and silks
- for most New Yorkers and tourists
alike, Chinatown is a place for a good
meal 0.l\a Sunday afternoon walk with
the family. The people who live there
are invisible. They blend in with the
produce stands and fish markets. Most
visitors probably don't even think
about Chinese actually living and
working and going to school and
church there. The gangs and "mafia" of
Chinatown get big play; sorry, Holly-
wood, but these are only two strands
in a complicated cultural weave.
An important part of this fabric is
where people live. The buildings there
are not mere backdrops for the color-
ful banners that hang across the
crowded streets, empty extensions of
restaurants and stores. They are the
framework for family life, community
services, business and political power.
Right now those buildings are also at
the center pf changes that are rocking
this immigrant enclave. High-priced
development has come to Chinatown
for more than a Sunday stroll.
City within a City
Chinatown is a vital neighbor-
hood, home to perhaps as many as
100,000 Chinese. (The 1980 census
registers 27,000, a figure considered
way too low by Chinatown experts.) It
has its own culture, language, rules of
conduct and sense of history, but it is
also intimately linked to the city's eco-
nomic and political movements.
Chinese have been immigrating to
the United States since the mid-19th
century, and in far greater numbers
after the relaxation of immigration res-
trictions in 1965. These immigrants
from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and,
more recently, Southeast Asia, flock to
___ with chll4 In their -.-. St .... opart_t:
TIt. tI.""'OnIt'", t __ nt bulltll ... _ connot otl..,uat.'y Itou .. the bu,.,,_nlng Chlnofown
populotlon.
New York's Chinatown largely for a
sense of security - they want to be with
their own kind in an alien country.
With time, many who assimilate and
make some money move out of
crowded Chinatown to a more comfort-
able life in Queens and Brooklyn.
Those who stay in Chinatown face
numerous challenges and problems
including job shortages, language defi-
ciences, lack of day care centers for
children and inadequate housing.
Housing is a serious problem for
residents and businesses alike. It is in
its current state for a number of rea-
sons: the immigrant population has
shot up in the last two decades, a lot
of capital is being channeled in from
overseas, and Manhattan as a whole is
becoming more crowded and gentri-
fied. Mixed in with all these ingre-
dients is politics, both within the
community and in the larger context of
the city. As Peter Kwong, professor of
politics at the State University at Old
Westbury and author of a book on
Chinatown describes it: "Politics in
Chinatown is mainly a politics of real
estate-who owns what building:
that's power."
Though the boundaries of China-
town have gradually crept north
J
t
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z
....

i
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",,'" ,j
ChlnCltown r leI.nt. on Mott Str_t:
Chong or. 0. ,h. ,100' d.II./opmen' I. no' olwoy. good.
beyond Canal Street into Little Italy,
and east toward the Jewish and
Hispanic sections of the Lower East
Side, available housing is scarce. The
real estate business in Chinatown has
been extremely active since the early
1970's when ove'rseas investors
increased their capital flow into
Chinatown. Political instability in
Southeast Asia, anxieties about the fate
of Hong Kong after the 1997 expiration
of Britain's 99-year lease from China
and Taiwanese interest in U.S. riches
led many wealthy people in these
regions to invest their money in safe
places. In the late seventies, these
investors participated in a rash of buy-
ing in Chinatown. In a single year, 105
buildings (10 percent of the housing
stock there) changed hands.
November 1985 CITY LIMITS 17
The situation has intensified since
then. Property is still being bought and
sold quickly, resulting in climbing
prices, particularly for the commu-
nity's estimated 800 restaurants and
retail shops. Space is tight- only about
seven lots are available for construc-
tion. Economically vital garment fac-
tory space is being converted into
commercial space of questionable
community value. Landlords are forc-
ing tenants out of their apartments so
they can raise the rents. Outside
developers want to build luxury con-
dominiums to profit from middle
and upper-income level people's desire
for housing in Chinatown. These are
the pressing housing issues in
Chinatown today
Feeling the Squeeze
Most of the apartments in
Chinatown are decaying 19th century
tenements that cannot accomodate the
of Chinese living there. As
one Chinatown lawyer, Thomas Sung,
puts it: "Chinese people are piling on
top of each other. There just isn't
enough housing, especially for the
low to middle income groups."
Though rents, which used to be far
lower than those in other parts of Man-
hattan, are still below market rate (for
instance, $300-$400 a month for a
small one-bedroom apartment), they
have been rising in recent years. On top
of this, Chinatown residents have to
put up with an unpleasant, but preva-
lent, practice when looking for a new
apartment: the demand of "key
money," a nonrefundable deposit to
landlords, superintendents or other
agents involved in the rental. Prospec-
tive tenants are said to pay between
$3,000-$5,000 in key money to secure
a Chinatown apartment.
Small business owners are hurt-
ing, too. "There's no room for little peo-
ple," says a Chinatown shop owner who
wished to remain anonymous. "Small
stores won't be able to exist." The rent
for commercial space in Chinatown is
now $25 to $50 per square foot, not out-
rageous compared to the $100 per
square foot minimum for choice Man-
hattan property in areas such as
Columbus Avenue or mid-town. But
the catch, again, is key money. This
18 CITY LIMITS November 1915
Loft ttw..teR the ............... ry:
There .,. .ppro.'_'.'y 20,000 .... 1".",. empleyef# .. I_I.-rrnen, won.,., ., peNeft' 01
'hem_en. '
"deposit" has a powerful presence in
commercial deals, whether they
involve brand-new leases or existing
leases. It is not unusual to hear of key
money totaling $20,000 to $30,000
accompanying a new lease. Then, say
some vendors, there are commercial
tenants who pay a relatively low rent
but must also pay a substantial sum in
key money to an "association," an
organization whose members either
share a family name or come from the
same region in China, which provides
social and business services and can
tacts to members. Some of these associ
ations own buildings and legitimately
"'Pont: others have leaders who
ask for money that they pocket them-
selves.
. Shrinking leases is another sym-
ptom of small businesses' sufferings: in
the past, 10-year leases were common;
now, leases are more likely to run five
or fewer years. For example, one
Chinatown restaurant that is six years
into a 10-year lease faces losing its lease
unless it pays $350,000 in key money.
Not only that. but the rent, which
stands at $3,200 a month now, would
go up immediately to $4,000, and more
after that.
Another phenomenon exacerbat-
ing the difficult situation of small busi-
ness is the extension here of wealthy
chain operations from Hong Kong. For
instance, Hong Kong Maria's, a bakery
chain, recently opened four bakeries
and a restaurant in Chinatown, and
plans to open two more stores by
December. This infusion of money
from overseas brings mixed reaction
from Chinatown observers. Most peo-
ple recognize that it contributes to the
gentrification of Chinatown yet some
think it is a vital stimulant. and, in any
case, inevitable. "That's something you
can hardly stop;' says Charles Wang,
executive director of the Chinatown
Planning Council, a service organiza-
tion with a $10 million annual budget
funded by city. state, federal and pri-
While ChinatoWn's development dilemmas are crying out for relief,
the community coasts a wary glance at the city and its overall plan-
ning and funding agenda.
vate money. "This is a free enterprise
society."
A Stitch in Time
Garment factories and the recent
conversions of their lofts into commer-
cial spaces is another business issue
that impacts on housing. Chinatown is
the manufacturing center of the city's
apparel industry and, according to a
1982 study by Christina La for the
Columbia School of Architecture, the
garment industry there employs more
Chinese and generates more revenue
than any other economic activity in
Chinatown. The 450 Chinese-owned
garment factories located in China-
town employ about 20,000 workers, all
Chinese, unionized and 95 percent
female. According to a study done this
year by the Garment Industry Develop-
ment Corporation (GIDC), the China-
town apparel industry accounted for
$145 million a year in wages and profits
and $90-$100 million a year in contri-
butions through workers' expenditures
for housing, food, other goods and sav-
ings in banks.
About half of the people who
work in Chinatown garment factories
also live there, says GIDC president,
Harry Schwartz, who stresses the "sym-
biotic relationship" between the com-
munity and industry. In the last few
years, this relationship has not been
respected in face of the increased
demand for space for offices, stores
and restaurants, which have been dis-
placing garment factories. At least
three factories, employing several
hundred workers total, were converted
to offices in the past year, says
Schwartz. Though the offices would be
occupied by professionals catering to
the Chinatown community, Schwartz
accuses the city and others of having
the attitude that "office jobs and indus-
trial jobs are interchangeable:' In addi-
tion' with the threat of conversion
hanging over them, garment factory
owners are reluctant to buy new
machinery or invest in long-term
improvements. This, too, contributes to
destabilizing the industry.
While Chinatown's development
dilemmas are crying out for relief, the
community casts a wary glance at the
City and its overall planning and fund-
ing agenda. No single person or
department at the City Planning
Department con,cerns itself much with
developments in Chinatown. Bill
Chong, secretary of the community
group Asian Americans for Equality,
says: "The city hasn't considered what
the needs of the community are.
Chinatown is an attractive place to live
for people who work downtown. So
when the city creates zoning for lux-
ury housing, what are people going to
do-move?"
The city's defenders say it is doing
what it can. "The city is trying but is
limited by a lack of resources," says
Charles Wang. He points out that Gov-
ernor Cuomo and Mayor Koch want to
target $4 billion for low and middle
income housing throughout the city.
Chinatown lawyer Thomas Sung
echoes this sentiment: "The city recog-
nizes the need for housing in this area.
It has tried to change zoning laws to
encourage a greater density of housing
on a piece of land."
Zoning for Dollars
The kind of developmept being
encouraged by the city and the re-
sponse such projects evoke from com-
munity groups is one of the most
compelling issues in Chinatown today.
The Special Manhattan Bridge
District is a city zoning strategy to
boost building. Passed by the Board of
Estimate in August 1981, the District
allows high-rise luxury development
on seven vacant sites within a 12-block
area, bordered by East Broadway, Pike,
Monroe and St. James Place, near the
western end of the Manhattan Bridge.
The new zoning would permit large
buildings by waiving basic height and
setback regulations and allowing
increases in floor area in exchange for
developers' commitments to build
community facilities, low income
November 1985 CITY LIMITS 19
housing or to rehabilitating existing
housing.
The first luxury condominium
project proposed under the Special
Manhattan Bridge District was East-
West Towers, managed by Thomas Lee
and his Overseas Development Corpor-
ation. Construction of the 143-unit
Towers on Henry St. was budgeted at
about $21 million, to be financed by
Hong Kong and Kuwaiti investors.
Apartments would sell for $115,000
and more. After the Board of Estimate
approved the creation of the District
and granted a special permit for the
Towers, a pubhc hearing was held in
October, 1981, at which several hun-
dred people showed up to voice their
opposition to the District and the
Towers. The following month, the City
Department of Investigation began
looking into charges that tenants of the
original apartments on the Towers site
were being harassed by the developer
who wanted them out. Five months
later, the department concluded that
these charges were true and the City
Planning Commission revoked the
Tower's special permit. Lee says he has
"no plans yet" for furthering the
project.
The second ill-fated venture in the
District was proposed by the Henry
Street Partners involving insurance
underwriter Raymond Wu and three
top officers of Helmsley-Spear, which
bought a vacant lot on Henry st. for
$900,000 in 1981. The 21-story, $15 mil-
lion luxury condo would offer apart-
ments for up to $500,000 each.
Developers had also agreed to give the
city $500,000 toward subsidizing or
renovating low and moderate income
housing and lease space for a YMCA
recreation center. A special permit was
granted the developers but challenged
in a lawsuit by community groups. In
May the Partners sold the project and
property for $4 million to Geo Co. of
Glen Cove, L.I.
Under Geo's charge, the con-
dominium will cost $24 million to
build and by the spring of 1987, will
have f37 units to sell for $275 to $300 a
square foot. Construction will begin
next March, and Geo plans to honor
the Partners' agreement to give
$500,000 to the city. Geo president,
20 . CITY LIMITS November 1985
Barry Marcus, wants to lorge ahead
with his project despite pending
lawsuits involving the special permit
and the special district. "The lawsuits
are not with us but with the city;' he
says. "We have the special permit that
gives us the right to build our build-
ing:' One participant in the suit dis-
agrees. "Technically, they're free to go
ahead but it's not true that they're not
affected by the legal proceedings
(against the 5MBDJ:' says Margaret
Fung, staff attorney of the Asian
American Legal Defense and Educa-
tion Fund.
Whose Chinatown?
Besides generating controversy
and threatening a tenuous housing sit-
BOYCOTTING
THE DRAGON
. "I never had such an easy time or-
ganizing people;' declares Renee Taji-
mao Working with others in the
National Asian American Tele-Com-
munications Association, Tajima or-
chestrated a boycott of Michael
Ciminds film, "Year of the Dragon," that
rapidly gained momentum. Two bus-
loads of Chinatown's senior citizens
greeted the movie at its opening Au-
gust 16th on Times Square in Manhat-
tan. Their anger was spurred by what
Tajirua calls the film's "blatantly racist"
portrayal of Asian Americans.
Set in New York's Chinatown, the
film follows a white policeman's clash
with criminals and another culture.
Word of "Year of the Dragon" 's stereo-
typing of the Chinese community as
totally comprised of sinister drug run-
ners first began filtering through
Chinatown when director Cimino and
producer Dino DeLaurenti& were cast-
ing parts for Asian Americans. Tajima
claims that a number of Asians refused
parts after reading the script, but
others, faced with the lack of roles
uation, the special district zoning has
served to educate and mobilize com-
munity groups in Chinatown. The '
Manhattan Bridge Area Coalition
emerged in November 1981 to protest
the new zoning and the East-West
Towers, and to find ways to encourage
development of housing for low and
middle income people. Tenants and
housing and legal groups joined to file
a suit against the city in a case called
Jin v. Board of Estimate, which ques-
tions the land use review procedure,
the granting of the special permit for
East-West Towers and the effects of the
Special Manhattan Bridge District.
Community groups took action
again in 1983 to file another suit
against the city (Chinese Staff and
available for Asians, accepted. Those
playing bit. parts had almost no
knowledge of the movie's themes.
Many ofthese performers have joined
the protest of the film. '1f I had known
it was going to be this bad I wouldn't
have done it," says Emily Woo
Yamasaki, who appeared as an extra.
Those promoting the boycott of
the film created the Coalition Against
Year of the Dragon. Their goal is to have
MGM-the film's distributor-with-
draw it from theaters around the coun-
try. While this is unlikely, the na-
tionwide protest is having some effect
on box office receipts. Representatives
of the Coalition have appeared on such
television shows as "Live at Five" and
"Entertainment Tonight" to discuss the
film's racist content, and Yamasaki
claims that a number of film critics
have also supported the Coalition's
message.
Outrage over "Year of the Dragon"
erupted from a number of different
quarters. "Almost every Asian Ameri-
can organization came out against the
film," says Tajima, "from social services
to arts-oriented groups." Black and
Jewish groups as well as Women
Against Pornography have also joined
the Coalitioris boycott of the movie.
Their sympathy stems not only from
Workers Association v. City of New
York). The suit charges that the city
violated state environmental laws by
neglecting to consider how the luxury
developments proposed or under con-
sideration would contribute to gentrifi-
cation in Chinatown. That same year,
Asian Americans for Equality filed suit
against Koch in the State Supreme
Court, charging that the city has a con-
stitutional obligation to use its zoning
power to encourage low and moderate
income housing.
Chung Pak ("Everlasting Pine") is
another project that has been a catalyst
to community involvement. The prop-
erty in question was originally two
privately-owned parking lots on the
western edge of Chinatown. In 1980, a
their own experiences with explotative
Hollywood films but , as Yamiasaki
points out, the fact that "Year of the Dra-
gon" manages to insult women along
with a wide range of minorities be-
sides Asians.
"Movies are built on stereotypes,
certain stock images;' explains Tajima.
Movie producers and directors, who
are primarily white males, recycle
those images which have been suc-
cessful at the box office in the past. "If
a certain image 6r concept sells they
just do it again;' Tajima continues. "Ra-
cist and, of course, sexist images real-
ly sell:' But Yamasaki dolefully notes
that such images wouldn't sell if they
weren't a reflection of trends in
society in general. She believes that
those who control so powerful an out-
let of expression as film have a "respon-
sibility to produce films that are
realistic or at least don't twist or exag-
gerate stereotypes in a harmful way."
Both Tajima and Yamasaki say that
the reaction to the Coalition's leaflets
from people waiting to see the movie
has been positive. Although some
downplay the Coalition's claims by say-
ing "It's only a movie;' others are sym-
pathetic but want to judge the film for
themselves. Yamasaki recalls that after
watching just half of the film, one
Chinese developer bought the lots,
envisioning a luxury complex that
never came to be. The city moved in,
purchasing the land for a 500-cell pri-
son. But the community didn't like the
idea of having a prison in its midst so
residents protested; at one demonstra-
tion in 1982, 12,000 Chinatown resi-
dents marched. The city responded by
giving up part of the land for use as
community space. The community
decided to build a senior citizens
housing unit with federal money and
construct shops and a community ser-
vice space with private money. This is
"a pioneer project," according to
Chinatown Planning Council's repre-
sentative to the planning board, David
Chen, because it unites nonprofit and
woman came out and joined the Coa-
lition members passing out leaflets.
Although MGM has refused to
withdraw the film - in fact it will prob-
ably soon be on cable TV and video
cassettes - the studio has attempted to
appease the boycotters. MGM issued
an apology to the Asian American
community and placed disclaimers on
about 200 prints of the film. They are
also promising to make an effort to hire
more Asian American workers. None-
theless, MGM faces continued pres-
sure from the Coalition in addition to
a law suit by the Chinese Consolidated
Benevolent Association, which is de-
,picted in the film as the community
group overseeing drug trade.
Renee Tajima takes a realistic view
of the effects of the boycott. While she
doubts Hollywood studios have gained
any real sensitivity to the issues raised
by the Coalition, she does believe stu-
dio executives are learning an impor-
tant lesson. "They realize that if they
continue to make films like "Year of the
Dragon" there are going to be vocal out-
commercial space on a grand scale.
The project is being shaped by the
Local Development Corporation
(LDC). made up of 13 groups as varied
as the Chinatown Planning Council,
the Open Door Senior Citizen Center
and the International Ladies' Garment
Workers' Union. According to David
Chen of the LDC board, all that is
needed now is the bank loan and a
ground lease from the city. He expects
the project to begin construction by
early spring.
Despite the factions and some-
times bitter arguments, many consider
Chung Pak an important step in com-
munity participation, a "turning point
for the Chinatown community;' in the
words of Wing Lam of the Chinese Staff
bursts and that they have to deal with P ...... I.rl ... at TI_. Square:
November 1985 CIf-v-t1MITS--. 21
and Workers Association and an active
opponent of the LDC plan. "Instead of
being reactive and acting as indi-
viduals, we're working together."
Channeling the Changes
Lam's sentiment points to a crucial
development in Chinatown: commu-
nity group awareness. Attorney
Margaret Fung sees increased con-
sciousness all around: "People tend to
think development is good. Now peo-
ple are beginning to understand that it
doesn't necessarily serve their
interests, that the effects of gentrifica-
tion are gradual, leading to higher
rents, displacement. The problem is
what is the alternative-what can be
done to get developers and the city to
respond?"
it." 0 DOUG TURETSKY "rot .. t ... ..... t_ .. tlo. openIng 0' tlo. film wit" fI _1I'0l'flflnlz_ d.mon.tratlon.
22 CITY LIMITS November 1985
Chinatown can no longer be the insular, community it once pretend-
ed to be.
A Chlnot_n entrepreneur who avoid. hleh .torefront rant.:
'NIt when rent. are low, Hire., money" c." ". e.hor."anl.
Some Chinatown activists, agree-
ing that community groups have
become much more active on housing
issues, stress that there is still a long
way to go in community education and
establishing a permanent body, rather
than catch-as-catch-can, to deal with
development issues. Still , changes are
coming now: tenant associations aTe
being organized, shelters for the home-
less are being planned, workshops on
tenants' rights are being held. The
GIDC, since its involvement in chang-
ing city zoning to forbid the conversion
of garment factories to residential
spaces except with a special permit, is
now trying to help factory managers
buy their own space. Sam Sue, vice
president of tenant advocacy group It's
Time, is forming an organization that
would be a watchdog of development
projects, a mediator betweeh devel-
opers and tenants or community
groups, and a community educator on
housing issues.
Sue says the Community Reinvest-
ment Act could be used as a tool for
pushing banks to help out small busi-
nesses or provide other kinds of loans
for the good of the community.
For many observers, Chinatown
must be carefully developed, but its
limitations must also be recognized.
They say Chinatown Chinese must
look outwards towards the satellite
Chinatowns in Flushing, Jackson
Heights, Elmhurst and Astoria in
Queens and recently, Bushwick in
Brooklyn. The Chinatown Planning
Cou.ncil is encouraging investors to go
- t8 Bushwick and wants to set up an
infrastructure there to provide Chinese
with jobs and services.
Chinatown can no longer be the
insular, integral community it once
pretended to be. In the context of a
different culture, residents, workers,
business people and community acti-
vists are having to meet head on with
. some inescapable economic and poli-
, tical demands. With changes taking
place so rapidly, one is hard-pressed to
know who will control the future of
Chinatown, and for what purpose. 0
JoAnn Lum is a journalist living in
New York.
--
November 1985 CITY LIMITS 23
TENANTS' TACTICS
Harassment and How to Fight It
Tenants in New York City are prey
to the tactics used by unscrupulous
landlords seeking to empty apartments
or buildings in order to sell. rent or
convert them for bigger profits. Such
tactics are harassment and can take
many forms : gradual reduction of ser-
vices. consistent lack of repairs. verbal
threats, physical assaults or other
actions geared to force tenants out of
their apartments.
State and city laws guide four
government agencies in handling
tenant harassment complaints. But
tenants themselves must prove they are
victims of harassment. File complaints
with the appropriate agencies
described here, and initiate legal
action in housing court when the
harassment includes decreases in
building services. Keep records of
what happens in your building,
including the names, dates and nature
of all harassment incidents; and any
other documentation such as police
complaint reports, code violation his-
tory sheets, heat and hot water logs.
Photograph conditions in your build-
ing. It is important to show that the
harassment incidents in the building
and against tenants are part of a pattern
of planned actions to drive tenants out.
Physical Harassment - If a tenant has
been assaulted or physically threa-
'tened by a landlord, superintendent or
managing agent, a police complaint
should be filed. Make sure the com-
plaint is written up and get a copy.
Don't just accept a referral to housing
court from the police.
Vandalism Against the Building - A
series of robberies, evidence of tamper-
ing with entrance locks, mail boxes or
boiler room doors, broken windows,
etc. should be reported to the police.
Get the complaint number and copy of
report in each case.
Fires - Some landlords use fires to
empty buildings. If you believe there is
risk of arson, call the Arson Hotline of
the Fire Department: (212) 947-7926.
Increasing cases of small , contained
rubbish fires are being used to frighten
tenants into moving without doing real
damage to the building. Contact the
Bureau of Fire Prevention at (718)
403-1416 for an inspection of any
hazardous fire conditions - faulty wir-
ing or piles of rubbish in public areas
of the building.
Unlawful Eviction - It is illegal to use
or threaten to use force to evict or
attempt to evict a tenant without a
court order. If you haven't received
legal papers, you cannot be lawfully
evicted. Call the police if your poses-
sians are being removed or locks have
been changed to prevent your entry.
The police can arrest anyone who is
illegally preventing you from occupy-
ing your home.
Reduction of Services - Reduction of
services is the most obvious type of
harassment. Landlords often let build-
ing conditions become unsafe and
irreparable so that the structures need
to be You can take your land-
lord to court for the o!l-going failure to
make repairs or provide essential ser-
vices. Call the HPD Central Complaint
Bureau for a housing inspection in
your apartment or building: (212)
960-4800. You may also apply to the
state Division of Housing and Commu-
nity Renewal for a reduction of rent
based on bad conditions: (212)
903-9500.
Where to File Harassment Complaints
*State Division of Housing and
Community Renewal regulates rent
controlled and stabilized apartments.
They handle harassment and reduc-
tion of services and rent overcharge
complaints. To file a harassment com-
plaint, get FDRM RA-81 from a District
Rent Office or call (212) 903-9500.
*State Attorney General must
approve all co-op and condominium
conversion plans. A plan can be
rejected if there is evidence of tenant
harassment, including warehousing of
vacant apartments. While the AG will
investigate charges, tenants must pro-
vide documentation of harassment.
Obtain affadavits from tenants who
moved as a result of harassment prior
\
\
to th.e conversion plan. (212) 488-3310.
*NYC Law Department's Code
Enforcement Unit takes legal action
against landlords. managing agents or
supers that unlawfully evict tenants.
(212) 566-4402/03.
*Manhattan District Attorney has
a Special Housing Unit to prosecute
cases of tenant harassme'nt from
assault to burglary. The Unit looks for
patterns of harassment in a building.
Currently there are no similar units in
the other borough's DA offices. (212)
553-8921.
Other Agencies and Groups
*Brooklyn Mediation Board (open
1: 30-8:30 p. m.) - (718) 834-6671.
Queens Mediation Board (open 1-8:30
p.m.) - (718) 793-1900. For residents of
privately-owned buildings not covered
by rent regulations. these Boards can
resolve and stop harassment without
court action.
*Mayor's Office of Midtown
Enforcement - monitors and takes
immediate legal steps to halt illegal
construction. tenant harassment and
criminal activities in buildings from
30th-60th Streets in Manhattan; (212)
971-6865.
*New York State Tenant and
Neighborhood Coalition - (212)
964-7260.
*Metropolitan Council on
Housing-(open 1:30-6 p.m.)-(212)
598-4900.
*Citywide Task Force on Housing
Court - (212) 873-5885.
*SRO Legal Services for
Manhattan-Eastside: (212) 689-6233;
Westside: (212) 799-9638.
*Community Action for Legal
Services - (212) 431-7200.
*Legal Aid Society- (212)
227-2755.
This article is excerpted from a book-
let created by the N.. Neighborhood
Anti-Arson Center. which has done a
series of workshops on harassment.
For information or copies of the com-
plete booklet, contact NYNAAC at: 424
W. 33 St., N.Y., NY 10001; (212)
947-7926.0
24 CITY LIMITS N o v . ~ b . r 1985
CITY VIEWS
New Yorks Garbage Disposal Dilemma
BY ALLEN HERSHKOWITZ
ON AUGUST 15 OF THIS YEAR THE
city's Board of Estimate approved a
Department of Sanitation (DOS) plan
to build a resource recovery plant that
burns garbage and generates !.lsable
'recovered' steam as a by-product. To be
located at Brooklyn's Navy Yard, this
plant will cost $400 million and burn
3,000 tons of garbage each day. The
DOS hopes to build one incinerator in
each borough over the next ten years as
one response to the problem of
diminishing landfill space.
Like hundreds of other communi-
ties throughout the U.S., New York City
is running out of space for garbage and
programs for recycling trash are not by
themselves sufficient solutions. Over
the past 20 years, fourteen of the city's
landfills have been closed because of
community opposition, capacity de-
pletion or potential health hazards like
noxious odors and toxic!! seeping into
groundwater. By the end of 1986, only
the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island
will remain. This landfill already vio-
lates state and federal environmental
laws by polluting the nearby Arthur
Kill waterway with 4 million gallons of
toxic liquid daily. When the Edgemere
landfill in Queens closes sometime in
1986, over 20,000 tons of solid waste
each day, virtually all of New York
City's solid waste stream, will go to the
overburdened Fresh Kills site.
One common response from all
local environmental groups to the
city's diminishing landfill space has
been to promote recycling - of discard-
ed metals, glass, paper, rubber and
plastics - for use in the manufacture of
new products. There are now approxi-
mately 4,000 recycling programs in ef-
fect country-wide and the DOS has
itself initiated a program to annually
recycle up to one fifth of the city's solid
waste stream by 1989. Some non-
governmental groups such as the En-
A _unity .....,on"':
flew nlHl' .. ha". "'.n done on tit n,,'ronm.nt .. , to.'n. produc.d by burnIng r.'u",
vironmental Action Coalition and the
New York City Council on the Environ-
ment are also coordinating recycling
programs. But the extent to which recy-
cling can put a dent in garbage for
landfilling seems limited. Nationally,
eight percent of all municipal solid
waste is recycled. And even in those
communities where three out of four
residents participate in a recycling pro-
gram, the amount of solid waste need-
ing to be landfilled has been reduced
by only about 25 percent at best.
Despite the limitations of recy-
cling and the optimism of many propo-
nents of resource recovery plants, these
incinerators can generate their own
serious environmental impacts. Unlike
higher quality fossil fuels, garbage is
a more difficult fuel to burn given its
varied moisture and content. Burning
garbage generates a range of pollutants
distinct from and more severe than
emissions from burning coal. New
York City's decision to burn garbage
raises the troubling possibility that a
new set of environmental problems
will replace those caused by landfills.
Emissions from burning garbage regu-
larly include pollutants such as sulfur
dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, carbon
monoxide, hydrocarbons, particulates,
heavy metals and acid gases.
These emissions may also include
varying levels of dioxin!! and furans
which are highly toxic and of great
public concern, although they are not
controlled by federal or state standards.
In Hempstead, Long Island, where
state laws require the closing of all
landfills by 1990, traces of dioxin were
being emitted at a new, 2 ,ODD-ton per
day plant. The $130 million facility
was closed and the town resumed
hauling trash to a landfill in Goshen,
200 miles away.
, Approval for the city's first
modern resource recovery plant was
complicated because the community
living near the Navy Yard wants no part
of the potentially dangerous incinera-
tor. Reinforcing such fears of potential
health hazards is the fact that little
reliable information exists on how
similar plants currently operate in
practice. According to INFORM, a
nonp,rofit environmental research
Sublet Available
group in New York City, no compre-
hensive study exists on pollutants
emitted from the plants now operating
in the U.S. or on why they operate as
they do. The New York State Environ-
mental Planning Lobby concurs, stat-
ing, "No one yet knows the full extent
of the environmental and financial
problems that garbage incinerators
present." Although ground will soon
be broken for the Navy Yard plant, ba-
sic information is missing about which
plants pollute the least and why and
the levels of their various emissions.
Without answers to these funda-
mental questions, New Yorkers are
groping in the dark, limited in their
ability to determine if the plants they
are considering building incorporate
November 1985 CITY LIMITS 25
features already associated in practice
with a good environmental record. Nor
can they realistically assess possible
technological and management factors
that could be applied to achieving even
cleaner plants in the future. According
to Comptroller Harrison Goldin, the
siting of NYC's first resource recovery
incinerator - in an area of the greatest
popUlation density-requires a pru-
dent clarification of all the technolog-
ical unknowns associated with
burning garbage before proceeding. 0
Allen Hershkowitz is a commentator
for WBAI radio and writes frequently
on energy and environmental issues in
New York.
Paralegal-Housing Law Unit
Need space for 1 year? Park Ave So.
for $8 per square foot! Sixty-six hun-
dred square feet available. Unbeat-
able bargain. Call David Lebenstein,
INTERFACE, 674-2121.
The person hired for this position will be respon-
sible for representing tenants in administrative
hearings before the New York City Housing
Authority; the Division of Housing and Commu-
nity Renewal and other agencies; preparing drafts
of Article 78 complaints and researching the
issues in the proceeding; participating in commu-
nity education seminars; and preparing Order To
Show Cause for pro se litigants. The person hired
will be supervised by an attorney, but will be en-
couraged to formulate strategies to be pursued in
the course of his or her work.
Housing Educator/Organizer
Full-time for the Lead Poisoning Prevention
Project in the Bronx. Outreach and advo-
cacy. Strong leadership and interpersonal
skills. Community organizing or housing
experience required. English/Spanish. Sal-
ary: $17-19,000. Send resume to Mary Mar-
tinez, Montifiore Medical Center, Moses
401, 111 E. 210 St., Bronx, NY 10467.
,
Applicants must be fluent in Spanish and must
have prior experience in housing matters. Prior ex-
perience with administrative hearings is
desirable.
Salary is based on the collective bargaining agree-
ment negotiated with the union. Brooklyn Legal
Services Corp. B is an equal opportunity. affirma-
tive action employer.
Send resume to:
John C. Gray. Jr.
Project Director
Brooklyn Legal Services Corp. B
105 Court Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201
,
.'
I
26 CITY LIMITS November 1985
CULTURE
Murals Unite and Community
BY ADRIENNE JOHNSON
The weeping willows. paint-
chipped benches and rickety bleachers
once defined La Plaza Cultural as a
park long forgotten. Strewn with gar-
bage. broken glass and entangled
weeds, its only purpose seemed to be
for hiding those who used a nearby
building as a shooting gallery. But on
the afternoon of September 14, La Plaza
Cultural was reborn. Enlivened by
salsa music and political messages, the
Plaza at 9th Street and Avenue C was
the scene for a celebration of 24 works
of art by "The Struggle Continues
Mural Project."
Sponsored by Artmakers, Inc., a
nonprofit, multi-ethnic organization
comprised of about 30 artists. the
mural project deals with such con-
cerns as apartheid in South Africa,
US. intervention in Central America
. and the gentrification of the Lower East
Side.
Gentrification is especiall y
important to the artists in the Project.
The opening of numerous art galleries
in the Lower East Side is often consi-
dered symptomatic of the neighbor-
hood's upscale movement. Conse-
quently, many residents view the
galleries as representative of the
changes that force them out. "It was
important to the artists to show We are
all on the same side;' says Eva Cock-
croft, Artmakers' director. "We want to
say the artists are united with the com-
munity." The keynote mural, a 40'x40'
work, by 12 artists focuses on this
theme. In a series of three images, the
mural juxtaposes the community's
fears about gentrification alongside its
hopes for revitalization.
Artmakers was born two years ago
after some of the members viewed pic-
tures of murals painted in San Fran-
cisco's alleys. They decided New York
should have a similar project. In May
1984 an open call was issued for artists
. to participate. Those interested had to
submit a proposal. including a mock
up of the planned mural. A jury com
o p,0sed of community members
which murals would best suit
The centerpiece mural at La Plaza Cultural Oft E_ 9 Street:
,.., .. of gent,"',,,"on .... combined wi th ho,... lor ray/fellz,,'/on.
the neighborhood. "We asked them
[the artists] to donate their time and
talent and we got them the supplies;'
explains Cockcroft . Funding for the
project came from a variety of public
and private sources, including a num-
ber of paint and hardware stores.
The artists not only painted
murals but also, in conjunction with
Charas, a local community group, gave
the park a face-lift. The clean-up and
beautification was done without alter-
ing the park's design or structures.
Some of the artists incorporated drain-
pipes, bars and even a dog cage into
their works.
Community involvement was an
essential part of the mural project and
is reflected in works such as "The Last
Judgement," which features the faces of
a number of community residents. "We
were committed to getting the people
in the community involved," com-
ments Kristen Reed, a political artist
and activist who co-produced the
mural. "We thought if the people liv-
ing with the work could become
involved and interested in the making
of the mural, they would see it as part
of the community and protect it after-
wards." Apparently the murals have
provided some inspiration. "They are
adding another garden and seem
much happier with the park;' adds
Reed.
WhUe each mural Presents an
important message, the artists know
that artwork alone is not enough. "I
don't think murals can change the
world;' says Cockcroft, "but they are
important in that images can be picked
up and the people can ,get the spirit
and heart to conti,nue the struggle:'O
Adrienne Johnson is a freelance writer
who lives in the Bronx.
i
I
------
November 1985 CITY LIMITS 27
Film Festival Celebrates Housing Struggles
BY LOUISE M.H. YEE
When the National Tenants Union
held its fifth annual organizing confer-
ence this past summer in the city, a
constant topic of discussion was media
as an organizing tool. As in previous
years, the gathering included screen-
ings of films and videotapes on hous-
ing issues to give organizers a look at
the latest visual aids to education and
mobilization. As the housing crisis has
grown, so too has the pool of quality
media, inspiring the idea of an entire
festival for housing-related media.
Nurtured from brainchild to a
reality, the National Housing V!deo
and Film Festival makes its debut
November 21 at the Hunter College
School of Social Work. With continu-
ous screenings of films, videotapes
and slide/tapes to satisfy even the most
rabid media maven, the event will also
feature workshops and discussions on
organizing through media. An awards
ceremony caps the two-day affair to
celebrate the labors of those who've
contributed to the wealth of media
resources now available.
During the first week of October,
representatives from groups ranging
from the Harlem Tenants Union to the
New York Hispanic Housing Coalition
to the Village Voice participated in
screening panels which selected
entries for the Festival. All told, over a
dozen selections will be shown
including video documentaries on
neighborhood struggles, tenant
management, housing preservation,
landlord-tenant law; films on home-
lessness, squatters, the politics and
economics of housing; slide/tapes on
gentrification, land trusts, tenant
organizing and even a music video.
Some of the . films chosen are
"Buffalo Creek Revisited;' from Appal-
shop; "Mission Hill and Miracle of
Boston," from Cine Research and
"Housing Court:' by William Sarokin
and Beni Matias. Among the videos
selected are "Don't Move, Fight Back,"
produced by Stryker's Bay Neighbor-
hood Council and Downtown Commu-
nity T.v. Center and "How to Pull a Rent
Strike," from SHELTERFORCE. Al-
though many of the films and tapes
deal with New York's housing situa-
tion, there are entries which focus on
Detroit, Philadelphia, Los Angeles,
San Francisco, Cincinatti and rural
New England.
The Festival represents the culmi-
nation of a year's discussion and plan-
ning by sponsors with three goals in
mind: to highlight the nation's housing
crisis and community efforts to
improve housing quality; to publicize
the wealth of recent media produc-
tions; and to promote the use of these
media in organizing. It represents a
unique opportunity for all those
involved in housing and community
affairs to share resources and strategies
needed now more than ever. "More and
more housing activists across the U.S.
are learning the power of media
imagery to activate people," says Steve
Krinsky of SHELTERFORCE. "Media
can inspire and inform and bring us
together. It's important that a tenant
leader in Brooklyn see that similar
struggles are taking place in other
cities:'
Sponsors of the event include
SHEITERFORCE, Media Network, the
Association for Neighborhood and
Housing Development, City Limits, the
Education Center for Community
Organizing at Hunter College, New
York Area Planners Network, N.Y.
Neighborhood Anti-Arson Center, the
Union of City Tenants, the National
Housing Institute, 29th Street Video
and Rooftop Productions.
The Festival starts Thursday eve-
ning, November 21 with screenings
and the chance for participants to meet
and exchange ideas. Friday continues
the screenings and features workshops
and panel discussions on topics such
as media resources and how to use
them and producing your own media.
The awards ceremony takes place Fri-
day night at which outstanding
achievements in both production and
use of housing media will be
acknow ledged.
With the Festival about to com-
mence, the enthusiasm it has already
generated has housing groups in
Cleveland, Boston and Madison, Wis-
consin thinking about running their
own media fests. For more information
on the complete schedule of screen-
ings, contact Tony Heriza at Media Net-
work, 208 W. 13th Street, New York,
NY 10011; (212) 620-0877. 0
28 CITY LIMITS November 1985
REVIEWS
Touring America's Malls
BY DOUG TURETSKY
THE MALLING OF AMERICA: An
Inside Look at the Great Consumer
Paradise, by William Severini
Kowinski, William Morrow, 1985,
416 pp., $17.95.
CROSS-COUNTRY TREKS IN
search of the American "spirit" have be-
come something of a rite of passage for
journalists who focus on the day-to-day
goings on at each burg's Main Street.
But Main Street is becoming harder to
find and where it still exists, it's no
longer the center of community activi-
ty. The action has switched to a near-
by crossroad, and Main Street may be
nothing ~ o r e than a place you pass on
the way. hi The Malling of America,
William Severini Kowinski takes us on
a cross-country odyssey through
America's new - and often enclosed-
Main Streets, the local shopping mall.
Kowinski's trek begins when he
returns to his old home town of Green-
burg, Pennsy lvania, and discovers that
the downtown of his youth has become
little more than a shell. Business and
social life had transferred to two near-
by malls. While it is hard to believe
Kowinski only discovered the ubiqui-
tous fact of mall life a few years ago, his
book offers a provocative and compel-
ling look at why malls have become
such a dominant feature on the Ameri-
can landscape (Randy McNally now
puts malls on some maps) and what
makes them tick.
Malls can be traced to the conver-
gence of three trends following World
War II: the automobile, television and
the growth of the suburbs. America's
"Highway Culture" began forming as
teenagers took to hanging out on
neighborhood road/> and highways.
Stores, movie theaters and restaurants
began to locate along the roads outside
of town as the population became more
mobile. Meanwhile, television was
creating a national culture through the
power of its use as an advertising medi-
um. These two trends found a natural
constituency among the denizens of
the new, affluent suburbs. Writes
Kowinski: "The mall was where all the
postwar changes were being tied
together. It was the culmination of all
thp. American Dreams, both decent and
The idea that merchants would
group together in one locale, rather
than being spread out along the high-
ways, is as old as the town marketplace.
What makes the mall unique, accord-
ing to Kowinski , is the level of control
exercised by mall developers upon the
merchants and subliminally upon the
shoppers: "The mall design conveys an
image, an idea, of a small, controllable
environment that is quiet, prosperous,
and neighborly, where good citizens
keep the streets clean and safe and the
storekeepers take scrupulous care of
their shops and customers:' This is an
image consciously cultivated by the
mall developers who have complete
say over not only who can open a store,
but how that store presents its mer-
chandise. The element of control is
also revealed in the timeless, placeless
neutrality of the mall. An enclosed
mall is like a cocoon, protecting shop-
pers from all external concerns so they
can concentrate on consumption. The
stores from one mall to the next are
often the same, part of nationwide
chains. Tastes for the products have
demented; the fulfillment, the model
of the postwar paradise."
been shaped by television's national
culture.
Kowinski also found on his mall
trek that the level of control extended
to the race and class of consumers as
well. Mall executives, he points out,
are generally white, middle-aged
males and their values are reflected in
the stores selected for their malls. This
is particularly important because, as
Kowinski quotes from a mall trade
magazine, "For an industry with
bywords like 'disposable income,'
minority areas often don't hpld great
promise:'
But the local mall is increasingly
becoming the center of community
sociaJ and economic life. Everyone
to senior citizens spend
a Tot of time socializing at the mall; and
many malls include meeting centers,
doctors' offices and even an occasion-
al church. And the mall developers are
very conscious of what they are doing
and how they are shaping socieeco-
nomic values. Kowinski quotes Mall
Developer Ernest Hahn: "The role of
the mall developer is really now that of
a sort of small city builder. He is no
longer just creating stores and being a
landlord."
The developers' role as "small city
builder" becomes even more ominous
when the rights of free speech are
extended to the tightly controlled mall
environment. There have been a num-
ber of court cases concerning the right
to petition or demonstrate within a
mall, but the courts have generally
ruled in favor of the malls' rights of pri-
vate property: The new Main Street
governed absolutely by the develop-
ment corporation. In the U.S. Supreme
Court case of Lloyd Corporation v.
Tanner, Justice Thurgood Marshall
wrote in his dissenting opinion,
governments rely on private enterprise,
property [in the public domain] de-
creases in favor of privately owned
property. It becomes harder for citizens
to find means to communicate with
other citizens. Only the wealthy may
find effective communication
possible:'
Ultimately, malls have become so
successful because Americans love to
shop. ''The fact is," says John Hightower,
the former director of NeVO' York's
Metropolitan Museum of Art and pre-
sident of the South Street Seaport
Museum-which encouraged the de-
velopment of the city's mammoth har-
November 1985 CITY LIMITS 29-
bor marketplace .....!'that shopping is the
chief cultural activity in the United
States." Malls are cathedrals of con-
sumerism, and the corporations that
build and operate them are gaining an
even tighter control over shaping our
values and wants. Writes Kowinski : "It
is no coincidence that in the city of
Pittsburgh the newest and largest shop-
ping mall (Century III), a new down-
town mega structure (Oxford Centre),
the major downtown sports and enter-
tainment enclosure (the Civic Arena) ,
three of the city's professional sports
teams and a cable TV channel that
broadcasts local sports are all owned
(wholly or substantially) by the DeBar-
tolo family, who run one of the oldest
and most powerful mall development
companies in America:'
It is unlikely that travel agents will
soon be listing malls on the itineraries
of cross-country trips. But the mall-
from rural shopping center to urban
palace like Trump Tower- has become
an important feature in American life.
Kowinski's travel-log presents a sharp-
eyed view (except for some meander-
ing at the end of the book) of how and
why the maIling of America is taking
place. 0
Pre -Paid Legal Assistance Plan (PLAN)
The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) and the Self Help Works
Consumer Cooperative, Inc. are extremely pleased to annOWlce
new low-cost legal services program for HDFCs and TIL
participants. Make sure yoU! cooperative
has access to high quality ','
legal representation at
the lowest rates.
For more information, call UHAB at (212) 749-0602.
30 CITY LIMITS November 1985
NEIGHBORHOOD NEWSSTAND
Partners in Crime
The embattled tenants of Brook-
lyn's Borough Park, whose drama was
detailed in Jan. 1984 City Limits, have
been up against a formidable scenario
for several years: New York's most
vicious landlords, community organi-
zations that have ignored and then
profited from harassment and dis-
placement and the stony silence of
New York's daily newspapers, which
resolutely refuse to examine the sordid
goings-on.
That silence is all the more con-
spicuous given a page-one story in the
Miami Herald August 26. Stretching
across three pages and 40 column
inches, the piece used photos and a
map to graphically depict how tenants
have been set upon by ferocious land-
lords using any means at their disposal
to empty their buildings ("gas mains
severed, water, heat and electricity
shut off in winter, guard dogs
unleashed in hallways, apartments
flooded and ransacked, holes punched
into walls. . :'). .
The tough, comprehensive story
coming from a respected daily 1,308
miles away will hopefully make New
York editors take notice, from profes-
sional embarrassmentif nothing else.
Meanwhile, there have been a few
cracks in the local blackout. The Jew-
ish Week, a New York-based newspaper
ran a long feature story about Borough
Park on September 27 and The New
Yorker carried a three part series about
the HassidiC community in September
and Octobei- that discussed tenant har-
rassment/ as well as the intricate
sociology of the neighborhood. Re-
commended
A Different Slant
On October 4, City Limits got a call
from a researcher at Time magazine
seeking some authoritative informa-
tion on housing. Where, he asked,
were the poor people going who were
being pushed out of the city? More
specifically, he wanted to know which
suburbs they were gravitating to.
Suburbs, we asked, you mean like
Long Island and Westchester? He
responded that the article was going to
look at the "inner city crime which
poor people bring with them" as they
are squeezed out of N.Y.G. He asked if
Teaneck, New Jersey, was one of the
places they were heading. After assur-
ing him we'd love to hear what he dis-
covers, we told him that most
displaced people probably couldn't
afford bus fare to Teaneck. And what's
more, City Limits is more interested in
inner city crimes like gentrification,
harassment and arson that profit-
hungry developers and speculators
bring with them where ever they go
that force people out of their homes. So
there.
Primary Election Night, 1985
It was a fitting symbol of the grow-
ing importance of real estate tycoons in
the new New York: Donald Trump as
political analyst for WABC television
on their primary election night cover-
age. On a night when the candidate
favored by the Boy Builder and his ilk
vanquished the opposition, Trump
(called "Donnie" by anchor Roger
Grimsby) was upbeat. "The city is hot.
People that left for California. they left
for London, they left for Paris. they're
all moving back to New York." Plus,
says Trump, "thousands and thou-
sands of jobs have been created
through tax abatements and millions of
dollars in tax abatements have been
created."
Perhaps a regular slot might be
arranged for Trump, the se1-
proclaimed "King of J51" tax abate-
ments, to explain how taxes are gener-
ated through tax breaks and corollary
theories like how the booming luxury
housing market provides low income
housing. D Paul Smith
Dear City Limits: Dear City Limits: .
I thought your August/September
issue ("Housing in the Koch Era") was
an excellent summary of the housing
and homelessness situation in the city.
I am recommending it as "required
reading" for all newcomers to our
office. Thank you and continued suc-
cess to you in your.work.
Mark Redmond
Office of Ministry Coordination
for the Homeless and Hungry,
Catholic Charities
I want to thank you for writing that
excellent and difficult article, "Squat-
ting in New York." It is being circulated
to many people. I'm trying to bring
together a coalition of alternative peo-
ple focusing at present on the Lower
East Side. I've written to the mayor and
Governor Cuomo. It will be a long, hard
pull. Your article is so rich in facts and
fits together with my letter beautifully.
Libby Lyon
RESOURCES/EVENTS
r::r HELP FOR NONPROFITS: The
Community Service Society has
developed a free, computerized Tech-
nical Assistance Clearinghouse to
provide nonprofit organizations with
information on a wide range of
resources. The data base includes
consultants who can help with fund
raising, public relations, finance,
legal affairs, program development
and other matters. Many of the con-
sultants listed will work for free or on
a sliding-fee scale. For further infor-
mation, call Joanne Malbin (212)
614-5421.0
r::r AFFORDABLE OFFICES: The
rapid rise in cost of commercial office
space is placing an additional burden
on the limited finances of nonprofit
organizations. To acquaint nonprofits
with the benefits of ownership and
other strategies to meet the challenge
of rising rents, INTERFACE and the
Trust for Public Land will sponsor a
conference on November 14th. Call
Steve Schwartz at TPL for additional
information: (212) 677-7171.0
r::r CELEBRATION: Marking its tenth
year of service to the North-
side/Greenpoint communities, the
People's Firehouse will hold a gala
banquet on November 23. The
anniversary party will be held at Rov-
naks, 92 Nassau Avenue, Brooklyn at
8 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person and
can be purchased by calling the Peo-
ple's Firehouse: (718) 388-4696.0
r::r ROWHOUSE FIRES: Wood-frame
rowhouses are particularly suscept-
ible to fires that can easily spread
from one building to the next. The
Department of Housing Preservation
and Development recently released a
guide to help residents prevent row-
house fires. It includes a checklist to
determine the safety of one's home,
suggestions for reducing the risk of
fire and information on fire extin-
guishers and sprinkler systems. For a
copy of the guide, write to HPD's
Neighborhood Preservation Office,
300 Wycoff Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
11237.0
r::r ALTERNATIVE MEDIA: The
Media Network now has a computer-
ized, extensively cross-referenced
listing of over 3,000 films, videotapes
and slide shows on a wide range of
social issues. Topics covered include
housing, women's rights, McCarthy-
ism, migrant workers, ethnic culture
and history, gay and lesbian rights,
and U.S. foreign and military policy.
All titles are cross-referenced by
name, subject and distributor availa-
bility. The Media Network has a so
just released a "Guide to Films on
Apartheid," which describes and
evaluates 40 of the best films, video-
tapes and slide shows on apartheid
and Southern Africa. The guide costs
$2.50 (including postage). For more
information or to order a copy of the
guide Write to Media Network, 208
West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011;
(212) 620-0877.0
November 1985 CITY LIMITS 31
r::r CENSUS DATA: The Department
of City Planning has issued the
seventh bulletin in the series "Portrait
of the City's Population." Derived
from 1980 census data, thp. new pub-
lication is called "MigratlOn and
Residential Mobility by District,
1975-1980." Copies may be purchased
at the Department's map sales room
(1616) for 50 cents or by mail for $1;
New York City Planning Commis-
sion, 2 Lafayette Street, New York, NY
10007.0
r::r ASTORIA HOUSING: A coalition
of Astoria community development
groups and Community Board One is
sponsoring a housing conference on
November 14th. Tenants and
homeowners can register for such
workshops as Rent Control and
Stabilization, How to Get Better Ser-
vices in Your Building, Help for
Homeowners and Energy Conserva-
tion Programs. Admission is free and
transportation available for senior
citizens. The conference will take
place at Junior High School 204,
36-41 28th St., from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 0
r::r RECYCLING: The Environmental
Action Coalition's newspaper recy-
cling program now includes 64 apart-
ment buildings comprising over
9,600 apartments. Their efforts have
succeeded in recycling 155.7 tons of
newspapers during the first eight
months of the program. EAC is seek-
ing additional buildings to join in
this recycling program. For more
information contact Maria Caraballo,
(212) 677-1601.0
r::r TENANT HOTLINE: The Good
Old Lower East Side has opened up
a tenant protection hotline to provide
citywide assistance to tenants on a
range of problems. Experienced staff
of attorneys and paralegals are avail-
able to answer questions about
landlord-tenant relations, repairs,
securing lease renewals and basic
tenant rights. Open Monday through
Wednesday from 2-4 p.m., the Hot-
line awaits callers at: (212) 677-5780.0