We are the tenants of 83-85 Bowery in Manhattan Chinatown. We have lived harmoniously in these buildings for many years, with Cantonese and Fuzhounese people from ninety years old to newborn babies.
The City's policies is causing displacement across communities for the benefits of the rich, and our buildings are no exception. Only a few years ago, after Joseph Betesh—owner of Dr. Jay’s—bought the Bowery buildings in 2013, he began to try to push us out of our homes.
Betesh is exploiting different means through the courts to kick us out; he knows we are poor immigrant families and cannot afford to pay exorbitant legal fees. He is bullying us with money, in hopes we will give up. On January 18, Betesh colluded with the City agencies to issue a vacate order on one of the two buildings, 85 Bowery. They claimed the building's main staircase was structurally unstable and therefore a "significant life-safety hazard." In fact, this was one of the many violations the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) asked Betesh to fix almost two years ago. We also retained an independent engineer who proved that the staircase could be fixed with most tenants staying in the building. However, Betesh refused to fix the violations and HPD did NOTHING to push for the repairs.
That evening, we were kicked out of our homes in two hours, waited in the cold with whatever suitcases we could carry, and were in the end transferred to a hotel far away from our community for temporary stay. Since then, we are suffering from the poor living conditions in the hotel and our work and school have been significantly affected. Our suffering is due to the City's inaction to hold Betesh accountable!
The City asked the landlord to repair the building in two weeks. But HPD has been responsible for the repairs all along! Right now, we are demanding HPD make sure timely repairs are done so that we can return home within the official time limit. We need your help as we are fighting to go back to our homes and community. Stand with us to demand justice!
Residents Demand City's Help After They Had to Evacuate Their Manhattan Building
Chinatown tenants hold rally, fear landlord won’t let them return
More than two dozen families evicted from Lower East Side building
Bowery tenants forced from homes put in Brooklyn hotel with rats, bedbugs, group says
The Village Voice:
Chinatown Tenants: Landlord’s Mass Eviction Attempt Based on Lies
Tenants' Protest 7/19/2017 (live stream video)
The New York Times:
A Clash of Old and New in a Manhattan Real Estate Prairie
The People for Bernie Sanders:
Tenants' Protest 4/12/2016 (video)
Chinatown Residents Protest 'Slumlord' Owner of Their Buildings
- Lisa Wong
- Patrick Dixon
- Brittany Taylor
- Tess Cetin
- John Antush
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