Pictorial History of the Tenant Movement
29. The tide turned on the Lower East Side in the early 1980s: tenants had helped stabilize the neighborhood through their management and rehabilitation of buildings abandoned by their owners, and now, as real estate prices in Manhattan revived, owners and speculators realized the potential value of a neighborhood abutting the now fashionable East Village and close to the financial district.
The process of abandonment ceased almost entirely, but tenants were suddenly faced with a new threat from speculators anxious to remove low-income tenants in order to prepare their buildings for higher-paying tenants.
But the community leaders who had saved their homes and neighborhood from the ravages of abandonment were not about to surrender it to gentrification without a struggle. Illustration 29 shows a banner on East Ninth Street in 1984. Photo by Mel Rosenthal.
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