Tuesday, March 22, 2011

'Survivor: SRO Edition'

The New York Post has an interesting article about SRO holdouts at the trendy Ace Hotel, some of whom were offered $150,000 to vacate the affordable-but-cozy spaces they've called home for years before the building became a hotel. Suzanne Lenora (pictured) -- one of 30 or so who refuses to move -- has lived in the building for 19 years and pays $500 for her 128-square-foot space. (She shares a bathroom with four others -- my apartment suddenly seems HUGE and GLAM!) The 49-year-old says that after taxes, the money wouldn't have gone far considering rents in midtown Manhattan, where studios average $2,300 per month.

I'll admit it, I was happy when the Allerton -- a single-room-occupancy hotel near my apartment where Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith once lived -- closed. What was once a boarding house had become more of a flophouse, and its residents would frequently be outside engaging in fistfights (I'll never forget seeing a man punch his woman with a closed fist), panhandling and supermarket-stalking. (I was routinely approached by residents inside the nearby Gristedes, who would offer to pay for my order with their food stamps in exchange for my cash.) And who could forget these two? But life at the Ace -- which began readying its conversion into a hotel in 2007 -- sounds fun and bohemian, like a low-rent version of the Susan B. Anthony where Buffy and Hildegarde lived on "Bosom Buddies"! Somebody get these holdouts a reality show, stat!


Chris C. said...

wait! Is this the GEM Chelsea where I enjoy staying? You mean it's some folks' apartment?

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

It was!

chris said...

OH NO!! I hope it's been disinfected!!