The Real Deal New York

Most powerless New Yorkers are unwitting foreclosure victims and obstacles to developers

January 17, 2012 08:30AM

From left: St. Mark's Bookshop, a Brooklyn bodega, Brooklyn BP Marty Markowitz, Stuy Town and Jimmy McMillan

Some of the most powerless New Yorkers are tenants of buildings in limbo because of a recent sale or foreclosure. Some work fruitlessly to disrupt the free market system real estate developers fancy. Either way, the Village Voice released its list of the “100 Most Powerless New Yorkers,” and considering the city’s relationship with the real estate industry, its little surprise that real estate-related stories have a significant presence on the list.

The second most powerless New Yorkers, for example, are the staff of the St. Mark’s Bookshop, which will likely be the victims of a business surviving off protest-induced landlord concessions. Once the rent reduction Cooper Union granted expire, the Village Voice said the staff will be the first to go. Bodega owners place third on the list thanks to the inevitability of a nearby landlord bringing in a chain drugstore that drives the corner deli out of business.

Elsewhere on the list, Mary Lee Ward, the 82-year-old victim of predatory lending who is facing eviction from her Bed-Stuy home, placed 14th, along with the buyer who bought the building without the actual deed. Building supers, at the constant mercy of landlords, ranked 15th. Tenants of 964 Dean Street, who paid rent to the former owner of their foreclosed building and now owe the new owner thousands of dollars placed 36th. Tenants of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were named 43rd most powerless thanks to the ownership limbo surrounding their middle-class enclave. Also on the list, the owners of New Bombay Masala restaurant, who unwittingly took a lease out on a foreclosed building, ranked 72nd.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz reached number 64 on the list for being unsuccessful in his attempts to bring an Apple store to the borough despite what the Voice calls “the most concentrated population of Mac users in the universe outside of Califronia.” Jimmy McMillan placed 83rd because he is powerless to do anything about rising rents. New Yorkers searching for parking near Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards, the owners of Ruby’s on Coney Island and the lead Park51 supporters, round out the real estate presence on the list at numbers 87, 90 and 99, respectively. [Village Voice]

One Response to “Most powerless New Yorkers are unwitting foreclosure victims and obstacles to developers”

  1. March 07, 2014 at 6:26 pm, hippies pay your own way said:

    I’m a little bit confused … are the tenants vulnerable in foreclosed buildings that were …. rent regulated so the owners lost their buildings because they were operating in the red? So are the owners the real Numero Uno most vulnerable or the tenants whose regulated rents caused the foreclosures the most vulnerable? I’m baffled at how their boon is also their victimization or did the Village Voice just stir-fry up additional sympathy for “tenants” as a CONCEPT just because they could – cuz that’s how everyone survives in this pyramid scheme – they know which buttons to push, which groups to leave alone, which groups to safely target

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