The signs are looking good for embattled L.E.S. arts icon


BY CLAYTON PATTERSON  |Taylor Mead is smiling. And what’s not to be happy about? His apartment at 163 Ludlow St. is bedbug-free. And the Department of Buildings on Jan. 17 slapped a stop-work order on the tenement’s owner, Ben Shaoul, prohibiting ongoing renovation work in hallways that was making Taylor’s life hell.

On Thursday, Brandon Kielbasa, lead organizer from the Cooper Square Committee, a representative from Margaret Chin’s office and I will visit Taylor in his apartment.

Maya Contreras initiated the calls to Chin’s office. She has been dealing with Persephone Tan. I have been in contact with Chris Brandt, Val Orselli, Joyce Ravitz and Frances Goldin. GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side) is also informed.

It seems like only one or two other people are left in the building besides Taylor. The roof door is always left open, which means wind and snow come in and the security of the building is wide open. You can tell by the graffiti on the roof that people go up there. And people have been mugged in the hall before.

So far Cooper Square Committee hasn’t been working with the Shaoul-owned buildings on the street.

However, Brandon said, “I’m working with other buildings on Ludlow and the tenants in them have done outreach to a number of these Shaoul-owned buildings — saying get in touch with C.S.C. if you need help or want assistance organizing — but I haven’t heard from any tenants in them as of yet.

“We have very limited staffing right now. We’re relying on community members to spread the word that we’re here when they see neighbors in need.”

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2 Responses to The signs are looking good for embattled L.E.S. arts icon

  1. Causing this sort of distress to tenants is so unnecessary. If a "landlord" wants to renovate a building there are ways to do it with kindness to the people living there. Just remember that you don't have to go to school to be a landlord. Maybe there should be schools and legal provisions to guide these misguided that have raised their ownership rights above human rights.

  2. Colleen Petrese

    It's about time something is done for these tenants. Mr. Mead is a well known icon in NYC and valuable member of the arts community. It is unfortunate that he has had to put up with such nonsense just to live peacefully in his home. The next thing I need to write is to the city to let them know there are a lot of us watching these situations to make sure these long standing tenants and positive contributers to our city are treated fairly and with respect!

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