The museum is located in the historic the storefront of C-Squat, a legendary East Village occupied building. Come visit the space, and help us with volunteer construction! Call us at (973) 818-8495 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for information regarding volunteer construction days.
From C-Squat’s Wikipedia page:
Journalist and author Robert Neuwirth described the situation that gave birth to many of New York’s squats, including C Squat, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, “In the 1970s, scores of landlords walked away from old tenement buildings. Many buildings slid into vacancy and rot. By the 1980s, squatters took over many of the structures in fringe areas such as Alphabet City (Avenues A to D) in the Lower East Side and in certain areas of the Bronx and Brooklyn. They had to fight to stay. The city dispossessed hundredsof squatters, sometimes mounting massive paramilitary attacks on their buildings. In the end, 12 squatter buildings survived, and they outlasted official resistance.” In 2002, the government of New York City granted ownership of 11 squats on the Lower East Side, including C Squat, to the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), a private not-for-profit organization. The twelfth squat mentioned above elected not to participate in the UHAB process, and its residents are suing for ownership under adverse possession. UHAB is in the process of securing loans to help repair the remaining eleven Lower East Side buildings, after which ownership will be turned over to the occupants. Accordingly, C Squat is no longer technically a “squat,” but rather a legally occupied building, bought by thesquatters in a deal brokered with the city council by the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board in 2002 for one dollar. It is a punk house.
The building had a half-pipe for skaters in the basement and used to regularly host punk rock shows, but these are now on hiatus due to construction.
Members of the bands Leftöver Crack, Morning Glory, Casa de Chihuahua, Star Fucking Hipsters d60, Planned Collapse, Banji and Dog That Bites Everyone live there. In the past, it has been home to members of the bands INDK, Choking Victim, No Commercial Value, Old Skull, Eden and John’s East River String Band, and Nausea, among others.
The building has also hosted a number of artists and activists throughout its history, as Neuwirth discovered when he wrote his article, Squatter’s Rites for City Limits Magazine, “To climb the steps in C Squat is to walk up a living graffiti artwork. The halls resemble subway cars a few decades ago. But instead of monikers, these tags are battle cries for revolution, outlaw logos, complaints and humorous takes on official slogans…”
When it was first squatted, the building was falling apart and central joists had to be replaced. These were sourced second-hand and as cheaply as possible. All repairs on the gutted structure were performed by the squatters themselves, transforming the space as they worked on it. The DIY rehabilitation of the building was no small task, as Neuwirth noted in his article, “At C Squat, the beams were so rotted that the building had sunk almost a foot in the center. The squatters replaced the joists one by one. They got their replacement beams from workers at a nearby gut rehab. The workers saved the old but still usable joists they were removing and passed them on to the squatters.”
Under the terms of the homesteading agreement made in 2002, the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board will provide a loan for essential renovations (bringing the building up to city code regulations), which the squatters will perform as much as possible themselves to reduce costs. When the work is finished, the residents will own the building as a limited equity housing cooperative. They will be financially responsible for maintenance and UHAB loan repayment.