“Passersby who stroll down the newly gentrified blocks of Avenue C that stretch from East 14th Street to Houston Street are sometimes puzzled as they pass by an old brick tenement on the west side of the avenue just below East 10th Street. The building has a weathered brick faςade and a black metal door. The door has no windows and there is no intercom system. Displayed in an upstairs window of the building is a sign that reads ‘This land is ours, not for sale.’ As recently as the mid-90s many of the people who now pause to gaze at this building and wonder aloud what goes on in inside would have been unlikely to venture deep into the Lower East Side. But these days, the same new restaurants and shops that lure visitors from other areas provide a heightened contrast that makes the unusual building stand out more than ever.
The building in question is a squat. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, dozens, perhaps as many as hundreds of squats dotted the Lower East Side…”
Read more in Colin Moynihan’s essay “Squatting,” in Clayton Patterson’s book Resistance: A Radical Social and Political History of the Lower East Side, and get excited for our upcoming volunteer construction days!