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Stuyvesant Town on the east side of Manhattan, was built for veterans of the Second World War by MetLife, in partnership with the city of New York. Two generations later, MetLife announced that it would sell “Stuy Town” to the highest bidder. Lifetime Stuy Town resident and former City Councilman Dan Garodnick and his neighbors sprang into action.
Battle lines formed with real estate titans like Tishman Speyer and BlackRock facing an organized coalition of residents, who made a competing bid to buy the property themselves. Tripped-up by an over-leveraged deal, the collapse of the American housing market, and a novel lawsuit brought by tenants, the real estate interests collapsed, and the tenants stood ready to take charge.
Garodnick’s new book Saving Stuyvesant Town: How One Community Defeated the Worst Real Estate Deal in History (Cornell Univ. Press, 2021) recounts how they stood up to mammoth real estate interests and successfully fought to save their homes, delivering New York City a big affordable housing preservation win.
Dan Garodnick is the President and CEO of the Riverside Park Conservancy, a not-for profit organization advocating for a six mile park on Manhattan’s West Side.
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