Tribes Founder Seeks New Landlord

285-287 East Third StreetGreenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. The Gathering of the Tribes building at 285-287
East Third Street.

The blind poet behind Gathering of the Tribes is on the hunt for a wealthy benefactor who will buy his building on East Third Street near Avenue C — a move that would, in theory, stop his pending eviction.

In an e-mail forwarded to The Local, Steve Cannon urged his supporters to spread the word that his landlord, Lorraine Zhang, wishes to sell the building.

“Ultimately, what we were told was Lorraine wants to get rid of the building,” wrote Mr. Cannon. “Is there a possibility of any interest in investing/buying the building and making it all Gathering of the Tribes and getting someone to run it?”

In a phone conversation, Mr. Cannon said he suspected that the tenants currently living in the building — who Ms. Zhang has said are irritated to no end by the revelry and artsy goings-on at Tribes — are on a month-to-month lease.

“In other words, I could throw them out,” he said, adding that he would invite like-minded artists to move in.

Currently, however, Mr. Cannon is dealing with more pressing concerns — namely Ms. Zhang’s response to the lawsuit he filed late last month challenging the grounds of his eviction and claiming $8,400 in back-rent.

Ms. Zhang did not answer a phone call. In December an associate of Ms. Zhang said that the building was for sale “if the right buyer comes along.”

Mr. Cannon conceded that his search for a buyer was a long shot, but still held out some hope. “There’s got to be some philanthropist that can buy this  building, get a tax write-off and convert it all into Gathering of the Tribes,” Mr. Cannon said. “I’m just trying to look at all my options.”

The entirety of Mr. Cannon’s email is below.

Hello all,

A friend of mine had an idea today about possibly purchasing a store front on 4th and c in a rent controlled building. As you all know this isn’t possible due to me being blind, old and been in this building for 40+ years.

Lucky for me, I have a hot shot lawyer and he thinks I’m going to “win” but of course there are no guarantees. If any of you know lawyers in housing court that can help with this situation or more familiar with my rights (blind, elderly, etc) Please let us know.

Ultimately what we were told was Lorrainne wants to get rid of the building, is there a possiblity of any interest in investing/buying the building and making it all gathering of the tribes and getting someone to run it? Please pass this on and feel free to come to our upcoming events here at Tribes.

We thank you all for the support and hope that this gets resolved and Tribes can be around for another 40+ years.

With love,