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Lifestyles of the Economakis Familiy

The Villager scored a tour of the five-story mansion that accommodates one lucky family at 47 East Third Street, and boy does it sound like a palace. Where once were 15 rent-regulated apartments, now sits a two-story “airy living room,” a wrestling room, a room for a live-in nanny, a room for the building’s security system, and “an upside-down river” of re-purposed wooden beams that serves as a ceiling sculpture. Even Mosaic Man plans to do one of his signature designs on the exterior of the building. The Economakis family waged a controversial battle to oust tenants in the building beginning in 2003. Eventually, nine holdout tenants took buyouts that averaged $70,000, according to the paper.

Exit Interview: State Senator Thomas K. Duane, East Village Advocate

Tom Duane with votersCourtesy Thomas K. Duane Tom Duane with voters, Nov. 29, 2011 at City Hall.

Thomas K. Duane announced this week that he won’t be seeking re-election, but the state senate’s first openly gay member is still railing against “malevolent” landlords. In an interview with The Local, the Democrat discussed his 14 years of representing the East Village as state senator, including his battles with landlords like Benjamin Shaoul, his preservation efforts for the proposed historic district and the now-demolished 35 Cooper Square, and his attempts at curbing an explosion of nightlife in the neighborhood.


You’ve been fighting for tenants’ rights during the 14 years you’ve served as Senator. How did that spill over into the East Village?


I really fought just a terrible landlord, Ben Shaoul. He wants to expand at 514-516 East Sixth Street and 329-335 East Ninth Street. We’ve been reaching out to both of the city housing agencies, the Department of Buildings and H.P.D. [Department of Housing Preservation and Development], and working with the tenants and the neighborhood activists to force him to comply with the law. Read more…