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Massive May Day March Ends Where Occupy Wall Street Began

Photos: Tim Schreier

A May Day march from Union Square to Wall Street, which some estimated to be over 30,000 people strong, ended with hundreds of participants gathering at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza near Battery Park, and then at Zuccotti Park after they were pushed out of the plaza by police.

The permitted march, which began after Tom Morello and members of his “guitarmy” performed at Union Square, stretched many blocks down Broadway and was both leisurely and boisterous. There was, however, the occasional scuffle: as The Local previously reported, bystanders booed and chanted “Shame!” as a photographer was arrested for climbing atop a food cart to take bird’s-eye photos. The police estimated that there were “above 30” arrests throughout the day, but were not able to give an exact number as of 2 a.m. Read more…

The Day | Party, Parish and Politics

Little Annie's Big CityTim Schreier

Good morning, East Village

There’s a birthday party coming up soon and everyone in the neighborhood is invited. Bowery Boogie is celebrating its third birthday at Motor City located at 127 Ludlow Street. Members of the news blog, which covers the Lower East Side, say that you can mention #BOOGIE at the party and receive a free drink.

There’s even more good news for the East Village and Lower East Side gay and lesbian community. EV Grieve reports this morning that the pastor of Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Parish will perform free same-sex marriage ceremonies beginning next year. The announcement comes three days after state lawmakers in Albany passed a same-sex marriage act.

Finally, there were two important government meetings last night that effect you directly. First, The Local’s Laura E. Lee reports that the Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee of Community Board 3 discussed four possible modifications to the Essex Street Market:  create a new market, keep what we have the same, keep the facade of the existing market and building above or have two separate markets. Many locals do not want the market closed. A decision was not made last night. The committee will continue discussing the matter next month.

And, although they heard boos while doing it, the Rent Guidelines Board passed rent increases of 3.75 percent for tenants signing a one-year lease and 7.25 percent for tenants signing a two-year lease. The increase equates to at least $60 more a month for most East Villagers.

Rent Board Approves Increases

IMG_0483Khristopher J. Brooks Demonstrators calling for a freeze on rent increases this year gathered outside Cooper Union before tonight’s vote.

Rent prices across the city will increase 3.75 percent for tenants signing a one-year lease and 7.25 percent for tenants signing a two-year lease.

Members of the Rent Guidelines Board passed the increases by a vote of 5-4 Monday night during a meeting in Cooper Union’s Great Hall. The vote came at the conclusion of a raucous meeting during which dozens of demonstrators — many of whom chanted and held placards — called for a freeze on increases this year.

The increases, which apply only to rent stabilized apartments and lofts, take effect Oct. 1 and last until Sept. 30, 2012.

Based on the $1,700 a month average for studio apartments in the East Village, the increases approved by the board tonight translate into an average of $63.75 for one-year leases and $123.25 for two year leases. For tenants living in a one-bedroom, where the East Village averages $2,500 a month in rent, the average increases are $93.75 for one-year leases and $181.25 for two-year leases. Housing activists said after the vote that the negotiations preceding tonight’s meeting were slanted in favor of landlords.

An hour before the vote, scores of people gathered outside the Great Hall. Many of those in attendance had taken part in a rally organized by Tenants and Neighbors earlier in the afternoon.
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The Day | A Weekend of Pride

New York City Gay Pride Parade 2011, Greenwich Village, New York City - 26Vivienne Gucwa

Good morning, East Village.

We begin today with a reflection on the weekend, which many people spent celebrating the passage of same-sex marriage act late Friday and the Gay Pride Parade Sunday. You can find complete coverage in The Times, including a piece about the reaction a bit west of our neighborhood. And later this morning, we’ll present images of the parade and other celebrations in a slideshow of images shared by the members of The Local’s Flickr group.

In other neighborhood news, you might have to find a new place to buy your steaks. Many people were saddened Saturday to hear that the popular Jeffrey’s Meat Market was no longer in business on the Lower East Side. The Wall Street Journal reported that the meat market is believed to be one of the oldest in the neighborhood’s history; the former owner, Jeffrey Ruhalter, 55, represents the fourth generation of his family to work at the shop.

There’s also a new crime alert: the authorities are looking for “gentlemanly mugger” who robbed a 73-year-old woman near Union Square last week. DNAinfo reports that this mugger politely opened the door to Apple Bank on Wednesday night, watched the victim withdraw $200 then snatched it from her hand. The police said the suspect was wearing a camouflage hat, white tank top and jeans and a yellow rope as a belt.

Finally, the Rent Guidelines Board returns to Cooper Union’s Great Hall today to determine if, or by how much, they will raise rent prices in the East Village and throughout the city. The Local has reported on the rally and final public hearing session last week, and one tenant advocacy group will hold one more rally today. The Local will have a reporter at the meeting. Check back throughout the day for updates.

Marchers Rally Against Rent Increases

Dozens of chanting New Yorkers marched through the East Village Monday afternoon trying to gather more voices to oppose anticipated rent increases in New York City.

The march — which started at the corner of 14th Street and First Avenue, snaked through the neighborhood and ended at Cooper Union’s Great Hall — took place as the Rent Guidelines Board was receiving an earful of public testimonies. Board members will decide next Monday if, or how much, rent prices will be increased starting Oct. 1 and ending Sept. 30, 2012. The decision will affect tenants in rent stabilized apartments and lofts.

As the marchers turned corners and crossed streets, participants waved makeshift signs, pumped their fists and yelled, “The tenants, united, will never be defeated!”

After the march, city council members Daniel R. Garodnick and Rosie Mendez chanted with the crowd and urged the marchers to go inside Cooper Union and testify about why the guidelines board should not increase rent prices.

Rent Board Hears From Tenants

IMG_0237Khristopher J. Brooks Adele Bender during today’s hearing.

Adele Bender is a quiet woman with short red hair who lives in a rent-stabilized apartment in Forest Hills, Queens.

The 80-year-old widow took an hour-long trip to the East Village this morning to tell the Rent Guidelines Board how she and her neighbors cannot afford to pay higher rent.

“I’m here for the concerns of senior citizens,” Ms. Bender said. “Social Security has not been increased, but rent has gone up. I have a friend, I can tell you right now, who gets $1,400 in Social Security a month and she has to pay for expensive drugs. Her pills are several hundred dollars. Look, I know we’re here talking about housing and not health, but most times they are connected.”

Ms. Bender and several other New York City residents have piled into Cooper Union’s Great Hall today hoping to convince board members not to increase rent prices this year.

More than 100 people from across the city have pre-registered to address board members and even more New Yorkers will arrive later today to speak to board members informally.
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