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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.

On a Tour of Former Squats, Trash Artists and Cat-Poo Painters

A couple of weeks ago, the founders of the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space told The Local they had started hosting “spontaneous tours” of squats and community gardens. This past weekend, we joined just such a tour, as longtime squatter activist Frank Morales took visitors on a winding, nearly three-hour journey through the interiors of four urban homesteads.

Standing outside C-Squat, where MoRUS is to be housed, Mr. Morales described homelessness as “the consequence of state repression.”

“That was the point of entry for our taking buildings – to create communities of self defense, to defend against being forcibly moved into the shelter system,” he said.

Homesteaders recalled the raucous days of the late 1980s, when squatters controlled as many as two dozen East Village and Lower East Side buildings. Read more…