So, last night was the first NYCLT Loft Board meet and greet, held at the Emily Harvey Foundation in Soho. We invited the members and staff of the Loft Board to meet with loft tenants. It was planned without an agenda, just an opportunity for us and the people who steer the Loft Law ship to get to know each other.
Many loft tenants (40, 50?) were in attendance, but I am sorry to say only one member of the Loft Board came: Chuck DeLaney, the tenant representative. Nonetheless, it was a success.
“I Am a Loft Tenant” – a video collage of brief video portraits of loft tenants just like us, created by Eve Sussman and Simon Lee – was projected on a wall. It shows the wide diversity of loft tenants and looked really great. We aren’t just a bunch of young, rich hipsters (nothing against being young, rich, and hip). Smart, simple, and effective. Anyone interested in being part of this ongoing project should email Eve: firstname.lastname@example.org
As I wandered around, I witnessed several face-to-face introductions of tenants who had been emailing and discussing issues online, but had never met in person. We are all in this same mess, but we are also scattered around this city — the North Brooklyn people alone share (just a guess) 20+ stops along 3 train lines and 6 zip codes.
Several complicated Loft Law questions (are there any other kind?) were asked of Chuck DeLaney and Bill Hall (co-chair of LMLT – Lower Manhattan Loft Tenants – and a serious 1982 Loft Law combatant). They helped clear up some confusion for a few very worried loft dwellers, though Bill did say something like: “If you thought you were confused before, wait until you start paying attention.”
The general attitude seemed to be that the time has come to make a little noise. Politely attending Loft Board meetings, politely asking for a chance to testify before the Loft Board, quietly meeting and discussing strategy — it’s not enough.
We are being shut out and shot down. The people who can move the Loft Board and influence its rules can be found in two places: Albany and City Hall. A trip to visit our State Legislators will come soon, but now it’s time to make Mayor Mike listen. Any ideas out there?
WE WILL be doing this again. Time and location TBD. Even if we don’t get any other LB members out, it’s an opportunity for us to see each other – and it’s a hell of a lot more fun than those Loft Board meetings.
[Many thanks to the folks at the Emily Harvey Foundation for letting us borrow your space and to the NYCLT members who got the food & beverages that grease the wheels!]