Every time I read about the Economakis family, I want to punch someone. If you don't know what I'm talking about, the Economakis are a couple of rich assholes who work at her daddy's real-estate firm (before deciding to suckle off the family financial teat, the Mrs. worked for Yanni!). A couple years back, daddy's company bought a giant, rent-stabilized building in the East Village for the bargain price of $1.3 million. While this is more than I could ever afford, that's about the going rate for a nice-sized, sheetrock-fabricated penthouse in Williamsburg. Barely the price of a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. It was cheap because it came fully-loaded—with rent-stabilized tenants. If it had been market rate, it would've cost much more.
Daddy then sold his daughter and shipping magnate son-in-law the building cheap—for exactly ZERO dollars. They did this because corporations have restrictions on how they can evict tenants. This way, as individual owners, the Evil Economakis' could set about systematically evicting every single rent-stabilized tenant by claiming they planned on turning this huge apartment building into a single-family home. Yeah, right.
As happens so often in the new, Giuliani/Bloomberg New York, wealth trumps all and their nefarious plan seems to be working. The Economakis family claim they are going to turn the entire building into a mansion for them and their brats. Never mind that their family's company owns at least 50 other properties in NYC—they need to live in this one. Incredibly—though it's painfully obvious that once these bloodsuckers evict everyone they're going to flip it into multi-million dollar condos or market-rate rentals—the latest court decision sided with the owners of the building and the few remaining holdouts are facing the prospect of losing their homes. (You can contribute to the building's legal fund here—and if you care at all about the future of rent-stabilization I urge you to, because their loss is our loss.) The Times did a story on the struggle and included a few gems, that I thought I'd share:
- Outside each apartment door hangs a security camera, which the tenants say makes them feel spied on. Opposite the Economakis family’s front door hangs a voodoo-style evil eye. [Hey, maybe if you weren't spying on and evicting people from their homes, you wouldn't have the evil eye staring you down. Though personally, I would've opted for pornography—more along the lines of an evil brown eye.]
- Part of the charm, [Mrs. Economakis] said, is that the block includes the Hells Angels headquarters and Maryhouse, one of the city’s most enduring Roman Catholic missions for the homeless. [WTH? You're kidding, right?!?]
- They say Mr. Economakis refused to repair their dilapidated mailboxes but built a large monogrammed one for his family. [Nice. One can only guess that the "E" is for "Evil."
I know I should figure out a coherent way to wrap this up, but it's Sunday morning and New York City has me more than a little depressed today. I'm going to go practice boxing with my Wii Fit, though somehow I doubt that punching air will be as gratifying as punching an actual human head.