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Saving Stuyvesant Town: How One Community Defeated the Worst Real Estate Deal in History
by Daniel R. Garodnick
From city streets to City Hall and to Midtown corporate offices, Saving Stuyvesant Town is the incredible true story of how one middle class community defeated the largest residential real estate deal in American history. Lifetime Stuy Town resident and former City Councilman Dan Garodnick recounts how his neighbors stood up to mammoth real estate interests and successfully fought to save their homes, delivering New York City’s biggest-ever affordable housing preservation win.
In 2006, Garodnick found himself engaged in an unexpected battle. Stuyvesant Town was built for World War II veterans by MetLife, in partnership with the City. Two generations removed, MetLife announced that it would sell Stuy Town to the highest bidder. Garodnick and his neighbors sprang into action. Battle lines formed with real estate titans like Tishman Speyer and BlackRock facing an organized coalition of residents, who made a competing bid to buy the property themselves. Tripped-up by an over-leveraged deal, the collapse of the American housing market, and a novel lawsuit brought by tenants, the real estate interests collapsed, and the tenants stood ready to take charge and shape the future of their community. The result was a once-in-a-generation win for tenants and an extraordinary outcome for middle-class New Yorkers.
Garodnick’s colorful and heartfelt account of this crucial moment in New York City history shows how creative problem solving, determination, and brute force politics can be marshalled for the public good. The nine-year struggle to save Stuyvesant Town by these residents is an inspiration to everyone who is committed to ensuring that New York remains a livable, affordable, and economically diverse city.
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