Matthew Wald, The New York Times, Feb. 2, 1984
At the Belnord, everything is historic, especially the rent strike.
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Board of Estimate have recognized the building, which fills the block west of Broadway from 86th Street to 87th Street, as being of special merit because of its age and size. When lawyers, judges and city housing officials talk about its age and size, they are generally referring to the 10-year fight between the landlord and half of her roughly 200 tenants.
The dispute has now entered a new phase, with a court ordering an end to the rent strike, but the tenants vowing to continue the battle.
Landlord-tenant relations all over New York City are a form of guerrilla warfare, but at the Belnord, the West Side personality – a little sharper and shriller than elsewhere.
”Most of the city’s remedies are based on the idea that a rational landlord would seek to avoid economic penalties. But economic penalties do not seem to affect this landlord’s course of conduct.”Charles Perkins, spokesman, Housing Preservation & Development
”The rent strike was never our end, it was only a tactic.”Thomas Vitullo-Martin, president, BLC
“The maintenance men have to borrow a screwdriver because they have no tools. They use tinfoil and wire because they have nothing better.”Nicolas Roussakis, musician and composer, Belnord resident