The Tenement Museum has purchased
91 Orchard Street and
262 Broome Street immediately
after the E.S.D.C gave a non-vote.
Amazing how simple it was for
them to acquire 2 buildings the way normal private businesses purchase property.
They now own 3 buildings on the block. We are watching the Museum and will fight
to the death to keep our building out of their hands.
Lou & Mimi Holtzman
THE ASSEMBLY STATE OF NEW YORK ALBANY
TESTIMONY OF ASSEMBLYMAN SHELDON SILVER
REGARDING THE CONDEMNATION HEARING OF 99 ORCHARD STREET,
EMPIRE STATE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (ESDC)
Convened on JANUARY 9,2002
As the Assemblyman for the 62nd A.D.,
some of the most diverse and exciting constituencies in Now York
City. My district includes the Lower East Side, Little Italy,
Chinatown ,Financial District, Civic Center, South Street Seaport
area, and Battery Park City.
As Ms. Abram stated in her testimony, I have been a long time
supporter of the museum and am honored to have it located in my
assembly District. 'The museum is an important contributor to the
cultural integrity of the Lower East Side. Visitors to the museum get
more than just a tour of what hardships new immigrants faced upon
arrival to this country; they get a hands on learning experience that
illustrates where new immigrants lived, what struggles they endured
and how they found their place in American society and culture. Under
Ms.Abram's leadership the museum has flourished as a main attraction
for tourists and residents alike. I have been pleased to work in
partnership with Ms. Abram and the museum on the many projects.
In this instance, I join Community Board #3 and the Lower East Side
Business Improvement District in asking the ESDC not to condemn the
property on 99 Orchard Street and to allow the residential and
commercial tenants to remain there. As important as the museum's
contribution is to our neighborhood, so too is it imperative that we
protect the rights of tenants and landowners when they are threatened.
The power of condemnation by the government through eminent domain is
a grave one. As was stated at the Community Board #3 Housing Committee meeting
if the Tenement museum's position is that the owners of 99 Orchard Street have been negligent in their construction and have caused
structural damage to the museum, then the courts are the proper
authority to handle this matter. It is improper for the ESDC to get
involved in an issue that is clearly between two neighbors.
If the ESDC were to condemn 99 Orchard Street based on the arguments made thus far, it would set the precedent that the state has the authority
to intervene in disputes between property owners. I strongly urge the
ESDC to take into account the testimony and opinion of the Community
leaders and members that have voiced their thoughts on the issue at
Thank You for this Opportunity.
A Letter from
Thomas K. Duane
STATE OF NEW YORK
February 7th, 2002
Counsel, Empire State Development Corporation
633 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Via Fax: 803-3778
Attention Joe Petillo
Dear Mr Petillo:
I am writing to express my opposition to the proposal by the Lower
East Side Tenement Museum and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) to
seize 99 Orchard Street through eminent domain in order to allow the
museum to expand into this property.
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum is one of this city's most
valuable cultural institutions. The museum provides a unique and important
service to the city, as well as to the millions of tourists who pass through
every year, educating us about the roots from which our city grew, and reminding
us of the struggles and triumphs of our ancestors. I have long supported the
museum, and will continue to do so. However, I cannot support this plan as it
would result in tenant displacement and the loss of valuable housing stock.
While I support the desire of the museum to expand, and will be happy
to support that expansion through any of a number of other means, I do not
believe this expansion should result in the eviction of tenants from 99 Orchard
Street. In light of the extreme shortage of housing stock which this city faces,
I strongly insist that we not remove from the market needed housing units, even
for the most worthy of causes such as the expansion of this venerable
I have worked, and will continue to work, to cultivate, support and
expand this valuable cultural resource, and I am gratified to see that the ESDC
is doing the same. But in this one instance, I must insist that the ESDC find
another way to assist the museum, one which does not utilize eminent domain and
which does not decrease the already chronically reduced housing stock in our
Thomas K. Duane
DEFENDS RESIDENTS FROM TENEMENT MUSEUM LAND GRAB WHICH WOULD REPLACE REAL
RESIDENTS WITH ACTORS PORTRAYING PAST TENANTS. GOVERNOR'S AID AND THAT OF
CHALLENGERS SOUGHT IN DEFENSE.
New York City 7/30/02: The Republican Liberty Caucus-NY (RLC-NY) calls on Gov.
Pataki and his challengers to defend the residents of 99 Orchard Street in
Manhattan from their neighbor, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. The
Museum seeks to expand at the expense of Lou and Mimi Holtzman, co-owner
Peter Liang and their tenants by having the Empire State Development
Corporation, condemn the modernized building, which the museum will gut and turn
into a tenement-style building. The Holtzman's live in the building, which has
been in the Holtzman family for four generations. Cooper urges concerned
Americans to speak out against the Museum's land grab by contacting Governor
Pataki at Executive Chambers, Albany, NY 12224, (212) 681-4580, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Republican Liberty Caucus-NY Director Richard Cooper contends, "The Lower
East Side Tenement Museum's director Ruth Abram would force out the
tenants of today living there, and have living history interpreters
portray immigrant tenants of the past. All this paid for by New York's
taxpayers, and to benefit a private organization at the expense of private
landowners and their tenants. Libertarian Republicans call this legalized theft.
The Republican Liberty Caucus-NY condemns this condemnation scheme's violation
of property rights as unjust, outrageous, and comically absurd. The Governor and
his challengers need to take a stand to stop a state agency from depriving
owners of their property and residents of their homes. Eminent domain law must
be changed to prevent transferring from one private owner to another." The
Republican Liberty Caucus is a nationwide network for change by electing
libertarian Republicans, according to Cooper, a former Libertarian Party of New
View Pictures From The Rally
Held On 4/28
View Article On Our Situation
Community Board 3 votes a resounding no to N.Y.S. and The Tenement
Museum NO Eminent Domain.
Thank you all ,
Lou / Mimi Holtzman / Peter Liang
The meeting of Community Board 3 on 1/10/02 was successful. The board saw
through her shallowness and voted a resounding NO. However, Ruth Abram went on a
scathing attack of my character. She should be ashamed.
She handed out a booklet full of half truths and lies.
I explained away her lies and told the people the reality, not Ruth's fantasy
Land. The final and full Board vote is January 22nd P. S. 20 on Essex Street -
Thank you all. and stay
Lou & Mimi
The Public Hearing on 1/9/02 was a success. The Lower East Side Business
Association voted NO to the Eminent Domain attack from NYS. My neighbors really
rallied for us.
you all. and stay updated.
Lou & Mimi
Support From Lower East Side Business Improvement District
Click Here To View Their Statement Supporting Us