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June 1985

Tenants and housing
activists demonstrated just
how sharply the stakes have
risen in New York City's
housing battles with a May
4th march and rally that
united the widest coalition
of housing organizations this
city has seen in many years.
Ranging from organizations of the homeless to
tenants of upper-middle
income tax-abated hi-rises
and over 30 organizations in
between, some 250 people
stepped off on a bright
Saturday afternoon from the
West 44th Street site where
three buildings were illegally demolished by one of
the city's biggest developers
last January. The group
marched through the nearby
neighborhood of Clinton
where local residents are
resisting growing speculation in the wake of plans for
the redevelopment of Times
Square. A five-piece brass
band, a group of balladeers
from the Lower East Side
singing songs of neighborhood protest, a host of banners and a medley of picket
signs filed past other casualties of the city's housing
wars, pausing at a nearempty Single-Room-Occupancy hotel at Ninth Avenue
and 57th Street, the manager
of which was jailed for tenant
harassment the week before.
The group rallied and
grew to over 400 at 56th
Street and Fifth Avenue,
across the street from where
builder Donald Trump
landed $56 million in city
tax abatements for his commercial and residential
Trump Towers which houses
some of the world's most
expensive apartments and
most exclusive shops.
Speakers, including Jewell
Bryant of Parents and


Friends on the Move, an

organization of homeless
people, Reverend Calvin
Butts of Harlem's Abyssinian
Baptist Church, AI DeNully
of the Eleanor Bumpers Coalition and Margarita Lopez of
the Lower East Side Joint
Planning Coalition described
both a growing housing crisis and a growing movement
for change. After the rally,
some 50 demonstrators
entered the public mall on
the Towers groundfloor
creating a stir amongst
browsers and tourists. Police
requested the group to
leave, but arguing that the
tax-abated mall , was public
property, the demonstrators
stayed put until a cordon of
security and maintenance
staff-even waiters dressed
in Trump's gold-braided
motif-linked arms and
forced the group out.
Another group of demonstrators entered the upper
level of the mall but were
rousted by Trump's guards.
Before they were herded
out, however, they draped
their banners over the balcony railing and, together
with the throng of protestors
below, sent up a chant of
'Housing for People, Not for
Profit' which echoed off the
multi-million dollar atrium
and plaza .D T.R.

Galen KIrkland of We.t Harlem CommunIty OrganIzatIon dl.pute.

pollee on Trump 'owen' prIvate property rIghts.

. . _ r unfurled from
Trump ' _ r balcony.