Description & Building Alterations
This pre-law tenement was originally constructed as part of a row of three. The other two buildings have since been demolished. The original owner, John G. Costar, became very wealthy when he sold his previous property to John Jacob Astor for the construction of the Astor House.
This building was opened and occupied in the 1980’s. Some of the squatters utilized oil drum wood burning stoves. They put on art shows and plays in their space and called their gallery and community Bullet Space. In 1998, the New Museum of Contemporary Art held an exhibition that showcased Bullet Space’s art, poetry readings, and performances. In 2002, the building was part of the deal negotiated by the City as part of the UHAB-aided project to obtain mortgages for the squats to become tenant-owned limited equity co-ops. Bullet Space HDFC was the first of these buildings to become tenant-owned. Artist Rolando Politi, who created the “Winter Flowers” installation that adorned La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez Community Garden on East 9th Street and Avenues C, also lives here.
From the NYTimes Abandon It, And They Will Come by Amy Barrett October 6, 2002.
Andrew Castrucci, 292 East Third Street
Moved in 1985. Invested at least $50,000. Squatter monthly payment: $200. New payment: $750.
”Most of the buildings were opened up in the mid-80’s. During the Reagan-Bush era, we were at a pretty strange time politically. It was more than just low rent or taking a free ride. It was about being a part of something culturally that wasn’t mainstream. I feel everybody deserves a little hole in the ground. And I just wanted more freedom to produce the artifacts I was working on. But there’s a lot of pressure living in a situation like this. A lot went down. There were a lot of headaches making sure that no one was selling drugs in the building. You have to think about the possibility of getting kicked out. Now we all own the building. I haven’t celebrated yet. I feel a little numb about the whole thing, because it has been a struggle. I guess we’re not squatters anymore.”
Block : 372 / Lot : 019 / Building Date : 1867 / Original Owner : John G. Costar / Original Use : Residential / Original Architect : Unknown