Guided Tour : The Squats of the East Village
During the 1970s and 80s, many century-old buildings in Alphabet City were severely neglected or abandoned by landlords or city government. Squatters, some of whom were also artists, moved into these vacant tenements and started to repair and maintain them. Rather than support such sweat equity, the City often sought to demonize and force the intrepid residents out. Mayor Giuliani even ordered a tank to occupy East 13th Street during the height of the pitched battles in the streets and courts. In 2002, the City gave up claims to the formerly abandoned properties, and turned them over to the residents to become owners. These are ten such buildings that still stand.