a tale of a few cities

Duchess of Carnegie Hall (No More)

Posted in artists, New York City, Photography, Real Estate by petercombe on May 22, 2011
 (Photo: Josef Astor)

Editta Sherman, a 98 year old artist had been living upstairs from Carnegie Hall in a rent controlled studio since 1946, paying $650 a month in rent until her eviction last year. It all started in 2007 when Carnegie Hall announced a $200 million renovation project. 18 studios including Sherman’s were occupied at the time. After a defiant fight Sherman and the other remaining tenants, victims of the never-ending struggle between art and commerce, were forced to move out.

UPDATE (May 27): Just saw ‘Bill Cunningham New York‘ where there is repeated footage and mention of the Carnegie Hall artists’ plight. It is a shame that NYC Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg didn’t intercede nor offer a statement from his office. Surely the powers that be at Carnegie Hall could have made an exception for two national treasures, Editta Sherman and 81 year old Bill Cunningham. In 2008 Cunningham was awarded the title chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture and spent much of the (his) ceremony giddily snapping pictures of those in attendance. 

A sad chord is struck later in the film as Cunningham views the replacement suites on offer, all featuring splendid views of Central Park.  In his chosen new digs he had the appliances removed from the kitchen to make more room for his many filing cabinets.

Further documentation of the Carnegie injustice can be seen in Josef ‘Birdman’ Astor’s ‘Lost Bohemia‘ which was just released in New York last week.

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