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Preservationists Discuss Squatters’ Spaces At New East Village Museum

Museum Of Reclaimed Urban Space

(Credit: Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Preservationists Tuesday were to hold a discussion and tour of a new East Village museum dedicated to squats and occupied spaces.

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation was to hold the event Tuesday evening at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, 155 Avenue C, which opened just this past Dec. 8. The venue is in the space long-occupied by C-Squat – a punk squat back in the seedier and grittier days of the East Village in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

C-Squat was one of many buildings in Loisaida that had grown run down, prompting struggling artists and other squatters to move in. The building that now houses the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space had a half-pipe for skateboarding and graffiti art, and featured punk rock shows.

C-Squat and 11 other Loisaida squats were later purchased by the squatters for $1 in a deal brokered by Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, according to published reports.

The deal stemmed from a lawsuit after police arrested and evicted the residents of several Loisaida squats in 1995. A judge ultimately ruled in favor of the squatters’ argument for adverse possession – that anyone living openly in a building for more than 10 years is considered the owner, according to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

Like many other squats, C-Squat later became a limited-equity co-op, according to published reports. C-Squat has leased its storefront space to the new museum.

The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space describes itself as a museum of “radical history” and urban space activism.

The discussion Tuesday was to focus on the history of C-Squat, and other squatters’ spaces in the area, as well as the history of the new urban space museum.

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