NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some rent-stabilized tenants in an Upper West Side building were furious this week, after a gym opened up in their building and they were told they were forbidden from using it.
As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, the tenants in the Stonehenge Village building, at 120-196 W. 97th St. between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues, now have elected officials behind them.
Jean Dorsey said she found out the gym would be, in her words, “only for the market-rate tenants, period.” A sign appeared on the door ordering gym users not to hold the door for anyone, she said.
“You don’t get to make me a second class citizen in my own home — just not going to happen,” Dorsey said.
More than half the tenants at Stonehenge Village are rent-stabilized.
“I don’t like to fight,” Dorsey said. “But if you make me fight, I like to win.”
But management has not budged, tenants said.
City Public Advocate Letitia James has now taken up the tenants’ cause.
“We are in the midst of pursuing legal options – including, but not limited to, filing a complaint with the New York City Human Rights Commission.”
But some residents said restricting the gym is perfectly fair.
“I kind of think it is fair, because the people who do pay more should maybe get more amenities for the building,” said a tenant named Miriam who pays market-rate rent.
The building had once been designated as Mitchell-Lama housing, part of a program dating back to 1955 that provides affordable rental and co-op housing to middle-income families, according to a DNAInfo report.
The management company and the tenants signed an agreement in 2006 to maintain existing rent-stabilized units, but the new gym for market-rate tenants only is aimed specifically at those who expect amenities with their higher rents, a spokeswoman told the publication.
Spokeswoman Marcia Horowitz told the publication the company has invested $5 million toward upgrades to a common area used by all residents, and said the building needs market-rate tenants to survive financially.
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