Building Owned By Italian-American Museum Is On Market For $13 Million

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A grandmother who has lived in the same Little Italy apartment since 1962 was back in court Monday, fighting to keep her home.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, Adele Sarno, 85, might be forced to leave her apartment. She has been fighting her landlord – which happens to be the Italian-American Museum – since 2010 to stay in the Mulberry Street apartment where she has lived for more than half a century.

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“If it’s possible, I’d loved to stay in my home. If I can’t like I said, I have to try my best to go someplace, you know?” Sarno said. “But I’m hoping I can say.”

When Sarno moved into the apartment, her rent was only $150. She now pays $820 to the Italian-American Museum below.

It turns out that the museum is selling the entire building to get out of debt itself.

Many political activists and city officials have come to Sarno’s defense, noting that Sarno has lived in the community her whole life.

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“Eighty-five years living on Mulberry Street, being asked to leave that street; that community where she feels safe and secure; where otherwise she would be very vulnerable in any other community,” said Victor Papa of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council. “She doesn’t know any other neighborhood.”

Added Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, “Yes, we are putting pressure on the museum; we have a whole group of attorneys, and we want to find a solution that works for Ms. Sarno where she can live her life comfortably.”

A compromise could not be reached with the museum on Monday, but a judge did grant a stay to allow Sarno to remain in the apartment a little bit longer.

Attorneys for the museum would not speak to CBS2 on camera and did not immediately return a request for comment.

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The building where Sarno lives is listed for sale at $13 million.