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Ours to Lose: When Squatters Became Homeowners in New York City

Ours to Lose: When Squatters Became Homeowners in New York City (Paperback)

£22.50
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Synopsis

Though New York's Lower East Side today is home to high-end condos and hip restaurants, it spent decades as an infamous site of blight, open-air drug dealing, and class conflict an emblematic example of the tattered state of 1970s and '80s Manhattan. Those decades of strife, however, also gave the Lower East Side something unusual: a radical movement that blended urban homesteading and European-style squatting into something never before seen in the United States. Ours to Lose tells the oral history of that movement through a close look at a diverse group of Lower East Side squatters who occupied abandoned city-owned buildings in the 1980s, fought to keep them for decades, and eventually began a long, complicated process to turn their illegal occupancy into legal cooperative ownership. Amy Starecheski here not only tells a little-known New York story, she also shows how property shapes our sense of ourselves as social beings and explores the ethics of homeownership and debt in post-recession America.

Amy Starecheski is associate director of the Oral History Master of Arts program at Columbia University.

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