Tenants demand affordable housing at home of hip hop

Musicians and elected officials joined tenants Monday to celebrate a Sedgwick Avenue building's distinction as the birthplace of hip hop and to push for continued affordable housing.

The New York State Historic Preservation Office recently determined 1520 Sedgwick Ave. is eligible for the State and National Register of Historic Places. Although the building is less than 50 years old, officials said its cultural significance makes it worthy.

While tenants celebrated the honor, they decried the loss of affordable units. In February, owner BSR Management, informed tenants it will buy out of the Mitchell-Lama affordable housing program and convert the property to market-rate units.

DJ Kool Herc, a former tenant and the man who the state credits with founding hip hop, said affordable housing is disappearing at an alarming rate throughout the city.

Tenants have formed the "Save 1520 Sedgwick Ave. Coalition." The group is calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to issue a moratorium on buyouts of all city-funded housing.

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