I Have a Basement Apartment. Now What?


I Have a Basement Apartment. Now What?

by Stacey Burgay for Slightly Over Exposed

A few years ago I set out with two other filmmakers to make a documentary about NYC/Housing Issues/Rent Hikes and it’s affects on certain demographics. We were interviewing all sorts of NYers, documenting their living situations and trying to find a unique story to tell. We interviewed, artists, squatters, professionals, young and old. Unfortunately this project now sits on a shelf…

A group of students from Hostos Community College’s Now Program also set out on a project that focused on some illegal housing, the result of their work I HAVE A BASEMENT APARTMENT. NOW WHAT? can be seen tonight (August 7th) AT THE CENTER FOR URBAN PEDAGOGY. You even get a comic book as a parting gift! READ ON!

From 1990 to 2005, more than a third of the new housing created in NYC outside of Manhattan were phantom apartments – illegal conversions of basements and cellars. These invaluable sources of affordable housing, often occupied by New York’s newest immigrants, also happen to violate many of NYC’s building and zoning codes and pose serious safety threats. What should happen to all these homes? Who decides?

This summer, CUP Teaching Artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín and students from the College Now Program at Hostos Community College investigated these hidden homes. The group talked to tenants, landlords, the Department of Buildings, housing lawyers, and advocates to uncover the politics of living underground.

Join us on Friday, August 7 as we present the results of their investigation: “I Have a Basement Apartment. Now What?” – a comic book produced in partnership with Chhaya CDC and Make the Road New York. A dramatic reading and comic-making workshop will be followed by presentations from students and community organizations on mediation strategies and avenues for new legislation. All attendees get a comic.



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