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New Group Called TUFF-LES Forms to Advocate For Waterfront Residents

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A new group has been created to represent the interests of residents living in buildings along the East River. Here’s the news release they put out last night:

Bridging the gap of historically inadequate Community Outreach in the LES Waterfront Community is the Goal! New Alliance of Lower East Side Resident Leaders Say: Local resident leaders have formed a new alliance to help provide more effective flows of information between local residents and CBO’s, developers, elected officials, Community Board 3, etc. The resident leaders of Land’s End I Tenant Association, Land’s End II Tenant Association and Two Bridges Tower have formed a new community group; Tenants United Fighting for Lower East Side or TUFF-LES. The formation of this group is in response to a growing sentiment that efforts to reach out to the Lower East Side waterfront community have long been inadequate and selective, resulting in a number of so-called community developments, events & uses that do not appear to have actual community input or involvement.

  • Residents need to know what’s going to happen with the Extell Development in terms of affordable units and an affordable supermarket.
  • Residents want to take ownership of park space programming, and oversee maintenance and care of the East River Esplanade.
  • Residents want to be informed and drive the uses for Piers 35, 36 & 42. Residents need to know about the alleged impacts or benefits of the proposed Healthcare Chaplaincy Network development.
  • Our community is underserved in a number of key areas; we need more youth programs to keep our kids engaged and out of trouble, more affordable daycare & afterschool options for working households with threadbare support and more active but targeted and responsible community policing which is why we want to help direct and focus resources, funding and efforts where they are most needed

Residents want to preserve the current stock of affordable housing and make sure that any future development of housing is responsible and affordable to residents of our community district. In recent years residents have grown concerned as we’ve lost our local supermarket, seen an increase in commercial and luxury interests in our neighborhood and have noticed a general uptick in more transient folks moving in. These influences in many cases are making it difficult for long-term residents of modest means to stay in the community they love. We need to make up for the lacking outreach in our community and take a more proactive stance. Any requests for comment may be sent to the following:

Tenants United Fighting For Lower East Side
c/o Land’s End I Tenant Association
257 Clinton Street, Lobby Office
New York, NY 10002

The statement was put out by Marc Richardson, the tenant leader at Lands End I.  Steering committee members listed include: Tanya Castro, Daisy Echevarria, Sheila Hart, Trever Holland, Aaron Gonzalez and Richardson.


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  1. I particularly enjoy the part where they are concerned about “transient” people moving in. Generally, people are “transient” when they don’t have a lifetime guarantee of paying 30 percent of adjusted monthly income (regardless of what that is) for an apartment in a desirable part of New York City. These so-called “transients” move because either they got a job in a new city (god forbid that happens) or they needed to rent an apartment within their price range. Finally, I think it is the job of the community to keep its kids out of trouble. Not every poor community has its kids so frequently getting into “trouble.”

  2. Thanks Rima!

    We are not kidding ourselves; this will be challenging as it
    will require committed, informed and serious residents such as yourself to
    invest their personal time, intellectual capital and energy in directing
    outcomes in our communities that we all can be happy with.

    We just think that outside entities being self-interested and
    focusing on their respective missions are not best suited to divining resident
    concerns and often resort to cherry-picking which ones they will consider
    representative. But getting folks to rise above petty differences,
    out-sized egos and conflicting interests will be a challenge for any group to

    So the initial objective would be to act as an objective conduit of information to
    and from our constituent residents and applicable public or private entities and be
    an amplifier of selected issues when necessary.

    The mission is definitely important; but its effectiveness as always will largely depend on the people. We’ve built it, now they must come.

  3. To be fair the remark about transient people isn’t aimed against transient people, rather it is the impact of catering to a larger transient population on the surrounding community and the long-term residents who are left to deal with those impacts that creates concerns.

    Being snarky is cute and easy; why not focus your intellect on more meaningful dialog – something that gets us all to a mutually acceptable solution.

    You are talking about a significant population of people that are representative of even more people throughout this city facing similar gentrification. Society is supposed to work for people regardless of their capability, not the other way around; otherwise, we may as well return to every man for himself where I can just club the next guy and take his stuff. After all, what keeps society from descending into a true survival of the fittest? You think physically weak rich folks would be able to keep what they have if it weren’t for a “re-distribution” of power that our society affords us all? How dare you suggest that just because you think that you “work” that you deserve more credit than someone who needs a subsidy in order to have shelter. You better hope that society doesn’t change the rules of the game against you and your ilk and you find yourself needing assistance as a younger generation than yours may tell you to quit your belly-aching.

    Why should people regardless of their socioeconomic status who decide to settle down in a community have it wrested away from them for any reason? People shouldn’t be expected to remain silent while their cost of living is going up because outside interests blind or indifferent to their effects want to build hotels, luxury apartments and expensive venues. They are entitled to try and we’re entitled to push back.

    The Lower East Side for decades was plagued with drugs, crime, poverty and characteristic neglect. Many of us lived here through all that and yes I like many others have a job too. For the 30 plus years I’ve lived on the LES I’ve been employed and haven’t qualified for a subsidy for almost 20 years. I make well above the national average income; yet I could not afford to live in the same apartment that I’ve lived in for more than the last 20 years and raised my children in but for the activism of fellow resident leaders and myself. Had we remained silent we would have been priced out period.

    You should be joining the cause as I detect a little bitterness about the fact that you’re likely paying well above 30% of your income on rent, which by the way is not a standard pulled out of thin air. When it comes to necessities like food, shelter, healthcare, safety and education I feel we have an obligation to ensure that they are accessible to all.

    Even you.

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