Here was the scene in front of the former Rivington House nursing facility Sunday morning. In this photo from Jon W., you can tell that some people have now taken up residence in the vestibule of the infamous Lower East Side property.
Residents who live nearby tell us they’ve been there for some time and that the conditions on the sidewalk alongside the building, 45 Rivington St., have improved of late. At least one man sleeping on Rivington House’s doorstep has been sweeping the sidewalk on a regular basis. There’s a sign perched on the steps that reads, “We Shall Overcome.”
Jon told us, “The new owners neglect to clean the sidewalks and stairs, leaving a daily mess for the community.
I was glad to see a group of homeless people have taken shelter and cleaned it up.”
As it turns out, the guys are apparently not homeless, at least not in the traditional sense. Christopher Marte, a community activist, told us he spoke with them a few days ago. They are young European travelers on a tight budget and were simply looking for a place to sleep. They had no clue about the significance of the spot they’d chosen as a crash pad.
Last spring, Slate Property Group, Adam America Real Estate and China Vanke purchased the property for $116 million after deed restrictions were mysteriously lifted. Multiple investigations have been swirling ever since. In the Wall Street Journal today, a spokesperson for the developers expressed confidence that they will eventually be able to move forward with their luxury condo conversion.
Other people are expressing themselves, using Rivington Street as a canvas. Here are a couple of additional photos from the Facebook page of Neighbors to Save Rivington House: