In November of last year, residents began moving into the first completed building at Essex Crossing, the project now under construction in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA). Today, city officials and community leaders will gather at the building, 175 Delancey St., for the its official grand opening. As we first reported last month, the building has been named in honor of Lower East Side activist Frances Goldin.
Goldin, 93, is a lifelong affordable housing crusader, a hero to many in the neighborhood. She was co-founder of the Cooper Square Committee and fought Robert Moses’ urban renewal schemes. For many decades, she also battled for affordable housing on the Seward Park site. When the community finally came together on a compromise plan in 2012 that called for 50% affordable housing on SPURA, Goldin called it, “not perfect but better than nothing.” In endorsing the deal, she said, “Let’s see this thing built for ourselves and our children.”
175 Delancey includes 99 apartments for low-income seniors, a senior center run by Grand Street Settlement, the GrandLo Cafe also operated by the settlement house and a medical center from NYU Langone.
In the New York Times today, David Santiago, a former Seward Park site tenant, is one of those interviewed. Santiago was just 6 in 1967 when his family was forced from their Delancey Street tenement. He just moved into an apartment in the Essex Crossing building.
We’ll have more after today’s grand opening. In the meantime, check out this video from 2009. Fran Goldin was the first speaker at an annual rally held on the SPURA site to keep pressure on city officials to finally build something. As you can see, she does not mince words.