Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Not Necessarily This Day In Knickerbocker Village History: June 8-12, 1935

A picture of the beautiful entrance to the Fred F. French Building.
From The Times, two articles combined into one. Seems like Fred French was one hard-nosed SOB, perhaps Steinbrenner's relative:
"Fourteen residents of Knickerbocker Village, the model apartment house block at Market and Monroe Streets on the lower East Side, have received letters from the 'Fred F. French Management Company, an affiliate of the company which erected the apartments, saying their leases would not be renewed on Oct. 1. This was announced last night by Joseph P. Selly, resident of the Knickerbocker Village Tenants Association, a militant group that led a rent strike at the apartments just after the first tenants had begun to move in last November 'In view of your evident unhappiness in your tenancy, and our apparent Inability to remedy your Expressed dissatisfaction, we believe it desirable for your sake, as well as ours, that your tenancy should end at the expiration of your present lease," the letters said. Dr. Edwin B. Burgum, editor of The Knickerbocker News, a paper of the tenants' association; Andrew Stewart, member of the association's executive committee; Mr. Selly and Harold Baumbach, the paper's cartoonist, were among those to receive letters.

More than 600 of the 1,200 members at the Knickerbocker Village Tenants Association met last night in the basement of 10 Monroe Street, one of the houses in the village, to protest against the refusal of the Fred P. French Management Company to grant renewal of leases to fourteen leaders In the tenant group.
Two petitions were put into circulation, and a mass taxicab visit to the French offices at 551 Fifth Avenue was set for Saturday morning at 10:30. Most of the tenants at the meeting, 100 of whom made up an overflow gathering In a kindergarten room nearby, signified their intention of joining the mass protest. One petition, addressed to the French corporation, said that "the activities initiated and carried on by these tenants have been in the past, and are now, of real benefit to us.'' "We, therefore" It continued, "here express our desire that these tenants remain with us in Knickerbocker Village and that you withdraw your letter to them of June 8 refusing them permission to renew their leases." The other petition quoted Section 12 of the State Housing Law, which empowered the State board to investigate the affairs of "limited housing companies": and Section 10 of the same law requiring the housing board to halt "either by mandamus or injunction" any act of such company which the board may deem "prejudicial to the interests of the
public." It addressed itself to the State Board of Housing, and in it the Fred F. French Management Company was accused of "anti-social action in refusing to allow renewal of the leases. Joseph P. Selly, president of the tenants' group and one of the tenants who was refused a new lease, presided"

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