Tenants fight landlord lawsuit to undo rent freeze

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Tenants defend the rent freeze. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A group of tenants from around the city are hoping to intervene in a lawsuit that was filed in July aimed at stopping the rent freeze authorized a month earlier by the Rent Guidelines Board.

That lawsuit was filed by the Rent Stabilization Association, an organization that represents around 25,000 landlords in New York City.

On Tuesday morning, the tenant group announced its intention to fight the litigation at a rally held at Foley Square, near the courthouses. The group, dubbed the Rent Justice Coalition, includes tenant and civic groups from around the city with legal representation by Legal Aid Society, Goddard Riverside and the Urban Justice Center.

Event organizer Larry Wood of Goddard Riverside told the crowd of tenants and activists, “The RSA says the Rent Guidelines Board used criteria they shouldn’t have. The RSA claims tenant affordability shouldn’t have been considered. It’s outrageous to say they’re not supposed to think about tenant hardship.”

The suit had argued that the issue of affordability shouldn’t be handled by the RGB, but by government-sponsored rent relief subsidies.

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This restaurant flipper says he’ll be keeping the East Side Diner

Nick Kaloudis comes from a family in the restaurant business. His cousin is the owner of Tivoli. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Nick Kaloudis comes from a family in the restaurant business. His cousin is the owner of Tivoli. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

After nearly four decades, the East Side Café on East 23rd Street, west of First Avenue, closed earlier this summer. However, unlike so many Manhattan businesses that have been shutting their doors for good, this was just temporary, with the place sold, renovated and then re-branded as the East Side Diner. Technically, the place had always been a diner, so the name change was simply a matter of hammering home what the places does, according to the new owner, Nick Kaloudis.

Kaloudis, 38, comes from a family long ensconced in the diner biz; his cousin Gus Kassimis is the owner of the soon-to-be-opened Tivoli at the former Lyric Diner space on Third Avenue.

Together, Kaloudis and other family members have purchased 17 diners around the city, and whenever possible the properties they’re in. However, Kaloudis flips the businesses rather than run them. The East Side Diner, however, will be different. This is the first time he’s purchased a business on his own due to the former owner, Spiros Mouzakitis, wanting to retire.

“He’s been on the same block for 38 years,” explained Kaloudis. “After a while you’re tired of 15-16 hour shifts.”

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T&V’s search for the best burgers

sept15-burgerThe Schnipper’s Classic at Schnipper’s

By Sabina Mollot

Town & Village presents a series of reviews of burgers available at local restaurants. While there’s certainly no shortage of places that serve this American staple, the question is simply where to get the most bang for your (typically) eight to sixteen bucks. In related news, September 18 is National Cheeseburger Day.

For this review, we headed to Schnipper’s, a place that prides itself on its comfort food, and burgers are just part, albeit a large part, of the menu. Of a dozen burger options to choose from, we picked the Schnipper’s Classic ($9).

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