One of Harlem's most famous early 20th Century prewar buildings received some coverage recently on how the residents had an opportunity to own the building several decades ago. Graham Court at ACP/7th Avenue and 116th Street is the sister apartment building to the famous Apthorp on the Upper West side and the city wanted to offer the building over to renters in 1980's so they can convert it into a coop. Back in one of the worst decades of Harlem history, landlords just abandoned buildings and left the tenants on their own. In the article, longtime renter Laconia Smedley remembers those years especially since residents had to use the fire hydrant outside to get water to bathe in (since the building had that service turned off).
The government owned Graham Court in those years and would offer it up to the renters if sixty percent of them agreed upon it. A building conversion of historic proportions would have happened at that point but the vote fell short by four. From what we have heard about the sales in those days, apartments in city-owned buildings were being sold for around $400 (cheaper than an iPhone) each but many of the low-income renters were fearful of taking on the financial responsibility of maintaining the building. Get the rest of the details in the Daily News: LINK
. More on Graham Court's history and photos can be found in our past post: LINK
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