74-year-old “Femme Fatale” Kicked out of Apartment, Couch-Surfing in Style

Written by NYPress on . Posted in Blog, Breaking News, Our Town Downtown.


Photo Courtesy of WIki Commons

by Alissa Fleck

Seventy-four-year-old Pearl Grossberg was recently evicted from her W. 12th St. rent-stabilized apartment, and has been couch-surfing ever since, reports Gothamist. Six years ago Grossberg got caught retiling her apartment—a violation of her rent stabilization contract—which resulted in a series of legal actions by her landlord that eventually got her thrown out. Grossberg had lived in the apartment for 44 years.

The apartment, for which Grossberg was paying less than $1,000, was re-sectioned into a two-bedroom for $3,800, according to Gothamist. “It’s all about money and greed,” said the resentful Grossberg. She has been couch-surfing at friends’ places since January, and sees no easy resolution for her predicament.

This is not the first time Grossberg, a longtime NYC resident, has known fame. She’s a “self-proclaimed Beatnik,” Gothamist reports, and was formerly a figure on the New York jazz scene. She had various affairs with notable musicians over the years, including Les McCan. “Nothing about me is traditional,” she told the weblog. After beating breast cancer in 1997, she became something of a fitness guru. Now, financial troubles keep her from aspiring to the former lifestyle and frequenting some of the old haunts.

Situations like Grossberg’s are not unusual, as landlords around the city are often eager to do away with rent-stabilized and rent-controlled tenants, many of whom are holdovers from the early 70s when such laws were instituted to keep prices from spiking in post-war buildings. They were meant to protect the working class, explains Gothamist, but today many of these apartments house the elderly around the city. There are currently 1 million rent-stabilized apartments, and 40,000 rent-controlled apartments in NYC.

The differences between rent control and rent stabilization are convoluted, but involve a maximum rent versus a cap on rate of change, respectively.

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