News and Events

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NYC Department of Small Business Services Continues the Avenue NYC Commercial Revitalization Grant Program in the East Village in Partnership with Cooper Square Committee and East Village Independent Merchant Association

The Cooper Square Committee (CSC) and the East Village Independent Merchants Association (EVIMA) are happy to announce that the NYC Department of Small Business Services is continuing the second year of a $100,000 Avenue NYC grant to promote and sustain businesses in the East Village commercial district.

“This grant will enable us to have a full time Project Manager organize the East Village merchants, grow and diversify EVIMA’s membership, and work on specific projects to retain and market the unique businesses in our community. We’re thankful to SBS for this opportunity,” said Steve Herrick, CSC Executive Director. The grant is continuing for a second of three total years, and will enable EVIMA to become self-sustaining.

EVIMA was formed in 2013, and became more active after the 2nd Avenue gas explosion in 2015. EVIMA has dozens of member businesses, and its goal is to protect and strengthen independently owned establishments in the historic and culturally rich East Village, bounded by East 14th St. to Houston St. from 4th Avenue to Avenue D. The Cooper Square Committee is a neighborhood preservation organization that works to preserve affordable housing, small businesses and community/cultural spaces through organizing, social services and development programs.

“EVIMA is excited to partner with Cooper Square Committee on the Avenue NYC Grant program,” said EVIMA co-chairperson, Charles Branstool, owner of Exit 9 Gift Emporium on Avenue A. “CSC and EVIMA share similar values and goals that will lead to a stronger and more vibrant neighborhood. Last year EVIMA partnered with the Lower East Side Partnership to conduct a Commercial District Needs Assessment, which will soon be published by SBS. We are eager to build upon this valuable assessment as we launch new projects this year. Viva East Village!” EVIMA founder and President, Jimmy Carbone, added that “EVIMA’s goals include growing our membership, better representing the diversity of businesses in the East Village, and developing as an organization.”

“It is a priority for us to help communities devastated by the pandemic to recover during this time,” said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “This second round of funding will help revitalize the East Village commercial corridors and bring them back stronger than ever.”

EVIMA and CSC have partnered on the Taste of the East Village festival on East 7th Street for several years, and have co-hosted breakfast meetings and focus groups with small businesses to address issues and share resources. CSC has referred dozens of local merchants to free legal counseling regarding lease issues over the past three years. Last year, CSC worked on an ANHD report called “The Forgotten Tenants: NYC’s Immigrant Small Business Owners” which surveyed over 100 small business owners in several neighborhoods about the challenges they face, and made a set of policy recommendations. These challenges have only intensified amidst the Covid-19 crisis.

“As part of a business retention strategy, we are working with EVIMA members and our NYS elected officials on a plan to reduce the rent burden on small businesses that were forced to shut down temporarily and/or scale back their operations due to Covid-19. Policy interventions are desperately needed to prevent the permanent closure of thousands of businesses across the city,” said Mr. Herrick.

About NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information, follow SBS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Avenue NYC
Avenue NYC is a competitive grant program created by the NYC Department of Small Business Services to fund and build the capacity of community-based development organizations to execute commercial revitalization initiatives. Avenue NYC is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, which targets investments in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. 

CSC Workshop: Staying Lead Safe at Home

This workshop was given on Sep 2, 2020 on Zoom. Click above to watch.

Earlier this month, CSC partnered with the Lead Dust Free NYC Coalition and Dr. Morri Markowitz, the Director of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, for our “Staying Lead Safe at Home” workshop (click the image above to watch a recording of the workshop). We hope this workshop will serve as a comprehensive resource for tenants across NYC with concerns about lead hazards lurking in their aging buildings, especially those with children who will be spending more time at home as schools shift toward a blended curriculum this Fall. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Lead Dust Free NYC Coalition, or CSC’s work to prevent and eliminate lead poisoning in NYC, please contact

Save Our Storefronts (S.O.S.) Update and Info Session, Wednesday, August 19th, 11 AM

Join us to hear updates about the SOS emergency legislation – NYS Bill S-8865 / A10901– and how you can get involved in the campaign for commercial rent relief.

Introduced by NYS Senator Brad Hoylman to the NYS Senate and Assembly Member Harvey Epstein in the NYS Assembly, the bill calls on commercial tenants, landlords and the state to share the burden of the rent crisis. 

The shared-burden model envisions an equation in which negatively-impacted commercial tenants can obtain a proportional amount of rent forgiveness from landlords, and landlords can then obtain a proportional amount of reimbursement from the state. The relief is effective retroactively from March 7th through 180 days past the lifting of the NYS on PAUSE orders. Read more about the proposal. We strongly feel that this shared-burden model is the most fair and practical way to ensure that we get through this crisis intact, together. 

At next Wednesday’s info session, we will:

> Provide a platform to hear many concerns and questions from small business owners and supporters. 
> Provide tools to help you contact your state representatives and move this emergency legislation forward.
> Share information on how you can best spread the word around the state, thus building momentum to ensure a swift passage
> Announce our plan for a rally and press conference to be held in compliance with distancing and mask mandates.  

Working together, we will find a way to create urgency around this matter and insist that our representatives act decisively. Your story matters to us. The set-backs you are facing are impacting us all. Please join us and add your voice to the fight for rent relief. 

Join us on Wednesday August 19 to find out what you can do to help save the city you love.

**Keep spreading the word on social media**

***Forward and share the #SOS campaign widely***

Call out #SOS until NYS takes action on commercial rent relief!!

SEATS STILL AVAILABLE! — Registration Required

“Structural racism.” It’s a somewhat stuffy and bloodless term. But it nevertheless has real meaning, and real consequences. With structural racism, racist ideas and actions get so deeply embedded in the day-to-day workings of every institution in society – health care, employment, education – that it’s made to look normal. With a perspective of tenant organizing, join us for an interactive online workshop to learn about racism in housing, past and present, and what we can do about it moving forward.

Featuring presentations and discussion led by former CSC housing organizer SaMi Chester, CSC housing organizing apprentice Debbie Scott-Gonzalez, CSC lead housing organizer Yonatan Tadele, and more.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the online meeting.

“Save Our Storefronts, Save Our State” (Press Conference, 7/29/2020)

This press conference was held on Zoom on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Watch above or by clicking this link.

Visit & tell your NYS reps to support the Epstein/Hoylman commercial rent relief bill #SaveOurStorefronts

For Immediate Release
Contact: Abigail Ellman / / ‪(347) 830-7014‬

“Save Our Storefronts, Save Our State”

NYC Small Businesses Call Out “SOS” as Pandemic Rent Crisis Threatens To Sink Many

State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Harvey Epstein Join Businesses in Calling for Legislation to Share the Burden

When: Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 9 to 9:45 AM
Where: via Zoom, view the recording above

Read More

HDFC Community Solar Online Workshop: Thursday, 6/25/2020

This workshop was given by Cooper Square Committee and Solar One on Thursday, June 25, 2020, via Zoom. Watch above or by clicking this link.

Learn about Community Shared Solar, save on future electric bills, and help fight climate change. Switching to solar energy is the easiest way to lower our carbon emissions, almost anyone can sign up, no upfront costs, and you’re guaranteed to save money.

Watch our 6/17 workshop on Life Planning Documents:

This workshop was given on Zoom and Youtube on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. Watch above or by clicking this link. Download the Powerpoint here.
Este taller se dio por Zoom y por Youtube el miércoles, 17 de junio de 2020. Assístelo arriba o por hacer clic en este vínculo. Baje una traducción a español de la presentación Powerpoint aquí.

Read More

Rest in Power, Frances Goldin

Dear Cooper Square Committee Community,

Today we are remembering our fierce and inspiring co-founder, Frances Goldin.

On Saturday May 16th after a long gradual decline in health, Fran died in her home on East 11th Street, where she had lived for nearly 50 years. She was 95 years old.

Frances Goldin was an inspirational force for fair and affordable housing throughout New York City, but especially on the Lower East Side, for more than half a century. She was also a figure in the literary world, combining her political conviction with literary discernment and expertise. Fran was proudly radical, dedicating her long life to fighting against injustice and struggling to build a more equitable society. When she saw a wrong that needed to be addressed, she confronted it head-on, with boundless energy and with a combination of leftist conviction and the palpable warmth of human kindness and compassion. 

Read More

SOLD OUT! — our 60th Anniversary Gala tomorrow night

Gala is sold out!

If you have purchased a ticket to our 60th Anniversary Gala for tomorrow night (Wed. Sep. 18th, 175 Delancey Street, 6pm-9pm), we look forward to seeing you.  If you have not purchased a ticket, we’re sorry but the event is sold out.  We are sorry, but the venue cannot accommodate more than 200 people. We cannot accept anyone that did not RSVP via email in advance and pay for their ticket. If you’re unable to attend, we welcome donations on our website at We thank all of our sponsors, advertisers and ticket buyers who have helped make this a successful fundraising event.    Yours truly,  Steve Herrick
Executive DirectorCooper Square Committee

336 W. 17th Street Tenants Launch Rent Strike

Click for PDF of press release with full size photos

We Will Not Stand for Construction as Harassment or Lead Contamination in Our Homes!

Tenants Unveil Massive “RENT STRIKE” Banner, Demand Justice for Months Spent Living Under Intense Construction & End to Unresponsive Management

New York, NY — Tenants from 336 W. 17th Street held a rally and press conference on the morning of July 23rd, 2019, and unfurled a massive banner in protest of the construction as harassment that they feel they have been subjected to since NYC Management, property and asset management firm operated by the Besen Group, began performing gut renovations in their building last year. Tenants were joined by the Cooper Square Committee and Lead Dust Free NYC Coalition, as well as New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, New York State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried and representatives from the offices of City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer while they described the conditions they have lived through. Members of the tenants’ association recounted collapsed ceilings which injured tenants, clouds of dust and debris circulating throughout the building, security concerns which have resulted in theft of tenants’ personal items, and unresponsive management. 

Click here to see the full press release with full-size photos.

332 E. 4th Street Tenants: We Will Not Stand for Lead Contamination or Being Bullied for Calling the City for Inspections!

CONTACT : Jodie Leidecker, (212) 228-8210 x116, jodiel
PDF version of this press release here, with DOHMH lead report attached.

332 E. 4th Street Tenants: We Will Not Stand for Lead Contamination
or Being Bullied for Calling the City for Inspections!

Evan Bell-Owned Building Contaminated with 5X Legal Levels of Lead
During Construction

Tenants Hold Press Conference After NYC Dept. of Health Finds
Lead Dust Mere Hours After Work Begins –– Children Live in Building
Where Construction Grossly Contaminated Common Areas

New York, NY –– Tenants of 332 East 4th Street are holding a press conference today at 10:30
a.m. after they recently received notice that work crews hired by Evan Bell’s Bell and
Company contaminated their building with lead-laden construction dust. The contamination
was the result of unchecked dust from demolition work being performed in the building.

Read More

Today at 5:30pm! Join Community, Faith and Labor Leaders in a Moral March for Housing




Last Saturday over 100 activist tenants, advocate state legislators, and housing organizers joined together in a spirited Town Hall meeting.
Legislators emphasized that with existing rent laws expiring in June, we now have an amazing opportunity to pass progressive bills that would protect tenants from unaffordable rents and unwarranted eviction. (see bills here)
We discussed how important it was for tenants to become super-activists for the next 3 months. Let’s start on Thursday, April 11.

Join Community, Faith and Labor Leaders in a Moral March for Housing

Thursday, April 11, 2019  5:30pm – 8:30pm

Abyssinian Baptist Church

132 West 138th Street (btwn 7th Ave and Lenox)

Take the 2/3 to 135th & Lenox, or B/C to 135th & St. Nicholas


Starting with speakers and a choir, followed by a march to the Adam Clayton Powell State Building at 125th St.

If you have any questions, call us at (212) 228-8210 or e-mail Alex or Jodie.

SAT 4/6: Rent Laws Town Hall

Simultaneous translation provided in Spanish and Cantonese/Mandarin.
Traducción simultánea en español y cantonés / mandarín.



Come out to learn more about the new Rent Stabilization law reforms and universal rent control!

Saturday April 6th, 2pm-4pm

University Settlement’s Speyer Hall, 184 Eldridge Street, (F train to 2nd Av)

If our elected officials see the room filled with tenants, they’ll be motivated to work even harder to pass rent laws that protect us.
NY State Assemblymember Niou – confirmed
NY State Assemblymember Epstein – confirmed
NY State Senator Hoylman – confirmed
NY State Senator Kavanagh – confirmed
Light refreshments served &
simultaneous translation in Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese) provided.
Visit , email, or call (212) 228-8210 for more details.
Download 3 language PDF of flyer here.

Celebrate the 3rd Annual Taste of the East Village on Saturday, October 6th, 2018

Click above to buy your ticket!

New York, NY (August 28, 2018) – Taste of the East Village, the popular outdoor food festival on East 7th Street between Cooper Square and 2nd Avenue, takes places on Saturday, October 6th from Noon to 5 pm.  Tickets are on sale here

The Taste of the East Village brings together around 20 of the East Village’s favorite chefs and restaurants to benefit the Cooper Square Committee’s housing programs, and to promote the Gofundme campaign of EVIMA’s President, Jimmy Carbone, a co-founder of the festival. Local chef at Huertas at 107 1st Avenue, Jonah Miller, is chairperson of the festival committee and has selected many of the participating restaurants.

Ticket holders are entitled to four dishes from participating neighborhood restaurants and eateries, including newcomers to the festival like the Eddy, Fry Guys, Ho Foods, Huertas, Maharlika Filipino Moderno,Virginia as well as returning restaurants like Brick Lane Curry, Porsena, Al Horno Mexican Kitchen, Narcbar and Le Petit Parisien. Dessert venues such as Insomnia Cookies, Sweet Generation Bakery, Veneiro’s and Davey’s Ice Cream will also be joining us.  This list is still in formation and we expect some others to join us.

The first 350 attendees to the festival will receive a gift bag containing complimentary appetizers or drinks at many of the participating restaurants. The festival will also include live music and a deejay, as well as more than a dozen local community and cultural organizations like Fourth Arts Block, Downtown Art, East Village Community Coalition, Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, Solar One, Tenants Taking Control, Lower East Side Ready, Met Council on Housing and many more. Some of the groups will have interactive exhibits.

Cooper Square Statement About the Tech Hub:

The City Council vote approving the disposition of the PC Richards site on East 14th Street for development of a Tech Hub falls short of securing the neighborhood zoning protections we had advocated for in the 3rd and 4th Avenue corridors to the south of the development site. While the Mayor would not agree to a commercial downzoning, Councilmember Carlina Rivera did get the Mayor to agree to some limited protections for the nearly 60 buildings in the 3rd and 4th Avenue corridors, such as 1) the requirement of a “special permit” for new hotels in the area, which makes it unlikely that any will be built; 2) placing 7 buildings in the zone on the Landmarks Preservations Commission’s calendar; and 3) establishing an anti-harassment program in conjunction with HPD.  

Even with these protections, there are a number of adjacent low rise buildings not calendared for landmarking, particularly along 3rd Avenue, that can potentially be acquired and assembled into a larger development site, putting them at risk of demolition by a speculator seeking to develop either a larger mixed use residential or commercial building. For example, 62 and 64 3rd Avenue at 11th St., next to the Moxy Hotel, recently sold for over $22 million. No one pays that kind of money with the intention of preserving a couple of 4 story tenements. We may find out in the very near future what leverage these preservation tools provide at this location.

While there are hundreds of coop and condo owners in the 3rd and 4th Avenue corridors who are likely to see their property values rise, there are nearly 1,000 tenants, and fewer than 100 of them are rent stabilized according to government data sources, leaving them with virtually no protection if their landlord is seeking to vacate and demolish their building.  

Councilmember Carlina Rivera has reached out to stakeholders and issued a statement explaining her efforts to win stronger protections for the community and the many benefits that the Tech Hub can provide to disadvantaged communities on the Lower East Side, especially women and people of color who are underrepresented in the tech industry.  There are many in the community who are pleased that the tech hub is moving forward.

Still, we know that even socially beneficial developments such as the tech hub can have unintended consequences, attracting more upscale development and intensifying displacement pressures that already exist in our community.  Even if we had won these zoning changes, many tenants would still be facing displacement pressures and the potential demolition of some low rise buildings and displacement to make way for 80/20 housing or large community facilities such as a dormitory.

The Cooper Square Committee will outreach to tenants in the 3rd and 4th Avenue corridor who may be at risk of harassment and displacement, and tenants in that area are encouraged to call us if they see signs that their building is up for sale, or has changed ownership. We can help you organize. Meanwhile, the struggle continues to get the Mayor to listen to our community, and work with us to preserve its low rise character. It’s what attracted people to this community, and an important part of what makes New York a magnet for creative professionals. 

2017 Success Stories and Fundraising Appeal

Dear Friends of Cooper Square,

As a supporter of affordable housing and neighborhood preservation, you’ve helped make the Cooper Square Committee (CSC) a vital force in our community.  In 2017 we’ve had some tremendous successes:

COMBATTING PREDATORY LANDLORDS:  CSC worked with Urban Justice Center and St. Nicks Alliance to lead a citywide campaign, Stand for Tenant Safety, to compel the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB ) to confront disruptive renovation in occupied buildings, known as “Construction as Harassment”.  Working with citywide housing groups and local elected officials, the City Council passed 12 bills to strengthen tenant protections, increase fines on bad acting landlords, and create a “Real Time Enforcement Unit” at DOB. (Photo of Mayor deBlassio signing the legislation)


Based on advocacy by the Stop Croman Coalition, Cooper Square Committee and Good Old Lower East Side, the NYS Attorney General investigated several local landlords, resulting in the felony indictment of the notorious Steve Croman and his being sentenced to one year in prison.  Our organizing work with the Toledano Tenants Coalition focussed media attention on him and the lenders that enabled him to acquire and mismanage over 30 buildings, resulting in his filing for bankruptcy and foreclosure on most of his housing portfolio.

BUILDING HOUSING FOR HOMELESS LGBTQ YOUTH:: CSC managed the construction of the Bea Arthur Residence for 18 homeless LGBTQ youth.   Construction is complete and residents should be moving in sometime in January, 2018. 

GREENER AND MORE RESILIENT HOMES:  We enrolled 6 low income buildings in various weatherization and resiliency technical assistance programs to make them more energy efficient and prepared for climate change, and have initiated a series of resiliency workshops for low income cooperatives (HDFC’s) to help them minimize flooding during a natural disaster.  We have assisted the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association in applying for a  Green Housing Preservation Loan in order to install solar panels on the roofs of 5 buildings on East 4th Street. 


The CSC area was designated a Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (N-NORC) 2 years ago.  We are building up this program, holding ongoing senior programming at 2 JASA senior housing sites.  Our workshops covering health, legal and financial topics promote health aging so that seniors can age in place.


STOP PREDATORY LANDLORDS FROM DISPLACING TENANTS: To assure that the Department of Buildings enforces the new laws protecting tenants’ ’rights, we will hold community wide informational workshops about the law and train tenants to monitor enforcement. A donation of $25 will help us create educational material about the package of new tenant protection laws.

KEEP FAMILIES SAFE AND WARM:  We will continue working with low income cooperatives, (HDFC’s), replacing old boilers and drafty windows. The environment as a whole benefits from this reduction of the carbon footprint. A donation of $75 will provide door sweeps and weather stripping for all the windows in two apartments.  

PROVIDE SHELTER FOR HOMELESS LGBTQ YOUTH :  Up to 40% of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, and they face a higher risk of violence and exploitation while homeless. CSC has started pre-development work on another residence for homeless LGBTQ youth in Astoria, Queens. A donation of $100 will help cover a portion of staff time working on this project.

HELP SENIORS AGE IN PLACE:  We are working  to develop a stronger support system for seniors so that they can live independently in our community. A donation of $50 will help us connect a local senior to a home health aide and Meals on Wheels so they can remain in their home.

Please invest in building a healthier, safer and more inclusive Lower East Side/East Village Community. OUR BOARD WILL MATCH THE FIRST $2,500 IN DONATIONS. We accept checks, cash, money orders or you can donate at Thank you from the entire Steering Committee and staff for supporting our work.

Yours truly,

Steve Herrick , Executive Director

Sandy 5 Year Anniversary

Click to enlarge


To join groups across the city for the #Sandy5 rally, march and celebration on Saturday, October 28th, click here.

To RSVP for LESReady!’s family friendly celebration SANDYWEEN on Sunday, October 29th, click here.

Taste of East Village



WHERE: East 7th Street between Cooper Square & 2nd Avenue
WHEN: Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM

A Culinary Festival to benefit The Cooper Square Committee


The Taste of East Village is an outdoor culinary festival on East 7th Street, between Cooper Square and 2nd Avenue, benefiting the Cooper Square Committee’s affordable housing preservation and development work (including the soon to open Bea Arthur Residence for homeless LGBT youth), our environmental greening work, social services, and senior programming. We feature dishes from more than 15 of the East Village’s best restaurants and eateries (see the list below). Come celebrate our amazing East Village and Lower East Side community!  Read More

A statement from CSC and FAB about the Mayor’s Remarks on Jared Kushner

Download PDF of this letter here.


January 11, 2017


Mayor de Blasio seems hopeful that his friendly relationship with Jared Kushner may be of some benefit to New York City, but our community has not benefited at all from Kushner’s ownership of close to forty buildings in the East Village.

Kushner has brought nothing but unaffordable, luxury housing to this community and to NYC at large. While we are in the grips of an intense housing crisis, and homeless rates are at an all-time high & virtually every regulated tenant in the city is facing harassment, Kushner has converted scores of affordable rent regulated apartments into luxury housing that rent for $3,000-$5,000 per month.  In doing so, Kushner has faced allegations of harassment and lack of essential services repeatedly.  Numerous articles have chronicled Kushner’s bad-acting over his four years of ownership here in East Village.

We say to the Mayor that Jared Kushner’s actions are not those of somebody who “cares deeply about New York City.”  We say that Kushner’s actions have contributed greatly to the loss of affordable housing.  Furthermore, if the Mayor stands by his words and thinks Jared Kushner is “reasonable and moderate,” we suggest the Mayor come meet with Kushner tenants in the East Village to hear what they’ve been through under his ownership.



Steve Herrick                                              Risa Shoup
Executive Director                                     Executive Director

Cooper Square Committee                      Fourth Arts Block
61 East 4th Street                                      61 East 4th Street

*REGISTRATION CLOSED* STS Manhattan Town Hall 1/10, 6:30pm, 1 Centre St, 19th FL South

Due to the popularity of this event, we reluctantly must limit participation. We cannot accept new RSVP’s and if you attend without an RSVP, please be aware that you cannot be assured a seat. We are planning a similar event in the Spring. If you’d like to be placed on a waiting list or to be notified about future forums please email Harriet Putterman at . Thank you for your interest and please stay in touch with the Stand for Tenant Safety Campaign by visiting

Click flyer to RSVP.

Download PDF of flyer here.

TUESDAY 1/10: Is your Landlord Using Construction to Harass You? SPEAK OUT!

RSVP by clicking the flyer

We have confirmed our STS Manhattan Town Hall on TUESDAY JANUARY 10TH at 1 Centre Street (19th Fl. South) at 6:30PM. This town hall will be focused on construction-as-harassment issues and how tenants can combat these issues and protect themselves. (This event is part of the Stand for Tenant Safety Coalition, of which CSC is a member. Find out more about STS here.) Let everyone in your organization(s), tenants, friends, and other folks know. We want a big turnout! If you can attend, please fill out this RSVP link so we can get a sense of how many folks can make it.

For more info or any questions, read more on the RSVP page, or contact Harriet Putterman.  You can download a PDF of the flyer here.