A retired Japanese interpreter gets to keep her $992-a-month East Village studio apartment thanks to her sushi rolling skills. Seriously. Sushi, what can't it do?
Masako Mogi has been living in her East Sixth Street studio since 1980. But for the past six years has been fighting to keep her rent-stabilized digs because her landlord says her primary residence is actually a cabin in Vermont she bought in 1990. To prove she's never around they showed the court that Mogi used a "below-average" amount of electricity in her tiny apartment. But Mogi's lawyers had a reason for that: Like many New Yorkers she eats out a lot, orders takeout and when cooking at home makes sushi—which doesn't require much power.
Mogi also got neighbors to come and testify that she was "constantly" in the building. One even spoke for her after she won in court because, she told reporters, she was "so excited I can't talk." So what did her lawyer say after the six-year rent war ended? "She's overcome. She's had four landlords during her case. They put her through a lot."
But really? $992 for a studio really isn't that amazing when you can get a four-bedroom in this town for $331.76.