Our apartment has never had the heat cut off out of spite, and we've never been subjected to threats of eviction if our rent was a few days late. But perhaps that's because we pay market value for our place on Delancey, and aren't Chinese. An article in the Times details how Madison Capital, an Upper East Side real estate firm, is reportedly using strong-armed tactics to "persuade" Chinese rent-stabilized tenants on the border of Chinatown and the Lower East Side to leave to make room for gentrifying rubes like us.

58-year-old garment worker Zhi Qin Zheng has lived at 61 Delancey for 30 years, and raised both her children there. Madison Capital has seemingly tried every trick in the book to get rid of her: installing cameras in the hallways, demanding that Chinese residents remove New Year decorations, and threatening her with eviction if rent was a day or two late. When ploys like accusing one Chinese mother of two of being a prostitute don't work, they offer buyouts of up to $60,000.

But this is home for Zheng and the other tenants, many of whom arrived from the Fujian Province decades ago. “It is battles all the time here; lots of people are leaving,” Zheng tells the reporter through an interpreter, “I know my rights, but I am nervous.”

And she should be, given that Madison Capital bought her building and neighboring 55 Delancey for $20 million in 2008 (they went for $6 million in 2003) and must charge "a minimum of $6,500 per apartment" monthly to make a profit.

Madison Capital's exploits have been detailed before by the Village Voice, and the Chinatown Tenants Union has sued to protect the tenants' right to hang decorations and have their apartments repaired. Asked if she would leave her apartment for a payout or otherwise, Zheng says, "“My income is not high. I may be a short-timer, but where do I go? Where? No. This is a home. Why should money make me move?”