Very interesting verdict: A tenant paying $104 a month for a studio at the landmark (if rundown) old Windermere at 400 West 57th Street but actually sleeps in Central Park cannot be evicted. The Post reports that an appeals court ruled in Michael Tsitsires's favor:
The landlord, TOA Construction, said that means his "primary residence" is the streets - and he should clear out of his studio in the former Windemere building.
Civil Court Judge Gerald Lebovits agreed, and gave them the OK to give Tsitsires the bum's rush. "This court is not condemning [Tsitsires] to a life of homelessness," he ruled last year. "Whether by choice or circumstance, [he] is already homeless."
The Appellate Term reversed that decision, saying they refused to find a tenant "maintains his primary residence on a park bench."
The panel noted that Tsitsires, who gets Supplemental Security Income disability payments, had lived in the building for 35 years and keeps his "his clothing and personal belongings in the apartment and received mail there."
The 2-1 decision also found his "homeless" lifestyle is the product of deep, longstanding emotional difficulties, fueled by a panic disorder and substance abuse problems. He is so far gone, his testimony had to be taken at a hotel within his "safe zone."
The safe-zone is a 10 block radius of his home.
For more about the history of the building, check out the Landmarks Preservation Commission's designation status report (PDF). Here's part of it:The Windermere, constructed in 1880-81, is significant as the oldest-known large apartment complex remaining in an area that was one of Manhattan’s first apartment-house districts. With its exuberant display of textured, corbelled, and polychromatic brickwork, the Windermere complex is a visually compelling, imposing, eclectic, and unified group of three buildings anchoring the southwest corner of Ninth Avenue and West 57th Street. Adding to its significance is the Windermere’s role in the history of women’s housing in New York City. In the late 1890s, in an era in which housing options for single, self-supporting women were relatively limited, the Windermere was recognized as a remarkable home for a substantial population of these so-called “New Women.” As such, it appears to have anticipated later residential projects in the city catering specifically to bachelor women. One tenant tells the Post it's not the nicest, but "at least I have heat and hot water."