2007_07_arts_1520.jpgA while back we reported on possible changes at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, more widely known as "the birthplace of hip hop." Tenants of the apartment complex, as well as its supporters, have been fighting to get the building landmarked. Just as important, they want to keep the apartments rent stabilized.

At 9:30 this morning DJ Kool Herc, who is credited with inventing the genre in the building's rec room, rallied the troops to draw attention to the cause. The press conference announced that the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation approved a July 2nd application to make the building eligible as an historic landmark, citing it "meets the eligibility criteria being that it is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history."

The event this morning (which Senator Chuck Schumer attended) was held to celebrate that fact, but also to draw attention to the looming issue of protecting the building's affordable housing status. Newsday reports:

The DJ [Kool Herc] moved with his Caribbean immigrant family into the building when it first opened in 1970. Designed for middle-income families, rents were regulated under the Mitchell-Lama housing program.

But after a 20-year limit expired, the building's owners are allowed to buy the property out of the program. Tenants got a letter in February saying the owner, BRS management, planned to do just that, residents said.

There is still work to be done to prevent its owners from converting the property to house market-rate rentals, but for now the future of the past is looking a little brighter, despite the rainy rally earlier.