If you don't really live in your apartment, and also tell a psychiatrist that you hate it, you might be evicted. Michael Tsitsires had a $104 per month studio (you read that right - it's rent-stabilized) at the Windemere, an SRO at West 57th and Ninth Avenue, but now he's been told to give up the apartment by a civil court judge, after the building sued to evict him. Tsitsires had "abandoned the apartment to live on the streets, in the park, on stoops and at his friends' homes" and even applied for public housing because he claims he's homeless. Tsitsires says he should keep the apartment, because to him "living in an apartment" means it's a place to store stuff, pick up, and let his girlfriend shower - even though he's not actually residing there. Well, of course! Judge Gerald Lebovits ruled, "This court is not condemning [Tsitsires] to a life of homelessness. Whether by choice or circumstance, [he] is already homeless...The Legislature's objective of protecting the housing stock will not be advanced by allowing respondent to use the subject apartment as he did."
The Daily News has some interesting background on the Windemere, which used to be a luxury building back at the turn of the century; this quote, in particular, was telling: "Later, it evolved into an SRO and became notorious in the 1980s when its former managers were arrested for harassing tenants by moving in prostitutes, kicking in doors and ransacking rooms." A neighbor of Tsitsires implies that after the managers' harrassment, Tsitsires changed and "didn't trust anybody."