C-Squat – New York, New York - Atlas Obscura
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Manhattan, New York

C-Squat

A notorious punk house turned co-op. 

In the 1970s tenement vacancies in the Lower East side left some buildings up for grabs, as squatters in need of downtown housing soon discovered. In 1989, squatters discovered the building that would become C-squat.

It gutted by fire and without stairs or landings, but this didn’t stop them from transforming the space.The squat became famous because its residents repaired it after it fell into dangerous decay. Famous punk shows were held in the two-story basement (which resulted from a cave-in). A half pipe was also installed. 

In 2002, C-squat joined a network of nearby squats to negotiate the sale of the buildings from the city. The plan went like this: Each building would be sold for $1 USD to a nonprofit intermediary. The nonprofit would then take out loans on the squatters’ behalf to renovate the buildings and bring them up to code. Once the renovations were finished and the building was up to code, it would be transferred to its residents, along with the accumulated renovation debt.

In 2012, the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) moved into the ground floor space to earn rent and keep their monthly co-op payments affordable. In 2015, the squat officially became a low-income co-op.

Know Before You Go

Accessible from L Train at 1st Avenue

Contributed by
Oliver Hong Oliver Hong
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