In Bed-Stuy, Another Collective Bites the Dust

By Asaf Shalev - Source:


Lin Laurin grew up in a large happy family in Sweden and when she moved to New York a decade ago she didn’t want to live alone in one of Manhattan’s famously cramped apartments. Instead, Laurin opted for Bed-Stuy, where she found a 2,700-sq.-ft. loft on Bedford Avenue. It was just one big, long-neglected open space on the second floor. For $3,000 (not including utilities) it was a steal.

Quickly she gathered a community of artists and for the next nine years they would transform the old warehouse into Loft 910—a home, a studio, and a venue for performances. “I always wanted to live in a big collective house my whole life,” Lin says. “I have always found that inspiring.”

That dream is coming to an end this month because the landlord wants to renovate and go upscale, and the artists can no longer sustain the steep rent increases. This past year they were paying $6,500 a month including utilities—about double the rate from when they started.

It’s a familiar tale in the gentrifying city – artists move in to a low-rent neighborhood and are forced out later when the rents go north. It’s a cycle that some artists, like Laurin, resent, and which others are now trying to slow down.

The collective of artists that Laurin assembled built the kitchen, the bathrooms, and most of the eight bedrooms in the Bedford Avenue loft. The building had barely any windows, so, in some places, the artists knocked out the bricks to make them.

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