The Daily News reports on East Side resident John Burke's legal victory:
The ruling means a disabled bartender who has lived in a dark, ground-floor Yorkville studio for 35 years...gets to keep his kitchen, while the rest of the tenants, including those in the $5,900 fifth-floor penthouse, have to keep climbing stairs.
“We won? I can’t believe it,” said John Burke, 67, the Irish immigrant who has occupied the rent-stabilized studio at 318 East 84th St. since 1977.
Burke, who worked as a hotel bartender and concierge until he became disabled in a 1995 accident, credited his lawyers and the staff of State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) for his legal victory.
Burke said that he was willing to accommodate his landlords, Ben and John Obe Shalomo, in 2009, when they offered to put him in another apartment for two months during construction and then reduce his rent by 10% to compensate him for losing a portion of his backyard, which is shaded by trees and covered with a carpet of wild strawberries.
Burke packed his belongings into two tall rows of boxes lined up through the middle of his room. They have been there 3 1/2 years.
“They showed me apartments that were little more than broom closets,” he said.
“The tenants’ alliance told me, ‘Don’t do it. He’ll never let you back into your apartment and you’ll lose rent stabilization.’ ”
So he fought.