RGB Final Meeting

RGB Final Meeting

RGB Final Meeting

RGB Final Meeting

Adrienne Holder

Adrienne Holder

RGB Final Meeting

RGB Final Meeting

Marvin Markus as crowd shouts

Marvin Markus as crowd shouts

A huge crowd of angry tenants chanted for no increases this year as the NYC Rent Guidelines Board held their final meeting tonight in the basement of the Cooper Union Meeting Hall.

The meeting began at its’ scheduled 5:30pm, time however was quickly shut down by the crowd of angry onlookers. The auditorium was filled with people protesting rent hikes and chanting “Home Rule Now!” Marvin Markus, the Chair of the RGB, quickly gave up trying to get the crowd settled. At 6:00pm, unable to get a word in, Markus, adjourned the meeting for 15 minutes.

During the break people moved out of their seats and closer to the stage where they shouted and held signs. The board members still present remained smug during the commotion.

The protestors remained defiant even when Markus returned; refusing to let him speak in hopes that he would listen to their pleas. Markus yelled at the crowd to sit down, and when they refused to budge, he again adjourned the meeting, only this time until 9:00pm (two hours later).

As the rest of the RGB left, Adrienne Holder remained and got on the microphone telling everyone that they should not go home, that water would be brought to the room and the meeting would continue at 9:00pm.

Later in the evening, as activists gathered back into the auditorium and Markus sat down in his chair the chanting did not let up. Amidst the cries for safer and more affordable housing, the RGB began their meeting despite the fact that no one could hear what was going on.

Fed up with the unfair manor in which the meeting was held, the activists slowly walked out of the auditorium, not caring what was being said anymore, but satisfied that at least they had made their voices heard.

Though tired, many of the protestors were still fired up outside the meeting. They knew that a vote had been made, and it was definitely an increase, yet they felt content with how the evening went.

“At this point, I don’t really care what the RGB says, I’m just proud of what we did in there,” one activist said. Most of the crowd felt similarly that the RGB knew coming into the meeting what the outcome would be, yet they came anyway hoping that they could make some noise and progress for the future.

In the end it was clear that it really didn’t matter what the vote was, what matters is that the tenants came together, said what they needed to, and then left, knowing that they yelled loud enough for all of the newscasters and media crews to hear them. Hopefully next year, the RGB will too.