Squatting is one of the stranger aspects of the occasionally anarchic history of the East Village. The neighborhood is home to C-Squat, the infamous reclaimed building on Avenue C between 9th and 10th Streets that was one of the targets of former mayor Rudy Giuliani’s war against squatters. However, as the neighborhood that surrounds places like C-Squat or ABC No Rio in the Lower East Side becomes more upscale, people associated with the squatter’s movement are taking steps to preserve a fading element of New York City’s history.
Soon, C-Squat will become home to the Museum of Reclaimed Space, a museum dedicated to archiving the creation of community spaces from abandoned buildings. The museum, which was the subject of a recent New York Times profile, will also cover community spaces and their uses throughout the city. Aside from squats, the Museum of Reclaimed Space also offers tours of community gardens and spaces reclaimed for art or performance.
While the Museum of Reclaimed Space is not yet opened, trial-run tours are offered on dates announced on their web site. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating to the museum can also do so at www.morusnyc.org.