“This is oral history at its best: a skillful weaving of narrative and analysis, subjectivity and hard data, passion, and theory. Starecheski achieves brilliantly the goal of representing all the nuances of a complex, even contradictory, but all-important movement and process in the struggle for democratic rights and a livable city.” - Alessandro Portelli, author of The Death of Luigi Trastulli
OHMA is excited to announce that Amy Starecheski’s book, Ours to Lose: When Squatters Became Homeowners in New York City (University of Chicago Press, 2016), has officially been published! It is for sale online and is starting to appear in bookstores, from Red Emma's in Baltimore to Book Culture on Broadway in New York City.
The book is described as follows:
Though New York’s Lower East Side today is home to high-end condos and hip restaurants, it was for decades an infamous site of blight, open-air drug dealing, and class conflict—an emblematic example of the tattered state of 1970s and ’80s Manhattan.
Those decades of strife, however, also gave the Lower East Side something unusual: a radical movement that blended urban homesteading and European-style squatting in a way never before seen in the United States.
Ours to Lose tells the oral history of that movement through a close look at a diverse group of Lower East Side squatters who occupied abandoned city-owned buildings in the 1980s, fought to keep them for decades, and eventually began a long, complicated process to turn their illegal occupancy into legal cooperative ownership.
Amy Starecheski here not only tells a little-known New York story, she also shows how property shapes our sense of ourselves as social beings and explores the ethics of homeownership and debt in post-recession America.
We hope that you may be able to join Amy and the narrators of this story for a series of public events over the next few months discussing Ours to Lose:
Nov. 22, 6:30 PM, Book Party at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space
Nov. 28, 4:10 PM, Book Talk, Lafayette College (Easton, PA)
Nov. 29, 7 PM, Book Launch and Reading, Book Culture
Dec. 6, 5 PM, Book Talk at Yale with Kate Dudley
Dec. 9, 6 PM, Discussion at Picture the Homeless (104 East 126th St)
Jan. 19, 6 PM, Workshop Talk at OHMA
Jan. 24, 6:30 PM, Illustrated Lecture at Mid-Manhattan Public Library
Feb. 2, 6:30 PM, Talk on Homesteading and Squatting History, Loisaida Center and Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (710 East 9th St)
March 7, 6 PM, Presentation at NYU with Tamiment Library
Congratulations, Amy! We look forward to hosting you for an OHMA Workshop lecture on Thursday, January 19, 2017.