Press "Enter" to skip to content

Cooking with gas: Fighting for Fulton Houses tenants’ rights to the basics

BY ARTHUR SCHWARTZ | New York City Housing Authority tenants in the Fulton Houses in Chelsea on W. 19th St. got a surprise announcement in a meeting with top officials at NYCHA this week.

Their gas, and stoves, will be turned on Monday for the first time since Valentine’s Day.

This win happened because they teamed up with a loudmouthed aggressive lawyer — me.

I met with these tenants in early April after I heard them complain at a tenants association meeting about not having gas for six weeks. I have been regularly meeting with tenants to learn about the issues they are facing and attending meetings at Fulton Houses to organize and advocate for them.

I spoke with the tenants, wrote to the chairperson of NYCHA, Greg Russ, demanding immediate attention, and after he sent back a “maybe by June” letter, I took the matter to court.

Thirty-eight families, forced to eat out or order takeout, deserved no less.

Three weeks later, after Judge Paul Goetz issued an order to show cause, the gas is being turned back on! Now, I will seek a rent abatement to compensate the tenants for the money they’ve had to spend over the last three months to cope with the lack of gas in their building.

The judge also ordered “an immediate rat eradication program.” But two weeks later, rats the size of cats are running everywhere. So I have asked Judge Goetz to hold NYCHA Chairperson Greg Russ in contempt.

Some people in politics are all talk. I am all action.

Next fight. Sue to stop forced privatization.

Schwartz is a Democratic district leader for Greenwich Village and a candidate for City Council District 3 (Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen).


  1. Arthur Schwartz Arthur Schwartz May 18, 2021

    I am claiming credit for addressing an immediate problem 38 families had on West 19th St. Not just standing with a banner saying “turn on our gas.” And I got a judge to see “get rid of the rats.” Not just a sign. Is that a bad thing? And I lobbied to get $40 billion in the Biden infrastructure bill to fix NYCHA so that there is an alternative to privatization. None of those sound like Erik Botcher or whatever other candidates you are talking about. Yes, I am new to this particular fight. But I jump in and get something done. Tell me something concrete about what your unnamed candidates have accomplished.

  2. Johnny Dalton Johnny Dalton May 17, 2021

    Other candidates for City Council were fighting against RAD (NYCHA privatization) for years now. Why is Arthur Schwartz suddenly claiming credit now? That’s more like something Erik Bottcher would do.

Leave a Reply

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.