The elderly woman who has been fighting the Italian-American Museum to keep her two-bedroom in Little Italy has reached a deal that gives her until June 30th to move out, the Times reported.
As we wrote previously:
The woman in question, 85-year-old Adele Sarno, has lived at 185 Grand St. since 1962, and currently pays $820 per month in rent. The Italian American Museum, which owns a number of apartments in two tenement buildings in the neighborhood, has requested she pay $3,500/month, an amount Sarno, who collects Social Security, cannot afford. If Sarno gets pushed out, she'll likely have to move in with her daughter in Wisconsin.
"I don’t want to go there,” she told the Times. “I don’t drive. I’d be stuck in the house 24/7.”
Sarno's apartment is reportedly not rent-controlled, and the museum legally has a right to evict her. But it's hard not to see the irony here: Sarno, who has lived in Little Italy her whole life, has owned shops in the neighborhood, and was once crowned queen of the Feast of San Gennaro, is getting pushed out by a museum whose mission statement purports dedication "to the struggles of Italian-Americans and their achievements and contributions to American culture and society."
Of the deal that gives her two months, Sarno told a reporter, “It’s all right. I knew this was coming. That’s enough just so that I have enough time to move out the furniture. It’s too much.”
Sarno wants to stay in Little Italy, but if she can't find a place, she also has a granddaughter on Staten Island who might take her in, according to the Times. Lawyers for Sarno declined to comment, as did the museum.
The New York Business Journal took a very charitable view of the museum's decision to boot Sarno, with a headline reading "Italian American Museum will delay longtime tenant's eviction." How generous of the museum!