Written by by Joseph Clapson, CNN; Additional reporting by Diana Guevara-Croce, CNN
Nearly 100 people gathered outside the Manhattan offices of the Blood Center on Monday in protest of a proposed deal that would allow the hospital to move away from Midtown Manhattan.
Street artist Swanepoel painted one of four candles that protesters held aloft outside the building. He told CNN his “entire life’s work is held hostage in a matter of clicks of a mouse,” referring to Blood Center officials’ plan to sell its Midtown property.
“I am just finding out about the building sale,” he added. “I wanted to come here and talk to them. The Blood Center is killing my art. This is the second time I have come to the Blood Center. Just a short time ago, they yelled at me and ripped my knife out of my pocket. I don’t think the Blood Center is very nice to artists or people who believe in living life on the edge and pushing boundaries.”
The fight in New York (and elsewhere) to save classic literary landmarks from gentrification Street art, books and other books are becoming less essential in cities as young people discover that they can find an affordable place to live, even to rent, in newer, more urban neighborhoods Street art, books and other books are becoming less essential in cities as young people discover that they can find an affordable place to live, even to rent, in newer, more urban neighborhoods
A mother of one of the protesters, Kym Lovano-Oliver, said her son has been diagnosed with leukemia. She told CNN, “He is not even 12 years old. This is literally one of the things that could take his life.
“This is not a rich neighborhood,” she said, noting that in recent months, other Midtown neighborhoods, like Grand Central, have raised the minimum wage to over $13 an hour. “He should not have to move from Midtown Manhattan for $7 or $8 an hour. It is illogical for the Blood Center to eliminate living space for children who have cancer, because of high rent. I feel the Blood Center is about profit, not patient care.”
At a protest held outside the Blood Center’s offices in Brooklyn, Sunday, June 2, 2019
According to the New York Post , the hospital — which performs transfusions and provides other services to over 10,000 people a day — will lease the space on 42nd Street to a developer that will construct an apartment building for seniors called “The Ave” that will be at least five times larger than the Blood Center.
Peter Hoeppner, the CEO of the Blood Center, said in a statement, “We believe that the Blood Center’s growth will be quite sustainable because all the growth and revenue generation at the Center will be taking place in new low-rise facilities throughout the boroughs — including the one I am building, which will be nine stories tall. We believe a community of residents will move to the neighboring buildings because they want to be connected to the downtown area. We have all of this already planned. We are not in any particular hurry to get through the lease agreement, and we will follow the normal process of going through the buyout with the landlord of the current location.”