November 14, 2011
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The Bronx apartment building where DJ Kool Herc emceed the world’s first hip-hop party was sold at foreclosure auction last Monday to a reputable investment group backed by the city.
Workforce Housing Advisors has vowed to fix up 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in Morris Heights, keep it affordable and build an arts and culture center in the recreation room where Herc famously pioneered the “break beat.”
The graying deejay returned to 1520 Sedgwick Ave. last Thursday with John Crotty and John Fitzgerald of Workforce to reopen the rec room and celebrate.
The room was locked and used for storage under the old landlord Mark Karasick, who bought the 102-unit building in 2008 and then went bust.
Now tenant power, government pressure and music history have saved the Bronx landmark.
“Hip-hop can solve a lot of problems,” said Herc, surveying the rec room with a nostalgic smile. “It all started right here.”
Part of the middle-income Mitchell-Lama housing program when Herc lived there, in the 1970s, 1520 Sedgwick Ave. left the program in 2008 when it was sold to Karasick.
Karasick planned to flip the building for a profit, said Dina Levy of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, an advocacy group. But he fell behind on his $7 million mortgage instead and let the high-rise deteriorate.
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