Last Carnegie Hall Resident, Elizabeth Sargent, Forced Out of Carnegie Towers
In this image taken Thursday Aug. 2 , 2007, New York photographer Editta Sherman, then 95, stacks celebrity portraits at her studio residence in New York’s Carnegie Hall. The Italian-born Sherman, 98, who photographed famous faces from Monroe and Andy Warhol to Elvis Presley and called the “Duchess of Carnegie Hall” for being its longest resident, was forced from the studio she called home since 1948. She’s not been allowed to sleep there since early July and must also remove her belongings by Aug. 31. A resident since 1949, she raised five children in a studio with 25-foot ceilings and a view of Central Park. Her rent was frozen at $650 a month.- AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
NEW YORK (AP).- All of her neighbors are gone, forced out. Now Elizabeth Sargent, the last holdout tenant of Carnegie Hall’s towers, is preparing to leave the her affordable studios that for more than a century housed some of America’s most brilliant creative artists. Red scaffolding surrounds Carnegie Hall as the city-owned towers are being gutted this summer in a $200 million renovation that includes adding a youth music program. Celebrities like Robert De Niro and Susan Sarandon had fought to save the homes, petitioning the city not to “displace these treasured artists and master teachers.”
Musicians, painters, dancers and actors thrived in the two towers built by 19th-century industrialist Andrew Carnegie just after the hall went up in 1891. The towers—one 12 stories high, the other 16—housed more than 100 studios, some with special skylights installed to give painters the northern light they prize.
Ms. Sargent, a one-time dancer, is now in her 80s and in remission from cancer. For 40 years, she’s lived on the ninth floor of the red-brick southern tower above the famed stage of the 119-year-old landmark. She has until Aug. 31 to clear out.
After a years-long legal battle, the two women finally reached agreement for new Midtown Manhattan apartments where rents will be subsidized by Carnegie Hall Corp. for the rest of their lives.