‘A Sale and a Suicide on East 12th Street,’

For New Yorkers, there is no joy like finding a rental you feel at home in and can actually afford … and no dread like realizing it could all fall apart. Charlie Finch, art critic, had lived in his rent-stabilized unit in the East Village for decades and was close with his neighbors. So they were horrified to find Finch dead on their block one night this past August of an apparent suicide. Finch was sick, and he had been panicking about the private-equity firm that was buying the building, a trend that continues to screw tenants all over town. Would stabilized tenants be driven out through neglect or harassment? Would market-rate rents double? Finch would not live to see it, but many of his fears came true. Now his neighbors are grieving him — and the building many of them have had to leave behind since the sale. Bridget Read writes a deeply moving story about life in an unstable city.

—Marisa Carroll, features editor, New York

A Sale and a Suicide on East 12th Street After private equity bought Charlie Finch’s building, he jumped. Neighbors say he was right to be paranoid.

Photo: Hugo Yu

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