By Ben Fractenberg
MIDTOWN — The last resident of Carnegie Hall’s studio towers, which has provided artists with studio and living space for more than a century, will move out by the end of August, the Associated Press reported Monday.
Poet Elizabeth Sargent has lived on the ninth floor of the building, at 152 W. 57th St., for over 40 years. Sargent, who is in her 80s, will have to find a new home to make way for a $200 million renovation to the two towers.
“I'd rather live in these rundown rooms than any new apartment in a glass tower," Sargent told the AP.
The buildings, which were constructed in the 1890s, once housed studio and living space for artists including Marlon Brando, Leonard Bernstein and Isadora Duncan.
Tenants started relocating in early 2007 after the city-owned Carnegie Hall Corp., which manages the building, announced renovations to make way for an educational space and administrative offices.
Sargent and 98-year-old photographer Editta Sherman were the last holdouts — fighting eviction notices with a lawyer. But they finally settled in exchange for being relocated to new midtown apartments, which will be paid for by Carnegie for the rest of their lives.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the renovations with the city and state agreeing to pay $50 million for the project and a Carnegie Hall Corp. bond sale raising an additional $56 million.
Celebrities like Robert De Niro and Susan Surandon have petitioned the city not to "displace these treasured artists and master teachers," the AP reported.
"They're erasing every piece of our cultural history,” 29-year-old actor Billy Lyons, who worked in the studios, told the AP.