Where Socialists Kibitzed Yuppies May Follow
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
Published: August 8, 2004
The building at 173-175 East Broadway that once housed The Forward newspaper is for sale for $22 million, and the broker handling the property says it is likely to be turned into luxury apartments.
Karl Marx, whose bearded face appears in bas relief above the building's entrance, wrote that all the most significant events in history occur twice — the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce. If Marx were still around he might feel vindicated to know that, where socialists once roamed the halls, yuppies may soon act out a materialism of a very different sort than the one contemplated by their predecessors.
The Forward, which was printed in Yiddish and once had a daily circulation as high as 220,000 (it is now a much smaller weekly), occupied the building from 1912, when it was built, until 1974. At that time, the newspaper and the radical Jewish groups that once traveled with it decamped to East 33rd Street. The newspaper sold the 10-story building for $99,000 to the Chinese Alliance Church.
Three years later, the church sold the 11-story building for $316,000 to a businessman named Mui Hin Lau, whose family has owned it ever since.
The family's broker, Adelaide Polsinelli of Besen & Associates, said the building has remained vacant since the church moved out, in the late 1970's or early 1980's.
In the late 1990's, the family spent about $10 million on a gut renovation that created 39 apartments. Finally, in September 2001, the Laus were ready to market the new units as condos, but then abandoned their plans after the terror attack on the World Trade Center. Now, with downtown real estate booming, the Laus have decided to sell, and Ms. Polsinelli said she expects the building will be acquired by a developer and marketed as high-end apartments.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company