As night fell on the city April 6, Chumley's was still standing—despite the collapse of the bar's chimney, which separated from an interior wall during some illegal construction work—but the former speakeasy has gone dark, and will probably remain so for the next several months. According to Eater.com, "when the collapse occurred, construction workers were inside Chumley's and doing repairs of an unknown type without a permit. Violations for working with out a permit have been issued. Now, a shoring company has been hired to repair the damage, after which time inspectors will assess the integrity of the building."
So, let's take a look at the slumlord (not my word; many have called her such) that owns the Chumley's building, according to a Curbed.com account. Margaret Streicker Porres is her very long name, and that name has been in the papers quite a lot lately. The Village Voice named her one of NYC's 10 Worst Landlords in 2006, writing "In addition to Streicker Porres's 22nd Street buildings, she owns 10 others in Manhattan—a total of 198 units. The buildings have 692 violations, including 70 C-level violations, which require immediate attention and include inadequate supply of heat, hot water, or electricity; leaking ceilings; broken stairwells; exposed live wires; and rodents."
But the Voice, they're a bunch of left-wing reactionaries, right? OK, but what about the New York Times, that basically put Streiker Porres at the center of an April 2, 2006, article titled "A New Chapter in the Face-Off Between Tenants and Landlords." In the piece, the Times painted her as the queen meenie in the fight among landlords to evict rent-regulated tenants in order to "demolish" (read: convert to condos) apartment buildings. "Margaret Streicker Porres has built a business out of buying, managing and restoring run-down landmarked buildings populated with rent-regulated tenants, and has taken on her tenants in five separate downtown rent-regulated buildings, with mixed results," wrote the author. In both the Times and the Voice articles there's a horrifying story about how the landlord's harassment of an aging "former merchant seaman in his 70's and in failing health, with diabetes and heart trouble" very likely hastened his death.
Who is this vampiress? Well, she's not a female version of Ebenezer Scrooge, as you might imagine. She's a young woman in her 30s, according to the Times, graduated from Princeton in 1997 and then got a master's degree in architecture and real estate development at Columbia University in 2000. In her first professional move she bought "a property in Greenwich Village, and then filed proceedings against the rent-regulated tenants in the eight units." Nice.
Maggie comes by her greed honestly. Her father is John H. Streicker, chairman of the Sentinel Real Estate Corporation, described by the Times as "a large real estate company that manages a portfolio of $5 billion in assets for institutional investors, including 50,000 apartments." Daddy must be so proud.
A Google search also brought up a classified ad in which Streicker Porres cast about for a property manager. Qualifications? "Common sense is mandatory, ability to negotiate in tough situations is important." I bet. And then this at the end: "We like happy tenants!"