This just in: The New York Times has discovered that the slumlord that owns the Chumley's building and the neighboring building is not an upstanding citizen. They don't get around to actually mentioning Margaret Streicker Porres' name until the SEVENTEENTH paragraph, but after that they go to town on her, even smacking her with the cardinal sin of not responding to a reporter's questions. (Journalist love to point out lack of cooperation; it always makes the other party look bad.)
The article spends its first 16 paragraphs detailing the miserable lives led by people who live at 56 Bedford. Among the plagues: mice, lack of heat, caved-in-ceilings, non-working fireplaces, collapsing bathrooms and illegal construction. It's weird to think of people living in slum-like conditions in the middle of one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city.
Articles like this make you ask yourself fundamental questions about the way we live, such as: how is a person that allows other people to live under such condition not thrown in jail?; and, can it be that such landlords only care about money, that they have no shred of human decency or concern for the welfare of their fellow beings. I know these are naive questions. But you've still got to wonder. Such behavior just doesn't neatly fall under the usual dodge of "it's just business."
The article also contains the depressing news that the Buildings Department has issued no permit yet for the work needed to shore up the facade.
Hope Maggie's having a rotten day.