News

Pioneering Hip-Hop Photographer Joe Conzo Faces Eviction

The building that Joe Conzo lives in has been bought by a new owner who isn’t allowing tenants to renew their lease.

Joe Conzo, a pioneering hip-hop photographer and former EMT, is facing eviction.

In a report from the New York Daily News, the Bronx apartment Conzo and other tenants are living in has been bought by a new owner who isn’t allowing them to renew their lease. Glacier Equities, the real estate private equity firm that now owns the building, reportedly gave the tenants a 90-day notice back in December saying that they’d have to move out on or before their lease expires on March 31, 2021.

“This is a landlord who didn’t take into account what fine tenants he has and is just out to make money,” Conzo told the Daily News. “How dare you, just before Christmas, send this out?”

Myles Horn, the manager of Glacier Equities, also spoke with the publication and claimed that none of the tenants had reached out to him or OneVesta, which sent out the notice. He also disputed the notion that he wouldn’t work with the tenants.

“Nobody called and nobody complained,” Horn said. “We are the wrong people to put in this position … If you have an issue, call us.”

However, Conzo said that he and other tenants had reached out more than once to OneVesta, and only after the Daily News contacted Horn did he receive a response and apology from the Glacier Equities manager.

The report noted that Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has reached out to Governor Andrew Cuomo for the state to intervene, while Bronx Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz is working with the West Bronx Housing and Neighborhood Resource Center to see if the building’s conversion into a co-op three decades ago led to improper removal of any of the rental units from rent-stabilized status. If that turns out to be the case, “it could provide a pathway for some residents to remain” the Daily News said.

Conzo has been referrred to as “The Man Who Took Hip-Hop’s Baby Pictures,” having captured photos of dancers and DJs like Kool Herc and Tony Tone from hip-hop’s early days. He also served as an FDNY EMT and was on the ground when 9/11 took place, being buried under the rubble of the Twin Towers. Fortunately, he survived, but he was eventually diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer from the air he breathed from the building’s collapse. He’s now in remission.

A number of people have since reacted to the news of Conzo’s possible eviction on social media.

Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

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