Senior citizen accused of dangerously hoarding books

By March 13, 2019 News

A senior citizen book lover from Brooklyn, NY is being threatened with eviction for having an expansive library in his tiny apartment.

67 year old Ben Hammer has spent 46 years living in his now rent-controlled apartment but is now facing an uncertain future thanks to a landlord who believes his collection of books is a fire hazard. Ben moved into the one-bedroomed apartment in 1973 while working as a seaman on international freighters but received a notice of eviction just months after his rent was frozen at $700 a month. The eviction notice also coincided with the building being sold to a huge company for $17.3m, which Ben does not think is a coincidence.

Ben Hammer’s book collection started when he was a child. He insists he is not a hoarder as each of the books he has kept is of sentimental value to him.  Every room contains books- from the bedroom to the bathroom- and range from modern literature to early history.

“They’re important to me,” says Hammer, “Unlike a lot of people, I happen to have respect for the printed word. I am not a media person. I do not own a television. to me it is valuable. To somebody else, it’s just a stack of stuff.”

The eviction notice read:

“You have been keeping your apartment in an extremely unsanitary, unhealthy, and unclean manner in violation of your lease agreement. There are boxes, bags, papers, debris, filing cabinets, wood crates and books piled from floor to ceiling throughout the apartment.”

The maintenance director for the building, Nelson Diaz, noted: “This tenant has literally filled his apartment with paper and has created a significant fire hazard for him and the entire building.”

According to sources who have visited the site, Hammer’s home has walls entirely lined with books, against the walls, on every shelf alongside family photos, boxes of books and papers sit stacked high, with framed prints of the ships he worked on as a seaman.

Hammer is quite rightly upset about his  home being scrutinised and attacked in such a way, and to be threatened with eviction for some dust and a love of reading seems a tad overboard.

“You might call it a library, my landlord calls it a fire hazard,” he says, “Pure and simple, I’m a long-term senior citizen resident in a rent-stabilised apartment and I got a rent freeze that I’m lawfully entitled to. If he disposed me he can realise a windfall of profits at my expense.”

And his lawyers from the Legal Aid Society agree:

“Unscrupulous landlords will employ a range of tactics to shirk legal obligations and boost their bottom line. It’s shameful that our clients- seniors, families, the disabled, and children- in rent-regulated units continue to suffer this type of harassment with little recourse.”

Hammer and his landlord are due in court this week.

Gloria Steinem, Activist, Author, Kick Ass Feminist

By | Authors, News | No Comments
Gloria Steinem (March 25th 1934) is an American icon, feminist, journalist and social political activist who became recognised as the leader of the American feminist movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

From columnist for New York magazine to author of books such as My Life on the Road, Steinem has led a rich literary life and today we’re taking a look at her achievements. Read More

10 Slytherin Tattoos for the Dedicated Deatheater

By | Arty, Inspired by Literature, News | No Comments
The Sorting Hat has figured you out and decided you belong to the House of Salazar Slytherin, the most cunning and ambitious of the Hogwarts founders.

In this devious and proud Hogwarts House you will be in great company- hugely successful wizards such as Merlin, The Bloody Baron, and Lord Voldemort have come before you.

Some of the more dedicated Slytherins have decided to permanently mark their bodies with designs to celebrate the powerful house to which they now belong… Would you show your love for Slytherin in this way?

Read More

‘Storybook Dads’ keeps prisoners and children connected

By | Culture, News | No Comments
‘Storybook Dads’ is an initiative started in Devon, UK to help connect prisoners with their children. In 2002, Sharon Berry worked as a volunteer at HMP Channings Wood where she noticed how difficult it was for the prisoners to stay in touch with their children. After working with the Writer in Residence, Sharon moved to HMP Dartmoor where she started the scheme ‘Storybook Dads’ with a handful of children’s books and a microphone. News soon spread about the scheme and many more prisons wanted to join, prompting Sharon to start a Storybook Dads charity to gain funding.

Today the programme helps prisoners from all over the UK, including women’s prisons and youth offenders’ institutes. As well as audio CDs, they create DVDs, help train prisoners in editing and audio, and offer workshops for prisoners to create educational gifts for their children.

Read More

Winners of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019 Announced

By | Literary Awards, News | No Comments
Last month we brought you the shortlist for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019, and what a worthy list it was. The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize is an annual award given to a work of children’s literature published in the previous year. The award was first given back in 2005, and the purpose of the award is to “uncover hidden talent in children’s writing”, and is therefore only open to authors who have published no more than three books.

This week, the winners were announced and the overall winner is a gripping tale about a refugee boy and the judges are calling it a future classic.

Read More

TV Adaptation of The Secret Diaries of Anne Lister Coming to HBO

By | Adaptations, News | No Comments
Anne Lister’s de-coded diaries have been adapted to screen once more but this time by the combined forces of HBO and the BBC. Written by BAFTA award winning Sally Wainwright, and starring the inimitable Suranne Jones (Vanity Fair) as Miss Lister, it looks like it will be a veritable tour de force.

The eight episode mini series Gentleman Jack is set in 1832 West Yorkshire, when women were to be seen and not heard, and lesbianism was merely whispered about. Anne Lister’s endeavour to turn society on its head came about when she inherited her family home; in an attempt to breathe new life into the household, she undertook business and was in search of a wife.

The cast supporting Suranne Jones as Lister include Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders) as Lister’s prospective wife, Ann Walker; Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones) as Lister’s sister, Marian; Timothy West (Bleak House) as their father Jeremy Lister, and playing their Aunt Anne will be Gemma Jones (Bridget Jones’s Diary).

The series premieres on the 22nd of April 2019. Check out the trailer below!

Read More

New York Public Library to Open its First Permanent Exhibition Thanks to Polonsky Foundation

By | Libraries, News | No Comments
After a $12 million gift from Dr. Leonard Polonsky CBE and the Polonsky Foundation, the New York Public Library is to open its first permanent exhibition in 2020. The exhibition will feature rotating items from the NYPL’s extensive research collections and it’s fantastic news for those who would like to see these collections.

The Polonsky Exhibition of the New York Public Library’s Treasures is expected to open in late 2020 at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The free exhibition will be housed in Gottesman Hall, a 6,400 square-foot exhibition space on the Library’s main floor.
Read More

Leave a Reply