Hip hop came to life in the community room at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the 1970s. Founding father DJ Kool Herc and his sister Cindy threw back to school parties in their building's rec room, matching beats on Herc's record players in what is now known as the first DJ booth. His innovative rhyming style and record spinning make him an icon in hip-hop history.
In 2008, 1520 Sedgwick Avenue fell into the hands of a real estate investor who planned to turn the affordable units into higher-cost market-rate rentals. With the housing market crash, the investor was soon unable to afford mortgage payments, let alone basic maintenance. After years of broken elevators, a leaking roof and months without gas or heat, the tenants enlisted the help of DJ Kool Herc and the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board to save their home. In 2011, Workforce Housing Group took ownership of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue with the support of the tenants, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board. After substantial renovations, WHG was able to restore the building's long-term affordability. By Fall 2013, the tenants were celebrating the rebirth of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue with DJ Kool Herc in tow.
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