Joe Conzo has documented so much Hip-Hop history with his lens, and now the retired FDNY medical tech who survived 9/11 and who has built a name as one of Hip-Hop's most famed photographers is fighting to keep his home.
According to the New York Daily News, Conzo and his Bronx neighbors are facing eviction. Along with others, Conzo got notice from their building's new owners that they would have to move out of the Bronx apartment building where he's lived for 20 years.
They were notified just before Christmas that, as of the end of January, they’d have 90 days to vacate.
“It’s kind of scary,” Conzo, 57 told The Daily News. “It’s f---ing winter. There’s a f---ing pandemic going on.”
The Daily News reports that "Conzo is among dozens of tenants in nine buildings across the Bronx and Inwood whose leases won’t be renewed under the ownership of Glacier Equities, which purchased the properties for $23 million in November."
Joe Conzo fell in love with photography in his youth, and took pictures of Hip-Hop in its infancy in the Bronx. His photos of early stars like The Cold Crush Brothers found wide exposure in documentaries such as From Mambo To Hip-Hop: A South Bronx Tale.
Conzo was working an EMT during the September 11 attacks, rushing downtown to save lives during the catastrophic destruction in Manhattan. He wound up buried in the rubble of the second tower after it fell, clawing his way out. Now he's being forced to fight for his right to his home. In a story that's become all-too common in major cities across America and in New York City, specifically, he's being priced out.
“This is a landlord who didn’t take into account what fine tenants he has and is just out to make money,” said Conzo. “How dare you, just before Christmas, send this out?”