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Sculptor Faces Possible Eviction From Midtown Home

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A Manhattan artist is facing eviction from the Midtown apartment he has called home for four decades. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

Alexander Ney's apartment feels like a museum. It's filled with work that made him famous in the art world. But after 40 years on West 47th Street, Ney is being evicted by his landlord. Ney says the landlord wants to divide his duplex into separate apartments.

"All of them rent as much as you pay for all two floors," Ney said.

Ney rented the apartment from Moses Dyckman after fleeing the Soviet Union. He survived the seige of Leningrad in World War II. The apartment is now controlled by Dyckman's family.

The complex dispute stems from debate over whether the apartment is rent-stabilized. The Neys say it is and always was, the landlord's attorney says it's not. Ney lives there with his wife and son. They pay more than $2,000 a month in rent. Ney's son, Joel, says because his father is a senior citizen, they've reached out to the city's Adult Protective Services division for help.

"My parents are World War II survivors. Next month my father is turning 75, my mother is turning 73, they have health problems," Joel Ney said.

The landlord's attorney says the Neys owe $100,000 in back rent, which they dispute. Complicating matters for the Neys is that they signed an agreement to vacate the apartment. But they blame their lawyer at the time, and say Ney didn't even understand what he was signing.

"We need a specific lawyer who knows both art law, which is very confusing and specifically art loft law, and housing," Ney said.

The Neys say they don't think they can pack all of the art in time. The landlord's attorney says they've had plenty of notice to pack and move out. But still the Neys worry if they can't pack it, it could be tossed on the street or even worse, thrown out.

"So I lived here 40 years and maybe it's time to move, but I cannot move this way," Ney said.

"If everything gets destroyed, I'll never forgive myself," Joel Ney said.

A lawyer for the landlord says they expect the city marshal to execute eviction on September 8. The Neys say they know nothing about that date and they hope to stop it.

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