Reel Estate

Coming soon: A web series about landlord buyouts, gentrification and the last Manhattan "holdouts"

By Virginia K. Smith | June 30, 2016 - 3:59PM 

For many New York City-based TV shows these days, gentrification has become not just a plotline, but practically its own character (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, we're looking at you). But a new web series, The Holdouts, promises to take things even further.

The show, which just reached its $35,000 funding goal on Kickstarter, starts Bronx native Kevin Corrigan as an old-school New York "holdout," who's determined to stay put in his Hell's Kitchen apartment even as the city changes around him, and his landlord tries to give him the boot. Here's the plot summary from the show's Kickstarter page:

A wrecking ball is about to come down hard on one of the last tenement buildings on a Hell’s Kitchen block in NYC. Kevin Shanahan’s rent-controlled apartment is the last one left in a vacant building ready to be leveled for condos. Each episode centers on Kevin and his battles with everyone else. When Kevin’s landlord offers him a 500K buyout, all his friends and family pressure him to take the money and start a new life elsewhere. But Kevin loves his home and likes to be the lone soldier in his war to save New York City and enlists the help of his roommate, a NYC transplant who loves Starbucks, to join him in his stand against the “enemy.”

The story is actually based on the real-life experiences of Corrigan and director Stephen Girasuolo, both of whom were ousted from longtime Hell's Kitchen apartments, according to an interview the pair did with Jeremiah's Vanishing New York. Citing coverage like WNYC's There Goes the Neighborhood series as inspiration, Girasuolo told the blog that he hopes for the Holdouts to become a catalyst for conversation around gentrification. "It could wake up the need to address the rising costs more, for one. People are getting marginalized," he said. "It’s the people really. The storefronts are a huge problem, but fighting for the right to live and afford in the city you love and grew up in, or call your home, is important. Mayors know that. They should do more to address it. Serious comedy is one way to increase that conversation."

Now that the show has reached its funding goal, shooting is set to take place in the city this summer, with three new episodes rolling out by late August or early September. In the meantime, you can scope out the trailer below:



Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.