A Second Democrat Calls for Silver to Resign

Inez D. BarronJohn Marshall Mantel for The New York Times Inez D. Barron

ALBANY – And then there were two.

In another microfracture in the support for the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, a second Democrat – Assemblywoman Inez D. Barron of Brooklyn – has called for his resignation over his handling of the case of Vito Lopez, the disgraced former assemblyman who is accused of sexually harassing staff members.

Ms. Barron, a critic of Mr. Silver, is the first Democratic woman to call for the speaker’s resignation. Assemblyman Michael Kearns, a Buffalo Democrat, is the only other Democratic assembly member to call for Mr. Silver’s resignation; Mr. Kearns subsequently left the Democratic caucus.

Ms. Barron made her opinion known in a little-noticed letter to the speaker last week, in which she attacked Mr. Silver for “an unacceptable attempt to cover up the allegations of sexual harassment” of Mr. Lopez’s staff members, including secret payments to two women who had also accused the former assemblyman.

In doing so, Ms. Barron said the speaker had “jeopardized the safety of and the respect for female employees.”

The letter, distributed in a news release, was dated May 23, just before a five-day legislative break for Memorial Day, and was largely unnoticed until the Assembly returned to work on Wednesday. The Daily News published an item on Ms. Barron’s letter Wednesday.

In a phone interview, Ms. Barron said she had decided to write and distribute the letter to call attention to “a very stark instance” of the lawmakers not following the law.

“None of us is perfect,” said Ms. Barron, whose name has been mentioned as a possible New York City Council candidate for a seat currently held by her husband, Charles. “But we should adhere to the policies we set.”

Mike Whyland, a spokesman for Mr. Silver, seemed unsurprised by Ms. Barron’s split with the speaker.

“She didn’t vote for him in January,” said Mr. Whyland, referring to the Assembly Democrats’ vote for their leaders. “And doesn’t support him as speaker.”

Nor did Ms. Barron seem to think that her letter was the beginning of a groundswell of opposition to Mr. Silver. “I haven’t heard any of my colleagues speaking on that issue,” she said.

City’s Largest Public Employees Union Endorses Liu

In a boost to his embattled mayoral campaign, John C. Liu, the city comptroller, received the support on Wednesday of the city’s largest public employees union, District Council 37.

The endorsement solidifies Mr. Liu’s credentials as perhaps the most pro-union and liberal of the Democratic candidates. It also represents a bit of a rebuke of William C. Thompson Jr., a former comptroller who got the union’s backing in 2009 and is running again.

Then again, the endorsement was hardly a surprise; many political analysts had been predicting for months, if not years, that the union, which represents 121,000 members, would back Mr. Liu. And, in a hint of the reverence in which Mr. Liu is held by members, he got by far the most rapturous applause during a recent mayoral debate organized by the union.

Yet District Council 37’s political clout remains debatable, especially since other unions, including those that represent teachers, health care workers, hotel workers and building workers, are much more coveted because they are considered to be more influential and better organized politically.

The union also has developed a maverick reputation in recent years in backing candidates with checkered records. In 2012, for instance, the union was virtually alone in backing three state legislators who had already run afoul of the law: William F. Boyland Jr., Shirley L. Huntley and Naomi Rivera.

Still, Mr. Liu, who has been dogged by a long-running federal investigation into his campaign, which has so far netted convictions against two former associates, welcomed the backing.

“This is so personal to me,” said a buoyant Mr. Liu, flanked by union leaders, during an event at City Hall. “We’ve got to get the city out of the hands of the billionaires and the mega-corporations and put it back in the hands of the workers.”

Union leaders cited Mr. Liu’s consistent advocacy for city workers, dating back to his days as a councilman representing Flushing, Queens, as being a key reason he was backed so overwhelmingly. They cited, in particular, his aggressive work in highlighting the Bloomberg administration’s scandal-tarred CityTime project, whose costs ballooned to $700 million from $73 million.

Union officials also said that Mr. Liu had been unfairly targeted by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, prosecutors and the political establishment. Some said they believed that recent polls showing Mr. Liu languishing in single digits, and trailing four other Democrats, were skewed. And they vowed, on Wednesday, to do their best to elect Mr. Liu.

“I think they started out trying to undermine the campaign, and we don’t play the game,” said Lillian Roberts, the union’s executive director. “He did nothing wrong. It’s definitely a dirty trick to do that, and we’re very upset about that.”

Skipping the Gas Pump, and Getting Fuel From a Deep Fryer

Gerard Lynn, the owner of a business in Red Hook, Brooklyn, making diesel fuel from leftover cooking oil from a fish and chips restaurant in the Bronx. Todd Heisler/The New York Times Gerard Lynn, the owner of a business in Red Hook, Brooklyn, making diesel fuel from leftover cooking oil from a fish and chips restaurant in the Bronx.

Gerard Lynn says he has found a way to buck the prices at the gas pump. He makes his own biodiesel from the used cooking oil of a Bronx fish and chips restaurant.

“This is before,” Mr. Lynn, the owner of Murlynn Air Compressor in Red Hook, Brooklyn, said recently as he held up a glass jar filled with a murky brown mixture, tiny particles of black, charred residue floating inside. “Those are bits of French fries.”

“And this is after,” he said, proudly displaying a similar glass jar containing a clear liquid the color of golden amber.

Once a week, Mr. Lynn stops by Parkchester Fish and Chips in the Bronx. He exchanges an empty 40-gallon barrel for one filled with enough used soybean oil to have deep-fried a week’s worth of chicken wings, shrimp, fish, onion rings and French fries. And it smells like it.

Back at his shop, Mr. Lynn unloads the liquid and begins the process of converting it into 40 gallons of biodiesel, enough to run his two vehicles for the next seven days.

His setup looks like a giant chemistry lab test. Neatly assembled on a platform, its primary components consist of a water heater and two large, plastic funnel-shaped containers. They connect through a well-ordered configuration of pipes, pumps, hoses and valves.

Mr. Lynn first strains out any food remnants. He then pumps the filtered cooking oil into the larger container and begins a heating and blending process involving a carefully measured compound of methanol and lye. The mixture gently agitates for at least four hours before sitting overnight to allow any fat to sink to the bottom. In the morning he will drain it off along with any moisture.

“There’s a lot of waiting around,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot of doing.”

Mr. Lynn, a gregarious sort who hails from Ireland and speaks with a subtle brogue, began making biodiesel about a year ago after stumbling across an article about the process. “It seemed pretty simple,” he said.

He bought a used biodiesel processor for $1,000 on eBay. It was being sold by a field worker for the Environmental Protection Agency whose enthusiasm for home brewing had waned.

Mr. Lynn initially secured his raw material in smaller batches from an assortment of restaurants. Then he discovered Parkchester Fish and Chips on Archer Street. “I rate their fish and chips very high,” said Mr. Lynn, who would stop there for lunch whenever working in the Bronx. He still polishes off a meal before hauling away the used cooking oil.

Before he offered to take it for free, the family-operated restaurant, with its hand-painted seascape murals and a fluorescent sign that reads “Always Delicious,” had been paying someone a nominal fee to remove its discarded oil.

“We’ve got to get rid of it,” Gerald Franklin, the restaurant’s manager, said as he set up his four-basket fryer operation before the noontime rush. He refills the fryers every day with fresh oil.

“It’s cool what he does,” Mr. Franklin said, referring to Mr. Lynn. “It’s good for everyone. He’s recycling.”

Competition is growing for used cooking oil. Some companies, like Greased Lightning in Newark, now specialize in collecting and paying for large quantities of used oil from restaurants to refine into biofuel. Smaller restaurants are also increasingly becoming victims of petty oil thefts, according to law enforcement officials.

Randazzo’s Clam Bar in Sheepshead Bay, for instance, discovered in March that the lock on its 1,000-gallon barrel of used cooking oil was clipped and that thieves had been pilfering it for a while. Rosemary Randazzo, an owner, watched a surveillance video recording that captured one of the nighttime operations. “They were doing it so quickly,’’ she said, “and they were so good at it, that it only took them a few seconds to get it out.”

Mr. Lynn estimates that brewing his own biofuel saves him about half of what he would pay for a gallon of diesel fuel at the pump. But it isn’t all about cutting costs. Mr. Lynn has an 11-year-old son with autism and wonders, along with other parents and medical researchers, if environmental factors aren’t contributing to today’s prevalence of autism. Biodiesel burns cleaner and more efficiently than petroleum-based fuels. “I think we all have to do our bit,” he said.

To encourage the safe home brewing of biodiesel, which does not require registration for personal use, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation posts an online fact sheet that explains the rules, risks and best practices, including how to deal with its byproduct, glycerol.

Widely used in foods and pharmaceuticals, glycerol is a key component of glycerin soap. In its raw form, though, “it doesn’t smell so good,” said Mr. Lynn as he opened a drain valve at the bottom of his mixing container to allow the black liquid to ooze into a bucket. He scooped up a small amount. “It smells a little like French fries,” he said.

Mr. Lynn collecting the fuel from Parkchester Fish and Chips. He enjoys a meal there each time he retrieves the oil.Todd Heisler/The New York Times Mr. Lynn collecting the fuel from Parkchester Fish and Chips. He enjoys a meal there each time he retrieves the oil.

Behold the Latest in Trash Trucks and Police Three-Wheelers

A log loader on display on Thursday during a vehicle and equipment show organized by the city at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.Ramin Talaie for The New York Times A log loader on display on Thursday during a vehicle and equipment show organized by the city at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

When the Unisphere at the 1964 World’s Fair was brand new, the crowds marveled at the Mercury capsule that had carried Scott Carpenter into space, a replica of a two-person Gemini capsule and, for those who remained earthbound, a Picturephone that could make videocalls. It was the latest in technology, they said.

In the shadow of the Unisphere on Thursday, city officials marveled at Dennis Sivillo’s garbage truck. It was the latest in technology, they said.

The truck is a diesel-hydraulic hybrid. It was on display at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens at what amounted to an outdoor trade show run by New York City and open to companies that sell their products to city agencies. They set up everything from impact-absorbing “crash cushions” to forklifts to lights for police cars to an electric-powered three-wheel scooter that looks something like a bulkier, more stable Segway.

The three-wheeler is made by Vectrix, a Massachusetts company that manufactures electric scooters. Gerry White, a retired police officer who is Vectrix’s director of government sales and law enforcement training, said the New York Police Department already had some Vectrix two-wheelers and had promised to test the three-wheeler.

“Top speed, 25 miles an hour,” he said after circling the Unisphere, looking for the perfect place to snap a photograph. “And it has multiple batteries. They’re swappable. It will do 30 to 35 miles on 20 cents’ worth of electricity.”

The city’s purchasing agency, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, sponsored the “vehicle and equipment show,” an expanded version of an annual program that Keith T. Kerman oversaw when he ran the parks department’s fleet. He moved to the administrative services agency two years ago as the city’s chief fleet management officer.

He said the “public-works fleets” — the ones run by the sanitation, transportation, parks and environmental protection agencies — were operating their diesel-powered vehicles on a blend containing 20 percent biofuel from April to November. The rest of the year, he said, they will use a 5 percent blend. He said emergency-service fleets would switch to the 5 percent blend by the end of the year but would not make the warm-weather transition to the 20 percent mixture.

Officials said the city now had 5,562 hybrid or all-electric vehicles, of which 2,570 were Toyota Priuses and 1,806 were Ford Fusions or Escapes. The city also has 612 plug-in electric vehicles, including 103 Chevrolet Volts, and has 117 charging stations. Empire Clean Cities, a nonprofit group that is part of a national coalition committed to reducing petroleum consumption, gave the parks department fleet its certification for lower-than-expected emissions. It said the department had reduced petroleum consumption by 54 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent.

Perhaps the most colorful truck near the Unisphere was a parks department log loader. It is orange and recently joined 20 to 30 similar machines that can be used for lifting fallen trees after major storms. This one can lift 3,100 pounds, almost three times as much as some earlier models.

As for Mr. Sivillo’s garbage truck, it is one of 15 diesel-hydraulic hybrid trucks in the Sanitation Department fleet, according to Rocco DiRico, a deputy sanitation commissioner. He said that oil from a closed-loop system is captured in a hydraulic pump when the driver depresses the brakes. Hybrid electric cars like the Prius use the same principle to charge batteries than can power the car.

Mr. DiRico also said the trucks can continue to operate on diesel power alone if the hybrid equipment fails.

At about $276,000, the diesel-hydraulic hybrid trucks cost about $47,000 more than conventional rear-loading garbage trucks, he said. A truck that runs on compressed natural gas, another alternative to conventional fuel, costs about $265,000, he said.

Some of the vendors who attended the show said they were not trying to land customers and write orders on the spot.

“You want to get a couple of good quality leads you can follow up on,” said Derrick Thomason, a territory manager for Cummins Power Systems, who was talking about a $12,500-to-$14,000 emergency generator for homes.

The homes he had in mind did not include Gracie Mansion (and not just because Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg does not live there). He said he was hoping to connect with “some of the workers that might stop by, or some of the guys who are working the booths.”

Gerry White of Vectrix, a maker of electric scooters, demonstrated one intended for police use.Ramin Talaie for The New York Times
Gerry White of Vectrix, a maker of electric scooters, demonstrated one intended for police use.

The Ad Campaign: Group Frames the Choice as Anyone but Quinn

A political action committee dedicated to thwarting Christine C. Quinn’s mayoral ambitions released three new advertisements on Thursday, featuring New Yorkers explaining why they do not like Ms. Quinn, the City Council speaker, and will not vote for her. The committee, called NYC Is Not for Sale 2013, was founded by the president of Local 1180, which represents communications workers; an animal rights group that has sparred with Ms. Quinn over horse-drawn carriages; and a wealthy businesswoman. It is legally allowed to spend unlimited amounts on political advertising as long as it does not coordinate its activity with a candidate. The ads began running Thursday on several cable channels in the city, and was produced by The Advance Group.

Click below to jump to a fact-check:

  • 0:04  Closing St. Vincent’s

    The ad suggests that Ms. Quinn held some of the blame for the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital in the West Village. In fact, she was on a task force that tried to save the hospital, which was $1 billion in debt, and she played a role in arranging for it to be replaced by a 24-hour emergency facility, which is scheduled to open next year.

  • 0:10  Bloomberg and Quinn

    The man in the ad suggests Ms. Quinn regularly does Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s bidding on the City Council and that her mayoralty would be a continuation of his. Ms. Quinn has been a close ally of Mr. Bloomberg, and, as speaker, she led the Council in voting to temporarily lift term limits to allow him (and many City Council members, including herself) to run for a third term. But she has also split with him on his administration’s homeless policy and on legislation that the Council has passed to give some private sector workers higher wages and paid sick leave. In the last two years, Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Quinn have sued each other — Ms. Quinn over the mayor’s policy on the homeless, and Mr. Bloomberg over the wage legislation.

SCORECARD The ads reflect the vitriol of some of Ms. Quinn’s opponents. They don’t make many specific claims, instead emphasizing Ms. Quinn’s perceived closeness to the mayor and asserting that she is self-interested. Still, the ads present a challenge to Ms. Quinn, by putting negative images before the public now while she waits until later in the campaign season to spend money on ads.

Diverse Mix of Candidates Weigh In on an Obscure Jewish Ritual

It is a measure of the multicultural finesse it takes to run for mayor in New York City that seven Democratic candidates — including men and women of Chinese, Latino, Irish and Italian backgrounds — have staked out positions on an Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual that is obscure even to most Jews.

On Wednesday night, the candidates took part in a forum at the Manhattan Beach Jewish Center sponsored by The Jewish Press, a weekly publication geared toward the Orthodox community, and the very first question thrown at them concerned metzitzah b’peh, an ancient practice common in ultra-Orthodox communities in which the circumciser uses his mouth to suck blood from the wound.

Since September, New York City health officials, noting that 12 cases of herpes simplex virus have most likely resulted from the procedure since 2000, have required parents to fill out a consent form that acknowledges they are aware of the risks. Orthodox groups have shrugged off the risks and sued the city to block the consent requirement, but a federal judge ruled in January that the city may temporarily proceed.

Though some of the candidates at a forum heavily attended by Orthodox Jews mangled the pronunciation of the Hebrew term, they took subtly contrasting positions.

John C. Liu, the city comptroller, said he would abandon the requirement for consent forms, pointing out that the procedure had been used for “thousands of years” and “for some reason a billionaire mayor decided he knows better than anyone else.”

The Rev. Erick Salgado, the pastor of the Church of Iglesia Jovenes Cristianos, said he saw the consent requirement as an example of interference from City Hall in religious matters and an “attack against a community of faith,” just like restrictions on the use of well water for making matzos before Passover.

However, Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, defended the consent forms, saying they offer “a balance” between the needs of Jewish tradition and health concerns.

Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, used the question to attack Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for trying “to impose his will” without sensitivity to religious traditions and urged officials to join with religious leaders to work out a plan that indicates “respect for religious tradition.”

Sal F. Albanese, a former councilman, said that if he was elected mayor he, too, would call in all parties to the dispute and hammer out a consensus.

William C. Thompson Jr., a former comptroller, arrived too late to answer the question directly, but in March he told ultra-Orthodox leaders that one thing he had heard was “there was no conversation — it was this is the way it’s going to be, my way or the highway.” He also said he would bring the parties together to work out a protocol that “balances safety and religious practice.”

Anthony D. Weiner, the only Jewish candidate and one who sprinkled all of his responses with Yiddish terms, noted that he had stated his support for metzitzah b’peh in a 2005 article in The Forward about the practice. He did not, however, address the specific question of consent forms.

City Discloses New Location of 9/11 Victims’ Remains

Memorial Park, on East 30th Street, near the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, leads to a chapel in a large tent under which the remains of World Trade Center victims were stored until October.David W. Dunlap/The New York Times Memorial Park, on East 30th Street, near the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, leads to a chapel in a large tent under which the remains of World Trade Center victims were stored until October.

For more than a decade, relatives of World Trade Center victims had been accustomed to walking through Memorial Park on East 30th Street on their way to a tranquil chapel under a big white tent. There, they could pay their respects to the dead, knowing that the victims’ remains were nearby, carefully stored — though out of sight — beneath the same tent top.

On the wall of Memorial Park.David W. Dunlap/The New York Times On the wall of Memorial Park.

On Memorial Day, a number of victims’ relatives accused the Bloomberg administration of having “snatched” the remains from Memorial Park and surreptitiously moving them to an “undisclosed location.”

A day later, Nazli Parvizi, the Bloomberg administration’s commissioner of community affairs, informed family members by e-mail that the remains had in fact been moved in October 2012 — in advance of Hurricane Sandy — to the DNA Forensic Biology Laboratory Building at 421 East 26th Street, which is run by the office of the chief medical examiner.

“The Memorial Park area at East 30th Street was damaged during the storm, and given the vulnerability of the park to future storms, we have determined that the location is no longer suitable as storage for the remains,” Ms. Parvizi wrote.

“The DNA building is a brand new, state-of-the-art facility where scientists are continuing their efforts to identify those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” she continued. “This new location is not vulnerable to storm damage.”

The medical examiner’s office still holds more than 8,000 body fragments from the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. They are stored in vacuum-sealed plastic pouches, with bar codes and identification numbers.

Ms. Parvizi said the remains would stay at the laboratory until the completion of the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center, when they will be placed in a repository near bedrock level.

Opponents of the plan to enshrine the remains in the museum were angered by the new disclosure.

“They moved the remains, without notification and consultation to the 9/11 families, because of possible flood concerns,” said Norman Siegel, a lawyer who represents the opponents. “Yet, they will ultimately place the remains in the museum, 70 feet below ground in a flood zone, which was flooded during Hurricane Sandy. It is hard to discern the logic behind this.”

Museum officials and a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office have said that the remains can be evacuated with enough notice and that the repository will be watertight in any case. Ms. Parvizi said that victims’ relatives could arrange to visit the DNA laboratory and that the memorial chapel would reopen “for quiet reflection.”

But on Wednesday, the park and the entrance to the chapel were still in a state of disarray. Within sight of a memorial flier for James M. Cartier, an electrician who was working on the 105th floor of the south tower when the building was hit, are uprooted chunks of concrete and sawed-off tree limbs.

“Memorial Park in itself holds no value to us,” his brother, John C. Cartier, wrote in an e-mail to other victims’ relatives, “but it is the remains of those we lost that mean everything.”

Remains of World Trade Center victims were stored under the tent until the approach of Hurricane Sandy.David W. Dunlap/The New York Times Remains of World Trade Center victims were stored under the tent until the approach of Hurricane Sandy.

‘I Spy’ on the Train

Dear Diary:

An arms’ length away, a bubbly girl of about 6, gleefully riding this Manhattan-bound N train with her father, had engaged him in a round of “I Spy.”

“I spy, with my little eye…” she chanted. She hadn’t perfected her indoor voice yet. The passengers around her smiled into their books. What word had the letter E? Which ad featured a yellow flower?

Then something startled me. “I spy… a purple coat!” Inadvertently, I had caught her attention. “I spy… pink shoes!” She smiled innocently as she deconstructed my appearance with a critical eye, and I, imagining her unrestrained powers of observation, hoped for a little mercy. Her father, a most reluctant participant, turned his face away but continued to indulge his little girl with responses.

When his inability to guess became too much for her, it was time to reveal my identity. She nudged her father and pointed at me, looking me directly in the eye. Her father silently groaned and focused on counting the remaining stops.

His daughter, triumphant, moved on to the next round.

“I spy, with my little eye, someone with yellow teeth!”

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After Chronicling History, SoHo Artist Is Losing a Vantage Point

In 1990, James Wentzy — a 38-year-old struggling artist, darkroom wizard and self-described SoHo homesteader — learned he had H.I.V. Faced with his own mortality, he decided reluctantly to do something he hated. Work.

“I’ll be dead real soon,” he figured. “No later than the end of ’90. I’ll work real hard so that when I die, it’ll be a relief.”

Some of Mr. Wentzy's tapes.David W. Dunlap/The New York Times Some of Mr. Wentzy’s tapes.

With that, he began videotaping members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or Act Up, and others as they fought popular indifference and official neglect in the face of the AIDS epidemic. He recorded artists who were living with H.I.V. and AIDS. He produced more than 150 AIDS-related programs for public-access cable television and was the subject of a documentary, “Books of James.”

What Mr. Wentzy didn’t do was die. So his tape collection grew and grew and grew into an archive about 600 hours long, or 25 entire days from beginning to end. There were incendiary moments, like when protesters hurled the ashes of AIDS casualties over the White House fence, and quiet ones, like when the poet Jaime Manrique recalled visiting with the writer Reinaldo Arenas, who was suffering from AIDS, the day before Mr. Arenas killed himself.

“James Wentzy has been the great, tireless chronicler of the grassroots response to the AIDS crisis for over 20 years,” Jim Hubbard, a co-founder of MIX, the New York Queer Experimental Film Festival, wrote for an exhibition at the Fales Library of New York University.

In Mr. Wentzy’s basement apartment at 12 Wooster Street, where he has lived since February 1982, he created a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling video library, editing suite and impromptu museum of gay life in New York City, just outside a darkroom and processing room that would have been the envy of many black-and-white photographers. Almost all the construction materials were salvaged from within the building, which was once the headquarters of the Durbrow & Hearne Manufacturing Company, makers of sewing and embroidering machines and needles.

The basement of 12 Wooster Street as Mr. Wentzy found it in 1982James Wentzy The basement of 12 Wooster Street as Mr. Wentzy found it in 1982

Three things pushed him to keep going, Mr. Wentzy said. One: motivating others to get active in the movement. Two: educating the public about why Act Up and its allies were so angry and impatient. Three: preserving a living history of the often-tumultuous campaign against AIDS.

“I had no control over the first two,” he said, but added that he knew he had that third one nailed.

The future of Mr. Wentzy’s archive seems assured, with its recent acquisition by the New York Public Library. “James Wentzy has made a major contribution as an activist and director,” said Jason Baumann, the library’s coordinator of collection assessment. “His materials in the library’s collections are essential for scholars and documentarians studying AIDS activism.”

Mr. Wentzy’s own future, however, is anything but certain.

Mr. Wentzy in his living room.David W. Dunlap/The New York Times Mr. Wentzy in his living room.

He has depended for 31 years on the kindness of his landlord, D. James Dee, a photographer of fine art who does business as the SoHo Photographer. They struck a deal in 1982 under which Mr. Wentzy would process and print Mr. Dee’s large-format black-and-white negatives in return for rent-free quarters in the basement. The arrangement has persisted, long beyond the near-obsolescence of film, to this day.

But Mr. Dee is retiring to Florida. And though he will still own the ground floor and basement of 12 Wooster Street, he has leased it to the jewelry designer Melissa Joy Manning, as an office, design studio and wholesale showroom, for 10 years, beginning Aug. 1. “They want to use the space they’re paying for,” Mr. Dee said, not an unreasonable position for a tenant to take.

So Mr. Wentzy, 60, must move out. And soon. He does not know yet where he’ll land — Germany, Thailand, Japan, Jersey City, Oakland, Calif., or out in the woods. He’ll be leaving a city much different than the one that welcomed him in 1976 from Brookings, S.D., with a seeming promise that he could do anything if he stuck to it long enough.

He will be dismantling a place suffused with memory, smelling of old wood, darkroom chemistry and cigarette smoke. (Mr. Wentzy rolls his own). He’ll be packing up tools of long-ago trades, like a sample book of Durbrow & Hearne needles and a glass case full of dead videotape cameras, along with posters, leaflets and buttons that called people to long-ago battles.

“Act Up was one of the few communities that got down to fight,” Mr. Wentzy said. “I haven’t used the word community without putting quotes around it since the mid-’90s. I think we lost the war on AIDS. There is no community. Now it’s, ‘Good luck, you’re on your own.’ ”

Unlike many tales of real estate displacement, Mr. Wentzy’s story has no villain. In a way, it doesn’t even have a victim, he acknowledged. “After 31 years, I can’t start crying, ‘Oh, I’ve been so lucky and now I’m not,’ ” he said.

“And I can’t jump out the window with any satisfaction.”

A photo of the artist Tehching Hsieh at the front door of 12 Wooster Street in 1982, next to a tag from Durbrow & Hearne.David W. Dunlap/The New York Times A photo of the artist Tehching Hsieh at the front door of 12 Wooster Street in 1982, next to a tag from Durbrow & Hearne.