Another vestige of the Lower East Side’s eclectic underground culture fades away
New York City’s only Troll Museum is no more—at least as of now. The museum, run by downtown performance artist Reverend Jen Miller out of her home of two decades, was a beloved unofficial landmark that was a remaining vestige of the Lower East Side’s eclectic underground culture.
Rev. Jen, known by some as "The Elf" and to others as the local motherly figure, was blindsided last Thursday when she was presented with an eviction notice from her home of two decades. Miller told Gothamist that though she had admittedly fallen behind on rent due to several stints in the hospital over the past year, she had received no prior warnings and was instead confronted by her landlord, Misrahi Realty, via a City Marshal who carried a request to immediately vacate the premises.
After the three minutes she was allotted to leave, Miller was officially out of her sixth-floor Orchard Street walk-up. She was only able to return once more to collect her many belongings, from movies to handmade (or fanmade?) signs and of course, her vast collection of trolls. But packing up an apartment one’s lived in for two decades in just six hours is no easy task, especially for a collector like Reverend Jen.
Miller’s collection is vast and features trolls beyond comprehension: Elvis trolls, punk trolls, cutsie trolls, "sexy" trolls, even haunted trolls. Too many trolls to count. But sidled with the unexpected eviction, Miller’s adoration of her collection has calcified into anger, "I have no fucking idea where all this is going to go," she told Gothamist, "I guess I should get online and tell people they can come by and buy it off me. Or just take it. I don't fucking care."
When Miller moved into her walk-up at 122 Orchard Street in 1995, the building was largely rent stabilized. Now, the apartment she vacated is just one of three remaining rent-stabilized units in the building. Miller was paying $1,590 a month.
Miller blamed her eviction on the apartment’s rent-stabilized status, "Rent stabilization just makes owners more greedy, and they'll go to any lengths to get people out so they can raise the price," she said. (Misrahi Realty has not commented about whether they intend to raise the rent.)