In 1989, the same year as the fall of the Soviet Union, Red Square was erected as one of the first large-scale private developments in the East Village. Today, it blends in with the other big-box apartment buildings that dot this stretch of Houston Street. That is, until you look up and see the statue of Russian dictator Vladimir Lenin.
The 18-foot bronze statue by Yuri Gerasimov was actually commissioned by the Soviet Union in the early ’80s as a tribute to their leader’s supposed commitment to the working class. When the USSR fell, however, it was never unveiled. But in 1994, when Red Square developers Michael Rosen (a former NYU professor of radical sociology) and Michael Shaoul came across the Lenin statue in a Moscow backyard, it made its way up to the top of their building.