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NYC museum celebrating Little Italy's heritage seeks to evict Italian-American grandmother

  • Adele Sarno poses for picture in her apartment in the Little Italy section of Manhattan, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in New York.  A fight in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood between a landlord who wants a tenant out and a tenant who doesn’t want to go isn’t just the run-of-the-mill New York City real estate struggle. The landlord is a museum dedicated to the legacy of Italian Americans in the area. The tenant? Sarno, an 85-year-old Italian American woman, who’s lived there for more than 50 years. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    Adele Sarno poses for picture in her apartment in the Little Italy section of Manhattan, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in New York. A fight in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood between a landlord who wants a tenant out and a tenant who doesn’t want to go isn’t just the run-of-the-mill New York City real estate struggle. The landlord is a museum dedicated to the legacy of Italian Americans in the area. The tenant? Sarno, an 85-year-old Italian American woman, who’s lived there for more than 50 years. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)  (The Associated Press)

  • A photograph of Adele Sarno, when she was 16, and queen of the Feast of San Gennaro, hangs on the wall of her apartment in the Little Italy section of Manhattan, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in New York.  A fight in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood between a landlord who wants a tenant out and a tenant who doesn’t want to go isn’t just the run-of-the-mill New York City real estate struggle. The landlord is a museum dedicated to the legacy of Italian Americans in the area. The tenant? Sarno, an 85-year-old Italian American woman, who’s lived there for more than 50 years. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    A photograph of Adele Sarno, when she was 16, and queen of the Feast of San Gennaro, hangs on the wall of her apartment in the Little Italy section of Manhattan, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in New York. A fight in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood between a landlord who wants a tenant out and a tenant who doesn’t want to go isn’t just the run-of-the-mill New York City real estate struggle. The landlord is a museum dedicated to the legacy of Italian Americans in the area. The tenant? Sarno, an 85-year-old Italian American woman, who’s lived there for more than 50 years. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)  (The Associated Press)

  • Adele Sarno poses for picture in her apartment in the Little Italy section of Manhattan, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in New York.  A fight in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood between a landlord who wants a tenant out and a tenant who doesn’t want to go isn’t just the run-of-the-mill New York City real estate struggle. The landlord is a museum dedicated to the legacy of Italian Americans in the area. The tenant? Sarno, an 85-year-old Italian American woman, who’s lived there for more than 50 years. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    Adele Sarno poses for picture in her apartment in the Little Italy section of Manhattan, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in New York. A fight in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood between a landlord who wants a tenant out and a tenant who doesn’t want to go isn’t just the run-of-the-mill New York City real estate struggle. The landlord is a museum dedicated to the legacy of Italian Americans in the area. The tenant? Sarno, an 85-year-old Italian American woman, who’s lived there for more than 50 years. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)  (The Associated Press)

A fight in Manhattan's Little Italy between a landlord who wants a tenant out and a tenant who doesn't want to go isn't your run-of-the-mill New York City real estate struggle.

That's because the landlord is a museum dedicated to the legacy of Italian-Americans, and the tenant is an 85-year-old Italian-American grandmother who has lived there for more than 50 years.

Adele Sarno says the fight over her $820-a-month, two-bedroom apartment began five years ago. That's when she received a letter seeking to increase that rent to $3,500 a month, far more than the retired shopkeeper says she can afford.

The museum's president and spokesman didn't reply to multiple requests for comment. But they have said the museum is looking to expand its space, or sell the properties to a developer and remain there rent-free.