New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



A Place (Not) in the Sun

I never thought about it before, but our board contains six professionals. We have a retired attorney, a professor, a financial executive, a photographer, and a real estate executive, and I’m in the textile business. It gives us a professional air; everybody contributes. It also helps that I run my own company – that means I bring a business sense to the board. We don’t always agree at first, but we end up agreeing in the end. It’s a great board.

I moved to my building, a Greenwich Village co-op at 45 West 10th Street, in the late ’70s. I was drawn to the location. I knew it would be a nice place to live – but it turned out to be a very nice place to live.

I’ve always been a person who was involved and wanted to be part of the furniture. The board had an opening and they were looking for someone professional, and I came right in. That was more than 30 years ago; I was first elected in 1981. Do I ever get tired of it? Yeah – an hour out of a 24-hour day. But I counter that by realizing I’m contributing to the building, and the building is good for me. Despite all the negatives, there are more positives. During my time on the board, I’ve learned the importance of working for our shareholders while making the building a desirable place to live to new buyers. Resale value, as it is called, often can hinge on amenities.

This past year, the board felt it could add to those amenities by expanding our existing roof deck. About eight years ago, we installed the deck, using cement pavers. Since then, residents have found that the space lacked a shady area for those overly sunny days in the summer – July and August can be brutal in New York. We found a spot on the north end of the deck that was shaded by the water tower and was left unfinished when the existing pavers were installed. We thought that we could expand the roof deck to include this shaded section, a feasible and cost-effective way of improving our space.

We then carefully considered what would be the best material to use for the expanded portion and what would be the best time of year to bring in contractors to begin work. After looking at all our options, we decided against cement pavers this time around, because they would be more cumbersome and complicated to install. We opted, instead, for an alternative, new, treated wood product – in a similar color to the existing pavers – that we think will work out nicely. It will cost about the same, but will be a contrast and will give the roof deck an attractive and expensive look. Work on the project is slated to begin this spring.

A valuable lesson from this project is the importance of the board working together. There was no controversy in deciding on this job; we proceeded in an orderly manner, with one goal in mind: making sure the roof deck offers a place to not only catch some rays of summer sun but also enjoy some shade throughout the year. And it helps knowing that when we put an apartment on the market, the renovated deck will make a difference.

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