New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



2017: The Year in Review

The year is ending, and that means it’s time to look back on what was good, what was bad, and what was downright inane in the New York real estate world in the past 12 months.

THE "LEADERS-WHO-LIKE-TO-TWEET-SHOULD-LISTEN-TO-THIS-GUY" AWARDS: to Stephen Rappaport, president of the Americana, a Queens co-op, who said: “When you’re a leader, you can’t take things personally because you’re wearing a professional persona.”

THE "MAYBE-THEY-NEED-A-MAP" AWARD: to the Forest Hills Chateau, about which attorney Abbey Goldstein observed: “It’s called ‘Forest Hills Chateau,’ but it’s not even close to Forest Hills, and it’s neither a chateau nor is it near a forest. It’s actually in Corona, Queens.”

THE "CLOSE-YOUR-EYES-AND-PRAY" AWARD: to the Manhattan board that was warned by an engineer from RAND that stones in its building had shifted. “The main building steel was not holding these stones in place, so it was a design flaw,” said the engineer. “The brick could have fallen out to the street. We recommended the board investigate. They didn’t want to move forward.”

THE "DID-ANYONE-TRY-TO-TWEET-THEM?" AWARD: to the Queens board that was surprised to be defeated in a recent election, even though “the building had lots and lots of problems,” said the manager, and the winning board’s campaign theme was “‘throw the bastards out.’ I saw it coming; I had written them a warning letter saying, ‘You’ve got to deal with the problems.’ But they didn’t respond.”

THE "STRETCHING-THE-METAPHOR" AWARD: to New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation spokeswoman Jessica Luk, who advised an East Side co-op on ways to save money and who, apparently, has a thing about birds. After praising the cooperative for having many of its “ducks in a row,” she added: “We can help people, even if the ducks are all over the place.”

THE "MAYBE-YOU-SHOULD-ADD-A-FLOORSHOW" AWARD: to Howard Grufferman, board member at an 88-unit condo at East 84th Street, who explained the rationale for a recent lobby redesign: “It’s the first impression for anyone moving into the building, whether you’re a resident, a visitor, or a potential buyer, and we wanted to maximize that experience.”

THE "CAN-YOU-SPELL-CHUTZPAH?" AWARD: to the shareholder in a no-pet building who insisted that his puppy was the same elderly – and grandfathered – dog he had housed for years.

THE "CASSANDRA" AWARD: to the board that tried to evict a shareholder who intentionally started a fire in her apartment but was not, according to the court, a threat to her building.Despite a visit to Bellevue, she was allowed to return to her unit. Not long after, while a judge was reprimanding the co-op for its attempts to remove her, the shareholder blew up her oven.

THE "BUT-CAN-YOU-LET-THEM-IN-AS-YOU-ARE-ENTERING?" AWARD: to the board that posted a sign in the lobby vestibule that said, “Please do not allow strangers to enter the building as you are leaving.”

THE "REAL-REASON-ATTORNEYS-WORK-FOR-BOARDS" AWARD:  to attorney James Glatthaar, who noted: “Did you ever wonder why some attorneys represent co-ops and condos? After years, I have concluded that, despite the long hours and lower compensation from clients, we represent them for the stories.”

THE "YOU-CAN'T-QUIT-UNTIL-I-FIRE-YOU" AWARD: to the board president of a Manhattan co-op “who wanted to control everything,” recalled a manager. “When we quit, she said, ‘You can’t quit! The board didn’t vote for it!’ Even when we wanted to quit, she said we couldn’t. Now that’s crazy.”

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