In 2007, a classic co-op war broke out pitting older residents against newer residents with children in a cluster of Queens co-ops built around expansive landscaped back yards. Since they were erected in the early 20th century, most of these Jackson Heights co-ops had strict Keep-Off-the-Grass policies. But as more people with young children bought into the co-ops, pressure rose to let kids play on the grass.
By a vote of a majority of shareholders, the 14-building, 140-unit Hawthorne Court co-op has become the last of these garden apartments to relent and allow residents, young and old, to walk on the grass, the New York Times reports.
The generational conflict got “acrimonious,” says Meg Fry, who moved into Hawthorne Court in 2005. “These apartments were getting more and more expensive, and sometimes when you spend that much on an apartment, when you move in, you want everything your way.”
The younger generation finally got its way when the Hawthorne Court Council agreed to allow residents to walk and play on the grass as long as they’re “respectful, courteous and neighborly.” Still no ball playing, Frisbee tossing, or bike riding.
“There were some that were unhappy with (the change),” says Mary Reddy, president of the Hawthorne Court Council. “But I think they’ve kind of fallen in and gotten to like it.”
Youth, once again, has been served.
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