New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Pushing the Boundaries of Electrification

Written by Emily Myers on November 08, 2023

Turtle Bay

The board at 420 Beekman Hill is pioneering large-scale heat pump technology to meet the city’s Local Law 97 emission requirements.

A creative committee solves the finance riddle for overdue facade repairs.

Condo board had to get creative to finance major repairs.

Unhappy Shareholders Cannot Sue Boards Willy-Nilly

Written by Dale J. Degenshein on October 19, 2018

Turtle Bay, Manhattan

The Business Judgment Rule is thick armor for boards.

Condo Board Slams Door on Verizon

Written by Ron Egatz on October 12, 2017

Turtle Bay, Manhattan

Case could give condo boards significant new power.

Condo board files $67 million lawsuit at Turtle Bay luxury tower.

It was a question of security. The Sands, a 111-unit, 14-story co-op at 321 East 45 Street, was having intercom problems. Although the property, between First and Second Avenues, has a doorman on duty from 4 P.M. to midnight, residents were concerned about relying on the 56-year-old intercom as the only watchdog.

"The system was pretty much under continual repair because there seemed to be some internal wiring problems due to its age," recalls Tom Uhl, a board member. "In my own unit, I could release the door from my apartment, but I couldn't hear the doorman or any guests on the phone or they couldn't hear me. So it came down to the point where if I knew visitors were coming, they called me on the cellphone from the vestibule, and I released the door. But if I had a surprise guest or somebody was delivering something, and they didn't have my cellphone number, it was a problem."

Habitat recently covered the issue of ground-lease co-ops and condos from a big-picture, concept-and-instructional perspective. But the big picture ain't the only picture, and does a nice job with this detailed, side-by-side comparison of two co-ops in Manhattan's Turtle Bay neighborhood: one a ground-lease (a.k.a. land-lease) co-op and the other not. So check out the $349,000 ground-lease one-bedroom at 420 East 51st Street, with a $3,238 monthly maintenance, and a comparable regular co-op at 400 East 52nd Street, asking $725,000 and with a $1,732 maintenance. Ah, but those numbers alone don't tell the story. The devil is in the details — as is, possibly, a devilishly good deal.

Kim Velsey in The New York Observer writes, quite entertainingly, of the travails facing diplomats seeking co-op or condo housing in New York. At many places it's "Diplomats Need Not Apply," as boards worry about diplomatic immunity, security details, endless sign-offs from the State Department and others, and, of course, the dreaded scourge of cocktail parties. Not to mention: You approve one diplomat, there's a coup, now you've got a whole new neighbor to contend with. We learn that while the UK and New Zealand have been given the red carpet, poor France got turned down at River House and Qatar had to buy a townhouse. (We know ... big hardship.) Attorney Steven Wagner offers an amusing anecdote about a bad diplomat in Astoria, Queens. And you don't even want to know what diplomats from poor countries have to contend with. Two words: studio apartment.

It seems like just the other day we were writing about the famously snooty River House co-op — oh, wait ... it was just the other day! — which refused to allow in such louts as Diane Keaton, Gloria Vanderbilt and Joan Crawford. (It has allowed Uma Thurman, Barbara Taylor Bradford and Henry Kissinger, among others.) But now River House, a 1931 beauty at the East River end of 52nd Street, is easing into the 21st century, says The New York Times. For one thing, the paper marveled, its board president was talking to The New York Times. It does need good press — its reputation hasn't done apartment sales any good, with places going for far less than comparable ones, brokers say. And a foreclosure auction last week? That simply is not cricket, old chap. But between this new openness and an ongoing $50 million refurbishing, things may change for the better for what really is an extraordinary edifice. As one broker quipped to the Times, “Even when they were making them like this, nobody was making them like this.”

1 2

Ask the Experts

learn more

Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

Source Guide

see the guide

Looking for a vendor?