New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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The condo board at 550 Grand Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, had a problem unrelated to hirsute hipsters, organic kale smoothies and double-wide strollers. It's a common problem with new construction and even in renovated pre-war apartment buildings, such as this four-story, 1920 walkup converted circa 2009 from three units to six. But what makes this case unusual, and possibly instructive to other new boards who may be facing sponsor shenanigans, this board successfully argued that just because the sponsor used different corporate names doesn't mean any of those entities can evade responsibility.

Polar vortexes and five feet of snow weren't the only things sending shivers through New York City co-op and condo boards this past winter  — so did the arrest of property manager Alan B. Gorelick, leading many boards to ask a pair of unsettling questions: Are we insured against theft? If so, is our insurance adequate?

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, is Howard Beach, Queens, co-op board vice president Ellen Di Stefano Buonpastore one of the most foulmouthed in New York City? We can't say, but Howard Thompson of WPIX's "Help Me Howard" segment has a report about her, stranded seniors and an elevator repair that will astonish you. Plus, what happened to the super at The Plaza's condominiums? What's the latest in the ongoing saga of the Brighton Beach boardwalk bathrooms? Did you know boards can help resolve disputes through free mediation? And where is Mad Men man Jon Hamm hanging his hat?

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a 63-year-old woman in a Fifth Avenue co-op has had the same Maytag washer in her apartment for 20 years with permission and without trouble. Now the co-op board won't approve a replacement unless it's one of three hoity-toity brands. Well, lah-de-dah ... Maytag's not good enough for 'em? Let's go to court! And court may be where Trump Village West board president Igor Oberman might wind up, since a New York City Department of Investigation report accuses him of less-than-ethical things. Plus, Co-op City has an asbestos problem. Or does it?

In 1950, a young Jay Silverzweig, the owner of a plastics business, watched electricity costs take a toll on his neighbors in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Two fellow entrepreneurs, who used steam to clean rags, finally decided to get off the electric grid and worked out a cogeneration system (or CHP, i.e., "combined heat and power") that uses natural gas to produce electrical and thermal power.

More than 60 years later, those early experiments in alternative energy were lurking somewhere in Silverzweig's mind as he spearheaded the $1.5 million cogen project at the Brevoort East, a 26-story, 325-unit cooperative at 20 East 9th Street in Greenwich Village.

Does your co-op have a flip tax that it is higher than five percent of the gross sales price? If it does, you should be concerned. Lewis Kobak is.

Kobak, the longtime general manager of Brigham Park Co-op Section 4, in Brooklyn, became worried earlier this year about his co-op's transfer fee — colloquially called a flip tax — when several shareholders were having trouble selling their apartments. Buyers were being turned down for bank financing.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, the battle over emotional-support dogs gets even more emotional at East River House, as the feds get into the act. Elsewhere, condo and co-op boards might want to partake of a new program teaching doormen to recognize and report elder abuse. And some in City Council push for property-tax rebates. Plus, co-ops try to more like condos and vice-versa, a new affordable housing program will fill a long-empty condominium in The Bronx's Mount Hope neighborhood, and Ronan Farrow (pictured) may be your new Upper West Side neighbor.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, condo-owners at the landmarked American Tract Society Building a.k.a. 150 Nassau Street, swill be welcoming a Denny's restaurant, after all. Well, maybe "welcoming" is too strong a word. In Brighton Beach, the ultra-green condo at 67 Brighton 1st Lane may or may not still be called Bright N' Green, but it's back in the news. Upcoming Late Night host Seth Meyers buys in Greenwich Village. And condo owners at The Lennox say its construction was bollocksed. Plus: Tips on spotting a friendly / liberal co-op board.

UPDATED March 22, 2013 — Following an interagency raid by investigations who took files and computers from five local heating-oil business, two lawsuits have been filed by real-estate concerns charging that the companies have been selling oil diluted with waste product. Authorities and the plaintiffs claim such tainted fuel oil has been delivered for years to both commercial and residential buildings.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a Chelsea condo board has won its battle with a downstairs gym, New York City investigates possible fraud by Lower East Side co-op board members and a Queens co-op says it's not soulless. The Comptroller says the City goes too easy on water-bill deadbeats, raising rates for the rest of us. An expert answers: Are condo boards as powerful as co-op boards? And Law & Order's Richard Belzer sells his co-op. Dun dun!

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