New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

HABITAT

MANHATTAN

An exclusive Habitat co-op/condo board survey shows that co-op and condo boards seem to stick with their property-management firms. Slightly over 60 percent have been with their current firm six years or more; some 16.5 percent have been with the same firm for 11 to 15 years; and some 12.6 percent have had a more-than-21-year relationship.

But despite this longevity, 40.6 percent say the performance of their current managing agent is "subpar" or "needs improving." It's easy to see there's a difference between what boards accept and what boards expect.

In Bregman v. 111 Tenants Corp., Cornelia Sharpe Bregman alleged that in 1972 she was renting apartment 6C at 111 East 75th Street in Manhattan, which was converting the building to cooperative ownership. Because of an insufficient number of subscriptions to qualify for conversion, the sponsor asked her to purchase her apartment as well as penthouse Apartment 10A. Bregman says she entered into an agreement that gave her "full, unconditional, and perpetual sublet rights" to both apartments, because the sponsor recognized that she would have to sublet one or both.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents.

This week, a high-end co-op has a low-rent board, according to a lawsuit claiming it's avoiding responsibility for fecal-contaminated water coming from the tap. Yuck. Plus, a pit bull featured on Animal Planet bites a condo neighbor, and elsewhere a pit-bull owner defies a condominium's no-dogs rule without even bothering to make up a "therapy animal" claim. Queens, the home of last year's tax-protest movement, examines the just-renewed tax abatement, and what happens when your storage locker gets broken into? Plus: An infestation of artists, all over Co-op Village!

Denis Leary was with me when we had an authentic New York moment across from the Hayden Planetarium. I was doing a short segment with him that was part of an online campaign we did. We had a permit.

So I have this camera guy and Denis is dressed as [his movie character] Police Captain George Stacy. And I'm asking him questions and he's talking about how he needs help, how the public has to help him to find Spider-Man.

A guy comes out of the building: sneakers, shorts, all sweaty, athletically obnoxious Wall Street type. Very New York. He's saying to me, "Why are you filming in front of my building? I'm the chairman of the board of this building!" It was a co-op on the Upper West Side.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week,it's a nail-biter as New York City and New York State play chicken over the technically expired property-tax abatement for co-ops and condos. Plus, private playgrounds are the hot new kid-friendly amenity and Alec Baldwin's new wife buys a condo ... right next to her husband's. Is that like his-and-her towels? For condo and co-op boards, we've no less than The New York Times says sic 'em when it comes to condo arrears. And here's how you break up with the nice, friendly volunteer who's not so great at the job.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, Mayor Bloomberg proposes a residential smoking ban. Or does he? Plus, a tree may grow in Brooklyn but a co-op's just sprouted in the ever-burgeoning Bronx; the highest-priced New York City co-op ever gets sold; and what could be the second-priciest condo gets put on the market. Good thing Co-op City is staying affordable. And we wonder what Jennifer Aniston's combined co-op apartments will sell for now that she's moving (or moving in) elsewhere.

A monthly column by HABITAT's editorial director.

Let's call the super Pete, and the only other thing I'll tell you about him is that he's honest, hardworking, and knowledgeable. Oh, yes, and I've known him for 25 years. When he complains about something, it isn't idle talk.

At this moment, he was pretty incensed: "This guy," he said, referring to another super he knew, "shouldn't have gotten that job."

Certainly, 55 Liberty Street is a beautiful building – the base of the roof on the 28th floor is adorned with a menagerie of massive masonry eagles, lions, alligators, fish, gnomes, and assorted flora – but that beauty can quickly turn deadly. That was the case in 1993 when chunks of terra cotta broke loose from the skin of the 32-story, 80-unit co-op and plunged to the crowded sidewalk below.

Designed by Henry Ives Cobb, the free-standing terra-cotta structure was the tallest building in the world when it opened its doors in 1909. It served as offices for Sinclair Oil and other businesses until 1979, when it was converted to residential living. Two years later, it became a co-op. Now it is dealing with capital challenges, safety, and the ever-present memory of the past.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, an Afghan War vet says his Shih Tzu helps his PTSD; co-op wonders otherwise; a condo board loses over phantom cigarette smoke; and while one co-op hopes a new commercial tenant finally takes, another backs down on tacky chains. Plus, Chloë Sevigny has no big love for her co-op anymore. And for condo / co-op boards, we've the latest on green roofs and on e-mailing notices.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, NY1's Pat Kiernan isn't just a new anchor — he's also board president of a co-op that kept an unwanted building from going up next door. Now that's board clout. Plus: What do you with a nymphomaniac? No, no, if you don't want one around. We've also the latest new-construction woes and apartment sales-market reports. And while it involves a rental building and not a co-op or condo, you'll want to read about a near-tragedy because of a window air conditioner that fell 20 stories.

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