New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community



Once a week, we'll go behind the scenes at a co-op or condo who has been with the same management company for decades. Want more management marriages? Check out Habitat's upcoming July/August print issue! 

The building could be called the Phoenix, it's recreated itself so many times. "And we've been able to grow with them," property manager Paul Brensilber says of the board and the building, a 206-unit co-op at 333 East 14th Street that his company has managed since 1989. Jean Verrico has been on and off the board, Stuyvesant Owners, Inc., from the beginning; currently the vice president, she remembers how the co-op went through two management firms — one large, white-glove operation that proved inept, and a smaller shop that reportedly mismanaged money — before hooking up with Brensilber, the principal at Jordan Cooper & Associates.

The five story co-op at 199 East 7th Street has been around since that part of the chi-chi East Village was still known as the Lower East Side. The name transition was just beginning when Mary Veronica Santiago-Monteverde and her late husband Hector Santiago moved there in 1965, more than a quarter-century before the rent-stabilized walkup was converted in the co-op boom of the eighties.

And three decades down from that, the fate of a 79-year-old widow will impact like a meteor on everything co-op boards think they know about their grandfathered, rent-stabilized tenants.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, police erroneously force a doorman to let a delinquent owner into her condo apartment — while almost simultaneously, a judge is ruling that she pay up first. Add the fact this occurred at the condominium where Joan Rivers is board president only goes to show that no matter who you are, board members (as another comedian put it) get no respect, I tell ya. Except here, of course, and for boards we've news of a lawsuit against an insurance agent who procured inadequate flood coverage, efforts to keep an alleged hoarder away and that graffiti on the side of your building? It may be worth six figures.

It's a story as old as co-ops and condominiums: Someone gets on the board, and someone else accuses him or her of using the board position for personal gain. And in the case of a condo in Alphabet City, as the area of letter-name streets in Manhattan's East Village is known, a lawsuit involving a roof deck installed without permission seems as simple as ABC. Or is it?

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a wonderful new affordable co-op in The Bronx (at left) finds loud, trashy neighbors drinking on the street and throwing dangerous objects from several stories above — and the police don't care. Bet they would if this were 15 Central Park West, another co-op in the news. Plus, why is a Queens condo paying to keep up land the Department of Transportation is supposed to maintain? And for boards, we've the latest on the Dakota's discrimination lawsuit and on two East Village co-ops' no-restaurant policy.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a co-op claims victory, sort of, against Citi Bike, a condo owner will only accept Bitcoin and how hot is Long Island City? Plus, for condo and co-op boards, there's more on Intro 188, which would regulate co-op admissions more tightly, as well as a big fine against a condo's illegal hoteler and let's all have fun with quirky house rules!

We all want to feel safe in our own homes, and in a small co-op or condominium, any incident from theft of a bicycle to a personal confrontation can cause a major shift in perspective. For boards of small and midsize buildings without doormen, the first reaction is often to look at your security system, which encompasses front- and roof-door locks, intercoms, exterior lighting, keeping sight lines clear by trimming trees that could conceal someone lurking near the entrance, and moving mailboxes to the front of the building, where security is generally concentrated. But how do you do it affordably?

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a New York City co-op board that refuses to recognize Hanukkah? That'd be mashugana if it weren't so disturbing. Plus, another high-rise hooker, recovering from superstorm Sandy, a co-op flood wall in Yonkers and city inspectors have become unglued in Co-op City. And for co-op and condo boards that want good lobby art but can't afford it, two boards have creative solutions.

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.

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