HABITAT

INWOOD

Boards challenge the city’s Human Rights Law at their peril.

Green Team Goes After More Than Low-Hanging Fruit

Written by Paula Chin on April 13, 2018

Inwood, Manhattan

Committee helped Park Terrace Gardens slash energy costs.

Two city-owned buildings, ideal for affordable apartments, remain boarded-up and vacant.

The average price of an apartment in certain Brooklyn neighborhoods is now higher than that of Manhattan co-ops and condos, according to a StreetEasy study cited by Crain's New York Business. While the magazine notes the "obvious caveat" of comparing neighborhoods with an entire borough — where apartments in Inwood and other upper-Manhattan locales sell for far less than in such luxury area as Central Park South or Tribeca — at least two Brooklyn spots blow Manhattan's $890,000 median out of the water: DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Underpass), at $1.5 million, and the Columbia Street waterfront, running through Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens, at $1.147 million. DUMBO, in fact, averaged less than just a half-dozen Manhattan nabes. On the bright side, Kensington is still very affordable.

Is the Nagle Apartments Corps.' financing scheme the new "go to" for co-ops and condos?

Several years ago, the 111-unit co-op in Manhattan's Inwood neighborhood — a three-building complex also known as NaBors Apartments for its locations on Nagle Avenue and Bogardus Place — voted down a proposed flip tax that would have raised much-needed funds for capital repairs. So the board began to charge shareholders a monthly assessment as a way of generating much-needed revenue. This decision stuck, and Nagle's assessment is now essentially permanent.

 

Aug. 29, 2013 — Monkey bars are an endangered species. So are seesaws, metal slides that turn into frying pans under the hot sun and hard asphalt that helped invent the phrase "skinned knees." In fact, old-fashioned playgrounds with all those things are passé. So what does a co-op or condo board do when it wants to create an outdoor play area for children or upgrade the one you've had since the '60s? It's not as simple as buying a swing set at Home Depot.

Or as cheap, since it's an investment in increasing your property's market value. And what with many new developments having them for just that reason, your co-op or condo might need to keep up.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. A co-op board is rightly skeptical of a claim that no possible antidepression treatment even exists other than a dog. A starchitect's building in Brooklyn comes without a trash room, and the city says it's legal — but still tickets the condo for, well, not having a trash room. Manhattan condos are selling strong, but co-op bargains are to be had in the Heights. And for co-op / condo boards, a discrimination lawsuit still stands, but its lawyers don't.

It often feels as if whatever we're experiencing as board members can't possibly be true elsewhere — no one would believe the work, the responsibilities and the decision-making entrusted to volunteer laypersons. Yet you're not alone — others understand. Mary Fran, co-op board president of the 387-unit Park Terrace Gardens n the Inwoodsection of Manhattan, certainly does. In part two of her year-in-the-life diary, the head of this five-building complex's nine-member board details what she and her compatriots struggle with at their monthly meetings. You can probably relate.

In the final entries of co-op board president Mary Fran's 2013 meeting diary, she closes the year with the results of the Local Law 11 façade work, assessment issues and the annual elections at the 387-unit, five-building Park Terrace Gardens in the Inwoodsection of Manhattan. What she and her board went through — is that what you go through, too?

Mary Fran is a fairly typical board member, dedicated and determined, who has served three years as a member-at-large, one year as the vice president and then a year (so far) as president. Her home, Park Terrace Gardens in the Inwood section of Manhattan, is a fairly typical property of its type: a five-building, 387-unit cooperative built in 1939-40 and incorporated as a cooperative in the mid-1980s. It has a nine-member board, four supers, five porters, and a resident manager and her assistant in an onsite office.

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