New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

HABITAT

UPPER WEST SIDE

The co-op where I live, 5 Riverside Drive, is a wonderful place. A classic Art Deco high-rise designed by the team of Boak and Paris in 1937, the 109-unit co-op sits on the corner of 73rd Street and Riverside Drive. The shareholders love the proximity to Riverside Park and enjoy the wide vistas of the Hudson River. The building, which went co-op in 1966, has round-the-clock service and a live-in superintendent, laundry, storage and a bike room.

With those attractions, however, come challenges, as we learned when the real estate market took off. Ten percent of our apartments were sold within three years, many for between $1 million and $2 million. A number of shareholders submitted larger and more complex renovation plans than we'd ever handled.

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. More trouble for those involved in illegal short-term rentals, with a major real-estate agent involved. Plus, advice for dealing with co-op board rejection, how to gracefully decline writing a recommendation letter, second-class citizenship at luxury condos, and co-op capers with beer heiress Daphne Guinness and Academy Award-nominee Jessica Chastain (at right). And for co-op / condo boards, we've analyses of Fletcher v. Dakota and of the easing of FHA condo rules.

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.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, it's all about balance: When co-op maintenance or condo common charges are too high, the middle class leaves. Too low, and you may not be able buy a boiler. We've another analysis of the new tax-abatement law, eco-friendly floors in Brooklyn, superstorm Sandy debris in Staten Island, and a newly landmarked co-op in Queens. And for boards there's got The Dakota lawsuit — as told by Vanity Fair! Welcome to the big time!

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a co-op gets rid of a Citi Bike station — and we learn a co-op board elsewhere has banned shareholders from having bikes. A Bronx co-op owner tells a board horror story — and a board member asks how to get rid of a bullying board president. But on the positive side, Co-op City gets energy-efficient lighting — and Madonna's cut the price of her Harperley Hall co-op; now it's just $19.995 million!

The current discrimination lawsuit against the famed Dakota Apartments co-op by African-American investment executive Alphonse Fletcher Jr. sent chills down co-op and condo board members' spines last July. That's when the judge in the case overturned one of the bedrock decisions in New York co-op law, Pelton v. 77 Park Ave. Condominium (2006), which largely protected board members from personal liability in discrimination cases. "[T]he participation of an individual director in a corporation's [wrongful act] is sufficient to give rise to individual liability," the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court wrote in July. But, really, what's the worst that could happen?

Ask Nick Biondi — who is personally out well over $100,000 plus legal fees.

When the news broke, it sent a shiver of dread through every one of the 40,000 unpaid volunteers who serve on co-op and condo boards in New York City. At one of the poshest co-ops in town — the Dakota Apartments at 1 W. 72nd Street and Central Park West, where Leonard Bernstein lived and John Lennon died — a longtime shareholder was suing two board members and the corporation for racial discrimination. Alphonse Fletcher Jr., an African-American who owns the Fletcher Asset Management investment firm, was seeking $15 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

As long as they are acting reasonably and are breaking no laws, board members of co-ops and condos are generally not personally liable for actions they take as part of that board, right? Well, yes…and no.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, following the Independence Day holiday, we look at neighborhoods on the rise in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. Plus, an expert tells you about refinancing your co-op — and, for boards, another explains all about financing your super's apartment. And two TV / film notables sell their places: the late Celeste Holm's Central Park West abode gets bought, and The Simpsons' Hank Azaria, the voice of Apu, Moe, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy and more puts his Soho condo — Cindy Sherman's old place! — up for sale.

1... 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

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?