New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine July/August 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

QUEENS

Serving on a board is challenging. Those challenges run the gamut, from ephemeral issues (like creating harmony out of disharmony among board members) to more nuts-and-bolts kinds of stuff (like fixing a garage leak). I should know. I have spent several years coping with a multitude of problems as the president of my co-op board.

Her name was Kim and she lived in Forest Hills, Queens, in a 100-unit cooperative. She was on the co-op board and was talking, with great animation, about a shareholder who had "disappeared" and mysteriously left his apartment empty. My ears perked up. Was this a story of drama and intrigue, one that would offer new insights into board life?

As the second storm of the week hit New York City and its environs, some managers say calcium chloride, or sidewalk salt, is in short supply. "We are running out," said Pamela DeLorme, president of Delkap Management, based in Howard Beach, Queens. "We bought a few thousand bags before the season began, but with the frequent storms, the substance is now in short supply." Delkap obtained about 2,000 bags of salt two weeks ago.

Under Local Law 84 of 2009, large buildings must record and keep track of their energy and water use — and then the city posts the results for all to see. The letter grades are linked to a numerical score called the Energy Use Intensity (EUI), which measures the energy used by a building per square foot, per year. The median EUI for multifamily buildings in New York City is 132.1. Score a 109 or lower and you earn an A; higher than 160 is a D. But in practical terms, how well do these grades translate to real-life energy use?

Local Law 84 of 2009 mandates that New York City buildings larger than 50,000 square feet must record and track their energy and water use, with the grades made public. This allow you to see how well your building is doing and how it compares with other buildings. But energy experts say there are still kinks to be worked out: The data is not always accurate and it's difficult to access.

Storage space is worth its weight in, well, you know the rest. As owners try to store clutter rather than live in it, buildings like 33-15 81st Street in Jackson Heights, Queens, are looking to get storage lockers and save dough as best they can. That’s what the board of this 272-unit, five-building hi-rise complex did when it had bins installed between June 28 and July 5, 2011.

The largest condominium in New York went smoke-free, boards crawled their way toward formal gun and privacy policies, buildings NIMBY'd restaurants and board prez Joan Rivers won a court battle. And, of course, some things remained constant, like the ubiquitous push-pull between residents and boards. All this and more helped make up the year in co-op and condo news … and we've got the quotes to prove it!

Homeowners rose in tax revolt again in 2012, yet politicians still failed to act to solve inequities hurting co-ops and condominiums. A board may have helped drive a resident to suicide. No-smoking rules, digitized offering plans and automated water-meter readers all made the news. And good boards and bad have their say and their day in some of the year's most interesting utterances.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, half of Albany is up in arms and the other half is sticking its hand out over 421a tax abatements for luxury condominiums. Meanwhile, the attorney general slaps the wrist of a developer banned from selling any condos at all. Plus, a big change at Co-op City and a big sale in Greenwich Village, as Mary-Louise Parker (right) sells her Washington Square co-op. Plus: Advice for your co-op board admissions interview.

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.

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