New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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

This week, a co-op shareholder in Queens complains about a neighbor's noise and gets heard in court, and a condo board in Chelsea sues a commercial gym over weighty noise issues. A newspaper says almost half the buildings that object to Cite Bikes don't get them, but you can't wait till you know they're coming. Bike 22. What's the latest luxury amenity? On Park and Fifth Avenues, it's private restaurants just for residents and guests. Plus, Leonardo DiCaprio buys a "wellness" apartment in Greenwich Village. Yeah, we didn't know what that was, either. Sounds nice, though.

Plagued by leaks in its large underground garage, the board at Gerard Towers, a 563-unit cooperative at 70-25 Yellowstone Blvd. in Forest Hills, was seeking solutions. The situation was simple but frustrating: an Olympic-size pool on the building’s ground floor was leaking into the garage below it. Not only was spalling occurring on the walls, but the water was harming the structural integrity of those walls – and damaging the cars as well. The situation had gone on for nearly a decade, with various stopgap remedies being employed to stem the tide, but a permanent solution eluded the co-op.

Ronald Kaye moved into the sprawling, campus-like Windsor Oaks apartment complex in Bayside, Queens, in the 1960s. Back then, the garden apartments in 53 two-story brick buildings sprinkled across 40 acres were rentals. Windsor Oaks went co-op in the 1980s, and Kaye, an accountant, eventually became a shareholder, then a board member. Today, he's board president. When he joined the board in the 1990s, it had already established minimum sale prices as a way of protecting the value of all shares, a controversial practice known as "floor pricing." But as the property aged, disparities arose. How did this board find something of a fair solution?

Budgets, believe it or not, are living, breathing things. They're not etched in stone, and sometimes you can move components and budget lines like chess pieces in which the right piece at the right time moving the right way can make a pawn a queen. Think we're being overly metaphorical? Well, just ask these two experienced and utterly practical and pragmatic property managers, as they describe how they stepped in and moved those pieces and gave condominium and co-op boards some much-needed breathing room. Because not only are budgets living, breathing things, but but so are our buildings.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, The Plaza puts the pedal to the mettle, as the storied hotel-condominium sues to get rid of a CitiBike rack. Also suing: Corporations fighting Joan Rivers' condo nemesis Elizabeth Hazan (see last week's News Roundup), and Yoko Ono, who says her West Village co-op board is walking on thin ice. We've renovation plans a board won't like, the latest on mortgage rate-locks, and superstorm Sandy woes persist in The Rockaways, Coney Island and elsewhere.

Recent news affecting co-op and condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. The aftermath of superstorm Sandy lingers, Concourse Village workers may strike and a co-op / condo board-member group meets with mayoral candidate Joe Lhota. Plus, lot o' news for boards this week, as one court ruling partly limits the Business Judgment Rule and another says a particular type of Airbnb rental isn't illegal hoteling. And experts answer a board member's own plea: "What Can I Do About the Tyrants on My Co-op Board?"

Op-Ed: After Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Bloomberg Hit the Rockaways

Written by Jennifer Grady, President, Dayton Beach Park No. 1 on September 17, 2013

Dayton Beach Park, Rockaway Beach, Queens

My co-op faced two engines of destruction in the last 10 months. One of them was manmade.

I have lived at Dayton Beach Park No. 1 — a middle-income, Mitchell-Lama Housing cooperative — for years. Supervised by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Dayton is home to more than 1,100 families in the Rockaway Beach section of Queens, New York. Our five 12-story buildings are located perpendicular to Shore Front Parkway, with only a few hundred yards separating us from the beach and boardwalk.

Superstorm Sandy devastated Dayton in October. It caused tens of millions of dollars in damage to the buildings and grounds. The boardwalk was uprooted from the support columns in many parts and deposited by the surging waters onto our property. Traumatized during and after the storm, the shareholders and residents of Dayton are now coping with extensive and costly restoration projects.

 

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.

UPDATED 5:23 P.M. — New York City contractors' boardwalk reconstruction near a Sandy-devastated co-op in Queens has created intolerable disruption, the co-op's attorney charges, including destruction of recently repaired private property. And the City ... well, the City responded to him within days and plans to make good on everything.

Wait, what? Something worked like it was supposed to? Here's how it happened.

For a recent hallway renovation at an Upper East Side co-op, the plan was to remove old wallpaper and replace worn carpeting. But in the process, remembers Marion Preston, former board treasurer of the 111-unit co-op, the previous board had ordered a huge supply of excess wallpaper and carpet. "They had extra of everything just in case, but no one ever used it or needed it," Preston says. "For our job, we had all-new material, so we obviously didn't need this anymore. I couldn't bear to just toss it out. It was still in its original packaging." So what to do?

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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

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