New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine July/August 2020 free digital issue



Co-op City marked a first at the end of October. The mammoth housing development in The Bronx inaugurated the Rivers Run Community Garden, its first riverfront green space. The Bronx Times reports that the garden's co-founder and vice president, Leslie Peterson, wanted to transform the unused space into something that would raise Co-op City's profile and benefit the community by giving people a place to plant flowers and grow vegetables and herbs. Helping in the endeavor are the Facilitators Building 13 Association; Riverbay Community Relations; and Rivers Run Community Garden's Steering Community, which in turn, includes Co-op City residents, NYC Parks' GreenThumb and the New York Botanical Garden, among other collaborative partners. You might think their timing is odd, since winter is fast approaching — but there is plenty of work to do ahead of the garden's anticipated spring 2015 completion, including landscaping, constructing walkways and laying mulch in certain spots.

Trip-and-fall cases are the bane of all buildings, co-ops and condos most definitely included. And while you can't foresee every circumstance that might cause a resident or a visitor, including first responders, to fall and hurt themselves, there are steps a prudent board can take to minimize the risk. As Habitat has written, for instance, you can make sure your floor drains are clear and uncluttered, to prevent flooding when sprinklers go off, and you can choose not to hold meetings in an unfinished commercial space.

Our latest suggestion, based on a real-life trip-and-fall court case: If you have ramp at your door, make sure it has handrails on both sides. Because believe it or not, here's what can happen.

Nobody likes clogged drains. You got your hair and your soap scum and that awful, green, oozy-looking thing I told you to go see the doctor about. But now there's another good reason to keep the drains unclogged at your co-op or condo: You might get sued if you don't. Especially if a firefighter or a police officer is involved. 

Let us explain.

A $5 million class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of roughly 900 to 1,000 present and former Co-op City workers against that cooperative's management company, claiming unpaid overtime. The RiverBay Corp., which manages the sprawling, storied complex in The Bronx, has denied the allegations.

Updated Oct. 3 — When the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) shut down the gas in one of the three Skyview-on-the-Hudson buildings, in the Riverdale section of The Bronx, the co-op had to spend over $100,000 in upgrades before getting service returned after nearly two weeks. The co-op found it more cost- and time-effective to preemptively replace the hose connection behind the stove in every unit rather than find which ones had leaks.

Building a Better Boiler in The Bronx

Written by Jason Carpenter on June 11, 2014

The Sussex, 2186 Cruger Avenue, The Bronx

Getting a building's budget back in the black after mismanagement is a tough job for any board. The Sussex, a 73-unit co-op at 2186 Cruger Avenue in The Bronx, was in massive debt and facing a number of challenges when it came under new management in 2013. Chief among the problems: a sputtering, failing, soon-to-be illegal boiler that required immediate action.

So, enjoy our selection of the top 10 co-op / condo quotes (or groups of quotes) uttered in 2011. And feel free to add your own favorite 2011 co-op / condo quotes in our "Comments" section at the end!

At a Labor Day party in 1998, New York University political science major A. James "Jamie" Warfel was murdered in Edgewater Park, a co-op comprised of 675 single-family homes in the Throgs Neck section of The Bronx. Friends and family created an impromptu memorial at the site of the tragedy, but the co-op board objected, and after years of contention the memorial was removed in 2007. But now, reports the Bronx Times, the board has relented and allowed the memorial, a rough-hewn stone with a plaque, at a recently installed athletic track a couple of hundred feet from the murder site. “It helps to heal some of the animosity that has built up over the years,” said the victim's father, Alwin Warfel, at the unveiling, adding, “You can’t erase history, but you can put it in the proper perspective.”

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, it's co-op shareholders vs. rental tenants at Chelsea's London Terrace over access to a pool. We've also news of a new, retroactive property-tax abatement; the Brighton Beach bathrooms get put on hold; and as Stevie Wonder sang, we're very superstitious, writing's on the wall — just not the wall of the 13th floor. Plus, for boards, co-op taxes are up, and Concourse Village workers are up in arms.

Opportunity in an Owner's Misfortune: Sublet Limits Force a Foreclosure

Written by Bill Morris; additonal material by Frank Lovece on December 31, 1969

Riverdale, The Bronx

Sept. 16, 2009 — New York City hasn't been hit as hard by bankruptcies and mortgage foreclosures as other parts of the country, but this recession has been taking its toll. So it was no great shock when a shareholder at a 77-unit, red-brick co-op in Riverdale, The Bronx, started falling behind on his monthly maintenance payments.

What is remarkable is how the board turned one shareholder's misfortune into a bonanza for the entire co-op.

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