New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine July/August 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

THE BRONX

Today Habitat introduces "Teachable Moments," an occasional feature in which leading management professionals offer quick takes on various topics of interest to co-op and condo board members. In the first of this series, four industry veterans give mini-lessons on how to find creative solutions to problems that resist the usual approaches.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, union workers say they're getting a Bronx cheer, Christine Quinn gets a nod in Queens, and a City Council candidate gets endorsed by a board in Brooklyn. Plus, a condominium board near the U.N. sues a law firm, and if you've ever wondered if you can legally photograph or shoot video of fellow residents breaking rules, find out now.

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. 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, 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!

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, Airbnb brings financial support to the case of Nigel Warren, fined $2,400 for illegal hoteling. Read the company's justification for why landlords, co-ops and condos should allows streams of strangers to turn residential buildings into hotels. The best part? Airbnb writes this on the company's "public policy" blog — never once mentioning that overturning New York's illegal-hoteling restrictions would give its business explosive growth. Yep, they're just looking out for the little guy, that's all.

Plus, is a co-op board backing bullies in Park Slope? Sure seems that way from the photographs of a Yuppie's obscene hand gestures toward an 88-year-old woman, her 53-year-old daughter and the grandkids at 808 8th Avenue in Brooklyn. Plus, Judge Judy sells her co-op, and the condominium board of a landmarked building sues to keep a Denny's restaurant out of it.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. Lots of news for boards in particular this week, as one co-op board sues the developer of One57 — the condo with the crane — and other boards face lawsuits against them because of superstorm Sandy. And it's board member vs. board member at The Bronx's Brady Court. Plus, a third of all homebuyers don't know what an "annual percentage rate" is. And while we'd bet that Ben Stiller (at left) does, he and his actress wife Christine Taylor still lost a million selling their co-op duplex on the Upper West Side.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a Brighton Beach condominium goes from lawsuits to protests over a public toilet its residents say is in the wrong place — blocking their ocean views. Plus, the noisy saga of 199 Bowery continues; a condo buyer who pulled out of a deal not only lost the deposit but owes $577,000 in legal fees; and looking to buy? Dont' overlook The Bronx! Plus, for condo and co-op boards, we've a Sandy-related lawsuit, a lawyer's thoughts on absentee ownership and more.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. Yet another restaurant, yet another building fighting it: Like the planned Denny's in FiDi and a still-unnamed Mexican place in Tribeca, the Atlantic Terrace co-op in Brooklyn (left) wants to say arrivederci to Tony Roma's. Plus, a shareholder's riled in Riverdale and we remember the Rembrandt, New York City's first co-op. And co-op / condo boards won't want to miss the lawsuit alleging a scam of Weekend at Bernie's proportions!

I served for 25 years as the president of my co-op board (and hope to serve on the board again, perhaps). We are a 20-story, 339-unit cooperative building located in the Riverdale section of The Bronx, with a diverse cross-section of people. In my quarter-decade of service I learned many things, but one of the most important was to be flexible. What do I mean by that? Rules are important. Generally speaking, they must be enforced. But wise condo and co-op boards can and should know when to make exceptions. Over the years as president, I learned when to do that.

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