Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!


See you at our next General Tenants Meeting
Wednesday, Jan. 21st
8 PM
in the
Community Room.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Reduction in Services Complaint

Rent stabilized tenants in this building pay for services that have not been provided, including
  • 24-hour security (the doorman is often absent and the doors often open)
  • a reopened backyard
  • window blinds repairs and replacement
  • a safe front stair banister
  • a consistently working intercom
and more.

Since the law prohibits landlords from cutting the services of rent stabilized tenants (unless the landlord also cuts the rent), and complaints are strongest if
  • filed within 4 years of entering rent stabilization
  • with many tenants signing on
the Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association filed a complaint for reduction of building-wide services with the New York State Division of Housing & Community Renewal (DHCR). Submitted on December 22, 2008, it is within the four years since we left Mitchell-Lama and entered rent stabilization on January 7, 2005. (Click here to read the complaint - but it may take a while to open since it is over 50 pages long. You need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to see it - and can download it for free. As of mid-February, it had been assigned Docket Number WL-430021-B)

And 165 tenants signed onto the complaint! - representing about 3/4 of the rent stabilized tenants in the building - and that was just those who were available to sign within a two-day period. Those signatures make the complaint much stronger.

THANKS to all those who signed on and who supported the effort by documenting problems with your e-mails and notes, and by sitting at tables, collecting signatures.

The complaint may well take a year to resolve. We hope that Stellar will provide the services for which we are paying.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stop the "Gang of 3" from Hijacking the State Senate & the Chance for Tenant BIlls

Tenants PAC is doing phone-banking to try to keep the "Gang of 3" elected state senators from hijacking (or blackmailing) the Democratic party in the State Senate. If the Democrats do not control the State Senate, the chance of pro-tenant legislation drops dramatically!

Volunteer for the Phone Bank to dis-arm the "Gangsters" :
Michael McKee of Tenants' PAC writes:
We will continue phoning voters who live in rent-regulated apartments in the districts of the three rogue Democrats who are jeopardizing Democratic control of the New York State Senate.

  • Monday, December 22 - from 5:30to 8:30 pm
      • We will phone into the Bronx districts of Ruben Diaz Sr. and Pedro Espada Jr.
      • We need Spanish-speaking phone bankers.

  • Tuesday, December 23 - 5:30 to 8:30 pm
      • We will phone into the two Bronx districts as well as the Brooklyn district of Carl Kruger.
      • We need Spanish-speaking and Russian-speaking phone bankers.

Tenants PAC
11 Park Place, Suite 814
(between Broadway and Church Street, ½ block west of City Hall Park)

We know that the holiday season is a difficult time for anyone to volunteer for this campaign. But this is what we must do to protect and promote the tenant reform agenda in the 2009 session of the State Legislature.

Our only hope of enacting legislation to improve tenants’ rights and preserve our dwindling supply of regulated rental housing is to help the Democrats become the majority party in the State Senate. By rights the Democrats are the majority, having won (with the help of many tenants) 32 seats to 30 Republican seats. But the three rogue Democrats are withholding support for a Democratic majority, which could result in the Republicans remaining in control even though they are now the minority. This is unacceptable.

(212) 577-7001 or

Michael McKee
Tenants Political Action Committee
11 Park Place, Suite 814
New York NY 10007
(212) 577-7001

Thursday, December 18, 2008

6-Year Rent Guidelines Rule Does Not Apply to Us

In June 2008, the Rent Guidelines Board issued an order that those renewing their rent stabilized leases effective October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009 had to pay
  • 4.5% increase for a 1-year lease, or
  • 8.5% increase for a 2-year lease
BUT the RGB also said that those living in their rent stabilized apartments for 6 years or longer whose rents were under $1000 had to pay the higher alternative increase of $45 for a 1-year lease or $85 for a 2-year lease. If a tenant was paying $500 a month, an increase of $45 would come to 9% and an increase of $85 would come to 17% ! That's steep.

While the Legal Aid Society is suing to undo that provision, Legal Aid attorney Ellen Davidson persuaded the state's housing agency, the Division of Housing & Community Renewal (DHCR), that this "alternative" increase does not apply to tenants whose buildings were not in rent stabilization 6 years ago. (Click here for a copy of DHCR's Opinion Letter.) That means we are protected since we entered rent stabilization in January 2005.

Stellar Management has not sought the alternative minimum -- as far as the tenants' association knows. If your lease renewal (for a lease starting any time from Oct. 1, 2008 through Sept. 30, 2009) did ask for that higher amount, please contact the Executive Committee.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pot Luck - A lot of fun!

PHOTOS, Top to Bottom

Mekhi & Anthony

Sheila, Maria, Sal

Marlene below right; Maxine, Abe & Lydia =>

Brenda & Ruby, lef

Lavina & Laura right



SET-UP CREW AND DECORATORS Alitha Mobley, Flora Francis, Lydia Pitsirilos, Mary McLaughlin

GREETERS Ruth Ellin, Debbie Gonzalez, Celeste Hewitt, Shirley Johnson, Brenda Marshall, Delores Palleja and Marie Squerciati. They greeted people at the door and brought plates of food to some shut-ins.

POT LUCK PLANNERS Marion Kufert, Barbara Geller, and Mary McLaughlin, who joined Sue Susman.

MUSIC PROVIDERS Alisha Rieck Dopkin for the recorded music and Lauria Koulish whose piano playing and singing kept Sue on pitch.

CLEANUP CREW MEMBERS Sharon Davis, Andrew Dubin, Denise Lynch, Sean Lynch, Wyona Purcell, Cary Webb and friends.

And to EVERYONE who brought food, donated food, let others bring food (Ruth brought Lenore Richter's vegetables), and ate!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Big Doings This Friday & Saturday


Sign onto the Reduction in Services Complaint for DHCR.

Friday, Dec. 12th,
3 PM - 7 PM in the lobby

Saturday, Dec. 13th,
11 AM - 6 PM in the lobby and at the Pot Luck Party

The complaint includes security lapses (including the heavy front doors), window blinds, the front stair banister, reduction in elevator size, and the backyard. We have a deadline of January 2009 : the complaint must be in before we have been rent stabilized for 4 years. And we need YOU!


6 PM - 9:30 PM in the Community Room

Menu So Far :

Brazilian Beef Rissoles
Pesto Chicken
Ground Turkey
Orange Chicken
Roast Beef
Chicken & Rice
Roast Pork
Jamaican Jerked Chicken
Chicken Wings
Chicken & Pasta

Pasta & Broccoli Salad
Rice & Pigeon Peas
Sweet Potatoes
Macaroni Casserole
Green salad with Tomatoes
Cole Slaw
Potato Salad


Spiced Apples
Fresh Fruit Pie
Pound Cake
Lemon Nut Cake
Yellow cake
Pecan Pie


Summer Punch (great even in winter!)
Egg Nog
Apple Cider
Iced Tea
Hot Coffee & Tea


Tell the Pot Luck Planners:
Barbara Geller, Marion Kufert, Mary McLaughlin & Sue Susman

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dec. 9 Rally to Repeal Vacancy Decontrol

Virtually every tenant association in NYC is supporting the


Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008

6:30 - 8:30 PM

at the Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W. 64th St.

With the new State Senate term beginning in January, there is a chance to change this law. So come to the rally and tell our elected officials, who will be there listening.

This is important because under current law, every time an apartment goes vacant, the landlord can invest some money, claim he invested more, and take the apartment out of rent regulation forever.

Note that "vacancy decontrol" has nothing to do with how rich or poor the last tenant was who lived there. It is a way to reduce the number of affordable apartments in New York City for those who need them.

BETWEEN 5:30 and 6 PM on TUES., DEC. 9th
and you can all go down to the rally together!

NYS Assembly: Vito Lopez endorses our bill!

At the December 4, 2008 hearing, held by the NYS Assembly's Housing Committee, there were several notable developments and comments:
  1. Chairman Vito Lopez said that he endorsed the Andrea Stewart-Cousins / Gary Pretlow bill, A.7811/ S 5284. That bill is far better (from tenants' perspective) than his original bill. The Stewart-Cousins/Pretlow bill would put ALL developments - regardless of when built - into rent stabilization on leaving Mitchell-Lama or Section 8, with "unique or peculiar circumstances" increases, and is retroactive. This is great news for us - although not great enough until the bill is actually passed. But since Lopez had not supported the bill earlier, this is progress.
  2. Those in the know suggested that there is a good likelihood of this (or a similar) Mitchell-Lama bill getting passed this term.
  3. HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan commented on the problems of overleveraging - or "predatory equity", including the displacement of tenants, decrease in maintenance and even abandonment. Read all about overleveraging and Stellar Management's owner, Larry Gluck, in The Real Deal article, "Luck of the Gluck."
  4. Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal asked DHCR to keep a database of owners who evict rent regulated tenants on the claim the owners want to live in those apartments - and then buy another building and another and do the same thing.
  5. Assembly Member Hakeem Jeffries suggested that DHCR & HPD look into whether brand-new "luxury" housing - much of it vacant - could be used for tenants displaced by its construction.
Below is the testimony Sue was invited to give.

Testimony of Sue Susman, president, Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association
before the
New York State Assembly's Committee on Housing
December 4, 2008

As president of the Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association, I thank Chairman Vito Lopez and all of the members of the Assembly's Housing Committee and Mitchell-Lama subcommittee for the opportunity to testify before you today.

We are here today because of the economy:

As we read in yesterday's New York Times, and as stated earlier today by Commissioners Van Amerongen and Donovan, the lack of money is hurting the construction of affordable housing throughout New York City.

As we know from our friends and neighbors, it is hurting individual tenants who are finding themselves jobless or on reduced hours and lower pay. In my building it means that a tenant who has just lost her full-time job is posting notices in the building to sell everything she owns to pay the rent. It means that I received calls in November from tenants in my building asking for referrals to free tenant lawyers. It means that saving Mitchell-Lama and other affordable housing is more important than ever.

It also means that landlords, like Larry Gluck of Stellar Management, who bought our building and others at inflated prices with inflated dreams of profit, find themselves defaulting – as at the Riverton Apartments in Harlem – or having to figure out ways to oust rent regulated tenants. After all, free market tenants – three or for unrelated individuals who have to share an apartment – are often the only ones who can even temporarily afford the higher rents that pay Stellar's mortgage. In our building there is a lot of turnover as new tenants find they cannot in fact pay those rents. But the rent rolls of regulated tenants cannot meet that bill.

Of course, costs are not a "do-or-die" problem for rental buildings that remain in Mitchell-Lama. As you know, there are tax abatements, the owners' return on investment is guaranteed, tenants pay a minimum to accommodate those costs, and those who can afford more pay more. Once the landlords' investment return and costs (including the mortgage payments) are covered under Mitchell-Lama, there is no rent increase. Landlords' books are open to the supervising agency which makes the determination. That is not the case with rent stabilization (at least not unless there is a change), and I urge that any bill concerning Mitchell-Lamas not abandon both the sliding scale aspect and the open books. We have all seen the costs of economic deregulation, and they aren't pretty.

Mitchell-Lamas were and have been uniquely successful as affordable housing, as ethnically mixed housing, as a stable based for new neighborhoods.

So, given the economy and the developments' success, saving them is crucial.

There are different ways to do it, among them barring owners from taking buildings out of Mitchell-Lama if the rent rolls of existing tenants would not support the building's costs under the prospective mortgage. Another way, given the current housing emergency, would be to extend the period during which a building must remain in Mitchell-Lama. A third, already in effect to some extent, is to provide funding for repairs to rental as well as Mitchell-Lama co-ops at low rates with a mandatory extension of time during which the development must stay in the program. And I'm sure you have other possibilities in mind.

But there are already thousands of apartments that have been taken out of Mitchell-Lama. What happens to those? – and when I say "those" I really mean "ours" since my building is one of the many taken out of Mitchell-Lama.

Owners of the pre-1974 buildings, those that automatically go into rent stabilization, have applied to raise the initial rent stabilized rents to market rate. Relying on their interpretation of the "unique or peculiar" clause of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act, they have challenged DHCR's excellent regulations in repeated court actions.

Tenant associations have joined the cases in order to ensure that our voices be heard – and that is costly. Our association is spending some $30,000 a year in legal fees, and that is with splitting the cost with other buildings.

And tenants in developments built from 1974 on are in even worse shape, having no protection other than what they might be able to negotiate – as landlords foster dummy tenant associations, refuse meeting space to the actual associations, and otherwise hinder real

We need a statute that will protect us now. The Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association has joined Tenants & Neighbors, Housing Here and Now, the P.I.E. Campaign and many, many other groups – all in the New York is Our Home campaign – to support the Andrea Stewart-Cousins / Gary Pretlow bill (formerly known as A.7811/S.5284) that will:

1. COST THE STATE NOTHING, so the taxpayer gets a bargain and affordability can be maintained.

making rent stabilized all developments being removed from Mitchell-Lama and project-based Section 8, and barring "unique or peculiar circumstances" increases, tens of thousands of units of affordable housing would remain affordable. That serves the explicit purpose of the 1974 Emergency Tenant Protection Act: to sweep tens of thousands of unregulated apartments into rent regulation and to keep apartments affordable.

3. BE RETROACTIVE: As I speak, tenants in 24 developments removed from Mitchell-Lama are involved in or affected by litigation concerning "unique or peculiar circumstances" increases. And thousands of tenants in post-1973 buildings are flailing about for a safety net. So we need a statute that is retroactive. If it is not retroactive, it will not help us. And the value of a non-retroactive statute diminishes to zero as more and more developments leave Mitchell-Lama.

One bill, A.7811 / S 5284, proposed by Assembly Member Gary Pretlow and State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins in the last term, provided for such coverage and retroactivity – so that tenants whose buildings did not enter rent stabilization on leaving Mitchell-Lama would enter
it now at their current rents.

4. NOT PENALIZE TENANTS: I am aware of one proposed bill putting only post-1973 buildings into rent stabilization without "unique or peculiar" increases. Aside from the failure to protect the pre-1974 buildings, that bill would penalize tenants who, though they know they
are unqualified, must apply for Section 8 enhanced vouchers or face an immediate market-rate rent increase. It seems to me that is playing with the purpose of Section 8 and using taxpayers' money for landlord profit. Such money might be better used in a tax abatement to encourage landlords to keep developments in their respective programs, or for investment in existing and future affordable housing.

5. BE SIMPLE: I know that Chairman Lopez, a long-time supporter of affordable housing, is also a long-time supporter of simple bills. The bill that my tenants' association supports is very simple: It puts all buildings leaving Mitchell-Lama or Section 8 projects into rent stabilization without unique or peculiar increases, applies retroactively and prospectively, and costs the state nothing.

On behalf of the Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association, I urge that this Committee endorse and promote this bill that the entire New York City tenants movement supports. We need your help.

Thank you.

Copyright Susan D. Susman, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Rent Stabilized tenants with garage spaces and those who applied for spaces while we were still under Mitchell-Lama but never got one (and still need one!) are invited to an important


Wed., Dec. 3 at 7:30 PM in the Community Room

And all tenants who APPLIED UNSUCCESSFULLY WHILE WE WERE STILL IN MITCHELL-LAMA and are still interested in a space should immediately notify Sue since our lawyer needs your information.

The lawyer needs:
  • Your name
  • Your apartment number
  • When you first applied
  • How you applied (did you write your name in a book in the garage attendant's office?)
  • Whether and how you followed up
    • did you call? write? ask in person?
    • whom did you contact?
    • when?
    • what was the result, if any?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksviging!


- Sue, Joan, Na'ava, Prudence and Steve

Friday, November 21, 2008

Summary of the General Tenants Meeting of Nov. 19, 2008

On November 19, 2008, we gathered in the Community Room which is becoming rather bereft of chairs. If you happen to have taken any upstairs for a family function, kindly bring them downstairs again. Thanks!

BAKE SALE and RAFFLE REPORT: The Bake Sale And Raffle were a great success. We raised money, we had a wonderful time, and we got to talk with neighbors we might not otherwise have known. We raised well over $2300 (after expenses), and that was because of all the tenants who sold and bought raffle tickets, and the 40 or so people who helped out at the bake sale.  Special thanks to Rosa Delgado and Prudence Opperman for running the raffle, and to Prue (again!) and Debbie Gonzalez for overseeing the bake sale.

And speaking of parties . . . start getting ready for our annual
POT LUCK PARTY on Saturday, Dec. 13th from 6 to 9:30 PM.
You’ll soon be getting flyers asking what dish for 8 people you can bring. Last year we had Brazilian beef rissoles, all kinds of pastas, salads (regular, and cranberry and mandarin orange), sweet potatoes and other winter vegetables, roast meats of various types, pesto chicken, turkey chili, black beans and sausages, pakodas, collard greens, Philippine noodles, Jamaican jerked chicken, vegetarian lasagna, tuna kebab, rice and beans, and every delicious dessert you can think of! We’ll be doing dancing, singing, and even (probably) have a few politicians to glad-hand.

MEETING WITH BUILDING MANAGER: Na'ava Ades reported on the executive committee meeting with Building Manager Tobias Sahl. We raised many issues, including
  • Security concerns (heavy front doors remaining wide open, frequent absence of doorman),
  • Elevators (they are now mainly finished, although the floors and walls around them are not),
  • Cleaning the stairwells and the front of the building where the garbage bins are rolled and the laundry dryers – since many of us cannot bend down to clean them ourselves
  • Stair railings (center front steps and east side ramp)
  • Reopening the backyard to tenants
  • Submetering inspections
  • Window blinds
  • Plumbing repairs
  • Community room rules (that we had under Mitchell-Lama, to avoid late-night noise and ensure that things are left clean and neat).
Tobias Sahl’s general response was that he would look into things, but he made no promises.

We now have an Emergency Procedure in place. If there is a fire or someone has had an accident, call 911. For a building emergency such as broken plumbing and flood, please follow this procedure:
1. Call the building office at 212-663-8527. If no answer,
2. Call the doorman’s desk: 212-663-5420. If no answer,
3. Call 212-222-4430 (the local Stellar office at 70 W. 93rd St.) If no answer,
4. and it is a true emergency (like a broken pipe flooding your apartment – but NOT a mouse in your apartment), call Samir Hoti, the assistant building manager, at 646 296 0703.
If you see workmen in the building putting broken beige floor tiles, which are vinyl asbestos, into a bin in the hallway, call 311 and report an immediate asbestos emergency. (Stellar has been notified of this in the past, and was fined $6,000 for a similar violation.) This affects all our health.

Tobias Sahl said there is some way for tenants to sign up for a particular date and time for the Exterminator to come, but he was not sure what it is. In the meantime, sign up in the book at the guard’s desk for the exterminator and for any work you need done in your apartment.

We are entitled to 24-hour Security (since we had it under Mitchell-Lama) and rent stabilized tenants are entitled to window blind repair and replacement. That is because the rent stabilization law requires landlords to maintain at least the same level of service they provided before a building entered rent stabilization. If Stellar does not repair or replace broken window blinds and ensure we have 24-hour doormen actually on duty, we will file a “Diminution of Services” complaint with the state’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal. If there is no progress between now and then,
come to the lobby on the weekend of Dec. 5th and 6th to help get signatures of all the rent stabilized tenants. And tell Sue whether you’re available to sit in the lobby to help your neighbors. (Non-stabilized tenants should click here to see whether you can get back into rent stabilization.)

With the economic downturn, some tenants have asked about getting roommates.
Rent stabilized tenants are allowed to have roommates and only need to notify Stellar within 30 days of the roommate moving in. If there is one adult on the lease (the “prime tenant”), there may be one adult roommate and that person’s children. If there are two adults on the lease who are not married to each other, there may be two adult roommates and their children. (A married couple on the lease count as a single adult for purposes of adding a roommate.) The prime tenant cannot make a profit from the roommate’s rent. If there is one roommate and one prime tenant, the roommate can only be charged half the rent. Contrary to the CPG Tenants Handbook you received earlier, rent stabilized tenants do not need to ask permission to have a roommate. But you do have to inform Stellar Management of the presence of a roommate after 30 days.  (Click here for the updated handbook.)

Non-stabilized tenants must check their lease to see whether they may have roommates.
No one needs to ask permission or notify Stellar if someone is staying with you for under 30 days.

SAD NEWS: We have lost Steve Helfand, the generous and kind tenant in 12U, to a long illness. He died on November 21, 2008. We will miss him, and give our condolences to his parents Saleck and Sarah, his brother Bert, Helfand sister-in-law Rochelle Minkoff, nephew Raphael, and close friend Allen Wolf. Steve loved computers, world music, and art. Donations can be made to the Clinton Housing Development Corporation at 403 West 40th St., New York, NY 10018, which developed low- and middle-income housing. Steve served on its board as treasurer. The funeral was Sunday, Nov. 23rd t the Riverside Memorial Chapel.


“Unique or peculiar” case: This case concerns whether the state can enforce its regulations - barring the landlord from raising the first rent stabilized rent to market rate just because he’s taken the building out of Mitchell-Lama. Justice Alice Schlesinger of the State Supreme Court (the lowest level trial court) has set a schedule for the landlords’ papers and our responses, culminating in a hearing on April 22, 2009. So our lawyers will be very busy between now and then, and that means $$$. If you have not contributed $100 toward the legal fund this year, please do! Make the check out to the “Central Park Gardens Tenants’ Assoc.” and earmark it for the “legal fund.”

Garage case: This case concerns whether tenants who had garage spaces at the time we entered rent stabilization will have only rent stabilized increases in their garage rates. We won twice at the state’s Division of Housing & Community Renewal (DHCR), and twice in court. The landlord has been trying to appeal, but that requires permission which has so far been denied.

We’re having a meeting of garage tenants and those who had applied before we left Mitchell-Lama on Wednesday, Dec. 3rd at 7:30 PM in the Community Room.


Democrats have the majority in the State Senate, which means that it might now be possible (but by no means sure) to get pro-tenant legislation passed. (While the Republicans have had power, they did not permit the Senate’s housing committee to consider pro-tenant bills.) BUT: 3 conservative Democrats (the “Gang of 3”) have said they would not support the Democratic majority leader – and that means the tenant agenda would be dead in the water. That agenda includes a statute proposed by State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins that would put all buildings leaving Mitchell-Lama or Section 8 into rent stabilization, regardless of when they were built, and with no “unique or peculiar” increases.

So please volunteer for Tenants PAC’s phone bank to reach out to residents of the districts that elected Carl Kruger, Pedro Espada, and Ruben Diaz. Let’s urge them to support the Democratic majority leader and the tenant agenda. Contact Michael McKee The phone bank will run
  • Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
  • 5:30 to 8:30 pm,
until the “Gang of Three” agree to join their 29 colleagues in supporting Senator Smith
  • at the Tenants PAC office, at 11 Park Place, Suite 814 in lower Manhattan (between Broadway and Church Street, ½ block west of City Hall Park).

Call Michael McKee at (212) 577-7001 or email to volunteer.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is apparently interested in coming to a tenants’ gathering, so the meeting voted to extend an invitation for the Pot Luck Supper to him, to our City Council Member, Melissa Mark Viverito, to our Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell, and to our State Senator Bill Perkins. All have been strong supporters of tenant rights.

  • GARAGE: Meeting for tenants with garage spaces under Mitchell-Lama and those who applied but never got one - WED. DEC. 3rd at 7:30 PM in the COMMUNITY ROOM.

  • DIMINUTION OF SERVICES: If there are no window blind repairs or better security with doormen in attendance 24 hours a day, rent stabilized tenants should come sign onto our Diminution of Services Complaint, SATURDAY, DEC. 6 and SUNDAY, DEC. 7 in the LOBBY. Contact Sue to volunteer to table-sit.

  • POT LUCK SUPPER: Saturday, Dec. 13th, from 6 - 9:30 PM

From the Executive Committee

Friday, November 14, 2008

General Tenants Meeting WED., NOV. 19th

Come one, come all to our General Tenants Meeting
  • Wednesday, Nov. 19th
  • 8 PM
  • In the Community Room
The agenda includes:
  • Finances
  • Our meeting with Tobias Sahl
  • Window Blinds
  • Building Security
  • Emergency Contacts
  • The Garage Case
  • Politics
and more . . .

Bring a chair and a neighbor!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Elections Change State Senate

The State Senate will have a Democratic majority starting in January 2009. That opens the door to some pro-tenant legislation - but it does not guarantee it, especially since 4 Democratic senators (and 1 senator-elect) are threatening to vote with the Republicans: Council Member Hiram Monserrate, Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., Senator Carl Kruger, and Pedro Espada (who lives in Westchester). Urge them to support the Real Rent Reform agenda now (including supporting the Democrat for Senate Majority Leader).

Our tenants' association is part of the Real Rent Reform Campaign - along with dozens of other groups - asking the State legislature to:
  • Save affordable units in buildings that are leaving or have recently left Mitchell-Lama (like us!) and Section 8 projects by putting us all under rent stabilization regardless of when the developments were built and without the possibility of rent increases under the "unique or peculiar" loophole in the law. (Gluck and other landlords are suing the state's housing agency on this issue, and we're involved.)
  • Repeal vacancy decontrol (to get rid of landlords' incentive to evict rent regulated tenants and to keep more of the stock of affordable housing)
  • Re-instate "home rule" for New York City's Council and Mayor over rent and eviction rules. (Right now, upstate legislators with few tenants in their districts get to make the decisions about New York City tenants. We need decisions made by those who are accountable to us as voters.)
  • Reform the rent guidelines boards in NYC and surrounding counties, requiring them to consider landlord profits as well as costs (right now profits are not considered), and whether a landlord has ignored major housing and health cod violations, and requiring City Council approval of appointees to the RGB, among other changes.
We also want a SUBMETERING bill that will require transparency, bar the landlord's making a profit from this energy conservation, and keep landlords from evicting tenants for failure to pay all or part of their electric bill. Our State Senator Bill Perkins and State Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell are working on an amendment to O'Donnell's bill from last term.

To get these underway, contact our re-elected

NYS Senator Bill Perkins,, 212-316-9434 and

NYS Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell, , 212-866-3970.

Congratulate them and and ask them to pass
  • S5284/ A7811

    (Stop "unique or peculiar" increases and put all buildings leaving Mitchell-Lama or Section 8 projects into rent stabilization)
  • S5149B/ A7416A

    (Vacancy decontrol)
  • S1673/ A4069

    (Reinstate home rule over rents & evictions)
  • S 8235 /A 11097

    (Reform the rent guidelines board)
  • A Submetering bill

    to protect tenants from profiteering and eviction, and protect those whose heat comes from electricity.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bake Sale & Raffle a big success!


  • Marianita Rodriguez, Debbie Gonzalez, Mona Leon, Prudence Opperman, Claude Saucier for setting up
  • Debbie Gonzalez for "overseeing" the bake sale and Prudence for overseeing the raffles
  • Pat Jordan for fetching coffee and milk (provided by Alex Loomis)
  • Eve Posen, Mary McLaughlin, Rosa Delgado, Renee Belzile, , Laurie Barton, LydiaPitsirilos, Maxine Soares, Wyona Purcell, Jackie Hewitt Duval, and others (please provide Sue with your names) who staffed the Bake Sale tables, and Barbara Garson & Frank Leonardo who provided lamps,
  • Prudence Opperman and the maintenance men who helped clean up at the end, and
  • ALL the tenants who brought wonderful goodies, from flan by Nery Cruz and Mercedes MacDonald, to Namita Prasad's samosas (which went in a flash), brownies from Joan Browne and Jill Hodge, Monica Jenkins' carrot cake, Letty Orellano's and Linda Umans' cupcakes, Ena Malone's 2 apple-raisin crumb & 2 pumpkin pies - all home-made - that disappeared like Halloween magic, Laurie Barton's ice, fruit, and soda, and Ann Rotberg's carrot cake, Celeste Hewitt's lemon cake, Renee Belzile's panattone, Ruby Barber's cake, Sheila Friedling's chocolate, rugelach, Linda Greenman's fruit, Eve Posen's home-baked cookies, Rosa Delgado's and Zena Gonzalez's donuts and cookies, Barbara Geller's spiced apples, Prudence Opperman's coffee cake, Delia and Robert Timmons' apple pie, Brenda Marshall's cake, Donna Brown's sweet potato pie, Alberta Gilliam's cookies, and lemon slices made by Na'ava Ades' visiting cousin Barbara Winkle.
If you donated food or helped out, let Sue know. Everyone who helped out deserves wonderful credit!


1st Prize, Dinner for 2 at Plataforma Restaurant : Steven Mobley
(Alitha's son), Apt. 5A

2nd Prize: FOUR tickets to the Nov. 16th Big Apple Circus: Joe Lowenthal,
Apt. 9P won, but donating the tickets back to the tenants' association. That second raffle was won by the Arenas Family,Apt. 6H, in a drawing on Nov. 6 at 4 PM in the lobby.

3rd Prize: 16 movie tickets for AMC theatres: Elsa Gonzalez (daughter
of Mercedes MacDonald, 9S) won.

Prudence Opperman, our intrepid raffle seller and money counter, is still counting up the many $20 and $10 bills people brought in today - and will soon announced the total. But it looks like our tenants' association did well - which means YOU did well.

HURRAH for everyone!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Party, Bake Sale & Raffle - THIS WEEKEND!

On Friday, Oct. 31st, Stellar Management is hosting a Halloween Party from 4 to 6 PM, with high-end prizes for the best costume and the best-carved pumpkin.

(Stellar mistakenly listed the tenants' association as a co-host but had not mentioned it to the association until after the flyers were printed).

We welcome this is as the first of many friendly gestures that we hope Stellar will make - including re-opening the backyard, installing usable railings on the ramps and stairs, and more.

11 AM - 4 PM


4 PM

1st prize: Dinner for 2 at PLATAFORMA RODIZIO RESTAURANT

2nd prize: 4Tickets to the Nov. 16th show

3rd prize: 16 movie tickets for


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bake Sale & Raffle Drawing on Saturday, Nov. 1st!

Saturday, Nov. 1st, from 11 AM to 4 PM in the lobby.

We're getting Ena Malone's lemon meringue pie, Ann Rotberg's carrot cake, Joan Browne's brownies, Renee Belzile's panettone, Barbara Geller's spiced apples, Namita Prasad's samosas, Nery Cruz's bread pudding, Prudence Opperman's coffee cake, Linda Greenman's fresh fruit, Eve Posen's home-baked cookies, Donna Brown's sweet potato pie, Jill Hodge's brownies, Rosa Delgado's donuts, Laurie Barton's fresh fruit, Brenda Marshall's cake, Mercedes MacDonald's famous flan, Alberta Gilliam's cookies . . . and more!

(and if you want to bring along a few extra Halloween goodies, that's good too!)

Can you help out from 1-2?

10:30 AM - set up Marianita Rodriguez, Debbie Gonzalez
11 AM - Noon - Marianita Rodriguez, Eve Posen, Donna Brown
Noon - 1 PM - Marianita Rodriguez, Eve Posen, Prudence Opperman
1 PM - 2 PM - Mary McLaughlin, _________________________
2 PM - 3 PM - Rosa Delgado, Ren
-->ee Belzile 3 PM - 4 PM - Rosa Delgado, Lydia Pitsirilos, Maxine Soares, Monica Jenkins

At 4 PM, we'll have the raffle drawing!

Contact Sue to volunteer and about what you can bring for us to sell.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Talented Tenants' Performances coming up

Marina Squerciati is performing in the play "To Be or Not To Be" at the Manhattan Theatre Club for the next few weeks. Na'ava Ades, who saw it recently, gave both the play and Marina a rave review.

And there will be a dramatic reading of tenant Barbara Garson's 1965 play "MacBird" at the Brech Forum at 7:30 PM on October 20th: "MacBird originated in August, 1965, as a slip of the tongue when Barbara Garson, speaking at an anti-war rally in Berkeley, California, quite accidentally referred to the First Lady of the United States as Lady MacBird Johnson..."