Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

May this be a time of joy, plenty, and - in the spirit of the Native Americans who fed and kept the pilgrims alive - welcome.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Summary of Nov. 18, 2015 General Tenants Meeting

Thanks to Joan Browne, Rich Jordan, Steve Koulish and Na’ava Ades for the coffee, tea, and goodies that we enjoy at every meeting.

HOMELESSNES:  We welcomed Marc Greenberg, Executive Director of theInterfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing, and Orisha Jordan (born and raised in this building), Assistant Facility Director for the Doe Fund, to talk about the causes of homelessness and what can be done to help.    In carts provided by Joan Browne and Brenda Marshall, we collected contributions of canned food that took Paul Fisher two trips to bring to St. Michael’s Church for distribution to those who need food this season.   THANK YOU!!

Marc Greenberg spoke about history, policy, and what his group does.  He noted that we haven't always had rampant homelessness.  While there have always been some individuals who struggled to survive, widespread homelessness really began in 1980. The main causes:
  •       Between 1940 and 1980, 70% of affordable housing funds came from the federal government.  But in 1980,  President Reagan said housing wasn't a national problem and cut national housing funds by 2/3.  States have never been able to make up the difference.
  •         Mentally ill people were released from inhumane institutions to the community, but there were no (or insufficient) community groups to help them.
  •          Owners prefer to convert poor housing into luxury housing.  So about 300,000 Single Room Occupancy units (SROs) in NYC were lost.  The NYS Court of Appeals (the State's highest court) ruled that barring the conversion of SROs to luxury units would be a deprivation of property.
  •      Rent laws have been weakened (with vacancy decontrol and the 20% vacancy bonus) yielding a net loss of some 300,000 formerly-affordable units, and many more are being lost now.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Wed., Nov. 18th at 8 PM: Homeless in our neighborhood? Yes.

Got some cans ready?  We've got homeless people in our neighborhood, and predatory landlords are happy to create some more. 

Talk with

Orisha Jordan (raised in this building), Director of Social Services for the Doe Fund
on the causes and prevention of homelessness and what we can do.

Wed., Nov. 18, 2015 at 8 PM in the Community Room

Please bring some canned goods to donate.

Friday, November 6, 2015

General Tenants Meeting Coming up Nov. 18th!

Thanksgiving is coming.  We have homes, but many in our neighborhood have lost theirs. Some live in cars, others on the street. 

Hear Marc Greenberg, Executive Director of the Interfaith Assembly on Homeless & Housing on the causes and prevention of homelessness and what we can do.

Wed., Nov. 18, 2015 at 8 PM in the Community Room

Please bring some canned goods to donate.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Funds, Unity & Sweets on Saturday - because the Tenant Association is working for YOU!

Come to our Halloween Table in the lobby this Saturday, Oct. 24th 
Noon-5 PM because . . . 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Trick or Treat for the Tenant Association on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015

This coming Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, between noon and 5 pm, come by our Tenant Association table in the lobby. Pick up some candy, drop off a contribution, get some information, enjoy the music, and meet your neighbors!

Protecting tenants from some landlord actions

Some of the tactics described in an article from Brick Underground with advice from a tenant lawyer may seem familiar to tenants here, others not.   But there are ways to protect yourself. 

Strengthening the tenant association is one of them - and that means (yes, it's tough) coming to the Trick or Treat table on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 from noon to 5 PM to pick up some candy and information and leaving a donation for your dues or a legal fund contribution (or just for the heck of it).

At the Oct. 21, 2015 meeting, Stellar promised . . .

At the Oct. 21, 2015 meeting between Stellar property manager Smajlje Srdanovic and building manager Niti Jakupaj  and members of the Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association's executive committee, Stellar promised to take care of many of the problems tenants identified. Click on "read more" below for the details. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Pre-Halloween and ON Halloween - Tenant activity!

Sat., Oct. 24:  Stop by our Halloween table in the lobby.
Sat. Oct. 31 (in costume or not!)  :
RSVP: 10th Annual West Side Tenants Conference!
Keynote speakers: economist Richard Wolff & historian Roberta Gold.

Free breakfast/coffee plus lunch.

When:  Saturday October 31, 2015  -  9:30am - 4:00pm

Where Fordham Law School at Lincoln Center (150 W. 62nd St.)
RSVP:   Slots are filling up fast so call or email  ASAP: 212-716-1659 or

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Trick or Treat for the Tenants' Association - our annual Halloween Table on Oct. 24th

Stop by our annual Halloween Table in the lobby on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 from noon to 6 PM.
Been meaning to contribute?  Come to the lobby table, leave a check, get information, take some candy.  

Funds, Unity,  and Sweets!

What should we raise with Stellar Mgmt. at Oct. 21st meeting?

The Executive Committee is meeting with Stellar Management
on Oct. 21, 2015.  Click on "read more" for what we plan to raise.  What would you like us to raise with Stellar? (Mail specifics to Sue.)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Heating Season has Begun!

From October 1st through May 30 every year,  the landlord is required to provide heat if 

DAYS: Between 6 AM and 10 PM,  the outside temperature is below 56 degrees F and the temperature in your apartment is less than 68.

NIGHTS: Between 10 PM and 6 AM, the outside temperature is below 40 degrees F and the temperature in your apartment is less than 55.  (Yes, these are ridiculous for people who don't go to bed by 10 PM.)

If your indoor digital thermometer shows the temperature is below what is legally mandated, 

  • Call Stellar (212-222-4430) or email Stellar ( and to report the problem and ask them to fix it. They should send someone to check the functioning of your radiators and how well your balcony door closes.  You can ask one of the building staff to help you remove or cover your air conditioners.  (That's not their regular work.)  If that doesn't help, 
  • Fill out a requisition slip at the guard's desk in the lobby reporting the problem
  • IF Stellar still does not provide legally adequate heat,  call 311.  Email the complaint reference number to Sue.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Summary of the September 16, 2015 General Tenants Meeting

Starting off with a Soda Social, lots of information about changes in the rent laws and what's going on in the building, and a wonderful talk by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, there was a lot to see, say, and hear!


Rent Stabilized Tenants
  • The Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) voted a 0% change in 1-year lease renewals and 2% increase in 2-year lease renewals for rent stabilized tenants whose leases renew any time from 10/1/2015 through 9/30/2016.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sept. 16: Honor and Meet Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President !

      7:45 PM  in the backyard (or Community Room in case of rain)and meet our guest and honoree

Manhattan Borough President
who has fought for decades for better tenant protection.

8 PM in the Community Room.

We'll also discuss the rent laws, new protection against "buyout" harassment, and some building issues.  Come! - and bring your checkbook if you haven't yet contributed $10 in dues and what you can afford of $100 in annual legal contributions.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Artist at home: Manny Vega

NY Times, a Puerto Rican Luminary focuses on our neighbor artist Manny Vega and the subject of his work: Dr. Antonia Pantoja

A Puerto Rican Luminary Emerges, Piece by Glistening Piece
JULY 5, 2015

Like a deconstructed rainbow, glistening bits of tiles were
spread out on a table before Manny Vega. He hunched over
them, his rough hands holding each jagged bit as he gently
glued them in place.  Up close, they looked like a pixilated
jumble.  But step back, and the big picture emerged.

Mr. Vega, a Byzantine craftsman of sorts, practices the art
of mosaic-making. In his studio - the living room of his
small apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan -
he is finishing his latest piece, a large mosaic portrait of
Dr. Antonia Pantoja.  She is an apt subject for the ancient
art that takes tiny pieces and brings them together to make
omething grand.  A half-century ago, Dr. Pantoja embarked
on a life of activism and service, creating institutions to
help New York City's growing Puerto Rican community,
focusing especially on education. 


Saturday, July 25, 2015


  • Keep your dog leashed when it is outside your apartment.
  • Keep it away from sniffing other folks unless they say they’re open to it:

However friendly Fido is, some tenants are allergic.

Others are scared of dogs.  

  • If a neighbor already in the elevator politely asks you to keep the dog out, take the next elevator.
  • Don’t let your dog relieve itself on the front terrace. 
  • Instruct your dog walker to follow these courtesies.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sad news: Sujata Prasad has died.

We mourn the loss of yet another tenant this month:  Sujata Prasad, known to many of us as “Suzy.”
Suzy died on June 22, 2015 after a difficult hospitalization of several weeks.  Although born in 1972, Suzy was childlike.  Many of us enjoyed her smile and affection.

The Puja funeral rites are
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24th, 2015
Viewing from 11 AM to 1 PM
Cremation at 2 PM
Gerald Funeral Home, 88-04 43rd Avenue, Elmhurst

Our condolences go to her family:  Her mother Namita Prasad,  her sisters Sulekha and Sushama Prasad, and her nephews Anthony and Nicholas Bonano.

Tentative Rent Laws Deal Doesn't Help Tenants Much

The Albany deal on the rent laws will lead to 87,500 apartments being deregulated.
Call Gov. Cuomo at 518 474-8390 or 212 681-4580 and tell him to go back to the drawing board and come up with a deal that protects tenants.

What tenants need
What Cuomo is offering
Vacancy deregulation
(motivating landlords to oust regulated tenants, losing affordable apartments forever)

Repeal of vacancy deregulation
Rent at which vacant apartments can be de-regulated goes up from $2500 to $2700 and is indexed to Rent Guidelines Board orders.  
MCI and IAI increases
Major Capital Improvement and Individual Apartment Improvement rent increases (now permanent)
Limit the increases to end when the cost of the improvement has been re-paid.

Reduce the permanent increase by 1/3.
Vacancy bonus
Right now, landlords get a 20% rent increase just because an apartment has become vacant. That motivates them to kick out tenants to get to the vacancy decontrol threshold.

Cut the bonus.

No change
Rent law renewal term
As long as vacancy deregulation is in effect, we’re losing affordable apartments.

One year renewal

Four years
Preferential rent
Tenants renting at below the legal regulated rent (LRR) can be hit with LRR increases on lease renewal.

Close the loophole

No change

June 23rd, 2015Albany Close to Deal on Rent Regulation - How Does the Reported “Framework” Affect Neighborhoods? Thomas J. Waters Tweet The New York...

Monday, June 15, 2015

From our Assembly Member regarding the Rent Laws


As you most likely know, our city's rent laws sunset at midnight tonight. I write now to assure you that my colleagues in the Assembly and I are doing all we can to make sure that the laws are not only renewed, but also strengthened. However, that may not happen by the deadline at midnight. Please be assured that the laws will be reauthorized before the session concludes and will almost certainly be retroactive to the date of expiration. If there are several days where the rent laws have technically expired, tenants should know that they are still protected. 

Here are some key facts about tenant rights in relation to the expiring rent laws:
    • All rent-stabilized tenants' existing leases will remain in effect.
    • Tenants in rent-controlled apartments are also protected.
    • By law, any tenant whose lease expires in the coming days should already
      have received a renewal lease. This lease will still be in effect once the tenant signs it, even if the rent laws expire tonight.
    • If your landlord attempts to contradict any of the above information, or if
      they harass or threaten you in any way, please contact my office 
      (212) 866-3970 and ask to speak with my housing specialist.
    • You can also call 311 for assistance, where an expanded team of
      housing experts is available to help you. Public Advocate Tish James has also established a special hotline: (212) 669-7250 or
The Assembly is firmly on the side of tenants. In May, we passed A7526 to strengthen 
the rent laws. I am proud to be a sponsor of that bill, as well as several other important 
bills that improve protections for tenants. To learn more about my housing bills, please 
click here. To read my most recent community newsletter, click here.
I look forward to seeing many of you back in the district once session ends. Please 
feel free to contact my community office about this or any other matter.

Sad News: two deaths - Sol Frieder and Marilyn Kravitz

The Central Park Gardens Tenants’ Association mourns the loss of our friend and neighbor


for a long time, the oldest working actor in the United States.

The funeral will be this WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2015 at Noon
at the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel
630 Amsterdam Ave. at W. 91st Street
followed by the burial at the Mount Zion Cemetery in Maspeth, Queens.

Our condolences go to his niece Dana Lehrman, the rest of his immediate family, and his long-time companion Anna, who helped care for him before and after he went into the Jewish Home following hospitalization.

Sol’s sparkle and wit will be missed.   Read an obituary for him from Actors Equity newsletter below

In Memoriam
One of the oldest working actors in Equity has died. Sol L. Frieder, born in Stuttgart, Germany, the youngest of nine children, endured Swiss labor camps for 30 months during WWII. He arrived in New York in 1949 and became an accountant. Then, in 1958, auditioned for The Diary of Anne Frank (Gateway Playhouse, Bellport, NY), which earned him his Equity card. He appeared in six Broadway productions, including Cabaret, opposite Lotte Lenya, and Fiddler on the Roof. Off-Broadway:   The Primary English Class, with Diane Keaton, and an Israel Horovitz trilogy, earning him a prestigious Hirschfeld caricature (2 Ninas). His final stage bow at age 90: Athol Fugard’s Have You Seen Us?  Films include Love and Death; Next Stop, Greenwich Village and Music Box. With his final film, John Turturro’s Fading Gigolo, he became one of the oldest actors working under a SAG-AFTRA contract at the age of 94. Sol L. Frieder lived to act, and he did that to the very end.
— Lori Tan Chinn

Marilyn Kravitz
who trained as a school psychologist, passed away during the night of June 14-15, 2015.  Our condolences to her brother and her close friend Alisa Doctoross.

Funeral arrangements to be announced.