Thursday, November 30, 2017

Last Meeting, Next Meeting . . . (Nov. 2017-Jan. 2018)

Elections and a country divided 
At the Nov. 15, 2017 General Tenants Meeting, Norman Lafond, Chair of the Manhattan
Policy Forum, outlined why our country is so divided electorally.  Few people actually go to the polls in this country. The only people who regularly turn out to vote are the most motivated - and that often means those who feel the most strongly about a particular issue.  That leads candidates to play to those small interest groups, and that leads to further division.  The upshot: If we want a less divided country, more people have to get out and vote.  (The Catch-22:  how to motivate people to do that?)    There was a rousing discussion, with tenants on both sides of the aisle civilly raising their points.  An excellent example of democratic debate!

At our January 17, 2018 meeting:  NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
will talk about our credit (whether paying rent on time should become part of our credit report, which it isn't now), and why the buses don't work - as well as other topics under his purview as NYC's Comptroller. 

In between, the tenant association's Board and Floor Captains have a meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017.  

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

How do the election results affect us? Wed., Nov. 15 , 2017 at 8 PM



Chair of the Manhattan Policy 

at our 


in the Community Room.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Trick or Treat for the Tenants' Association - Oct. 21, 2017


SAT. Oct. 21, 2017
12:00-5:00  PM
in the lobby
Been meaning to contribute?
Come to the lobby table, leave a check, pick up some information and take some candy.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


(Naturally Occurring Retirement Community)

The next step in seeing whether we qualify:

Are you over 60 and meet the income cap:

1 person household:  Income is no more than $90,180 per year.*

2-person household: Income is no more than $103,140 per year.*

3-person household: Income is no more than $115,965 per year.*

4-person household: Income is no more than $128,790 per year.*

* gross annual income taken from your federal 1040.

Seniors: please email sue /at/  janak /dot/ org to say that you meet or don't meet the cap.

The NORC grant would be through Goddard Riverside, and would - if it happens - provide activities and services for all the seniors in the building, whether or not they meet the income limit.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Summary of the General Tenants Meeting - Sept. 12 2017

This summary integrates what happened at the General Tenants Meeting with a meeting on Sept. 13th with building manager Niti Jakupaj and the tenant association's executive committee.

Despite it being election day, a good tenant turnout greeted Yegal Shamash, Assistant Commissioner for Investigative Engineering Services at the NYC Department of Buildings (DoB), and Ophelia Phipps, the DoB's Liaison for Intergovernmental and Community Affairs.

Mr. Shamash explained that of the million buildings in NYC,  his department only regulates 14,000 (those over 6 stories). Lower buildings were omitted primarily for political reasons - when politicians didn't want to anger smaller building owners. Of those 14,000,  many were built like ours, in the 1960's. 

This building has "cavity" walls: an outer layer ("fa├žade"of brick tied to an inner layer - probably of cinder block.  The ties connecting the two walls are metal rods, but builders have been known to have skimped on the number of ties when buildings like this one went up. (We have no specific information on the ties for this one.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

What's that scaffolding? Learn about the work and the cost to us

TONIGHT - TUESDAY SEPT. 12 at 8 PM in the Community Room
Come hear NYC Department of Buildings representatives talk about the scaffolding and what work the landlord is supposed to be doing.  We'll also talk about the cost to us - and how to fight the coming MCI for this work. 
It's our General Tenants Meeting.  All tenants are welcome, and we'll have refreshments.   If you haven't contributed to our legal fund this year, that will be a perfect time to do it!  And don't forget to vote in the primary! Our polling place: P.S. 163 on 97th St. between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, between 6 AM and 9 PM. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Stellar to put cameras in hallways and stairwells

zStellar Management is installing cameras in our building’s hallways and stairwells.

Since these are PUBLIC areas of the building, Stellar is legally permitted to do this.  

If you believe that a specific camera can catch what is happening INSIDE your apartment, let our Executive Committee know immediately so we can get it moved.

Landlords typically install cameras to catch tenants who
  • rent out their apartments illegally, for example on AirBnB (not just having roommates, which is legal) or
  • are not home much and really live elsewhere, or
  • smoke or otherwise act inappropriately in the hallways and stairwells.

If Stellar contacts you claiming you really live elsewhere, please let us know.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summertime, and the livin' . . . .

Enjoy some of our neighborhood's wonderful resources over the summer. Check here for the calendars of Central ParkRiverside Park,  the Bloomingdale Public Library, the West Side Community Garden on 89th St.,  the West Side Rag, Columbus-Amsterdam Business Improvement District (BID), the NY Classical Theater (free movable theater near us in Central Park), Lincoln Center's Midnight Swing,  Bloomingdale Aging In Place (you have to be a member of this all-volunteer group to participate), and Goddard Riverside Community Center, and enjoy the outdoor Lasker Pool at the north end of Central Park. Those under 18 can get free breakfast and lunch at Lasker and at several other locations in our neighborhood. 

The tenant association doesn't meet over the summer, but its executive committee does.  So if you've got an issue, let us know!

Farewell to Jose Rosado - our long-time handyman

Photo by Sue Susman
At a June 27, 2017 party organized by Maxine, Lydia, Cyn, and Bea,  tenants said farewell to Jose Rosado, the handyman who helped tenants over more than three decades.  Jose succeeded to his father's position - so one might say he practically grew up in this building.    Modesto Santiago (known to some as "Ito") has replaced Jose as handyman.

Click here for some photos. taken by tenants.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pot Luck a Big Success!

Over 90 people ate, sang, schmoozed, and had a good time at our annual Pot Luck Party.

We listened to candidate Brian Benjamin (nominated by the Democratic Party to replace Bill Perkins who left the State Senate to become a City Council member) and to our own City Council Member Mark Levine.  Then we ate some more!

The primary credit goes to our Pot Luck Planners; Maxine Soares, Lydia Pitsirilos, Joan Browne, and Debbie Gonzalez. 

And THANKS to the many people who contributed their work and food and time:

Lydia Pitsirilos, Maxine Soares, Debbie Gonzalez, Letty Orellano, Claude Saucier, and Vernon Smith, did the set-up and decorations, with a lovely motif of hanging spirals of paper (shiny and not).  

Joan Browne,Helen Merber, and Maria Acevedo greeted guests all evening and wrote down the dish those who signed in brought.    The dishes were put out by Tish Howard with help from Melanie Eversley.

WHAT PEOPLE BROUGHT  (If you didn't sign in, your dish isn't here - so let me know!)

Maria Acevedo: Bruschetta
Stephanie and John Arenas: Cookies
Laurie Barton:  Vegetable and fruit platter, cake
Chariss Boisseau & Carlos: Mac& cheese, seltzer, and music!
deAndrade:  Empanadas
Dixon, Norma: Yellow rice with peas and eggs; yellow rice with mixed vegetables
Gabrielle Everett: Coleslaw with hot dogs
Melanie Eversley: Chicken pasta salad
Paul Fisher:  Cake
Sheila Friedling: Tossed salad
Debbie Gonzalez - Roasted vegetables
Linda Greenman: Rugelach
Aaron Heisler & Alexandra Martin: Cookies,rugelach
Jill  Hodge: Cookies
Tish Howard: Roasted chicken with garlic and peppers
Florence Jackson & Jerry Pirog: Korean chicken legs; black bean & corn salad
Pat Jordan: Haricots verts
Laura Koulish: Spinach lasagna
Mona and Jean Joseph Leon: Pasta with garden vegetables
Collean Mallon: Greek pasta salad
Ena Malone: Chocolate cherry tiara cake
Kathie Murray: Turkey chili
Adelaida Navarro: Arroz con gandules
Brenda Marshall: Red Velvet Cake
Marlene Melton: Summer punch (and one other punch recipe!)
Roie and Prudence Oppreman: Cakes
Letty Orellano: Garlic stringbeans
Mildred Palermo: Juice
Lydia Pitsirilos - Roast chicken, potato salad
Namita Prasad:  Samosas
Sekhar Ramakrishnan:  Spicy broccoli
Bones Rodriguez: Coconut, walnut, oatmeal raisin cookies
Virginia Santiago: Cookies and punch
Maxine Soares: Jerk chicken
Janie Stewart: Collard greens
Cary Webb: Home-made parker rolls, garlic knots
Beatriz Zapata: Fresh cheese with peppers appetizer

Steve Koulish, Laura Koulish, Lydia Pitsirilos, Claude Saucier, Vernon Smith, Maxine Soares

Special thanks to Chariss Boisseau for providing the music, to building staff Mike Medina, Lenny Moreno, and Modesto ("Ito") Santiago for their pre-party clean-up and to Barbara Geller for arranging the flowers outside.   Thanks to Vernon Smith who found, cleaned, and prepared the table and chairs outside and to Claude Saucier and Vernon Smith prepared the children's rug and chairs.  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tonight's the night for our Pot Luck Party!

Annual Pot-Luck Party TONIGHT
Sat., May 20th, 2017 
6-9 PM
in the Community Room and Backyard

Bring a dish for 8-10 people or help out    . .  . 


Just come share in the fun & food for a small contribution: 
$10 per person or
$15 per household.
Non-tenant guests are $10 each.

- even a little kids table.


HAVE FUN - and take the opportunity to sign a card to 
our long-time handyman 
Jose Rosado
who will be retiring on May 27, 2017.
(Some tenants are having an informal party for him in the lobby that Saturday at 11 AM.  Stop by!)

Click on "read more" for the MENU so far.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Come to our Pot Luck on May 20th!

Annual Pot-Luck Party
Sat., May 20th, 2017 
6-9 PM
in the Community Room and Backyard

Bring a dish for 8-10 people or help out    . .  . 


Just come share in the fun & food for a small contribution: 
$10 per person or
$15 per household.
Non-tenant guests are $10 each.

- even a little kids table.

HAVE FUN - and take the opportunity to sign a card to 
our long-time handyman 
Jose Rosado
who will be retiring on May 26, 2017.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Coming up . . .

April 6, 2017:  Forum with NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer at Goddard Riverside, 593 Columbus Ave. (at 88th St.)  6:30 PM

April  13, 2017: Town Hall with Congressman Jerrold Nadler, 6-8 PM at Goddard Riverside, 593 Columbus Ave. 

April 25, 2017:  Rent Guidelines Board's Preliminary Vote on any rent adjustments for leases renewed any time from Oct. 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018.  7 PM at Cooper Union's Auditorium, 7 E. 7th Street (3rd Ave.)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Summary of General Tenants Meeting of March 21, 2017

Photo by Sue Susman
Peace to RUTH ELLIN. We began with a tribute to Ruth, a founder and former president of our tenant association.  With great foresight, Ruth ensured that we were a part of NYC’s larger tenant movement and connected to local political clubs.  She also ensured that we had a solid financial base so when legal fights became necessary, we were prepared.  When Ruth became frail, Lenore Richter (on left in photo), arranged for and supervised Ruth’s 24-hour care.  Ruth died at 94, having been a TV, film, and stage actor, and active in the Yiddish Theater.  Ruth was an immigrant from Canada who loved both her countries. Our condolences to  Ruth’s sister Lola Mendelson, Lola’s son Simon, and their extended family.

COURT UPHELD RENT FREEZE. When the  landlords' "Rent Stabilization Association" tried to undo the Rent Guidelines Board’s rent freeze for those renewing their lease for 1 year, the State court ruled that the RGB had appropriately considered tenants’ ability to pay – and upheld the rent freeze. Yay!

RENT GUIDELINES BOARD'S Preliminary Vote: April 25.  Join the Rent Justice Coalition at the preliminary vote to demand a rent rollback:  Rents are still too high.  7 PM at Cooper Union's auditorium, 7 East 7th St., at 3rd Ave.


Leilani Straw, president of Bloomingdale Aging in Place, and Caitlin Hawke, BAiP’s
activities co-chair, explained that BAiP is a very local organization of volunteers.  The volunteers lead ongoing activity groups they are interested in, and others sign up.  There are groups ranging from book discussion and tennis to eating at a particular local restaurant once a month, to dog run meetups, Broadway-play readings and more.  It’s all free for members (except for paying your own way at the restaurant or theater, for example). BAiP also refers members to resources recommended by other members such as professionals – from doctors to plumbers.   The organization often holds informational panels – such as the one on chronic pain at the library a couple of weeks back.  Finally, where BAiP has a building rep (want to volunteer to be ours?), that person can help create a volunteer system, as Lenore did for Ruth, to accompany neighbors to the doctor or arrange for in-home services.  BAiP will also train neighbor-to-neighbor volunteers who want to spend time with the homebound.  Become a member.   BAiP has an easy website to use ( and flyers in our mailroom.  Unfortunately, BAiP’s activities are mainly in English, but those who want to start a different language group are welcome.  To contact BAiP, email

Yajaira Mejia, the manager of the Bloomingdale branch of the NY Public Library on 100th Street, has worked for the library for 24 years – and first got her library card at our very own branch.  She spoke about activities for people from infancy to the elderly – including some
talks and movement activities run by BAiP – day and evening at the library.  There’s even free tax preparation by AARP professionals who’ve been doing it for years.  But come by 9 AM on the day they’re there to sign up (first come, first served).  High school students can get help on April 6 with college planning and financial aid, and others can study English as a second language. Expectant parents can take classes with La Leche League, and seniors can “Move it to Music.” If you love Hollywood, come to lectures by a renowned film professor.  There’s lots more: check it out at the library itself or on line.

Other resources in our neighborhood: Goddard Riverside Community Center with programs and services for all ages  They have 2 local branches:  647 Columbus Ave. (for kids and cultural activities), and 593 Columbus with social workers, activities for seniors, and many political and educational forums.
Self Help also offers volunteer activities for seniors helping each other, and services for seniors including home care and activity centers and legal assistance.

There are lots more. Contact the Columbus Amsterdam BID (Business Improvement District), and see its monthly calendar on our website.   Also check out the weekly West Side Rag calendar.

GARAGE: The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs has found the garage to be in violation of the number of cars parked there.  Let’s keep working to ensure that they stop overcrowding.

We’ll be having some parties in May, so stay tuned (and volunteer!). 

 Our dues are $10/apartment yearly, and the legal fund contribution is $100/apartment yearly, payable as you can.   Give your contribution to our treasurer Joan Browne in 12F.

Let us know!

The Executive Committee
-          Sue Susman,  sue [at] janak (dot) org
-          Na’ava Ades, naavaa (at) g mail [D o t] com
-          Joan Browne, joanbrownefaison -a t- gmail dOt cOm
-          Denis Hayward, denis[dot] hayward aT GMail -d o t-com
-          Rich Jordan, rich214 /at/ a OL |dot| com
-          Steve Koulish, eskoolman |at\ ya hoo - d o t- com
-          Ray von Dohren, v o n d o h re n [at] com  cAst [dO t] net

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sad News: Ruth Ellin has passed away

The Central Park Gardens Tenants’ Association

mourns the loss of one of our founders and long-time president

Photo by Sue Susman

A retired actor and administrator in the Yiddish theater as well as TV and movies, Ruth was - always with sharp wit - a wonderful neighbor. As a one-person head of the tenant association, she was available to tenants day and night for decades.  She set our association on a sound footing financially and as part of a larger community. Our successes come from the base that she created.  After Ruth became frail, our indefatigable neighbor Lenore Richter managed Ruth’s care with the warm help of Amina Bah and other caretakers.  

Our condolences go to Ruth’s sister Lola Mendelson, Lola’s son Simon and his wife Sharon, and their extended family.  

You can listen to the funeral by clicking here.  Thanks to Glenn Richter for creating the file.