Monday, May 20, 2019

a WONDERFUL Pot Luck Party

How wonderful was our Pot Luck Party on May 18th?  


We celebrated our building's 50th year in style with beautiful decorations by Lydia Pitsirilos, with the help of her son-in-law Cyrus Boquin.  The room was set up by a bevy of workers including Joan Browne, Debbie Gonzalez, Letty Orellano, Jerry Pirog, Bones
Lydia and grandchildren
Rodriguez, Claude Saucier, Maxine Soares, and Cary Webb. 

Joan Browne
Ernie Faison
Visitors were greeted by Joan Browne, Ernie Faison, Alan Fox, Helen Merber, and Cary Webb, who collected contributions, gave out name tags, and directed food contributors to the right areas.  Food was collected and set out under the direction of the three POT LUCK PLANNERS,  Debbie Gonzalez, Lydia Pitsirilos, and Maxine Soares, with Tish Howard and Laura Kahn.  

The Children's area was set up by Bones Rodriguez and Laura Valpey, and staffed by them and Kova Fahey, with the help of their children Pike and Poppy Joy and Ellie.

Bobby Moorhead and mom Carolyn
Our DJ Bobby Moorhead provided the music, with an additional jazz saxophone performance by Rev. Nat Dixon.  (Nat is selling CDs for $10, with $5 going to the tenant association.)

Sue Susman MC'd

Barbara Geller, Laura Koulish, Jerry Nadler,
Sal Conzalez, Maxine Soares

Congressman Jerry Nadler came to reunite with old friends:  When he was District Leader of Community Free Democrats, he and the late Ivan Merber and Ruth Ellin, and the very-much present and active Helen Merber, and Bonnie Fine, and others founded our tenant association.  Jerry spoke about CFD's aim of empowering tenants and then segued to a discussion of Washington, where corruption in the center must be fought. 
Kathie,Bones,Bobby,Yolanda,Nat, Jerry,Ed, Nick, Justin...

Richard Meza, Jerry Nadler, Bonnie Fine

Lydia, Geri, Rhonda, Linda, Nick, Laura, Bonnie
And we talked with State Senator Brian Benjamin
Sen. Benjamin and Steve Koulish

and with each other 

L., Dawn Sprauve, Lindsay Brockington

Kathie Murray and Debbie Gonzalez
And celebrated the children and grandchildren who grew up here, including

Korinne and Lukas Arenas, Nicole Barton, Tony Greer, Markees Boisseau, Stacey Brandon, Jodi & Lindsay Brockington, Emanuel Cochran, Luciane de Andrade and Sophia, Chris Delgado and Tracy Saez; Ayana, Nathaniel Dixon, Diana Donato, Melanie Eversley, Celeste Hewitt-Duval, Gabrielle Everett, Angel, Christopher Feliciano, Jason Geller, Luis Gonzalez; Carlos, Raymond Gonzalez, Miranda Goodstein Hodge, Aurora Granberry, Katie and Nicky Heyward, Rachel Hydell, Brittany Johnson, Nataley Jones, Sean Khan, Lisa, Jeremy Koulish, Bleu & Clementine Lanza, Elsie, Chris Madera, Eva Marie Malone, Elsa MacDonald Gonzalez, Steven, Jonathan Martinez, Alina Melendez, Alec Merber and daughters, A-Leaha Mobley, Bobby Moorhead, Allegra Neely-Wilson, Roie Opperman; Krystina, Olivia, Julian, and Eric Orellano; Pascale, Antonella, Katiana, Jean Joseph, and Carlyn Leon; Stephanie, Alex and Liza Pitsirilos & granddaughters Eliana, Amelia Alexandra; Sushama Prasad, Anthony Bonano, Suleika and her daughter Audre, Janak Ramakrishnan and Shantha Susman,  Billy Ras and Louie and Taisha; Bones Rodriguez, Pike and Poppy Joy,Christine Rodriguez, Marlin Rodriguez, Matthew Soares, Dawn Sprauve,Marina Squerciati; Jerome Smith, Marie Stewart and son Tyrone,Eduardo Tavarez,Rafi Torres,Cary Webb, Hillary and Anastia. [If your name was left out or incorrect, please email]

And we ATE (and shared with the guard, thanks to Pat Jordan) . . . . 

Lavina Edwards and friend Doris
Thanks to: 

Salsa & corn chips – Joan Browne
Cheese & crackers – Bonnie Fine
Vegetable platter – Mona Leon
Tomato, mozarrella and basil – Nick and Laura Panaro
Raw vegetable platter – Sam Welch
Cheese and peppers – Beatriz Zapata
Guineitos en escabeche – Stephanie Pitsirilos

Kale and tomatoes- Laurie Barton
Hearty green salad – Chariss Boisseau
Green salad – Shelia Friedling
Tossed salad – Zena Gonzalez
Bean salad – Jerry Pirog & Florence Jackson
Potato salad – Lydia Pitsirilos

Veggie dumplings – Nick, Kova and Ellie Fahey
Vegetable dish – Debbie Gonzalez
Bok choy & mushroom sauté- Tommy Leonardo
Grilled vegetables – Lydia Pitsirilos
Stir-fry of asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower – Lydia Pitsirilos
Stringbeans Madras – Sekhar Ramakrishnan
Vegetable dish – Marie Squerciati
Vietnamese spring rolls – Wini Villanueva

Pasta/ Rice
Yellow rice – Laurie Barton
Macaroni & Cheese – Norma Dixon
Pasta salad – Melanie Eversley
Macaroni & cheese – Tish Howard
Pasta salad – Marie Squerciati

Corn bread (two types) – Ena Malone

Meats/Sea Food
Lemon/pepper grilled chicken – Laurie Barton
Bolo Salgado de Frango  (breadloaf, chicken, vegetables) – Jurency de Andrade
Pork and veggie dumplings – Nick, Kova and Ellie Fahey. 
Double pork roast – Barbara Garson
Shrimp dumplings – Ed & Lora Kahn
Baked chicken – Letty Orellano
Vietnamese chicken – Jerry Pirog and Florence Jackson
Meat dish – Ena Malone
Turkey chili – Kathie Murray
Chennai Chicken – Sekhar Ramakrishnan
Jerked chicken – Maxine Soares
Yucatán slow roasted pork – Nadine Welch

Iced Tea – Jodi Brockington
Soda or juice – Donna Brown
Coffee and tea – Joan Browne
Seltzer, grape juice, colas (regular and diet) – Rosa Delgado
Sodas – Milly Matos
Fruit punch – Marlene Melton
Orange juice – Sue Susman
Sodas – Vernon Smith
Ice – Laurie Barton

Clementines, grapes, bananas – Maria Acevedo
Cake  and Pie – Laurie Barton
Sheet cake – Paul Fischer
Flan – Elsa Gonzalez
Fruit Platter – Steve Koulish
Flan – Maritza Martinez
Brownies – Allegra Neely-Wilson
Cake– Roie Opperman
Pastries – Prudence Opperman
Key lime pie – Nadine Welch & Justin Heyman

[If I've missed or misstated your name and what you brought, let me know!]

And then the clean-up crew came, with  Lydia Pitsirilos, Maxine Soares, Debbie Gonzalez, Vernon Smith, Wyona Purcell, Kathie Murray, Melanie Eversley, Denis Hayward, Lora Kahn, and more.  [Let me know if I missed your name.] 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Pot Luck Party this Saturday with Cong. Nadler - and you!

Celebrate our building’s 50th Anniversary
       at the 
Central Park 
Gardens Tenants’               Association’s

This Saturday, May 18th

6-8:30 PM – Community Room

with Congressman JERRY NADLER

and Rev. “SAXRACK” NAT DIXON                                                           
 Food, dancing, 
friends, and music.

$10/person or $15/household 

or bring a dish for 8-10 people

or help out to come for free!

All tenants welcome 

and bring your kids (grown or small).

Sunday, May 5, 2019

May 8 - Protest worst evictors in our zip code

The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition and Goddard Riverside are holding a rally to protest the worst evictors in the zip codes where low-income people have a right to counsel - including 10025.  Using court records, they have named Stellar Management as one of them. 

Come to the rally:

156 WILLIAM STREET in Lower Manhattan.

(Take any train to Fulton Street.)

Pot Luck Party celebrating our building's 50th Anniversary- May 18, 2019

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Time to Act!

The rent laws will be renewed this June in Albany.  
They don't just happen in a void.  The landlord lobby 
is out in force, and tenants have to be louder.  So urge 
our elected officials to support Housing Justice for All.  

May 2, 2019: Testify in person or 
by email to the NYS Assembly's 
Standing Committee on Housing.  

 **Click here to view public hearing notice** with 

Get on the bus for Albany on May 14th: 

Write letters / email: 

PLEASE WRITE to  Gov. Cuomo
Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie, and to our 
State Senator Brian Benjamin and Assembly Member 
Daniel O'Donnell. 

Gov Cuomo has announced he will not support roll backs 
of MCI increases, and Assembly Speaker Heastie wants 
to drop protection for market tenants from the list
They need to hear from us.

Given a Democratic State Senate and a Democratic 
Assembly (and Governor), we actually have a chance 
of getting these passed:

· Protect market-rate (currently un-regulated) · 
tenants all over NY State - and not just in NYC, Westchester, 
Rockland, and Nassau Counties.  This includes a guaranteed 
renewal lease unless the tenant seriously violates the lease.

· Eliminate ways landlords raise the rent beyond · 
what many tenants can pay, including:
o Ending the MCI surcharge. (Right now it's a permanent 
increase in the rent.)
o Ending Individual Apartment Improvement (IAI) 
surcharges that raise rents in both vacant and 
occupied apartments.
o Ending vacancy increases that landlords get 
just because an apartment becomes vacant.
· End vacancy decontrol (vacancy deregulation)
Tell our legislators and the Governor to pass them!

Brian Benjamin had only signed onto some of them. Gov Cuomo and Carl Heastie have reportedly already announced that they will not support roll backs of MCI increases, and Assembly Speaker Heastie wants to drop protection for market tenants from the list. They need to hear from us.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

May 18th: Celebrate our building's 50th Anniversary at the Pot Luck Party!

Let's celebrate our old and new neighbors with our building in its 50th year 
at the

Central Park Gardens Tenants' Associations' 

50th Anniversary
Pot Luck Party

Saturday, May 18, 2019

with Congressman Jerry Nadler.

Invite your family and friends who used to live here.  
Bring your new neighbors!  
We'll have a kids' area too.

Bring a dish for 8-10 people or help out


Just come and share in the fun and food for
$10/person or $15/household.
(non-tenant guests are $10/each).

6-8:30 PM

RSVP with how you will contribute to
CPGTenAssoc  [at]  gmail .   com.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Summary of the March 27, 2019 Tenants Meeting with CM Mark Levine

Progressive Caucus
RIGHT TO COUNSEL - This is the right for tenants who can't afford lawyers to have them provided for free in Housing Court.  NYC is the first place in the U.S. that this exists, and because of it, evictions are down 37%.  (In part, landlords are bringing fewer cases knowing that the tenants will be represented by lawyers from nonprofit organizations.)  The program is being rolled out slowly over 5 years and this is only year 1 - so this drop is significant!  With the lobbying and backing of CASA and other tenant organizations, Mark led  the fight for this bill to success in the NYC Council.  

The drop in evictions has also led to a drop in the number of families showing up at city homeless shelters.  The shelter system houses over 60,000 people a night, primarily families with children - more than at any time since the Great Depression. Some 25,000 children per night stay in these shelters.  Most of the homeless are not mentally ill or addicted.  The bulk of them simply cannot pay their rent, even though they are employed. 

SAVING LOCAL STORES -  There is almost no protection for these stores and city-wide about 20% of storefronts are vacant.  The City Council and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer are proposing a few remedies to stop the "chainification" of NYC:
  • right to council for small businesses
  • a tax on the owners of buildings whose storefronts are vacant
  • a Small Business Job Survival Act would require binding arbitration if a building owner and store owner cannot come to an agreement on renewing their lease
  • rezoning.  Gale Brewer arranged the rezoning of 96th - 110th Streets to limit the amount of storefront to 45 feet.  The result is that chain stores are not interested, but smaller businesses are. 
Citing the example of Bleecker Street, Mark noted that where a building or block owner lowers the rent, innovative entrepreneurs will jump in. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

THIS WED., March 27: Council Member Mark Levine at our General Tenants Meeting

What's the NYC Council working on to help save our stores? our homes? 

This Wednesday, March 27, 2019

hear and talk with 

Council Member Mark Levine - who spearheaded the tenants' Right to Counsel law

at our

General Tenants Meeting

8 PM in the Community Room

Bring a friend and a neighbor.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Market-Rate Tenants have new chance to slash your rents

New court decisions mean you might be able to slash your rent and get back into rent stabilization

Some things have changed that could make it easier for you to get your apartment back into rent stabilization - even if it's been market-rate for over 4 years.  

What it means for you:

  • Rent that may be 1/3 or less of what you're paying now.
  • You can keep rents low for the rest of your life - or as long as you live here.
  • You'd have the right to choose a 2-year renewal lease.
  • Family members living with you could take over the rent stabilized lease if you leave. 
  • You could challenge a loss of services without fearing retribution. 
What are the changes? 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Summary of Tenant Meeting with Ellen Davidson - Jan. 24, 2019

We began with a moment of silence for Ada Marie Wattley and Jacob Brockington.
Photo by Jodi Brockington (c) 2019

Thanks to members of the board and executive committee who have served us long and well but decided not to run this year :  Na'ava Ades, who was  on our legal committee, executive committee, and board for many years; Maria Acevedo, who was our treasurer, a floor captain, and then a board member for decades; Debbie Gonzalez, who is continuing as a fund-raiser and pot luck planner; and Wassie Ayalew, who was a member of our board. 

Congratulations to our new board and executive committee members!  Click here to see the names. 

There is more on building issues below. 

What we can expect from Albany

Photo by Jodi Brockington, (c) 2019
Ellen Davidson spoke. As a Legal Aid Staff Attorney and as a board member of Tenants and Neighbors, she has recently been in several meetings with leading State Senators and Assembly Members concerning tenant bills.  These include applying rent laws statewide and to all tenants, and closing loopholes that give landlords an incentive and a means to oust rent regulated tenants.  Tenants and tenants organizations both upstate and downstate are united in the Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance, with a single Housing Justice for All platform.

Because the Governor has presented his budget and has until March 31st to get it passed,  tenant advocates want to wait until early April to get these bills moving. (The bills have no financial consequences for the state and don't belong in the budget.) The rent laws expire on June 14, 2019, and will be renewed.  Ellen is cautiously optimistic about the bills described below since the Democrats have a big majority (39 to 24) in the Senate and in the Assembly. (No party has had such a big majority in the Senate since 1948.)  

Ellen urged tenants to go up to Albany on one of the Tuesday buses.  With every possible lobbying group on other issues going up every week, we have to make our voices heard!  Contact Andrea Shapiro at to sign up.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

TONIGHT: Vote, and hear about what we can expect from Albany

  • How will Albany strengthen tenant protections when the rent laws expire this year?
  • Will market tenants get some protection? 
  • Will we be stuck with huge Major Capital Improvement increases?

8 PM  - Vote for our tenant association's board and officers - as long as you've paid your $10 dues this year (you can pay at the meeting), and then 

8:15 PM  - Hear Legal Aid Staff Attorney Ellen Davidson of the Tenants and Neighbors' Board on what we can expect from Albany.  State Senator Brian Benjamin will also be there to comment and get your suggestions.  Sign onto our petition in support of Housing Justice for All. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Policies Matter, People Matter, Elections Matter. Vote on Thursday and hear about Albany!

  • How will Albany strengthen tenant protections when the rent laws expire this year?
  • Will market tenants get some protection? 
  • Will we be stuck with huge Major Capital Improvement increases?

8 PM  - Vote for our tenant association's board and officers - as long as you've paid your $10 dues this year, and then 

8:15 PM  - Hear Legal Aid Staff Attorney Ellen Davidson of the Tenants and Neighbors' Board on what we can expect from Albany.  State Senator Brian Benjamin will also be there to comment and get our suggestions.  Sign onto our petition in support of Housing Justice for All. 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Sad News: Ada Marie Wattley

The Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association mourns the loss of our neighbor


who died on January 18, 2019 after a long illness.

We extend our condolences to her husband Alfred and the rest of their family.  

The funeral service will be on 
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 
at noon at the Unity Funeral Home
2352 Eighth Avenue. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

We have a new email address!
Our tenant association has a new email address:

CPG Ten Assoc [at sign] gmail  [dot] com

[don't type the spaces or the stuff in brackets]

Every member of the association's executive committee can see it and respond to your questions.  Please add it to your address book!

Got mice? Wet down droppings, etc .before sweeping!!
MICE seem to be coming out of the brickwork


Crumbs and food garbage. You can compost, keeping food garbage in the freezer till the Friday Farmer’s Market or until we get composting in the building. It makes for less free-flowing food garbage in the compactor room.

Clutter – all that stuff we accumulate over time, like papers, old plastic containers, too many bags, and bits of cloth.

Leaky faucets, bowls of water for pets, condensation

Small openings, like around: the gas pipe leading to your stove the pipes leading to your sinks and toilet, the pipes leading into and away from your radiators, and the small wall openings for telephone wires.

Cheese and peanut butter                                                                

Peace and quiet.  So when drilling vibrations hit the walls, they come out.                                                   

Cat-free homes

Seal your food up: Metal or heavy-plastic sealed containers with tight lids, or keeping food in the fridge.  Putting an open box of crackers in a thin plastic bag may not be enough. 
Clear up  clutter,  leaving the mice nothing to build a nest with or to hide in.
Dry areas Get your leaks repaired.
Sign up for the exterminator at the guard’s desk.  Ask him to seal all the openings.  If he doesn’t do it, stuff fine steel wool (not with soap in it) or knitted copper wire mesh around the pipes and other openings.  
Once the openings are sealed, trap the mice that may already be inside your apartment.   (Don’t use poison: you’ll end up with smelly dead mice in the walls.)
If you see droppings or trap a mouse:  Don’t sweep or vacuum until the area is wet with a bleach mixture.  (You could end up with dust containing lethal viruses in the air.)  With rubber gloves, mix detergent plus 1.5 cups of bleach in a gallon of water. Spray dead rodents, traps, droppings, and the areas where you found them. Put the sprayed dead rodent or droppings in a plastic bag and seal it. Then put that in another plastic bag, seal it, and put down the chute.  Or call one of the building staff.
CAUTION: The landlord can evict a tenant for not clearing up a nuisance like clutter. If you think you, like many of your neighbors,  might have a problem, contact the tenant association’s executive committee for help.