Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!


We're grateful we have homes and that we have each other as a community. 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Sad news: Bonnie von Dohren has died

The Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association mourns our neighbor
who died on November 13, 2022.

Bonnie was a funny, smart, thoughtful person, and a retired nurse who befriended everyone she met. 

We extend our condolences to her husband Ray, stepdaughter Allison, and other family and friends. 






Sunday, November 6, 2022

Wed., Nov. 16, 202

All tenants are welcome to our 
TENANT MEETING
with Assembly Member  Danny O’Donnell

8 PM on Wed., Nov. 16, 2022
in the COMMUNITY ROOM

We'll talk about Albany and the recent elections, and building issues. 

And we'll prepare for our tenant association election too. Would you like to run? 

Please wear a mask.

VOTE!

 EARLY VOTING TODAY 9-5

at the West Side High School

101st St. between Col. & Amsterdam

(if you can’t do stairs, enter on 102nd Street)


TUESDAY, NOV. 8th - REGULAR VOTING

6 AM - 9 PM 

at P.S. 163 on 97th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues

Friday, October 28, 2022

Halloween Fundraiser this Saturday Oct. 29 from noon to 6 PM!

12 to 6 PM in the lobby!

Been meaning to contribute?

Come to the lobby table

leave a check ($10 dues, $100 legal fund if you can afford it)

 sign a petition

pick up information

take some candy!

 

FUNDS, UNITY & SWEETS! 

 

 

Monday, September 19, 2022

What a meeting!

SUMMARY OF THE GENERAL TENANTS MEETING
Sept. 14, 2022

What a meeting!  In addition to many, many tenants from our building, we had tenant leaders from Park West Village, Westgate, 50 West 93rd Street, and 5 West 91st Street, among others.  We also had AM O'Donnell's chief of staff, State Sen. Brad Hoylman, and City Council Member Gale Brewer (from the district just south of ours).  The backyard was full of light, of people, and great questions.  Thanks to Ray von Dohren for setting up the sound system, to Joan Browne for staffing the greeting table, to Mr. Anonymous (at his request) for setting up the Community Room, to staff member David for helping set up the chairs, and to Jodi Brockington for the photo.  

Left to Right below: Sen. Hoylman, Sue Susman, Council Member Gale Brewer, and Gabriel Lewenstein, chief of staff to Assembly Member Danny O'Donnell. 

I. Announcements

Come to our pre-Halloween fundraiser on Sat., Oct. 29, 2022. Show your love for the tenant association and pick up some sweets for your sweetie. 

Health: Updated COVID boosters are available for free at RiteAid, CVS, Walgreen's (Duane Reade), and shortly at the Ryan Center.  There's Terrific News aAbout the New Covid Boosters (NY Times).

Safety:  If you live alone, make sure the super has your keys. (It's also required by law.)

Vermin: Mice in your apartment? Make sure the exterminator checks every single radiator, under your sink, and behind your toilet and stove to block off the entry points.  Mouse traps are not enough!

II. From the office of Assembly Member Danny O'Donnell 

Gabriel Lewenstein, Danny O'Donnell's chief of staff, announced some of the events happening in the neighborhood, including 
  • Electronics recycling (which we don't need because we have it in our own backyard - just ask the super, Sako, if you have electronic equipment to recycle.)
  • Rat Academy training for building supers and staff
  • Volunteer clean-up of Broadway
  • Meet the Commissioner of Sanitation on Wed., Sept. 21 at 6:30.  If you'd like to share questions in advance of the meeting, please submit them hereYouTube Link: Click here to watch the YouTube live stream or copy/paste this URL into your browser: https://youtu.be/WtXJwiFvQQo (advance registration not required)
Gabriel also mentioned Leijia Hanrahan, hanrahanl@nyassembly.gov in his office who can help you with tenant issues - including getting on SCRIE and DRIE (senior citizen and disabled rent increase exemption).  Other staff can help you with other issues that arise.  Contact them!

III. State Senator Brad Hoylman

Sen. Hoylman thanked Upper West Siders for voting for him in the Democratic primary for this larger and different district: until now, he has been representing lower Manhattan from east to west (including the enormous Stuyvesant Town).  The general election is November 8, 2022, and one of his primary opponents will be taking him on as an independent. 

Sen. Hoylman serves on the State Senate's judiciary committee, which is particularly important right now as Gov. Hochul considers whom to nominate to the state's highest court.  With seven members (and either one or two vacancies), these appointments can make an enormous difference in terms of redistricting, housing law, and more. 

The senator addressed specific issues and answered questions including covering these:

HOUSING He helped pass the Tenant Safe Harbor Act to keep tenants in their homes during the pandemic. 

Sen. Hoylman supports "good cause eviction" and thinks it may get passed this year or next - although these things can take years, as did the 2019 Housing Stability & Tenant Protection Act.  

Good cause eviction would protect tenants who are NOT rent regulated.  The statute would
  • bar eviction except for good cause
  • require renewal leases in most cases
  • limit rent increases unless the landlord could show more is really needed.
ENVIRONMENT and CONGESTION PRICING  Sen. Hoylman has sponsored bills on clean energy that include labor standards and worker protection. He is concerned about congestion pricing unduly impacting outer boroughs to which traffic would be re-routed (social justice!).  

EDUCATION  The state should ensure all children get an education meeting basic secular standards, without exceptions for yeshivas or other private schools. (A recent NY Times article pointed out that of 1000 yeshiva students who took state tests, 1000 failed.)

HEALTH  Sen. Hoylman has strengthened state vaccination requirements.

ANTI-DISCRIMINATION  He is promoting legislation to end discrimination against transgender and LGBQ people.

ABORTION He strongly supports women's right to full reproductive health access, including abortion. 

IV. Council Member Gale Brewer

Although Gale represents the district just south of ours, she came to our meeting and spoke about what it means to have women in the leadership in the City Council.   Gale now heads the City Council's Oversight Committee, but has introduced many bills to help us, including those on this page.  They range from women's and tenants' rights to historical buildings and dark store fronts. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

TONIGHT: Meet State Sen. Brad Hoylman and talk about building issues

Come to our Tenant Meeting this evening at 8 in the backyard.

8-8:30 PM Meet State Senator Brad Hoylman, who won the Democratic primary in our new state senate district and therefore will likely become our state senator in January. (Vote on election day, Nov. 8th!)  Sen. Hoylman went from being an Eagle Scout in rural West Virginia to being a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, a Harvard Law Grad, and will likely continuing his career in the State Senate, where he was the first openly gay member.

Since being in the Senate representing a district south of ours, he’s passed 120 bills, some of them the most progressive in decades.  These include

·      The Child Victims Act (with AM Linda Rosenthal)

·      Police STAT Act, requiring pol. Depts. to share data on demographics of people they’re arresting & ticketing

·      GENDA: antidiscrimination protections for transgender & non-binary NYers

·      Protect Our Courts bars ICE from arresting immigrants in & around sate courthouses.

·      Strengthened vaccine requirements for kids

·      2019 rent reforms – housing affordability is biggest issue.

You'll have a chance to ask him your questions. 

8:30  PM After Sen. Hoylman, we'll hear from Assembly member Danny O'Donnell's chief of staff, Gabriel Lewenstein about what Danny has been up to. 

8:45  PM Then building issues, including mice, elevators, free updated COVID boosters,  composting, a Halloween fundraiser, and warehousing and your questions!  



Monday, August 29, 2022

Meet Sen. Brad Hoylman at our 9/14 Tenant Meeting

COME ONE, COME ALL!

Meet our next State Senator:
Senator Brad Hoylman



at our

GENERAL TENANTS MEETING

Wed., Sept. 14, 2022

8 PM

in the Backyard.


We were redistricted out of Cordell Cleare’s district – so now it’s time to meet the winner of the Democratic primary for State Senate, Brad Hoylman.  He will likely win the November election to represent us in Albany, along with Assembly Member Danny O'Donnell. 

Senator Hoylman has been representing the district south of us, including the enormous Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village Tenant Association, for several years.

We'll also talk about building issues. 

Ask your questions, get some answers!

ALL TENANTS WELCOME. 

Please wear a mask.


 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Tossed butts and ashes cause fire

https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/
public-safety-alerts/safety-tips-prevention/
home-high-rise-school-workplace-safety/smoking-safety/

In a former Mitchell-Lama building of the same era as ours, fire fighters managed to put out a balcony fire minutes before it spread to the entire building. 


Balcony Fire in a Tribeca High-Rise Was 'Minutes' Away from Spreading

By  Carl Glassman, Jul. 29, 2022

Excerpts:

A fire on the balcony of a 39-story high-rise in Tribeca on Friday filled the hallways of several floors with smoke, but was only minutes away from becoming much worse, a fire official said. No injuries were reported.

Twenty units and nearly 80 firefighters responded around 5:50 p.m. to the blaze on a 32nd floor apartment balcony of 80 North Moore Street, one of three towers in the Independence Plaza complex. It took about 30 minutes to bring the flames under control, a Fire Department spokesman said.

Firefighters battled the blaze as it was burning the terrace door, 1st Battalion Chief Gary Cline told the Trib. “A few more minutes and it would have been a very different story. It would have burned through the door,” said Cline, who commanded the operation.

….

The cause of the fire is under investigation, officials said.

Notices posted in the building's hallways in April by the complex's Stellar Management warned of “numerous complaints” from tenants “who have found lit cigarettes 

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Summary of our June 29, 2022 Tenant Meeting with Cordell Cleare

The night was balmy, we had gentle lighting, and not too many bugs. 

We began with a moment of silence for tenants we have lost since the last meeting: 

Nat Dixon, Celedonio (Sal) Gonzalez, Charles (Mac) Stewart, and Vernon Smith

Thanks to Jodi Brockington for the photos. 

Rent Guidelines Board - this applies to tenants who are rent stabilized. If you're not rent stabilized but possibly could be, email DHCR for your rent history and contact the tenant association.

The RGB voted on June 21, 2022 that for all leases to be renewed any time from Oct. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2023, increases will be

  • 3.25% for a 1-year lease and
  • 5% for a 2-year lease.   

These are the highest increases since the Bloomberg administration, and reflect the votes of RGB members appointed by Mayor Adams - including one who doesn't think rent regulation is a good idea.  The mayor immediately tried to walk back the impact (and the bad press) by complaining about the new guidelines, but the board chairman serves at the mayor's pleasure, and his vote obviously reflected the mayor's views.

 If you are not a forgetful person, feel free to take a 1-year lease renewal. 

Tenants on SCRIE and DRIE should call 311 when it's time to renew their leases to let them know about the increase.  The increase will appear on their leases, but the tenants with SCRIE and DRIE should continue paying the same amount. 

The City Council recently voted (as expected) to renew rent regulation under NYC laws until April 2024.  We have rent stabilization under the state's Emergency Tenant Protection Act - which provides that apartments in all buildings of 6 units or more built before 1974 are rent stabilized.  Some, of course, have gotten taken out over the years - before the 2019 law that makes it VERY hard for landlords to remove apartments from rent stabilization.  

Warehousing

Stellar continues to refuse to rent out some 10 vacant rent stabilized apartments. Our tenant association - as part of Stellar Tenants for Affordable Housing - is part of a large coalition supporting a state and a city bill on this issue. Read about it all at www.endwarehousing.org.   Sometimes Stellar wants to merge two units and create a new one at a higher rent - such as Apt. 14KL and Apt. 2N-3N. But often landlords hold onto vacant apartments because they claim it's not worth the $85 rent increase they can get by renovating it.  Of course they could repaint, make basic repairs, and rent it out at the legal regulated rent.  The landlord group CHIP offered to have its members put rent stabilized units back on the market IF the state would weaken the 2019 Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act.

State Senator Cordell Cleare spoke.

We were lucky to have Sen. Cleare since Gov. Hochul called an emergency legislative session in Albany for June 30th to discuss how NYS could respond to the U.S. Supreme Court striking down NY's 100-year-old concealed-weapon law. But she came!  She will be our State Senator until Dec. 31, 2022, at which point our district will change.  We'll have a primary election on August 23, 2022 for a new state senator (currently Brad Hoylman is the state senator representing the district with which we'll be merged) and our congressional representative (now Jerry Nadler).

Sen. Cleare talked about what she's done and what she's working on:  

  • limiting lead exposure in NYC (something that affected her own son);
  • stopping the boondoggle tax break 421-a, which has led to a loss of about $2 billion/year for NY, but very few actually-affordable apartments - and even those are only temporarily affordable;
  • $300 million funding for NYCHA and more funding for supportive housing;
  • facilitating the conversion of hotels to supportive housing;
  • creating a task force on how the state can itself build affordable housing;
  • funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Plan (ERAP) for those whose incomes were affected by COVID;
  • "good cause" eviction - the plan to protect tenants in unregulated apartments from enormous, unwarranted rent increases.  She pointed out that too many small home owners thought this applied to them and lobbied their legislators against it.  Therefore more education is required by the Upstate/Downstate Coalition (in NYC: Housing Justice for All).
  • enabling prospective tenants to seek a rent history from the state's housing agency before they sign a lease.

She suggested to Gov. Hochul that concealed weapons be barred from all places unless the owner explicitly invites them.  That appears to be the position the Gov. is now taking

Sen. Cleare engaged with tenants, answering a lot of questions, and we're sorry to be losing her as our representative. 

Building issues

Condolences to our super, Sako Kolenovic, who is away since his mother just died.

Composting: The collection food waste has returned to our building as of June 30th. This is an important tool in reducing vermin infestation: we'll limit which waste containers have any food in them and limit food going down the chute.  

So bring all food waste (EXCEPT dairy, meat, fats)  to the trash room just next to the elevator on your side of the building.  Dump the food waste into the brown bin and make sure the lid is SEALED when you're done.  If you brought the food down in a plastic bag, put the plastic bag into the small trash container next to the food waste bin.  You can also bring the food waste downstairs in a paper bag - and that can go in with the food waste.  Or you can bring it down in a re-usable plastic container that you can bring back upstairs.

Senior safety: If you live alone, please make sure the super or another tenant has your key in case of emergency.  It's a good idea to also have some kind of medical alert system - as a watch or pendant - you wear all the time.  A slip in the shower can have dire consequences. 

Smoke: If you smoke (cigarettes, cigars, marijuana....), use an air purifier to avoid the smoke going into your neighbor's apartment.  Please do NOT smoke in the stairs.  That goes into all the apartments adjoining the staircase on every floor.  If your smoke gets into other apartments, Stellar could go after you as a "nuisance" subject to eviction. 

Doors: Your apartment door and the stairwell doors should close by themselves. If they don't, they're a fire hazard.  If yours don't close, write up an order at the guard's desk in the lobby.  If your kids slam the doors, ask the handyman (Santiago Modesto, often called "Ito") to adjust the spring so they'll close more slowly. 

The outdoor lights are not working, so as the evening progressed the meeting was mainly sound - not sight.  We ended up turning around to face the building and the building lights - and have asked the manager (Bashkim Beria) to repair the pole lights. 

RiteAid: Tenants have noticed shoplifting there, and some store personnel have said it may close down because of the shoplifting.  So write to the CEO, Ms. Heyward Donigan, heyward.donigan@riteaid.com to ask that they have a full-time security guard (they don't now) and use technology to ensure items are paid for.  We need that store!



 



 

 

 


 

 

 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Sad news: Nat Dixon has died

The Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association mourns the loss of
Rev. Nathaniel Dixon, who died on May 5, 2022.

We knew Nat as the wonderful jazz saxophonist at our Pot Lucks, as the pastoral presence he shared with many tenants, and as a very decent human being. 


We extend our condolences to his wife Norma, his children Ayana and Nathan, and their extended family. 

There will be a private family service, but the family created a public posting on his Facebook page if you would like to leave condolences or make a donation to one of his favorite charitable organizations in his memory.   https://www.facebook.com/539071872/posts/10160154329511873/?d=n 

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Which Council District will we be in?

Learn about CITY redistricting this Thursday, May 5th

on Zoom at 7:30 PM

https://www.openstreetmap.org/ 

The redistricting maps that determine who represents us in the state and federal government were recently invalidated by New York Courts.  But the CITY’s redistricting process is run by a commission that follows a different set of rules. The deadline for the local Districting Commission to release the first draft maps is June 7, 2022.   The Commission’s decision will affect us for the next decade.

A lot of what we do is affected by who represents us in the City Council.  Until last year we were represented by Mark Levine. He became Manhattan Borough President and now we’re represented by Shaun Abreu, still in District 7, with its office on W. 141st Street.  Meanwhile, District 6 goes up to West 96th Street.  

Citizen's Union is presenting a workshop on:  

  • The basics of Council redistricting
  • Why it's important
  • An overview of how maps are drawn
  • How to create our own maps
  • How to testify effectively at the Districting Commission.
 ZOOM: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83111249427

ID: 831 1124 9427

Phone: 646 876 9923

This is sponsored by our tenant association along with the Park West Village Tenants Association and the Westgate Tenants Association. 

 

 

 

 

 



Sunday, April 24, 2022

Tell the RGB: No increase this year!

THE RENT GUIDELINES BOARD IS CONSIDERING A RAISE OF UP TO 9% !!!

The Preliminary Vote is May 5th – so time is running out!

CONTACT THE RGB.

Email: BOARD@NYCRGB.ORG 

Regular mail:    RGB, 1 Centre St., #2210,  New York, NY 10007

 

TELL THE Rent Guidelines Board:

ü You and neighbors can’t afford a rent increase.

ü Stellar refuses to rent out 9 empty rent stabilized apartments – so it doesn’t need or deserve an increase.

ü Getting over $9000 for some of the units, Stellar is doing very well and needs no increase.