Saturday, December 9, 2023

If you haven't called Gov. Hochul yet, do it this week!

We had a great afternoon in the lobby yesterday with 34 tenants calling Governor Hochul - on top of those who had already called on their own.  And tenants in other buildings and organizations are calling too!

We're starting to see some results:  On Dec. 8th, the governor signed one of the 4 bills we called about:  Now landlords will have to answer vacancy surveys sent by their municipalities. That will let those municipalities opt in to rent stabilization.

But 3 bills remain, so please call during business hours:

518-474-8390.  Wait for the recording to ask you how to direct your call.  If you want to leave a message, press 1.  If you want to wait to speak to an agent, press 2.

You can say

Hi, my name is _____, and I live in the 10025 zip code.  I urge Governor Hochul to sign S2980, S2943, and S995 now.  Thank you!

This will help all of us!

Thursday, December 7, 2023

We want to hear from you!

The Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association is planning activities for the new year and we would like your input. Tenants* who complete this short survey by 12/31/2023 will also have a chance to win a prize!  

Happy Holidays!!! 

*Board members are excluded from prizes, but please fill out the survey!

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Call Gov. Hochul this Friday - and join us in the lobby noon to 5

The state legislature passed 4 tenant bills that Governor Hochul has not yet signed.  Since big real estate is opposing the bills, we have to exert our tenant power!  The Governor said she responds to data - so let's get her LOTS of data with LOTS of phone calls.  
We'll help you make the call, or you can
  • call on your own: 518-474-8390, then #3, then #1, and tell her "Hi, I’m a New York City resident from 10025, and I urge Governor Hochul to make this a happy holiday for all tenants by signing S2980, S2943, S1684 and S995 now! These bills will keep rent-stabilized apartments available and affordable statewide at honest rents, with known landlords."
Join our tenant association at the table in the lobby (volunteers welcome), and bring your tenant questions!

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving!


Photo by Irene Steeves from Flickr
downloaded with permission

Today  - among the other things in our lives - we can be thankful for . . .

  • Having a roof over our heads,
  • Being part of a strong tenant association that has kept rents affordable for those in stabilization and is working to get rents affordable for market rate tenants,
  • Having wonderful friends and a community of support in the building and the neighborhood, and
  • Having something to eat.

From the Executive Committee of the 
Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association
Sue Susman, president
Jodi Brockington, vice president
Denis Hayward, secretary
Pat Jordan, vice president
Steve Koulish, vice president and 
Ray von Dohren, vice president

New Regulations do more than just regulate "Frankensteined" apartments

DHCR published new regulations effective November 8, 2023.  In addition to regulating what the first rent can be in combined apartments (and making them rent stabilized if any original part was stabilized),  the new regulations do a few more things that we all need:

1. They clarify succession rights where the tenant named on the lease moved out but continued to sign lease renewals or paid the rent.  The new regulations define "permanently vacated" as when the tenant of record actually permanently moved out (regardless of signing lease renewals or paying rent).

2. They bar the landlord from collecting any rent increase for a rent stabilized apartment where the landlord hasn't filed the annual registration for that apartment.  Where DHCR reminds the landlord to file and it still doesn't happen, the landlord will be fined $500 per month for each such apartment. 

Sunday, October 29, 2023

New Regulations on "Frankensteining" May Discourage "Warehousing" apartments

The NYS housing agency just made official a new regulation that sets the "first rent" when apartments are combined to create a whole new apartment. That practice, known as "Frankensteining," has been used to evade rent stabilization rules and may be one reason that Stellar is refusing to rent out 12 (by last count) empty rent stabilized apartments in our building. 

So limiting rents on Frankensteined apartments and keeping the new units rent stabilized may well discourage landlord warehousing of vacant stabilized apartments.

Our tenant association is part of Stellar Tenants for Affordable Housing, a member of the Coalition to End Apartment Warehousing.  Here's what the Coalition had to say about the new regulation:

 Coalition to End Apartment Warehousing Wins
New Regulations That Retain Affordable Housing
for New York City

The new NYS Homes and Community Renewal regulations are a good start, but
state bills need to be signed by Governor Hochul now to make the changes more
comprehensive and permanent

New York, NY — With a lot of hard work, testifying, and campaigning, the Coalition to End Apartment Warehousing, a New York City tenant and advocacy group, has helped win new regulations at the New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) agency to close a loophole in the 2019 Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (HSTPA). The new regulations — which take effect November 8 — will enable New York City to retain more of its affordable, rent-regulated housing. We urge Governor Hochul to sign S2980/A6216 to make the changes more comprehensive and permanent.

Through that loophole in the HSTPA, owners have been able to set a new, market-rate first rent on rent-stabilized homes by combining adjacent, formerly affordable, regulated apartments into single large “Frankensteined” monsters at sky-high rents.  

The loophole has encouraged landlords to warehouse vacant rent-regulated apartments —sometimes for years — in the hope of Frankensteining them later when an adjacent apartment becomes empty.

In one building, for example, an empty stabilized apartment (rent: about $850 a month) was combined with an unregulated market-rate apartment directly above it (rent: about $3,000 a month). The result was a duplex apartment advertised on for $13,000 per month and the removal of yet another affordable apartment from New York City’s housing stock.

The practice of Frankensteining — combining separate, adjacent apartments into one single larger apartment — has made an untold number of affordable apartments unavailable throughout the city.

Frankensteining has converted almost entire buildings in stable, affordable communities into extremely high-rent buildings, often with a rotating cast of tenants who cannot afford to stay long term.

Estimates from the city and others put the range of warehoused, vacant rent-stabilized apartments in New York City anywhere from 13,000 to 60,000 — with all of those apartments sitting empty during an unprecedented housing crisis. (Unfortunately and shamefully, the city and state don’t maintain accurate data on rent-regulated apartment vacancies.)

Tenant Sue Susman of Stellar Tenants for Affordable Housing said, “These new regulations may make a big difference in my building where the landlord is keeping 13 rent-stabilized apartments off the market — and has already Frankensteined 4 others. So many people need those affordable homes, and most of the vacant apartments need little more than a coat of paint.”

Cooper Square Committee organizer Jodie Leidecker said, “It’s a shame that it’s taken almost five years since the passage of the HSTPA to close this loophole, and countless truly affordable apartments have been permanently lost to high rents. It’s not a case of too little too late, but when we talk about preservation, this was an obvious no-brainer. Most buildings I’ve worked with since the passage of the HSTPA have experienced Frankensteining. We hope these rules help tenants in mostly affordable rent-stabilized apartments feel slightly more protected from predatory real estate interests instead of just being sitting ducks.”

In response to the ongoing advocacy of the Coalition to End Apartment Warehousing and other tenants and tenant groups, New York State’s housing agency proposed these regulations, and they should make a difference. The new regulations, which clarify the HSTPA’s intent, say that the new rent of a Frankensteined apartment must be the last legal rents added together  (plus any “individual apartment increases” capped at $85 over 15 years and normal Rent Guidelines Board increases). So that $13,000 rent seen above would be more like $5,000, and the apartment would stay rent stabilized.

Moreover, landlords who created those vacancies by harassing tenants out, or by fraud or evasion, may be entitled to no increase at all.

Tenant Edward Ratliff from East 26th Street: “These regulations can potentially really help our city have more affordable, regulated apartments. Unfortunately, the changes come too late for my building, where a large percentage of the affordable apartments have already been lost to Frankensteining.”

By discouraging Frankensteining, the new regulations will preserve existing affordable housing in the midst of the one of the greatest housing shortages New York has ever seen.

We thank the many tenants who worked hard to demand these changes, and we are glad the New York State Homes and Community Renewal enacted these long overdue new regulations.


Sunday, October 8, 2023

Rally this Thursday at noon - and Call/Email the Governor!


Join Central Park Gardens tenants going to 

633 Third Avenue, between 40th & 41st Street.  

We’ll meet at 11:15 in the lobby here.




Urge her to sign 4 bills* that will

·      End Frankensteining by keeping combined apts. affordable! 

·      Fairly calculate rent overcharges.

·      Ease housing surveys to let upstate areas get rent stabilization

·      Expose secret landlords hiding behind LLCs (limited liability corporations).

Read the Memo we're delivering to the Governor and watch the video

Monday, October 2, 2023

Link to order your car from the garage

Click here to order your car in advance: 

This is a workaround, since all the rent stabilized tenants in the building who park cars in the garage are listed under the account of ONE of us.  That has made it tough to ask for your car in advance. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Urge Gov. Hochul to sign tenant bills NOW!

There are 4 tenant bills that  Gov. Hochul needs to sign lickety split.  Check out the video!

Call Gov. Hochul's office. Click here to do it through your computer, or just dial 
518-474-8390. You can email her too. Tell her, 

Tenants need you to sign S2980, A4047, A6843 and A 3484 to keep more rent stabilized apartments available

    • at honest rents 
    • by landlords known to their tenants, and 
    • enable more municipalities to decide whether they want the same. 

Please sign them as soon as they cross your desk! Thank you. 


Join Housing Justice for All, the Coalition to End Apartment Warehousing, Stellar Tenants for Affordable Housing and other groups at a 

Rally to Urge Gov. Hochul to Sign the Bills!

  • S2980 (Frankensteining, fraud, subst. rehab, succession)
  • A4047 (calculate rent overcharges going forward)
  • A6843 (landlords must respond to vacancy surveys so municipalities can decide whether to join rent stabilization)
  • A3484 (transparency for limited liability corporations)

Wear a Frankenstein costume (or not), and let's urge the Governor to sign those bills when they cross her desk! 


Tenants and a few neighbors gathered to hear State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal's report on Albany and some important bills, and Council Member Gale Brewer's updates on City Council actions.  


We began by talking about Frank Leonardo, whose memorial will be in Community Room on Sunday, October 15th from 2 to 5 p.m.  Please let his wife Barbara Garson know if you're planning to attend.

We also announced:

  • Our annual Halloween fundraiser will be on Saturday, October 28 in the lobby.  Volunteers are needed for the 5-6 pm slot, and your gifts of individually wrapped candy is welcome. Leave it with the doorman for Rosa Delgado in 2T.
  • The US Supreme Court will likely decide in the next couple of weeks whether to take the case of landlords claiming that rent regulation "takes" their property without compensation.  In the past, all 9 justices (including Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia - the Court's most conservative justices), ruled that states can regulate property use including by rent regulation. 
  • NYC is funding some more "Shape Up NYC!" classes, like those that Jodi Brockington taught before the pandemic.  We may get 2 classes: one strenuous one evening, and another less strenuous, possible during the day. (She will not be teaching them.)
  • The Park West History Group is planning an evening on how tenants have shaped our buildings and neighborhood. If you have old documents from this building - particularly about our getting a tax break early on - please let Sue know: sue.susman [at ]
  • HEAT season begins Oct. 1 and runs through May 31. 

Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal

Pending legislation

Brad spoke about 4 bills that have passed the state legislature but await Governor Hochul's action: signing, modifying, or vetoing. Our tenant association has submitted a memo on three of them

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Sen. Hoylman-Sigal at our Tenant Meeting THURS. 9/14 at 8 PM




THURSDAY, Sept. 14, 2023

at 8 PM


We've asked him to talk about the Con Ed rate increase and tenant bills awaiting Gov. Hochul's action:
a. S2943/A4047 (Kavanagh, Dinowitz) (calculating overcharges)
b. S2980/A6216 (Kavanagh, Rosenthal) (Frankensteining, fraud definition, succession, substantial rehab)
c. S1684A/A6843 (Hinchey, Clark) (vacancy surveys out of NYC)
and other state issues.  

You can ask your questions. 

Neighbors are welcome.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Sad News: Frank Leonardo has died

The Central Park Gardens Tenants’ Association mourns the loss of long-time tenant, photographer, friend, and man of wonderful humor and impish intelligence, 


who died on July 22, 2023 .

 Frank was known to many of his neighbors for generously fixing computer problems and donating pieces - and even entire computers - from his collection of electronics.

 We extend our condolences to his wife Barbara Garson and to their extended family.

 A memorial will be held on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023 from 2-5 PM in the Community Room. 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Summary of May 17, 2023 meeting of the Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association

Summary of the May 17, 2023 Tenant Meeting

We began with a moment of silence for our late State Senator and City Council Member Bill Perkins who died two days ago. Then we heard from City Council Member Shaun Abreu.  
He talked about: 

RIGHT TO COUNSEL: Shaun is working to get $350 million funding to ensure that the Right to Counsel in Housing Court (RTC) is a reality and not just on paper.  If you go to Housing Court and you can't get a lawyer, (1) contact the Housing Court Answers desk in the courthouse, and (2) ask the judge for an adjournment until you get a lawyer. 
  • RENT GUIDELINES BOARD: Right now, the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) has no public hearings scheduled for Manhattan - aside from the preliminary vote and the final vote on June 21st). Shaun has co-signed a letter asking for a hearing in Manhattan, and opposing the RGB's proposed hikes of 2-5% for 1 year lease renewals and 4-7% for 2 year lease renewals.  YOU can contact the Rent Guidelines Board directly at  and tell them
    • You can't afford a big increase.
    • The RGB shouldn't rely on 2021 data since it was a pandemic year, and the real estate market has bounced back for landlords. 
    • To make the same rate of profits they made in 1990, landlords needed the RGB to increase rents 203% since then. But the RGB has actually increased rents 220%.  So even with a dip in 2021, landlords are making a higher rate of profit. 
    • COME to the rally just over the Brooklyn Bridge this Saturday at 11 AM in Cadman Plaza. (C,2, or 3 trains to Cadman Plaza East).

  • WAREHOUSING:  Shaun is a co-sponsor of Intro. 195, a bill to reduce hazards in vacant apartments.  There is a hearing on that bill on TUESDAY, JUNE 6 at 1 PM at City Hall. The Stand for Tenant Safety/End Apartment Warehousing (we're a member) will have a rally in City Hall Park just before the hearing. Come: We need a lot of people!    In addition, Shaun plans to introduce a resolution to support Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal's new bill to tax rent-regulated apartments that are vacant for 6 months or more. 
  • RATS: In order to reduce rats, the city may be putting all garbage into sealed containers on the street, rather than just black bags. There will be a pilot project of containerization between 110th and 158th Streets, with containers near every school and on 10 residential blocks.  We also talked about the difficulty of sealing existing compost bins.  That said, if all our food and garden waste goes into compost, that leaves much less to go into the trash bags that are put outside.

We also talked about: 

PAYING OUR DUES:  We've made a change in how you can contribute money to the tenant association.  Please make your contribution ($10 per apartment per year for dues and the voluntary $100 toward our legal fund) 
  • at our meetings
  • at the fundraising tables we have a few times a year in the lobby
  • or give it to our treasurer Barbara Geller in Apt. 11T. You can also slide your check under her door if she's not home. 
When tenants were giving money to floor captains, copies of the receipts sometimes got lost and it was hard to balance our books!

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY as bikes (electric or not), scooters, etc. are on the sidewalk. The email below comes from a neighbor in another building on W. 97th Street.  Shaun Abreu mentioned the possibility of requiring licenses for ebikes so that summonses can be issued. 

​From a neighbor: ​PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION!!! Pedestrians deserve safe sidewalks and streets!!
Inline image


LANDLORDS SUING TO END RENT STABILIZATION.   The associations that represent owners of rent stabilized housing have appealed to the US Supreme Court to end rent stabilization.  It's not clear that the Supreme Court will take the case. Among other things, this is a "states' rights" issue and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its decision that "the case law is exceptionally clear that legislatures enjoy broad authority to regulate land use without running afoul of the Fifth Amendment's bar on physical takings."

ALBANY BILLS. Support these by clicking "Aye" on the bill's website. 

FRANKENSTEINING: S9280B​ and A6216A.  This bill would set the first rent of any combined ("Frankensteined") apartment at the last rent stabilized rent paid, increased by the same percent as the size is increased.  It is sponsored by State Senator Brian Kavanagh (head of the Senate's housing committee), along with all the Upper West Side senators: Hoylman-Sigal, Cleare, Jackson.   In the Assembly, it is sponsored by Housing Committee chair Linda Rosenthal. 

WAREHOUSING: A4455. This bill would tax rent-regulated apartments that are held vacant for 6 months or more. DHCR would presume that any rent stabilized or rent controlled apartment that the landlord hasn't registered with the state that year is vacant. 

One reason owners are warehousing apartments is to pressure the state legislature to roll back some of the tenant protections written into a permanent law in 2019.  To accomplish that, landlord associations have drafted S.6352 in the Senate and A6772 in the Assembly.  That bill would provide for enormous rent hikes when someone moves out of a rent stabilized apartment after 10 or more years.  We have to fight this!  When Albany made the 2019 Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act permanent (the first permanent housing law in many years), they meant it.  

GOOD CAUSE: This would protect tenants who are NOT rent stabilized or rent controlled. It would offer tenants a defense in court if the landlord refuses to renew their lease and then tries to evict them, and would prevent enormous rent hikes. Governor Hochul does not support this bill, but she should.  The name stands for "No eviction without good cause."

Got questions, suggestions, or comments? Tell the Executive Committee or a Board Member of the tenant association. 


The Executive Committee of the Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association

Sue Susman, 15T, president, sue [dot]  susman (at sign) gmail .  com
Jodi Brockington, 14C, vice president, niarajb \at\ gmail {d o t] com
Barbara Geller,11T  treasurer, barbarageller39 {At} gmail |dot\ com 
Denis Hayward, 7K, vice president, denis (dot) hayward \at\ gmail {dot] com
Patricia Jordan, 4R, vice president, pjordan0711 [at) gmail/dot/  com
Steve Koulish, 12C, vice president, eskoolman ~at~ yahoo [dot} com
Ray von Dohren, 4N, vice president, vondohren \at\ comcast {dot] net

Additional Board Members:

Rosa Delgado, 2T
Ayana Dixon, 11C
Debbie Gonzalez, 15G
Alexandra Martin, 6E
Alec Merber, 10G
Letty Orellano, 8T
John "Bones" Rodriguez, 11F
Maxine Soares, 15N

Thanks to Jodi Brockington for the photo. 

Friday, April 21, 2023

A terrible bill in the state senate. Just say NAY!

Sen. Leroy Comrie's bill would eat into the 2019 tenant protection law, ending
  • the caps on IAIs,
  • the ban on longevity increases, and even
  • vacancy deregulation.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Rent Guidelines Bd proposing 16% increase! Take Action!

Email the Staff/Board/Chair of the Rent Guidelines Board to let them know
  • You can't afford the double-digit increases that the Rent Guidelines Board is talking about right now. 
  • Stellar obviously doesn't need the increase: It's already forgoing rents from the roughly 13 empty rent stabilized apartments it's refusing to offer for rent. 
  • Stellar is getting a lot of money from its 65 market-rate apartments. Their rent seems to be higher than the city-wide median (half tenants are paying more, half less) of $4,175. 
Do it today!

Image from Wikimedia Commons


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Bring Back Mitchell-Lamas! (NY Daily News Op Ed)


Restart Mitchell-Lama to generate more housing: 

No new legislation is needed to create homes for New Yorkers

The article points out these new developments would be 

  • built with 100% union labor 
  • on vacant land, so no one would be displaced
  • with existing financing mechanisms
  • without changing existing zoning.] 


Thursday, March 16, 2023

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Thursday, Mar. 16, 2023: Council Member Shaun Abreu at our meeting

Our next General Tenant Meeting will be

8 PM

to vote for treasurer and 2 board members 


to hear



*This is a change from the original date of March 15, 2023.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Thurs., Feb. 23: Learn basic CPR

The tenant association presents a one-hour 

CPR class 

taught by 

The FDNY Mobile CPR Training Unit

THURSDAY, FEB. 23, 2023

at 1 PM 
in the Community Room

FREE to all tenants and building staff

The FDNY Foundation is proud to partner with NYC Service to fund the Be 911 Compressions Only CPR program.

The program equips New Yorkers with the skills to act in the event of cardiac arrest by offering free instruction across the five boroughs. The program, taught by certified FDNY EMS personnel, has successfully trained more than 50,000 New Yorkers in compressions-only CPR.

CPR, or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, is a life-saving technique that helps increase survival rates for victims of cardiac arrest. It works by maintaining blood flow to the heart and brain until help arrives.

CPR Training is free and convenient. You can register online for one of our session across the five boroughs. The FDNY Mobile CPR Unit will host bystander CPR Training sessions at your location for groups of 15 or more.

What we offer:

  • Basic instruction on how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED)
  • Certified FDNY EMS instructors
  • Compressions-only mannequins and “watch-while-practice” DVD instruction
  • Convenient locations throughout the New York City
  • Parting gifts: key fobs with CPR instructions and access to the Life Saver app, which guides users through the CPR process, locates nearby AEDs, and keeps beats for 105 compressions per minute (available for Iphone & Android)