Friday, March 22, 2024

Summary of March 13, 2024 "Good to Know!" Tenant Meeting

We began with a moment of silence for Lueader Booker a long-time tenant who died on February 18th. 

  1. Join our ShapeUp NYC free class on Tuesdays at 6 PM in the Community Room.  All tenants welcome. 
  2. Get your recipe ready for our annual Pot Luck on Saturday, June 1, 2024.

And it's Good to Know . . . 

I. COMPOSTING - Why? How? 

What to Compost

The City will pick up ALL leaf and yard waste, food scraps, and food-soiled paper. This includes meat, bones, dairy, prepared foods, and greasy uncoated paper plates and pizza boxes.

What Not to Compost

Do not compost trash such as diapers, personal hygiene products, animal waste, wrappers, non-paper packaging, and foam products.

Do not compost recyclable materials. Learn more about what to recycle.

Hillary Bosch, outreach coordinator for the NYC Department of Sanitation spoke and we learned a lot. Did you know:
  • It's ok (though not preferred) if you throw your food scraps WITH THEIR PLASTIC BAG into the compost bins on the ground floor?  The Department of Sanitation has machines that can separate plastic bags from the compostable scraps.
  • The landlord can use any lidded container under 55 gallons that is clearly marked for compost scraps. So we're not stuck with the ones that are so hard to open and seal properly.  We've asked for some easier-to-use containers. 
  • All our food and plant scraps become a substitute for liquid natural gas to  heat city buildings!  There's an anaerobic (no oxygen) digester in Brooklyn that turns all of our food and plant waste into fuel to heat homes and other buildings! So unlike some plastics that aren't really recycled and end up shipped elsewhere, every bit of our food and plant waste gets used.
Save your scraps in a container (on your kitchen counter, in your fridge or freezer) and empty them into the compost bins in the ground floor compactor room next to the elevators on your side of the building.   That's waste that doesn't go into our landfills, doesn't attract vermin,  and does go to good use!


Jean Schmidt, president of Bloomingdale Aging in Place, spoke about that volunteer program.  

There's a group for anyone who wants to get involved - from knitting to tennis to theater or dinner outings to softball teams to exercise classes (or start your own) as well as free lectures and webinars ("BAiP presents") on Zoom. 

There are also a recommendations list for doctors and handymen/women, as well as a tech squad to help you with computer issues.  

You can find neighbors to help you get to and from the doctor or to keep you company - and you can volunteer to do that for others.  And it's all free.  Anyone in this neighborhood can join for free, regardless of age. 


The legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul are discussing (arguing about) the April 1st budget. 

Landlords are exploiting their own warehousing of affordable, rent-stabilized apartments by insisting they must get a huge rent increase when a long-occupied apartment becomes vacant.  Claiming that those apartments are all too dilapidated to rent and need huge sums of money to bring back to habitability, they're demanding a big rent increase for a unit now vacant that was occupied for 10 years or more.  Of course, they're not answering WHY or HOW apartments in bad condition got that way:  landlord speculation and neglect. (Few tenants want to live in squalor.) 

So landlords are trying to bring back (under a new name) the "vacancy bonus" that they used to get and that was ended by the 2019 Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act.  But:
  • Many of the warehoused units are not dilapidated, and don't need huge investments to make them habitable.
  • Landlords are demanding a "vacancy reset" bill S6352/A6772 - but that bill only makes the problem worse. 
    • It would give landlords an increase but require no repairs or upgrades at all.
    • It would give big real estate and small mom-and-pop landlords the same increases, regardless of need. 
    • It would paint a target on the backs of all long-term tenants as landlords would want them out in order to get a big rent increase. 
While that bill may not pass, it could lead Albany to say "We'll just allow a higher increase for individual apartment improvements." (Under the 2019 law, that's limited to $15,000 - or an $83 rent increase - over 15 years.)  We don't want ANY more increases in our rents!

So please CONTACT GOV. HOCHUL to tell her to 

  •  "Good Cause Eviction" (to protect market-rate tenants from eviction, huge increases and refusal to renew leases unless the landlord can show good cause)
  • Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) giving tenants the first right to purchase their building - with financial and other support from a non-profit organization and the government - if the landlord decides to sell
  • Housing Vouchers from the state for poor people who need them (on top of the scarce federal Section 8 vouchers)
  • Social Housing - like the Mitchell-Lama we once were - to build more for low- and middle-income people, and
VETO S6352/A6772 and any further rent increase for Individual Apartment Improvements.

Our next tenant meeting will be mid-May, followed by our Pot Luck Party!  
Stay safe, and enjoy the Spring!


Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Tenant Meeting Tonight - Wed., March 13, 2024

Come hear about

The NYC Department of Sanitation on 

  • Why should we do it? 
  • What does the Department of Sanitation do with our compost matter? 
  • How should we do it? 

Bloomingdale Aging in Place - a volunteer community group

  • what activities?
  • who can volunteer?
  • what can you can help with?
→  Tenant bills contact Governor Hochul as the NYS budget gets finalized. MESSAGE:  I urge you to support "good cause," social housing, and vouchers, and veto any "vacancy reset."

Make sure she supports

  • "Good cause eviction" (guaranteed lease renewals for market-rate tenants at no more than 3% increase - or a percentage of inflation - unless good cause is shown)
  • Social housing agency to build more Mitchell-Lama type developments
  • State housing vouchers for poor people
and opposes the very bad "vacancy reset" bill.  That bill, S.6352/A.6772  would let landlords set the stabilized rents of vacant apartments that had been occupied for 10 years of more at the "fair market rent" - which could more than double the rent.  That would 
  • make rent stabilized apartments much less affordable 
  • put a target on the back of long-term rent-stabilized tenants, as landlords would have a reason to get rid of them.
This bill could be a Trojan horse: even if this bill itself doesn't pass, it could lead to a "compromise" bill so landlords could get higher increases when the renovate an apartment. (Right now the increases are capped at $83.)

Saturday, March 9, 2024

A day at the museum with Manny Vega

Ten tenants joined our neighbor, Artist-in-Residence Manny Vega for a tour of his Byzantine BembĂ© exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.  With a sense of humor, an even greater sense of community, and lot of wisdom and joy, Manny shared his art with us. 

Click here for a few photos from the day.   (If you took photos or videos, please send them along and I'll add them to the album.)

We knew we were in the right place when we saw a model of Manny's head (by his mentor John Ahearn) at the entrance to the exhibit.  Then we followed Manny from one work to another as he talked about how his art came to be chosen by the museum, and about the community (both ours and East Harlem) that it reflects.  

The Museum of the City of New York reached out to him and loved his apartment. So they invited him to be artist-in-residence (the museum's first!) and to design the exhibit, with an emphasis on East Harlem.  Manny painted the space the color of his apartment walls, and organized some of his art to reflect the Latin and Afro jazz he loves - and that played in the exhibit as he spoke.  Some of the works showed how he learned different techniques: He showed us an acid etched piece he did, influenced by Goya, of the death of a member of the Young Lords. We saw quick portraits he painted of people who passed by his park bench, and beautiful, large detailed line drawings that reminded some of detailed wood or lino prints and recorded members of a Barrio band, including the lead dancer, Julia, and a male band member dancing on a drum, barefoot. 

Posters for East Harlem dances he had made as a community contribution showed the energy and music of the events.  And one wall was covered in pieces reflecting his Brazilian/African spiritual focus, with African and other deities,  each piece inspiring him to create the next.  

When he won a contest to do the artwork for the subway station at 103rd and Lexington Avenue, his work was put onto tile by Peter Columbo. That person rebuffed Manny's request to learn how to do that, so he went and bought tiles and taught himself techniques from the 4th century.  He became known for his tile work, now evidenced by the Tito Puente memorial that will be on the northeast corner of Central Park and 110th Street - a model of which is at the Museum.  

Some neighbors stayed for his 1 pm art workshop:  he wants everyone to see his art and want to create their own.  And he's promised to do a workshop in the building!

Many thanks to Manny himself for sharing his life and art with us with wonderful stories, and to Pat Jordan for organizing the event for our members. 

And join us at this Wednesday's meeting, "Good to Know!" in the Community Room at 8.  We'll share coffee, tea, cake, fruit and other goodies, chat, and talk with someone from Bloomingdale Aging in Place (for all ages), the NYC Department of Sanitation, and the local NY Public Library (Bloomingdale branch). 

Friday, March 8, 2024

Lots of goings-on!

 Join our wonderful activities!

  • Saturday, March 9, 2024 - Tour Artist-in-Residence Manny Vega's exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York with our neighbor Manny Vega!  Meet in the lobby at 11 a.m. and go over to the Museum for a noon tour.   This is for tenant association members only (but you can pay your annual $10 membership fee when you come). 

  • Tuesday, March 12, 2024 - ShapeUp NYC is beginning a weekly class at 6 p.m. in the Community Room.  All neighbors welcome!

  • Wednesday, March 13, 2024 - Good to Know!   Come chat with your neighbors over coffee, tea, cake and fruit, and hear and ask questions of representatives of the local public library, Bloomingdale Aging in Place (for all ages!), and the NYC Department of Sanitation.  Learn why we collect food scraps and what happens to them - and why it's so hard to open and close those bins.  8 p.m. in the Community Room.   Masks suggested.