Comment Policy

All comments to posts have to await approval. Please be aware that, depending on when I'm logged onto the internet, it may take me hours, even longer, to moderate comments, so if they don't turn up in a speedy fashion, they are still in the queue. Comments that cross a line I'm not comfortable with will not get approved.

NOTE: Comments reflect the opinions of the person writing them and should not be assumed to reflect the opinion of the blog. Because of the anonymous nature of the commentary, specific agendas can be pushed by a sole individual and may not reflect a more popular belief by the residents of this community.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Tenants -- You are on Your Own!


The recent court win by ST tenant Caryn Chow highlights how little of value is our Tenants Association and how if you want to get anything done in this complex proactively, you are, basically, on your own.

You can, and should, read about Chow's legal fight with CWCapital/CompassRock at the Town & Village blog.

In summary, Chow won a rent abatement of 30% for the daily, mammothly disruptive noise being inflicted on her due to the construction of the new management office, at back of 1st Ave. (Noise wasn't the only issue: her walls would shake and debris from outside would find its way into her apartment.) After unsuccessfully trying to come to a solution with management, Chow, who works from home, withheld rent payment, got an eviction notice, and was finally taken to court.

Chow's rent-strike demanded amazing courage and fortitude. She was the only tenant in the affected area to pursue a more rigorous and impacting response to the nightmare that was the construction of that management office. Everyone else accepted a $200 gift card from management.

Of note, both the TA and our councilman Dan Garodnick, were nowhere to be found in this matter (and were accepting of the construction), just as they are nowhere to be found in investigating whether CWCapital/CompassRock is strictly following DOB rules concerning room requirements, the addition of a room, via partitions, to an apartment, and filings that indicate "no change in occupancy." Separate from this management construction, Garodnick was even going to champion in the City Council extending tenant rights regarding construction noise, but if you hear anything about that now, let me know.

The Chow situation makes me angry, just as it should any long-term tenant here. CWCapital/Compass Rock feels free to abuse tenants by disregarding humane procedures whenever it suits them, legally acceptable or not. The TA and Garodnick are just about useless. And a tenant should never have to face the possibility of being kicked out of her home for standing up against uninhabitable living conditions. My one regret in this case is that Chow didn't get a greater rent abatement.

As usual when it faces legal punishment, CWCapital had "no comment" on the matter to Town & Village.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Room Requirements

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS POST WILL RECEIVE ADDITIONS TO IT PERIODICALLY.
CHECK FREQUENTLY.


Unless these have been updated, these are the room requirements for apartments in NYC, courtesy of the REBNY!....

http://www.nycblogestate.com/2010/09/what-is-room-in-new-york-city.html

Time to start measuring if you are in a renovated, wall-partitioned ST/PCV apartment!


From the above website: "Every room must have at least one window that opens onto a street, yard, or court on the same lot."  

Hmm....

And here's another diagram of a similar Stuy Town apartment. This is taken directly from PCV/ST's official website today:


And the window in the "Living/Dining Area"?

------------

Interesting discussion at:


Some points being made:

"No, you forget that a class-a dwelling ( ie. a residential apartment) needs to have a living room, which has to feature both at least one door and one window and be at least 150sf (unless you have another room that size.) That said, you can use your living room as a mancave, and use a large storage space to watch TV. It won't be a 3 bedroom apartment. It will be a 2 bedroom apt with a small living room and a large storage closet."

"Legal issues aside, a windowless living room is downright depressing IMO, much worse than a windowless bedroom."

"I can't cite you the exact chapter of the building code, but there was a lot of ink spilt when the city cracked down on illegal temporary walls in roommate situations, a couple of years ago. An apartment is required to have a living room to be a legal class-a dwelling, and a room must have at least 2 means of egress, including a window, to be a legal room. You also need at least one room to be 150sf."

Just be aware that that thread is three years old, but if the rules still hold....?

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More info, from the time when Stuy Town was in the news regarding the removal of illegal wall partitions. 


The money quote for us now:

“Keep in mind that the elimination of a common living room to create a three-bedroom, zero living room apartment may result in a rooming-unit situation that is not permitted by the Housing Maintenance Code,” Mr. Sclafani [spokesman for the Department of Buildings] said. “In addition, since each apartment is generally required to have at least one room of at least 150 square feet, the installation of a partition may run afoul of this requirement in certain cases.” 

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And here's the Code:


Are the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village living rooms partitioned with walls in compliance? You be the judge!

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More!

ST/PCV advertises their living room converted to bedroom space as "flex"....  The above diagram advertises the apartment as a "2 Bedroom Flex," which means 2 bedrooms with one bedroom converted from a living room space. In reality, you are getting 3 bedrooms.

Now check out this site:


Which states:

"You’ll need a window. By law, in order for a room to be inhabitable, it must have a window. Make sure that wherever you’re going to build a wall, a window will remain in each room."

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And even more, including videos of a 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom flex:


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UPDATES: 7/16

This screen shot is taken from a YouTube upload from the official ST/PCV presence there: "StuyTown".


You can see that the wall partition here has windows at the top. The question then becomes does the use of these kind of windows comply with this: "Every room must have at least one window that opens onto a street, yard, or court on the same lot."

The full video is here: https://youtu.be/AkfgTP014FA

Also: Can these windows be easily opened? 

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More: The above apartment seems to be, or has been, a model apartment to show prospective tenants if we go by the YouTube video below:


You will notice the furnishings are basically the same. But you will also see this:


This is an alcove/mini-room that is separated from the "living room" by French doors, and a portion of the previous living room, now additional bedroom, by a door. The only entry/egress, if all doors are closed, is the hallway that leads to the bathroom and other bedroom (the original 1 bedroom of the apartment). And there's definitely no window in this area. Not sure under what code this mini-space, with a chair and lamp, falls under.

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UPDATES: 7/17

Here's a splendid look back at the first pressurized wall controversy in ST/PCV:


Note the August 19, 2008 entry, which states:

"And to get around the windowless thing, the living rooms have ceased being called living rooms, thankyouverymuch. You may now refer to them as 'foyers.'"

But, as you can see in recent diagrams, "foyers" are not mentioned. 

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NYC code: "A 'foyer' is a space within an apartment or suite of rooms used as an entrance hall directly from a public hall."

Now, take a look at this official PCVST video again:


Is that "foyer" (which is not called a foyer in diagrams) used as a simple entrance hall?

---------------

Here's a 1 bedroom converted to 2 bedroom, with a "living/dining area" (no foyer mentioned): 

 

Rug Time!

Some have almost nothing, others have nothing:

http://www.nyhabitat.com/new-york-apartment/roommate-share/16500

http://www.blocksy.com/nyc/rental/9747479-7-peter-cooper-rd-12g#/0

http://www.spareroom.com/rooms-for-rent/manhattan/stuyvesant_town/100028598

http://www.nyhabitat.com/new-york-apartment/roommate-share/9283

And is this what's considered a "living room" in a renovated ST/PCV apartment with a wall partition!!!...

Friday, July 3, 2015

This Place Sucks

Unless you are a true old-time rent stabilized tenant whose rent is far less than what the "new stabilizers" are paying, you are being scammed.

This morning, at around 9am, I saw a guy taking a piss right into the Oval island between Oval Study and Oval Cafe. He was standing against the low fencing, legs partly spread, and urinating into the island garden. Of course, if he had to go he could have used the free Oval toilet facilities on the east side of the Oval, but probably didn't have a key card for access, or he could have easily made his way into the many side trees and bushes about the complex, out of public view. I wasn't quick enough to catch "the act" with my camera, but this is how far Stuyvesant Town has deteriorated in the past years.

In my building a person or persons or a dog or dogs is/are using the stairways for urinals. Tenants from other buildings relate similar stories.

Meanwhile, beware if you want to sit at the chess tables at Oval west today. There are dog turds there and a lot of flies buzzing around which may land on your food if you want to have a later snack at that location.

Speaking of dog turds, I saw others this morning on my way to 20st from my building. Never a surprise to see them.

There are cracks and gouges in the pavements and roadways all about Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village. They've been there for years, of course, and are probably waiting for the expiration of previous pavement MCIs, so that new MCIs can be charged.

Stuy Town and PCV still have positives, but not for the amount of money the "new stabilizers" are now paying, though I'm sure dorm life is a positive for our rapidly expanding student population, even if things are tight for them living, illegally, four and more students per apartment.

Monday, June 29, 2015

FINALLY!!!


http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/nyregion/new-york-city-board-votes-to-freeze-rents-on-one-year-leases.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur

The board that regulates rents for more than one million rent-stabilized apartments in New York City voted on Monday night for a freeze on one-year leases, an unprecedented move in its 46-year history.

The 7-to-2 vote by the city’s Rent Guidelines Board was an acknowledgment of the precarious situation of scores of tenants whose incomes have not kept pace with housing costs. It also was the first decision on rent levels by a nine-member board appointed in its entirety by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The board also voted to increase rents on two-year leases by 2 percent, a historic low.


.......

REACTION FROM THE RSA AND, SURELY, THE REBNY:


Joseph Strasburg, the president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 landlords, called the rent freeze an “unconscionable, politically driven decision to carry out de Blasio’s campaign promise of two years ago.”

“A rent freeze on the surface may sound pro-tenant, he said, “but the reality is landlords will now have to forgo repairing, maintaining and preserving their apartments, which will trigger the deterioration of quality, affordable housing de Blasio pretends to care about.”


More at the above link.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dan Garodnick's Wasteful Spending


I have to hand it to Dan Garodnick, our councilman. It takes balls to print a HUGE glossy and expensive mailer (on the people's dime) to pat yourself on the back, while promoting the 63-floor One Vanderbilt building, the spearhead for fundamentally changing the mid-East Side forever with other neighboring high rises that will sink Central Park and Manhattan's East Side streets into shadow, creating even more congestion, more noise, more madness, less sun, less air, but make the REBNY, construction bosses, and wealthy foreign concerns very happy.


But we know that Dan is a puppy dog to real estate. (Check the donations he receives from real estate and his teaming up with Brookfield to acquire Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, where "affordable housing" will be supposedly maintained for, maybe, 10% of the tenants, but probably 5%, if we're lucky. And "affordable" will not be what any normal person would consider affordable.)

But that's not what goads now.

What goads is why Dan had to spend so much on this self-promotional newsletter. Remember that several years ago Dan jumped on the "green" bandwagon and issued "green" newsletters on non-glossy paper, as he touted the green movement and his being a part of it. That turned out to be--surprise, surprise--bullshit, which Dan is a master at crafting. Those "green" newsletters were not snazzy enough, because he dropped that concept and went with heavier stock, glossy paper, which costs much more. This new newsletter exceeds those costs by being the largest foldout I ever received from a politician! My ruler isn't long enough to measure it!

I'm assuming that the money for this flyer comes from whatever kitty a councilperson receives for such promotions, with the taxpayer ultimately footing the bill. But since this gigantic "newsletter" is all about the Vanderbilt Corridor, I can't but wonder if some extra money wasn't received from big business interests to pump up the mailer's dimensions.

And here's the middle section compared with the size of a dollar bill, rug removed on the floor for better visual impact:


What a waste of money!

Thanks, Dan!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Blogger Error - Comments Not Working

I've been informed, and have verified, that when someone wants to make a comment to a post, they are receiving a "NOT FOUND Error 404" message.

I'm looking into this and will try to correct it as soon as possible.

UPDATE 6/28: From my end I haven't been able to fix the comment error, so I'm waiting to hear back from Blogger on this issue. I have no idea how long I'll have to wait.  A couple of comments have managed to go through, somehow, but the comment form is still not working properly.

Whatever the case, this blog will continue, one way or another!

Meanwhile if you want and need to comment, you can send me an email at:

stuytownreporter@gmail.com

Please indicate what post you are responding to.

I will just post your text and not your email address.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Here It Is

The New York metropolitan region’s rent laws will be extended for four years, and will be made retroactive to June 15, 2015. Further, additional reforms will be made to strengthen these laws, including:
  • Increasing and indexing the high rent threshold to the applicable rent guidelines board (rent guidelines boards apply different rents to different geographic areas). This will make it more difficult for units to be removed from rent regulation because it will allow for the high rent watermark to float based on the rent guidelines board increases.
  • Vacancy decontrol limits will be increased to $2,700, and annual increases thereafter will be indexed to the Rent Guidelines Board.
  • Increasing civil harassment penalties. These provisions increase monetary penalties imposed on landlords who harass tenants by approximately $1,000, to $3,000 for each offense and up to $11,000 for each offense where the owner harassed a tenant to obtain a vacancy.
  • Extends the Major Capital Improvement amortization period from 84 months to 108 for buildings over 35 units and 84 months to 96 for buildings under 35 units. The legislation limits the amount of rent that landlords can charge tenants in order to receive reimbursement for necessary improvements or installations.
  • Limits the vacancy bonus provided to landlords on tenants who receive preferential rent as a way to stop the “churn” on these units.