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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Is This Crazy or What?

So the City Council voted for Midtown East Side rezoning, allowing for excessive high-rise buildings, with Our Man Dan leading the pack and in favor of the 63-floor One Vanderbilt building at Grand Central, but now.....

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150728/REAL_ESTATE/150729850/key-city-council-members-want-to-curb-super-tall-buildings-south-of-central-park

A number of local elected officials who hold sway over zoning laws sent a letter to the Department of City Planning last week urging it to rein in the tide of new tall buildings south of Central Park.

"We write to voice our concern about the impacts of as-of-right super-tall buildings in the 57th Street corridor below Central Park and its environs," wrote seven lawmakers, including City Council members Dan Garodnick, Corey Johnson and Mark Levine, in a July 23 letter to Carl Weisbrod, who heads City Planning. "We ask for your assistance in mitigating the proliferation of these buildings."


Is this a case of covering one's ass just in case?  "I voted for it, before I voted against it."

Or maybe, since the filthy deed is done, and those high-rises have gone up, are in the process of going up, or will be going up in the future, it doesn't matter any more, so why not make a useless stand against them now and fool the public into thinking the protest was there earlier in the game when election time comes around.

Perhaps they just mean 57th Street, but they do mention "environs." Anyway, the City Council is giving away many blocks of the city to the REBNY and high-rises, so what is actually happening here?

More at the above link.

And a reminder of what the City Council did recently:

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/05/8568860/city-rezone-grand-central-area-allow-1500-foot-tower

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....?

-----------

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.” 

----------

And here's the Code:


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

---------

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."

--------

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


---------

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? 

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

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.

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

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. 

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

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.