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Open Thread Wednesday 4/7/2021
NYTimes feature on a Brooklyn Heights Townhouse Renovation
“The Greek Revival house, once home to the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, needed more than just a simple renovation to function in the 21st century.”
Our State Senator, Brian Kavanaugh, is sponsoring a bill requiring co-op boards disclose why they rejected a potential buyer.
“Unlike in years past, some observers believe the bill has an improved chance of passage now that a Democratic majority controls the state legislature.”
All the talk about horses last week reminded me of Pete on Willow St, who would talk about the old neighborhood.
When she was a small girl living on Willow St, the iceman would make deliveries in a horse-drawn cart. He would carry a block of ice into their kitchen and chip the ice to fit in their icebox. He would offer her the shavings, which were a rare treat on a summer day. Her mother, a no-nonsense “Southern belle” would never take any shavings. The iceman would give Pete a cube of sugar, and she would run out and feed it to the horse, and the horse would let out a loud whinny when fed the sugar.
Whoa: the “4,900-square-foot reimagined townhouse was complete in June 2019, at a cost of about $750 a square foot.”
That’s a $3.5 million renovation on top of the $5.5 million he paid to buy.
Saw a couple union rats parked on Cadman right at the end of Clinton this morning (outside Building Bridges Preschool)… anybody know the details? Are they there for 1 Clinton or something else?
Volunteers Needed – General clean up Hillside Dog Run – raking and garbage pickup. Saturday April 10 from 8am – 11am. A great opportunity for all the new dog owners in the neighborhood to give back!
“”The Court of Appeals has held for 60 years that co-op residents have a right to decide who will share their homes, and that courts should not tell boards how to manage their co-op,” Luxemburg [an attorney and the president of the Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums] says.””
Anyone know of a stronger argument than this non-position Luxemborg is offering for why co-op boards should be allowed to be opaque? I’d love to hear it.
Their signs reference Cadman Towers and something related to insulation. Saw another rat truck parked facing 101 Clark.
The Franciscan Sisters of the Poor must have…feelings about this.
interesting. i feel like it’s been years since i’ve seen those rats… though maybe i’ve just been travelling in the wrong neighborhoods :)
As a member of a co-op and on its board of directors, I can say this; aside from financials not being up to par, some people simply might not fit in with the other members, and should be rejected. Particularly in smaller, intimate co-ops where there is more interaction between residents.
Any particular reason why such decisions should be entitled to opacity? Is it possible the optics of “we just didn’t vibe” are bad enough to suggest it’s actually not a good enough reason to stop someone from getting an apartment in your building?
Where do you guys get local news? Besides this blog that is.
There are reasons why co-ops trade at a significant discount to condos. Those reasons can be amplified in smaller co-ops. Enter at your own risk.
To protect the board and the general membership from any reprisals. What reason for a rejection is good enough? that is a tough question. I do understand how such anonymous rejections can be misused but the consequences of letting a toxic personality into a group can be very disruptive.
I would not be surprised if “we just didn’t vibe” turned out to have an ethnic or class component. I’m sure that doesn’t enter into your decision making, Arch Stanton, but it will be interesting if this goes through and a public interest group compiles demographic statistics on who is rejected.
Surely there is no way anyone can really learn whether someone is a “toxic personality” from the evidence they are likely to present during the application process, when they’re on their best behavior anyway. Do you have evidence to the contrary?
I’m assuming by “toxic personality” you mean that they are disrespectful of neighbors and building, that they do something that meaningfully impacts life in the building for themselves and other building residents in a negative way…don’t co-op boards have ways of dealing with this once the matter of housing has been settled? And are these methods culturally sensitive (taking into account that one culture’s quiet is another culture’s loud, and providing ways to resolve conflicts that don’t involve contributing to housing shortages)?
The building’s residents were developmentally challenged people, overseen by the religious order. For years, you could see them walking, under supervision, along the Promenade.
Fascinating that the article doesn’t mention the proximity of the BQE, whose constant roar must surely be heard—and felt!—within the house.
I remember as a little kid in a semi-rural part of Detroit (unpaved streets, no sidewalk) how the milkman, delivering bottles of milk in his truck, would keep them cold with blocks of ice.
He’d give small pieces of ice to kids on his route to suck on. A great treat in the summer in the days before air-conditioning changed everything.
Brownstoner, Brooklyn Eagle, Brooklyn Paper, esp. Gothamist.
Herbert Hoover is our man! Charles Curtis is the choice for VP! At least on this banner, strung above Schermerhorn looking west toward Clinton Street, in a photo dated October 28, 1928: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/837803b0499df9dffc01b64a812b80700af84e08eff6b54ec60883ae4911f65a.jpg
I feel like you guys are basically rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Co-ops sell at big discounts to comparable condos. There’s a reason for the huge discount between co-ops and condos, and there’s also a reason why units in a brownstone sell at a large discount to the price of the building as a whole. Times have changed. People have changed. “Toxic personalities” abound.
Maybe the real problem lies with the co-op experiment itself. Co-ops trade at a big discount to comparable condos and co-op units in brownstones trade at similar big discounts to overall building price.
An example, In 2010 we had a white, middle aged, single woman apply for membership. She was brought in by another member who had brought in the previous three or so members. Some on the board objected to the “stacking the deck” by said current member and thought we should perhaps reject her on those grounds. Anyhow, she was accepted. later that year she was voted onto the board (as we encourage new members to do) and all went well for the first year or so. Then she surreptitiously started spreading false rumors and lies to some of the general membership about the other board members, It was a calculated attack, an attempted coup d’é·tat. It ultimately failed but it left a big rift in what otherwise had been a very tight knit, friendly community. Only a decade later are we somewhat back to normal. A hard lesson to learn but we now put in place a a more stringent vetting process.
Ha, play the race card but I got you beat. Our community is very diverse, Black, Hispanic, Jewish, Biracial, Biracial Gay… So nope, that’s not it.
That could have happened regardless of the new member’s connection to the existing member. How do you vet for that?
And here you are talking about it somewhat openly—openly enough in legal terms, anyway. Clearly it’s something you feel comfortable disclosing. How are the benefits of transparency outweighed in your anecdote?
I made it clear in my original comment that I wasn’t talking about you, but about the way this policy may be used generally.
Glad there is at least one lonely tree in this photo!
Electronic Recycling on May 16th: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/33eb2d17b8a67d8f6ecd1716b54cfba46f7d34696f80db9ec256710217c10070.jpg
Dar-Rala, home for Syrian cuisine! Catering authentic Syrian food and dessert!