New Plaza design

The new plaza design obviously took a great deal of work and has some amazing and beautiful features.
I don’t understand why we are dedicating so much of the main plaza to a playground.
There are not that many children at EMP. The large majority of shareholders are older and do not have children. It seems we are catering to this small group but not offering so much to adults.

Our existing playground is small and in a closed-off area. Having the playground in the main plaza creates a noise problem for anyone facing the plaza. The sounds of screaming children (an acquired taste, for sure) will echo around the plaza.
Why do we want to attract lots of neighborhood children to our property?
There is already a new mini-park and play facility on Asser Levy place less than one block away.
We will have security and liability issues having this large play facility here. We also run the risk of attracting sex offenders.
One co-operator made a great point at the plaza presentation meeting when he noted that while he likes kids, he wouldn’t buy a house situated next to a playground.
Perhaps a scaled-down playground would be far more appropriate.

While the proposed design for the park is lovely, I am concerned it will be costly to maintain. The plaza should be low maintenance both from a security and upkeep standpoint.

NY Times article re: Southbridge leaves Mitchell-Lama

Click here for NY Times Article

My Letter to the Editor:

Your article “Divided by a Windfall” in the on November 16 Real Estate section seems to call out the pro-privatization co-operators of Southbridge Towers as profiteers getting a windfall at the cost of affordable housing. What your article neglects to mention is that going private is the natural, planned evolution of a Mitchell-Lama co-op. The law under which the Mitchell-Lama program was created gives the right for Mitchell-Lama co-ops to buy their way out of the program after 30-40 years. The reason for this is that it was understood that buildings of a certain age start to require expensive repairs and the low maintenance scenario no longer works if the building is to be self-sustaining. If buildings stay in the program, the residents will become subject to steep assessments for repairs like new windows, roofs, major repairs, etc. or the building will become derelict.  An example of this is Co-Op City in the Bronx where the garage has crumbled and been closed for years since they do not have money to make the repairs. With the crisis of revenues for local and state governments, the governmental agencies that oversee the Mitchell-Lama properties no longer have funds to make low-interest loans to buildings that cannot afford their own major repairs.

The intent of the brilliantly conceived Mitchell-Lama program in the ’50s was that the monies received by the government agency from Mitchell Lama co-ops that buy out of the program is supposed to be used to build new Mitchell Lama projects and thus keep new, self-sustaining affordable housing stock coming into the market. This has never happened. Buildings going private also contribute more to the tax base as they no longer are eligible for tax breaks.

Buildings buying out of the M-L program impose flip taxes on the first sale of a unit of anywhere from 30 to 45%. These funds go to the co-op and are used for repairs and to keep maintenance reasonable.

Forcing Mitchell-Lama co-ops to stay in the program will result in buildings that cannot do necessary repairs and that eventually will become eye-sores or crumble into the ground. Residents that think that their low maintenance will continue in a building that stays in the Mitchell-Lama program past the sell-by date will face huge assessments to make necessary repairs to an aging property.

The choice to leave a Mitchell-Lama program is a right that was guaranteed by law. Politicians blocking buildings from exercising their right in the name of affordable housing are denying people their legal right. If these politicians want to support affordable housing, they should comply with the Mitchell-Lama plan, encourage buildings to follow the natural evolution of buying-out of the program and use the funds to build new Mitchell-Lama projects as was the intention of the plan. These same politicians should also not let every 6 story, rent-stabilized building in Manhattan be knocked down by greedy real estate developers to put up luxury, high-rises that no one can afford except wealthy foreigners. The tenants of the few remaining Mitchell-Lama co-ops should not bare the brunt of the city’s failure to maintain affordable housing stock.

Cascabel Taqueria in old Carvel space

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Cascabel Taqueria wants to lease the old Carvel store. They would want to put seating in the public space.

First of all, Hooray to the board for finally finding a tenant for this store. The rental income will benefit all of us here at EMP. Also, having a nice restaurant with outdoor seating would enhance the neighborhood and be a place people at EMP could enjoy. Having people dining there would probably keep away the hoards of pigeons and loud bums that hang out there now!

Apparently, there are already some obstructionists who are trying to stop Cascabel from succeeding with a flyer asking you to attempt to syop thenm form getting a liquor license which of course, a restaurant, particularly a Mexican restaurant has to have to succeed. Thsi flyer says that Cascabel features bottomless cocktails. That is not true-They only offer unlimited drinks on their weekend brunch menu and that’s with a 60 minute time limit! Really-How many Margaritas can a person drink in 60 minutes?

I have a friend who lives directly across Second Avenue on the 2nd floor from the Upper East Side Cascabel. It is not noisy at all and a fun, very tasty and lovely restaurant.




Anti’s slur on the memory of Jerry Fox

The hard-working and well liked President of our Board of Directors passed away tragically and unexpectedly 2 weeks ago. It didn’t take the Anti’s long to get out a memo referring to several events occurring recently as an opportunity to elect a board with new Directors that wouldn’t be the same, entrenched, people and to elect those who would not turn us backward and be fiscally responsible.

Jerry loved and worked very hard for EMP and put a great deal of his time and effort doing what he thought was right for EMP, doing what 2/3’s of the shareholder wanted and trying to keep EMP from becoming a dilapidated mess!

Whatever you opinion on privatization, be it misguided or not, have a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!

You anti’s should be ashamed of yourselves!



Let’s vote again

In 2 separate elections, a very large minority (2/3 of the apartments less 1) has mandated the board to pursue privatization. the 1/3 includes empty apartments and presumed illegal sublets thus leaving way a very small minority who are opposed to privatization. The Mitchell Lama program cleverly gives us the right to leave the program.The reason buildings were allowed to leave ML is because the framers of the ML law realized that after decades, these building will need expensive repairs.

The harsh reality is the state and city governments are facing budget crises. There is not going to be the public monies to help us pay for repairs that the politicians who came to the anti’s aid promised. In order to make needed repairs (plaza reconstruction, elevator modernization, garage, plumbing, etc.) that we have put off way too long, major assessments will be required. The plaza alone could result in a $500 – $1,000 monthly assessment on top of the current window assessment. Going private would pay for these repairs.

I say let’s vote again. A new Black Book would only need to be modified, not re-done from scratch.