We are two tenant associations who joined together to defend ourselves against a corporate real estate investment hydra that seeks to expel us from our homes in order to maximize their profits.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Old Dog Old Tricks

It seems that Magnum Mgmt is up to its old tricks again regarding our rent checks. They are not cashing them, and accusing tenants of not paying their rent. Calls to the Mgmt office revealed that Mgmt is using the excuse of Hurricane Sandy to blame for this mishap. This would be quite understandable if Magnum was not adding a late fee to the next rental invoice. The legality of the late fee is questionable. Tenants in 118 and 120 did a mini survey of the current tenants, old and new, living at our addresses and came up with a consensus, which revealed that only the rent stabilized tenants were being messed with. Hmm, no surprise here. Can I say harassment?

Back to Hurricane Sandy. During the six days without power here in the EV we had the added stress of not having a functioning door. Magnum had installed an electronic door in the name of "progress and improvements". This door was supposed to open for us if the power failed. It does not open when the power fails. We cannot use the old key either because Magnum has plugged the key hole with a metal slug. The tenants had to take it upon themselves to tape the lock. This was visible to anyone in the street. Now you may think I am being a bit unfair concerning this issue in light of such a devastating storm. You would be correct to think so, but our electric lock system has spontaneously failed twice before, weather not to blame. Its clear that this electrical locking system is more about surveillance than security.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Another Stop Work Order

This one was attached to the door of Apt K at 120 East 4th Street. It was moved by an unknown force in the night to the glass on the front door of the building. The reason for this Stop Work Order remains a mystery, but it seems there was illegal construction over the weekends. The DOB was uncharacteristically swift in taking action to shut down this work. When our buildings were first taken over by Magnum Realty, illegal construction and demolition work on weekends was the norm. A small sub group of our TA got together a coffee klatch and met on the street in front of our buildings for several Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30 AM, coffee in hand, to fend off the illegal work and workers. They had a few brew ha hahs. The Police were here at least twice to assist in the thwarting of illegal work and workers on the weekends, and send them packing. There were unpleasant phone calls from Josh Evans/ Greene/ Slepian, shouting that he owned the building (False claim) and that he could do as he pleased on the weekends. After quite a few weekends of coffee klatch defense, the illegal weekend work ceased, and moved to the Starbucks on 1st Ave and 3rd St.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Trouble with Scaffolding

A scaffolding was erected in front on 118 and 120 East 4th St. in early July. They have painted the fire escapes on the front of the buildings. That was finished in a few short days, but the scaffold has remained in place for more than a month.
This is the scaffolding being erected the second week of July.

This tree and another were savaged, maimed, and butchered by the workers that assembled the scaffold. The Parks Dept. is the only agency that has the authority to prune the city's trees. This violation was reported to the Parks Dept.

Garbage began to accumulate quickly, and putrefy in the hot July sun.

This accumulation of garbage and debris is a violation and was reported.

Most days the ladder to the fire escape is down. It is often left like this and obviously compromises the safety of the tenants. Any common criminal strolling down East 4th St. has free access to our homes. Fortune East/Magnum Real Estate seem to have little regard for the safety and security of its tenants.

Trip Wire

On the roof of 118 East 4th St. there is a wire stretched across the space where the fire escape joins with the roof. Its easy enough to step over it. If you see it. In the case of some emergency in the night, in the darkness, this trip wire would obviously be quite a serious danger. This trip wire could become a Death trip.

This is the view of the wire from the fire escape looking towards the roof.

As one can see in this photo, even on a bright sunny day the wire can be difficult to spot. If someone were to trip going in this direction, they could quite literally fall 7 floors to the hard stones that cover the back yard alley.

This trip wire, this potential Death trip is a threat not just to the tenants, but also to any emergency responders such as the Police or Fire Fighters.

There has been good cause to worry about the accelerated possibility of an emergency. Especially with Fire. See the next post.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Illegal BBQs Here There and Everywhere

It seems illegal BBQs have run amok here on the roof tops of 118, 120 and 122 East 4th St. One hates to but into the neighbor's business..... but when they are playing with FIRE, literally, and illegally....

These regulations regarding the use of BBQ grills in NYC are from the FDNY website. Perhaps a visit to our local Fire Dept on Great Jones St to inquire about an inspection is merited. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rich vs Poor

While our landlord, building code violator Ben Shaoul, has (along with Magnum Real Estate partner Marc Ravner) turned one townhouse into a $10.7M six-bedroom, nine-bath home for one family, Mayor Bloomberg wants to change current regulations in order to squeeze the non-wealthy, non-celebrity tenants into tiny 275 square foot "micro" units. It is so obscene. And maybe this is why there is a shortage of housing in New York City.


Rent-Stabilzied Story in the Huffington Post

The Yellow Swath

Some new photographs have emerged concerning the "Vandalism" inside 120 East 4th St.
I'll quote the photographer.

"we still have no idea who did this, if it was a resident or visitor, some of us loved it, some of us didn't. Went from ground floor to roof stairwell.   
Management seemed to blame it on old tenants with a threatening letter to oust folks when caught. They seem to get so upset with creativity, and not with violations and lousy service....Hmmmmm
The last shot is the fellow coming to paint over it.... back to gray.
Too creative for that bunch who love fake molding and battleship gray. Up for 3 weeks....."

I think it looks like Gazelles leaping through the building. A bit of that old EV Spirit. Now its back to the strident doleful, Orwellian grey. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The NY Times Correction

The New York Times published a story on the real estate developer Ben Shaoul "Taking The Village"on July 6, 2012 with a serious inaccuracy. 

This is not factual. There were 3 Partial Stop Work Orders issued for these addresses, due to various violations. The NY Times  published a correction online on July 24, 2012.

Here are the 3 Partial Stop Work Orders. Each one has a DOB violation number.