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, 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.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Call to oppose NYU Expansion Plan

There are many reasons to oppose the NYU expansion plan for Greenwich Village. Councilmember Margaret Chin is key to this; she must be told to back down and oppose the plan. Call her at 212-587-3159 or 212-788-7259. Also, City Council Speaker Quinn at 212-564-7757 or 212-788-7210.

(from the  website of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/preservation/nyu/nyu-07-19-12.htm):

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The 8 Rs outside the former Cabrini Center

The EV Grieve blog carries this photo of the former Cabrini Nursing Home, which is undergoing renovation to rentals by our landlord Ben Shaoul. His market-rate rentals subsidize his "luxury" developments.

photo credit: EV Grieve

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monstrous Development: NYU Ethos Mirrors Rampant City Real Estate

What do these remind you of? asked Mark Crispin Miller, NYU professor of media studies, holding up a story from the New York Times entitled "Back In Business": A familiar gesture, the middle finger, the 1%, he said of the photographs of tall condo towers sticking up high above their city neighborhoods.

The rapacious real estate interests which run rampant throughout the city are now threatening to destroy the beloved character of Greenwich Village.

photo credit: McNally Jackson
Miller's remarks were made to more than 80 people packed into Little Italy bookstore McNally Jackson [http://mcnallyjackson.com/] yesterday evening to hear readings from While We Were Sleeping. A compilation of essays by long-time denizens of Greenwich Village, proceeds from its sale will support opposition to "the Sexton Plan", as Mark Crispin Miller calls NYU president John Sexton's "2031 Plan". It's not an NYU plan, Miller said, pointing out that a majority of NYU faculty, departments, and divisions is against it. While NYU recruiters are still using the gardens and parks of Greenwich Village to rope in new students, the "2031 plan" would destroy those and the very charm of Greenwich Village that attracts students there in the first place.

The 2.2 million square feet planned by Sexton for 2 blocks in Greenwich Village (millions of square feet more is planned for elsewhere in the city) is irrational and gratuitous, said Miller, as it is not needed. He warned against a predicted "compromise plan" which would be still be extremely destructive.

Reading from his essay, Peter Carey, NYU creative writing teacher, said it doesn't make one a Luddite to recognize that unnecessary growth is killing the planet and the very thing that one is caring for. Kevin Baker, writer, asked Why must we apologize for the beauty we cherish before the powerful and the greedy, who look only to build bigger and taller meaningless buildings. Poet Eileen Myles, in an essay read by actor Jefferson May, decried NYU's belief that the NYC neighborhood is their campus. Fran Lebowitz, social-political critic and biting humorist, spoke off the cuff in a wide-ranging diatribe that brought thundering applause and whoops of appreciation. With billionaire Mayor Bloomberg, she said, words have disappeared from our language: no-one speaks anymore of "money-grubbing" and "dirty money". But there is no "clean money", she said. People don't "earn" a billion dollars, they steal it. She criticized Bloomberg for his intention of lowering the mandated minimum square footage for city apartments in order to force people to live in shoeboxes. Laws show the values of the country, she remarked.

The book, While We Were Sleeping, is available at McNally Jackson, 52 Prince Street, where proprietor Sarah McNally is producing it. Priced at $10, purchasers are encouraged to contribute more to support the cause against NYU's Sexton Plan. Contributions to NYU FACULTY SAY NO TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THE VILLAGE can be made at http://nyufasp.com/

Monday, July 9, 2012

Thoughts On "Taking The Village"

Thoughts and feelings concerning the NY Times article on Ben Shaoul, "Taking The Village" run the gamut here on East 4th St. There are some facts however that must be corrected immediately.
Here is a quote from the story:
This is incorrect. The NYTimes story omitted the STOP WORK order issued for 118 East 4th, for working without a permit. Our blog posted this here. Also, there are numerous complaints and infractions for our buildings listed on the DOB website. Far too numerous to list here, but they are on public view at the DOB website. Our tenant association went to Housing Court over these issues and things were settled in favor of the tenants.

The NYTimes story did not convey the problem with the Department Of Buildings. DOB might not show up to inspect until a week or more after tenants reported a violation. The violation may not be apparent by then. We tenants have recorded photographic and video evidence of these violations, but DOB does not take these into account.

Another serious issue not covered in the story is the issue of "Josh". You will see his name mentioned in some of the comments to the New York Times story. Josh works for Ben. Usually he does not give his last name, but if he does, Josh will say he is Josh Evans, or Josh Greene. This is false. His name is Josh Slepian. He is the one that will knock on your door and try to gain entrance to your apartment by telling you lies. He will say he owns the building. This is a lie. He will tell you that he does not know Ben. A lie.  He has followed tenants down the block on their way to work, grilling them for information on them, and on other tenants. He is the one that has menaced the seniors citizens in our buildings.

Regarding Mr. Shaoul's claim that we are resistant to change. A quote from a TA member:

"I think the article makes a few decent points, but it doesn't address the long-term impact of people who share Ben's philosophy on the neighborhoods they invade.  It can't simply be written off as "resistance to change" when long-term residents and vital members of the community (and I emphasize community) are being driven from their homes by profit-mongering sleazebags without any ties (aside from a singular financial interest) to our city.  When did wanting to continue living in our apartments become some kind of pathological inability to accept 'progress'?"

Regarding Mr. Shaoul's "Hurt feelings".  Another TA member quote:

"Ben complaining about "hurt feelings" is like Jack The Ripper complaining about ruining his manicure while dismembering a victim."

There is more to the story covered by the New York Times. A lot of it is in the pages of this blog.

Ben Shaoul's Building Violations

Click here to see how Ben Shaoul takes the East Village.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Broker Harassment

I'm posting this in response to Stardust's post "Liar Liar Pants On Fire". This morning I was approaching the building after doing some Saturday errands. There were two women out in front that looked like Real Estate Agents. I got to the door and one of then said to me, "I need to get into the building". No Hello, no introduction. I asked if they lived here and they said "No, we just have to get in". They were rude and refused to identify themselves, so I refused them entry. If they would have told me that they were Brokers I would have begrudgingly let them in. Here is a sign that was posted at 86 East 4th St. I think we need one.

Liar Liar Pants On Fire

I was checkin my mail when I heard voices coming down the stairs. It was a Broker with her clients, a man and a woman. They paused in the entry hall and I must admit shamefully that  I was lingering at my mailbox to eavesdrop.... and I am glad I did! The clients asked the broker "so WE are the only ones who will have access to the roof?"
The broker responded "Ummmmm...... yes you will be the only tenants that can go on the roof." There is actually a roof terrace up there for another apartment. So I gather that they did not get a look at the roof.
The female client asked with a sense of disbelief, "Are you SURE its OK to have BBQs on the roof".
"Ahhhhh..... Yes its OK as long as you follow the normal safety protocol"
I had to pipe in my 2 cents here. "Its against the law to have a BBQ on the roof or terrace of any NYC building. You can't even store a BBQ on a roof or terrace. Take a look at the FDNY website. Have you never heard of the Chicago Fire or the London Fire? You should be ashamed of yourself telling such lies, what Real Estate company do you work for? You should be reported!"
This got me such a look of hatred from the Broker, you know the ole saying if looks could kill, I wouldn't be writing this. She hustled her clients outta there toot sweet.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Locked Out

There was a malfunction of the new technologically superior electronic surveillance/security key device. The power died and the door was not functional. No tenant could gain access to the building and their homes. The former key hole was plugged with a piece of metal, so using the old key was not an option. Someone decided that the solution was to tape the latch of the door. That way one could gain access to the building. This also left the building exposed to the criminal element. The tape job was sloppy and easily observed by any passerby on the street. 120 had a robbery during the day about a year ago with this electronic door nonsense.

One of the readers of our blog emailed some info on the keys. They are made by a Swedish company called ASSA ABLOY. The emailer said that the keys use 'Proximity technology"which was developed by the military industrial complex. They have codes in them that track the activity of the user. The reader said that they can detect the presence of the key from 100 yds away, and suggested this may be the reason they refused to give out 2 keys. The law says they must provide us with 2 keys. If one leaves home for work, one takes a single key. The second key is left behind in the apartment. This may cause confusion in their data gathering. I'm not sure if this is true, but it makes for some interesting thought. A few tenants have suggested we switch keys regularly to mess up their data.