Skyscrapers creep closer and closer

Conceptual drawing of new construction.

With one high-rise by the Manhattan Bridge already cresting above the surrounding buildings, developers have plans for more skyscrapers along the East River — four 700-foot plus towers along the unzoned stretch along South Street.

Residents from the Two Bridges community met with developers and elected officials last week and left with the impression that there was little that could be done to stop the push for massive construction. River views can be extremely attractive to high-paying customers, especially on property so close to Wall Street.

There is potential room for further development all the way up the shore to Jackson Street.

Intercom changes coming soon

The board distributed a memo this week and form for submitting your phone number to be used with the new intercom system.

If you have a landline, you’ll likely just want to use that number, so your home phone will ring as it does now when someone wants to visit.

If you are a mobile household, you can now have the downstairs buzzer ring your mobile phone instead. And you can submit more than one number, so you and your partner can be listed separately. In this case, the board’s memo said to get in touch with Dineen Casiano, Mr. Wollman’s assistant, at (212) 677-5858 ext. 305. I just spoke to her, and she said it’s as easy as submitting two names and two numbers on your intercom upgrade form.

You can download that form –> here.

Neighborhood crime rate stays low in 2016

Mayor De Blasio is promoting 2016 statistics showing New York City crime rates at an all-time low. Meanwhile, the Lo-Down this week covered crime on the lower east side — rape and robbery are up in the 7th precinct, covering the East River to Essex and up to Houston.

But NYPD statistics still paint the 7th precinct as one of the safest in NYC:

Precinct-by-precinct crime rates. (Lighter color is lower.)

And, looking closer, most of those crimes happen along high-traffic areas around Essex and Delancey. Our end of Grand Street is relatively free of crime:

Reported crime locations in 2016.

Yuh-Line Niou sworn in today in Albany

Yuh-Line Niou
New members of the New York State Assembly will be sworn in today. Among them will be Yuh-Line Niou, who defeated challengers left and right last year to win the assembly seat in our district and start a new chapter for lower Manhattan.

Niou succeeds placeholder Alice Cancel, who won a special election in 2016 called after the 2015 conviction of Sheldon Silver on federal corruption charges. Cancel remains a district leader for the assembly district; Silver remains free while awaiting appeal.

Niou’s temporary district office opened yesterday at 250 Broadway, Room 2212, across the street from City Hall. The phone number there is 212-312-1420.

A Village Voice profile was published yesterday highlighting Niou’s achievement.

Mulch your xmas tree in Corlears Hook Park

NYC Sanitation does some curb-side pick-up for Christmas tree mulching over the next two weeks, but it’s never clear when that is and whether your tree will be recycled for the good of all living trees. So, if you want to be sure your tree gets mulched, drag it around to Corlears Hook Park before January 8 where NYC Parks will take care of it properly.

Please don’t just leave it anywhere. Bring the tree to the park entrance on Jackson Street, which is where the pick-up will be next weekend.

(If you actually want the chips from your tree to use in your home garden, you’ll need to bring your tree to Tompkins Square Park on Saturday or Sunday, 10 am – 2 pm. The Corlears site is drop-off only.)

Jacob Goldman appointed new district leader

Cooperator Jacob Goldman has been appointed to the post of Male District Leader for our part of assembly district 65, following the passing last year of David Weinberger, who had held the post for many years.

Goldman owns Loho Realty, a tenant of our commercial property, and lives in East River Coop with his family. His brother, Dov, is on the East River board of directors.

The role of district leader is a volunteer position within the Democratic Party. As an elected position, district leaders serve as local Democrats’ representatives to the inner workings of the party. In New York City, assembly districts are carved into parts, and each part gets two district leaders, one male and one female. Elections are every two years and take place during the state primary in September. Goldman’s appointment in part A lasts until the next primary for this post (which I believe will be in 2017).

While there can be contested elections for district leader, that has not been the case for many years on Grand Street, where part A is organized by the Truman Democratic Club, which has been tightly controlled for years by Sheldon Silver and Willie Rapfogel, both now convicted felons living at home. While the club’s power in the assembly district was challenged last year when Alice Cancel, its pick to succeed Silver, was defeated, its grip on Grand Street politics remains unchallenged.

Other district leaders for the 65th assembly district are Karen Blatt (part A); Alice Cancel and Pedro Cardi (part B, Lower East Side Democratic Club); Paul Newell and Jenifer Rajkumar (part C, Downtown Independent Democrats); and Jenny G. H. Lam-Low and Justin Yu (part D, United Democratic Organization).

New year’s resolution: More dancing!

Paul Taylor
If you haven’t come up with a good new year’s resolution yet, try this one!

Paul Taylor, one of America’s true modern dance icons, is an East River cooperator, his elite dance company is located above Fine Fare on Grand Street — and you can take modern dance classes here every week for a ridiculously low price. Interested?

Adult Open Level Modern classes “are ideal for both the first time mover as well as returning students to dance. In a relaxed and encouraging environment, students explore Paul Taylor’s style and choreography through basic modern exercises and movement phrases.”

These classes for adults — no experience needed — are Thursdays 6:00 – 7:30 pm at 551 Grand Street on the top floor. Try one for only $17, or commit to ten weeks for $150. At any price, this is a remarkable opportunity to learn from world-class dancers right in our own backyard. Click here for more information.

Also, mark your calendars: Paul Taylor Dance Company will be performing at Lincoln Center March 8 – 26.

Incumbent slate wins again

Votes were counted this evening and the results are not surprising: the slate of candidates with incumbents Gary Altman, Rachel Ehrenpreis, Larry Goldman, and newcomer Reuven Bell defeated three challengers, including Mary Jo Burke and Julian Swearengin.

Of the four winners, Reuven Bell received the least number of votes, so will be awarded a two-year term to fill out the term of Tommy Schlanger, who passed away this summer. Altman, Ehrenpreis, and Goldman each win a three-year term.

For kids: Corlears Hook holiday tree decorating party Saturday

This Saturday, kids from around the neighborhood have the chance to hand-craft decorations for the holiday tree in Corlears Hook Park.

Saturday, December 10, 2016
2:00 – 3:30 pm
Vladeck Houses Tenants Association Community Room
328 Madison Street (at corner of Gouverneur Street)

The holiday tree complements a menorah that has traditionally been set up in Corlears.

For more information email


Annual report shows $3 million swing from surplus to deficit

A partial, unaudited financial report has been distributed to apartment doors this evening revealing a $3 million swing from last year’s $1.7 million surplus to a $1.4 million deficit this year. An additional $700,000 expense was amortized — ten times more than usual — presumably for last year’s costly laundry room repairs.

This represents the worst financial report for the coop in at least a dozen years.


No balance sheet was included in the report, nor was cash flow statement included, as is normally the case. And the numbers were presented unaudited, more than five months after the close of our fiscal year.

I spoke with board member Lee Berman, who confirmed that he and other board members had not been able to review even these unaudited financial reports before they were distributed this evening. He wrote me, “The board does not always receive financials at its monthly meetings, and if the board is lucky enough to receive financials some random month, they are never provided in advance. Board members simply cannot exercise their proper fiduciary responsibilities to the corporation and to you the shareholders without this financial information, along with detailed analysis. It is inexplicable why the majority of board members do not find it troublesome that critically important timely detailed financial information is withheld from them, or from you.”

Berman also said that receiving these numbers less than 24 hours before our annual meeting makes it “impossible for [shareholders] to fully review and digest the material, or even afford them the opportunity to discuss it with their financial advisers so they could ask intelligent and informed questions regarding the finances at the meeting.”