Another chance to meet the candidates August 23 at Abrons

If you missed last week’s forum on Mott Street, here’s a much more proximate chance for you to hear from the six Democrats vying to succeed Sheldon Silver as our Assemblymember:

Tuesday, August 23
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Abrons Arts Center Playhouse
466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street)

The Democratic primary is September 13. Because of the overwhelming enrollment advantage of Democrats in this district, the winner of the primary is expected to win the seat after the general election.

The organizers ask that you RSVP to if you expect to attend. (Though they tell me you’ll still be welcome if you decide to come last-minute.)


East River Yard Sale returns September 25


This just in from Dawn Fox, who organized the successful yard sale this past spring:

Due to the overwhelming success of the 1st Annual ER Co-op Yard Sale this past spring, an autumn yard sale has been planned! Woo hoo!

Please join your neighbors at the autumn East River Co-op Yard Sale on Sunday, September 25th from 10am – 4pm.

Rain or shine!

Located at the basketball courts behind East River’s Building #2 at 577 Grand Street at the corner of Madison Street.

Spaces are FREE but sellers must RSVP with the below info;

If you are an East River resident and interested in being a seller, please contact with the below information by Sunday, September 11th:

* First and last name(s) of all adults participating
* Apt # (Including the section letter and apt. number)
* Cell # (if you do not have a cell number then provide your home #)
* Email address(s) of all adults participating

Sellers must bring their own tables and chairs. They will NOT be provided.

Selling is only for ER Cooperators but everyone is welcome to come and take part in the yard sale’s great deals!

Come for the bargains, stay for the community!!!

Rajkumar leads fundraising for AD65

Expect to see a lot of campaign mail from Jenifer Rajkumar over the next four weeks.

Though Rajkumar’s fundraising has dried up over the past month of the campaign, she still leads all candidates with cash on hand with $182.826 according to campaign finance reports filed over the weekend — almost twice as much as her nearest competitor, Paul Newell, who shows $92,347 on hand.

There are six candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for Assembly District 65. Given the heavily Democratic makeup of this district, the winner of the September 13 primary will most likely win the general election to succeed our convicted former Assemblyman Sheldon Silver.

Alice Cancel, who currently holds the seat after winning a special election this past April, comes in dead last in fundraising and cash on hand. Cancel raised nothing through the beginning of July and only $7,000 since, almost all of which comes from PACs and other campaign committees. Cancel has only $9,151 on hand for the final stretch of this race, though in April she defeated Yuh-Line Niou despite being heavily outspent.

Rounding out the candidates: Gigi Li has $72,554 on hand, Yuh-Line Niou has $67,936 on hand, and Don Lee, who raised a huge amount to start the year, has already spent heavily — his campaign signs are visible everywhere in Chinatown — and now has only $22,171 on hand.

Money, of course, is not everything. But in a low-turnout primary for (essentially) an open seat, direct mail and other printed material will be essential for candidates to gain name recognition and get out the vote.

Board Room newsletter confirms $1.5 million shortfall

The Board Room newsletter distributed this week confirmed what we predicted in November: the board used inflated flip tax revenue forecasts last year to hide a $1.5 million deficit for 2015-2016.

With the fiscal year now over, flip tax revenue will ring in at $4,126,450, over $1.5 million less than the $5,700,000 published in the board’s budget.

As was clear at the time, that inflated income was used to make the budget look better before the election. Once the incumbent slate was re-elected, board president Gary Altman admitted the flip tax income would fall short and announced a $1000 annual maintenance increase (average) for all shareholders.

Since that maintenance increase did not take effect until the end of the fiscal year, it has not yet been explained how this deficit will be covered. As usual, we will not find out until hours before the annual meeting, when the year’s fiscal report is released — too late to hold Altman and other incumbents accountable.

August 2016 Board Room newsletter:
Board Room August 2016 - p1Board Room August 2016 - p2

AD65 forum Sunday afternoon

The special election for Sheldon Silver’s old Assembly seat this past spring was just the appetizer. November’s election for a full two-year term is dessert. The main course in this heavily Democratic district is the Democratic primary on Tuesday, September 13.

On Sunday afternoon, all six Democratic candidates for Assembly District 65 will meet to answer questions at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, 62 Mott Street. The event starts at 2pm.

These are the candidates:

Alice CancelAlice Cancel is a long-time district leader who won the special election in April and served in Albany for the end of the legislative session. (Website)

don-leeDon Lee is a businessman who has served roles in city government for four mayors. (Website)

gigi-liGigi Li recently finished a stint as chair of Community Board 3. (Website)

paul-newellPaul Newell is a Democratic district leader and community activist. He challenged Silver in a primary 2008. (Website)

Yuh-Line NiouYuh-Line Niou was chief of staff for Assemblyman Ron Kim of Queens. She ran on the Working Families ballot line in the April special election. (Website)

jenifer-rajkumarJenifer Rajkumar is a lawyer and Democratic district leader. She challenged Councilmember Margaret Chin in 2013. (Website)

Jackson Playground reconstruction begins

IMG_1222The Henry M. Jackson Playground, on the corner of Henry and Jackson Streets across from Fine Fare, has been fenced off and reconstruction has begun on schedule. The $1.7 million facelift as part of the Mayor’s Community Parks Initiative started planning in 2015 with community input, plans were finalized earlier this year, and construction is expected to take 1 year.

Existing facilities — basketball, handball, and seating — will be retained in approximately the same arrangement. Note that the playground easy of this park belongs to NYCHA and is not part of the reconstruction.

Schematic for Henry M. Jackson Playground Reconstruction

Too hot? Community room open with A.C.




The Cooling Center is now open in the Community Room in Bldg. 4 for all residents who require this service. In this heat, we ask cooperators to check on their neighbors who might require assistance and not know of the benefit of the Cooling Center.

Thank you.

Note: The community room is located in section M, 477 FDR Drive. Enter in the back hallway behind the elevators.

Memo: Stay off the roof!

Fine Fare 7-14-16

Manager Shulie Wollman warns of “extremely expensive replacement cost” to “aging” roofs if cooperators sneak up to watch fireworks on Monday:

To: All Cooperators

From: Shulie Wollman, Manager

Re: July 4th

With the July 4th Holiday weekend approaching, I wanted to write and remind all cooperators that for safety, security and possible damage to our aging roofs, entry to the roofs in our 4 buildings is prohibited at all times.

Security guards will once again be posted on all roofs before and during the fireworks display. In many areas the edges of our roofs are lined, for the security of our cooperators, with razor sharp wire. Additionally our very expensive roofs are now over 25 years old and any non essential walking on the roofs may cause damage that could result in costly repairs borne by all cooperators. The longer we can maintain our top of the line roofs in good condition the better we will be able to avoid an extremely expensive replacement cost.

In the past a few cooperators have selfishly disregarded our notices, entered the roof and verbally and implicitly threatened our guards. This disrespect toward our staff should not be tolerated by any cooperator. Please stay off our roofs and may everyone enjoy a safe holiday weekend and summer.

Memo: The Passing of Heshy Jacob

June 29, 2016

To: All Cooperators

From: Gary Altman, President

Re: Heshy Jacob

As most or all of us know by now, our long-time General Manager Harold (Heshy) Jacob passed away last week after a relatively short illness. The good deeds and life saving actions which Heshy performed every day are little known by many people but have affected thousands and thousands of people and families of every race, religion and ethnic origin in our community and throughout our city and state. The respect that Heshy never sought out but had attained through a lifetime of tireless charitable, community and civic devotion meant that virtually no major politician running for city, state or national office didn’t call or stop by to sit down with Heshy. The benefits of these relationships have improved the lives of so many in our Cooperative Village. Below I will write about just a few areas in which Heshy’s life impacted so many but first want to write about our co-op at the present time.

Heshy became our General Manager in 1988 joining Shulie Wollman, our Manager, who arrived 2 years earlier in 1986. Heshy and Shulie saw us through, to name a few, reconstitution, new roofs, elevators, lobbies, hallways, Superstorm Sandy, upgrade of our electrical infrastructure and the transformation of our property into countless beautiful garden areas. Our carrying charges are virtually unmatched anywhere else with the level of maintenance service we provide. Any cooperator who believes, as I do, that this is not only a beautiful, fantastic and desirable place to live but a cooperative where a large and diverse group of people live in harmony, owes much of this success to Heshy Jacob and Shulie Wollman.

In recent years as Heshy geared up for an eventual retirement, that sadly he will not get to enjoy with his beloved wife Esther, his 5 children, many grandchildren and even great grandchildren, he turned over much of the day to day running and management of our cooperative to Shulie. Heshy, among many other things, then focused years of energy and time bringing the boiler room conversion to a very successful conclusion. Besides saving millions and millions of dollars in fuel costs our new plant now burns clean natural gas which is a bonus environmental and health benefit to all of us. Shulie while running day to day management has just completed the beautiful renovation of our fitness center, last year’s community room upgrade, renegotiation of our mortgage at very favorable rates, further expansion of our gardens, renegotiation of large commercial leases, 3 laundry room underground pipe repairs, labor contracts, union matters, finances, security and myriad issues facing a cooperative of about 4-5,000 people. Heshy’s loss is immeasurable but our Cooperative remains in very capable, committed and devoted hands.

It is said that he or she who saves but one life it is as if they saved the entire world. Then Heshy’s lifelong volunteering work in front of and behind the scenes saved many thousands of worlds. As President of NYC Hatzolah, and the Founder of the Lower East Side Hatzolah, our incredible daily life saving volunteer ambulance corps, Heshy used much of his free time building a volunteer organization which 24/7 – 365 days a year serves one purpose – SAVING LIVES. Very few of us have not been affected by this amazing group of people. Hatzolah answers every call and never, never, never asks about your religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. They only ask what is wrong and where you live. It doesn’t matter if it is 2 A.M. or the Sabbath, they come running with their equipment, often before their ambulance is retrieved from its nearby garage. Call 911 and take your chance on how long you may wait. Call Hatzolah and with their life saving quickness and expertise you will likely be attending your cousin’s wedding in a few weeks. On 9/11 Heshy and many of our Co-op Village Hatzolah volunteers were not only first responders but one of the VERY first responders. They were there so quickly and were so close to the towers that they had already treated numerous of the injured when the first tower fell and destroyed their ambulance and almost took a number of their lives. This was one of Heshy’s passions and it extended to other areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Upstate where Hatzolah ambulances, supported only by donations, stand ready 24/7 to save lives. A few years ago when a cooperator with Alzheimer’s went missing, Heshy within minutes mobilized a huge search group. Our cooperator was safely found wandering in Northern Manhattan.

As General Manager of East River Housing and Hillman Housing, Heshy was in charge of 2,500 apartments containing approximately 6,000 people. This is more people than most towns and villages in our country. With so many people come the usual social, financial, medical, emotional and conflict issues that invariably arise and eventually often come to the Management Office. Heshy, Shulie and the staff dealt daily with many of these problems which rightfully very few people should ever know about. As Chairman of the United Jewish Council of the East Side, Heshy and the Council’s devoted staff served the needs of countless families of all religions who needed social services, financial, housing, home health care help, etc. For East River cooperators that meant that any person who needed assistance for themselves or a loved one (like a child or elderly parent) could always go directly to the UJC or if they first contacted the management office could immediately be assisted or directed to the proper party. No person who came forward or who was heard to need any kind of assistance was ever left behind. If a family member’s name was on file, they were contacted and apprised of the situation so they could hopefully also help with emotional and other support for loved ones they had often left somewhat on their own.

At his funeral 2 comments made really struck me as indicative of the inner heart and soul of Heshy. One was when Rabbi Reuven Feinstein said that when one asks for volunteers for an assignment people stand up, sometimes reluctantly, but with Heshy, “He would jump up and say count me in, what needs to be done and he would get it done.” If I received a call or letter and couldn’t personally help and brought a cooperator’s problem or need of assistance to Heshy he would immediately spring into action or pick up the phone and start making calls. In extreme cases he would ask me to give him a day or 2 to find a solution, and sure enough within days the cooperator received the help he or she needed from the proper sources.

The second was when his oldest grandson said he once asked his grandfather, “Why do you do so many good deeds?” Heshy answered, “It is in my nature, my blood. I have no choice. I have to help people and as long as I have strength, I’ll be there.” To those who truly knew him, he was not the sometimes boisterous and opinionated great presence you saw when he fought for our community or a cause he believed in. Politicians never wanted Heshy on the other side of an issue affecting our community. To his friends and family he was in private a humble man who never boasted publicly of his accomplishments and good deeds. He was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather who by example taught all around him the meaning of community, charity and good deeds often at the expense of more time that could have been spent with his loved ones.

One of the greatest enjoyments in life, besides our family, is helping others to the best of our ability without fanfare or seeking out acknowledgements. In this Heshy Jacob was a giant and a friend whose stature and influence the Lower East Side may never be able to replace. In his memory and on behalf of our community and all those in need let’s all commit ourselves to respecting each other, getting along and helping as best we can. In this way Heshy’s life accomplishments will continue to bear fruits in the years to come.