All posts by Jeremy Sherber

2019 Annual Report shows deficit for third year out of last four

The coop’s annual report was released today — just three hours before the annual meeting — showing a shortfall of $516,748. This is the third time in the past four years that the coop financials have been in deficit.

During that time, the coop has also borrowed $4.5 million in that time, overshadowing last year’s surplus of $2.3 million.

Despite a predictable increase in operating expenses, general revenue continues to fall well short, this year by $4.8 million. Only by spending the full flip tax revenue does the coop look reasonably healthy.

Unfortunately, since that flip tax revenue is unpredictable, and almost completely outside the board’s control, relying on flip tax revenue to cover a large operating budget is not a strong position. (We’ve written before about why relying on variable flip tax revenue leaves the coop financially vulnerable.)

Co-Oktoberfest 2018: October 27

Join us Saturday, October 27 for the fourth annual Co-Oktoberfest.

From 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, join neighbors and friends in the courtyard between buildings 3 and 4 (the north side of Grand Street) for food, games, music, fun, and food. Bring the whole family!

You can sign up to bring food, paper plates, or help with games: Or please consider a suggested donation of $10 per person.

This is a loose, cooperative,* potluck-style afternoon/evening, just a chance to hang out with your neighbors.

*We are compelled to let you know that the East River Coop Board and Management have nothing to do with this event, it’s just not their thing.

NY-7 Reform Primary: It was even more a joke than you thought

So who won the Reform Party primary two weeks ago for our Congressional District?

First of all, I looked up the total number of Reform Party registered voters in NY-7. It’s 22. That means a total of one person could have signed the opportunity to ballot petition to reach the 5% threshold for triggering a write-in primary.


Next up, how many votes were cast? Twenty-three. But two were not legible, so only 21 votes counted. (Remember, any voter not affiliated with a party could vote, meaning there were actually over 67,000 eligible voters for this primary.)

Finally, who won? Looks like Suraj Patel pulled off a big upset with four total votes. That’s the guy who was challenging Rep. Carolyn Maloney in NY-12. That’s right, he doesn’t live in the district, so he’s probably going to turn down the nomination. (Maloney, also not of the district, came in second place with two votes.)

There were 15 others who tied for third place with one vote apiece.

In East River Coops, a total of three votes were cast, for James Comey (former FBI Director), Dan Donovan (who was running in NY-11), and Zola Fazzolave (my new favorite made-up name).

Congratulations to everyone for a spectacular display of democracy gone awry!

Thursday: Will DOT Stop the Traffic Madness?

Residents, community leaders, and local elected officials have been pressing the Department of Transportation for a solution to the traffic problem on Grand Street (and Clinton and East Broadway), but the DOT has been dragging its heels.

On Thursday, DOT will finally present its mitigation plans to the Community Board. If you want to show your support for a comprehensive solution, please show up for this meeting:

Thursday, June 28
6:30 – 8:30 pm
301 Henry Street
(Henry Street Settlement Youth Services Gymnasium)

Polling sites but no election? What’s going on?

Federal primaries are on Tuesday in New York State. Our Congresswoman, Nydia Velázquez, faces no opposition for the Democratic nomination; neither does our US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; there are no Republicans fighting for that party’s nomination either. And when there’s only one candidate per party, there is no need for a primary.

So why are East River lobbies getting prepped for polling sites? Well it turns out that someone got signatures on an “opportunity to ballot” petition for the Reform Party to set up a write-in for US Congress NY-7. Because there are so few registered members of the Reform Party, it likely took fewer than five signatures to make this happen. That’s right — with New York’s crazy system of third parties, and because Albany won’t set state primaries and federal primaries for the same date, just a handful of people can trigger a multi-million-dollar polling place rollout.

Here’s the thing, though: unlike Democratic and Republican parties, the Reform Party has an open primary for anyone who is registered to vote but not enrolled in a political party. If that’s you, and you’ve never been able to vote in a primary before, your big chance comes Tuesday. Polls are open 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Sample ballot for Tuesday’s Reform Party write-in for NY-7. Choose wisely!

Run don’t walk! Only 4 more shows of Jack & the Beanstalk at Abrons

I just got home from seeing Jack & the Beanstalk and I want to make sure you don’t miss this terrific show! It’s wild and funny, bright and daring, and full of smiles — and it’s playing for only three more days (2 shows on Saturday) at Abrons Arts Center right down the street.

This is super multi-cultural holiday fun for the whole family, with a surprising hero, a moustache-twirling villain, and a show-stopping sing-along pie-in-the-face version of 12 Days of Christmas.

Added bonus: this show has deep roots in East River Coop — it’s written by cooperator Mat Fraser, directed by cooperator Julie Atlas Muz, produced by cooperator Michelle Stern, with scene design by cooperator Steven Hammel (plus contributions to the program art by cooperators Andrew Federman and David Flaherty.)

It’s not just me, by the way, even The New York Times couldn’t stop praising this show.

What are you waiting for? Buy tickets right away.

Altman allies solidify hold on board of directors

The slate of candidates supported by board president Gary Altman won resoundingly in tonight’s count, giving Altman unanimous support on the board of directors.

Unofficial results brought victory to incumbents Michelle Amar and Dov Goldman, along with newcomers Diane Wong and Steven Barbieri, who ran on a slate supported by Altman.

With board member Peter Herb deciding not to run for re-election after a single term on the board, and Lee Berman being defeated, Altman now has allies sitting in all 11 board seats.

Annual report shows deficit for second consecutive year

The coop’s annual report was released today showing a shortfall of $182,620, a big improvement from last year’s record $2.3 million deficit. That’s the second deficit in a row even after maintenance increases, with the budget for 2017-2018 showing yet another deficit looming.

The coop also borrowed an additional $2 million this year.

The full financial document can be downloaded from the coop’s website. (A memo posted by the elevators today said that the annual report was not being printed for everyone in order to save money.)

Some highlights from the annual report:

  • Operating expenses continue to outstrip general revenue by $4 million. Only by spending the full flip tax revenue does the coop approach a balanced budget. (We wrote earlier this year about why that is a vulnerable position to be in.)
  • General revenue increased $1.8 million from last year, after a large maintenance increase had a full year to play out.
  • Operating expenses actually decreased slightly, which is an accomplishment given the fact that real estate taxes alone rose nearly $1 million. (This year’s decrease is mainly due to the high cost of laundry room repairs in the previous fiscal year; nothing of that magnitude happened this year.)
  • Flip taxes were essentially flat year over year.

Is Silver planning a comeback?

Just in time for the holidays, someone has made available “I’m with Sheldon Silver” t-shirts at online store If you want one, you’ll need to act fast — merchandise is available to order only through Thursday.

The product page has a brief but accurate bio of the former pol: “Sheldon “Shelly” Silver is a former lawyer and Democratic Party politician from New York City, who rose to become the powerful Speaker of the New York State Assembly in 1994 until his arrest on federal corruption charges in 2015.”

Silver’s conviction on those charges was overturned this summer.

His old Assembly seat is now held by Yuh-Line Niou, who faces re-election in 2018. Is Silver planning a comeback with an army of supporters wearing these snappy tees?