Archive for the tag 'coops'

Photo via Douglas Elliman

Photo via Douglas Elliman

As recent reports have confirmed, Brooklyn is becoming an increasingly difficult place to get your foot on the first rung of the real estate ladder. As such, we’ve rounded up some open houses happening in and around Sheepshead Bay this weekend for under $200,000–just keep an open mind, and consider the potential of each.

3105 Avenue V #6A
List Price: $109,999, $745 maintenance
Size: One bedroom, one bathroom
Details: As with a few of our listings today, this coop unit is just about bordering Marine Park and doesn’t offer excellent subway access, so it might be best if you have a vehicle. Beyond that, it’s a strong start: it’s the least expensive of our lot this week, and no renovations are necessary. Sleek and sunny, the only thing you’ll need to add is your furniture–and perhaps a stuffed animal, since no pets are allowed.
Open House: Sunday, December 14, 1-3pm

2140 Knapp Street #2B
List Price: $129,000, $865 maintenance
Size: Two bedrooms, one bathroom
Details: Here’s another place in somewhat decent shape–its walls and floors look well maintained, and its vintage bathroom floor tile is cool, too. The rest of the WC and the kitchen could definitely use some upgrades, though, but no worries–you’ll get to customize them as you see fit, and add some excellent resale value while you’re at it. The unit has been on the market for about four months as well, so we wonder if there’s some wiggle room in that already pretty good price.
Open House: Saturday, December 13 and Sunday, December 14, both 2-4pm

2425 Haring Street #6H
List Price: $149,000
Size: Two bedrooms, one bathroom
Details: With its outdated finishes and at least one room down to the studs, this little darling is in a pretty sad state; however, we can’t help but want to bring it back to life a bit. Like the last wonky-eared puppy left in the window, this place deserves love (or more specifically, decent hardwoods, solid wall colors, and a total kitchen overhaul), but its top floor corner unit status has us thinking the end result could be something wonderful.
Open House: Sunday, December 14, 1-3pm

3178 Nostrand Avenue # 6H
List Price: $169,000
Size: One bedroom, one bathroom
Details: Two #6Hs this week–fancy that! This one is in better shape than two of the three listings above, though it’s only a one bed (we’re just not seeing two beds in this shape at this price). The kitchen and bath could use cosmetic upgrades at some point, but they look passable for a while–and as the unit’s been on the market for over six months, you may be able to haggle and save for future renovations.
Open House: Sunday, December 14, 12:30-2:30pm



The Trump Village co-op board headed by former City Council candidate Igor Oberman filed a libel suit against a tenant who established a blog to vent criticism of the board’s actions.

Oberman filed the suit against resident Yuliya Bezvoleva on behalf of the Trump Village Section 4 board last month, claiming that her website,, was causing financial harm by getting in the way of potential sales according to the New York Post.

The website has been active since the spring of 2012, documenting perceived violations of co-op board bylaws and other abuses. The oldest post on the site claims one boardmember was actually ineligible to hold the position, and was also bumped to the top of the list for coveted parking spaces. Such privileges for boardmembers are a frequent complaint, with another post alleging that the board used the co-op’s money to construct a personal, fenced in garage.

The site also shared news during Oberman’s 2013 campaign for City Council regarding concerns over his fundraising, which included donations from firms doing business with the board. That election ultimately saw Chaim Deutsch elected to replace Michael Nelson.

Another post took issue with co-op funds used for events on the 1,114-unit property that were open to the public. (Full disclosure: two such events, as noted on the website, were marketed with paid advertising on Sheepshead Bites. The ads were paid for by the Board.)

The lawsuit claims several of the site’s posts include false information, and specifically flags a story from October 2013 questioning why some board candidates were disqualified without explanation, and another from November of that year pointing out Housing Court cases against residents.

Oberman claims in the lawsuit that the website is scaring off potential buyers, and is also ruining his reputation.

“Several potential employers have asked me about . . . the Web site,” Oberman said in an affidavit, according to the Post. 

He declined to comment to the newspaper, but his attorney called the website’s claims “pure fabrications.”

Bezvoleva said the lawsuit is just another illustration of the board’s heavy-handed tactics against critical tenants.

“There is no freedom of speech, and there are no public meetings,” Bezvoleva told the Post. “When we do have them, we have lots of security guards. Sometimes police officers get invited to make sure nothing happens.”

Last year, as Oberman ran for Council, it was reported that the board was mired in lawsuits from former employees and critical tenants who were served eviction notices, allegedly to strengthen Oberman’s control over the board.

Bezvoleva was one of the residents fighting off an eviction notice at the time, after she launched an anti-Oberman petition drive.


The NYPD has released video of the three suspects who robbed a 67-year-old woman at gunpoint in an elevator of the Amalgamated Warbasse Houses in Coney Island.

As we first reported last week, three suspects followed the woman into the elevator of 425 Neptune Avenue at 8pm on September 22. The doors closed and the suspects flashed a gun and demanded money. She handed over her handbag, which had an LG cellphone and $20.

Cops have released the surveillance video turned over by the building’s security, showing the three suspects enter the building, and then board the elevator.

Neighbors at Warbasse say that a second robbery, at knifepoint, occurred in another Warbasse building this Monday. We’re still working to confirm the details of that incident.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.


A 67-year-old woman was robbed at gunpoint in the elevator of Amalgamated Warbasse Houses Building 2 on Monday, sparking security concerns among residents in the 2,585-unit complex.

According to police, the woman entered the elevator at 425 Neptune Avenue at approximately 8:10pm. Three men followed her. One drew a gun, barking order to hand over her valuables. The three men made off with a handbag containing money, credit cards and a call phone.

They fled on foot and left the woman unharmed. Police did not provide a description of the suspects.

The buildings are monitored by its own private security force, causing residents to question how the men made it into the building. Fliers are now being circulated (above), and last night building management called a tenant’s meeting with the security company, the NYPD’s 60th Precinct, Councilman Mark Treyger, Community Board 13 members and others.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.


Update (6:16 p.m.): Reader Christina “Know-it-all” K. wrote in to correct me: it’s a red tailed hawk. A juvenile, which is why its tail isn’t red yet. And maybe this guy is a relative of Pale Male, the first red tailed hawk known to have nested on a building (near Central Park) rather than a tree. Actually, these guys are as rare as falcons are in the city, with 32 known nests.

Original story:

The scourge of fire escape burglaries plaguing Sheepshead Bay might be one reason to keep your windows shut tight, but here’s another: Sheepshead Bay’s peregrine falcon could eat your cat.

That may have been what drew this guy to the top floor fire escape of Ilan P., a resident of the Atlantic Towers co-ops on Avenue Z. According to Ilan, the winged friend took up residence Saturday afternoon, making himself available for a 10-minute photo shoot before flying off into the sunset.

“It took an odd interest in my cat. They had an old western stare down,” Ilan wrote to Sheepshead Bites. “I just thought it was awesome since I’ve never seen a hawk in Sheepshead. It’s very cool to see something different in nature in our area.”

Yes, friends, Sheepshead Bay has hawks and falcons. This fellow is probably the same one known to live on the top of St. Mark Roman Catholic Church’s steeple. You can often see him circling about his perch, getting some exercise or looking for a good meal.

And he’s hardly the only one in the area. We know there’s at least one other couple at the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge. In fact, New York City tracks these guys, and is currently aware of at least 32 around the city. That said, this guy appeared to be without tracking bands, which means there may be more than researchers are aware of.

It wasn’t always this way. The falcons were placed on the endangered species list in the 1970s, as population dwindled with the introduction of chemicals including pesticides. The city and state launched a program to restore their population, and since 1992 the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the city Department of Environmental Protection have worked hand-in-hand in their efforts, which you can read about on the DEP’s website.

Falcons do love New York City, though. According to the DEP, the tall buildings and bridges remind them of their natural habitat, where they perch on cliffs. And the variety of tasty birds to eat – pigeons, sparrows, starlings and others – give them a nice diet, which they capture during dives at speeds ranging from 99 to 273 miles per hour.

Anyway, check out the video and other photos Ilan sent over.

See the photos and video.


Five candidates vying for seats in two different Southern Brooklyn City Council districts participated in a heated debate on Sunday, focusing on reforming co-op laws to benefit as many as one million New York City residents of co-ops.

All candidates expressed support for a shareholder’s bill of rights, which would grant new protections from potentially abusive and exploitative boards of cooperative housing units. Despite the support, the frustrated shareholders – all with horror stories of their own – expressed a lack of confidence in much-needed reform and ultimately turned on the candidates.

Find out where the candidates stand, and how the audience reacted.

The Sea Isle apartments at 3901 Nostrand Avenue, one of the buildings in our area that offers cooperative housing. Source:

The Cooperative Community Organization, a group that says it fights for co-op shareholders’ rights in New York, will be holding a debate between New York City Council candidates for the 47th and 48th districts, this Sunday, August 11, 4:00 p.m. at 94 Dooley Street between East 22nd Street and East 23rd Street. The debate will cover issues dealing exclusively with cooperative housing.

The candidates who have confirmed their participation as of this writing are John Lisyanskiy of District 47 and Chaim Deutsch, Ari Kagan and Theresa Scavo of District 48. The group asks that you bring every shareholder you know and be prepared to ask the candidates all of your co-op questions.

To learn more, email or go to

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Some lame duck politicians go out on a whimper, defeated by gridlock, apathy and restlessness on part of the people. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not one of those politicians. In just the past few months alone, Bloomberg has pushed a massive $20 billion storm protection plan and scored a victory when the New York State Supreme Court upheld his plan to expand taxi service across the city. He’s expanding recycling programs, banning styrofoam, and even pissing off Sarah Palin. The New York Times is now reporting that Bloomberg is seeking to make major changes to the city’s building code to increase the resiliency of buildings citywide in the event of more extreme weather incidents like Superstorm Sandy.

Needing only the approval of the City Council, Bloomberg’s plan to overhaul the building code would make New York City a national leader in making buildings more resilient in the face of hurricanes. For the time being, the new rules would mainly affect the construction of new buildings and big renovations on existing buildings in the flood areas, including much of Sheepshead Bay.

But some upgrades could also be required in existing larger buildings. The Times listed changes that would have to made to residential buildings, co-ops, condominiums, public housing and rental apartments:

For example, emergency lights will be required in hallways and stairwells in case of extended blackouts. Existing buildings will have to add faucets to a common area on lower floors, like a laundry room. That is intended to allow people on upper floors, which lose water pressure from electric pumps during blackouts, to obtain water.

Officials and experts estimated that a 20-story co-op could spend $16,000 for faucets in a laundry room, and more than $100,000 for backup lighting that could last many days. The lighting would be far cheaper if owners deployed battery-powered lights with a shorter life.

Bloomberg’s task force, which he set up with Council Speaker Christine Quinn, did not propose any new rules for existing single-family homes. Still, homeowners looking to make major renovations would have to conform to new regulations like using longer screws and nail fasteners on windows and doors so they can stand up to high winds. New sloped roofs would have to use reflective shingles to cut down on heat.

Hospitals would also have to protect their windows, potentially costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars per building. The city also wants to force businesses that store toxic chemicals to keep them in flood-proof areas. Resistance to the plan is expected to come from real estate developers who fear the overall increased costs they would incur.

In pushing the changes, Bloomberg cited the destruction of Sandy as an imperative.

“Sandy clearly underscored why we need to protect our buildings. We learned a lot, and we want to make sure we won’t forget those lessons,” the mayor said at a press conference.

Mayoral front-runner Christine Quinn stressed speed as being an important factor in executing Bloomberg’s plan.

“We plan to move as quickly as possible,” Quinn told the Times.


City Council candidate Igor Oberman is facing some heat for his leadership of the board of the 1,144-unit Trump Village 4, where some residents and former employees allege that he has abused his power and ruled with an iron fist.

A handful of dust-ups with residents and employees is now making its way into the race, with City & State and the New York Post picking up on the controversies.

This morning, City & State reported that Oberman has been the target of lawsuits from tenants and employees. They write:

As president of Trump Village’s co-op board, Igor Oberman has been sued by tenants on the verge of eviction, faces an age discrimination lawsuit from former employees and is accused of firing another longtime worker who represented other unionized employees at the co-op in a union-busting move.

… In January, Trump Village terminated Pierre Wyatt, a longtime porter at the Coney Island housing cooperative who was also the shop steward representing other union employees working there. Wyatt had taken abandoned flooring, according to one account, and wasn’t completely forthcoming about his actions when questioned. The Teamsters Local 804, however, saw Oberman’s move as union-busting, and the matter is now heading to arbitration.

In March, two female Trump Village employees in their early 60s sued Oberman after they lost their jobs, arguing that they were “harassed, verbally abused and intimidated for the purpose of replacing them with a more youthful staff,” according to a press release from their lawyer.

Prior to City & State’s report, the New York Post reported in April that residents complain Oberman has used eviction proceedings to solidify his control over the board.

One case involved Eugene Ovsishcher, a former soldier who returned home from a combat tour in Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ovsishcher’s wife, a CPA, had previously been asking questions about board finances.

Ovsishcher, 43, was later denied a “service pet” dog to deal with his PTSD and then hit with an eviction order.

He eventually won the legal right to keep his pooch and apartment.

But his psychiatrist, Dr. Zinoviy Benzar, who provided medical testimony on Ovsishcher’s behalf and lives in the complex, was then hit with an eviction order — as were Benzar’s wife and mother-in-law, who own three Trump co-ops between them.

The eviction orders, alleging a failure to pay surcharges for air conditioners, are pending.

But the trio has struck back with a $4.5 million countersuit, charging they were politically targeted for revenge.

Another resident, Yuliya Bezvoleva, 33, an active Army reservist, is fighting an eviction order after she launched an anti-Oberman petition drive.

Co-op boards in New York City are guided by a confusing mess of procedures and formulas called the Business Corporation Law, and there is no oversight agency or independent commission dedicated to co-op compliance – leaving courts as the only resort for residents seeking redress. Abuse allegations have been noted at co-ops here and throughout the city, though the allegations rarely find their way to court due to costly legal expenses.

At Trump Village 4, residents have sought to make their war public in an attempt to cripple Oberman’s campaign, launching a website dedicated to attacking his reign as board president.

Oberman declined to discuss the matter with Sheepshead Bites, instead forwarding us to his campaign spokesperson, who was not available for comment. However, the spokesperson disputed the allegations to City & State:

Chelsea Connor, a campaign spokeswoman, said that Wyatt, the former shop steward, was fired after he was accused of theft, and noted that a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board was dismissed. The two employees in their 60s had failed to deposit a $47,000 check, she said. As for the lawsuits regarding the eviction proceedings, Connor said that the building has had a no-pet policy for nearly 50 years and that another tenant had rewired an apartment and that it failed to meet fire code safety regulations.

Oberman will face off against District Leader Ari Kagan, Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo and Flatbush Shomrim founder Chaim Deutsch in the Democratic primary. In the general, former State Senator David Storobin is expected to take the Republican line.

Parts of 301 Oriental Blvd remains filled with a toxic oil-water mixture. (Photo by Susan Vosburgh)

Some of Southern Brooklyn’s landlords appear to be slow to help in fighting for their tenants’ rights to heat, hot water and electricity, and may even be adding obstacles to the mix.

Take, for instance, the case of 301 Oriental Boulevard in Manhattan Beach, which we told you about last week. A horrible stench has haunted the building for weeks, ever since Hurricane Sandy flooded the basement, causing water to mix with barrels of oil in storage. Residents complain the landlord has done little to rectify the situation, and many are concerned about their health as headaches and fatigue have set in.

“It’s been a month, going on a month, and we still have no utilities,” said 20-year-resident Susan Vosburgh. “Apparently there’s still oil in the building. I doubt any utilities will touch us because it has to be safe when they come in.”

Although pumping has already occurred, Vosburgh said the unskilled migrant workers the landlord hires keep missing rooms filled with the toxic oil-water mixture, and just this morning returned for the umpteenth time to pump out the elevator pit. On their first attempt at draining the basement, she claims they illegally pumped the hazardous materials into the street.

“The migrant workers he gets for like a dollar an hour, they forget this room and that room,” Vosburgh said. “I just want this cleaned up, we’re breathing the fumes.”

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