Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
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Building & Neighborhood Issues

Publication Date:Summer 1999

The New York Landmarks Conservancy is the city’s preeminent historic preservation organization. It is an independent not-for-profit which offers grants, low interest loans, technical and financial assistance, conservation services and educational resources to foster building preservation and neighborhood revitalization. This spring the Conservancy joined forces with CNYC to present a three-part seminar series to help cooperatives and condominiums Keep Their Buildings Beautiful. Alex Herrara, director of the Conservancy’s Technical Service Center moderated these meetings, bringing to bear his extensive knowledge of the field and his wry wit.

According to Mr. Herrara, some of the city’s most notable historic buildings are cooperatively owned. Marvels of architecture and engineering, they embody a time when New York City builders were vying to produce the most distinguished facades, the best interiors and the most modern systems. As a result, many cooperatives are very complicated buildings both structurally and mechanically. As they age, these buildings present their owners with special challenges, which the seminars examined.

In April, Architect Walter Melvin helped participants master The Building Envelope, stressing the need to evaluate the building and establish a plan to preserve and protect it. Stephen Varone of Rand Engineering then discussed Local Law 11 of 1998, which requires the inspection of all faces of buildings higher than six stores.

In May, architect and engineer Paul Millman of Superstructures and Ken Follett of Apple Restoration demystified the “Unwritten Rules of Construction”. These include: Get it in Writing!!!, Be Sure to Get All Necessary Permits, Communicate Expectations Clearly, Make Sure the Sales Tax is Included, and, The Contractor Really Can’t Be in Two Places At the Same Time!

In June, conservationist Larry Jones and preservationist William Higgins provided practical advice for “Surviving Capital Improvements”, which includes careful planning, clear contract provisions and making full use of capable and knowledgeable professionals.

In the question period at the end of each session, the participants’ enthusiasm was evident as they kept each set of speakers far beyond the scheduled two hours, peppering them with questions. CNYC and the Landmarks Conservancy have already made plans to continue this productive collaboration. At CNYC’s Housing Conference in November, Mr. Herrara will offer a workshop on Interfacing Effectively with the Landmarks Commission.

CNYC invites members to share special stories of co-op/condo accomplishments and successes. While our industry largely acknowledges efforts of management and professionals, it often ignores the unsung dedicated, hardworking volunteer board members who are the backbone of our community. CNYC deems your efforts and diligence highly recognition-worthy, and encourages you to share success and/or war stories. In turn, other members can be inspired by and benefit from your experience.

Your active participation will make this network exchange of information and Board Recognition a welcome feature. Stories you share will appear in future issues of this Newsletter. Send then to CNYC at 250 West 57th Street, Suite 730, New York, NY 10107-0730. Submissions should include outstanding issue-specific examples of accomplishments meriting individual and/or collective board recognition.

The National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC) has named Doug Kleine as its new Executive Director. Mr. Kleine brings to NAHC a firm background in cooperative housing, a strong fundraising record, and a history of energizing and revitalizing the organizations he serves. His skills will be tested as assumes his role in the wake of a fire, which devastated the NAHC office on June 11th.

CNYC has worked closely with NAHC for many years. Many CNYC member cooperatives and condominiums also enjoy membership in NAHC; they are asked to be patient if their next Cooperative Housing Bulletin is delayed. This year, NAHC will hold its annual conference in Toronto from the 27th through the 30th of October. For more about NAHC, see the NAHC Website at, or call 703 487-5201.

A new monthly publication entitled Residential Business New York made its appearance in February, claiming jurisdiction over any and all topics relating to residential property in New York. Because so many of the city’s residences are cooperatives and condominiums, CNYC’s executive director Mary Ann Rothman has been invited to write a regular column in this publication, beginning with the July issue. Residential Business has also offered complementary subscriptions to interested CNYC member cooperatives and condominiums. To be placed on this list, please contact the CNYC office by phone at (212) 496-7400, by fax at (212) 580-7801 or by sending e-mail to


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