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Our Inaugural Meeting (March 21, 2023)

Updated: May 10

BACKGROUND: WHO WE ARE:

East River neighbors is a grass roots organization formed to improve the communication between residents here at the East River Coops. Several residents were motivated to organize as a result of security concerns. Specifically, in August, 2022 there were two personal assaults which many residents were not aware took place. This led to a weekly zoom meeting which covered a number of topics - all relevant to our overall quality of life. This small group found the conversations helpful and wanted to approach other residents about their opinions and observations. As a result the first meeting took place on March 21, 2023 in person and over Zoom.

MISSION STATEMENT:

East River Neighbors will be a communications conduit among our residents where all are free to express ideas, thoughts and concerns. We wish to advocate for, and help influence the community, to ensure our quality of life is maintained and improved.

GOALS:

• Maintain a positive approach to improve and enhance communication among our neighbors

• Increase awareness and membership

• Work with Management and Board of Directors to address concerns in a positive, constructive and cost effective way

• Enhance our overall quality of life within our community

MINUTES OF TOWN HALL:

Meeting called to order by John Tomlinson, Executive Director of Paul Taylor Dance Company, where the meeting took place. John thanked everyone for attending and provided a brief history of the company. Founded in 1954, Paul Taylor held his first dance performance in New York at the Henry Street Playhouse. In 2009, the dance studio relocated to the Grand Street space and since then many of the PTDC employees have moved to the East River Coops, as it is a neighborly place to live.

Stanley Zucker then was introduced as the moderator who also thanked everyone for joining either in person or over Zoom. He introduced himself and then provided a brief history of his family as they have been residents since 1956. Stanley then provided the motivation for the formation of ERN.

• Two East River personal assaults occurred in August, 2022 one of which was in his apartment.

• He Spoke with neighbors who were completely unaware which prompted conversation as to how to improve communication among the residents in the entire coop development.

• Weekly Zoom meetings began with some neighbors to discuss topics which were important to them. Examples included: dogs, elevator maintenance, reserve funds, parking spaces, etc.

• Decision was made to hold an initial town hall format meeting.

There are 1,672 apartments occupied by approximately 4,000 residents. ERN is a nascent organization. We are only successful when we increase membership and provide a "town square" when ideas are shared and concerns expressed. The end result is to be an advocate and influencer to affect community building.

Stanley concluded his remarks and then introduced the "open mic" portion of the meeting. Rules/parameters were put in place and will continue as part of future town halls.

• No interruptions

• One person speaks at a time

• Two minutes per speaker

• No names, only positions, i.e. security, maintenance

• Be respectful

The following topics were discussed.

SECURITY

• The interior door lock to the buildings do not engage, especially when it is windy

• Sliding doors similar to Seward Park would be helpful

• Security guard in B3 maintains professional standards daily. This team should be encouraged to train the rest of the staff in all buildings

• The doors and rooftop should be alarmed and lighted with motion detectors and cameras

• ERN is considering a meeting with the 7th Precinct and a outside security professional

• Security guards are subcontracted from Admiral, a nationwide security company

WATER DAMAGE COSTS AND GENERATOR FUNCTIONALITY

• Water damaged walls should be fixed and painted

• East River Management mandated each apartment have renter's insurance

• Reach out to your neighbor to advise of their leak so maintenance can repair

• East River has back up generators, however, for them to engage there must be a total blackout, that is all buildings must lose all power so generators will not engage when there is a brownout. If however, a brownout occurs which impacts elevators, there is a mechanism in place to move an elevator with the help of an elevator technician

NO INTERNET OR MOBILE

• Reminded everyone to speak clearly and into the mic.

• Will deliver all ERN communications via paper to those without internet access

MANAGEMENT, BOARD AND HOUSE COMMITTEE

• Management and Board members were invited to attend

• Annual meetings should be held in person, not via Zoom

• A member of the House Committee encouraged anyone with questions, suggestions or comments to use the link on the website. Additionally, there are currently vacancies on the House Committee, if anyone is interested on joining

• Board meeting minutes are important and currently they are not required to provide to residents. While ERN has no authority to insist minutes are made public, it can be a clearinghouse for ideas

• The Board recently rejected a purchase price by a resident for a larger apartment after the seller accepted the bid. The Board stated that if we bid higher and had an agreement in place with the seller to refund the increase on the higher bid, the Board would approve. The Board is looking to improve the value of the apartments and this is a common practice among several coops in NYC

FINANCES

• We should have a reserve fund. Residents cannot afford to lay out large increases for expenditures, and having a larger mortgage is not the total solution. Local law 11 requires periodic assessment by engineering professionals regarding roofs, bricks and terraces. A suggestion was made to reach out to neighbors who may have banking and real estate experience to see what other coops are doing

• A question was raised as to how we can increase revenues with rising maintenance costs. Informational meetings are needed to learn more about what is needed and the potential costs associated with the improvements. Prioritizing objectives is critical. ERN will publish a ranking survey shortly and residents can rank their priorities

ACTIONABLE ITEMS

• ERN should establish committees, form opinions, select officers and present findings formally to the Board and to Management.

CITY COUNCIL MEMBER CHRISTOPHER MARTE

• Attended meeting and provided the following updates:

• CON ED's brownout was rectified at 5am the morning of 3/21 by repairing the low voltage output

• Similar meetings have been held at Seward, Independence Plaza, Gateway, Amalgamated, Southbridge and Hillman and in his experience positive changes occur when neighbors communicate and work together

• His office is available to help provide ERN with experts to speak with and help resolve issues

• His office is currently working on community clean up of graffiti at Hillman. East River can be included. He encouraged all to call his office with concerns - (212) 587-3159.

JOIN OUR ORGANIZATION:

www.eastriverneighbors.org

SAVE THE DATE:

Next meeting will be on May 16th. Agenda, location TBD

REFERENCES:

www.PAULTAYLORDANCE.org - join the mailing list for communication and invitations to a free performance each month on a Sunday between 1 and 3pm.

"I Live in East River Housing Coop" is a Facebook group where you can read and share observations with hundreds of your fellow East River neighbors

Following the Town Hall, there was a raffle. Then attendees stayed around to have drinks and snacks and mingle with neighbors.

The event ended at 9pm.



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