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So far 336cpwwp has created 12 blog entries.

Annual Shareholders’ Meeting

The annual shareholders’ meeting took place at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3rd at the Alexander Robertson School, 3 West 95th Street.

Co-Presidents’ Potpourri – April, 2017

Dear 336 CPW Friends and Neighbors,

As spring arrives, we’re again relishing warm weather, blooming flowers in our beautiful new tree pits and many projects ahead of us. The 336 Board is continuing to work on our very busy agenda. Details on upcoming projects and updates on current projects, such as the Window Program, will be topics of discussion at our annual shareholders’ meeting, which will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3rd at the Alexander Robertson School, 3 West 95th Street. Meeting materials have been distributed and we hope to see you all there. Please remember to deposit your completed proxy in one of the white ballot boxes in the lobby, whether or not you plan on attending.

All nine of the current members of the Board are standing for re-election and one additional nomination, Marty Propper, will be on the slate to fill the ten mandated seats. Michael Gordon was appointed to the Board when Mike Schell resigned, as you may recall, and has been getting involved in financial aspects of the building as he has an extensive finance background. Marty Propper, who is running to fill the vacancy left by Jason Kaplan’s resignation, has long helped the Board with website maintenance and the newsletter. Both have generously agreed to serve.

Last quarter, two apartments at 336 went into contract—a sign that the real estate market remains relatively healthy. We can’t be certain this will last, of course, but the building’s reserves are strong.

Please remember to separate your recycling, along the lines described in a reminder in this newsletter. Good practice in this regard not only avoids city fines for the building, but is also good for the environment. If you want to go the extra mile, the city accepts compost at local farmers’ markets on a scheduled weekly basis. See www.grownyc.org for more information.

On that note, please remember to consult the building’s website, www.336cpw.org, for documents and updates. The board is looking at ways to cut back on the amount of paper we generate, and will be coming forward with some concrete proposals on that front soon. In the meantime, the more we move online, particularly for longer documents, the better off we all are.

As the season shifts, keep your eyes on the many things that are happening in our neighborhood. Every time we walk along Columbus or Amsterdam, […]

Co-Presidents’ Potpourri – February, 2017

Dear 336 CPW Friends and Neighbors,

As we go through this period of transition, we discussed whether we should keep the President’s Potpourri, a tradition Mike Schell started. Among his many talents, Mike was a prolific and natural writer.  While we may not be able to match his eloquence, we thought it was important to continue using this forum to keep shareholders abreast of what is happening at 336.

Thanks, first of all, to those of you who were able to attend the Town Hall on January 25th.  We know there was a lot of information to process, particularly around the proposed window program. We hope you found the discussions on that topic and the new proprietary lease as fruitful and insightful as the board members present did. We appreciated the feedback and were gratified that so many shareholders turned out.

Since the town hall the board has had additional opportunities to discuss the many points shareholders raised there. It has become clear that the proposed window program requires additional explanation. To that end, we have made several documents available on the building’s website, www.336cpw.org, which attempt to clarify the program. In particular, we would like to point you to the FAQs, which present a succinct summary of the key issues. We encourage you, of course, to reach out to any board member with any questions. We welcome continued discussion and assure you that the program presented was assembled with the shareholders’ best interests in mind.

Proxies for the vote on (1) the upgraded proprietary lease and (2) the window program at the Special Meeting on February 28 were distributed earlier this month. Whether you plan to attend or not, we urge that you complete and return your proxies as soon as possible.

With the assistance of Martin Propper (9F), we are making every effort to keep the website up-to-date and helpful to our community. Note that a user-friendly guide to alterations, pictures of staff and contact information for board members and Orsid can all be found there. Please let us know if there is anything else you would like to see on the website. We encourage you to visit it from time to time as it contains much helpful information on the Board’s robust agenda to maintain our almost 90-year-old building.

Easing our task, at least to some degree, is the continued health of Manhattan’s residential real estate market. The […]

President’s Potpourri – December, 2016

Dear 336 CPW Friends and Neighbors,

This is it – the last of these periodic president’s letters of potpourri which have afforded me the opportunity to impose my musings on our building community. For better or worse, but I would hope with some salutary effect from time to time. The theme for this one is reminiscence and nostalgia, wrapped in a sincere and determined undertaking to stay in touch.

As I write this, I hope I will have a chance to see every building resident at the holiday party on Wednesday, December 14. By the time you read this, it will already have happened and we will have exchanged greetings and farewells – or not. If not, this note will have to do.

Sometime in the fall of 1984, Kathy and I discovered 336 CPW as we searched for a new home that would accommodate a family of four – about to be five. The cloud of ignorance and naiveté that enveloped that search – and the two of us for that matter – is so large and impenetrable it defies fair and accurate portrayal at this distance. “Clueless” will have to do. I doubt the various proximate features of Central Park (tennis courts, reservoir, running trails, playing fields, Shakespeare in the Park, etc.) had dented our consciousness. We might have paused momentarily over “how far uptown” it seemed to be, but certainly no more. Our decision was based on the beautiful views of Central Park and our imminent – and desperate – need for more space. And our naiveté.

The process seemed endless. Actually, more like non-existent. We submitted our application. Nothing happened for a month. Then two. Then three. Had we offended? Screwed it up somehow? Finally, I talked to the chair of the admissions committee who said not to worry, he would take care of things. We got the interview. Kathy was bursting, nearly at the end of her pregnancy. I remember only the chairman – who is a resident to this day and to whom we are eternally grateful – and a young woman living in an apartment given her by her father. It was her firm opinion we could not afford the apartment and should be denied admission. Happily, the chair and the rest of the committee prevailed. We moved into the apartment in March of 1985. The baby came in June, and eventually we got around to renovations […]

President’s Potpourri – November, 2016

October 2016

Dear 336 CPW Friends and Neighbors,

By the time you read this I will have only two more meetings left as your president –November and December. I want this letter to be a bit of a summary of my personal agenda for this last year of my tenure and, in particular, a punch list of items I very much hope we can accomplish in the remaining 2-1/2 months of that tenure.

Let me start with a brief recitation of what is accomplished and in place. We are very fortunate. I’ll begin with people. We have a board of ten talented, dedicated, capable, hard-working and conscientious residents. They all take their responsibilities seriously and contribute their time and efforts generously and beyond the call of duty. After December it will be nine. The Board and the co-op are well prepared for a leadership succession.

We are blessed with a competent, reliable and diligent partner as our building agent in Orsid Realty Corp. Orsid is more than just a commercial relationship. It starts with John Devall, who truly is a member of the 336 family. The rest of the organization from top (Neil Davidowitz) through senior members (Dennis DePaola and Andre Kaplan) through staff (Ariola, Andrea, etc.) are all special folks. They are always there when we need them.

Then there is our own staff – Sergio, Orlando and the rest of the “guys.” Either nothing need be said about them or I lack the room and the time to say everything that should be said about them. They work tirelessly – always above the call of duty – in service of the building, our community and our families. Examples abound, but I’ll cite a recent one. A young girl was home alone, and her folks were late coming home. She was apprehensive. She went to the lobby and told the “guys” she was scared. They welcomed, reassured and comforted her in safety until Mom and Dad got home. It happens all the time.

The 336 physical plant is in great shape. We are restoring the sidewalks – a task that has not been completely smooth and easy. Nevertheless, it will get done and it will be done right. We approach the next Local Law 11 review with cautious confidence that the building envelope is in good shape. Our machinery and equipment is in good repair and the staff keeps it that way economically […]

President’s Potpourri – July, 2016

Dear 336 CPW Friends and Neighbors,

I guess I need to own up to the fact that I have entered the clubhouse turn in my nearly 10-year run on the board and as your president. I have only five more meetings of the board. The plan is that the board and I will agree on the budget for 2017. At that point, the leadership baton will pass from my hand to those who will continue stewardship of the best interests and welfare of our building, our co-op and our community of shareholders, residents and staff. If you think I look forward to that December meeting, you are wrong.  Two reasons.

First (and probably foremost), I have thoroughly enjoyed this service. Moreover, it truly is and should be service. One is in charge (as distinct from in service) only in the sense that whatever needs attention or fixing or mediating or planning or guiding or just plain work is in the portfolio you carry. It’s your responsibility. It’s your job. You work for the community of residents and shareholders, just like the superintendent and just like the managing agent. Ultimately, every broken toilet, every damaging leak, every disgruntled, unhappy shareholder (whatever the cause), every out-of-step staffer and every threatened capital repair is your problem.  Notwithstanding all that, it’s been a very enjoyable and personally enriching experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. I am going to miss it – as well as missing all of you.

Second, we have a very full agenda of projects yet to accomplish in this last half of 2016, and I want to see it all done before closing the book on my service. The major projects include the window program described at the annual meeting, the new and improved proprietary lease and the removal and restoration of the sidewalk around the building, which is both necessary and long overdue. More on these in a minute.

This year the co-op is going to have one of its best years financially (if not the best in memory). There are two principal reasons for this. The first is the one that we always cite in reviewing the financial performance of the co-op: The board, the managing agent and especially the superintendent and the staff have continued their rigorous and relentless efforts to control costs, to eliminate waste and to find ever more […]

President’s Potpourri – March, 2016

Dear 336 CPW Friends and Neighbors,

We are already through two months of the new year, and the building and co-op operations are in excellent shape. We are working to complete the audit of our 2015 financial results and year-end financial position. More on that will be available at the annual meeting.

To elaborate just a bit on 2016 operations – in which the budget is pitched at a maintenance level 2% below the 2015 level – we are substantially on budget in every major revenue and expense line item. Our cash operating result is running slightly ahead of budget before taking into account almost $35,000 of capital improvements accomplished in the first two months. Moreover, there is reason to anticipate 2016 will produce substantial flip tax revenues. In sum, the budget appears to be in very good shape after two months of operations, no doubt helped somewhat by the very mild winter we have enjoyed.

The Board is in the midst of three major projects. We hope to be able to have them ready at various times in the first half of 2016. In all events, we expect to be able to have a full discussion of all three at the annual meeting. Speaking of which, please mark your calendars and plan to attend. This year the meeting is scheduled to convene at 7 P.M. on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The venue will be the Alexander Robertson School at 3 West 95th Street – as in recent years.

Project number 1 is an effort to obtain a complete inventory of all windows in the building. With the help of an outside window company, Sergio and our ad hoc window committee of the Board has done a methodical, comprehensive job of assessing every window in the building (all but four apartments cooperated with the survey), including their present condition, their need for repair or replacement, the timing or immediacy of that need and a very rough estimate of what repair or replacement might cost – on a very worst case basis. The purpose of the effort is to develop a plan for addressing these needs over an extended period of time in a manner that is least burdensome to both the co-op financial condition and the shareholders’ pocketbooks. We are making very good progress, and we believe we have the design of a plan that is prudent, fair and reasonable for all concerned. Please […]

President’s Potpourri – November, 2015

Dear 336 CPW Friends and Neighbors,

Thanksgiving and the December holidays – Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, etc. – are on the horizon and coming into focus. The building will host the annual holiday party on Wednesday, December 9 at 6:00PM. I welcome all of you and hope we will see a large turnout. Especially from all your younger children and grandchildren. It does seem to be a big hit with them every year, and I am confident this year will be no exception.

In the spirit of those holidays, I must say there is much for which to be thankful here in our 336 CPW community. Over the past couple of years we have welcomed a number of younger couples and families into our community who will contribute to its strength, continuity and vibrancy. Moreover, just recently the Board had occasion to meet with a young couple who may one day be our neighbors. It caused me to reflect. One of these young folks grew up in this building and the other – an Upper West Sider –is the niece of a long-time resident of our building. It never ceases to amaze me how many wonderful neighborhood connections seem to keep popping up as younger generations mature and begin finding their way in the world as adults.

By now you should have received the Board’s memo concerning the 2016 budget and maintenance charges. There isn’t much for me to add here but perhaps a couple of sidebar comments may be appropriate. Comment number one is this subject certainly belongs on the list of items for which we should be thankful this season. We have been extraordinarily fortunate with the building operations, finances and staff this year and I want first and foremost to say thank you to all who play a role in those. That includes all 10 members of the Board, John Devall and his colleagues at Orsid, Sergio, Orlando and the staff at 336 and – last but not least – all residents and shareholders who contribute in small and inconspicuous – but nevertheless important – ways to our building culture.

I also want to observe it is barely six weeks ago that I wrote to you saying we were having a strong year and that we were mostly on target with the 2015 budget. While there are numerous unpredictable factors affecting our budget, […]

Preventive Maintenance

A simple note to prevent leaks regarding through the wall air conditioners: Please remember to clean out your air conditioner drain lines each year. They can get clogged with dirt, causing the water to overflow, and leak.

President’s Potpourri – October, 2015

Dear 336 CPW Friends and Neighbors,

Memorial Day. Flag Day. Independence Day. Bastille Day. V-J Day. Women’s Equality Day. Labor Day. Columbus Day. Equinox. All the summer holidays come and gone and getting ready for Halloween. It seems just the blink of an eye, but actually it’s been a beautiful, enjoyable, restful summer, I hope. And I hope that’s been the case for all of us at 336 CPW.

We have finished the third quarter of our fiscal year at 336 CPW and are beginning the fourth. We are in the midst of another strong year operationally, fiscally and structurally. Co-op operations are substantially on budget at the end of 9 months with most individual budget lines also on target. We still have nearly three months to go, so there’s no guarantee that we finish the year on budget. But, please rest assured the Board, the management and the staff will leave no stone unturned to accomplish it. On the cash reserves front, we have once again added materially to our proverbial “rainy day fund.” It is larger than ever, and the financial condition of the Co-op is much stronger than it was at the close of fiscal 2014.

The Board is working methodically – with the management and the staff – to analyze and assess all needs for deferred maintenance in the building. The immediate utility of this effort will be anticipation of needs for capital maintenance that could be mandated by the next Local Law 11 report. At the same time we are hoping this effort will have longer term utility in planning for capital maintenance. We will keep the shareholders and residents apprised appropriately. All that said, however, I feel confident the combination of planning and increased reserves should insulate all of us from any unhappy surprises down the road.

The shareholder relations committee has been liaising with three of our shareholders who are collaborating directly with the various public agencies and offices on the subject of CPGS traffic, noise and public safety. All parties are working with CPGS to solve – or at least improve – the traffic problems during school opening and closing. Recent reports suggest the combined efforts of the school  Read More …

President’s Potpourri – May, 2015

Dear 336 CPW Friends and Neighbors,

I sit here writing this on the spectacularly beautiful, bright, sunny spring day that opens Memorial Day Weekend 2015. I know that some of you – and surmise that many others of you – have already scooted off for an early start to the first big weekend of the summer, for which I offer you fond hopes for fine weather, good times and a relaxing break. As you read this, I will be hoping it was all that in fact.

Since my last letter musing about what we might do in the Annual Meeting, we’ve now actually had the Annual Meeting and two board meetings – the annual organizational board meeting and the first regularly scheduled monthly board meeting of the new, expanded board. I am especially happy to report the following factoids. One, our attendance – in person or by proxy – at the Annual Meeting was better than ever before: 93.55% of all outstanding shares. Two, we had what I thought was an excellent meeting that was both productive and informative, while at the same time being orderly to the point of almost being subdued. We now have a board of 10 where it was 7 last year, and we have 5 new members serving their first full term – James Graff, Patrick McCloskey, Cindy Michel, Todd O’Donald and Seth Segel. The influx of talent and experience and the variety of expertise they contribute is simply gratifying. I hope we will begin promptly to make practical, proper and productive use of all of it.

At the same time, we also have sitting on the board the benefit of plenty of years of direct and successful experience with all things 336 CPW. We are in good shape, I would say — and it’s a good thing, because we have a number of big-picture, longer-term projects and initiatives that are going to be both vital to the building and its residents and challenging. We are already beginning work on many of them. We will keep you posted as they unfold.

One of the topics of discussion at the Annual Meeting was Columbia Grammar & Prep School (CGPS) and the traffic issues that arise at the beginning and the end of the school day. Read More…