Saturday, March 28, 2009

Forum for Discussion

Since someone has been so kind as to take the initiative to organize a tenants meeting, I thought it might also be helpful to create a simple, anonymous web forum for the tenants of 133 Water Street to discuss the building's bankruptcy, issues, etc.

Please feel free to use the comments to communicate and/or coordinate with other tenants in the building.

105 comments:

  1. Does anyone know if we still have a doorman? None today...

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  2. I was wondering the same thing. Great idea for a website and, whoever had the initiative to try to organize a tenants' association, kudos. I like the building and the area, and the doormen are great, but the management has been poor at best.

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  3. Does anybody else have a problem with their toilets? The back fill tank of our toilet seems to collect some type of sediment (or worse) & no matter how good we clean it, the sediment comes back. This makes our toilet bowl get really dirty very quickly. Also, I'm concerned about the water from our kitchen faucet. We filter this water through a Britta filter for our drinking water, but I noticed the water seems hazy when we fill our ice cube trays.

    Other than these concerns, which we haven't approached MIlton about yet, I'm curious to know what other people are frustrated about concerning the management. True, the building went into bankruptcy and the apartments are way overpriced, but so far I haven't noticed any difference stemming from the bankruptcy.

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  4. ... thank you whomever for both the meeting and the website.

    Attached is an email I sent to the management at 11:30 AM (on bottom) and their response (on top).

    -------------------------------------

    Hello,

    The source of the carbon monoxide is from the building next door, which have an illegal chimney.

    We are trying to get a company to come and extend this chimney above our building.

    This matter will be taken care either this weekend or during the week.


    On 3/28/09, William Pordy, MD wrote:

    To the Management of 133 Water Street, Brooklyn:

    Please note, since the toxic levels of carbon monoxide have been recorded in 9B over the last month, I purchased a Kidde CO meter and placed it in my (open) living room. The first two nights, it registered a peak level of 92(!) and 50; this morning at 6:15, it registered 158 (one hundred and fifty-eight!!!!). It took 12 minutes with the window and front door open to go back to zero and by 8:30 it was back at 50.

    Please also note, your bankruptcy (and appalling lack of providing maintenance and cleaning services currently) does not at all protect you from this problem. It is at best disgraceful that you have not replied to 9B's multiple contacts since March 11 and it is surely down a bad road at this point. Should I not hear back presently, I will do anything I can to have the building tagged, and the source of the carbon monoxide found and corrected.


    Wm. Pordy, MD, FACP

    By the way, it is 11:30 and there is no dorrman and no notice as to why - reason?

    bcc: Doug Bomar
    Tom Lambert
    Wm. Maston
    Drs. Kay, Pordy, Uehlinger, Uribarri



    Galit Eyal
    139-27 Queens Blvd
    Briarwood , New York 11435

    ----------------------------------------------

    There have been issues with this chimney since January starting with the fire department arriving 2 AM one morning because of a stench reported by a tenant on the 8th floor. I am not sure how they know that the chimney is the source of the carbon monoxide and if it is so, it is more-than-distressing that they have taken months to do anything about it. If it isn't the chimney, it is equally more-than-distressing that they have not done anything about the situation and the prior reports from the other apartment(s?). We are talking about a potential lethal condition.

    Bill

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  5. I expect all have seen that Milton has not been paid by management for seven weeks and he has therefore not worked since Monday.

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  6. FYI--I think most have seen the flyer sent around, but there is a tenants meeting set for 9pm, Tuesday, March 31, in the lobby.

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  7. Does anyone know how to get in contact with Milton? I think he's pretty solid. Any chance anyone wants to chip in to help him out since he apparently hasn't been getting paid the last several weeks? Alternatively, we could all take $50 out of our monthly rent and give it to him to pay for his services. Other ideas?

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  8. I also wonder if anyone else's electricity bill has been insane and erratic. Ours was over $450 last month, and our bill showed double the kw-hours from our previous highest month, which doesn't seem right.

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  9. Kudos to whoever organized the meeting, and to the creator of this website.

    Here are the facts that I'm aware of:

    --On February 24, 2009, 133 Water Street Realty Group, LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy is the "reorganization" type of bankruptcy, where the company continues to run the building while it attempts to work out a reorganization plan with its creditors.

    --The building is being represented by Avrum J. Rosen of the firm The Law Offices of Avrum J. Rosen, PLLC. (His contact information is listed in the lobby, but he doesn't appear to return calls.)

    --The building's main creditors appear to be GE Capital and /orBroadway Bank, according to the bankruptcy filing. The filing also indicates that the company's debts exceed it assets.

    --The building has not paid Milton, the super, since early February, as a result of which he stopped providing services to the building. However, I heard today that after lots of complaints last night, the owners told him to come back today (which did) and promised to pay hime Monday.

    --No doorman today.

    --Some tenants in the building report having had some serious problems (e.g., recurring carbon monoxide issues), without much of a management response.

    Anything else folks are aware?

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  10. Re the carbon monoxide:

    If anyone wants to see a picture of the problematic chimney (reported on a blog in '06 when the building was being built), check out:

    http://curbed.com/archives/2006/10/26/133_water_update_all_decked_out.php

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  11. The water may be cloudy because there is air in the pipes. We saw the same thing when we lived in Queens. Nothing to be concerned about there.

    As for the electricity bill-we are all metered separately I think. Ours has been under $100 for awhile now.

    I didn't know about Milton-that is pretty shady. And I am wondering about the weekend doorman deal. Makes it mighty hard to pick up packages...

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  12. One question I had, aside from how the building is being operated, is what happens with our security deposits? If the company's debt gets discharged in bankruptcy, does that mean our security deposit disappears, too?

    A quick web search indicates that buildings with 6 or more tenants are supposed to hold the deposit in trust and place it in a interest-bearing bank account, and give the renter notice of which bank. My lease has a place to name the bank, but suspiciously lists "N/A" as the name of the bank.

    Perhaps this is something to discuss at the tenants meeting--how to get assurances that are deposits are being properly treated. (Given the Milton shadiness, this seems a fair question.)

    Is there a bankruptcy lawyer in the building who might have an idea of how that would work?

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  13. I was not aware of the carbon monoxide problem. That definitely needs to be addressed right away.

    We have the same problem with our toilets that was mentioned before.

    We are also willing to contribute to paying Milton, since he is reliable and efficient.

    Does anyone know how many apartments in the building are occupied?

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  14. The issue is that the building and its management were never prepared to run a leased apartment building. From day 1, the building was planed to be condos, and then at the 11th hour back in in April of 2007, they decided to wait out the lull in the market a few years before going condo. Now with the economy tanking, condo prices trending down and rents falling, they are finding it hard to keep up with their debt. That why they are reorganizing.

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  15. THEY HAVENT PAID MILTON!?!?! THAT IS EGREGIOUS BEHAVIOR AND THEY WILL HEAR ABOUT THAT FROM ME!!!

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  16. Thanks to both those who organized the blog and the meeting. My wife and I have not felt the bulding managemnt has ever provided an acceptable level of service, even prior to the bankruptcy.

    A few of the issues we have had are
    - poor reponse time to issues
    - inability to fix issues
    - toilet continue to run or not flush, problems with our heat, cloudy water, etc.
    - we have not been provided instructions on how to work the thermostat and its either freezing in our babys room or extremely hot in the rest of the apartment.

    As far as Milton is concerned I believe he may be working for free.

    I wont be paying Rent on April 1 and will be speaking with a real estate attorney about putting our rent in eskrow for the duration of our residence here.

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  17. I am very distressed that they haven't paid Milton. I hope they have been paying the doormen (the fact that we didn't have one today makes me wonder). My water is cloudy also, but only out of the kitchen faucet. Ditto to the toilet problem. Ever since they fired Darrel (or he left), the management of the building took a nosedive. I am also concerned about the carbon monoxide. It's bad enough for adults, but I have noticed that there are quite a few babies and toddlers in the building. This is NOT right. We need to contact the relevant authorities immediately.

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  18. We had the same problem with the toilets continuing to run, but MIlton was able to fix that. Also, I was under the impression that there was only one unrented apartment in the building.

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  19. Another ditto to the toilet problem. We had one which spontaneously overflowed--thankfully I was home at the time and Roger and Milton arrived quickly, reducing the flood time. I've wondered about the water as well. DEP?

    Very distressing that Milton has not been paid. Totally unacceptable. I'd be happy to reduce my overpriced rent payment and give the difference to Milton. I'm not sure if anyone is aware that Rafael and Roger are now handling some of Milton's work in addition to their "door" responsibilities.

    I came home that evening in January and noticed a toxic smell in the garage, as well as in my apartment. I called my next door neighbor, and then woke the other tenants on the floor. We called the fire department and Con Ed (we had no idea what the smell was-and thought it might be gas) and then ventured to the lobby. The building was checked out for gas and carbon monoxide (we experienced eye irritation, headache, etc.) and the culprit seemed to be the neighboring chimney.

    I suspect that heating problems may stem in part from the fact that not every space is adequately finished with insulation. I remember sheet rock being removed from a neighbor's apartment last year so that insulation could be filled in. Apparently there was a frozen pipe which burst in another apartment and as an additional precaution, tenants were told to keep the heat on at all times. In my apartment, it is warm and toasty in the master bedroom, but at least ten degrees cooler in the living room and kitchen area. In fact, I could almost use certain kitchen cabinets as additional refrigerator space.

    Thanks to those who organized this website and planned the meeting on Tuesday!

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  20. Has anyone else noticed the windows are extremely dirty and have nevere been cleaned?

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  21. I am glad (but also annoyed) to hear that other's have the heat issue--one room (the second bedroom, where our child sleeps) has always seemed a good 10 degrees colder, no matter what.

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  22. I asked Michelle (broker) about the windows being dirty when I moved in and was assured that they were cleaned every few months - but nothing so far...Also, has anybody seen a doorman today? I see the monitor is out & a jacket is on the chair, but I see no doorman. Trickery?

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  23. Rafael's down there. Anyone else notice that he is on the phone every time you are in the lobby anymore? Not a big deal, just something I noticed.

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  24. I have lived in the building since July 2007.

    We had discussed making a tenant group before but glad to see someone is more effective than we are... anyway...

    same problem with the toilets... I have WITHHELD HALF MY RENT until it is repaired. They have not yet repaired it and I continue to withhold rent. I will pay the rent when they have repaired the broken toilet.

    This could be just me, but the water changed consistency and taste at about the same time as the toilet issue began, about 6 months ago. The water acquired a harder, mineral flavor. I don't think there is any real issue here though. Maybe somebody knows more about this.

    The CO levels are a serious issue and there has been no information made from the building to the tennants about this. I live directly adjacent to the chimney. CO is colorless, and odorless and kills. Fortunately it is spring now so the chimney is off. But this will become an issue next winter.

    The exterior walls were not properly insulated during construction. We complained and eventually they opened up the wall, discovered the deficiency, and put in more insulation. This is probably an issue with a large number of apartments. Although they tried to further insulate the wall, our living room remains colder than the other rooms and forces the HVAC to work more than it should, affecting our electricity rates.

    One year ago the apartment above us was unnoccupied in the winter. Because of the insulation problem together with a worker leaving a window open, the water pipes froze and broke and filled our living room with 3-6" of water. It ruined the steel frame of one of our sofas and this was never properly repaired. We gave up trying to have the building repair it after a year.

    ...that Milton isn't paid must be illegal.

    All in all this is the second luxury apartment we have lived in in NYC. We left the first because of an on-going, extreme, mouse infestation.

    I am not sure where our rather high rents go?

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  25. We have been here for about a year and a half and have always received a payment/account statement to send along with our payment one or two weeks prior to the end of the month. Last month we had to call and it came late. We are hessitating to send the rent with out the statement. Has anyone received the payment/statement for April?

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  26. Not only have we not received our April statement, but we never received our statement for March. I contacted management in early March to ensure that we wouldn't be charged the 5% penalty and was told the statement would be mailed. It never came and, therefore, we've paid neither March nor April rent. This makes me uncomfortable, but we're not even sure who we're supposed to be paying at this point.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks to the organizer of this blog and to the person who took the iniative to plan Tuesday's meeting. It's great to finally have a forum for discussion.

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  27. Thanks to the person who organized Tuesday night's meeting and the individual who set up this blog. We are new to the neighborhood and had concerns about our observations @133. It's good to know that we are not the only ones. We are looking forward to discussing proactive solutions concerning the issue w/Milton.

    My husband and I moved into the building in early December 2008.

    We have had the same problems concerning the toilet repair and noxious fumes issue. On the evening of Jan. 15--we smelled a strong odor coming through the vents. We called Michelle (broker) and left her a message about what was happening. Later that night, we slept in the living room b/c the smell in the bedroom was too strong. Firemen came to our apartment in the wee hours of that morning to search our apartment at two different times. They informed us that the neighbors upstairs were concerned--we agreed. When they went out onto our patio the fumes hit them like a ton of bricks. Con Ed came in to check the air in the apartment too. They acknowledged the strong odor as well. They told us they thought it was the chimney in the building next door. On the next day in the early afternoon, the fumes started blowing again from the chimney. We called Roger and the fire department and both responded immediately. This time, they stated that it was, indeed, the furnace in the facility next door. The fire dept. entered the locked building and turned off the furnace. Later that same day, my husband passed thru the lobby @133, and met a man who worked at the facility next door. The man pleaded w/my husband to stop calling the fire department and said that someone would repair the furnace that Monday. Our main concern was for the quality of the air that all of us were breathing, so my husband told him that if we smelled the fumes again--we'll call the fire department again. This whole thing happened while we were preparing to head out of town for the week. We were hopeful that the situation would be resolved by that Monday as promised by the man next door. Upon our return we smelled no more fumes. We thought the issue was resolved, thanks to this blog we've learned otherwise.

    FYI: I was informed that Roger and Rafael work for an outside company separate from the management of this building. As of a couple of weeks ago (when I asked), they were paid. Milton and the people who work for the management company have not been paid for weeks now, as far as I know, but I have been out of town for a week and a half. Lastly, we have not received payment/account statements for March or April yet..

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  28. I think the issue of statements is irrelevant to payment. I am an attorney (not a real estate attorney), but I think whether you receive your statement or not is irrelevant to whether and when you have to pay. Presumably, everyone signed a lease for a fixed period, so you know what to pay. I would recommend paying that every month, so as to protect yourself agains the 5% penalty. I do not believe that failing to send the invoice would absolve you from paying the 5% if the management company pressed the issue. If there are other attorneys on here, you may disagree. If so, please share your thoughts.

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  29. One more thing--I think the letter posted by the mailbox says that the owners are debtors in possession, and that you can continue to pay the same people. That should answer the question about whom to pay.

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  30. I paid last months rent, even without a payment statement - I don't feel comfortable withholding rent until they send payment statements, because the lease requires a monthly rent, regardless of a bill. They've cashed the rent check as normal. I did write the management company last month when I didn't receive a bill and got a very truncated response saying the bills were on their way & the bankruptcy (filed for non-monetary reasons?) will not affect us as tenants.

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  31. Thanks so much to the people who organized the meeting and set up the website…GREAT JOB!

    Below are some of the problems my husband and I have encountered since living at 133 Water Street.

    1.RENT PAYMENT: Prior to moving into 133 Water Street we paid for the first month and a half (we moved in the middle of August 2007), last month, a $1000 move in deposit, and a security deposit equivalent to our monthly rate. Not only did they lose our $1000 move in deposit but they hassled us for our first month’s rent in September 2007 (which we paid before moving in) and then again in October 2007 because they lost the check we sent (which they later found in their office).

    2.HEAT: The broker/real estate agent clearly said that the heat was included in the rent at 133 Water Street. The lease states that the heat is included with the rent…the heat is NOT included. After turning the heat on for the first time in 2007 our electric bill was very high. Therefore, we decided to investigate. We turned off everything in our apartment at the circuit breaker and checked the meter in the basement and it stopped. As soon as we turned the heat on (and only the heat) it started spinning quickly. When we addressed the management about the problem, they gave many excuses and eventually said it was a mistake in the lease.

    3.UNSAFE WATER: They recently had to fix the boiler because there was no hot water in the building. In doing so, they did some work on the water pipes. Unfortunately, they did not inform anyone in the building about this so dirty brown water was running through the pipes. When I saw the problem, I called management and they said, “Yes, we fixed the boiler. You should run the water in each faucet for 20 minutes on hot to clear the lines.” Why were the tenants not notified?

    4.CARBON MONOXIDE: Recently there have been carbon monoxide problems at 133 Water as verified by the NYFD. Why were the tenants not notified about this lethal gas? The Carbon Monoxide detectors in the apartments do not go off unless the levels are over 70ppm. Infants, elderly, and those with respiratory problems can be affected much earlier. Levels have been detected in our building at 100+

    http://www.cosafety.org/Aboutco.htm

    5.DRAINS: Bathtubs and showers do not drain correctly in our apartment. Water continuously stands in the bathtubs and showers because they were poured/laid incorrectly.

    6.TOILETS: The toilets don’t flush correctly – sometimes they flush and sometimes they don’t regardless if they have been used or not.

    7.INSULLATION: We have had problems with insulation in our apartment. There is a definite cold draft by our stove and they have had frozen pipes in between our apartment and our neighbors due to poor insulation.

    I think a clear communication between tenants and the management company would help some of these issues. The management company is poor at best when it comes to responding to questions and/or concerns. They have never clearly stated who tenants should contact with problems (Galit, Edan, Milton, Roger, Raphael, etc.). Simple issues such as dirty windows could be easily addressed and major issues such as the carbon monoxide and dirty water notifications could be easily sent with minimal effort on their part.

    Finally, I agree that we as tenants need to make sure that Milton is paid by the management company and/or help pay him ourselves. Not paying him is inexcusable!

    Looking forward to our meeting on Tuesday.

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  32. Based on the above, it seems like the following might make for some constructive, immediate requests to the management company:

    1. Carbon Monoxide: Ask the management to immediately rectify the issue (attested to by the NYFD) and provide the entire building a full overview of the issue and resolution.

    2. Dedicated Super: Ask the management to give us assurances that they'll continue to have a dedicated super for the building (i.e., Milton)and someone on call 24/7 (as required by law). Also ask them to pay Milton everything he is owed and to continue to pay him going-forward on a timely basis.

    3. Overview of the Bankruptcy: Ask the management to provide the building with an explanation of the bankruptcy proceeding and make asurances that it will continue to operate the building without any interruptions in services (e.g., doorman, utilities, etc.).

    4. Security Deposit. Ask the management to assure the building that it's properly deposited everyone's security deposit in a separate account, per the legal rules, and tell us where they've done so. This may become an issue if the building's debts are fully discharged.

    It might also make sense to ask the management company to sit down with the tenants to discuss the other, perhaps less-immediate issues that people have raised (window washing, toilet and water issues, proper insulation, rent payment notices, etc.).

    Thoughts?

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  33. Agree with the posting at 6:50pm 29 March

    This will expedite the Tuesday meeting.

    Thanks

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  34. I just called the Management company regarding not receiving my account statement/payment coupon for the upcoming April rent payment. The woman I spoke with on the phone said she was processing those now and that the statements would come a few days late. I asked her why, ever since 133 Water Street, LLC, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection that the payment statements now arrive late, when they used to be placed under the door two weeks early. I told her, you would think the Management company would send these out even quicker, being that it is the rent money from the units that will keep them still operating as a debtor in possession. The woman at the Management company replied that the statements are now late because now she has to do everything by herself in the office. It sounds like they let people go due to their dire financial situation. She said it was okay to wait for the statement to arrive and then send my April rent payment.

    Most importantly, she said that starting May 1st, if not before this date, that a NEW Management Company would be taking over and that they will be customer service orientated and will address tenants complaints. I did not ask any further questions, as I was at work and had to actually get back to work right at that moment.

    Anyways, has anyone here heard anything similar about a NEW Management Company
    taking over soon? Has the building been sold?

    Thanks for the person providing this blog/forum. I think people living here at the moment have similar problems and concerns and reading the comments posted on this blog at least helps to alleviate some fear regarding the current situation here.

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  35. For those interested, I saw a notice at the mailboxes from Milton saying that he quit due to his not being paid. He left his phone number.

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  36. The building has definitely been a mess since the beginning. From the half-assed gym, to the terrible looking "roof deck" that looks like a five year old put it together, to the lobby floor that has numerous cracks.

    It just appears that everything was put together with the idea of turning a quick buck. The hot water, heat, and A/C issues have occurred far too often. The “wood” floors have begun to show every increasing gaps. I am now able to stick a quarter between the gaps. The drywall has countless cracks from ceiling to the floor and only appears to be getting worse.

    Also, when the gym flooded from the burst pipe, they just patched up the wall and left the mildew growing from the flood. I could only imagine what is growing behind the walls.

    The good things: soundproofing, doormen and Milton are (were) good, location, nice kitchen appliances.

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  37. I someone going to invite management to attend the mtg this evening?

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  38. ... I would hope not.

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  39. It's the drug dealer/architect here... thanks for the meeting! I will try to track down information from the architects who made the joint. I will post any discoveries.

    Good luck everyone!

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  40. For the ones intersted:
    The health effects of CO depend on the CO concentration and length of exposure, as well as each individual's health condition. CO concentration is measured in parts per million (ppm). Most people will not experience any symptoms from prolonged exposure to CO levels of approximately 1 to 70 ppm but some heart patients might experience an increase in chest pain. As CO levels increase and remain above 70 ppm, symptoms become more noticeable and can include headache, fatigue and nausea. At sustained CO concentrations above 150 to 200 ppm, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.

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  41. This sounds extreme, but has anyone thougt of calling that FOX5 show SHAME,SHAME,SHAME to go to the boardwalk offices to get answers to uor problems? Maybe this would work!!

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  42. If anyone gets a CO reading or has any questions about our CO issue and/or our dealings with the owner & management please feel free to contact me dougbomar@gmail.com.

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  43. Someone should call Fox 5 "Shame, Shame, Shame"

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  44. plugged in the monitor after the meeting and my reading remains at zero- perhaps it is an isolated problem-will continue to monitor incase it changes as the day proceeds

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  45. I forgot to mention last night that all the apartments have a CO alarm in the corridor connected to the smoke detector. I have checked my and it is functioning. I could not say why the store bought alarms are detecting CO while the ceiling mounted ones are not?

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  46. I believe the ceiling mounted one went off in Doug and Laurie's apartment, which is what keyed them in on this issue.

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  47. i installed a meter last night and has been reading zero as well.

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  48. My Kidde CO meter went off for the first time this morning.

    Last night after the tenants' meeting, I was showing Dan and Kari (9D) and Scott (9C) how to use the Kidde alarm and how to reset it. (Of note. at that point, 9C's peak level since the morning or the previous evening had been 29 (all windows closed, low down in living room, far, far away from alleged chimney), 9B's had been 68 and mine had been 43.)

    When I came back, I plugged the reset meter in: It was zero at 11 PM, zero at 12:30 AM, zero at 3:10 AM and zero 5:44 AM with a peak level of zero. Secure, I feel asleep, though was awaken at 8:44 AM with the alarm at 40. It must have been high for quite a while since 5:44 for the alarm to go off.

    The reading started to dissipate as soon as I opened the window wide though it took about twelve minutes to reach zero again. It has remained zero ... with the steam from the chimney billowing to the right of my window.

    Now the building has three separate apartments with significant readings and two with alarms. (I am not sending this to Boardwalk with the court date set -- anyone who can make it it would be great if they could.)

    Bill
    wpordy@nyc.rr.com

    To answer the question above: 1) the air is cold these days, so CO may (underscore) fall (though combustion gases are usually hotter than air and rise), 2) Kidde meters may be more sensitive, and most important 3) alram response times are long: from 5 minutes at 400 PPM to 240 minutes at 70 PPM - we are using meters to record levels BEFORE dangerous situations. Anyone who has a meter, check the peak level (press the button on right) v looking at the meter to see the current level which may be zero (SEE ABOVE).

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  49. Hello everyone,

    Thank you to whoever set up this blog and to Rich and his wife for organizing yesterday’s meeting.

    I work in Real Estate and therefore have some experience with building systems, new construction, etc. After yesterday’s meeting I reached out to some colleagues- specifically an engineer and an environmental specialist and in my comments below I am paraphrasing my conversation with them and giving my own professional opinion

    1. Carbon Monoxide: I thought it was very odd that this issue appears to only be affecting one floor in the building. And the reading levels that people were mentioning were VERY high. Just as an example OSHA max levels for a safe working environment are 9PPM. So levels of 100+ for a sustained period of time are HIGHLY toxic.

    That being said the levels of 100+ are off the charts and therefore the first recommendation I was given was to test a different meter to confirm those readings. The consultant I spoke to clearly said that sustained exposure to levels that high for any continuous period of time would have already manifested themselves in one of the various symptoms that carbon monoxide poisoning can cause. He recommended a company called http://www.pine-environmental.com/. They rent professional quality environmental monitoring equipment. If meter readings then come back at high levels we have a clear lawsuit on our hands and it would be advisable for us as a group to hire a 3rd party environmental consultant to conduct a full 24 hour air-monitoring survey for our case.

    1a. Cause of the CO

    The HVAC system is unlikely to be the cause of this issue as it is an electric based central system. The only thing that I can think of is the exhaust/flue for the boiler. There must be a riser from the boiler that runs up to the roof of the building exhausting that high pressure steam (depending on oil/or gas system) produced by the boiler. If there is a material defect in the flue, the seepage and particles of contaminated air could, in theory, be affecting the floor where there is a defect. The consultant I spoke to however thought it is very unlikely, with all the travel and circulation & dispersion of air in the flue that levels of carbon monoxide could be that high as to give off those kinds of levels.

    2) Structural and Miscellaneous issues

    I've put in a special request to the Department of Buildings through a "friend" to obtain a copy of the full construction drawings that were required in order to obtain a certificate of occupancy for the building.

    If it is in fact true that a portion of the building’s facade does not have insulation then this is a very clear violation of NYS energy codes and again we have cause for another class action suit. In this case I would again recommend hiring a third party consultant to do a Phase 1 and property conditions report.

    3) Not paying rent

    NY courts will almost always side with the tenant and therefore if you’re afraid to hold back rent because of the threat of eviction there is nothing to worry about- however there are caveats. Up until the court issues a warrant of eviction you can pay rent and stop the process (which often takes months). However, you will be responsible for all the interest, as dictated by the lease, for the period of non-payment.

    If you’re holding back partial amounts, as someone mentioned yesterday, there is enough case law to protect you as long as the reason for rent hold back is reasonable and you have been well documenting everything. Most often, a tenant will do the repair work himself and deduct the bill for those repairs from his rent.

    As far as the promise of "luxury" and other amenities that was promised to us. Unless there is specific language in the lease (which I doubt) attesting to the doorman, super, quality of the gym, etc. then that is not due cause to hold back rent payment. As long as the manager can demonstrate a commercially reasonable response time to complaints then a super is not absolutely required - although in our case their response time has been hit or miss.

    Look forward to seeing everyone and discussing these items next week.

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  50. Is there another meeting next week? If so, what time. I was not able to attend last night.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I live in 5B, I was wondering if I could borrow someone's carbon monoxide detector this evening to see if our apartment is dangerous. Please let me know, you can call me at (917) 750-8760. Thanks.

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  52. Hello 133 Water residents,
    This is Hide from DumboNYC.com. A few residents emailed me this discussion thread, and wanted to
    (1) see if anyone wanted to discuss the issues with me via email and
    (2) your thoughts on a posting of the issues on the Dumbo site, if it will help push management towards a positive resolution on the CO issue and the non-payments to Milton.

    I'd hate to see someone's health and job(s) affected with mismanagement in their own homes. Feel free to email me at dumbonyc@gmail.com.
    Best,
    -hide

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  53. Does anyone have Galit's e-mail address?

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  54. She has always emailed me from boardwalkmgmt@gmail.com.

    She signs her emails as Galit Eyal but her email addres shows up as Galit Hershco, which never made sense until I found out yesterday that Ron Herscho owns the building. At least according to campaign finance filings, they both live at the same address. Does that make her the owner's wife? Maybe his sister?

    Sounds like the definition of a captive management company...

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  55. Boardwalkmgmt@gmail.com

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  56. Simply more fun with Google: The building owner (Herscho) also owns a company called "Galit Properties" (http://www.manta.com/coms2/dnbcompany_j8mjj5).

    If you google his real name "Yaron Hershco" you mostly get lawsuits...

    ReplyDelete
  57. Interesting--that's the the e-mail address she gave us, and strangely, we never got an updated address.

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  58. Please Note:
    We now have an entire floor (9) + hall (all facing different directions of course) measuring high / very high / toxic levels of carbon monoxide.
    Overnight, 9D was 29 PPM, 9C was 42 PPM, I was 83 PPM (two different types of meters). No meter alarms (or ceiling alarms) went off - the importance of measuring with a meter before the "bell" goes off; for your interest, highest levels tend to be early AM around six.
    Anyone who can join Doug and I at the emergency court hearing at 141 Livingston St, Room 409, please do.
    Bill
    9A

    ReplyDelete
  59. What day and time is the hearing?

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  60. We live in 5A--had CO meters in two different rooms (living room and hallway) all night, and got 0 readings all night. We will keep them going and update as needed.

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  61. 6D here--had the kidde monitor running since yesterday. Only zero readings. Will run it a few more days but thereafter happy to lend it on for someone else to test a few nights.

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  62. Hearing is tomorrow Friday, 141 Livingston (close by - one train stop), Rm 409, 9:30 AM.
    Glad about 5A and 6D (a few floors down) - please confirm that these zeros are Peak Level reading (button on the right - the highest level since the individual meter was reset) and not views (reading) at specific times.

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  63. 5A here--Both instantaneous and peak registered 0, in both rooms. But, we're not convinced yet, so we'll keep monitoring.

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  64. When is our next meeting?

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  65. 6D here. 0 reading since last night is peak.

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  66. Is anyone else totally perplexed by the payment notice recieved today? It's now back to "Boardwalk Management," with a new address, and asks us to make the check payable to Boardwalk Management, not to Water Street Realty LLC. That's madness. I cannot encourage everyone enough NOT to write a check to that entity. God only know what happens to that money.

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  67. If the owners make no meaningful response to the CO2 issues at tomorrow's hearing, I strongly urge someone who lives on 8 or 9 to reach out to the Brooklyn DA about potential criminal endangerment charges...

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  68. does anyone have the number to the phone in the lobby at the doorman's desk?

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  69. I saw Milton in the lobby a couple of days ago and he told me he finally got paid. This is good news!

    Regarding the account payment statement, for me it is too late, I finally dropped the check in the mail this morning made out Boardwalk Management. I guess I'm trying to hope that now that they have filed Chapter 11 they will turn this building around for the better. They had a phone number on the payment statement that said we as tenants should call for any concerns or problems we may have, (718) 788-8900. Has anyone tried calling this number?

    Can someone please post on this blog the results of the hearing this morning? If the management continues to ignore all the various structural problems as well as the lethal CO2 issues in the building, than they are more criminal than ever.

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  70. FYI ALL--there is a guy from NYC DEP in the lobby as we speak. He told me that he was asked by the DEP Commissioner himself to come tonight and check out the building. Milton is on his way to the building--he apparently would like to crank up the boiler and take readings on 8 or 9. He was looking for someone who lived on 8 or 9 but couldn't reacho anyone. If you live on those floors, I suggest you go and see him (Simon) so that he take a real reading from your apartment.

    (Note that it is 8pm Friday as I write this.)

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  71. 12A-I bought 2 Kidde meters and an additional CO alarm for the living room area. The meters consistently read 0 but the peak level in my bedroom was 17 and in my son's room 16.

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  72. what happened with the DEP- does anyone know what his readings were-did he go into the apartments on the 9th floor-would like to know how accurate these KIDDE meters are since mine reads zero-curious as to why no one has symptoms with such high readings on a regular basis-
    what happened in court today -did the landlord have anyone show?

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  73. What Happened Today:

    Doug and I are both just more than knocked out from today but here is a (now notso) brief summary:

    1) My peak this AM was 72, 9D was 19; thank you 12 A for our report above please know that peak levels mean that CO was there.

    2) Housing court - a mess - Boardwalk / Water St did not show up after being served (but one day late and the judge discarded the case despite the critical issue!?). Even had the case not been dismissed, by not showing up they would have had six ays to respond and only would have received a fine!? GE Cap did show up but they will likely be excused based on their contract at the next hearing May 5. Their lawyer was very supportive of finding out the cause. The HPD lawyer however gave use tons of misinformation such as it is the FDNY that is in charge of vacating (not true). She said neither she nor her supervisor ever had an issue with CO !? and that HPD was not the right department.

    Just great.

    3) At 1:30 - literally dazed and confused, we went to the Brooklyn DA especially as there seemed to be criminal/civil negligence on the part of the management, e.g., they wrote to Doug March 11 they would do nothing about the CO readings that day, they wrote to both of us twice they knew the source of CO and would extend the chimney above our roof line by today (nothing done, not even a worker has been here). It was a very with-it paralegal at the Brooklyn DA's office who was able to get to the Executive Director of Emergency Response at DEP to send DEP folks over to the building a 4:30 (nothing to do with the above tonight) and our carrying on also got a HPD investigative supervisor at the same time. They saw all the data and timelines and went through the building.Here's the skinny:
    - there were no CO readings at the time in either apt or the basement boiler, electri room, roof boilers etc.
    - they saw my peak since 9:15 AM when I left for court was 15 though the current readings at the time were zero
    - they measured the chimney, it read zero of course, and they additionally confirmed that the source cannot be the chimney for multiple reasons (see above)
    - they believe that the issue is a breach/ rupture in an effluent pipe of the hot water boiler in the basement (less likely than the hot air boilers on the roof) and /or a chase within the building (and remember it is very likely the chases / pipes are poorly insulated if at all maybe making dissipation worse)
    - they are sending over the Bureau of Air Resources for further investigation to try and discover the source.

    PLEASE tell everyone you know on surrounding floors: 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, or below to get a (Kidde) meter with digital readout and to keep documentation and photos of time / peak levels etc. (they can send them to me as a repository).

    PLEASE, when you have readings - with peak levels even better, any - call DEP at 718 595-4784 (between 8 AM and 6 PM, otherwise call 311, and tell them that they (DEP) were here on Friday afternoon 4/3). Open your windows immediately of course but hopefully they will get her fast enough to still have readings and be able to track the problem. Note the highest readings, and alarms, on the ninth floor are in the early morning 5:30 - 7.

    Today proved (some) relief and real direction - we still have a real potentially lethal problem that needs to be fixed tout suite. And if it is a problem in a pipe or a chase, the fact that is can cross 60 - 80 feet through apartments and hallways, it might also be able to rise and fall 60 - 80 feet vertically.

    Thanks -

    Bill
    wpordy@nyc.rr.com

    ReplyDelete
  74. Mi fanno schifo!

    So at 6:15 my meter read 62 with a peak of 69. At 2 AM it had been zero and zero; 9B's peak was 26 (plugged in at midnight). When I opened the window wide, it dissipated pronto.

    In the meantime, I did what we had arranged above with no luck - 311 wouldn't contact DEP, nor could 911. I emailed the contacts at HPD and DEP immediately to let them know of the reading and the non-functioning plan -- they have to be here when there are readings and CO is in the air.

    I may start calling FDNY each/ever time the meter reads more than zero. Maybe that's what everyone with a meter should do. Maybe they will get tired of coming and get something done. (The peaks are almost always early in the morning before city agencies are open).

    ReplyDelete
  75. 9D reported a reading in their bathroom of 42 PPM @ 9AM.

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  76. Think we may have a mold problem as well...meter readings still at 17 and 16 (peak).

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  77. Doug and Bill were both down in the lobby; spoke to them, and they can fill in the details later if they choose, but bottom line is that the fire department was here (just left) and was registering 1000 ppm on parts of the 9th floor. Apparently, they also think that the chimney next door is causing the problem. I'm on 5 and still registering 0, but if you're anywhere near 9, you might consider buying a meter if you don't have one already.

    ReplyDelete
  78. 5D here. zero reading after 3 days of monitoring.

    Our hot water in the kitchen and bathroom sink is out. anyojne else have this problem?

    anyone wants to borrow my monitor fell free just knock.

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  79. Spoke with the FDNY this pm in lobby, they said bioler driving the chimney next door has been shut off, tagged, locked, and anyone who turns it on goes to jail.

    sounds like progress...

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  80. is that why there's been no hot water all afternoon?

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  81. I think there's been no hot water b/c they turned the boiler off here to see if that was the issue. the hot water should be working again.

    Also, we're on 5, and registered an 11 on our CO meter, but for a very short period of time. I suspect it's our stove, which was in use at the time (although it is about 20 feet away).

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  82. Since the boiler next door is off, has Bill or anyone on 9 been having there store bought meters record CO?

    We are on 8 and our ceiling mounted still does not register CO.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  83. From Bill:

    Since the time the boiler next door was shut down, my apt and 9B read zero and zero. The Fire Dept. points out that the building next door can still turn it back on(regardless of the threat of jail) and they have had that experience ... so we're leaving our meters in place and on.

    Regard above, remember the ceiling mounted alarm needs time and levels to go off (see above). When the reading outside 9B on their terrace was 1,000 PPM this afternoon and the Kidde meter in their LR read 189 PPM, the ceiling alarm still did not go off.

    One other thing, it may well be that folks who have meter readings in their apartments may have had chronic exposure to CO as Doug pointed out - the chimney has been running since we've been here. Of course we'll never know or be able to prove it, and I have no clue - nor do I think anyone does - what the implications may be. I am trying to find out through Occupational Medicine contacts etc. but if anyone else has such or other connections, please let us all know as I will.

    Thanks.

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  84. If they turn it on, perhaps it is best to call the PD along with the FD?

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  85. My doctor said there is a test to determine if there is CO in the blood. He said he would send a prescription. Those with significant readings or anyone with less frightening readings might want to consider getting tested. I'm also thinking about moving. I don't really want to wonder when and if the building next door is going to be moral in dealing with this matter. And this building really hasn't shown much consideration either.

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  86. Please go and see the NYC Class B building Violation on the front door (before the management company takes it down).

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  87. To Gym and Playroom users:
    Hi there,
    Though this is not a serious matter, it would be greatly appreciated if people would put the weights back in the weight rack when through and any other equipment that is used back out of the way and not in the middle of the gym.

    Also, if parents and babysitters could please keep their children in the playroom and not let them wander around the gym especially when people are working out.

    A couple of weeks ago there were toys and bits of chalk and broken crayons in the gym. There was also one of the knobs from the gym equipment in the center of the pile. I don't understand who would let their child take apart equipment and leave such a mess.

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  88. http://dumbonyc.com/2009/04/09/133-water-street

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  89. Does anyone know whether the boiler has been on in the building next door at all since the citation was issued?

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  90. Just to let tenants know- we have had some dealings with the new management company and although they seem to have responded quickly initially-they did not rectify the problem at all-i think they do not have the money to purchase any materials.

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  91. Is this issue you mention involving the Carbon Monoxide problem or one of the many other issues in the building?

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  92. I live at another building that Yaron Herscho is involved in. He is a crook! He screws evryone he does business with. I suggest you call the NY State attorney generals office. They are well aware of this guy. Trust me...you have to all come together to fight this monster!

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  93. The building he built in which I live in has all the same problems your building has. You all need to hire an attorney. Contact all your local government officals and explain to them the situation you are all in. You need to take action. You live in a new building, after 10 yrs how do you think your quality of life will be. Hire an engineer right away and build your case. Get the AG's office involved!

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  94. It doesn't appear that there's much dialogue here lately, but another neighbor let me know today that our front door no longer remains locked and can be opened by ANYONE, with or without tag. I haven't paid my rent for April and was wondering what others were doing.

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  95. I haven't paid my rent for May yet, has anyone received rent bills, or even know who to send our rent to?

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  96. There is a new thread for his blog with some more current information. Here is the link: http://133water.blogspot.com/2009/04/new-thread.html

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  97. I Think this discussion about the problem of a shortage of water and the problem that represent it, must to support the idea for try to save our environment and increase the water again.

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  98. Hello, soo... what's the status on this building? It's about a year since all the bankruptcy and carbon monoxide issues....

    Has this been "solved"? Is the building still a mess? Things under control? Much worse?

    Would love to hear back from you tenants.

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  99. I really love living here. Things have def turned around for the best. Hopefully one day I can buy a unit here. Love water street. Really appreciate the management and the staff is great.

    ReplyDelete
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