Our Work

Rent Laws Renewed with paltry improvements

After a long campaign that would not have been possible without your support, Governor Cuomo sided with the real estate industry over New York tenants and renewed the rent laws for four years with almost no changes. This is a direct message to tenants that the real estate industry still owns Albany.

There is still more to be done: on Monday, June 29th, NYC’s Rent Guidelines Board will convene for a final vote on one and two-year rent increases, effective Oct. 1, 2015 to Sep. 30, 2016.

For a second consecutive year, the RGB – spurred by the voices & testimonies of some of NYC’s 2.5 million rent-stabilized tenants – is considering a rent freeze.  While last year’s rates were a historic low, they certainly weren’t low enough for many tenants living on fixed incomes, or paycheck to paycheck.  We need a freeze – or even better, a rent rollback.

Come join us on the 29th at 5:30pm, over at Cooper Union’s Great Hall (7 East 7th Street, at 3rd Avenue), as we rally alongside other tenants and housing groups for a rent freeze!

The rent law legislation included:

Read More

Rent Laws expired — your rights and what you can do

Your rights:

No matter what happens this week, you are protected until the end of your lease. Our colleague Ilana Maier at the Metropolitan Council on Housing says in today’s New York Times that “The fear is not that tenants will immediately lose their legal rights,” she said. “They won’t. The danger is that landlords will take advantage of the confusion and anxiety around the expiration of the rent laws to further harass rent-regulated tenants.”

For more information about your rights in case of expiration, see the Public Advocate’s information sheet here: http://bit.ly/rentlawsrights

CALL GOVERNOR CUOMO TODAY

Only days after thousands of tenants took over Albany on Tuesday for stronger rent laws, and after seven activists were arrested Thursday morning while blocking the entrance to Governor Cuomo’s NYC office, Andrew Cuomo is back to playing games. A week ago he called for stronger rent laws and an end to deregulation. Now he says the best he can do is renew them in their current weakened form. A straight extender of the rent laws as is would be a disaster, resulting in a steady loss every year of rent-protected apartments in NYC and the three suburban counties, and an ultimate end of the program.

Tell Governor Cuomo: Tenants Are Watching & We Will Remember.
CALL:  (518) 474-8390, press 3

Sample Script for Gov:  “Hello, my name is ____________ and I’m a tenant.  I’m calling to tell the Governor to strengthen the rent laws & end deregulation.  Renewing the rent laws is not enough – the Gov. must strengthen the rent laws & end deregulation. If he does not do this I will never vote for him again.”

The more calls he gets on this issue the better! Get your friends and neighbors to call!

If you have any questions, you can contact the Cooper Square Committee
at (212) 228-8210 or csc@coopersquare.org.

 

UPDATE RE: 2ND AVENUE AND 7TH STREET BUILDING COLLAPSES

Updated April 9, 2015

 

Legal Clinic for Tenants/Families of All Affected Buildings
Monday, April 20, 2015, 7 PM @ 59-61 E 4th St, 4th Floor

Attorneys and housing advocates will be present to inform tenants of their housing and personal property damage rights. No appointment is necessary. Tenants, relatives and their friends are welcomed to this meeting.

Sponsored by GOLES and CSC

It’s been 2 weeks since the tragic explosion at Sushi Park at 121 2nd Avenue caused a fire that resulted in the collapse of 119, 121 and 123 Second Avenue.  We join in mourning the death of two young men, and the injuries sustained by many others.

15 households in the collapsed buildings lost their homes. Multiple buildings had vacated orders in the immediate aftermath, affecting over 180 households and temporarily closing two dozen businesses.  Two buildings, 125 Second Avenue (26 residential units and 2 stores) and 41-43 East 7th Street (22 residential units) still have vacate orders in effect.

The NYC Dept. of Buildings stated at a public meeting on April 2nd that they think the vacate can be lifted on the residential units in 2 to 3 weeks once windows on the east side of the building and broken doors are replaced.   125 Second Avenue has more damage, and repairs are likely to take 4 to 6 weeks before the vacate order can be lifted on most of the units.  4 apartments on the top 2 floors had fire damage and repairs are likely to take several months.

The City’s Resident Service Center is now located at 59 East 4th Street in the Community Board 3 office, which will remain in operation til the end of this week.  Multiple agencies, including the NYC Office of Emergency Management, the American Red Cross, NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development, the Human Resources Administration, Con Edison, the ASPCA and Lower East Side Ready have worked to staff it over the past two weeks.

As a member of Lower East Side Ready, the Cooper Square Committee (CSC) partnered with GOLES to co-sponsor a legal clinic on March 30th for displaced tenants, inviting attorneys from MFY Legal Services and the Urban Justice Center as well as a couple of private attorneys to advise tenants about how they can secure their right to return, expedite repairs and obtain compensation for damages.

Follow up meetings with affected buildings are planned. Given that a criminal investigation is underway, criminal and civil cases are likely to be a lengthy process.

CSC and the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association (MHA) have begun to interview several of the tenants whose homes were destroyed to arrange placing them in temporary housing in MHA apartments.  Other housing providers have also offered assistance. We will continue to work with our local elected officials, government agencies and non-profit partners to assist affected residents and businesses in any way we can to help them recover from this disaster.  If you wish to offer financial support to those affected, you may donate to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC (link below).

~Steve Herrick, Executive Director

The Cooper Square Committee’s Organizing Work & Accomplishments in 2014

Our organizing team was so busy in 2014. We accomplished a ton in this past year… read on about all the ways we’ve been stopping displacement and building community!!

Download the PDF version of this Roundup!Click here to download the PDF version of this Roundup! 

Major Organizing Efforts and Coalitions

  • Through partnering with St. Nick’s alliance and the Urban Justice Center (UJC), Cooper Square Committee (CSC) created a much-needed campaign to reform the Department of Buildings (DOB) in 2014. For well over a year preceding this we had been working with community members to organize and draw attention to the problem of “construction as harassment.” In 2014 we were able to further connect with some of our most steadfast allies (close to 20 organizations) throughout the City to formalize a campaign to reform DOB and work on ending “construction as harassment.” The work we did last year is leading us to a pivotal year in 2015 where we will be looking to create new laws to better support tenants who are dealing with landlords who use the guise of construction to harass.
  • Click on any photo to enlarge. All photos on this page taken by CSC unless otherwise noted.

 

  • CSC’s organizing department was a lead community-group partner with the NYS Attorney General’s (AG) office in their investigation of the “tenant relocator” Michel Pimienta. The organizing we did and information we provided helped the AG wage a precedent-setting investigation which led to the shuttering of Michel’s operations.  UJC and CAAAV were also partners in this effort.

 

  • Photo credit: Zach Williams for The Villager

    Press conference at Mahfar building, 210 Rivington. Photo credit: Zach Williams for The Villager

    Led the organizing to help form the Mahfar Tenants Coalition. Both UJC and CAAAV are also involved with the amazing work happening here. This coalition, which includes half a dozen Samy Mahfar (SMA Equities) owned buildings, is fiercely pushing back against this landlord’s attempt to vacate and renovate Lower East Side (LES) buildings en masse. In 2014 the tenants from these buildings called Mahfar to the table, used city agencies and local politicians to step up enforcement in their buildings, and held a powerful press conference in December 2014 after lead contamination was verified to have occurred in their buildings.  The tenants of the Mahfar Tenants Coalition have proven to be some of the strongest fighters we’ve seen in 2014! Read More

2014 RGB Vote

1% and 2.75%

More details here.

Despite a massive turnout of tenants at last night’s Rent Guidelines Board vote, and calls for a rent freeze, the RGB voted for a 1% increase on one-year leases, and 2.75% for two-year leases. While it’s disappointing that the RGB didn’t vote for a rent freeze, the 1% increase for a one-year lease is the lowest ever in the 45 year history of the RGB. The tenants’ movement can take credit for making that happen. Now let’s focus on strengthening the NY State rent laws when they come up for renewal in June of next year. Let’s stay mobilized!

~ Steve Herrick, Executive Director

Cooper Square Committee’s Transitional Homeless Housing Plan for LGBT Youth Moving Forward

The NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is expected to file the Urban Development Action Area Plan for the Bea Arthur Residence at 222 E. 13th St. with the City Council in the coming weeks. The City Council must pass a resolution designating the project a UDAAP, and authorizing a long term tax exemption, which is a formality since local Councilmember Rosie Mendez is a strong supporter of the project and helped secure $3.3 million for its development. The Cooper Square Committee (CSC) is partnering with the Ali Forney Center (AFC) to renovate a vacant building at 222 E. 13th St. to house 18 homeless LGBT youth ages 18-24. CSC has done the bulk of the pre-development work, and will oversee the renovation, and AFC will rent up and manage the building when it’s completed. Project architects, Magnusson Architecture and Planning are expected to file the approved building plans with the NYC Dept. of Buildings within the next week. “We are hoping to acquire the building by the end of May, and start renovation immediately after that” says CSC Executive Director, Steve Herrick.

 

Experienced out-of-control construction? Take the RTE survey!

rte2014feb-img

We are working on collecting data on what tenants face during mismanaged construction so that we can create new laws and put an end to it.  If this is something you have experienced, please come into the CSC office (61 E 4th St) to pick up and fill out a Real-Time Enforcement Construction survey.  Tenant leaders and CSC organizers can also bring surveys to your building for you and your neighbors to fill out, or you can get help get involved with mass distribution yourself! Email Brandon for more details.

Read More

Real-Time Enforcement (RTE) Information Session Next Wednesday! 2/26

rte2014feb-img

Come learn how to keep your home safe and livable during construction!

Weds 2/26/2014, 7 PM – 8:30 PM 

59-61 E. 4th St., 4th Floor, Manhattan

 (handicapped accessible)

At this session you can:

  • Hear more about the RTE Campaign’s 2014 agenda
  • Get involved with a subcommittee
    (survey distrib., media relations, regulation reform, actions/demonstrations)
  • Take the survey, & distribute to your neighbors
  • General Construction Q & A

Refreshments served!  For more info,  download the flyer, or contact Brandon Kielbasa: (212) 228-8210 ext 4, rte@coopersquare.org

NYCHA Tenants Fight Infill Luxury Housing Plan

Cooper Square Committee members and staff joined hundreds of tenants who turned out for a rally and public hearing held by the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) on July 24th at Pace University to protest NYCHA plans to lease 18 parcels of land at eight Manhattan housing projects for luxury housing. 8 parcels at five Lower East Side projects are part of the plan – at Smith Houses, Baruch Houses, Laguardia Houses, Campos Plaza and Meltzer Tower. 

Read More

Senior Activities in July

COOPER SQUARE COMMITTEE/ MUTUAL HOUSING ASSOCIATION
Senior Health, Advocacy, and Recreation Program (SHARP)
FREE Neighborhood Activities

The Cooper Square Committee/Mutual Housing Association SHARP Program has created this newsletter to inform you of free activities in the neighborhood for your enjoyment and enrichment.

These activities are being offered at the following locations. Scroll down for a calendar.

Tompkins Square Library

331 East 10th Street, near Avenue B

212-228-4747. www.nypl.org

Third Street Music School Settlement

235 East 11th Street, near Second Avenue

212-777-3240. www.thirdstreetmusicschool.org

University Settlement: Project Home

189 Allen St, South of Houston St.

(212) 505-1995

We recommend that you call or email these sites before visiting to confirm that the event listed has not been changed or cancelled.  We hope you will take advantage of these rich neighborhood services. We would enjoy your feedback and hope you will tell us of other activities you would like to see added.  When you visit one of these locations you will learn about more activities and others sites that are not listed here.  We will continue to expand this list as we learn of more offers.  Please email Joyce Ravitz at Cooper Square Committee with your questions or comments, or call 212-228-8210.

 

JULY EVENTS
FREE                                     FREE                                                  FREE

MONDAY tuesday wednesday Thursday Saturday
July 1 July 2
1:00 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement.Creative Sculpture Workshop
July 3
4:30 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement. Adult Movie Night: “Friends with Kids”
July 4 July 6
July 8 July 9
1:00 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement.Creative Sculpture Workshop
July 10
4:30 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement. Adult Movie Night: “Equilibrium”
July 11
12:30 p.m.
ThirdStreetMusicSchool. Settlement Players at AbeLebewohlPark
July 13
1:00 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement. New York Opera Forum presents Rossini’s “La Cenerentola”
July 15
4:30-5:30p.m.
Project Home
Yoga Class, all levels welcome
July 16
1:00 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement.Creative Sculpture Workshop
July 17
4:30 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement. Adult Movie Night: “Shall We Dance”
July 18
12:30 p.m.
ThirdStreetMusicSchool.David Moreno Odd Morning Quartet at AbeLebewohlPark
July 20
July 22
4:30-5:30p.m.
Project Home
Yoga Class, all levels welcome
July 23
1:00 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement.Creative Sculpture Workshop
July 24
4:30 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement. Adult Movie Night: “The Bourne Legacy”
July 25
12:30 p.m.
ThirdStreetMusicSchool.Gypsy Jazz Caravan at AbeLebewohlPark
July 27
July 29 July 30 July 31
4:30 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement. Adult Movie Night: “One Day”
 

NYCHA Infill Plan

Succession And NYCHA
Telephone: 347-903-8428 (90evictNYCHA)
Fax: 415-873-1754
Email: Contact.SuccessionAndNYCHA@gmail.com@gmail.com
Twitter: 
@NYCHAsuccession
Facebook: 
SuccessionAtNYCHA
Mailing List: http://groups.google.com/group/evictnycha

Senior Activities in June

COOPER SQUARE COMMITTEE/ MUTUAL HOUSING ASSOCIATION
Senior Health, Advocacy, and Recreation Program (SHARP)
FREE Neighborhood Activities

The Cooper Square Committee/Mutual Housing Association SHARP Program has created this newsletter to inform you of free activities in the neighborhood for your enjoyment and enrichment.

These activities are being offered at the following locations. Scroll down for a calendar.

1. Ottendorfer Library

135 Second Avenue, north of 8th Street

212-674-0947. www.nypl.org

Here are descriptions of activities on the table at this site. They are marked with:

*        Knitting Circle. (Got knitting Skills?  If not, want to learn? Everyone is required  to bring their own yarn and simple knitting needles.)

**      Open Lab Computer Class (An introduction to the Internet, including getting a connected, using a web browser and navigating web pages.)

2. Tompkins Square Library

331 East 10th Street, near Avenue B

212-228-4747. www.nypl.org

3. Third Street Music School Settlement

235 East 11th Street, near Second Avenue

212-777-3240. www.thirdstreetmusicschool.org

And, at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, 2nd  Avenue and 10th Street

http://stmarksbowery.org/calendar.html

We recommend that you call or email these sites before visiting to confirm that the event listed has not been changed or cancelled.  We hope you will take advantage of these rich neighborhood services. We would enjoy your feedback and hope you will tell us of other activities you would like to see added.  When you visit one of these locations you will learn about more activities and others sites that are not listed here.  We will continue to expand this list as we learn of more offers.  Please email Joyce Ravitz at Cooper Square Committee with your questions or comments, or call 212-228-8210.

JUNE EVENTS

FREE                                                FREE                                            FREE

Tuesday Thursday Saturday
June 1 10:00 a.m.3rdStreetMusicSchool“String ‘Stravaganza” (at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery)2:00 p.m.

Ottendorfer Library

Knitting Circle*

June 4  11:00 a.m3rdStreetMusicSchoolNew Horizons Band Concert (at 3rdStreetMusicSchool) June 6 11:00 a.m.Ottendorfer LibraryOpen Lab Computer Class**12:30 pm

Mike Freeman ZonaVibe (at St. Mark’s Church-in-the Bowery)

 

June 8 1:00 p.m.Three Orchestras Concert (at St. Mark’s Church-in-the- Bowery)2:00 p.m.Ottendorfer Library

Knitting Circle*

June 11 June 13 11:00 a.m.Ottendorfer LibraryOpen Lab Computer Class**12:30 pm

Arturo O’Farrell Latin Jazz Group (at St. Mark’s Church-in-the Bowery

June 15 1:00 p.m.Tompkins Square LibraryNew York Opera Forum presents Handel’s Alcina 2:00 p.m.

Ottendorfer Library

Knitting Circle*

June 18 June 20 11:00 a.m.Ottendorfer LibraryOpen Lab Computer Class**12:30 p.m.

3rdStreetMusicSchool

Eve Sicular and Metropolitan Klezmer (at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery)

June 22 2:00 p.m.Ottendorfer LibraryKnitting Circle*
June 25 June 27 11:00 a.m.Ottendorfer LibraryOpen Lab Computer Class** June 29 2:00 p.m.Ottendorfer LibraryKnitting Circle*

From a Satisfied CSC Client

In the summer of 2010, I was facing some financial difficulty and had fallen behind on rent payments for my rent stabilized apartment on Ave B. Fearing that I would be evicted from my apartment, I was recommended by a friend to get in touch with Brandon Kielbasa at The Cooper Square Committee. Brandon had previously helped her with some issues that she was having in her Lower East Side apartment, and she informed me that the Committee was a great recourse for East Village residents.

Read More

City Funds Homeless LGBT Youth Housing Project Proposed by Cooper Square Committee and the Ali Forney Center

The Cooper Square Committee and the Ali Forney Center have been awarded $3 million by the City Council and an additional $300,000 by Borough President, Scott Stringer to develop housing for up to 18 homeless LGBT youth at 222 East 13th Street, which will be formally named the Bea Arthur Residence.  Bea Arthur was an advocate and supporter of the Ali Forney Center and its mission.  Community Board 3 unanimously recommended that the site be transferred to the Ali Forney Center and the Cooper Square Committee for this use.

Read More

Important Seward Park ULURP hearing at City Planning on Wednesday, July 11th:

The City Planning Commission will be holding a  hearing regarding the large scale development plan for the  Seward Park Urban Renewal Area on Wednesday, July 11th at 10 am at 22 Reade Street, 6th floor, between Lafayette St. and Broadway.  The plan calls for at least 900 mixed income apartments, of which 50% will be affordable to low, moderate and middle income households.  The plan also will create several hundred thousand square feet of retail space, a 1/4 acre park, and relocate the Essex Street Market south of Delancey Street in a new state of the art building.
This plan was the result of three years of planning meetings by Community Board 3, which unanimously endorsed the ULURP application at a May 22nd full board meeting.  Now that the Borough President has also signed off on the plan, the City Planning Commission will vote on the plan soon after the public hearing.  We are urging our members to come out and show your support for the plan. It is a breakthrough compromise on the more than $500 million plan.  The plan will create hundreds of construction jobs over the coming decade, and hundreds of permanent jobs in the new stores and restaurants.

 

While we strongly endorse the plan, we are calling on the City Planning Commission for some improvements:
  • Urge the City Planning Commission to exclude big box stores (over 30,000 sq. ft.)
  • We want a solid commitment that 50% of all full-time jobs be for residents of CB3 at prevailing wages for construction jobs and living wages for all other jobs.
  • The city must provide compensation for Essex Street market vendors who will need to relocate to a new market south of Delancey St.
  • Honor the commitment to relocate income qualified former site tenants, and notify them of their right to apply for and receive first priority for any new housing.

Manhattan/Bronx Town Hall on Thursday, June 7, 2012

6:30-8:30pm at the Hartley House,
Stop landlords from getting J-51 renewal unless tenants get stronger protection!
Reduce preferential rent increases
Limit Major Capital Improvement increases to costs
End MBR increases for rent-controlled tenants
Reform the Rent Guidelines Board!

Come tell your story as a tenant.
Cooper Square Committee is a co-sponsor, and a member of the R3 Campaign.

2012 RGB Public Hearings

NOW IS THE TIME TO PROTEST HIGHER RENTS!

The Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) has proposed a rent increase
of up to 4% per year and landlords are demanding even
higher “supplemental” increases. Turn-out for the hearings is
critical!
The RGB has voted for excessive rent increases unaffordable to
tenants (the 99%) throughout NYC–despite reports that document
that most landlords (the 1%) are doing quite well. Do you struggle
to get basic repairs? Is your landlord deregulating apartments to
charge “market” rents? Demand an end to unfair rent hikes.

Read More

Seward Park ULURP Vote this Wednesday!

Community Board 3’s Seward Park Committee will be voting on the ULURP application for the large urban renewal area this Wednesday, May 16th. Come show your support for permanently affordable housing, living wage jobs, and responsible economic development without big box stores. Location: 184 Eldridge St. at 6:30 pm.

To see a map of the sites, comprising 7 acres, and to read the EIS Statement and the ULURP application, click on the link below.

http://www.nycedc.com/project/seward-park-mixed-use-development-project

Learn About Affordable Housing, Small Businesses and New Jobs Coming to Seward Park Area

SPURAmapWhen:  Tuesday, April 10th 2012, 7:00 PM

Where:  Masaryk Towers Community Room- 75 Columbia Street

What: Special Informational Meeting on New Plan for Seward Park Urban Renewal Area

Are you a former Seward Park Site Tenant?

Do you or a family member need affordable housing?

After many years of inaction and broken promises, a compromise agreement was reached when Community Board #3 brought together all community stakeholders. The plan will include mixed income housing (50% affordable and 50% market-rate), as well as jobs, retail stores creation and cultural activities for the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.

Please come to an important informational meeting and find out how you can help make this plan become a reality.

SEWARD PARK AREA REDEVELOPMENT COALITION (SPARC)sparc40@gmail.com / c/o CHARAS P. O. Box 2258 NY, NY  10009

LEARN ABOUT PROPOSED MIXED-USE PLAN FOR SPURA

SPURAmap

Where & When

University Settlement

184 Eldridge St (btwn Rivington/Delancey Sts)
Weds April 18, 2012
5:00-6:00pm – Technical Question & Answer Session
6:30 pm – Public Forum

 

SUPPORT:

  • PERMANENT Affordable Housing
  • at least 50% for local residents (Community Board #3)
  • priority for former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) site tenants  (those who lived on Willet, Pitt, Attorney, Clinton, Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Ludlow, Grand, Broome, & Delancey Streets)
  • COMMUNITY JOBS COMMITMENT
  • NO BIG BOX STORES

LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!

come & bring your neighbors

SEWARD PARK AREA REDEVELOPMENT COALITION (SPARC)sparc40@gmail.com / c/o CHARAS P. O. Box 2258 NY, NY  10009

New Greening Initiative On The Way

The Con Edison Settlment Fund Committee of Community Board 3 voted on Thursday, Jan. 5th to approve a $65,000 proposal we submitted in November.  We plan to outreach to at least two dozen low income cooperatives (HDFCs) near the East 14th Street Con Ed plant, and assist them with applying for NYS Weatherization funds and EmPower New York funds available to make their buildings more energy efficient and reduce their heating and air conditioning costs.

Read More

Community Board 3 Supports LGBT Youth Housing

On October 24th, we received a unanimous vote of support (11 – 0) from the Land Use Committee of Community Board 3 for 222e13our proposal (in partnership with the Ali Forney Center) to turn a vacant city owned building at 222 E. 13th St. into housing for 12 – 18 homeless LGBT youth.  Community Board 3’s resolution will urge HPD (the City’s housing agency) to grant us site control so that we can apply for the funds needed to renovate the building.  We appreciate the support of the more than 500 people who signed the petition in support of our proposal.  We will continue to need community support to move this project forward to a successful conclusion.  There are over 1,500 homeless LGBT youth in NYC, so this is a small, but important, step in addressing the larger crisis. Get involved.  Help make a difference!

If you want to help do outreach to garner further support, contact Steve.

St Marks Bookshop – Letter from Community Board 3

September 28, 2011

 

We are writing to convey Manhattan Community Board 3’s support of the St. Mark’s Bookshop, a tenant of Cooper Union residing at 115 East 9th Street. It is our desire that it remain economically viable and in its current location for many years to come.

 

 

Since 1977, the St. Mark’s Bookshop has served the East Village as an independent bookstore offering books and reading materials customized to meet the needs of our unique neighborhood of students, artists, cultural institutions and other diverse groups. The St. Mark’s Bookshop has a loyal customer base of local residents who depend on this business to meet their needs.

 

Community Board 3 works closely with City and State agencies and elected officials as a platform for planning and decision making for our community. We recognize that the current recession has hit our community hard. It has caused local merchants to close their doors, giving way to what is becoming a glut of nightlife establishments and national chains that are permanently changing the character of our neighborhood. The St. Mark’s Bookshop typifies the type of businesses that we must retain, a business that is locally owned and has a long track record of success and deep roots in the community, and that provides daytime service and goods needed by the local residents.

 

Community Board 3 is proud to have Cooper Union as a part of our district and recognizes the significant contribution that your institution makes to so many individuals. We also understand that the recession has caused economic hardship for all of us and that you too have obligations to your constituents and donors. That being said, the revenue this lease represents to Cooper Union cannot be considered to be material in the scope of your vast enterprise, and that stands in stark contrast to the large impact it would have on our neighborhood if The St. Mark’s Bookshop were to fail.

 

Furthermore, the installation of The St. Mark’s Bookshop at this location was Cooper Union’s concession to this community for the much disputed construction of what was then a high rise dormitory.

 

Community Board 3 is asking that Cooper Union revisit the economic situation of The St. Mark’s Bookshop and the hardships it faces, and negotiate in good faith with it on a leasehold revision that will make it economically viable for this beloved bookshop to continue to remain open in its current location. We believe that without a meaningful rent concession The St. Mark’s Bookshop will potentially go the way of so many other local merchants and close its doors for good. This would be an enormous loss for our neighborhood.

 

We know that Cooper Union appreciates the unique character of the neighborhood in which it resides and has been and will continue to be an advocate for the welfare of that community. We sincerely hope that you will give this request the significant and thoughtful consideration that it deserves.

 

 

St Marks Bookshop – Letter of Support from Deborah Glick

August 3, 2011

 

T.C. Westcott

Vice President

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science

51 Cooper Square

New York, NY 10003

 

Dear Ms. Westcott;

 

While Cooper Union is a valued member of the community, the question of its special tax

treatment regarding its commercial real estate holdings has generated concern in the past.

The institution’s ability to provide a full tuition remission to its students is a valuable tool in

attracting the best students. Although the initial goal may have been to educate students from

the New York area, the changing mission of the institution has led to New York City taxpayers

essentially subsidizing students from places like Pennsylvania, or Texas or Alabama.

 

In the sweep of the past many years, much has been given to Cooper Union and Cooper Union

has been a good neighbor in many respects in return. Now there is an opportunity for a modest

but significant way for Cooper Union to assist the community in retaining another important

institution, the Saint Marks bookstore.

 

St. Mark’s is currently struggling to pay the market rent that Cooper Union is charging them at 31 Third

Avenue and assistance by Cooper Union could save this irreplaceable neighborhood institution. Given Cooper

Unions’ real estate investments, including the soon to be redeveloped 51 Astor Place as a fully commercial

building, I believe that a rent concession to St. Mark’s Bookshop would not constitute a large burden.

Furthermore, you would be greatly contributing to the artistic and community spirit of the neighborhood of

which you are part. Please do the right thing and help St. Mark’s Bookshop. The community would greatly

appreciate your contribution by helping to maintain this longstanding neighborhood business.

 

Sincerely,

Deborah J. Glick

Assemblymember