Special Projects

We’ve gotten a lot of press about the Bea Arthur Residence Project

Our work managing the renovation of the Bea Arthur Residence, which will provide transitional housing for 18 homeless LGBT youth, is generating a lot of press for us and our project partner, the Ali Forney Center.  A DNAInfo article that gave an update on the project, and its expected completion in February, 2017, has been shared by a number of media outlets, including Broadway World article and World of Wonder.

Bea Arthur Residence: Project Description

Here are images of work in progress on the Bea Arthur Residence for homeless LGBT youth, as of May 5th, 2016:

Facade - fire escapes and windows removed The facade of the Bea Arthur Residence, the old fire escapes and windows have been removed
Top Floor - 4-25-2016 View of the top floor, new floor joists have been installed
Upper floor - April 25-2016 View of the 2nd floor, new floor joists have been installed
Rear extension - footings The footings for the rear extension have been poured. Once the concrete slab is poured, the rear masonry wall will be built
Elevator Pit The elevator pit has been excavated and the concrete poured
Trench -4-25-2016 A trench has been dug in the cellar to install plumbing and ventilation systems

The Cooper Square Committee, a housing preservation organization, and the Ali Forney Center, an organization that serves homeless LGBT youth, have partnered to acquire and renovate 222 East 13th Street in order to provide quality, safe, transitional housing for homeless LGBT teenagers and young adults, ages 18 – 24. The building is known as the Bea Arthur Residence.


There are an estimated 4,000 homeless teenagers in NYC. According to a 2008 Census survey, up to 40% (1,600 homeless teenagers) are LGBTQ. As LGBT youth come out earlier, unfortunately some of them face rejection by their parents and are forced out onto the streets. These otherwise high functioning young people are placed at risk. They need a safe environment, which this housing will provide, so that they can prepare for adulthood.

Cooper Square Committee and the Ali Forney Center formed the Bea Arthur Residence Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC) as part of the solution to this crisis. We obtained a $3.3 million capital grant from the New York City Council and the Borough President in Fiscal Year 2013, and $40,000 in gap financing from private sources.

We hired architectural firm, Magnusson Architecture and Planning to design 222 East 13th Street as a 3 unit building with 3 bedroom apartments to house 18 homeless LGBT youth. This 4 story building is getting an addition in the rear, enlarging it from 4,900 sq. ft. to over 6,000 sq. ft.

Cooper Square Committee is serving as project manager from the pre-development stage through completion of the renovation of the building, right up to obtaining a permanent certificate of occupancy. Upon completion, the Ali Forney Center will handle rent up of the 18 beds and providing the on site supportive housing services to the residents. The Ali Forney Center will occupy the ground floor space.

On June 30, 2015, the Bea Arthur Residence HDFC acquired 222 East 13th Street from the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Renovation began on September 8th, 2015. After work started, we experienced a 6-week Stop Work Order in late October because the Dept. of Buildings found that the chain link fence in front of the building that had been installed by the City in the year 2000 was done without a permit. We resumed in early December, 2015.

The renovation, which will be carried out by our general contractor, Builders-R-Us Construction Corporation, will restore this historic building, which dates from 1851, and provide a safe home for 18 homeless LGBT youth so that they can live free of stigma and make plans for their future.

If you wish to make a donation in support of this project, you can make a check payable to “The Bea Arthur Residence HDFC” and mail it to c/o Cooper Square Committee, 61 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003. This project is on a tight budget, and we need to raise another $35,000 to deal with increased soft costs during construction, including special inspection fees and a new City requirement that we file a fire safety and evacuation plan.

Ali Forney Center and Cooper Square Committee Break Ground on Transitional Housing for LGBT Youth at 222 East 13th Street

Bea Arthur and Ali Forney Center ED Carl Siciliano, picture from Seattle Lesbian

Monday, July 20, 2015: Welcome to the “groundbreaking ceremony” for the Bea Arthur Residence, an 18-bed residence for homeless LGBT youth at 222 East 13th Street in Manhattan.  The project is sponsored by the Ali Forney Center and the Cooper Square Committee.  The Cooper Square Committee is serving as the project manager from the pre-development phase through completion of construction.  The Ali Forney Center will operate the building and provide on-site 24/7 services to residents when the building is rented up.

In 2012, the project received $3.3 million in New York City Capital (Reso A) funds.  The New York City Council, led by the efforts of Councilmember Rosie Mendez, former Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former Finance Committee Chairperson Domenic Recchia and members of the Lesbian and Gay Caucus secured $3 million in funds, and the Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer awarded $300,000 for the renovation of a long vacant building owned by the New York City Department of Housing and Preservation Development. We received a $180,000 pre-development loan from the Contact Fund, and an additional $40,000 in private funds was loaned by the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association and the Cube Building.  The Bea Arthur Residence HDFC took title to the building on June 30th, and renovations are expected to begin later this month.

Bea Arthur gave one of her final public performances as a benefit for the Ali Forney Center in 2005. She was very upset to learn that hundreds of thousands of LGBT teens were rejected by their families, and driven to homelessness. She said that she would do anything in her power to help these teens. When she died in 2009, the Ali Forney Center learned that she had bequeathed $300,000 to them in her will. At that time, Carl Siciliano, the Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, pledged that the first building they owned would be named in her memory.

Carl Siciliano said, “It meant the world to me that a star of the magnitude of Bea Arthur would do so much to help the Ali Forney Center in our work of housing homeless LGBT youths. I am very grateful that we will now be able to honor Bea and continue to keep her compassion alive through the establishment of the Bea Arthur Residence for Homeless LGBT Youth.”

In an article prior to her passing, Bea Arthur said, “I’m very, very involved in charities involving youth. These kids at the Ali Forney Center are literally dumped by their families because of the fact that they are lesbian, gay or transgender – this organization really is saving lives.”

Steve Herrick, the Executive Director of Cooper Square, said: “I’m proud that we are developing this urgently needed housing for homeless LGBT youth in partnership with the Ali Forney Center, and I’m looking forward to moving this project to a successful completion.”

The Cooper Square Committee is an affordable housing preservation and tenant rights organization that has sponsored over 550 low income apartments, including dozens of homeless housing units. The Ali Forney Center ( AFC ) is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youths, AFC is committed to providing these young people with safe, dignified, nurturing environments where their needs for housing and support can be met, and where they can begin to put their lives back together. AFC is also dedicated to promoting awareness of the plight of homeless LGBT youth in the United States with the goal of generating responses on local and national levels from government funders, foundations, and the LGBT community.

“We approached the Ali Forney Center several years ago and proposed that we partner to develop this vacant city-owned building as housing for homeless LGBT youth, and they agreed.  We’re thankful that the NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development liked the project idea and worked with us to make this pioneering project a reality”, said Steve Herrick, Executive Director of the Cooper Square Committee. The development team for the project includes the architectural firm, Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP), the Lawyers Alliance of New York which formed the Bea Arthur Residence HDFC and handled the closing, which took place on June 30th.

Builders-R-Us Construction Corp., a minority business enterprise, will serve as the general contractor to carry out the gut renovation.  MAP’s design involves building an addition in the rear to add over 1,100 sq. ft. of space, allowing for the creation of three 3-bedroom apartments, each of which will house 6 residents.  The basement will house the Ali Forney Center’s staff to provide services to the residents.  The enlarged, 6,000 sq. ft. building is being developed in accordance with Green Communities standards, to maximize energy efficiency.  It will contain engineered bamboo flooring, and other green design elements. The Bea Arthur Residence HDFC is being assisted in developing this green building by the Association for Energy Affordability and the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation.

The Bea Arthur Residence will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and will include an automatic wheelchair lift to the building entrance in the basement.  It will have a limited use elevator from the basement to the first floor so that one third of the units will be accessible.  Each 3 bedroom apartment will be at least 1,150 sq. ft. with a full kitchen, 2 bathrooms, and a spacious living room.  There will be a laundry room in the basement for residents, and storage space in the sub cellar.  “We’re really excited about the redesign of this historic building”, said Carl Siciliano.  “It will create a warm, home-like environment for our residents rather than an institutional one”.

The project sponsors aim to raise some additional funds to complete the landscaping plan designed by Terrain NYC, install signage naming the building after Bea Arthur, and to cover some soft costs.  “Due to escalating construction costs in NYC, we had to scale back some elements of our architect’s design for the building,” said Mr. Herrick.  Another $75,000 will help us realize our vision for this pioneering project”.

We got a rent freeze!

In a historic decision, the Rent Guidelines Board voted for a rent freeze for one-year leases and a two percent increase for two-year leases. This is the first time in the RGB’s 46 year history rent-stabilized rents have been frozen. New York City has faced unreasonably high rent increases for far too long, but yesterday, tenants conquered. After the huge disappointment in Albany, we proved we are not powerless — we still have control over what happens to the tenants in our city.

For rent-stabilized leases which begin 10/1/2015 through 9/30/2016: 0% for 1 yr, 2% for 2 yr leases. (If your lease renews before 10/1/2015, the previous percentages are in effect: 1% for 1 yr, 2.75% for 2 yrs.) 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


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.



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

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.


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

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.


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
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
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
Mailing List: http://groups.google.com/group/evictnycha

Senior Activities in June

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

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.


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.


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*

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


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
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.


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.




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



  • 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)


come & bring your neighbors


HDFC Greening Project

If you are a property owner or board member of a low income cooperative, contact Alex Lee to find out what types of free and low cost greening programs your building may be eligible for.

Since the Fall of 2011, the Cooper Square Committee has been working with low income housing providers such as the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association, HDFC coop boards, and project based Section 8 owners, to make their buildings more energy efficient.  The Cooper Square Committee partners with the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC)  which administers the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and Empower NY Program in Manhattan. Our staff expedites the process by doing outreach directly to buildings and collecting WAP and EmPower NY applications from shareholders and renters in each building, 

WAP assists any building in which at least 50% of the households are low income (earning less than 60% of the area median income), and provides them with some or all of the following services:

New energy efficient windows

New Boilers

New hot water heaters

Insulation of roof cavities

Insulation of pipes

New energy star refrigerators and stoves

Florescent light bulbs

Energy smart power strips to reduce electricity usage

The EmPower New York program provides apartments with energy efficiency improvements including new energy star refrigerators and florescent light bulbs, but does not provide major building systems such as windows and boilers.

To date, Cooper Square Committee has enrolled 19 low income cooperatives and rental buildings, comprising 22 buildings and 315 apartments, and the WAP and EmPower NY Programs have carried out energy efficiency improvements totaling over $1,000,000. The average building receives several thousand dollars per apartment in energy efficiency improvements, and buildings often achieve a reduction in their fuel (oil or gas) usage and heating bills of anywhere from 10% to as much as 50% in a couple of cases. Residents often see significant reductions in their electric bills after installing LED bulbs.   

If you are a property owner or board member of a low income cooperative, contact Alex Lee at 212-228-8210 to find out what types of free and low cost greening programs your building may be eligible for if the shareholders and/or tenants are income eligible.

Go Green Lower East Side (GGLES)

We are carrying out our HDFC Greening Project as part of a Go Green Lower East Side (GGLES) Initiative started by Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer in 2009.  The initiative involves partnerships among numerous non-profit organizations to promote energy conservation by property owners, residents and businesses, as well as recycling, composting and other green best practices by area residents.  In 2011, Fourth Arts Block (FAB), proposed a model block greening initiative targeting East 4th Street because of its unique concentration of non-profit cultural groups and low income housing managed by the Cooper Square MHA.  With strong buy in by property owners and businesses, a number of greening initiatives have begun, such as the following:

White Roofs: Since August, 2011, the roofs of 10 buildings on East 4th Street were painted white thanks to efforts by FAB, the White Roof Project and NYC Cool Roofs. www.boweryboogie.com/2011/08/scott-stringer-enlists-community-volunteeers-to-paint-rooftops/

Greening Small Businesses: EcoBiz is conducting energy efficiency trainings for small business owners every Friday morning at the Cooper Square Committee office.

Recycling: GrowNYC has done trainings for the Cooper Square MHA’s maintenance staff to improve the recycling rate at the 22 buildings it manages.

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.

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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.



Deborah J. Glick