MORNING BULLETIN: BIG CHANGES IN CENTRAL PARK, THE CRAZY RAT LADY, LANDLORD ACCUSED OF DISCRIMINATION


Photo by Bobby Panza on 78th Street.

June 12, 2017 Weather: Sunny, with a high of 94 degrees.

Notices:
The New York Philharmonic’s free concert in the park and more local events are on our calendar.

Local actress and mother Karen Rullman passed away at the age of 41 after a battle with colon cancer. A detailed obituary is here and people are raising money for her family here.

The Upper West Side’s PS 163, PS 166, PS 452, Center School and the Special Music School were all named as New York State Reward Schools, meaning they “are schools that demonstrate either high academic achievement or the most progress with minimal gaps in student achievement between certain populations of students.”

News:
Douglas Blonsky, the longtime president of the Central Park Conservancy, is stepping down.Over more than three decades, Mr. Blonsky helped the park become maybe even more pristine than it was when Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux began creating it out of farmland 160 years ago.”

Preservationists are concerned about plans to build an elevated walkway to Central Park’s Belvedere Castle that would create a new wall. “The conservancy says the new walkway is necessary to satisfy federal requirements for access for disabled people…Battles in historic preservation often turn on matters of materials and finishes. This one may come down to what the part of the walkway facing the Great Lawn looks like — the ‘great wall’ part, in Mr. Grunewald’s view. Christopher J. Nolan, the conservancy’s chief landscape architect, said that has not been decided, and Lane Addonizio, the conservancy’s vice president for planning and program management, said there were aspects of the plan that were still preliminary.”

Watch out, some of your neighbors may be keeping rats as pets! “They shared an apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with two other people, and one of their roommates already had two cats. A dog didn’t seem feasible. So Ms. Rittinger had an idea: rats. Now they have three. ‘I’ve definitely turned into a crazy rat lady,’ Ms. Rittinger said while her rat Zelda stashed Cheerios in Mr. Cowan’s backpack and another rat, Nibbler, raced through an empty LaCroix box in her cage. ‘But I’m totally O.K. with that.'”

A tenant says that her landlord discriminated against her because she’s not Jewish: “An Upper West Side landlord routinely ignored a tenant’s pleas for repairs because she was a gentile living in a ‘Jewish building,’ a lawsuit alleges. Interior decorator Sharon Kibbee de Lobo claims she has endured decades of leaks from a terrace above her 16th floor West 79th Street pad.”

NEWS | 24 comments | permalink
    1. Chase says:

      This came from the NYT and there is no credit given!

      Watch out, some of your neighbors may be keeping rats as pets! “They shared an apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with two other people, and one of their roommates already had two cats. A dog didn’t seem feasible. So Ms. Rittinger had an idea: rats. Now they have three. ‘I’ve definitely turned into a crazy rat lady,’ Ms. Rittinger said while her rat Zelda stashed Cheerios in Mr. Cowan’s backpack and another rat, Nibbler, raced through an empty LaCroix box in her cage. ‘But I’m totally O.K. with that.’”

    2. Miriam says:

      Rats make great pets. And to quote Paul’s grandfather in Help!, they’re very clean!

      • An Old Judge says:

        Paul’s ‘clean’ grandfather was in “A Hard Day’s Night” rather than “Help.”

    3. Felice Cohen says:

      Having been a professional organizer in NYC for over 20 years, I once had a client who had over 100 pet rats in her apartment which she kept in fish tanks. Let’s just say the first time I organized her apartment, was also the last.

    4. Janet W. says:

      RE Tenant who claims discrimination by her LL because she’s not Jewish: In 37 years living as a rent-stabilized tenant on the UWS, this building has had SIX owners, six Jewish landlords (LLs), including the current one. They were all rotten to all tenants, esp. the R-S ones, on an equal opportunity basis – Jewish, Christian, Atheist, Other. All that matters to NYC residential LLs is money. Green is their religion. Do Orthodox Jewish LLs love non-Jews? Probably not. And the reverse could be the same. Do they, Jewish LLs, want to get as much rent and spend as little as possible on other RE costs? Absolutely yes. Same as any LL of any other ethnicity, race, religion, or political persuasion. NYC residential real estate is vicious to tenants when the LLs see a Dollar looming. Ms. de Lobo was ignored and badly treated when she had legitimate tenant complaints. Was Judaism at fault? It may feel that way to Ms. de Lobo (or her attorney) but my response is … Nah. Despite what anyone says, including a building employee where she lives, every religion is represented in our 5 boroughs among tenants and LLs. And the types of LLs and tenants going to Housing Court are among every religion, ethnicity and race. LLs are not nice to their tenants when the LL is asked to shell out money to repair something. The few LLs who are nice – to any tenant – are so few that it is laughable to claim religion as the reason for a tenant’s problems (although it may well happen in some cases, people being what they are.)If Ms. de Lobo’s claim is true, it is sad, illegal, disgusting and, alas, in sync with what is happening to our society. One final item: I’m Jewish and I’ve been to Housing Court to fight three of the past 6 LLs of this building. I could rightfully claim that they are rotten, moneygrubbing SOBs but that I was ill-treated because of religion is a joke. This is a capitalist system and MONEY rules, NOT religion … although they often go trippingly down the lane hand in hand.

      Good luck, Ms. de Lobo. I hope you get your repairs, some attention and respect from your LL. As for respect, don’t hold your breath.

      • Sherman says:

        You get what you pay for.

        If you live in a rent stabilized apartment the landlord has very little economic incentive or simply might not have the cash flow to properly maintain the building.

        This is predicted by basic economics theory and this is why there are so many grimy and decrepit and possibly even dangerous old buildings on the UWS.

        You almost never read about apartments falling into disrepair in market rate apartments or condos/coops.

        I’m not justifying landlords keeping their buildings in a state of disrepair. I am simply stating that it is inevitable this would happen due to rent regulation.

        Now we’re going to have lawyers and the court battling this out. It seems like a huge waste of time and resources to me.

        That said, I don’t believe this nonsense that this woman was discriminated against because she’s not a Jew.

        • Jen says:

          The landlord has certain responsibilities and obligations, rent-stabilized or not, and has nothing to do with “economic” insensitive. If they don’t like to deal with repairs because they are losing money, don’t buy a bilding with RS apartments. Can’t have a cake and eat it too.

        • John says:

          Right. I’ve had around 10 landlords in my time in NYC. They’ve all ranged from fine to very good. The key is that I’ve paid market rent. They have every incentive to treat me well or I’ll leave; somthing Ms Kibbee do Lobo would have been well advised to do years ago.

          When you’re paying a rent controlled rate that is, in many cases, below the costs being born by the landlord, it’s no surprise that they’re going to want you out and they’re going to consciously or unconsciously, actively or passively, encourage you to leave. Pitting LL’s against tenants is just one of the litany of problems with rent control.

          • Sherman says:

            Unfortunately, “Jen” wants her cake and wants to eat it too.

            She has no problem paying a pittance in rent but she somehow demands luxury treatment.

            This is the entitlement culture we live under.

            • Jen says:

              Sherman, if you continue make assumptions and post them, I would have to ask WSR to monitor your comments more closely. What makes you think I live in Rs apartment if I point out landlords have their obligations and nobody asks them to buy such buildings.

              Also, I own a nice apartment in a full-service building. So stop your hostilie assumptions.

            • Christina says:

              Uh Sherman… You are SO wrong on this. Having things that are falling apart in one’s apartment is NOT a “luxury” it IS a tenant’s right to live in a safe environment no matter how much one pay in rent! BTW… you hear these complaints all the time and are featured in the News about people in the projects and such having no heat, no hot water etc. and have made numerous complaints to a landlord until they are exposed in the media. SO NO you are TOTALLY wrong about this Sherman! ALL tenants have rights!

            • Christina says:

              I meant and to have things in an apt is NOT a luxury!

        • Westside gene says:

          Sherman, what a terrible system this rent stabilized is. Six landlords were FORCED to buy this building against their will. Nobody told them how r/s works, so they just lost money until they could FORCE or trick another landlord into purchasing this turkey, They had no idea that you could pay more money, and buy a market rate building. What a world, what a world.

      • joe besser says:

        look at the back of your paper currency…it reads “in God we trust”……….there’s your answer

    5. ScooterStan says:

      Re: “Preservationists are concerned about … an elevated walkway to Central Park’s Belvedere Castle ….”

      Isn’t it errr…’interesting’ that, almost every time there is a proposal to make changes designed to benefit the public, out of the woodwork crawl (cockroach analogy INTENDED) the naysayers, cranks, and self-appointed “preservationists” to howl their opposition.

      Oh, they have good reasons, they say, but aren’t they really on an ego-trip, proving that THEY know best and that THEY have more power than those who proposed the plan.

      Now it is Mr. Grunewald, the “preservationist” (one hopes he’s applied for his Official Genuine NYC Preservationist License) AND Landmark West (fierce opponents of any building taller than theirs) are stirring the cauldron (Macbeth’s Witches analogy INTENDED) to stop a change that would make Central Park a bit more accessible. They may or may not succeed, but they WILL get the press coverage they secretly crave.

      Writing about the vicious power-trippers determined to stop Barry Diller’s no-strings-attached gift to New Yorkers, the Hudson River’s planned Pier 55 entertainment complex, The New York Post (O.M.G….a Tabloid! Cover your eyes, children!) said:
      (it is) “testament to how New York empowers a handful of cranks to hold up projects in the public interest, …”

    6. UWSHebrew says:

      My landlord is an orthodox Jew, and he treats all us tenants (about 50% Jews), awful, including screaming and cursing.

      • Mark says:

        Maybe your landlord is treating his tenants as they deserve.

        • UWSHebrew says:

          Mark, your venom is pathetic.

          • Davie says:

            UWSHebrew- Are you constantly blaming and complaining to him like you do in your comments? If so I can totally understand him.

            • UWSHebrew says:

              actually I never have complained once, but I’ve heard terrible things from my neighbors when they try to contact him about issues. Appreciate your hatred towards me!

      • UWS says:

        Well you should be very pleased that he is not discriminatory!

    7. 92nd Street says:

      Perhaps tell your LL that you are Jewish, if your assumptions are correct it will cease the LL’s lack of maintenance.

    8. MBK says:

      I thought this was going to be an expose on whoever dumps birdseed around verdi square. I’ve seen more than a few rats grab a meal there.