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This site was created to connect the tenants, shareholders and prospective buyers of units in the 616 East 18th St housing co-op in Brooklyn, NY.

Board Update - November 2012

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Hurricane Sandy Update: The board, our building staff and management company, along with help from residents who used our list-serve to point out potential problem areas, have worked with our exterior repair contractor to make prudent preparations before Sandy arrived. Some tarps ripped and some equipment on the roof was shifted during the storm, but remained secured. Inspections for any damage have already commenced and the building is in overall solid shape considering the high winds. Thank you to everyone who remained calm and checked in on our more vulnerable neighbors during the 2-hour blackout we experienced on Tuesday. 
 
Exterior Work Update: Work continues in our very large exterior repair project. The parapet wall (above the roof line) continues to be reconstructed. The board was able to control some of the costs of this project by deciding to re-build a lower brick wall and replace parts of it with an attractive railing. Brick is far more expensive and not necessary in those locations. The project is now moving into a new phase during which the balconies will receive a great deal of attention. In each case, each balcony will have some of its bricks removed to expose the metal beams. If the metal beams can be used or repaired, the bricks will simply be replaced. In cases where the beam must be replaced due to rust beyond repair, the entire balcony wall will be removed to facilitate that replacement. The board has decided to replace all brick balcony walls with new matching brick balcony. Though this can be more expensive than railings, because not all of our balconies will require this full replacement, railings would not match those balconies that do not need full reconstruction. Therefore, keeping the brick balcony walls is in fact the least expensive option to maintain uniformity in the aesthetic of the building fa├žade. As the work continues to progress, notices will continue to be posted in the building. The garden and side-door access will remain limited as needed by the work to keep everyone safe. Weather will be the biggest factor determining the length of the remaining project as we enter the fall and winter seasons. While the board is hopeful to have the project completed before the snowy months, it is certainly within the realm of possibility that this work will continue through to the Spring of 2013. Stay tuned for additional updates.
 
Balcony Dividers will be Replaced: The 6 balcony dividers separating the E-line and F-line halves of the center-balconies will be replaced during our exterior repair project. The faded yellow and warped dividers are past their prime, and will be replaced with modern attractive dividers that should improve the look of our building from the street and be a welcome upgrade to those E-line and F-line balconies. This upgrade is long overdue.
 
Garden Bench Fixed: The broken sections of the benches in our garden have been repaired by our staff. Thank you to our shareholders who brought this issue to our attention. The board continues to plan upgrades to our open spaces within the garden and the new community planting areas planned for the roof of the garage this upcoming spring season.
 
Lobby Wall Painted. Historic Framed Local Photographs Planned: The lobby has been given a mild upgrade with a new color palette of paint applied to the walls. The old large-scale painting has been removed, and the board and lobby committee are planning a series of framed photographs depicting the history of our neighborhood and borough to be hung on the wall that used to host the large painting.
 
Side Door Automation Planned: The board has been working for much of a year on the task of getting our side/freight entrance door automated. We have wheelchair-based and elderly residents who find using that door difficult and dangerous. The door was never designed to be automated, so it has taken a great deal of time to find a viable solution. The board continues to work to bring this to fruition in as safe and affordable a manner as possible.
 
Fencing for Garbage Staging Area: The board continues to look into options for attractive fencing to separate our recycling staging area along the garden entrance walkway.
 
Board E-mail Address is Not for Time-Sensitive Requests: The board would like to reiterate that our e-mail address board@616east18.com is best used for general communications with the board that are not time-sensitive. Questions about refinancing, sales, subleasing applications, and other time-sensitive or financial matters should be directed to the appropriate person at our management company. Leon, Sandra, Nancy, and Judith at Maxx Management are your best bet in those situations. The board e-mail address is monitored periodically by our board members and we look forward to hearing from you when you want to reach out to us privately. The google-group we maintain is also a great way to share and receive non-private information in a rather quick manner. Using the appropriate option for the type of communication you have to make will have the best results for your needs.
Before we lay down our carpet and complete our hallway renovation, we still need access to the following doors for hardware upgrades: 6E, 6K, 6L, 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D, 5G, 5H, 5J, 5L, 4K, 3B, 3D, 3F, 3G, 3K, 2C, 2D, 2H, 2L, 1A, 1B, 1E, 1G, 1J, 1K, 1L, and 1M.

Signs will be posted on your doors today for you to select from a number of available appointment times. We're hoping you can make someone available (that you trust) to open your door during at least one of those times. They are: Friday 10-12:30 or 12:30-3:00pm, and Satuday 9-11am, 11-1pm, or 1-3pm.

The locksmiths will do everything they can do get to your door during the time(s) you offer them.

We hope that this will allow us to move this part of our project efficiently towards completion. If you cannot make any of those times, check the "none of the above" box on your door sign and we'll take it from there. If you have extremely limited hours at home in general, please e-mail the board at board@616east18.com.

 Thank you for your help as we continue our hallway renovation project!

Halloween Board Update

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Just in case you still need them, the door-decorations we would like you to hang on your door if you would like trick-or-treaters to stop by on October 31st are now available for download from our website, along with info about when to expect trick-or-treaters if you choose to participate. These can also be picked up at our bulletin board in the lobby. Please look for the Halloween link on the left side of our main page.  <---

The asbestos work on the roof has been completed. We are waiting for permits to get the sidewalk bridge up in front of the building and are evaluating whether or not we should wait for Spring due to the amount of work days available in the next 4 months (due to the weather) and the cost of the sidewalk bridge.

If we wait until the Spring to start the work that requires the sidewalk bridge, we can still do certain temporary work to try to reduce leaks during this winter. Stay tuned for more information about that as it becomes available to the board from our contractor.

The locksmith is progressing through our building, upgrading our door hardware. The kick-plates and stairwell/compactor room doors are all done, but some of our lock-sets are odd and various brands for which matching parts had to be ordered, which is making it a longer process than we had hoped. We are still waiting for the locksmith to finish before putting down the carpet so as to protect the carpet from any damage during the locksmith's work.

That's it for now. Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!

August 2011 Board Update

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Hallways Project Renovation: Thank you to all of our residents for being patient while we perfected the plan for the final phase of the hallway renovation. While we would liked to have finished the project already, additional options came up that needed to be researched at length. Better to spend the time to get the details right than just rush through the project.

  • Nearing Door-Hardware Upgrade: We expect the door-hardware contractor will have all the parts needed to begin upgrading door chimes, door knobs, door-knob plates (surrounding the door knob and bottom lock), and kick-plates by early September. We will need your doors to be opened for us during that work, and we will soon be sending you a schedule of work to begin the process of coordinating that with you. Locks and lock cylinders will not be replaced due to the cost and difficulty. Therefore nobody will need new keys. About 10 doors in our building have existing hardware on them that is in the way of the new rectangular door-knob plates, and will get a small rosette instead, similar to what most doors have now, but in silver to match the new hardware. These choices were made to save approximately $30,000 for the building in additional door/locksmith work and we are confident the finished result will be both cost effective and attractive
  • Hallway Carpet has arrived: The carpet we ordered for the hallways (back in January!) has arrived at our contractor's warehouse. however we want to wait until after the door hardware is done before we install the carpet. This is to avoid having the door-hardware work accidentally damage the new carpet. As of current plan, we are hoping to begin carpet installation in September, if possible
  • Security Cameras Installed on All Floors: Our camera system was upgraded to include a pair of cameras on each of our residential floors for added security and so that any damage done to our new walls/doors/floors will be traceable and can be billed to the appropriate unit instead of coming out of our co-op's repair budget. Additional cameras were added to the lobby level and garage, and a much-upgraded recording system was put in place.

New Exterminator Company: "Dial-a-bug" is our new exterminator service company, operating on the same twice-a-month schedule as our last company. We made the switch in an attempt to find a contractor that is as responsive to our building's needs as possible. In our first cycle, as some of you noticed, the timing we are used to was not successfully communicated to the new contractor and we are working with them to make sure we all know the correct time-frame for their bi-monthly visits. Sorry for the inconvenience to those of you who were affected by this miscommunication. It was not the new contractors' fault.

New Windows in the Garage: As we have more residents than ever using our garage space due to our very successful bike-parking program, we are happy to announce that Tony, our super, who is also a professional window glazier, has completed our garage-window replacement project, letting a great deal of additional light into the garage and cleaning up the overall look of the space. There are no more blocked/cracked windows and debris around them has been cleared. The board is looking into the possibility of turning off some of our fluorescent garage lights near the window wall during the day on a timer to save on our monthly electric bill, which could, over time, more than pay for the modest cost of this project. Stay tuned! 

Exterior Repair Project Moving Forward: Our largest building project to date - more than twice as big as our boiler replacement and hallway renovation combined - will be our exterior repair. Engineers have submitted plans, bids have been sought, a contractor has been selected, and we're in the process of securing permits and finalizing documents. In the meantime, the board has selected a contractor to remediate the asbestos found in a few locations on our roof, which must be taken care of before the main project can begin. The board has also selected a separate contractor to monitor the air during the asbestos work, as required by law. This is the same procedure we followed just prior to our boiler replacement. The board has done its best to find the most affordable and quality contractors and materials for this project. The cost is still significant and will be discussed at future shareholder meetings. Construction work is expected to begin this fall barring any unforeseen delays, beginning with the street-side of our building, which will coincide with the installation of a sidewalk-bridge above our sidewalk frontage.

Sprinkler System Installed: As our garden committee continues to green our many gardens, we have installed an in-ground automatic sprinkler system on our street side, to protect our vegetative investments. This replaces the hose-with-holes-in-it method previously used by our staff to water our street-front garden spaces, and is thus a significant improvement for our building. A similar system is being discussed for the back-yard and side-garden spaces in the future.

Garden Improvements Continue: Our back garden is flourishing with activity as the garden committee presses ever-forward with their many plans for our shared out-door space. The inner-course of benches were removed allowing for more active play areas while still maintaining ample sitting areas. More benches may be removed/reconfigured in the future, based on a forthcoming master-plan for the re-design of the garden that will balance the many uses of the garden space. In the meantime, many new plantings fill the existing soil areas and a new tool-shed and donated hammock are now in place. Limited composting is being done on a trial basis, and visual improvements are planned for the garbage-bag/recycling-bag holding area on the side of the building. Our first vegetables are growing on the side of the building as well, a mini-version of the planned community garden on the garage roof.

6 Vent Fans Are Being Replaced: Recently, the motors in 6 of our many bathroom vents on the roof malfunctioned. If you noticed your bathrooms getting much steamier during hot showers lately, this is the cause. Replacement of all of the broken motors is underway. Vents are on from roughly 6am to Midnight daily when functional.

Sewer Repair Complete: This was not a building project, but it sure did impact our lives for the past few months, and we're all happy it's over. Here are a few details for those who are curious: They originally came by due to back-ups in the sewer line on the corner of Foster and E 18th Street that luckily did not affect our building. They opened the intersection to find that the original sewer line, made of a half-arch of brick from the turn of the century, was still in use. The original line on our block had long ago been replaced with a pipe, but the intersection was left alone at that time due to the cost and difficulty of working around the latticework of competing underground utilities on our corner. This time the back-up was at the intersection and although they had large machines, they had to hand-dig 14 linear feet of ground to clear out the space around the sewer. They also had to remove and replace a very old gas line that was in the way of the sewer replacement. These two factors added a great deal of time to their work.

616 Sidewalk Sale, Sunday, July 10

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10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 616 Residents, come sell.

Neighbors, come buy.

Residents, have questions?
Ask the list serve -->

Rain date will be determined.

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors only. They do not necessarily reflect the positions or opinions of the 616 East 18 St. Owners Corporation, any of its staff members or residents, or Maxx Management.