New York City
Washington DC Metro
Northern New Jersey
open house planner
manhattan condo market index
submit your listings
Benefits of FREE account
Become an Insider
post your listings
Can anyone offer any insights into living in Seward Park or other coop buildings in the area? I understand the elevators stop on every floor on Sat and the 5% flip tax. I'm very interested in the area as the apartment prices seem quite affordable. Are the buildings well managed? Is it a safe neighborhood to raise a family? I have read some of the past discussions and I'm just wondering if things have changed.
Just to clarify, only one elevator in each section (out of two) is set to holiday mode on Jewish holidays. The other elevator operates normally. In Seward the holiday elevators only stop on floors where someone has requested holiday service (in Hillman and East River they stop on every floor). In my section, for example, when it's in holiday mode it stops on less than half the floors (and it'll still stop on the other floors if someone pushes the button).
Seward is a wonderful place to live that's a real community, not just a group of buildings. Most folks actually take the time to learn their neighbors' names and the vast majority of people are friendly and courteous. It's extraordinarily diverse in almost every way (age, race, religion, economic status, education, etc.). It has outstanding amenities for families like the playroom and two private playgrounds and a thriving community of involved parents of young children. It also has spaces like the community room and Hester Street Fair that can be rented out by any shareholder for events. The management and maintenance staffs are courteous and competent and communication has improved tremendously in the last few years. The apartments also have very practical layouts and there is a nice range of architects and contractors with extensive experience renovating almost every layout.
One consequence of the diversity is that we have... er... "colorful" co-op politics. Our board has been a bit dysfunctional for the last few years, and election season can produce a lot of fliers under your door. But I believe we continue to move toward more forward, professional leadership and less of the cronyism and incompetence of the past.
Other things you should know about Seward in the vein of shabbos elevators and flip taxes:
* The car parking wait list is about 10 years right now, so don't expect a parking spot in the garage any time soon (although there are lots nearby that are reasonably priced for Manhattan). Storage and bike parking also have lengthy waiting lists. It's possible that some day the board will vote to raise the costs of these amenities closer to market rates, which should bring down the wait time, but that's very politically unpopular.
* If you renovate, you can't "channel" wiring in the ceilings, so any ceiling lighting either has to be mounted in the existing lighting locations (there aren't any in the living or bedrooms if you don't have an apartment that was renovated before the channeling ban), surface mounted (like track lighting) or put in a drop ceiling. Some people are shocked by this, although it wasn't a big deal in our renovation.
The other Grand Street co-ops are similar in many ways. The populations are similarly diverse. Hillman and East River have very similar flip tax structures. Amalgamated has a different structure that is based on profit instead of gross sales price. Seward's outside management company is generally regarded as a bit more effective than the in-house management shared by Hillman and East River (don't know about Amalgamated). And largely because of Seward's commercial property portfolio, our maintenance charges are a little lower on average than our sister co-ops (again, not sure about Amalgamated). We're also closer to the subway. But purchase prices at the other co-ops are a little lower on average.
What else do you want to know?
themicah, thank you so much for your response. It's really helpful. I have a few more questions.
1) Where do you do grocery shopping if Pathmark is closed?
2) I order a lot of stuff from Amazon so I would like to know if there is a package room to keep the packages.
3) Any potential for more drastic increase in maintenance? Would the new SPURA development help the financial of the co-ops?
Hi nyc166. I'm also a Seward Park resident, so I'll respond to your questions.
1) I've never shopped at Pathmark so its closure isn't an issue for me. The Fine Fare on Clinton Street isn't great at first glance, but with a little looking you'll find plenty of quality products. A few blocks east is another Fine Fare that's a bit better maintained. Both are much closer than Pathmark. Malt and Mold is a recent addition to neighborhood at East Broadway and Clinton, and it's a fantastic shop for specialty foods with a large cheese selection, daily deliveries from Sullivan Street Bakery and tap beer sold by the growler. There are plenty of nearby bodegas, some open 24-hours, for quick pickups. Whole Foods at Houston and Chrystie Streets is a pleasant walk through the neighborhood, and we're in the cheapest delivery zone. There's also Wholesome Foods at Essex and Stanton Streets and a new small grocer at Orchard and Rivington Streets. Both are high-quality.
2) There's no package room but there are oversized mailboxes that are good for medium-sized packages. You'll be left a key in your regular mailbox when you've received a delivery. As themicah said, it's a pretty neighborly co-op, so you'll likely find a neighbor willing to help with larger items.
3) While board politics might get heated, the co-op is in great financial shape. We've had no indication of a significant maintenance increase. When an increase was discussed in the recent past (it didn't happen) the number was 2%. Our contract with Con Edison is up for renewal soon, but the co-op is looking at a number of options, including generating our own steam. Local Law 11 facade repair is in progress, and the assessment for that (around $40 for a 2br) ends in November 2013.
SPURA was signed off on last week; requests for proposals go out in January. I don't see a downside here (unless you choose a lower-floor apartment that directly faces it) and there's tremendous upside. Instead of parking lots we'll one day have commercial and residential buildings, a small park, a hotel, etc. I think it will be a huge boost to property values when we're connected to the more gentrified part of the neighborhood north of Delancey St. As property values rise, so will the rents we're able to demand in our commercial spaces.
BTW, they've recently added outdoor bike parking.