Veronica Kelly, GPTA VP David Levine, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and GPTA President Glenn Plaskin at the Southwest Holiday Reception
Holiday Cheer at the 2013 Southwest Gateway Reception
Second Annual Holiday Celebration
Residents of Gateway Plaza in Battery Park City are invited to a Holiday Celebration with friends, family and neighbors at a reception co-hosted by SouthWestNY, 301 South End Avenue (at Albany Street), on Sunday, December 8, from 6 – 9pm. The restaurant is providing complimentary hors d’oeuvres, and a professional photographer will be on hand to take keepsake photos as a memento of the holidays.
Last year’s holiday gathering drew over 300 guests, the largest event ever held by the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association (GPTA), and it was attended by City Council member Margaret Chin, current Community Board 1 chair Catherine McVay Hughes, and former CB1 Chair Julie Menin.
All those who wish to attend are asked to RSVP to GPlazaTA@gmail.com
by Friday, December 6th.
For more information about the GPTA, visit gpta.org
Downtown News & Events
Friday, December 6, 2013
|Are Gateway Energy-Efficiency Upgrades
on the Back Burner?
Squadron Calls for Timetable; GPTA President Says Progress Is Too Slow
State Senator Daniel Squadron is asking Gateway Plaza Management to give an account of progress made on energy efficiency since the complex underwent an energy audit that was released in 2012. In a November 19 letter to the Lefrak Organization, Gateway’s owners, Mr. Squadron asked about, “the status of energy efficiency upgrades and repairs to apartments and common areas in Gateway Plaza.”
After a contentious public meeting held in February, 2013, Gateway management announced that it planned to upgrade boilers and ventilation systems throughout the complex, and implement improvements within individual apartments, including the replacement of decades-old climate-control units (known as PTACs, for Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner) and the installation of new electric meters, which have been alleged to tally up widely divergent electric bills for identical apartments.
Glenn Plaskin, the president of the Gateway Plaza Tenant’s Association (GPTA) said, “with winter on its way and temperatures about to plunge, I’m sorry to say that, while some progress has been made, it is not nearly as much as we had hoped. In the February meeting, representatives from Gateway management said there would be new PTACs and new electric meters before winter, 2013. Winter is now days away, and while they have slowly begun to install new PTACs into some apartments, there has been nothing like the complete replacement that we believe they agreed to.”
“They have also been testing new electric meters,” Mr. Plaskin said, “which is a positive step, as is their stated intention to install new meters in all apartments. But progress has been very, very slow. These meters are 30 years old, and register bills for some one-bedroom apartments at around $100 per month, while other, identical units get bills for up to four or five times that amount. The GPTA believes we need a complete replacement of all PTACs and all electric meters now.”
Mr. Plaskin said, “Gateway has also hired a firm to assess current conditions with regard to windows and insulation, and outline their options. But they have not yet committed to replacing all windows and re-insulating every apartment.”
“Gateway is being marketed as a luxury complex,” Mr. Plaskin continued, “where some apartments are rented for as much as $6,000 per month. But these buildings are not well insulated and they are not well heated. That’s a fundamental problem. I’m optimistic that Gateway will make all these changes eventually, but it is just not happening fast enough.”
Mr. Squadron’s letter to the Lefrak Organization closes with a request for, “the status and a timetable for the completion of the work. It is important that repairs and upgrades be completed both for the efficiency of the complex and the reduction in energy costs passed on to residents of Gateway Plaza.”
A spokesman for the Lefrak Organization did not respond to a request for comment.
photo by Robert Simko
Gateway tenants not cool with the cool air
December 4, 2013 | Filed under: News
| Posted by: admin
BY SAM SPOKONY | Many Gateway Plaza residents may feel cold again this winter, as planned repairs to their apartment windows, insulation and heating units are still incomplete.
The six-building, 1,700-unit complex on South End Ave. underwent an extensive energy audit in August 2012, after which auditors compiled a list of recommendations for upgrades and repairs.
The audit was the result of a collaborative effort between the LeFrak Organization, which owns the Battery Park City complex, Gateway’s Tenant Association and State Sen. Daniel Squadron. In addition to the plans to replace shoddy windows, insulation and PTAC units (which provide heating and air conditioning), LeFrak also committed to upgrading the development’s boilers and ventilation systems, according to Squadron’s office.
And at a public meeting in February, a LeFrak representative told tenants that the repairs and upgrades would be completed by the following winter — the end of 2013 — according to Glenn Plaskin, Gateway’s tenant leader.
“It’s a quality of life issue for our units, especially those with elderly residents, or families with young children,” Plaskin said in a phone interview last week. “We get so many letters from people who say that cold air is coming right through their windows and the insulation of their walls.”
In addition to those issues of discomfort, he explained that the faulty infrastructure causes “exorbitantly high” energy bills for some residents who have to crank up their heat to deal with the frosty air.
Plaskin said he’s learned that Gateway’s management has already installed some new PTAC units — perhaps several hundred — and that LeFrak is currently testing several different brands to see which is most effective.
But no new windows have yet been installed, and insulation repairs have also not yet taken place, he said.
Squadron sent a letter to LeFrak on Nov. 19, asking for an update on the status to the repairs and upgrades, but the landlord has not yet responded to the request, according to Squadron’s spokesperson
LeFrak’s spokesperson said the firm was not ready to “provide any details” on the matter.
“The good news is that LeFrak is aware of what needs to be done, and they’ve taken some steps forward by installing some of the PTAC units and getting price estimates for the new windows,” said Plaskin. “I’m optimistic that everything will eventually get done, but tenants need to keep making their voices heard if they want it to be done in a timely manner.”
Downtown News & Events
Friday, October 18, 2013
GPTA Criticizes Emergency Storm Readiness; Management Cites Progress
As the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaches, the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association (GPTA) is raising concerns about what it sees as the lack of emergency preparedness measures to prevent a repeat of the storm’s impact on Battery Park City’s largest residential complex, especially the building at 375 South End Avenue, where tenants were left without electricity, running water, or elevator service for five days. But Gateway Plaza management says it has made significant progress in making the buildings ready for another storm.
“A year after Sandy, Gateway, in our view, has not made adequate safety provisions for back-up systems should another weather emergency occur,” says GPTA President Glenn Plaskin. “If the Hudson overflowed, as it did last October, water would flood the basement of the 375 building, the one closest to the river. Because the electrical components have not been moved higher off the ground, the building would lose its electricity and water. The emergency lights in stairwells and hallways could fail, as they did [in 2012] “and there would be no elevator service.”
Mr. Plaskin adds that, “in a 35-story building, that’s a significant safety hazard. Elderly or disabled tenants could potentially be stranded with no way to get up or down, or comply with an evacuation order. And if the stairwell lights fail, there are no glow-in-the-dark strips installed on steps.”
|Flooding Downtown Following Sandy
Greg Tumminia, the general manager of Gateway Plaza, says, “during the storm Gateway lost power and services to the 375 building only. It was not by luck that we were able to restore power and all critical services at Gateway within five days of the storm. Our actions prior, during, and immediately after the storm are what enabled us to have the 375 building up and running within five days.”
Mr. Tumminia adds, “we had licensed electricians on site prior to the storm, and we made provisions to have hard-to-get fuses and parts on location. We were also able to keep the other Gateway buildings up and running throughout the storm because of the plan of action implemented to harden electrical service rooms.”
About actions taken after Hurricane Sandy, Mr. Tumminia says, “we have added additional portable emergency equipment, and we have improved conditions in the existing electrical rooms. We are currently working with a top engineering firm to further improve the electrical switch gear set-up. Many improvements have been completed. Emergency communication information has been circulated, email@example.com is an e-mail address that Gateway residents can use at any time. Lobbies have also had internet based phone services added in addition to the existing direct intercom lines [already] in place.”
But GPTA’s Mr. Plaskin points to the steps not yet taken: “While the management has stated that their intention is to set up a ‘power transfer switch’ — to allow them to tie in a portable generator to power at least one elevator, emergency lighting, and domestic water pumps — that system has not been purchased. And we’re told that it probably won’t be installed before the spring of 2014. This is not acceptable. A year is long enough to have solved this problem. And tenant safety is paramount.”
Mr. Plaskin adds that, “we believe this issue called for priority over the management’s focus on the gym and pool and newly-designed back lawn. Remember, entire boardwalks and oceanfront attractions have been rebuilt in New Jersey, while at Gateway, it’s taken a year to get this project off the ground. We hope that the management will accelerate their time-table to make this building as weather proof as possible.”
Mr. Tumminia counters that, “when a mandatory evacuation is issued by the City, people should find a way to obey that directive and make sure they are safe. I know that some people feel they may not have relocation options during an emergency. In addition, other people have pets that they don’t want to leave behind. When dealing with these New Age-storm systems, we never know the severity of a particular storm until it is sometimes too late.”
Mr. Plaskin acknowledges that management has made some progress, noting that, “Gateway is installing a key fob system that is about 70 to 80 percent complete, and everybody who has received one has also registered an e-mail address with management, which will facilitate communication in case of a future emergency.”
Mr. Tumminia concludes that, “Gateway has made improvements and added critical equipment to be more prepared for any potential storm events. We are continuing to make additional improvements that will further enhance our ability to cope with future storms like Sandy.”
Mr. Plaskin says that GPTA, “is in friendly communications with Gateway management, and we’re taking this one step at a time. They have explained what they plan to do and hope to do, but they haven’t done it yet, and winter weather is on its way. A complex this large needs a backup system that will provide each building with, at a minimum, one elevator, hallway and stairwell lights, and running water.”
photos by Robert Simko
The following letter was written in response to the October 18th article in the BroadsheetDAILY titled, “Doomsday Preppers: GPTA Criticizes Emergency Storm Readiness; Management Cites Progress.”
To the Editor:
I am dismayed that a year has passed without full safety measures being implemented at Gateway. As things stand, it would take management 4-5 days to get things up and running after a blackout — far too long to wait. They poured money into the back lawn and gym and pool, but didn’t think a reliable back-up system was a priority.I was displaced for 7 days during the storm, and then moved back in to realize there was only one elevator working. Without electricity during Sandy the stairwells were completely black and there were no neon strips to light the staircases. Walking up and down those stairs was treacherous. It’s not too late to fast forward their plans.If they choose not to, it’s a liability to all tenants.Thank you,
FROM THE DOWNTOWN EXPRESS:
Gateway Plaza emergency safety:
With more than 1,700 apartments, Gateway Plaza is the largest residential complex in Battery Park City. The Gateway Plaza Tenants Association feels that its storm protection measures are not up to snuff.
“Tenant safety is the top priority of any tenants association, “ said Glenn Plaskin, Tenants Association president, “and that’s why we’re concerned should another super-storm occur.”
He said there was no power transfer switch that would allow management to tie in a generator in the event of a power failure. That would mean that there would be no way to power an elevator, emergency lighting and domestic water pumps.
“We would find ourselves in a blackout once the emergency lights in the stairwells and hallways dim after six hours or so,” he said. “In a 35-story-building, how are elderly or disabled people going to evacuate the building? The stairwells don’t have luminescent strips, and even if they did, it would be extremely difficult for such tenants to get down to the lobby.”
He said that the restoration of power after four or five days just wouldn’t cut it and that a new generator system should be installed at once.
“We have been informed that management is going to solve this problem long-term by installing new equipment by spring of 2014,” he said. “In the meantime, we do hope they will do whatever they can to protect tenants. One essential mandate would be to create a list of those tenants who are most physically vulnerable and have staff members knock on each of those doors, in conjunction with the Fire Department when possible, so that these tenants will get the help they need to evacuate the building.”
- GPTA President Glenn Plaskin presenting Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver With A Lifetime Achievement Award For His Remarkable Contributions to Gateway residents and to all of Battery Park City
©2013 Terese Loeb Kreuzer. All rights reserved
Democratic Party Leader Jenifer Rajkumar, Community Board Chair Catherine McVeigh Hughes, U.S. Congressman Jerry Nadler, GPTA President Glenn Plaskin, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, City Council Member Magaret Chin, Borough President Candidate Julie Menin
GPTA Vice President Peg Wallis leading the discussion of tenant issues at the May 6th public forum
Silver’s support Downtown remains strong
June 12, 2013 | Filed under: News
| Posted by: admin
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spoke with Gateway Plaza tenant Irving Levine at a ceremony honoring the speaker’s work.
BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER | “Nobody has done more for Gateway tenants than Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver,” said Glenn Plaskin, president of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association. “For 20 years, he has been our strongest ally and a fierce supporter who believes in affordable housing.”
Plaskin was addressing an audience of Gateway tenants assembled in the auditorium of P.S./I.S. 276 on June 6 for the presentation to Speaker Silver of the first Gateway Plaza Tenants Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Battery Park City tenant group’s board voted unanimously six months ago to give a Lifetime Achievement Award to Silver. The award was based on the totality of his contribution to the quality of life for Gateway tenants, most notably his leading all rent stabilization negotiations.
Considering the recipient, there could not have been a more appropriate venue than the school at 55 Battery Place, which opened in 2010. Speaker Silver pushed the Department of Education to build the school and made it happen.
Several elected officials and community leaders who spoke about Silver that night noted this fact, among others.
“Since Speaker Silver has represented us, he has created four K-8 schools in Community Board 1 and we’re hoping we’ll get another one soon,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1.
“You’re right to give [Silver] a lifetime award today,” said U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, “although we hope that his life and service will go on for a long time.”
Nadler said he met Silver in 1975 and they had worked together ever since.
“Shelly has been the speaker for 20 years and I can tell you that he has been one of the leading protectors of everything that most people in this auditorium today would hold dear,” Nadler said. He mentioned Silver’s work on behalf of women’s rights, education funding and affordable housing. He specifically mentioned that Silver protected rent stabilization in opposition to the governor and the State Senate.
“The fact that we still have rent control and rent stabilization is, to a very large extent, because of Shelly Silver, regardless of whether he gets credit for it,” said Nadler. “So you have chosen well. He deserves this Lifetime Achievement Award.”
With a lawsuit over his handling of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment case hanging over him, Silver may have had a rough day before he arrived at the Battery Park City school, but the warm reception that greeted him should have made up for it.
The audience applauded him loudly and at length.
“Thank you for your friendship and for your support over the years,” Silver said.
Julie Menin, Community Board 1’s former chairperson, who is running for Manhattan Borough President, said, “No one has believed in our community more than Speaker Silver.
“There was a time after Sept. 11 where people doubted the tenacity and perseverance of our neighborhood. And Speaker Silver said that was wrong, that we would be able to rebuild our community.”
City Councilmember Margaret Chin spoke of Silver’s protection of affordable housing, and her opponent for reelection, Democratic District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar, spoke about how much she had learned from Silver about leadership.
For his part, Silver said, “Gateway Plaza and its residents have really been special to me.”
He said that it was at Gateway Plaza, which has 1,705 apartments and is the largest residential complex in Battery Park City, that he began the fight for affordable housing.
“It was 25 years ago, almost exactly, that the mandatory deregulation, rent stabilization ended at Gateway,” he said. “And here we are, 25 years later, still with a rent stabilization program — and it was a career just keeping it that way.”
Silver spoke about pressuring Richard LeFrak, chairperson and C.E.O. of the LeFrak Organization, which owns Gateway Plaza, to keep Gateway rent stabilized if he wanted to refinance the building. Long-time tenants of Gateway are still rent stabilized through 2020 although tenants who moved in after 2009 now pay market-rate rents.
Silver also referenced quality-of-life issues necessary to accommodate population growth in Lower Manhattan.
“We continue to push the Department of Education to build more schools for our rapidly growing community,” he said. “And likewise to accommodate that growth, we built new parks, we revamped recreational facilities such as the state-of-the-art ball fields just a few blocks from here.”
This is “a great place to live, and nobody thought it would be almost 12 years ago,” he said. “They figured people would flee Lower Manhattan and never return. We proved them wrong.“
He said that between the census of 2000 and 2010, Lower Manhattan and specifically his Assembly district, experienced larger population growth than any other community in New York City.
“Many of you were here on that dark day almost 12 years ago,” he said. “You stayed here. You helped rebuild because you believed in community. You believed in your neighbors and you believed in working together to ensure that Battery Park City continues to be one of the greatest places in our city to live, to work and to raise a family.”
Gateway Annual Meeting Thursday Night
Agenda Includes Elections, Open Discussions, Catered Reception,
and Award for Silver
|Gateway Plaza’s newly renovated outdoor seating area and play space
On Thursday evening, the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association (GPTA) will host its annual meeting in the auditorium of P.S. 276, at 55 Battery Place. The event will include the yearly election of executive board members, a catered reception, and an award ceremony honoring State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. GPTA president Glenn Plaskin says, “this past year has been an incredibly active and productive one. We led a successful campaign to protect our pets, so that tenants can
|Gateway Plaza Tenants Association president Glenn Plaskin
have any dog or cat of their choice. We also pushed forward on our initiative to pressure the landlord for new heating and air conditioning units and new electric meters, both of which we have been told to expect to have installed before next winter.” Mr. Plaskin added that, “according to our 2012 survey, polling 761 tenants, 42 percent want new windows. The landlord is now in the process of collecting estimates for the replacement of all windows.” Finally, he said, “the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association was also on hand to give tenants updates and support during Hurricane Sandy.”
Topics of discussion at the Thursday meeting are expected to include emergency measures to mitigate extreme weather events, like Hurricane Sandy; a projected schedule for replacement of windows, electric meters, and climate control units; inaccurate electric bills; a planned no-smoking policy within 100 feet of building entrances; upcoming replacement of carpet and wallpaper in common areas; the pending installation of Citi Bike share kiosks; and rent increases for non-stabilized tenants, in some cases in excess of 15 percent.
Among the community leaders and elected officials who have been invited are Mr. Silver, State Senator Daniel Squadron, City Council member Margaret Chin, Borough President candidate Julie Menin, U.S. Congressman Jerry Nadler, City Council candidate Jenifer Rajkumar, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and Community Board 1 chair Catherine McVay Hughes.
State Assembly Speaker
The event will begin at 6pm, with hors d’oeuvres and refreshments from Merchants River House. At 7pm, the GPTA will present Mr. Silver with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work on behalf of Gateway Plaza tenants. “For the last two decades,” Mr. Plaskin said, “no elected official has done more to enhance the quality of life for Gateway residents than Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, most notably leading the negotiations for the renewal of our rent stabilization agreement, signed in 2009 and lasting until 2020.”
Following the awards ceremony, there will be an open discussion of all issues of interest to Gateway residents. The evening will conclude with the election of new GPTA executive board members.
All Gateway residents are invited, but those planning to attend are requested to e-mail an R.S.V.P. to GPlazaTA@gmail.com
photos by Robert Simko
Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, awarded for his heroic efforts in enhancing our quality of life in Battery Park City
Welcome to GPTA.org, the online home of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association.
We are committed to working together to build and maintain a high quality of life in our community, in every possible way, for the tenants of Gateway Plaza.
Please click around the site to read the latest Gateway news, engage with fellow Gateway community members, and contact the tenants association. And please, don’t forget to join GPTA!
We invite and encourage ALL Gateway residents to join the GPTA, as our very existence depends upon the participation of the tenant population. Indeed, the larger our membership, the greater our power and influence. So we encourage all of our Gateway neighbors to join us in supporting and participating in the activities of the GPTA. Let your voice join others toward the betterment of our community!
You can always turn to the GPTA when there are issues which you feel affect Gateway Plaza or the entire Battery Park City community. The GPTA will log in issues that are recurring or “global,” and then bring them to the management’s attention. The GPTA is committed to addressing any and all issues.
The GPTA was created in 1982 to respond to tenant-related issues in Gateway Plaza, the largest residential complex in Battery Park City. Over the last 30 years, the GPTA has accomplished a variety of goals, including negotiating long-term rent-stabilization agreements with the landlord, thereby preserving Gateway as a family-friendly residential community for people with diverse incomes.
Click around the site to learn more!
SLIDESHOW: Gateway and Battery Park
Downtown resources for GPTA tenants