Tuesday, November 7, 2017

12 Secrets of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, by Kirby Sommers

SECRET 1. The parade was originally called The Christmas Parade (which is why the last float has Santa waving to the crowds). It made its debut in 1924 as a way for Macy’s to celebrate the expansion of its store which now covered an entire city block. The first participants were employees of the store.
SECRET 2. In the beginning the parade included bears, camels, monkeys and elephants from the Central Park Zoo. The balloons were replacements for the original animals.
SECRET 3. From 1928 to 1932, the handlers of the large balloons would end the parade by letting the balloons fly into the sky instead of deflating them. In the beginning they burst until they were redesigned letting them float for a couple of days.
SECRET 4. Address labels were sewn in the balloons so that the people who found them could then mail them back and receive a gift from Macy’s (some say it was a $100 reward).
SECRET 5. The parade used to start at 145th Street and Convent Avenue. It would then go west on 110th Street to Broadway where it would then stay on Broadway until it reached 34th Street.
SECRET 6. From its beginning to date there have been 174 different giant balloons.
SECRET 7. There are about 230 dressers, 100 makeup artists and 4,000 volunteers who make the big event happen.
SECRET 8. Because of the Thanksgiving Parade Macy’s is the second largest consumer of helium in the country after the U.S. Government.
SECRET 9. In 1941 after the U.S. entered World War II through its ending in 1945 the Thanksgiving Day parade was suspended. The helium that would have been used on the balloons was donated to the war effort instead producing 650 pounds of scrape rubber.
SECRET 10. In 1988 Olive Oyl (Popeye) was the first female cartoon character featured as a balloon in the parade.
SECRET 11. A “balloon pilot” is responsible for each balloon and must be able to walk the entire 2.5 mile route backward.
SECRET 12. Felix the Cat was the first balloon. The newest additions for 2017 are Olaf from the Disney film “Frozen” and Chase from “Paw Patrol.”

2017 Copyright Kirby Sommers
Kirby Sommers is the Founder of LandlordLinks.Net helping renters in New York City to rent a better apartment and bypass broker fees.
Kirby Sommers is also the President of the Cornfeld Tenants Association

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Halloween on West 69th Street: A Historical Perspective by Kirby Sommers

Halloween on West 69th Street

A Historical Perspective, by Kirby Sommers


Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind
this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows' Eve.” -Ray Bradbury

Photo by Kirby Sommers / Copyright 2017

Halloween on the lush tree-lined streets of West 69th Street between Broadway and Central Park West could be Manhattan's most mystical and intriguing event. The well-guarded annual celebration, host to thousands of trick-or-treaters, is shrouded in secrecy among residents who keep mum for fear of attracting even more candy seeking goblins to the already wickedly mobbed monster celebration.

Practically overnight, rows of brownstones, many dating back to the 1890s, along with early 20th century apartment buildings, transform themselves into haunted houses. Macabre corpses, dangling skeletons, swinging bats, giant spiders, decaying mummies, witches in flight, red eyed demons, and other creepy ghouls sprout limbs from windows, hang from ledges, or spook you from tall mature trees.

No one would ever guess the elaborate Halloween décor on most of the buildings, on what is the safest and largest Halloween party for children of all ages, takes place on what was once an almost barren street.

Halloween on West 69th Street began in 1969 at a time when only six trees could be counted between Broadway and Central Park West. Gentrification was spurred on by the construction of Lincoln Center during the 1960s. This lured young professionals of the New York intelligentsia – teachers, writers, artists – into the area in their quest for affordable housing. However, these new residents kept their children inside their apartments and away from the menace still found in pockets of the neighborhood. One resident who has been on the block since 1964 said of the era: “It was a pretty rotten time for my kid to be growing up on the block which was a desolate wasteland.”

Photo by Kirby Sommers / Copyright 2017


EARLY YEARS: Creation of the Block Association


One cloudy moonlight night, in the spring of 1969, after a would-be burglar was chased off the rooftop at 107 West 69th Street by the police, robe-clad residents found themselves discussing the incident that shook them from their sleep.

The group of young artists and professions, scoffed at by their Upper East Side peers for choosing to live in a yet to be sought after locale, came up with the idea of creating a Block Association before returning to their slumber that frightful murky night.

The first President of the newly formed W69th Street Block Association was a young Cornell law student named Richard Gottfried (elected to the New York State Assembly in 1970 – a post he still holds to this day). Needing a place for meetings, Gottfried approached Christ and St. Stephen’s Church, and enlisted the support of then rector Rev. Josepgh Zorawick.

Father Zorawick graciously invited the group to use the church’s undercroft as a meeting place. Without the assistance of the Church it would have been nearly impossible to have our now famed Halloween celebrations, or any of the other wonderful programs the Block Association has created throughout the years.

Halloween on West 69th Street


Gwen Verdon (then married to Bob Fosse) approached the newly formed Block Association for permission to bring her little girl, Nicole, outside of their apartment building at 91 Central Park West to trick or treat on the block. West 69 Street had become, in a relatively short time, a sort of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry, with residents feeling they were living in a small town within a big city.

The association agreed and many of the buildings eagerly participated. Some residents decorated their front stoops with pumpkins while others spilled out onto the street with children and bags of candy in tow to partake of the festivities.

The image of little Nicole dressed as Lady Godiva with long blond cascading locks sitting on a white custom built carousel-type horse with four men hoisting her off the ground still lingers on in the memory of many. But then, this was the little girl of Broadway legends, and it was the perfect over the top moment that in many ways inspired the amazing unbroken Halloween tradition of this most extraordinary block.

2017 Copyright. Photo by Kirby Sommers.

 Halloween Attendees


The spell spread quickly. Where at first there may have been 20 children who lived on the block in attendance, that number more than doubled the following year when they invited their friends. Then it quadrupled the year after, and then it grew exponentially when mothers from different parts of the city began bringing their children to the best-kept-secret-trick-or-treat event on the Upper West Side.

At last count over 4,000 children with their parents and friends wearing wonderful costumes make the pilgrimage to the sweet street of treats. But, shush, you didn’t hear this from me.

A 1978 excerpt of the W69 St newsletter states:

“More than 500 children attended the Block Association’s (1978) Halloween Party, and for the first time BOTH BLOCKS between Central Park West and Broadway were closed to traffic.”

During the early years there were costume parades and prizes for the little ones with the best costume. Everyone would meet in front of St. Stephen’s Church were princesses, goblins and superheroes with eager little fingers reached into an oversized cauldron full of candy for their treats.

Once the streets became too packed and had to be closed to traffic, the parade gave way to crowds of people and children of all ages, sizes, and ethnic backgrounds, making their way from one spooky building to another.

Volunteers in participating buildings hand out candy every year to a seemingly endless chorus of giggling children thrusting out their hands yelling ‘trick-or-treat!’


Halloween Building Decorations


By the mid 1970s some of the buildings along West 69th Street decorated their front steps with carved pumpkins surrounded by golden fall leaves. Others strung up lights up around the trees from where bats or spiders ominously lurked.

Among the first scary attractions was the infamous Spook Tunnel that had its beginnings in the alley of building #28. It then moved to building #39 where the servant’s entrance was transformed into its new “come in if you dare” façade. One long-term resident said: “They screamed to go in and they screamed to come out. It scared them to death. It was wonderful.”

Forty-five years later the decorations on some of the brownstones and buildings lining West 69th Street have morphed into a magical Harry Potteresque-like world. To get all the work completed some people begin working either in their lobbies or the exterior of their buildings by the middle of October to be ready in time for All Hallows’ Eve.

One family hires professional aerialists and entertainers. People still talk about Spiderman climbing in and out of windows and rappelling down the front of their brownstone.



Halloween: An Unbroken Tradition


October 29, 2012 started ominously in New York City. President Obama issued an emergency declaration for New York as Hurricane Sandy headed toward the city. Pre-storm surges had already caused severe flooding in some areas and the city shut down. Schools were closed and even the subways stopped working as everyone hunkered down for the storm of the century.

The Block Association send out an email to residents informing all that the police department had canceled the no parking permit for Halloween, as officers would be needed elsewhere to assure the safety of New Yorkers. So, officially, Halloween on West 69th Street was, for the first time, officially canceled.

However, some of the buildings were decorated and some residents still hoped to distribute candy to whoever might show up at 6pm on Halloween.

Although the streets were not closed to traffic, over 2,000 people still arrived. The Auxiliary Police (who have helped with crowd control for over three decades) didn’t get word that Halloween had been canceled and so they showed up as well. Parents who had been locked away at home with their children were incredibly grateful and thanked everyone profusely.

Photo by Kirby Sommers / Copyright 2017

          It is fascinating to note that Halloween on West 69th Street predates the Village’s Halloween Parade which began in 1974. Ours is also the only 2-block Halloween celebration anywhere that welcomes thousands of goblins, ghouls, cartoon characters, super heroes and princesses clamoring at our doors – all of whom leave with smiles and candy and giddy and happy.

 If we had a looking glass that could see back in time to 1969 and caught sight of robe clad residents huddled in front of 107 West 69th Street under a midnight moon talking about things that go bump in the night, we’d notice a glow around them, and know the magic had just begun.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Rats / Garbage / Mice / Garbage 143 West 69 Street + 2020 Broadway / ABC Properties

Hello neighbors,

Everyone has noticed and everyone has complained about the growing garbage lining our street and in front of the building at 143 West 69 Street.

Many people, myself included, have had to dodge both rats and mice when trying to walk either into the building or out of the building (and sometimes even without the garbage bags -- because of the residue these bags leave behind).


Between 2020 Broadway and 143 West 69 Street our buildings bring in approximately $250,000 every month. That is ONE QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS every month as rent into the coffers of ABC Properties.

And $3,000,000.00 and THREE MILLION DOLLARS every year.

I think we should live without rats and without mice and without the exposure to the endless amounts of toxins, health hazards, fire hazards, inappropriate repairs, and a mile long list of issues all of us have to deal with as individual renters of these apartments.

Since we are collectively paying THREE MILLION DOLLARS every year, we then are paying the super, the porter along with a host of other expenses related to the operation of these buildings.

Effectively that means we OWN this building. Perhaps not legally, but if we STOPPED PAYING RENT, ABC would listen to our reasonable requests.

UNTIL YOU DECIDE TO STOP PAYING the THREE MILLION DOLLARS (or more) every year to live with rats and mice >>


When you see garbage blocking the front door of the building at 143 West 69 Street (residents from 2020 Broadway use this street every day as well to go to the park, post office, etc) ASK the porter, or the super, or whoever you see to REMOVE IT FROM THE STEPS OF THE BUILDING.

I did that this morning.

You can do it too.

This is OUR building.

You have a say in what happens in our home.


Say something.

Do something.

Or stop complaining.

Yours truly.

Kirby Sommers, President
Cornfeld Tenants Association
143 West 69 Street
New York, NY 10023

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ten Things You Should Know About Mold: If You Live in an ABC building >> You Have Mold

Ten Things You Should Know about Mold

  1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
  2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:
    • Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
    • Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
    • Increasing ventilation
    • Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
  6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

104-106 Bedford Street co-op owners complain about ABC's mis-management of funds

104-106 Bedford Street, managed by ABC Properties (Ralph Davis)

From the time we created this website for the Cornfeld Tenants' Association we have been receiving emails, phone calls and inquiries from other residents in rentals or co-op managed properties complaining about ABC Properties and their owners / management team.

The owners of the apartments at 104-106 Bedford Street desperately want to CHANGE management to "an honest manager" for the property. They claim money has been mis-spent, misappropriated and that "they are full of corruption."


NOTE: IF ANYONE READING THIS ALSO LIVES IN AN ABC owned or run property and you are not receiving adequate help/management/ or have severe issues like we have with the rat infestation and garbage problems >> POST UR ADDRESS in the comment section or EMAIL us cornfeldtenants (at) gmail.com

Friday, August 18, 2017

Noi Due and Noi Due Carne continuing to block fire escapes!

Taken on August 17, 2017 (Arrows point to fire escape which is constantly blocked by Noi Due's door to their illegal shed; and all the things they put under it.

Also he is putting empty tin containers into the other storage bin. There are RATS, mice, roaches -- so these containers very well may be contaminated BEFORE food goes into it.

Rat Infestation / Rent Reduction Request / 143 West 69 Street and 2020 Broadway / Restaurants

Dead rat in front of 143 West 69 Street

Dear Arthur, Alex:

Your residential tenants at the buildings known as 143 West 69 Street and 2020 Broadway respectively request for you to set up rules for the restaurants you have rented space to and who occupy the ground or basement space in both buildings.

We have sent you numerous photos of improperly placed trash, rats, oil, soiled streets, open food crates, condensation in the alleyway, fire hazards, blockage of fire escapes, along with a myriad of other problems (health and safety hazards) created by the carelessness of owners of the restaurants.

These same men, by the way, go home to their 5,000 square foot mini-mansions after day's end leaving behind a series of health hazards for the tenants who occupy the 100 apartments in both buildings.

When residents of either 143 West 69 Street or 2020 Broadway walk out of the buildings we call home we are greeted by garbage, debris, packed streets with random people, smoke filled streets (with random people), multiple trucks (and their fumes); and just last week there was a dead pigeon and a dead rat (photo attached).

It is your responsibility to create a safe and clean environment for your tenants. It has not been safe, and a far cry from clean.

At this point in time ALL residents should receive a reduction in rent as there has been a reduction in services.

This reduction in rent should be retroactive for the duration of the time you added both Noi Due and Barcibo; and should continue in effect until the time you resolve the rat infestation and serious health hazards we are exposed to on a daily basis.

A 50% rent reduction to all tenants in both buildings is what we are requesting until you resolve these on-going issues.

We are happy to meet with you and hope to find a resolution to this onslaught of rats.

All residential tenants deserve a safe and decent home.

Yours truly,

Kirby Sommers, President
Cornfeld Tenants Association
143 West 69 Street
New York, NY 10023

P.S. Golan Chetrit’s (Noi Due) letter, via his attorney, Michael Morici, dated August 14, 2017 is a clear SLAPP attempt to intimidate us into silence. SLAPPS are illegal in New York City and a direct violation of New York Civil Rights Section 70-a.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

What to know about Rats: 143 West 69 Street / 2020 Broadway New York NY 10023

One of the dead rats in the alleyway where the restaurants receive their food deliveries

Worldwide, rats and mice spread over 35 diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control. These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through handling of rodents, through contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva, or through rodent bites. Diseases carried by rodents can also be spread to humans indirectly, through ticks, mites or fleas that have fed on an infected rodent.
The CDC lists seven diseases that rats and mice in North America transmit directly such as Plague and Rat-bite fever and 11 they transmit indirectly. That list includes Lyme Disease, Relapsing Fever, West Nile Virus and others, some of which can be fatal.
Rodents spread diseases through droppings and urine. In addition, they have fleas on their skin. They have thousands of bacteria. They urinate as they walk. The droppings spread disease and contamination. It makes people sick.
Landlords and restaurant owners are supposed to take every precautionary step against the elimination of such a dangerous health hazard to all tenants.