Thursday, June 15, 2017

Letter to Noi Due (143 West 69 Street) illegal garbage dumping

Noi Due garbage piled up in front of residential 143 West 69 Street (violation -- they are supposed to hire a private carting company)

Noi Due,

This is to request that you cease and desist from leaving your garbage in front of the residential building 143 West 69 Street immediately. The residents in the front of the building have the following issues;
1. Smell of rotting food permeating our apartments.
2. Rodents, roaches in our apartments.

It is illegal, as you know, for a commercial restaurant to leave garbage in front of our building. 

RE: YOUR CONSTRUCTION of the restaurant formerly known as ANDANADA. 

You have ZERO permits and yet your renovation begins at 5am.

I have photographic and video evidence of the above illegal transgressions.

Just this morning I brought the garbage issue to the attention of both Jozef Zagreda and our super Max. However I am bringing it to your attention and ask you immediately resolve BOTH issues.

As you know your restaurant was responsible for the infestation of RATS in our alleyway. We do not want to have any more quality of life issues as you are now opening your SECOND restaurant.

Please let me know within 36 hours a) that you intend to solve the above issues and b) how you plan on doing this without creating a nuisance for the tenants in the building.

Thank you.

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

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Know Your Rights: New York City Tenants Rights: Free Guide Download

Most landlords, and I know, our landlord (ABC Properties/2020 Broadway Associates) take advantage of the fact that many renters are not familiar with their rights as renters.

I urge you to take a few minutes and download this free guide to help you understand what the landlord's responsibilities are and other useful information you will need throughout your life if you choose to rent.


Continued Mice and Rat Infestation from Restaurants: 2020 Broadway / 143 West 69 Street

I was in the elevator of 143 West 69th Street the other day and a man who described himself as being involved with Barcibo Enoteca (recently undergoing a name change - probably because of our exposing the rat issues and our 20 ft inflated rat which we placed outside the buildings about 2 years ago) -- began to complain about the "mice infestation" at the restaurant and the fact that one of the fire escape steps broke almost severely hurting one of the workers.

For those of you who are new to either 2020 Broadway and 143 West 69 Street, I urge you to go to our home page and in the search box enter the word "rats" -- read those posts.

The publication of this information in an online forum contributed to the landlord and the restaurant owners to taking some steps to mitigate the problem. However, not enough steps were taken and we still have a rat/mouse infestation because of the poor manner in which the food is received, stored, and how the garbage continues to be improperly stored and removed.

The law states that the landlord is responsible for maintaining the property (our apartments and the buildings) in a safe manner. This is a breach of the Warranty of Habitability and all of us - every tenant - is in all probability entitied to a rent rebate (meaning a reduction in rent as there has been a reduction in services).


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

NOTE: If you want to be added to our mailing list please reach out. Our email address is:

Is Mold in Our Apartments Making Us Sick? ABC Properties Tenants: 143 West 69 Street / 2020 Broadway / 325 W 71st Street

The buildings we live in have never really had proper mold remediation and let's face it, our landlord and whatever manager we've had never has properly tended to this problem (which affects our health).

It is in your best interest to be properly educated about mold, how it should be removed, and how to stay healthy. 

Obviously any mold is to be removed by trained people so as not to disturb and create a larger problem.

I recently had to have an emergency bathroom repair - which of course, our building manager, Jozef Zagreda calls a "renovation" -- but which happened as a result of years of landlord neglect and water accumulation in my apartment -- specifically the bathroom resulting in the ceiling collapse of the bathroom ceiling of the tenant below my apartment in #4G.

As a direct result of the repair (done inappropriately) the mold has spread throughout my apartment - it smells horribly moldy - my throat feels tight, I have a recurrent cough, I have a constant runny nose, headaches, and it has affected my energy levels in an alarming way. Apparently when they opened up my bathroom walls it affected the ceiling area which because of the large HVAC on our roof had a ton of condensation (any standing water behind walls or ceilings has mold); in any event, my ceilings have cracks and water stains throughout, and the smell of mold permeates every nook and cranny of my apartment. 

I am always compelled to share information with tenants throughout New York City (and particularly my neighbors and fellow ABC Properties tenants) -- to ensure we remain healthy and not harmed by negligence and improper handling of the removal of mold.

The following is the Department of Health's download on mold. Download it. Read it. If you notice mold, or if your apartment has a smell, insist on help from our landlord. Otherwise the landlord has legally breached the Warranty of Habitability and your rent should be reduced (called a rent abatement).

Some of you may be experiencing mold related illnesses such as allergies, upper respiratory problems - and not be aware that your apartment is making you sick.

If you spot a problem - again - INSIST that our landlord/management repair it properly and promptly. 


Friday, April 28, 2017

143 West 69 Street Bathroom Ceiling Collapse: And How I Was Denied Repairs

The Shoemaker Has No Shoes: In My Case >> The Real Estate Expert Has No Apartment (err, Bathroom)
I have been holed up in an empty studio apartment in my apartment building for a couple of days. The bathroom in my one bedroom apartment is currently undergoing emergency bathroom repair.
The ceiling below my bathroom caved into the apartment below mine last month.
Although I have sent notices to the landlord for 12 years (yes, 12 long years) about the multiple leaks and the horrid conditions in my bathroom (and throughout the apartment and the building) — ABC Properties did nothing until the ceiling collapsed (barely killing the tenant below me).
And so, I was told by Jozef Zagreda, ABC Properties new manager who has an office in my landlord’s larger set of offices: “We’re going to renovate your bathroom.”
To which I replied: “You are going to repair my bathroom. Finally.”
“No,” Jozef insisted. “You’re going to get an entirely new bathroom.”
I’m no one’s fool and I’ve been in real estate for decades so I know that what my landlord attempted to do for many years is to get me to leave my rent stabilized one bedroom apartment (for which I pay less than $1,000) by not maintaining my apartment, by not responding to repair requests, by performing shoddy work when it was finally done, and really using everything in his/their power to get me to leave.
And so now I am fighting for a substantial rent reduction and possibly will have to take them to court. Because it seems I am also sick from the growing mold.
“Mold?” The manager echoed with a dramatic exaggeration. “You’re not an expert on mold.”
“That’s why I am telling you to get a mold remediation expert into the bathroom when it is being repaired.”
“We’re spending thousands of dollars, Kirby. You’re getting a brand new bathroom. It is not a repair, it is a renovation.”
In any event. It is a repair and I am now temporarily in an empty apartment, still sick, waiting for the crew (landlord REFUSED to get a mold remediation specialist) to finish repairing my bathroom.
I TOOK A COUPLE OF VIDEOS (in case anyone is interested in taking a look at the horrible condition of what was my bathroom):
Copyright 2017 Kirby Sommers

May 7, 2017 UPDATE

I have a reasonably good looking *repaired* bathroom now that is unusable and which, again, has leaks (among a multitude of other issues). So it looks good, you just can't really use it.

For example: I am still missing a bathroom door. The hallyway of my particular building is a square U-shape which acts as an echo chamber. So that my neighbor on the other side of the building told me: "I can hear you flush your toilet." Privacy is a tenant's right. Lack of providing privacy is a breach of the Warranty of Habitability.

The sink leaks. I began the weary task of trying to put my things away and wanted to clean the vanity below the new sink. To my dismay there was a water pile spilling onto the back of the sink and onto the floor and possibly even down to the neighbor below me (who has already had to deal with this issue for as long as I have had to deal with mine).

The shower faucet doesn't work properly. So that there is almost no water pressure and as if that weren't bad enough when the faucet is turned on the water comes down in an angle hitting the tiles and the grout area between the tiles and the tub. This is going to corrode the area and, I cannot even believe this as I write it, will create the same problem I had before. Meaning multiple gaps in the walls with water seeping through creating not just another possibility of the ceiling beneath my bathroom caving in again, but continuing to add to the already bad mold problems.

One would think that ABC Properties, who owns the building, would have at least concentrated on installing the new plumbing in a way that would have directly addressed the emergency of the repair.

They chose, instead, to purchase the cheapest quality materials that did nothing to address the serious issues -- which if left in this shoddy fashion will re-create the same problem. Talk about penny wise and dollar foolish (I hate cliche's but in this case I can think of nothing else).

One of my neighbors has stopped by twice and he, too, has lived in the building for many years. We looked at one another and both of us said at the same time: I guess we have a slumlord."

Friday, March 17, 2017

Tenants exposed to asbestos, toxic substances. No protection of tenants installation of Verizon Fios.


The drilling by Verizon who are installing Fios should have been preceded by a notice to ALL tenants.

As you know wall penetrations are to be treated as drilling through (a) asbestos containing materials, and (b) lead-based or containing paints.

Additionally work should be performed with a High Efficiency Particular Air (HEPA) filter equipped vacuum cleaner, as well as a supply of plastic sheeting, sponges, plastic waste bags, water, etc.

Plastic sheeting should have been laid down immediately where the holes were/are being drilled (in all of your buildings).

Further, the area should be closed off to foot traffic using barrier tape.

Holes should have been, and should be going forward, drilled through a wet sponge.

Any dust should be immediately vacuumed or wiped up using wet sponges.

Dust and debris left behind contain lead and asbestos contamination and should be re-vacuumed. NOTE: No cleaning whatsoever has been performed by Verizon or by ABC Properties.

The doorways of the apartments should have been sealed with two layers of plastic on the entire floor.

WARNING signs at the entry to the work area/zones should have been posted on doors, work areas.

No tenants or staff should be present in work area. Tenants and staff can return to the site after proper cleanup of contamination has been completed.


On behalf of all the tenants I am requesting proper cleanup of the affected floors immediately. Additionally, on behalf of all the tenants, I am requesting work be:

1.    Tenants should be given notice one week before any work to be done in the common areas of the building. This can be done by posting SIGNS throughout the property one week before any work is to be commenced.
2.    Proper methods of doing the work, as outlined above, should be immediately implemented so that tenants are not unduly exposed to health hazards.

Immediate and proper clean up of the affected areas is urgently requested as everyone walking in and out of their apartments will now be contaminating their apartments and their belongings.

Your prompt attention to this very serious concern is most appreciated.

Yours truly,

Kirby Sommers
Cornfeld Tenants Association
143 West 69 Street #5G
New York, NY 10023
Tel: (212) 787-8726 

SEE PHOTO OF APARTMENT FLOOR DUST taken after Verizon Fios worked on the 5th floor of building 143 West 69 Street. That's contaminated dust, folks.

Contaminated lead, asbestos dust on hardwood floor of apartment.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Victory for the Tenants of 2020 Broadway and 143 West 69 Street: Albertina is CLOSED!!

Exactly one year ago we were concerned about a known arsonist renting the space formerly known as Tani.

We created a Change (dot) org petition to encourage our landlord, ABC Properties, not to rent the space to someone with a history of burning down their establishments.

It was frightening for many to think our lives were in danger. That, at any moment, we’d perish in a disastrous fire and, for many, be just another news item in the media.

To the astonishment of many of us – the store opened just a couple of months ago under the name of: ALBERTINA.

Our landlord insisted the original tenant’s deal had “fallen through.”

I never believed that to be the case. Many of you did not buy that either.

The way these businesses (restaurant/arsonists) work is they rent a space. They get insurance. They inflate the money they spend. They open for a while. And then they have an “accidental” fire. In short – the restauranteur/arsonist walks away with a profit – and in many cases, the landlord is free to build another structure.

Perhaps a co-op building. Perhaps a condo building.

I was so very afraid (as many of you were) that it would be our very horrible fate.


Which means we WON.



Some of you who live at 2020 had the additional burden of excessive noise, excessive building vibrations, and many sleepless nights because of the middle of the night food deliveries.

Some people hired attorneys.

Some people stopped paying their rent.

The landlord attempted to mitigate some of the complaints.

It is important for everyone to remember: We, as renters, have rights.

We have the right to live in a safe environment.

We have the “Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment”  

A quick review:

With every lease, a tenant gets the following rights:

1.   Privacy: A reasonable expectation of privacy;
2.   Peace & Quiet: Including the freedom from unreasonable and recurring disturbances from the landlord and/or other neighbors;
3.   Right of Use: Exclusive right of use, except for landlord’s reasonable right of access;
4.   Safety & Security: A premise & dwelling that provide adequate security and are free of bodily hazards;
5.   Basic Utilities: Access to basic services such as electricity, heat and hot water, which are also part of the implied warranty of habitability.

We are neighbors. We are a community. Together, we can (as we have done many times now) make our homes a better place.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in signing our petition – each one of you saved not only your life, but the lives of your neighbors.

Please pass this information on to your neighbors who may not be on our mailing list.

Thank you.

Kirby Sommers, President
Cornfeld Tenants Association

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cornfeld Tenants News Update: May 19, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

In this mailing:

*2020 Bway store formerly known as Tani

*Wrought Iron door connecting 2020 Broadway + 143 W 69 St leading to receiving area for restaurants

*Rat Infestation at 2020 Bway + 143 West 69 Street (Notice from New York..

*Food Delivery: Changes

*Cleaning of West 69 Street where garbage piles up in front of 143 W 69 St

*Fire Hazards for all buildings >> update

2020 Broadway: Store formerly known as Tani

The store formerly known as Tani where residents and friends joined hands in our campaign to keep Tsu Yue Wang from finalizing their lease with ABC properties seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Although the space was kept unoccupied for one month following our petition to ABC Properties, on Saturday May 16th our landlord allowed their new tenant to take over the space. (See photo of Tani taken on 5/16/2015). (1)

On Monday, an Asian crew claiming not to speak any english began demolition work on the space. See photo taken on 5/17/2015. (2)

Wrought Iron Door Connecting 2020 Broadway + 143 W 69 Street leading to receiving area for restaurants

As can be seen from a photograph taken May 1, 2015 the door has gotten *alot* of attention. (3) This door, which has been left unlocked and open for decades, was finally locked by our landlord ABC Properties.

Additionally, a second door (see photo taken May 17, 2015) (4) was recently installed.

A mesh covering on the bottom of the door has been added, along with a new piece of mesh on the side of the door to keep the rats from running into the garbage which continues to be left on the side of West 69th Street. (See photos dated Mary, 2015) (5/6)

Although many of you have told me: “The Cornfelds only put those measures in place to keep you from taking any more photos and videos of the goings-on in the alley” – it is a victory for us.


As far as many of us are concerned, it doesn’t matter how we got from point A to point Z. We got there. And now the rear of these 2 buildings is a lot safer.


RAT INFESTATION + food Delivery Changes

Noi Due, the restaurant located in the basement of 143 W 69 Street has begun to accept most of their food, according to Golan (the owner), who has demonstrated a desire to be attentive and responsive to tenant issues.

Golan told me personally, as well as discussing the issue with Sue, that there are “no more deliveries left to sit unattended in the alley.”

Deliveries, he claims, are made only when the restaurant is open from 11am to 11pm -- when an employee can meet with the delivery person and accept the food straight into the restaurant.

Additionally, Noi Due has made every attempt at trying to mitigate the rat infestation (and noise) by 1) giving keys to some of the deliverymen who need to deliver food before 11am. And 2) by having deliveries not arrive too early so as not to awaken those of you who are trying to sleep in the rear of both buildings.



On May 17, 2015 the Cornfeld Tenants’ Association received the following email from New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:

**This is an auto-generated system message. Please do not reply to this message.**
Service Request #: C1-1-1079741229
Date Submitted: 03/17/15 3:02:02 PM
Request Type: Food Establishment
Details: Rodents/Insects/Garbage
Your Service Request was closed.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has sent official written notification to the Owner/Landlord warning them of potential violations and instructing them to correct the situation. If the situation persists 21 days after your initial complaint, please make a new complaint."

While 2020 Broadway and 143 West 69 Street are not “out of the woods” with regard to the rat infestation, we are certainly on the way.



For the first time, the side street is getting hosed down. See photo taken recently. This was noticed by several of you on our infamous “Rat Rally” day. Although it does NOT happen every time the garbage is hauled away – IT IS A START. See photo taken May 1, 2015 (7)


I want to thank all of the people who contacted me after the last email to you regarding GAS LEAKS.


In a previous email to you, we suggested you dial 3-1-1 if you smell gas. This information is incorrect.

YOU MUST DIAL 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.


We are still waiting on the fire chief and fire battalian chief to make a stop at all buildings that are part of the Cornfeld Tenants’ Association. Those of you who want to be notified WILL BE NOTIFIED prior to a visit. (We have your names, however, if you wish to be added to this *notification list – please advise).

Updates on our news is regularly posted to our website:

Since I have paid for almost everything, if you wish to make a small contribution, there is a “Subscribe” button on the website. Any amount is greatly appreciated and goes toward our flyers, printing, and other events, such as the recent petition (which was not free).

I am so happy that we have come together. United as one. Neighbors helping neighbors. We have come a long way.

Together we can conitnue to make a difference in our buildings and in our homes.

Warmest Regards,

Kirby Sommers, President
Cornfeld Tenants Association

May 19, 2015

May 1, 2015

Posted by Kirby Sommers