NYState Assembly Housing Committee Chairman Vito Lopez, 7l, evicted from committee: A tale of sex,bras and settlement loot

“He commented that I was well endowed and that another girl in the office was well endowed,” one of the women said. “But I didn’t play it up like she did, and I should wear button-down shirts so he could look down them.”—NYTimes

Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito T. Lopez, former Chair of the Housing Committee in Albany

Vintage pin-up style ad from the Mad Men era.


Looks like powerful, former Housing Commitee Chair Vito T. Lopez,71,
has finally learned that the Mad Men era has been over for a few decades
and that it is no longer  ok to ask  that staffers go braless (or do worse).  Lopez can no longer hire  interns, must take sexual harassment training,
and lost his powerful Housing Committee Chair gig in Albany. And that’s the good news. The story has legs (no sexist inference intended ) and now involves Gov. Cuomo, Sheldon Silver. Gloria Allrad and as always money…

“Mr. Lopez is a holdover from an era when party leaders could lavishly reward friends and exile enemies to the wilderness. He has served in the Assembly since being elected in 1984 and has headed the Brooklyn Democratic Party since 2005, a post that came with tremendous influence and gave him unrivaled power in selecting the borough’s judges, and filling vacant political seats.

He was also the founder of the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, one of Brooklyn’s largest nonprofit organizations and a reliable well of votes, support and government contracts.

Mr. Lopez’s district office on South Fifth Street, which usually hums with constituents requesting assistance and political aides trading gossip, was staffed largely with attractive young women, according to those who worked there. “Vito doesn’t hire ugly girls,” Ms. Friot said. “-NYTimes

As the Assembly’s housing chairman, Mr. Lopez wielded tremendous power over the city’s subsidized-housing industry, drawing him close to developers of “affordable” housing. He also had the power to shape major legislation on housing regulations and steer earmarks and other grants to his base.—WSJournal


Season 1 Promo for Mad Men (VIDEO)


The Way They Were: Odd Couple NYC Roommates Robinson Peepers & Stanley Kowalski

Wally Cox and Marlon Brando shared a Midtown West apt. in NYC during
the early 1950’s. Cox eventually moved out because he hated Brando’s pet raccoon Russell.  “Marlon and Wally were 9-year-old boys living in Evanston, Illinois  when their parents introduced them — Marlon’s mother and Wally’s stepfather were friends in Chicago, where the stepfather worked for NBC. The boys became fast, albeit unlikely, friends, said Eleanor Robinson, Cox’s sister. “Marlon was kind of a rough little boy,” she said. “He tied Wally to a tree one afternoon and then left him. I’m surprised they remained friends, but they did.”–LA Times

Mr. Peepers starred Wally Cox as science teacher Robinson Peepers.
The  pioneering 1950’s (1952-1955)  sitcom  also starred Tony Randall and Jack Warden.  Cox would forever after be typecast as the ultimate nerd.


Supremes will not rule on Constitutionality of NYC Rent Stabilization Law

NYC landlords will not be  metaphorically Riverdancing down Fifth Avenue in celebration  of the first serious legal challenge to rent regulations in decades because the Supreme Court  announced on April 23rd that it will not be hearing the case.

U.S. Supreme Court At Night

“We still believe that the Constitution does not allow the government to force us to take strangers into our home at our expense for life. Even our grandchildren have been barred from living with us. That is not our America.”– James Harmon, Upper West Side landlord and former prosecutor,  who filed the case

The Wall Street Journal,  supportive of the case, wrote that  “one of Harmon’s  tenants owns a near shore home in Southhampton and spends her weekends gardening and playing tennis.”  Horrors! She gardens and plays tennis. (Her home is worth $330,00, not millions).

Note to Mr. Harmon and his fans: If you’re going to play the Constitutional /Founding Fathers card, remember that Thomas Jefferson also wrote these words which I suspect were intended to include NYC regulated tenants as well as landlords: “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. –Opinion, Landlordrocknyc

From theNew York Law Journal April 24, 2012

The case, Harmon v. Kimmel, 11-496, was filed against the city in 2008 by James Harmon and his wife, Jeanne. The couple owns an Upper West Side brownstone with six apartments, of which three are rent stabilized. The Harmons argued that the 1969 rent-stabilization law, intended to respond to a housing shortage, was an unconstitutional taking of their property.

Southern District Judge Barbara Jones (See Profile) dismissed the case in February 2010, and Judges Amalya Kearse (See Profile), Robert Sack (See Profile) and Robert Katzmann (See Profile) of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal in March 2011. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear an appeal marks the end of the case.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court will allow the existing court rulings dismissing this case to stand,” Alan Krams, senior counsel in the Appeals Division of the Corporation Counsel’s office, said in a press release. “Rent regulation in New York City has a long history, and the Court properly left it to elected state and city officials to decide its future.”

James Harmon said in an e-mail that the Harmon family was disappointed in the court’s denial of cert. “We still believe that the Constitution does not allow the government to force us to take strangers into our home at our expense for life. Even our grandchildren have been barred from living with us. That is not our America.”

“We are deeply disappointed that the United States Supreme Court did not accept what we believe to be relevant and legitimate property rights concerns of all New York City rent-regulated property owners, who have endured 70 years of rent regulation in one form or another,” Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which filed an amicus brief on the Harmons’ side, said in a press release.

Curses! Foiled Again: NY State Court of Appeals rules in favor of Brooklyn loft tenant who has not paid rent in nine years

“Brooklyn artist Margaret Maugenest scored one for the renters on Thursday. New York’s highest court ruled in her favor that the city’s Loft Law prohibits her landlord from evicting her, despite nine years’ nonpayment of rent, because it failed to comply with residential codes and didn’t receive an extension to satisfy the regulations. “In the absence of compliance, the law’s command is quite clear,” Judge Robert S. Smith wrote in the decision. Two lower courts had ruled in favor of the landlord. Maugenest ought to print out the court’s order and frame it — because that’s art, baby.”–NY Magazine

“The ruling by the State Court of Appeals could affect tenants in some buildings covered by the 1982 Loft Law, which has allowed hundreds of former manufacturing or commercial buildings to be rented to tenants as long as the landlords make necessary changes, namely in fire protection and other safety measures, to bring them up to residential building codes.”–NYTimes

“Though Ms. Maugenest has not paid rent for nine years, she has not adopted the habits of someone who lives rent-free either, her lawyer said. Instead, she has put aside her rent money every month and saved it, just in case a court demanded that she pay. She may have just found herself with an extra $60,000.–NYTimes

Her rent is $600 a month. Guess some NYC landlords try to justify unsafe, hideous conditions because the rent “is so damn cheap”. Sorry guys. You lose.NY’s top court says loft tenant can’t be evicted [WSJ]

No Eviction After Renter Didn’t Pay for 9 Years [NYT]

The classic “Pay the Rent” scenario with a little “landlord” who is much cuter than yours.

Dudley Do-right, Snidley Whiplash In ” What would Dudley do in the mortgage crisis?” , 2008 Cartoon, Jay Ward Productions

Landlordrocknyc Design: Amish-built pool houses for the Hamptons and Dorothy Draper’s Hampshire House Lobby

Even if your idea  of a good time is Hollywood Regency and the Dorothy Draper designed lobby of the Hampshire House (best lobby in NYC in my opinion), you’ll find  a structure to love  at Backyardandbeyond.net. Everything is Amish-built

Amish-built, bell-roof poolside cabana 12′ x 16′. Exterior.

in Pennsylvania by the owners, using centuries-

Amish-built Cabana Interior. Can be insulated and used year-round. In wood (can be painted any color), $9,500 or maintenance-free vinyl clad wood in ivory or white, $14,500.

old tongue and groove construction techniques and “30-year architectural strength” hardwoods. They will even send an Amish  crew to the Hamptons to deliver and install for $2,300 or you can have your contractor assemble the “kit”. Call me madcap, but I think a NYC contractor will be a bit more expensive than the Amish. Note, the 14′ X 20′ Hampton   is, at 280 sq. feet, about the size of a Bloomberg-Burden recommended “micro-unit” studio apartment in NYC.

Amish-built “Hampton” 14′ x 20′ pergola. Ivory or white vinyl clad wood , $13,450.

For info, contact mark@backtyardand beyond.net

Project Elvis: The Costume and The Comeback, 1968

Eclipsed by formulaic but profitable movies and the British Invasion, Presley was a star but no longer musically relevant when he made this special in 1968, his first live appearance in a decade. He was 33. Remembering  Black Leather Elvis on the 35th Anniversary of his death on 8/16/77.

Project Elvis: Designer Bill Belew on designing for  Black Leather Elvis, 1968

Black Leather Elvis at his sexiest, 1968 Comeback Special, One Night with You

Elvis, Bill Clinton and a demographic of one…

I know, I know–what’s all this Elvis stuff doing on a blog about NYC real estate? I could blame it on Elvis week (August 9-16) and promise to
quit when it’s over tomorrow. But I would be lying.  And since there is only one other New Yorker whom I know for sure is also interested in both Presley and Power (power being what  big deal  NYC real estate is often about) I dedicate this blog to  Bill Clinton and my demographic of one. –Landlordrocknyc

Elvis at 21: From New York to Memphis
By photographer Albert Wertheimer.
Exhibited at the Clinton Presidential Library, 2011

Presidential candidate Bill Clinton plays Heartbreak Hotel on The Arsenio Hall Show, 1992