Op-Ed: Behind the Curtain at Knickerbocker Village

Posted on: November 13th, 2012 at 10:23 am by

The following is an op-ed written by Thomas Versella.

Much of Knickerbocker Village is still without power, heat, hot water, phone service, mail delivery, garbage collection and internet service. Residents of Knickerbocker Village are outraged at James Simmons, Vice President of the multimillion dollar international investment group Area Property Partners, and Vincent Callagy, Property Manager of the complex. At issue is the company’s failure to have basic preparations in place to deal with the flooding of basements.

One resident said a few guys wearing sweatpants with no flashlights showed up in a van with a few small pumps and began the job. They would work one pump in one area, then dismantle the pump, and move on to another area. It was a joke! Obviously, Area Property Partners did not want to spend the money to hire a crew with the resources to pump the water out. As a result, sea water had more time to damage the building’s mechanical and electrical systems.

Also at issue is the Owner’s failure to make any effort to communicate with anxious tenants until over a week after the storm. Confused security guards were unable to give residents accurate information because Area Property Partners Vice President James Simmons and Vincent Callagy Manager were nowhere to be seen. Volunteers bringing badly needed supplies were told to leave the property. Garbage is piled in front of the building. Lobbies, hallways and stairs remained dark until a few days ago.

It took over a week for the management to open a warming center. Vincent Callagy was overheard bragging about the money spent on a few folding tables in the center, and reminded shivering tenants that they should be grateful. Callagy was also reported to have called police to harass a resident who was taking photographs of the devastation.

Despite their claims, management has not provided tenants with the “comforts” like blankets and checking up on tenants etc. Instead, they instruct security guards to remove any notices posted by desperate tenants who want to organize and find out why Area Property Partners has remained callous and indifferent to the needs of residents. Many tenants say perhaps FEMA and other municipal agencies can help with the recovery.

Area Properties and Management are covering up their incompetence by saying “it’s an old building,” “it was a big storm,” and “we are all in this together.” However, residents believe that if basic, intelligent decisions were made early on, the situation would not have gotten out of control. The health and safety of the residents has been compromised.

Many are saying that after the recovery is completed, there is strong agreement that residents will reach out to government officials and legal organizations to investigate the business practices of Area Property Partners and their employment of a management team that quite frankly, is incompetent. Area Property Partners perhaps will earn much money from federal emergency aid, while tenants at Knickerbocker are told to pay their rent on time.

They have recently begun to issue press statements, and residents laugh at some of the claims made by management about helping the residents with “round the clock concern.” It’s a big sham.

Many residents have finally decided they could not take it any longer and have left their apartments temporarily to live in safer, healthier environments.

Recent Stories

serafina-reopens
Serafina Ludlow Reopens After Brief DOH Closure

Demise isn’t yet in the cards for Serafina Ludlow, it seems. On Monday afternoon, just a few days after the Department of Health shuttered the four-month-old satellite location, the gates were hoisted and restaurant reopened. Business as usual. The city stopped by twice last week, and leveled a bevy of violations against Serafina, resulting in […]

east-broadway-subway-2014_wm
Report: 28-Year-Old Man Found Dead in East Broadway Subway Station

Sunday morning, a 28-year-old man was found dead inside the East Broadway subway station. Police, responding to the 911 call, arrived at 8:26am and found the deceased unconscious, and sitting on the ground. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, but cause of death was not yet determined, police said. The 7th Precinct continues […]

public-lights-rain_wm
Public Hotel Doubles Down with ‘Lite Brite’ Style Spelling on Chrystie Street

If the gargantuan Public Hotel on Chrystie Street were a Lite-Brite, its top floors would be the canvas, the string of lights its pegs. Two weeks after spelling itself on the north face of the building, workers completed a similar feat for the southern exposure. Whereas the former is sideways, the latter is right-side-up. It’s […]

232eastbroadway-painted
Seward Park Co-op Pushes $46.5M Air Rights Sale for Two Large Condo Towers on East Broadway

Get ready for more… The Seward Park Co-op might soon be accomplice to large-scale development in its backyard. Shareholders in the complex are one vote away from selling $46.5 million in air rights to developer Ascend Group for two large scale towers on East Broadway. Something big will happen here regardless of the final tally, […]

birds-bubbles-closed_wm
Birds & Bubbles Appears Donezo After Less Than 3 Years on Forsyth Street

The birds are quiet, and the bubbles flat. Word on the street is that chef Sarah Simmons’ Birds & Bubbles venture on Forsyth Street is kaput. Last night, the dining room was dark and marquee neon switched off. While the restaurant’s social media is keeping mum on the matter, a reader living within earshot noted […]

  • Norituna

    One thing-our building actually still doesn’t have lights in the stairwells and hallways. Thank you very much for what you have done in keeping up with our awful situation.

  • intheknow

    Not shocking at all.

  • just another kv resident

    i was not pleased with them for the first 2 weeks neither but over the last weekend i realized what a chaos it was in the management office when i went down there to volunteer, everyone running around, assisting red cross, fema, boxing up lunch box for the residents that is home bound. everyone kept complaining management is not doing anything, do what i did, go down and volunteer to help out. complaining is not going to speed it up but pitch in and help out will.