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

extell-update-2_wm
Rally Calling Out Mayor de Blasio and ‘Racist Rezoning’ At City Hall Today

Many in the community want to end both the alleged racist rezoning and Mayor de Blasio and his administration. Time to rally ’round the family. Helmed by the Coalition to Protect Chinatown & the Lower East Side, hundreds are expected to descend on City Hall again today, with neighboring community support from the South Bronx, East Harlem, Sunset Park, Flushing, […]

metrograph-open-8_wm
The Metrograph Commissary Now Serving Breakfast and Lunch

The Metrograph Theater’s Commissary is quickly expanding its operations. The eatery, “inspired by the studio backlot eateries from Hollywood’s golden age,” debuted this past May, and now offers a weekday breakfast and lunch menu, from 9am-4pm. The restaurant has also recently introduced The Writer’s Menu, “a collection of small plates designed so you can eat with one hand… while […]

bite-lafayette-2
Fifteen Years on, ‘Bite’ Snack Shop Might Move 2 Doors Down on Lafayette Street

The narrow spearhead of real estate at the triangular confluence of Bleecker, Lafayette, and Mulberry Streets is undergoing another retail shift. In the year since Pinche Taqueria ended its brief tenure at 333 Lafayette, the tiny space has remained largely dormant. Leasing signage, courtesy of Winick, did make an appearance. However, the glass was predominantly […]

icp-bowery-open
Hope and Empowerment Explored with ICP-Bowery Mission Collaborative

The International Center of Photography is extending its reach down the Bowery. With its base of operations open just over five months, the institution is already weaving into the fabric of the neighborhood by way of collaborations. The latest being with the Bowery Mission. Several Bowery Mission community members and staff recently went on a “Guided Tour of […]

grand-tile-essex-1
Essex Street Tiling Warehouse Relocating to Brooklyn After 34 Years on the LES

Grand Tile Corp., a Lower East Side flooring warehouse that’s been located in and around lower Essex Street for decades, is packing it up. Heading out to Brooklyn with the rest of ’em. The handwritten poster in the front window announces the news. By the end of this month, the new headquarters will be located […]

  • 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.