"Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future?" Jacqueline Kennedy

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Help Get The Residents Of 241 Carroll Street Back On Their Feet

Quite a few readers asked how the community can help Howard, Sisi, their children and the tenants who lived at 241 Carroll Street, the brownstone that will be demolished after its side wall collapsed yesterday.
Kristina Franz Alexander, a friend of the family, has just set up an online fundraiser. The goal is to collect $5,000, to cover some of the immediate needs of the family.
Kristina writes:
"As you know, the beautiful brownstone next to PS. 58 has collapsed and is being torn down. Howie and Sisi are cornerstones of this community so now it's out trun to help them. There were multiple families living in this house it would be great if the community could help get them back on their feet. Visa gift cards will be purchased for all of the families."

You can give here.

Let's all be generous and help out. This could happen to any of us in this brownstone community.


fugue said...

I hope this doesn't come across as trolling, but two thoughts:
1) Why do the owners of this $3.5M building need cash? (and perhaps that's just a failure on the part of the fundraiser to describe their siuation). I mean, I'd think if I had a high value property, AND I had tenants too, I'd have a substanial insurance policy. And given the response to this, it seems like things are moving along briskly. (Example, my home once flooded and I had to move to a hotel. My insurance covered room and food immediately.)

2) I'm sure the kids are upset, but let's not overstate this. No one was hurt. There was no violence. No danger to them to 'get over'. (i knew a couple of kids who were IN a house fire, but did not get hurt. They had bad memories of it, but they didn't have to get therapy or anything...)

Katia said...

I am sure the owner of the building have insurance and that the insurance company will cover some of the initial expenses, but probably not all.
The two families that lived in the building have many friends in the neighborhood, who would like to help in some way. I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I agree that a family who's brownstone has more than doubled in 7 years, likely does not need our cash. However, the renters, who were home at the time and lost everything do. Perhaps someone should set up a seperate fund just for them?

Their children are 8, 6 and 1, rushed to the street at 2am with only the pajamas they were wearing, so yes, they are traumatized.

Trumbull Bully said...

Bully's gotta agree with fugue.

What about the folks in 240 and the buildings on First Place who may or may not be made whole by insurance like the folks in 241 will almost certainly be?

Anonymous said...

This is really to help the tenants buy things like clothes, toys, cribs, new housing costs etc.
- Kristina (the one who set up the fundraiser)

Anonymous said...

This is really to help the tenants buy things like clothes, toys, cribs, new housing costs etc.
- Kristina (the one who set up the fundraiser)

csk said...

i'd like to help but is there a way to find out if any of the funds are going to be shared with the renters?

katia, i know that it's not your responsibility to sort through these kinds of details, but please do share any information as you come across it.

as other readers have pointed out, it's very likely that the schneiders will have insurance to help them, (though, many policies may not cover the damage if it's connected to inherent vice - a hidden property defect which causes or contributes to its deterioration, damage, destruction or wastage).

that said, it's more likely that there aren't any policies in place that can help the renters, other than a limited recovery of lost property.

that's why i'd want to pitch in, to make sure that the neighborhood is taking care of all of the building's residents, not just the owners.

thanks for the continued updates on this story.

Anonymous said...

Those who'd like to help should feel free - those who don't should not feel obligated.

FYI - there are plenty of homeowners who find themselves under-insured. And plenty of building owners who might not pass along the insurance money to the tenants.

Check your policy people. If you need more insurance my advice is to get some soon BUT not from Modica on Court Street. NOT if you want to be sure you're covered properly. (That's just my opinon shared by a few people I know.)

Anonymous said...

The $3.5M figure fugue is throwing about is a canard. The Schneiders may have hoped to get an offer for that amount, but it doesn't reflect the value of the property in the real world. Speaking of in the real world, I am utterly disgusted at the unneighborly comments that get tossed around here. (Katia, you have created such a warm and cheery gathering spot. How does this happen?!)

Howie and Sisi and their family are lovely people who need help and support from their neighbors. If you've made the personal calculation that they are not worthy of your help, that's your business. Questioning the decision by others to pitch in is just nasty.

Go complain about the coffee smell or something.

Anonymous said...

By the way - if it turns out that the building was damaged by "Lack Of Maintenance"* the insurance policy will be Null & Void. Just because there weren't any violations on 241 it doesn't mean it was properly maintained.

* Lack of Maintenance =
Water Damage NOT addressed in a timely manner,
Building unispected for termites in over 8 years,
Cracks & setteling not reported to the Buildings Department, even
NO proof of Maintenance: Work Orders, Receipts, etc.

The owners may NOT see a penny if they can't prove they looked after the proerty. I understand (from this site & the newspapers) that they had the buidling on the market a while back - chances are they had it inspected 1st.
IF they didn't address the major issues in that report (because they were willing to sell "As Is") then that could prove they did NOT maintain the building.

Allisonconte@yahoo.com said...

Shame on ANYONE who has ANY issue helping ANY family out, regardless of insurance policies...Really, where is the humanity and compassion in all of this? And who has the right to determine the level of mental and emotional stress of another human being regardless of circumstance? I am outraged!
Allison Conte-Slade..

Fugue said...

Yes, my concern lie mainly w the renters and neighbors. They are in for a tough insurance battle.

IIf 241 is underinsured, I'd shake my head at their shortsightedness, then feel bad for them, and then want to help. But that's IF they NEED help.

So, yes, everyone's free to do what they want here. I'm just asking first if there is really a need. A little info is not a problem, is it?

Anonymous said...

to all those debbie downers questioning whether to contribute/help out the schneiders & their displaced tenants: as someone who knows sisi & howie personally, you can rest assure that they would be the first people to contribute/assist their fellow neighbor.

Anonymous said...

So sad to read some of your comments...people people have some compassion and empathy here....they are our neighbors. They are very good people and great community members. Everyone is still in shock. Kristina stepped in selflessly. She is a true representative of a reponsible friend and neighbor. We ought to be following her example. If you can't help financially there are other ways to show support...a kind word is really more meaningful to anyone who has experienced a tragic moment...thank goodness no one was hurt.

Anonymous said...

This landlord is negligent that is why he hide his face on camera. They had been notified of water damage to their building years ago and refused to take responsibility or to fix it up to code. The tenants and neighborhood should sue them for endangering the health and lives of people. Hopefully a full investigation by the insurance company will reveal the truth.

Anonymous said...

They all should have been able to get personal things out if the building.
The renters I agree need assistance.
It is a loss for all. Family photos and computers.
Legal papers. Its been days and that building is still standing
Let them in.

Anonymous said...

For those who want to help in anyway, please get involved asap.
For those who want to rant or play politics, please go elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there are always some crabby, cranky people around who feel the need to grouse about anything, including a tragedy like losing your home -- regardless of the reason. The investigation is ongoing, and hopefully the powers that be will be able to determine what caused the collapse. Instead of denigrating the families affected or suggesting that they don't need the generous contributions of their neighbors, consider this a teaching moment for all homeowners to make sure their properties are in good condition. If you feel the need to complain, accuse, and otherwise bad-mouth your neighbors, there are other blog sites that are more amenable to your sad, offensive attitudes. PMFA is not one of them.

Kristina said...

Hi there.. Kristina (the evil fundraiser) here. The article, my early comments and the info on the fundraising page clearly illustrate that the intention is to help all of the residents by buying gift cards. I intend to do so end of this week with whatever has been raised thus far. Many in the community were asking to help so I set up the fundraiser. This is about community and answering a voiced desire to help. I simply provided the requested avenue - nothing more.. For those who want to help in this manner, great. For those who choose not to, great.

Happy 4th!

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness, this got rather ugly.

I think what people are saying is, please let us know who has what actual needs. Just giving money is not a solution. Does my neighbor need a place to stay? no problem. Or a babysitter? Or clothes? no problem. Or meals or support? No problem. but just giving money to people because their house fell down without knowing the details of their resources or options ... that doesn't feel good.

Watching CNN this weekend, homes destroyed in Colorado and West Virginia, people without water or food for 5 days now. There are cries for help everywhere. It is overwhelming to want to help everyone and hard to figure out who needs what when and in what form.

Anonymous said...

Tenants should have had renters insurance policies which would help restore their lost belongings & pay temporary living expenses. Problem is, too many rents will fork over exorbitant rents in NYC, but won't pay a couple hundred dollars a year for renters insurance.

Anonymous said...

If the tenants have renters insurance, it will help cover lost property as well as temporary living expenses. Problem is too many people in NYC will pay exorbitant rents but can't seem to bother with a couple hundred dollar renters insurance policy

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the latter comments: take the snarky, negative and accusatory comments over to Brownstoner, where they belong.

Anonymous said...

I know the Schneiders and they are the kindest, most hard working and generous people you can imagine. If this had happened to their neighbors, they would be there in an instant to help them

csk said...

katia and her readers, there's a new follow-up article up in the new york times today about the building collapse as well as what is happening to the residents' belongings: "amid collapsing walls, a bit of luck for 3 families" http://nyti.ms/LYtOr2

kristina, thanks for organizing the fundraiser. it looks like it's going to meet its goals. that's great!

Anonymous said...

Just a message from a person in New Orleans: The insurance may take a LONG time to pay out and in the meantime, the bank will expect them to keep paying the mortgage and they will have to pay rent at the same time. There is no guarantee the insurance company will give them temp housing right away and for how long? It will take them a long time to get the insurance money and built a new house in that spot. Paying a mortgage (which they were probably only able to afford with rents coming in)and rent at the same time can bury anyone. The renting families can go rent new apartments and if they had insurance, will recover more quickly. So, the comments that they owned a property that was valued at 3.5mill and don't need help is just silly. I'm sure they are already hemorrhaging money right now.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry if I double post. I think I just lost my post. What I learned from living in N.O.: The insurance company may not pay temporary housing right away and for how long? Long enough to resolve their claim and build something new? I doubt it. The insurance company may drag their claim out for years. In the meantime they need a place to live. The bank will still expect them to make payments on their mortgage which they were probably only able to afford with rents coming in. So, paying mortgage and new rent at the same time can bury anyone. I'm sure they are hemorrhaging money right now and the fact that their property was *valued* at $3.5million at one time means nothing unless they actually sold it for that money and have it the bank. This is a good time to look at the big picture and not get stuck on fantastical sound bites ($3.5 million- wow- they don't need any help).

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if anyone knows the sequence of events that led to the family being able to escape unharmed.
Did they have a warning rumble or shake that told them something bad was about to happen or did the whole thing just collapse leaving them to scamper out or a house in the midst of collapse?

Anonymous said...

I am appalled at the negative comments that have been posted. First of all you are completely naive if you think that because someone owns property that they are wealthy….AND people like you are what is wrong with what’s become of this wonderful neighborhood. You have no compassion or sense of community. I’ve known Sisi for over 30 years. She grew up here and would help anyone in need. How heartless to judge and make such cold heartless comments about families (including the owners) who lost everything. You just sound like bitter and jealous people who find pleasure in the misfortune of others that you “perceive” as privileged. These folks lost everything and their children have been traumatized. Go get a conscience.

Anonymous said...

…also, before making snap judgments, has anyone stopped to think that maybe the foundation was compromised when half of the block was torn down in the 50’s to build the school. That house was not built to be a corner building. Perhaps it took many years for the foundation to finally give.