Friday, August 22, 2008

Save Parkway Village

To The Editor (Queens Gazette);

As an active civic member of my community, I take great concern when I learn that neighbors of mine are facing a serious community challenge.

This week, I demonstrated with members of the Parkway Village housing cooperative in front of the JP Morgan Chase asset management building in Manhattan. This is my understanding of the problem

JP Morgan Chase holds the mortgage to the Parkway Village co-op. The heating system has broken down at the co-op and the residents need to refinance their mortgage in order to replace it before winter with an energy efficient system. JP Morgan Chase refuses to refinance. The residents could go to another financial institution who would lend them the money. JP Morgan Chase will not allow the residents to accept a deal at another institution unless a $5 million dollar prepayment penalty is paid to JP Morgan Chase. The residents cannot afford to do this. JP Morgan Chase is being inflexible and uncaring to the 675 middle-class families living in the Parkway Village community. The residents there cannot live in buildings without heat and they cannot pay $5 million to JP Morgan Chase.

It is interesting to note that JP Morgan Chase received $30 billion from the federal government, our taxpayer dollars, to assist them with their acquisition of Bear Stearns. But when it comes time for JP Morgan Chase to assist working class New Yorkers in overcoming a problem that could force them to leave their homes, it chooses to take a greedy position in a dire situation. Outrageous!

You can help. Please send an e-mail to Mr. Daniel Sang, vice president in charge of asset management at JP Morgan Chase at (or call him at 212-648-2784) and ask that his company show some mercy to the residents of Parkway Village by eliminating or at least slashing the penalty to refinance at another institution. Corporations must not exploit middle-class New Yorkers in this heinous manner.

For those who do not know, Parkway Village is a 34-acre community built in the late 1940s in Queens to house diplomats and employees of the newly created United Nations. The architect was Leonard Schultze. Such notables as Ralph Bunche, Betty Friedan and Roy Wilkins all called Parkway Village home over the years. Today, some employees of the United Nations still live in this diverse community. It has park-like grounds with magnificent trees. It truly is a gem that should be landmarked and protected. It has the necessary historical, cultural and architectural components to merit landmark designation.

We all must speak out to help each other protect our homes and quality of life. We never know when our turn will come, when our community's survival is at stake! Please help out Parkway Village residents by contacting Mr. Sang at JP Morgan Chase.

Thank you.

Henry Euler


Anonymous said...

Thank you Henry Euler for speaking the words of the true citizens! Parkway Village defines a NYC Historic District in every sense of the word, and that's all there is to it.

Anonymous said...

Why does Parkway have to refinance the loan before it can upgrade its heating system? Why doesn't it have the funds for its own heating? The letter doesn't explain that.

Also, the government did not give JP Morgan $30 billion for the Bear Stearns deal. That is just an incorrect statement. The writer should understand the facts before making these kinds of statements. The Fed agreed to accept $30 billion in mortgage backed assets that had been on Bear Stearn's books, with the intention to liquidate them. JP Morgan is on the hook for the first $1 billion in losses, if any. The actual amount the government will take as a loss on these assets will not be known for years, but it won't be close to $30 billion.

Anonymous said...


David Rockefeller is no friend of anyone but his own interests.

And John Pierpont Morgan, one this country's original robber barons and whose name lives on, would spit on PV's residents if he were alive today.

I do not conduct any business with JP Morgan Chase for that reason alone.

That institution is out to screw the middle class while kissing the asses of their wealthy fellow compatriots!

Anonymous said...

The following was omitted in my original transmission for some error/glitch.... or Chase has hacked into my line and done some "editing" because they didn't appreciate being criticized.

Here's the omission:

Chase is out to break the bank (accounts) of residents so they can have their way with this historic property!

Anonymous said...

Where is Parkway Village?

Anonymous said...

We can help the residents of Parkway Village.

Close any and all accounts you have with that loathsome company.

Anonymous said...

Seems like they reached a deal.

Who negotiates a mortgage with a prepayment penalty? Thats just foolish.

Queens Crapper said...

Thanks for posting that, I had totally not seen it.

Anonymous said...

Agree. It was foolish on their part to agree to a prepayment penalty. Why should they be bailed out of their stupidity? If you don't read a contract and understand what you are agreeing to then you deserve what you get.

Anonymous said...

I imagine some people on here would not be fans of Elliot Spitzer but dont forget he was going to investigate many on Wall st.for shady business practices including bear stearns,Chase,and many others but he was shut down because there was ample evidence bush was letting this happen for him and buisness friends private gain.Theres many videos out there on google laying out all the details.

Anonymous said...

I have lived near Parkway Village for all of my 48 years. Approximately 25 years ago I looked at a few apartments with the idea of purchasing one. After walking around the grounds and looking at the inside of a few apartments I decided to run as fast as I could in the opposite direction. While the complex may have some historical interest (and I use that term loosely) it is a dump and has been for the last 25 years. I can't believe that you would advocate landmark status. There is no architectural importance whatsoever. And so what if it was built to house UN employees. That hardly ranks as a reason to landmark.

Anonymous said...

Your own crib can't be much better
if you willingly chose to remain in that "crappy" neighborhood adjacent to Parkway Village for 48 years!

And your ignorance regarding its landmark potential precedes your own footsteps!


Anonymous said...

it is a dump and has been for the last 25 years. I can't believe that you would advocate landmark status. There is no architectural importance whatsoever.
I agree, like so much of Queens, the extraordinary housing of prewar was replaced by postwar garbage for the most part.

There are so many communities of prewar Queens housing that are being destroyed are far more worthy of designation than Parkway. Queensmarks which are useless but gets so much respect in the press ... in Queens politics trumps substance every time.

Anonymous said...

The housing in this village may be bland, but the landscape architecture and open space are both worth preserving. stand in the middle of this "village square" and you will feel like you're not in the city.

Anonymous said...

My family moved into the area in 1949, and we stayed there until 1953. A visit to the area last May leads me to agree with anyone who says that the buildings need to be renovated (at least on the outside), but the unique history of which we were a part together with many others, should justify a Landmark Status. What really impressed me today was the trees and the open spaces.

Anonymous said...

Is there anything (positive or negative ) one should know about when considering purchasing a coop in Parkway Village?

Unknown said...

I grew up in Parkway Village and lived there for about 30 years not including time away for college. Parkway Village's infrastructure is old, deteriorating and most probably not repairable. This includes almost all elements of the property.

The heating problems are a function of the design -- one boiler plant feeding 600 plus units over 40 or so acres. The asbestos-laden pipes wind through the entire complex from the boiler plant. No individual controls exist in the units. This was tolerated when the development was rent-stabilized but as a co-op it is absolutely insane....

To repair the heating, I would provide small, efficient individual heating systems in each unit or in each individual building -- the former being preferable. This is not the ideal solution however

Other maintenance issues of the property were also neglected for years. Roofs and masonry were never replaced or repointed. Sidewalks and streets are in horrific condition -- two private streets (Village Road and Charter Road run through Parkway). Landscaping is in need of fixing...

I am sure many of the owners have done the right thing and kept up on the maintenance but who knows...

I think that smart planners could come up with a much better use for all this space -- some affordable housing, some market rate, retail, park, community space. It would be ideal because of proximity to services, transportation etc.