Author Topic: Shrieking Greystone Children  (Read 2984 times)

Offline Realitycookie

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Shrieking Greystone Children
« on: October 18, 2020, 03:28:03 PM »
I get it. Locked down. But the free range children screaming while parents disappear for a little alone time? Not fair.

Offline carrefour_ny

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2020, 03:56:54 PM »
I sympathize but it's more effective to inform the building management/council instead of posting here.

Offline petegart

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2020, 05:10:43 PM »
This is fascinating.  I live in the Greystones, on the west side of the street, and I don’t and did not hear ANYTHING. 

As a cancer survivor, living through the pandemic, I long for any/all sounds of life.  I honestly hope this is the biggest problem you are having. 

Offline dssjh

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2020, 08:03:09 PM »
This is fascinating.  I live in the Greystones, on the west side of the street, and I don’t and did not hear ANYTHING. 

As a cancer survivor, living through the pandemic, I long for any/all sounds of life.  I honestly hope this is the biggest problem you are having.

i agree with your feelings, and, more importantly, i hope you're safe and well in light of your prior health issues.

Offline abcdefghijk

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2020, 09:11:01 AM »
I will repeat what I always say concerning stuff like this.

Kids playing and having fun for an hour or so are like a lullaby compared with shrieking planes when the flight path is occasionally changed.

Offline hum@njukebox1

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2020, 09:57:00 AM »
And with the fall come the leaf blowers which are the worst noise makers of all (even worse than the honking) because they go on and on and on and on.  :(

Offline Shelby2

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2020, 10:52:36 AM »
I get it. Locked down. But the free range children screaming while parents disappear for a little alone time? Not fair.

I understand where you're coming from. I wouldn't like that either. Especially now in these days when so many are working from home and need to have relative quiet for zoom work meetings, etc.

Offline dlines

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2020, 11:59:42 AM »
I hear you, though I'd rather have shrieking children than a drunk man singing his heart out until midnight on a Sunday. ;D

Offline sl

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2020, 01:30:34 PM »
I’ll take that over people blasting loud music.

Offline Minimal4me

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2020, 04:50:33 PM »
It's all inconsiderate. In our co-op we learned that hospital shift workers with facing apartments were trying to sleep in the morning. Garden hours were changed; everyone compromised. But you won't get to a compromise by posting here.

Offline abcdefghijk

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2020, 06:44:05 PM »
It's all inconsiderate. In our co-op we learned that hospital shift workers with facing apartments were trying to sleep in the morning. Garden hours were changed; everyone compromised. But you won't get to a compromise by posting here.

Agreed. We also worked out the situation by discussing it. But not on this forum.

Offline r

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2020, 06:54:59 AM »
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/22/realestate/co-op-wars-do-you-dare-walk-on-the-grass.html

Quote
Co-op Wars: Do You Dare Walk on the Grass?
By Michelle Higgins
May 20, 2016

In Jackson Heights, Queens, a revolution in the world of co-ops has been won.

At the end of a pitched battle that lasted nearly a decade, residents of the Hawthorne Court, a 14-building apartment complex with an expansive landscaped backyard, can now walk on the grass.

The 140-unit co-op was one of the last holdouts among a distinctive group of residences in this historic district of north-central Queens to lift its grass-walking ban. While the controversy was ostensibly about landscaping, it illustrates how changing demographics can create rifts in co-ops where a new generation of buyers with different values challenges longstanding conventions. Elsewhere the tension may be defined by a push to hire a doorman or build a gym or a children’s playroom, but in Jackson Heights, the focus has been on the classic open spaces of these co-ops, known as “garden apartments.”

These apartment buildings were designed starting in the early 20th century by the Queensboro Corporation, with buildings that surround blocklong interior green spaces. (Many will be opened to the public on June 11 as part of a historic weekend.)

For years, many of the co-ops mandated that the backyard be reserved for quiet contemplation. Reading a book or strolling the grounds was allowed so long as residents kept off the grass and stuck to designated walkways and benches. The lawn was not to be disturbed.

But over the last decade, a new wave of buyers moved into Jackson Heights, often paying significantly more than those who came before them, and bringing different ideas about how the gardens should be used. In one camp were the longtime residents who wished to preserve the tranquil nature of the gardens. In the other were the newcomers, primarily families with young children, who wanted to roll out picnic blankets and let their children run on the grass. Heated discussions of whether the latter should be permitted transpired, and rules were eventually loosened.

Nowhere was the feud more intense than at the Hawthorne Court on 76th and 77th Streets between 35th and 37th Avenues where co-op board meetings were called, factions formed and a culture clash erupted.

“This became a real inflammatory issue,” said Mike Lieber, 70, a film producer and former cultural anthropologist who arrived at the Hawthorne Court in 2000 and remains neutral on the grass debate. “From my point of view, it all seemed a lot of silliness and should have been gotten out of the way with much less effort. But that’s not human nature.”

It all began in the spring of 2007 when a group of new arrivals made a concerted push to loosen the rules in the garden, a lush swath of greenery with pathways, landscaping and a circle with benches at its center. A proposal to lift the grass-walking ban was taken to the Hawthorne Court Council, a body of representatives from each of the 14 buildings that surround the garden, for a vote.

Arguments against opening up the lawn ranged from liability concerns to declarations that the grass was too delicate to withstand people. “That was probably a red herring from the beginning,” said Debby Silverfine, 63, the secretary of the Hawthorne Court Council, who moved to the co-op in 1986. “It was more about people living in a noisy city and wanting a quiet respite.”

Those in favor of changing the rules maintained that the lawn would be fine and that children were more prone to injury on the paved pathways.

The measure did not pass.

That year, Adam Koplan and Nicole Citron, who were expecting their first child, bought a three-bedroom in the Hawthorne Court with the idea that they would soon be having picnics in the garden. “Real estate agents were kind of making promises that no matter what the stated policy was of the building at that moment, by the time we had our kid, for sure, they’d be able to play in the garden,” said Mr. Koplan, 43, the artistic director for the Flying Carpet Theater Company, who is now planning to move with his family to Atlanta for unrelated reasons.

But when their elder daughter, Nina, was born the following spring, the rules were still firmly in place. Increasingly, the idea of keeping their child off the grass in their own backyard seemed absurd. Having been picked up each time she wandered off the paved walkways inside the co-op garden, Nina, who is now 8, developed an aversion to grass. “For the first couple of years, she would look at me for clearance to make sure it was O.K.,” said Mr. Koplan, describing the quizzical look she would give her parents when she came across a patch of grass outside the co-op. “It was like she internalized the struggle.”

As the under-5-year-old set at the Hawthorne Court increased in number, a committee was formed to “review and advise on lawn access.” In 2009, a survey of residents was conducted and a proposal was carefully drafted to institute a trial period during the summer of 2010 in which residents could “gently use the lawn” on Thursday and Friday evenings. Even that move was defeated. Grass protectionists argued that limited lawn access for special events like a community barbecue and Easter egg hunt was good enough.

“At that point there was a real souring amongst the young family types,” Mr. Koplan said. “The point of view was, if they’re not going to be reasonable and negotiate at all, to what extent do we even need to listen to this.”

But given human nature, barbecues, which were sanctioned in paved areas behind apartment houses, began to spill out onto the grass. Children were occasionally spotted darting across the lawn.

“I rolled out a yoga mat on the grass right next to the sidewalk,” said Ms. Citron, 43, who works in pharmaceutical market research. An outraged older resident sent an email to the co-op president. “The upside to that was I was referenced in the letter as ‘some teenager,’ ” she said.

The situation “got a bit acrimonious,” said Meg Fry, 48, who moved to the Hawthorne Court in 2005 with her husband, Mike Novak, and 1-year-old son, David, now 12. “I think there was also sort of an air of entitlement by some of the younger families at times,” she said, not excluding herself. “These apartments were getting more and more expensive, and sometimes when you spend that much on an apartment, when you move in, you want everything your way.”

It didn’t help that nearby garden co-ops including the Linden Court, the Laburnum Court and the Greystones were doing away with similar rules of their own.

Diana Delgrosso, who has lived at the Greystones since 1981 and is a self-described “old-timer” at age 82, was among the contingent opposed to greater lawn access. “Our philosophy is completely different from the new young people moving in, and it sometimes causes a little rift,” she said, noting that noise levels and trash accumulation were among her concerns.

But since the Greystones opened up its lawn in 2012, she has come around to the idea. “I’m O.K. with it so long as they’re civilized,” she said, noting that the noise level sometimes gets out of hand, especially when children’s birthday parties are held on the lawn. “When they’re screaming, I yell out of the window, ‘Stop screaming!’ ” she added with a laugh.

Friction is a given in co-op living, where residents buy shares in a corporation for a proprietary lease in the building and expect to have a certain amount of say in how it is run. “Anytime you have shared space or common areas, there is the potential for proverbial sparks to fly,” said Barry Weidenbaum, a New York real estate lawyer. “For many years, co-op and condo smoking policies were the hot topic.”

Enforcement of house rules can also be tricky.

For example, at the Chateau, a nearby 12-building garden co-op with yard rules that date to the early 1920s, a grass-walking ban is still in effect, according to Larry Papa, a 21-year resident and a co-op representative. “If I’m around and see someone on the lawn, children running around or whatever, I remind them, ‘Hey guys, you’re not supposed to be on the lawn.’ ”

After years of debate at the Hawthorne Court, so many people were flagrantly stepping on the grass that many board members felt enforcement of a ban had become futile. Last spring, “in an effort to promote harmonious living,” said Mary Reddy, the president of the Hawthorne Court Council, a group of residents was rounded up to “come up with some rules that would be agreeable to all.” Ball playing, Frisbee throwing and bike riding are still not permitted, nor are pets allowed. But residents are welcome to run, walk or socialize on the grass as long as they are “respectful, courteous and neighborly,” according to the new rules, which were passed by a majority vote.

“There were some that were unhappy with it,” Ms. Reddy said, “but I think they’ve kind of fallen in and gotten to like it.”

Last month, on a warm spring evening, Nina Koplan, the little girl who once had an aversion to grass, glanced out the window and saw one of her friends out on the lawn. Though she still asked permission from her parent to run out and play, this time she didn’t hesitate to run right across the grass.

Offline itsit

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2020, 09:08:25 AM »
 Thanks r, for posting that older NYTimes article! There has been an evolution in JH with all the lovely private gardens becoming much less precious for residents. It's a great compromise. I do, however, think the operative word here is "shrieking". There is a special pitch that some youngsters have when their voices are loud that is earsplitting. One of our neighbors is great in asking her daughter not to use that voice and getting her to think about how it affects people. Parents can make a difference here! I would make sure those watching the children are actually aware of the sounds and how they affect someone's quality of life while still allowing the kids lots of free play. They may have become immune over time. Many co-op buildings have lovely green spaces and all residents should be able to enjoy that amenity in an equitable way.

Offline FreyaG

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2020, 03:23:19 PM »
Thanks r, for posting that older NYTimes article! There has been an evolution in JH with all the lovely private gardens becoming much less precious for residents. It's a great compromise. I do, however, think the operative word here is "shrieking". There is a special pitch that some youngsters have when their voices are loud that is earsplitting. One of our neighbors is great in asking her daughter not to use that voice and getting her to think about how it affects people. Parents can make a difference here! I would make sure those watching the children are actually aware of the sounds and how they affect someone's quality of life while still allowing the kids lots of free play. They may have become immune over time. Many co-op buildings have lovely green spaces and all residents should be able to enjoy that amenity in an equitable way.

I'm a parent of a young child, so I usually find garden restrictions rather suffocating. But I recognize this shrieking sound, pitch, whatever you want to call it and it's very unpleasant. Kids can definitely play, laugh, run around, and avoid this sound completely at the same time.

Offline StevenGrey

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2020, 03:20:58 PM »
Shrieking kids I can stand (for a little while at least), but non-stop leaf-blowing all day yesterday had me ready to go out and crack some skulls.

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Re: Shrieking Greystone Children
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2020, 03:20:58 PM »