Sunday, March 29, 2009

Seniors fined for talking in the lobby of their Staten Island condo are given a room to chat in

Staten Island condo moves chirping seniors to yap of luxury
BY Christina Boyle
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, March 29th 2009, 4:00 AM
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/03/29/2009-03-29_staten_island_condo_moves_chirping_senio.html


A group of Staten Island seniors really have something to talk about now - they won the right to kibitz after a condo tried to ban their evening chats.

The five retirees - who range in age from 66 to 90 and have two Purple Hearts among them - were slapped with $25 fines for shooting the breeze in their complex lobby.

They refused to back down, threatening legal action to protect their right to free schmooze.

"We didn't smoke and we didn't drink and all that jazz but they didn't want us in their lobby," said Leroy Tepper, 81, a member of the "Fined Five Seniors."

"We weren't going to stand for it."

The group argued they rarely gathered later than 8:30 p.m., were not raucous and mostly sat around reminiscing about friends, children and, sometimes, politics.

The condo said neighbors complained they were too loud.

"It clearly states in the rules, no loitering," Cheryl Ruiz, who manages the Elmwood Park II condominium, told the Staten Island Advance.

But after the men consulted a lawyer about the fines, managers at the upscale condominium building relented.

They agreed to give the guys a vacant studio to use as a meeting spot from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly

"We're satisfied. We would prefer to stay in the lobby but life isn't that way," Tepper said.

"We have a facility that is warm, we have a facility that is comfortable."

Their new after-dinner chat spot has a bathroom, kitchenette, a table and foldup chairs.

The men had their first rendezvous there Friday and said they had no complaints.

"We enjoyed ourselves," Tepper said.

"We talked about when we played Johnny on a Pony when we were kids. We can't do it now because of our age and handicaps."

Some of the residents were happy to see the Fined Five have a room of their own.

"This is pure hogwash," Maureen Hernandez, 30, said of the ban on loose lips in the lobby.

"They're a lovely bunch of gentlemen," she told the paper. "There is no bad language. There are no boomboxes or beer. These are men who fought our wars for us, I don't know why they have to go through this."

No comments: