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Etiquette

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I saw this weird pictogram drawn in pencil next to our front door. Reminds me of the signs hobos used to use to alert fellow hobos of houses that were mean, generous, etc. Is this a sign a contractor left for his or her fellow tradesmen, alerting them that I’m a sucker for spending more to do the job right? Other ideas? TIA!

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Some Park Slope friends and I were discussing the upcoming Park Slope Civic Council house tour last night and I was left wondering about the issue of motivation.
From the civic council’s website:
“In the early years, the Civic Council used the House Tour as a way to convince people to move here rather than the suburbs, thus playing a major role in saving Park Slope from the ravages that destroyed many other New York City neighborhoods.

In more recent years, the House Tour, generally held the first Sunday after Mothers’ Day, has become the major fund raiser for the Civic Council, with proceeds plowed back into the community in our Grants Program. Read about the $10,000 we awarded last year to 18 neighborhood schools and organizations.”
My friends stated that they are not interested in opening their home to hordes of “snarky voyeurs,” especially after their neighbor did so and “was appalled at the rude comments of some visitors as well as the damage done to her custom-made Angela Adams rugs.”
It seems that the early motivation to participate in these open houses(proving that one CAN rescue an old home in a run-down neighborhood) no longer applies. Of course, I completely understand the desire to participate as a way to aid fundraising, but do you think the owner’s of these houses are only thinking of raising money for a good cause or is the primary motivation to show off?
My elderly neighbors here in Brooklyn Heights told me that in the 50’s and 60’s the house tours were hardly glamorous but very practical and informative. Today, showing off “a rare painting of Marilyn Monroe” hardly seems comparable. What do you think?

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I would like to have a sidewalk sale in front of my Brooklyn Heights apartment building. This is city property and, according to 311, I need a permit. Anyone have any suggestions?

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Last fall my neighbor (who owns and rents out 2 brownstones next to each other) cut down a veritable jungle of trees in her backyard–revealing a pile of trash underneath that has been a stubborn eyesore ever since. I miss the trees, hate the garbage, and am wondering: how do I get her to move the garbage? And is there a way to turn this to my advantage, e.g., offer to clean it up myself in exchange for the right to use some of her yard–since she’s clearly not using it? What’s the etiquette of asking her to clean her yard and asking if she’s interested in “sharing” it in exchange for maintenance?

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One crazy owner in our condo has been making daily life a living hell for the rest of the building. Since gutting his (brand new) condo and installing a load of “sleek” features, he’s become increasingly nasty and hateful to the rest of the owners, in particular when they question his hosting weekly “open houses” to show off his services and hanging big lighted signs on his door. Our best guess is that he’s hoping to flip the apartment as soon as possible. But in the meantime we’re all miserable, and regretting not going with a co-op (maybe that would have prevented the crazies?)… Any idea how to deal with his hateful speech and emails? Has anyone else had a similar experience with a difficult owner? Any advice is appreciated!

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On the subject of curb cuts, I was wondering if curb cuts in front of what used to be driveways/garages, but now have been converted (i.e. Carriage houses, where the garages are no longer used and they clearly have just a doorway), are still legal? There are all of these houses in my neighborhood who post “NO PARKING” signs in front of their inactive curb cuts (basically reserving a private parking space for themselves, or a clear view or whatever). It’s a major pet peeve, as it’s hard for everyone to find parking and they just take away more spaces. Is there anything to do about this? During the recent snowstorms, this was even more of an issue….

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Anyone tired of calling people to look at work you need done and them coming out acting eager to do the work, say they will get back to you with an estimate and then they disappear of the face of the earth? Have called two electricians recommended on Brownstoner, they came out acted happy to do the work and now won’t bother to get back to me with a price. In the meantime have no lights in my kitchen. Guess they just don’t give a ****.

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We’re negotiating with our neighbor to buy her 1BR (next to ours). She floated an asking price; we countered by offering her asking price minus the average 6% she would give to a broker. She has now lowered her initial asking price by only $4K. We think she’d never get that amount if it was placed on the market. How to proceed?

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Tipping etiquette question: My friend lives in a Brooklyn building where her super is also her landlord. She’s tipped supers in larger buildings in the past, but it seems strange to tip the same guy she pays rent to. I advised a small gift or bottle of wine would be OK in this situation. Anyone disagree?

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If we’re planning on using the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors for our family and renting out the garden apartment, what is the protocol for sharing the yard? Can we keep it for ourselves or do we have to give the garden renter access?