the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

A Story Worthy of King Solomon

It’s a story worthy of King Solomon.

My apartment complex consists of two buildings, the “A” building and the “B” building. Each one has eight floors, twenty apartments on each floor.   Each building is identical.

A few months ago, the Board of Directors applied for a state refund that was being offered to apartment complexes that were part of a state energy saving program.  Today we received our refund.

But there is a catch.

The refund is based on the combined income of the tenants in each building, and each structure is considered a separate entity.  So, while our apartment building was under the deemed amount necessary to receive the rebate, the other building apparently made a combined income that brought them slightly over the maximum level.

“Finally,” said my mother. “It paid for us to live with the poorer people.”

Everyone in the “A” building received a check for $100.   The “B” building received nothing.   You can imagine their reaction.

The issue is now the drama of the day in Flushing, Queens, talked endlessly about in the elevator, the mailboxes in the lobby, and the fruit section of the supermarket, pitting apartment dweller against apartment dweller, “A” building against “B” building, rich against poor.   Should the two buildings that comprise the co-op share the refund as one, splitting it in half, or should the “A” building just say “Tough Luck, Suckers!” to their more well-off brother?

“You would think those in the “B” building would be happy just to be known as the Donald Trumps of the co-op,” a woman said to me as I entered the “A” building laundry room.   The crisp check she just received in the mail was in her hand.


  1. magpie

    no good deed goes unpunished? someone’s always gonna complain about something.

  2. hokgardner

    Thank you for being of the few people in the bloggosphere who knows how to use the word “comprise” correctly.

  3. Annika

    I can’t stand the suspense! Will this be all-out war?

  4. The Honourable Husband

    If they combined the two buildings and averaged it out, maybe NOBODY would get the $100. Then everyone would be happy.

  5. erika

    i’ve lived in co-operative housing for years, there are always these kind of issues when the level of low income vs market income arent balanced.

  6. Tuck

    Perhaps the A building residents should pool their money, bus it down to AC, and put it all on Red….and then hit the buffet.

  7. laura

    all over $100? jeesh.

  8. Slow Panic

    I think the real question is who will pick up the movies rights.

  9. Schadenfreude Warehouse

    Will be taking a trip to NY in the fall and Queens will be one of our destinations as my cousin lives there. What are the folks in Building “B” whining about? They’re rich every day while the Building “A” people get to be rich for just one day.

  10. sputnik1

    Neil, of course you can write the screenplay and call it “The Haves and the Have Nots.”

    It’s a “complex” problem. Um, why is it called a “complex” when it’s treated as two different complexes?

  11. teahouseblossom

    Whoa. I’m sure it’s something like the dweller of one apartment got a $1,000 bonus last year, and that sent the other building over the edge. Communists!!!!

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