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Spring Cleaning A Time to Recover and Repair

Spring: Glimpses of forsythia overhanging the walls of the Central Park transverses, dogwoods and magnolias blossoming in the Strawberry Fields and crocuses sprouting from sidewalk planters. For many, spring is a rebirth, a reaffirmation of life, a season of optimism. For apartment dwellers, spring may simply mean changing the clothes in the closet, having the windows cleaned and planting flowers in the window box. For co-op and condo buildings, spring means painting the hallways and lobby, cleaning the awnings and polishing the brass and planting trees, shrubs and flowers on the grounds. In general, spring is a time to repair damages inflicted by the harsh winter.

For co-ops and condos, springtime is when the annual agendas for building maintenance and grounds is set forth. Gregg Carlovich, the resident manager for two buildings, 3 East 69th Street and 4 East 70th Street, says that spring is a busy time "because it's when we decide on everything for the year." March begins spring cleaning and preparation for the summer and winter, he explains. "We plan to have everything done by Thanksgiving, then we're busy with deliveries and parties during the holidays and, finally, it's shoveling snow during January and February." By March, it's time for planning the next year again. "It works out well," Carlovich says. "Over the years, I've developed a rhythm."

Cleaning on the Upper East Side

3 East 69th Street and 4 East 70 Street are pre-war co-ops designed during the height of the art deco period by Sylvan Bien, a noted architect who also designed the Carlisle Hotel and 737 Park Avenue. Both overlook Central Park and 4 East 70th Street faces the Frick Museum. The two lobbies are decorated with murals that have won recognition in the art world. Although Carlovich notes that the restoration of the murals is not seasonal, the care of the lobby each Spring season is. "The dirt and salt that comes in from the snow makes our terrazzo floors really dull," says Carlovich. "The floors get cleaned and polished once the weather improves and we check the brass in the lobby to determine whether it should be cleaned and polished." The lobby work is not the first item on Carlovich's agenda; in fact, it is the last detail on a multi-task spring cleaning list.

Carlovich starts each March going through the basement of each of the buildings. "We have the boiler company come out and look at the boiler since it's been burning heavy oil." Adjustments are made to ensure that the boiler is working efficiently and is not wasting oil during the non-heating season. Next, Carlovich and the building engineer walk the perimeter of the building. "We identify any new cracks or problems that have occurred over the winter. The idea is if you address it now, have the work done in the summer, the repairs will by finished by fall," he says.

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