March 12th, 2014 was grim day for New York, and Harlem, in particular. Smoke and sirens filled the air. An emergency text from nyc.gov alerted recipients to a building collapse not far from Bohemia’s offices.
The event became personalized when a concerned email from Bohemia’s front desk requested that we check in:
Building collapse was at 1644-1646 Park. If you had a showing or live near by, email me so I know you're OK
Then arrived an email memo which gave pause: the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) on behalf of the City was requesting assistance to relocate the now homeless survivors.
As a result of the event, the City is estimating that over 100 local residents have been displaced and will need to find replacement housing, both permanent and temporary for the next few months.
Bohemia’s co-founding partner, Sarah Saltzberg eloquently responded immediately on our behalf:
We would be happy to help with any relocation efforts and will waive our fees entirely… All of us at Bohemia feel strongly that it is our responsibility to help our neighbors during this time, so do not hesitate to reach out.
Bohemia Senior agent, John Ruocco, then sent an email announcing a call to individual action: the collection of donations for newly widowed, Lisette.
Long story short -- our own Sarah Saltzberg has arranged to help... I have volunteered to gather a care package to help ease the pain of moving when all of your possessions went up in flames. If you have anything NEW and HOUSE WARMY that you are not using -- please bring it by…
Next followed an email from our colleague Jessica Wagner, for further aid possibilities for those who couldn’t or hadn’t participate in John’s challenge:
Hey all! I'm sitting here getting ready to print an amazon gift card to give to Lisette with all of the rest of the goods…If anyone would like to donate to the 'gift card' fund, reply to me directly.
In short order, $600 was raised towards Lisette’s gift card. A follow-up company email then went out to advise that Bohemia had secured Lisette a new home with furnishings no less.
Our Co-Founder wrote our team, with photos included, while moving Lisette in personally:
Lisette is extremely grateful and commented that out of this tragedy comes the reminder that people are, at their core, generous and good. She was very moved by all of your acts of kindness. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for making a change in this woman's life. It makes me proud to work with each one of you.
On March 12th this year, Bohemia both heard and answered the call. And for that reason alone, I’m an enamored fan of the amazingly unique powerhouse of creative and deliberately thoughtful collaborators called Bohemia Realty Group.
Come by to say hello – I’m proud to say we do good work!
P.S. A tribute to Lisette’s husband can be found here: