During the pleasant spring days of 1917, George Bode, William Chapman, Martin Edwards, John McDonald, Smith Wells and John Whitehead, all building superintendents, had been meeting in each others buildings for discussions of their maintenance and operations problems. Obviously above-average men, they hoped that through mutual help and the exchange of ideas they could become the best building Superintendents in New York. Their meetings began to attract others, and in June of 1917 they had organized and started on its way the New York Building Superintendents' Association.
Within five years the membership had grown considerably and the Association was definitely established as a vital force in the real estate industry. The membership decided to incorporate. Early in 1923, all legal requirements having been met, the State of New York granted incorporation papers to the Association. The seal of the Association was registered and copyrighted together with the charter title. "NEW YORK BUILDING SUPERINTENDENTS' ASSOCIATION, INC." and the motto "COOPERATION AND EFFICIENCY."
From the very beginning (as the motto indicates), the Association has had as its objectives the promotion of a fraternal spirit of cooperation among its members and the achievement of greater efficiency in the maintenance and operation of buildings. To further these ends, the Association fosters the exchange of information among its members and invites and receives the cooperation of engineers, technicians, manufacturers and suppliers.
Regular Educational classes are offered on building equipment and tools, maintenance of machinery, elevators, structures and utilities systems, fuels, conservation and similar subjects of direct interest to the membership. The educational seminars have covered the fields of real estate financing, planning construction and operations, particular emphasis has been placed on developments in ventilation, air conditioning, pollution abatement, refrigeration, heating and automatic control systems.
Practically every new building in the metropolitan area has at some time during its construction welcomed an interested and critical visitors group from the Association. The Association founded an air conditioning and refrigeration school to prepare candidates for the N.Y.C Refrigeration Machine Operator's Certificate exams.
Members of the association operate some of the city largest office buildings, apartment houses, loft buildings, hotels and mercantile establishments as well as city owned buildings, colleges, hospitals and other institutional facilities. As the demands of building operations have become more complex, the position of building superintendent has shifted towards emphasis on management of the personnel, technicians and contractors under his or her supervision and development of his or her role as the operational representative of management to tenants, owners and CO-operators.
As important as his or her technical knowledge must be, he or she must also be a fiscal officer, a competent planner, and a talented public-relations person.
The board of directors recognized the changing role of the building Superintendent, and on September 2nd, 1971, recommended that the name of the organization be changed from New York Building Superintendents. Association, Inc. to the New York Buildings Manager's Association, Inc. The, recommendation was unanimously approved by the membership on October l3th, 1971, and the necessary legal steps were taken to effect the changes in the name, seal and trade mark. The Certificate of Amendment was granted on October 29th, 1971, and final Trade Mark registration took effect on June 21st 1972.
Membership in the Association is divided into three classes: Regular Members, Honorary Members and Associate Members.
Regular Members are men and women engaged in managing the maintenance and operation of one or more buildings, elected to membership after having satisfied the Membership Committee as to their eligibility, qualifications, experience and integrity.
Honorary members are men or women upon whom membership is conferred by the Board of Directors with the approval of the Association. This class of membership may only be bestowed upon an individual for exceptional service and achievements in the real estate or allied fields. The only exceptions are the Associations Attorney and the Certified Public Accountant retained by the Audit Committee, who automatically become Honorary Members.
Associate Members are men or women engaged in trades or occupations having connection with or incidental to the maintenance and operation of buildings. This class of membership is restricted so as never to number more than one Associate Member for every eight Regular Members.
The Association holds one meeting each month (except in the summer months). These meetings are always held on the second Wednesday of the month unless the day is a legal holiday, in which case it is held on the closest Wednesday possible. The meetings are comprised of Educational Seminars, discussions of and action upon the Association's business as well as items of interest to the members. The meetings also afford members the opportunity to exchange ideas in a fraternal atmosphere.
Several committees comprised of willing members guide the varied activities of the Association. The many facets of our organization are reflected in the scope of our Committees' interests. They include technical and educational activities, civic affairs, public relations, sport, entertainment, employment and charity functions.
Since 1927, the Association has published a monthly magazine to keep the membership aware of the new developments in the organization and the industry. Originally titled "The Superintendent," the name changed to "The Bulletin" in January 1972.
Special events of the Association's yearly activities have become highlights of the real estate industry's calendar. Perhaps the most important occasion of its kind, the Annual Grand Ball has been a landmark gala evening for over 75 years. This event is the occasion on which Honorary Membership is conferred upon the select few and at which our members , wives, and guests have met and cemented the ties of personal and professional friendships. International Night brings together members of the Association, contractors, suppliers and real estate operators for a relaxed evening of food, drink, international entertainment and good fellowship.
The Association's activities always have comprised a healthful blending of serious endeavors and lighter aims. Friendship has been fostered among its members by dinner meetings and golf tournaments. In 1921 the members founded a Glee Club which performed a spectacular minstrel show at the Grand Ball of 1923 and then duplicated its success at Carnegie Hall in March of that year - to our knowledge the only minstrel show held at Carnegie Hall - where it was a complete sellout. Our members give their time and money to various charitable causes through the Mike Balser Gray Ladies’ Committee formed during World War II. More recently we have “adopted” the New York Foundling Hospital for contributions which make Christmas bright for the children living there. We also make donations to The American Red Cross Society.
The success achieved by this Association over the past Eighty One years can be measured by many yardsticks. It has earned the respect of building owners, managing agents, government officials and building, maintenance contractors. Its members have advanced to the very top positions in their fields. Life long friendship have been formed in the meeting room and have ripened at social educational and athletic outings. The Association and its lifeblood, its members, form a vital part of the real estate industry and will continue to play its role as a force for the social, economic and physical well-being of this great city.