Tenant names removed from intercoms in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents were shocked and dismayed to learn this weekend that tenant names have been removed from all intercoms in all buildings throughout the property.

StuyTown Property Services general manager Rick Hayduk said that tenant names have been removed from all video intercoms, in addition to the resident list that used to be next to the mailboxes, due to privacy concerns.

“Many residents, and at an increasing frequency of late, had requested their names be removed,” Hayduk said. “In light of not only our response to privacy concerns, but the general issue of privacy overall, we made the decision to remove all resident names from public areas.”

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association sent an email to residents on Sunday about the sudden change, noting that the disappearance of tenant names has resulted in strangers dialing resident intercoms, missed food deliveries and emergency caregivers needing directions to apartments. Now that tenant names have been removed, only apartment numbers and buzz-in numbers are listed.

Continue reading

Madison Square Park Conservancy installation confronts climate change

“Ghost Trees” will appear in Madison Square Park next June. (Rendering courtesy of Pace Gallery)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Madison Square Park Conservancy announced on Tuesday that artist Maya Lin will design the 40th public art commission for the park, set to debut on June 8, 2020. The new “site-responsive” installation will focus on the impact of climate change on woodlands around the world. The piece, titled “Ghost Forest,” will take the form of a grove of spectral cedar trees sourced from the surrounding region, and will be presented in contrast to Madison Square Park’s existing tree line.

Lin worked with the Conservancy to source dead trees from the tristate area, including from the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, which is a site that has suffered severe deprivation. The Atlantic Cedars that will be installed as part of the piece were afflicted by extreme salinization during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 as a result of flooding and salt-water inundation, and were slated to be cleared to encourage the regeneration of surrounding trees.

Lin’s piece takes its name from the natural phenomenon of “ghost forests,” which are tracts of forestland that have died off as a result of climate change, due to sea-level rise and salt water infiltration. Lin frequently addresses climate change in her work and this installation will serve as a call to action for the public visitors who pass through the park on a daily basis.

The installation intends to emphasize the grim reality of this naturally-occurring phenomenon to the public in a dense urban environment and encourages viewers to consider natural practices that can help restore and protect the ecosystem.

Continue reading

City honors vets at 100th anniversary of Veterans Day

Scouts marched in the Veterans Day Parade on Fifth Avenue on Monday, representing “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive,” a nonprofit movement that recognizes veterans who served during World War II. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

New York City honored the country’s veterans during the 100th Veterans Day parade, which originated adjacent to the Eternal Light Monument flagstaff in Madison Square Park, this past Monday. President Donald Trump spoke at the opening ceremony of the parade, making him the first sitting president to attend the event.

The president was greeted by groups of supporters rallying on the South Flatiron Plaza, while a large group of protesters gathered next to Worth Square outside Madison Square Park, including veterans with signs criticizing Trump’s own lack of military service. A glass tower near the park where Trump spoke also spelled out “impeach” in the windows and “convict” on a higher floor.

Trump’s 18-minute speech in the park prior to the parade focused on the sacrifice of the nation’s veterans.

Continue reading

How Lower East Side coastal plan braces for climate change

Protesters urge the City Council to vote against a resiliency plan that would force East River Park to close for more than three years. (Photo by Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY)

This story was originally published on November 13, 2019 by THE CITY.

  By RACHEL HOLLIDAY SMITH, THE CITY

A transformational plan to fortify the Lower East Side waterfront against rising seas is poised to sail through a key vote this week.

On Thursday, the City Council is expected to OK the $1.45 billion East Side Coastal Resiliency project, or ESCR. The controversial plan already has gotten stamps of approval from a Council committee and subcommittee and has the backing of the three members whose districts touch the 2.4-mile affected zone.

Many locals have been weighing in on concepts for years, making Thursday’s vote a culmination of hard — and, often, frustrating — work. But the Council action will launch a huge, first-of-its-kind project for New York to prepare for rising sea levels and strong storms that climate change will bring.

Here’s a guide to what you should know about ESCR.

Continue reading

Local Councilmembers get commitments from city on resiliency

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Councilmembers Keith Powers, Carlina Rivera and Margaret Chin announced an agreement with Mayor Bill de Blasio for a number of community investments tied to the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project on Tuesday.

The negotiations from the Councilmembers were the result of feedback from multiple advocates in the community, including state and local elected officials, Community Boards 3 and 6, local park and stewardship organizations and NYCHA residents.

“By providing these flood protections, my neighbors and constituents in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village and the surrounding community will no longer have to dread forecasts of hurricanes and severe weather,” Powers said. “The significant commitments the city has made as a part of this historic project will not only provide short-term alternatives and mitigation, but also serve as long-term investments in our community.”

City Council will be voting on the land use actions for the project this Thursday, while these are commitments that the administration has agreed to incorporate as part of the plan as a result of the negotiations from the Councilmembers.

Continue reading

L train’s south side entrance opened at Avenue A

The new entrance on the south side of East 14th Street opened on Monday. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A new entrance at Avenue A has opened for the First Avenue L station on the south side of East 14th Street, the MTA announced on Monday. The agency also said that the south entrance at First Avenue will be closed starting on Tuesday, November 11 for structural reconstruction.

The revised timeline for the work at First Avenue was designed to open the new entrances at Avenue A as quickly as possible with temporary finishes and then close the entrances at First Avenue for reconstruction on a phased schedule. Two entrances will be open at all times at the station, with the new entrance on the south side of East 14th at Avenue A open while the south side on First Avenue is closed.

The new entrance for the north side of East 14th Street at Avenue A has not opened yet and the MTA hasn’t announced when that entrance will be available, but the new platform-to-street elevators on either side of East 14th Street at Avenue A are estimated to be open by next summer, ahead of schedule.

Continue reading

Tenants Association hosts housing forum

Tim Collins, an attorney for the Tenants Association, at the housing forum last month (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association held a forum on Saturday, October 19 for residents to have their specific housing-related questions addressed by experts, local elected officials and representatives from the Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

Attorney Tim Collins, who represents the ST-PCV Tenants Association, said that tenants should be moderately concerned about the lawsuit landlords have filed to challenge the rent laws that passed over the summer.

As the New York Times reported in July, the lawsuit filed by landlords intended to completely dismantle the rent regulation system, claiming that the new laws would cripple the industry and that they violate the 14th Amendment’s due process clause, as well as the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment, which says that private property can’t be taken for public use without proper compensation.

“I am actually less concerned about the legal challenge than I am about the public relations challenge,” Collins said of the lawsuit. “I want you to understand the stakes are a very high and go way to the top, not only for New York City or the State of New York but potentially to the US Supreme Court. The real estate industry’s lawsuit says, [State Senator] Brad [Hoylman], [Councilmember] Keith [Powers], [Assemblymember] Harvey [Epstein]: You don’t matter. You don’t matter because baked within the Constitution is a trump card, which is actually two words: due process.”

Continue reading

Peter’s Field to get turf coating for Little League during park construction

Peter’s Field on East 20th Street at Second Avenue (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Parks Department will be installing turf surfaces at three asphalt playgrounds in Community District 6 to provide alternative spaces for Little Leagues along the East River during construction for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project.

The mitigation project, which representatives from Parks announced at a joint Land Use and Parks Committee meeting for Community Board 6 on Monday night, includes installing turf and painting lines for baseball, softball and soccer. The changes are planned for Peter’s Field at Second Avenue and East 20th Street, as well as St. Vartan’s at First Avenue and East 35th Street and Robert Moses playground at First Avenue and East 41st Street.

The Peter’s Field playground space is connected to Simon Baruch JHS on East 20th Street and Sarah Neilson from the Parks Department said at the CB6 meeting that the agency talked to the principal of the school, who approved of the plan. The basketball hoops will still be available on the playground, although in response to a question about replacing the nets on the hoops, Nielson said that is unlikely since the nets often get vandalized and the hoops often get damaged because kids hang from the nets and pull them down.

Continue reading

Owner of Rosemary’s opening spot in Peter Cooper

Rosemary’s owner Carlos Suarez announced the new restaurant last week. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The owner of popular West Village restaurant Rosemary’s will be opening a fifth location, this time on the East Side, taking over the space that was formerly occupied by Petite Abeille and Vamos! at the corner of First Avenue and East 20th Street. The new spot, which will include a space for private events, a vegetable garden just outside the restaurant, a sidewalk cafe and a dedicated space for takeout orders, is expected to open by next spring.

Carlos Suarez’s Casa Nela restaurant group owns Rosemary’s and until now, the most recent addition to their roster was Roey’s on Perry Street in the West Village in 2018, which originally opened as Rosemary’s Pizza, Eater reported at the time.

Suarez said during the announcement of the new restaurant on Tuesday night at Resident Services in Stuy Town that Rosemary’s was created with the intention of giving the neighborhood a space to feel comfortable.

“I named my restaurant Rosemary’s after my mother because I felt that the West Village needed a place to take care of the neighborhood, open all the time, offering a wide variety of delicious food that’s healthy and homemade, all at a reasonable price point,” he said. “I wanted to create the kind of place that would be welcoming to a diverse audience from students and young adults and seniors alike. So the name, the concept and the vision of the original Rosemary’s, and now Roey’s, my mom’s nickname, were all decided with the intention of making our West Village neighborhood a better place to live, to work and to visit.”

Continue reading

Letter to the editor, Oct. 31

Oct31 Toon Biden Only Choice

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Rudy will rise again

Re: “The Fall of Rudy,” Opinion, Assemblymember Steven Sanders, T&V, Oct. 17

Thank you for the elucidating column on Rudy Guliani’s supposed fall from grace. I am confident, given his political skill, that he can recover and regroup. After all, look at what Al Sharpton was able to accomplish in the wake of the Tawana Brawley scam. Unfortunately for Rudy, he does not have political correctness on his side. Nevertheless, he will always be credited with the monumental task of having cleaned up the city after it had slipped into gross decrepitude from the previous administration.

Jean Falzon
Stuyvesant Town

Police Watch: Men arrested for separate robberies at Albano Playground, Second Ave.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY AT ALBANO PLAYGROUND
Police arrested 27-year-old Francis Kareem for an alleged robbery that took place in Albano Playground at East 29th Street and Second Avenue last month.
A man told police that he left a bar across the street from the playground on September 21 while he was extremely drunk. He said that he had no recollection of what happened after he walked out of the bar but he said that he woke up inside the playground with a bloody nose and realized later that he had been robbed sometime between 4 and 7 a.m., and his keys and wallet were missing.
Francis was arrested for the alleged robbery inside the 13th precinct on Thursday, October 24 at 9 a.m. and was also charged with grand larceny. Police had no further information about what connected Francis to this incident.

MAN NABBED FOR SECOND AVE. ROBBERY
Police arrested 35-year-old Douglas Coward for an alleged robbery in front of 489 Second Avenue on Friday, October 25 at 9:31 p.m. The victim told police that Coward walked up to him and punched him in the face, causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head. The victim said that after he fell, Coward went through his pockets and took his property without permission. Shortly after the incident, the victim searched the area with officers and Coward was arrested nearby.

Continue reading

Opinion: Rethink the approach to help small businesses

By Carlina Rivera and Jennifer Sun

When Tamika Gabaroum decided she finally wanted to open her restaurant, Green Garden in the East Village, she understood it wouldn’t be an easy task. But Tamika, a former public health advocate with the Peace Corps who served in UN Peacekeeping Missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was used to a challenge. What she couldn’t expect was her landlord, Raphael Toledano, disappearing months after signing her lease, and a new landlord arriving with demands of higher rent. And she could have never guessed that Toledano had harassed the previous long-time tenants out of their stores as well.

The challenges facing Tamika and other small business owners in New York City are well known. Rising commercial rents, competition from corporate franchises, and the growth of online shopping have forced an alarming number of mom and pop stores to close their doors.

In many community districts, vacant storefronts have become a common sight, turning once-thriving retail corridors into ghost towns. When a small business closes, it is not only a loss for their neighborhood’s local economy, but also for its vibrancy and character.

Continue reading

Nadler, Engel and Maloney

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

They sound like partners of a law firm… but in truth they are the firmament of law.

New York has taken center stage in the rapidly expanding impeachment inquiry of President Donald J. Trump.

Three of the key players in Congress are New Yorkers and one is our very own.

I am speaking of Manhattan Congressman Jerry Nadler who is chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Bronx Congressman Eliot Engel who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and our very own Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who just last week assumed the post of interim chair of the House Committee on Oversight following the sudden passing of Elijah Cummings.

Continue reading

M14 zooming across 14th

The MTA said that ridership has increased and speeds have decreased on the M14A/D-SBS. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The MTA announced last Friday that the newly-implemented 14th Street busway has increased ridership on the M14A/D-SBS by 17% on weekdays and up to 37% on weekends and travel time on the route has decreased significantly.

“Our Fast Forward Plan promised improved service to bus riders and that’s exactly what we are delivering,” MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford said. “The new bus priority measures and Select Bus Service on 14th Street are producing tangible benefits, and it’s great to see riders flocking back to the route.”

Preliminary data for the period after the busway was implemented found that a trip between Third and Eighth Avenues in either direction between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. took 10.6 minutes, while the same trip on the M14 took an average of 15.1 minutes in September 2018.

Other performance data on the route has also improved, the MTA said, with improvements on how evenly buses are spaced. This measurement, called a “wait assessment,” improved from 71% in September 2018 to 86% in October 2019. On-time performance also increased from 45.6% in September 2018 to 68% after the busway was implemented.

Continue reading

Mount Sinai criticized on lack of public notice, closure of maternity services at forum

Mount Sinai Chief of Ambulatory Care Kelly Cassano, VP and Chief of Strategy for Behavioral Health Sabina Lim and Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of the Mount Sinai Health System Jeremy Boal addressed questions at the public hearing held at Baruch last Wednesday. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Residents and local elected officials at a sparsely attended public hearing on Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s downsizing plan last Wednesday slammed the hospital system for the lack of notice about public meetings on the project and the elimination of the maternity ward at the facility.

The $1 billion project from Mount Sinai includes a new hospital facility at East 14th Street and Second Avenue to replace the Beth Israel Hospital on First Avenue, which is expected to open in 2022.

While Mount Sinai Corporate Director of Community Affairs Brad Korn attributed the low attendance at the event to the soggy weather because a nor’easter was moving through the city in the midst of Wednesday’s evening commute, Epstein argued that it had more to do with lack of notice to residents in the neighborhood, or that even if attendance was affected by weather, the outreach was insufficient regardless.

Korn said that Mount Sinai publicized the most recent hearing, which was held at Baruch College, by sending the flyer out through the local community boards and the working group with the Borough President’s office, and Epstein argued that wasn’t enough.

Continue reading