Letters to the Editor, Dec. 29

The future of the ST farmers market

To the Editor:
I have been reading with great interest the letters to the editor regarding the farmers market in Stuyvesant Town.Am I missing something? Is it really that objectionable to some of our neighbors to have a farmers market in Stuyvesant Town?
At a time when many neighborhoods would welcome a local greenmarket in their community, why such opposition? We are truly privileged to have fresh fruits and vegetables at our doorsteps. Not only are we able to buy fresh, locally grown produce, we are offered fresh fish, turkey and meats, just to mention a few other products.
The greenmarket is a pleasant way to spend Sunday mornings and see our neighbors, as we once did before with the old flea market. And it also offers an opportunity for local independent farmers — in a very bad economy — to sell their merchandise.
Because of objections to the new ice rink, it does not make sense to do away with our seasonal greenmarket in response.
In my mind, this is a win/win situation for all and everyone loses if our farmers market goes.
Barbara Bienenfeld, ST

Farmers market not the only business in ST

Re: Letter, “Zoning laws being ignored in ST,” Dec. 8
“Name Withheld” is clearly not a zoning lawyer, because he or she is mistaken on several important points. In fact, the greenmarket is perfectly legal.
Planning Commissioner Burden wrote that activities such as a newsstand or a swimming pool are perfectly acceptable in a residential community.  Moreover, she confirmed that any activity that was “primarily intended for residents and their guests” met the standard as a permitted accessory use of the property.
The greenmarket does not need to be relocated. It is perfectly legal exactly where it is. As we all know, it is primarily intended for residents and their guests, and it is quite similar to a newsstand – except that instead of newspapers, a greenmarket sells equally nourishing organically grown apples, tomatoes and garlic.
Let’s bear in mind that a lot of permissible business activity goes on in ST/PCV. Numerous doctors, dentists, writers, lawyers, and public relations specialists run their businesses from their apartments in our community.
If the Buildings Department were to eliminate all business activity, they would have to shut down these worthy businessmen and women. Tenants would suffer just because some naysayers didn’t like fresh fruits and vegetables.
Name Withheld, ST

Amato’s opera legacy will live on

With the passing on December 14 of Anthony Amato, founder and artistic director of the Amato Opera theater, an era of downtown off-opera has come to an end. The beloved maestro and his wife ran the Amato Co. on the Bowery for decades, fuelled by a love of singing and performing.  He developed a strong following of opera devotees to his diminutive, quaint opera house.
Also, he trained many aspiring singers and offered them opportunities to perform. Tony’s memoirs, The Smallest Grand Opera in the World, has recently been published and will preserve his legacy.
But there is more.  In 2009, in collaboration with Mr. Amato, a successor company, Amore Opera, opened at the Connelly Theatre at 220 East Fourth Street, between Ave. A and B. The new company, under the direction of Nathan Hull, inherited some of Mr. Amato’s singers, sets and costumes and performs in May, October, and December.
With a full orchestra they produce classic opera in an acoustically favorable, sizable auditorium. They are now completing a run of  “The Barber of Seville” by Rossini thus ending their unique “Fall Figaro Fest.” “La Traviata” will follow in May. Mr. Amato’s innovative “Opera-in-Brief” series for kids and families, under 90 minutes each, also continues to acclaim. They are aimed at exposing children to opera, letting them experience and enjoy “shows” from very close-up. Ticket prices are affordable. A little lost for activities after the holidays?  Attend a performance at the Amore through January 1, 2012!  You will have an exhilarating opera experience in the heart of the East Village where Tony Amato’s spirit and legacy live on.
Irmgard Taylor, ST

Soapbox, Sept. 1

Following a reader’s request, we are reprinting a Town & Village Soapbox column that originally ran on September 1, 2011. The column, submitted by Peter Cooper Village resident Joe McGrath, details his memories of an early Stuyvesant Town.

Town & Village encourages readers to submit their own columns for “The Soapbox,” which features a different voice from the neighborhood each week (space providing). All are welcome to submit columns on the topic of the author’s choice, preferably not longer than 800 words, to editor@townvillage.net or Town & Village, editor, 20 W. 22nd St., 14th floor, New York, NY, 10010.

Nobody asked me about the old days, but…

Nobody asked me, but I miss the good ol’ days in Stuyvesant Town as a wide-eyed, red headed/freckled faced youth and teen. Where has the time gone? Man, do I miss:Egg-creams and lime rickeys in Fradels on Avenue B. “Schlepping out” around 8 p.m. to get my Dad a pint of hand packed ice cream at Daltons and the Daily News Night Owl newspaper. Continue reading

Letters to the editor, Dec. 15

Anyone see a Christmas tree around here?

Re: Letter, “Anyone see a menorah around here?” T&V, Dec. 1
Last week Ms. Susan Schoenbaum wrote to comment on how the Stuyvesant Town menorah seemed small compared to the large Christmas tree and related Christmas decorations. While Chanukah and Christmas are both joyful celebrations that deserve recognition a difference in scale is to be expected given the large number of people celebrating Christmas in relation to Chanukah and that Christmas is a major Christian holiday while Chanukah is not a high holy day.  But sadly when Ms. Schoenbaum discusses the Stuyvesant Town Christmas tree and Christmas decorations she is mistaken.

For inexplicable reasons Rose Associates, the Stuyvesant Town management company, censors Christmas. If you check the websites, brochures, marketing, etc. there is only mention of a “Tree” and a “Tree lighting ceremony” and “holiday” decorations. In the Oval “holiday trees” are for sale.  There is no longer a nativity scene to be found. Apparently to avoid offending people who are intolerant of Christian holidays, the word “Christmas” is verboten. Continue reading

Sanitation seeks laborers for coming snow season

Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty today reminded New Yorkers that the Department of Sanitation is continuing to register emergency snow laborers who can be called upon to remove snow and ice citywide from bus stops, crosswalks, and from step streets in sections of the City after heavy snowfalls.  Step streets are sets of stairwells located between avenues to connect streets that have a significant height differential.  The rate of pay begins at $12 per hour and increases to $18 per hour, after completing the first 40 hours, each pay week.

“While most snow removal duties citywide are handled by the dedicated men and women of the Sanitation Department, emergency snow laborers are a vital part of our supplemental snow-fighting efforts in major snowfalls,” said Commissioner Doherty. Continue reading

ST-PCV Tenants Assoc. to hold tele-town hall

By Heather Holland

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association will be holding a “Telephone Town Hall” meeting on Sunday, December 18, to answer residents’ questions about the TA’s proposal to partner with Brookfield Asset Management in a tenant-led conversion plan for the complex.

The telephone info session will be “listen only,” but residents will be able to submit questions ahead of time. The questions will mostly be fielded by the Association’s legal/financial advisors from the firms Paul Weiss and Moelis & Co., and moderated by Council Member Dan Garodnick. Questions may be submitted online after registering or during the call by speaking to a designated operator. Residents should expect a phone invitation to join the call at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, and the call will last for about an hour. Continue reading

ST-PCV Tenants Association comments on Guterman letter

The following is a letter from the ST-PCV Tenants Association, commenting on a letter developer Gerald Guterman sent to tenants earlier this month regarding the TA’s decision to team up with Brookfield on another attempt to bid on the complex.

Dear Neighbor:

This has been an exciting week for all of us as we begin to put together a bid to CW Capital to protect the long term stability and affordability of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. We feel confident that our partnership with Brookfield will give us the ability to deliver a plan that is both commercially viable and also satisfies our goals.

You may have received a letter recently from Guterman-Westwood Partners LLC describing an alternative partnership with tenants to bid for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. It is important that our community have the facts, and that is why I am sending this follow-up letter. Continue reading

Developer Gerald Guterman to tenants: I’m a better candidate for ST-PCV conversion than Brookfield

Last year, a developer named Gerald Guterman pitched a plan to the Tenants Association to convert Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village to co-ops. Now that the TA has chosen to go with another suitor on a conversion plan, Guterman has sent out letters to every resident of the complex stressing why tenants should still be considering him as the conversion’s sponsor.

The letter says, in part:

“To the Residents of Stuyvesant Town/ Peter Cooper Village:

“Are you concerned about your home at Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, as well as your own financial future?

“On November 30, 2011, to much fanfare, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association (the Association”) announced that it had entered into a “partnership” with Brookfield Asset Management (“Brookfield”) to acquire, and convey Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village to tenant ownership. Gutterman-Westwood Partners, LLC (“GWP”) and its affiliates, learned about the partnership from the Association’s announcemnents to the press, despite the fact that we have long offered the Association the opportunity to enter into a more tenant-beneficial partnership with us. Continue reading

ST-PCV TA to partner with Brookfield on bid

By Sabina Mollot

and Heather Holland

Barry Blattman, senior managing partner of Brookfield

On Wednesday, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association announced that it had formed a partnership with the firm Brookfield Asset Management in a plan to put together a bid to purchase ST/PCV and convert to condos or co-ops.

The bid attempt would be the second tenant-led one — the first was in 2006, though the Tenants Association, working alongside Council Member Dan Garodnick, ended up losing to Tishman Speyer — or winning, as they later looked at it.

So far, there has been no bid put together, so it’s not clear whether CW Capital will accept the offer, which was extended by the TA on Tuesday.

However, Garodnick, who hosted a press conference outside Stuyvesant Town, along with other local elected officials and reps from Brookfield, said it was understood that any offer would need to be “competitive.” Previously, legal and financial advisors for the TA had said an offer would need to be at least $3 billion in order to satisfy the bondholder trust CW Capital represents. Continue reading

Reminder: ST-PCV TA meeting Dec. 3

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association will be holding a meeting on December 3 to discuss a number of major issues, including MCIs, maintenance/quality of life issues and the TA’s progress in developing a plan to keep the community affordable. The meeting will be held on Saturday, December 3 at 1 p.m., at Mason Hall of Baruch College, Lexington Avenue and 23rd Street.
On hand to speak about a possible buy-or-rent conversion plan will be members of the Association’s legal team from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and its financial advisors from Moelis & Co., as well as City Council Member Dan Garodnick. Maintenance and other quality-of-life issues will be addressed by TA president Alvin Doyle.

Following a procedure introduced at its last meeting, the Association is advising pre-registration to avoid overflow problems in the 1,100-seat hall. All residents may pre-register, but priority for seats will be offered to TA members who are current in their dues. Residents can pre-register for the meeting online by visiting stpcvta.org/decembermeeting or calling (917) 338-7860.

Letters to the editor, Dec. 1

Anyone see a menorah around here?
Dear Editor:
As the Christmas season approaches, sales begin, lights go up and people start planning what gifts they need. Christmas is an extremely commercial enterprise that has a life of its own, what with cards to be sent, stockings to stuff, gifts that must be mailed in time, home and tree decorations to be installed and the big Christmas tree must be lit up.

Here in Stuyvesant Town, a similar gigantic effort is made and it is stunning!  The scene in the fountain in the Oval, the lights strung up in the trees, the music playing is so warm and wonderful. Continue reading