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.

In contrast, Ms. Schoenbaum is fortunate because in all Stuyvesant Town publications the word menorah is used, not “holiday candelabra” and Chanukah receives official recognition with a “Festival of Lights” menorah lighting ceremony.  I applaud and support this but I wish Rose Associates would afford Christians the same respect.

Christmas is a federal holiday. President Obama lights the national Christmas Tree at the White House and Rockefeller Center has Christmas Tree, but Stuyvesant Town can’t bring themselves to acknowledge just what so many of us are actually celebrating.  When it comes to the “holiday” trees they sell in the Oval they can’t tell us what holiday beside Christmas the trees are for and why the “holiday” trees are only sold until December 24.

Fortunately in response to an outpouring of criticism Rose Associates recently made some minor changes and put up a small sign stating “Christmas” trees are for sale. The sign is dwarfed by all the “holiday” tree signs and we still have a “holiday tree” in the Oval.

So instead of being completely ignored Christmas is now only belatedly marginalized.

Joseph Brosnan, ST

Tenants need to act fast on bid

To the editor:

I know that there are those who would like to see Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village remain 100 percent affordable rentals forever, but, with the multi-billion dollar debt inherited from the MetLife-Tishman Speyer deal, it’s clearly not a realistic goal. The Tenants Association’s conversion plan is the only viable way we can save affordability in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village.

If we don’t act to buy the property from CW Capital, they will certainly move to sell it to the highest bidder in another auction and tenants will be faced with yet another Wall-Street backed real estate giant looking to maximize their profit by removing the current population and replacing them with multiple cash-strapped college students and young people pooling their money and squeezing six into two bedrooms to afford the market rate.  I do not think the alternative of sitting back and doing nothing is something we can afford.

J. Dwyer, ST

Guterman deal ‘too good to be true’

To the editor:

I am sure I am not the only resident of our community who was disturbed by the misleading letter that Guterman-Westwood Partners sent to every Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper apartment.

The rambling letter, which I gather is the work of a suitor scorned by our Tenants Association or its advisors, presents a prospective purchase price for our apartments that is much too good to be true.
What Mr. Guterman appears to be offering is to sell whatever apartments he can, make a big profit, then cut out, leaving the buyers or renters to cope with the mess he leaves behind.

Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village does not need another rapacious developer looking for a quick buck.

What we need is a partner who will help us bring back our community, improve maintenance, make repairs, and run the property in our interest.

That is where the Tenants Association appears to be aiming with Brookfield Asset Management as a partner.

Joe Lisanti, PCV

Good-buy, Stuy we know

Does the TA represent us tenants? Or does it, like the Pied Piper, entice us to where we don’t want to go?

We were not consulted on whether we wanted condominiums. The TA made its decision from on high and then announced it, not to us, but to the press on 16th Street and First Avenue.

If there was ever a cause for “buyer beware,” the time is now.
Tishman Speyer tried to force market rate rentals upon us, which we bitterly resisted as unaffordable. Now, all of a sudden, we are being urged to buy apartments, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yes, that’s how much they will cost. Do you think for a moment that they will be sold below market rates?

In addition, if you buy, you will no longer have free utilities (gas and electric), free maintenance (painting, plumbing, elevator and grounds). You will pay dearly for every one of these.

What is the gain in all this?

Bruno Guarino, ST

One thought on “Letters to the editor, Dec. 15

  1. I can see no clear reason why the Tenant Association Exec Board & Dan Garodnick formed a ‘partnership’ with Brookfield when Brookfield has not even presented a full plan. There is no clear reason why this so-called partnership is even necessary. Right now there are only 2 players left: Guterman-Westwood & Brookfield. Guterman is a very credible player. Brookfield is a very credible player. As possible partners at this point BOTH should be considered by the tenants. CW will decide which plan it will accept for review by New York State. It’s in the tenants’ best interests to know what each plan offers them. The early endorsement of Brookfield has not served the tenants well. And all the information about Guterman’s full plan was not conveyed to tenants as it should have been. In the case of Brookfield, we’ll have to wait as it hasn’t presented a full plan yet. What possible sense could it make to have endorsed Brookfield when they have not yet presented a full plan? What possible sense does it make for any tenant or tenant group to endorse any sponsor without having compared the plans involved and without having asked probing questions publicly?

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