Tenants General Assembly Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Cooper Union

To coincide with Tuesday’s preliminary vote by the Rent Guidelines Board and the “May Day” march planned by Occupy Wall Street, the Real Rent Reform campaign will be holding a “Tenants General Assembly” outside the Cooper Union building.

At the event, which is scheduled at 5 p.m., a half hour before the vote begins, tenants in the community will be invited to step up to the “people’s mike” and share personal experiences with the RGB. According to the R3 press release, speakers will also talk about “the origins of tenant protections, the peoples’ struggles to protect them, and the roots of the dreaded RGB.

“Every year since it came into existence, the Rent Guidelines Board has voted to raise rents, usually to levels that are unaffordable to many rent stabilized tenants,” R3 said, adding in the announcement that those who are also interested in participating in OWS can also “join the march, and split from it at 7th street to join us at Cooper Union, then re-join the march afterward.”

The Cooper Union Building is located at 7 E. 7th Street. On Tuesday, the RGB will vote on a range of possible rent increases for the city’s rent-stabilized tenants.

Police arrest alleged L train masturbator

Police have arrested a man who they believe is the straphanger who masturbated while staring at a woman on the L train, last Wednesday.

On Thursday, Kyle Brown, 23 of Brooklyn, was nabbed and charged with public lewdness.

According to the victim, a man boarded the L at the Montrose Avenue station in Brooklyn and committed a lewd act before he got off the train at Union Square. The 34-year-old woman, however, was able to take a photo of the alleged perv in action, which T&V ran yesterday.


Letters to the Editor, April 26

Pigeons enjoy a meal in this photo that ran in last week's issue, alongside the letter, "The scoop on pigeon poop."

Feeding animals is part of life in Stuy Town

Dear Ms. Mollot,
Lately, there seems to be an increase in whining and complaints by miserable people, in Town & Village. Case in point: is the news item from “Name Withheld, ST,” (Letter, “The scoop on bird poop,” Apr. 19) grumbling and moaning about pigeons and squirrels and the animal lovers who feed them. This person is making a mountain of a molehill; and is one of a small minority of animal haters.
Most of us like the squirrels and pigeons; we feed them because we have enough compassion for other living things, that we do not want them suffering and starving to death; the same way that we contribute to charities like City Harvest and Meals-on-Wheels, etc.; which, I would think, provide meals to some of these very complainants.
Kindly note that there are many of us, especially the younger generations, who have no objection to people feeding birds and squirrels. In fact, the very attraction of Stuyvesant Town is that it is one of the few oases in this concrete jungle of a city that is populated with flora and fauna.
These birds and animals provide much needed balance and diversity in New York, which has always been a refuge for all life forms, whether animal, human, or vegetable. And their presence goes to show that New York City is one of the last remaining sanctuaries of humanity on this planet, where harmless animals can live in peace, without being mercilessly exterminated; turning our world into a sterile wasteland.
I hope you will avoid giving prominence to the kind of petulant nagging on the order of “Scoop on bird poop” and rather, write of the pleasures and enchantments of Stuyvesant Town, which include its birds and squirrels.
Tony Sangabo, ST

Enough complaining about ST/PCV

Re: Letter, “The scoop on bird poop,” T&V, Apr. 19
Your newspaper has become another tabloid in the city. I cannot understand why you always publish letters or comments of little importance to our community.
You always publish the letters of grouchy old people and the only thing they know how to do well is to criticize Stuy Town in all aspects: complaining about birds, pigeons, squirrels, dogs, delivery men, bicycles, college students, young tenants, ice skating rink, food vendors, greenmarket and etc, etc, etc.
Somehow they have this false sense of entitlement that because they have rented here for a long time, they can complain about everything. They are renters; they don’t own Stuy Town.
The new tenants paying for renovated apartments are subsidizing their ridiculous rents and they don’t complain.
Let’s remind these grouchy tenants, specially to “name withheld” of 250 First Avenue that what makes Stuy Town a nice place to live are the squirrels, the birds, the pigeons, and the new tenants, a new generation of people that loves and cares about animals.
Al Salame, ST

What would NYU’s role be in conversion?

I have several questions that I have tried to have answered but with no luck.
1. Why was Brookfield Asset Management selected when it has no history of owning or managing residential buildings in NYC (with rent protected tenants)?
2.  Re: NYU  a.  Does NYU rent the apartments and do the students rent their shares from NYU or do the students rent the apartments directly?
b.  If NYU is the renter will it be able to purchase these and or additional apartments if there is a conversion?
c.  Won’t college students bring down the value of the apartments?
3. Will all the tenants in “shared” apartments have equal voting right or will the votes be by apartment?
4. Although Brookfield claims it is concerned about protecting tenants rights, why haven’t they “put anything in writing”? That would not be considered as an offering or illegal in any way.
Marilyn Levin, PCV

How fracking would affect our community

New York State is considering whether to allow hydrofracking drilling for methane in upstate’s Marcellus Shale region. This gas releases radon and other radioactive stuff, some of which can’t be monitored by Geiger counters.
This fracked gas will service our (PCV and Stuy Town) ovens and stoves. Additionally, Con Ed’s 14th Street plant will use this gas. Now it turns out that the Newtown Creek sewage plant, just across the East River, has been designated to be capable to receive the residue from the flowback discharges from the frack well itself.
It can’t be processed but the plant in all likelihood will receive it. The sewage plant information is conveniently tucked away in Appendix 21 of the State’s draft Environmental Impact Statement.
Governor Cuomo has the power to ban hydrofracking in New York State and he should. Please.
Andrew Lawrence, PCV

State wants public input on fracking

In the past, Town & Village has covered the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), a method of drilling for natural gas that uses millions of gallons of fresh water, sand and toxic chemicals. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is studying public comments and will consider these in adjusting their regulations for drilling here.
In other states where the process has been used drinking water has been polluted, air quality has been compromised. There is no safe way to deal with the waste water, which contains methane, heavy metals and radioactive materials.
Industry says fracking will create jobs, make us energy independent and bring in tax revenues. Is this true?
Is it worth endangering New York’s water supply, agriculture and tourist industries?
Wendy Byrne, ST

Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade

On Saturday, the Stuyvesant Town Little League officially kicked off a new season of youth baseball, softball and tee-ball on Saturday with its annual parade through Stuyvesant Town. Joining the players at Con Ed Field were two high profile athletes: former Met Dwight “Doc” Gooden and former Jet Bobby Jackson.

Photos by Sabina Mollot

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Letters to the editor, Apr. 19

Going postal at under-manned 14th St. P.O.

Re: Letter, “The Post with the most… problems, that is,” T&V, Mar. 29
I couldn’t agree more with Dave Hensley’s recent letter of complaint about the long wait time to pick up packages, certified mail, etc. at the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office. Last Friday, it took me one hour and 15 minutes to retrieve my packages. While there were three-four clerks helping people waiting in the line to buy stamps, send packages, etc. and those people were in and out of the post office in a relatively short period of time, there was only one clerk to help those waiting in the package pickup line and that one clerk seemed to take forever to locate packages. In all fairness to that clerk, however, I suspect that an inefficient, packages-to-be-picked-up storage system was at least partly to blame for her taking so long.

As a result of the excruciating pace at which the package pickup line was moving, I asked the woman in charge to please assign an additional clerk to help us, but she replied, dismissively, that she had no one she could assign. When I asked her if she could lend a hand, her indignant reply was that she had her own work to do. Her own work?

With as many disgruntled patrons in the package pickup line as there were, it seems to me that any caring, competent supervisor would have understood that part of her work was providing us with some relief, even if it meant that she had to pitch in and help out for a while or shuffle some personnel around to get us an additional clerk.

After experiencing the supervisor’s apathetic, cavalier attitude, several people in the package pickup line, including myself, took out their cell phones and filed phone and online complaints about her with the U.S. Postal Service. With all the people out of work and desperate for a job, how very unfortunate for the customers of Peter Stuyvesant Station that we have to endure the likes of Supervisor Braxton.

Arlynne Miller, ST

The scoop on bird poop

Lately there seems to be an increase in people feeding pigeons and squirrels. Can something be done to stop this?

On the main level in back of 250 First Avenue and on 16th street the ground has a lot of poop. Look up at the trees, then look at the ground. Maybe some signs would help. Please do not feed birds or squirrels. Poop will hit kids, older people; it is a health hazard, not even mentioning the rodents. Some of the people feeding pigeons don’t even seem to live here but throw out large amounts of bread. The birds swoop in for a feeding frenzy.

Please, someone do something about this quality of life issue.

Name withheld, ST

Upcoming Rent Reform campaign events this month

The Real Rent Reform campaign is gearing up for some major actions with the following upcoming events this month:

Monday, April 16- RGB reform press release, 11a.m., City Hall.
Brian Kavanagh, Daniel Squadron and Christine Quinn will be gathering on the steps of City Hall to host a press conference in support of our RGB reform bill, A06394/S0741.  The bill would give the City Council advice and consent powers in RGB appointments, expand the qualifications for public members, and allow board members of tenant organizations to serve on the RGB. Join in, and bring rent regulated tenants!

Wednesday, April 18- Housing Committee vote and press conference on R3 priority bills
The Housing Committee will vote on several R3 priority bills: preferential rent reform, RGB reform, MCI reform, rent control reform, owner use reform, and reducing the vacancy bonus.  Let’s send a van full of tenants to Albany to show legislators that we are putting our weight behind these bills. Vans will be leaving from Tenants & Neighbors’ offices, 236 W. 27th St., at 8 a.m., and returning by the early evening.

Friday, April 20- Rent control action, Goddard Riverside, 11:30 a.m.
Many rent controlled tenants, most of them seniors on fixed incomes, have suffered with 7.5 percent rent increases year after year, and are being priced out of their apartments.  Rent Controlled members of Tenants & Neighbors will be staging a press conference and street theater action at Goddard Riverside Senior Center, located at 593 Columbus Ave., in order to demonstrate the toll that these annual 7.5 percent increases have taken, and to support A1892/S5699.

Tuesday, May 1- RGB preliminary vote, Cooper Union, 5:30 p.m.
This year, the preliminary vote of the RGB is being held on May 1, which is not only international workers day, but also nation-wide day of action for Occupy Wall Street.  R3 members will be encouraging OWS to help us “Occupy the RGB,” and show them that tenants are mobilized against unaffordable rent hikes.

Easter Festivities in Stuy Town

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On Sunday morning, hundreds of families headed out to Stuyvesant Oval for a day of Easter celebrations that included a concert by The Kids Music Underground, a visit from the Easter Bunny, and an egg hunt. With the weather hovering around 60 degrees, the crowd also included plenty of adults in festive hats lingering on their way to the Fifth Avenue Easter Parade. Kids, meanwhile, also got to participate in arts & crafts, face painting, and a chance to get up close and personal with ducklings, goats, a kangaroo, an enormous, lop-eared bunny and other animals from the Two by Two Petting Zoo.

Photos by Sabina Mollot

Letters to the editor, Apr. 12

Guterman plan offers tenants more control

The TA/Brookfield partnership compromises future resident control over the complex and exposes us to inevitable and costly litigation. It is bizarre to give Brookfield a permanent legal-financial stake in the management of our community post conversion.

And it appears to be founded on the pie in the sky assumption Brookfield’s priorities will always be in tune with our own. In reality conflict with this high-powered real estate company would be inevitable. With millions of dollars at stake and a team of attorneys on the payroll 24/7 Brookfield is armed and ready to instigate costly litigation over rental or other policies that constrict their profits. And they could win too, forcing us all to live with the results. While non-eviction conversions are common in NYC, I doubt you find another one that included such an odd and risky invitation from a Tenants Association.

Yet again, the Guterman-Westwood plan is more sensible and typical of non-eviction conversions. They’d implement their plan within two years and depart, leaving the residents totally in control of the complex. We could keep Rose or hire another management co. to operate the complex in accordance with rules set forth by residents with no interference from a third party like Brookfield. Again, that is how these conversions typically conclude. So the obvious question is – What has Brookfield offered the TA that is so valuable they’re willing to compromise resident control of the community and expose us to the risks of future legal conflicts with yet another powerful real estate firm?

Name withheld, ST Continue reading

Soapbox: Light shone on child slavery, trafficking

The following column was submitted by reader John Cappelletti in response to recent letters published in Town & Village on the contraception debate. This includes the letter, “Abstinence… makes the heart grow fonder,” published on April 5.

What a person believes is often more real to them than reality.  For example, centuries ago people believed that the earth was flat and that the sun moved around the earth. This was their reality and no amount of facts could persuade them they were wrong. In fact, if you disagreed with them you could lose your life, which is why scientists like Galileo had to deny that the world was round.

Nowadays, people still deny the truth because it may not agree with their religious or political beliefs, like evolution for example. Despite this, I’d like to share these facts, not theories or beliefs, about abstinence, contraception and bringing children into the world.

A report called “Unwed Mothers Now Claim Most Births Under 30” in The New York Times (2/18/12) states: “Researches have consistently found that children born outside marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school or suffering emotional and behavioral problems.” In the report about Loraine County, Ohio,  “63 percent of births to women under 30 occur outside marriage,” the result of unprotected sex, the lack of sex education and beliefs.Another report about a child whose “uncle had sold her to a job placement agency” called “Maid’s Cries Cast Light on Child Labor in India” (The New York Times, 4/5/2012) states: “The International Labor Organization has found that India has 12.5 million laborers between the ages of 5 and 14 with roughly 20 percent working as domestic help. Continue reading

Letters to the editor, Apr. 5

Three points on 3 recent letters

This is response to three of the letters to the editor in the paper (Mar. 29 edition):
In response to Alain Montour’s “Playing nice in conversion conversation”:

How come no one is talking/discussing how you can trust the Tenants Association. Alain Montour says that “the tenants Association has done its homework; we ought to trust their conclusion.” Really!? This is the same Association who almost paid $4.6 billion to buy this property the same time Tishman purchased it. Should they have had the winning bid they would have gone under much sooner than Tishman did. Is this the Association you want handling the financial future of this complex? I think not.

In response to Dave Hensley’s “The Post with the most…. problems, that is”:

I have lived in this complex for 34 years. I have always received my packages, never had any lost mail; it always comes on time. I am not understanding Mr. Hensley’s “a Post Office that doesn’t deliver packages.” Both the individual mail person and mail trucks deliver hundreds of packages on an everyday basis. Both my previous mail carrier (who retired after 27 years a couple of years back) and the new one are great. I am very happy with the mail service in this complex and have very rarely heard any complaints. Continue reading

Stuy Town security catches dog napper

By Heather Holland
An alleged dog-napper was caught by Stuyvesant Town security on Friday, March 30, after a 19-year-old resident reported that her ex-boyfriend stole the pooch from her apartment. She also told police, later when the suspect was arrested, that he had forced his way into her apartment at 649 East 14th Street as she was opening the door to leave. He then rummaged through her purse for a cell phone, she said, before taking her her dog and fleeing.

Fortunately, Lawrence Persaud was soon caught trying to enter the L train subway station at First Avenue and East 14th Street, according to ST/PCV Security Chief Bill McClellan. The dog was then returned to its owner and Persaud was arrested and charged with criminal trespass.