Letters to the Editor, May 24

Is a Stuy Town Civil War coming?

Re: Recent letters about feeding animals
To the editor:

Several years ago, during the turbulent time of MetLife’s sale of PCV/ST, an astute observer remarked that there were signs of class warfare in this community. Sadly, that unfortunate situation is now in place. Nowhere is this more evident in the recent spate of nasty letters containing comments about “old people.”

What a good person am I, Alice Malhotra-Freeman (author of letter, “In defense of bird and squirrel feeders,” T&V, May 17) seems to be suggesting, as she describes how she’s “teaching (her) kids to love and care about animals” during their daily walks around Stuy Town as they feed the squirrels. Contrast this with her attitudes about humans: “miserable old ladies”… “low-class high school students from Brooklyn”! There’s a terrible disconnect here; what’s worse is that this poison is rapidly spreading.

That management has asked tenants repeatedly, over the years, not to feed pigeons or squirrels evidently falls on (many) deaf ears: the rat problem is not imaginary. They are spotted in all areas, in daylight or evening — recently inside my own building as well. Also, some squirrels (which, please note, are wild animals, not domestic ones) have become too “friendly,” so emboldened by all manner of food tossed to them, that the mere sight of a person toting a plastic bag can cause them to chase and pester one. I’ve observed them attempting to run up people’s legs as they stroll or relax on benches. Worse, an older neighbor in the area was actually bitten on the shoulder by one such enthusiast.

All this having been said, it’s now painfully clear that this warfare is getting nastier; warfare that is between the older tenants who’ve adhered to rules that kept this place looking and feeling great – the very qualities that attracted newcomers to begin with – and a population that’s apparently never heard the word “no.”

The easiest, non-thinking way of defending one’s viewpoint is to name-call. “Animal haters” is typical. Ms. Malhotra-Freeman’s contempt, along with that of Al Salame and Tony Sangabo (letters, T&V, April 26) for “grouchy old people” who are being “subsidized” by new tenants, is shameful. I cannot imagine how these factions can unite in any ownership plan.

Finally, if these writers had any ability whatsoever to go beyond their own experience and try to understand “all the complaints” they complain about, they might see what it is to feel something precious gradually and steadily being wrecked.

I’m afraid Mr. Salame’s labeled the wrong group as having a “false sense of entitlement.”

Geraldine Levy, ST

Calling on Stuy Town bird lovers for help

Thank you for the interesting letters about feeding the birds and the pigeons. I have a letter, which I hope is useful.

As a devoted birder, who led a bird walk in Stuyvesant Cove and Town on Sunday, May 13, I am concerned about the fate of our birds and local wildlife. I have seen over 90 species of birds in Stuyvesant Town and the Cove. Many of these bird species are migrants and winter residents. They include warblers, vireos, woodpeckers, even some shorebirds, including an American woodcock, thrushes, mimids, many sparrow species, hawk species and many more. Rock pigeons are non-migratory urban birds. I see people of all ages feeding birds and squirrels.

Unfortunately, many people feed bread to these birds. Bread is bad for the health of a bird. Sparrows, pigeons, doves, finches, titmice, chickadees, etc. eat seeds. The seeds have the nutrients they need. Some eat berries when in season.

I would like to see the return of the bird feeders in Stuyvesant Town. We could form a committee of volunteers to tend to the feeders. We could set up the feeders in the fall and remove them in the spring. Feeders do attract raptors such as sharp-shinned hawks and Cooper`s Hawks. We, therefore, would need to place the feeders near bushes, so the birds could have a quick hiding place. We also would have to make sure that the feeders are away from the glass walls of the Oval Amenities. Birds (not rock pigeons, house sparrows or European starlings) fly into glass structures and are injured or worse.

Much as I appreciate the love of pigeons, the rock pigeons often take over the feeders. I have the equipment to prevent that from happening. We could put some suet on a tree for the woodpeckers and hopefully nuthatches. Tending the feeders and observing the birds would be a wonderful educational experience for the children and adults. I think the red-bellied woodpecker and the northern cardinal are trying to nest in Stuyvesant Town.

Sadly, I have seen two unattended cats roaming in Stuyvesant Town. Cats will hunt birds. I hope the people who are defending the birds and the squirrels will be interested in this possible project.

Also, I would love to see a little butterfly garden. We have the space.

Anne Lazarus, ST

Toilet flood troubles

I would like to report an incident in my Stuyvesant Town apartment, which caused extensive property damage that management refuses to pay for. The details follow.

I called maintenance five times in the last few weeks because the toilet would not flush. Each time, a worker came with either a snake or plunger and said it was fixed. The sixth time it broke, I was told a “supervisor” would come to repair it and determine if I could get a new one. The worker who arrived on April 23 was not a supervisor, but another plumber.

He worked from 10-11 a.m., removing parts and finally showed me a gasket. It had four prongs; he removed one of them, leaving only three prongs and said it would work. Two days later (Wednesday, April 25), I flushed the toilet; the water rose over the bowl and would not stop! The flow was so powerful, the dirty water flooded the bathroom, the closets, the entire hallway, and the small bedroom! I immediately called maintenance. Safety first, I put my service dog behind a gate in the kitchen. More importantly, my sister was recently released after being in the hospital for two months for an infectious disease, and is now using a walker. To prevent a slip and fall accident and avoid contamination, she locked herself in the large bedroom and stuffed items by the door to block water from coming in.

One worker showed up and screamed when he saw the amount of water, immediately calling for back up. More men arrived to scoop up the water and had to remove the contents of the two hallway closets to get the water out! They dumped our possessions over the wet floors in a heap in the living room, thus getting the floor of that room wet as well. I had to make many calls to Stuyvesant Town, explaining that they left the apartment in a hazardous state. More people came in, took pictures, and helped clean up the place until it was somewhat livable. A supervisor headed the team. Our two damaged rugs were taken away to be cleaned, but I still do not have them back. In the clean-up process and after the workers left, many of our possessions had to be thrown away due to water damage. While I could not take photos of all of them, I was able to take some as proof of what happened. They included a carton of computer paper, toner, office supplies, clothing, shoes, coats and handbags. These were brand new items, and I have the corresponding prices.

When I called the property manager, Lance Collin, I asked how I could go about being reimbursed for the cost of these goods. He said according to my lease, Stuyvesant Town was not responsible and would not pay for anything! He could not tell me specifically where this is stated, but I do not believe it. All he offered was to finally replace the toilet.

I maintain that the toilet was broken, not fixed, by a Stuyvesant Town employee, causing the flood and property damage. I hold management solely responsible and need to know what recourse I have in obtaining a reimbursement, at the very least.

Bobbie Martowicz, ST

Editor’s note: This letter was sent to management prior to printing, and below is a response from Kathleen Kehoe, senior property manager, PCVST.

“We responded four times in March and April to Ms. Martowicz’s complaints and corrected stoppages. In all cases, the toilet was tested to ensure it was working as designed.”

2 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor, May 24

  1. Agree with Ms Levy. STPVC is a divided community now. Feeding animals seems to the least of it. Divided over treatment of the grounds, dogs, students, conversion plans, the green market, about the TA, our councilman & more. For the moment, that’s the way it is.

  2. I loved Ms. Lazarus’s letter. I have lush trees right outside my apartments windows on 2 sides (one of the wonderful things about living here that makes all the negative stuff less important) and I have noticed that there have been some unfamiliar-looking birds “passing through” lately. I’ve searched my “bird book” and can’t identify them. I have a couple of parakeets and save up their uneaten seed (that they ungraciously throw out of the dish) and feed it to the birds outside, but I often get nasty and even abusive remarks from people so I don’t do it too often. I hope to go on one of those bird walks at some time in the future because these lovely creatures really fascinate me.

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