PCV woman’s purse snatched in front of building

A man who swiped a bag from a woman’s walker was captured on a PCV surveillance camera.

By Sabina Mollot

Police are on the lookout for a mugger who targeted a 93-year-old woman as she was entering her building at 4 Peter Cooper Road.

According to the police report, which categorized the incident as a grand larceny, the woman’s purse was grabbed and the perp then fled on foot.

The purse snatching, in which the woman lost $90 and her IDs, took place on Friday, July 13 at 4:22 p.m., though the NYPD’s information was released this week.

When asked about the delay in publicizing the crime, one law enforcement source told T&V that the DCPI, which distributes public information about major crimes, doesn’t always get involved until a detective unit decides it isn’t going to catch a suspect on its own.

Meanwhile, a neighbor of the victim told Town & Village she heard that the purse-snatcher had been sitting a bench near 4 Peter Cooper Road and got up to follow the woman when she approached.

The neighbor, who asked that her name not be printed, said she had just come home just after the incident to find the victim, an original resident, talking to public safety officers.

She was unhurt but said she’d been robbed.

The victim, who uses a walker, then explained she’d had her head down while using her arm and leg to get the walker into the door. That’s when she saw a man’s hand come down and grab the bag from where it had been placed in a storage section in the walker. The man then ran off the grounds in the direction of 23rd Street. The neighbor said she stayed with the victim from the time she came home at around 4:46 p.m., when security had already come to her aid, to when police arrived, which wasn’t until around 5:25 p.m. The neighbor said she was the one to call police, after staying with the older woman for 15 minutes and learning that no one else had bothered to do so yet. During the victim’s conversation with public safety, the neighbor said a security officer told the resident she may have been followed from the Associated Supermarket on 14th Street. However, another resident who’d been sitting nearby disputed that, saying the man had actually been sitting near the building, too.

The victim described the perp as being dark-skinned, in his 40s and wearing a pink button down shirt and white pants.

“I thought that was an odd thing for a mugger to wear but I guess he wanted to blend in,” said the neighbor.

She added that in her building, a flier was put up about the mugging, but then promptly taken down.

“I don’t know if a tenant put it up,” she said.

Joe DePlasco, a spokesperson for ST/PCV, said public safety has been working closely with the Police Department on the situation, including providing video of the suspect.

In related news, Henry Huggins, who allegedly mugged two elderly residents in their Stuyvesant Town buildings last November, has a court appearance on Wednesday. Huggins, who’s been unable to make bail, is facing charges of “serial burglary,” according to a court schedule released by the Manhattan district attorney.

 

Community Board 6 to meet on two new possible bars for Third Avenue

Community Board 6 has already mulled a ban on pub crawls (like the St. Patrick’s Day one pictured here). Tonight, two new possible bars for Third Avenue will be on the agenda of the CB6 Business Affairs & Street Activities Committee). Photo by Sabina Mollot

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Community concerns about an oversaturation of bars on Third Avenue will be on the agenda tonight at a meeting of Community Board 6’s Business Affairs and Street Activities committee. The meeting will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Loeb Auditorium at the Hospital for Joint Diseases, 301 East 17th Street. Specifically, the discussion will focus on the application of new liquor licenses for two new bars on Third Avenue, with one between 22nd and 23rd Streets and the second between 21st and 22nd Streets.

Arlene Harrison, president of the Gramercy Park Block Association, said,  “We don’t want this to become another Meatpacking District.”

While Third Avenue is home to a number of bars already, the Block Association is concerned about the two bars in particular. Both applicants submitted their paperwork at the last minute with very little information about the kind of business they want to run, Harrison said in a letter to the Business Affairs & Street Activities Committee, which was also signed by GPBA Chair Sean Brady. James Hendrick wants to open a wine bar/cafe at 284 Third Avenue, while Joe Pirozzi, who hopes to open a bar in a space formerly occupied by Hendrick, the old Black Bear Lodge, currently operates the Stone Creek Bar & Lounge.

Letters to the Editor, July 26

Grateful for study on ST/PCV fire doors

I was so very pleased — and relieved — to read about the Tenants Association’s extensive study of fire doors within our community. I’m a long-time resident of Stuyvesant Town, and about 10 years ago I did my own informal “vertical inventory” of the stairwell doors on each floor of my building. (I knew that the two doors on my floor didn’t self-close and I wondered about the others.) It turned out that in my building only the Main and Terrace level doors snapped shut on their own; all the others had to be pulled shut.

I reported my concern to security at that time but, needless to say, nothing noticeable happened — at least in my building. It is truly heartening to see this newly launched major effort on the part of the Tenants Association as well as the response of the new general manager of ST/PCV.

It certainly looks like attention to this crucially important safety issue will finally be paid — and lasting solutions implemented.

Carole Jo Sharin, ST

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Letters to the Editor, July 19

Imagining the future of Old Psych building

In response to your Local Week in Review article on ‘Micro-units” (T&V, July 12)

Imagine that for more than 30 years…  the City of New York has refused to move ahead with renovating and preserving the historic Bellevue Psych Building on East 30th Street because it could not find  an alternate site for the shelter which now houses  more than 800 homeless men in conditions so deplorable that many floors are unused.

Imagine our surprise to learn of the City’s proposal  to conduct a contest to design a building with v-e-r-y small apartments on a City-owned site at 335 East 27 Street, a scant three blocks from the current shelter.

Imagine our surprise that the City hasn’t considered  building a state-of-the-art shelter there, relocating the men to more decent living conditions and then renovating and preserving the  Bellevue Psych Building with small apartments for assisted senior or disabled housing to benefit the community and return  the building to its original status as a medically-related facility.

Imagine.

Carol Ann Rinzler,  Louise Dankberg

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Building study reveals fire code violations

 By Sabina Mollot

In recent months, volunteers from the Tenants Association conducted detailed surveys of each and every building in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, mainly to check on things like building maintenance and cleanliness. What they also found however were fire code violations in nearly every building — specifically, in all but four buildings, fire doors in stairwells were found not to close properly. According to current city fire code, those doors are supposed to be self-closing, but as John Marsh, president of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, noted this week, “They’ve been that way for as long as I can remember.”

The TA said it has already alerted the FDNY to the issue, even providing the city with a detailed spreadsheet of problem areas. As a result, there was an inspection conducted and CWCapital was hit with eight violations. CW could face $1,000 per violation that the city recorded unless the doors are fixed in 35 days time.

However, newly appointed ST/PCV General Manager Sean Sullivan is very committed to correcting the problem, Marsh said. Members of the Tenants Association’s board, including Marsh, met with management last week to discuss the fire code issue as well as others of concern to residents, TA Chair Susan Steinberg said. Among those issues were student housing and the current scam being pulled by some residents to rent out their apartments as hotels, using websites like Airbnb to advertise.

As for the doors, Marsh said he first became aware that there could be a problem years ago when he was in his apartment and heard a door slam loudly. He went outside expecting to have to give a lecture about not slamming doors to a new neighbor when he saw a security officer in the stairwell instead. After Marsh asked the man why he slammed the door, the officer explained that it was his job to close all the doors. Apparently, this was done on a routine basis by officers who would go from building to building, take the elevator to the top floor, and head down, shutting the doors behind them on the way, then do the same in the other stairwell. But recently, Marsh said he’d noticed the “vertical patrols” weren’t being done anymore.

When volunteers checked out the buildings recently, what they found was that out of 2,900 doors throughout the property, 587 doors (20 percent) of 106 of ST/PCV’s 110 buildings (96 percent) did not properly self-close and latch.

In an official statement, the TA said it was told by a fire inspector, during a recent visit, that the failure of the doors to close on their own was “extremely dangerous, because it could stop the spread of a fire — and especially smoke — to other areas of the structure.” The inspector also placed the situation into “the immediately hazardous category.”

Additionally, Marsh recalled how in a major Stuy Town fire that occurred around a decade ago, which destroyed the old Elm Drug store, part of the problem was that the doors in the stairwells were open, allowing the smoke to travel further through the building.

“Some got through the hallways and a few seniors got really sick,” he said.

Following the recent inspection, Marsh said that he thought buildings should regularly be checked out by management, and that the vertical patrols return.

“This type of safety situation should not be left to the tenants to conduct,” Marsh said. “Management must recognize its obligation to regularly inspect the doors to ensure they are operating properly. Failure to maintain fire doors throughout the community is a situation that presents a very real danger to the lives and safety of the residents of our community.”

Meanwhile, along with the fire safety issue, the TA also said it found, during the building surveys, “substantial” evidence of stairways being used as toilets by dogs and humans. There were also a number of empty bottles of booze, and evidence of smoking, including pot smoking. The TA also found cases of standpipes that were locked and chained and what appeared to be non-fire code-compliant window panes, such as plastic, in the fire doors themselves.

A spokesperson for CWCapital did not respond to a request for comment.

 

 

Stuy Town to end ZogSports events

On Wednesday, Stuyvesant Town’s management told Town & Village that the company ZogSports, which had been holding events in playgrounds that at least in one instance shut out residents, would no longer be doing so.
The company was cut loose from the property following a flurry of complaints from residents about one woman being shut out of Playground 3, while she was with her children.
The woman, Stephanie Smith, had posted about the situation on the STPCV Tenants Association’s Facebook Page on Tuesday.

“I went with my children to play ping pong this evening,” Smith wrote. “We were told the playground is closed because an organization called ZogSports was using it. Not a single ping pong table was being used; it was only basketball and volleyball. When I protested that we were residents and should be allowed to use the open tables, the rec employee told me that the Zog people ‘pay a lot to use this space’. He also told me to talk to his boss if I have a problem with it. I did bring my kids into the playground and we did play some games, but it felt uncomfortable. I left an irate message at the rec office with my name and number but I was wondering if there was anything else I can do. Is it really ok for a private, paying organization to take over our public playground? Thanks for any suggestions.”
In response to the complaints, Joe DePlasco, a spokesperson for CWCapital, said the company hadn’t been renting out the space but was permitted to hold events in a few different playgrounds for a few nights a week in exchange for sports equipment that would be donated to the property. Residents could participate in the programs by signing up through Zog, he added.
However, by late Wednesday, that arrangement, which predates CW’s control of ST/PCV, was no more.
“They reviewed park usage based on complaints and given concerns they will discontinue Zog usage of their facilities,” said DePlasco.
Meanwhile, the shut-out had triggered enough attention that even Council Member Dan Garodnick made an inquiry into the issue.
On Thursday, he told T&V, “We appreciate CWCapital’s attention to this issue. Playgrounds must be available for residents and their guests.”
Along with Stuyvesant Town, ZogSports, which calls itself a charity-focused league on its online bio, holds events at a number of locations around the city. Washington Irving High School, the playground used by Simon Baruch Middle School and the playground used by P.S. 19. are just a few.

Letters to the Editor, July 12

A place this community is happy to call home

In the T&V’s recent article about the arrival of Sean Sullivan as the new general manager for the property, Mr. Sullivan was quoted as stating that he hoped to: “make PCVST a place this community is happy to call home.”

All of Mr. Sullivan’s recent predecessors have voiced the same or similar sentiments. None have actually delivered on it as building cleanliness and quality of life issues have continued as a major source of concern for residents to whom ST/PCV is home or those who seek to make ST/PCV their home.

In my opinion, one of the reasons for the failure of Mr. Sullivan’s predecessors is that none of them since the Insignia days, and for the most part, none or their senior staff, actually calls this community their home. To them, this community has been a paycheck, a place to come Monday through Friday, generally from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., to earn a living and then retreat to wherever it is that they call home.

They do not raise their children here; they do not experience laundry rooms that are dirty and laundry machines that don’t work; they do not have to live next to apartments overstuffed with students or recent graduates, many of whom (not all) think they are still living in a fraternity or sorority house, or next to apartments that are illegal hotels; and they do not have to experience in front of their homes a constant stream of events, particularly loud concerts or Sunday 8 a.m. Farmers’ Market wake-ups, that pierce calm of what was once a quiet oasis in the city.

If the general managers, like most of their pre Insignia predecessors, lived here, were our neighbors and part of the community instead of just representatives of the landlord, perhaps things would be different.

Perhaps the focus would be on quality of life issues and not marketing efforts that are thinly disguised as amenities and perhaps security would not wait four years before enforcing the rules. Perhaps Mr. Sullivan will be different.

I wish him well, hope he is successful in his endeavors and invite him to consider taking up residence in and becoming an integral part of the community.

James Roth, PCV

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Letters to the Editor, July 6

Thank you, Al Doyle

As a City Council member, I have had the privilege of working with tenant associations across my district, from 14th to 97th Streets.  Of course, I have had a special relationship with the Stuyvesant Town Peter Cooper Tenants Association (TA). This is not only because I have lived in this community my whole life, but also because of the dedication, foresight and energy of the TA, particularly its president, Al Doyle.
Al first became president of the TA more than two decades ago.  In that time, he led a community of approximately 25,000 New Yorkers through mostly periods of calm, but more recently, a fair amount of volatility and uncertainty. Most people probably become president of their TA expecting to add their voice to quality of life issues and negotiations with management.

Indeed, Al Doyle was a specialist in those issues – from MCIs to more basic tenant concerns – for years under MetLife’s benevolent ownership.

When news broke that MetLife had put the property up for sale, the response could easily had been chaotic and unorganized.  Instead, under Al’s leadership, the community rallied together, organizing a multi-billion dollar tenant-backed bid to buy the property and to preserve our long-term stability and affordability.

And when Tishman Speyer came in, Al fought tirelessly against unscrupulous practices by management to drive out long-time, perfectly legitimate rent-stabilized neighbors.

Throughout years of uncertainty, Al has maintained a calm sense of order. This is no small feat.

Never deterred, Al and his committed colleagues on the TA have organized our community once again in support of their partnership with Brookfield Asset Management. Again, they seek to defend the character of this community into the future. In fact, a recent JP Morgan report acknowledged that the TA/Brookfield partnership was in a very strong position to be successful.

On behalf of all of my neighbors in ST/PCV, and rent-stabilized tenants across the city, we owe Al a debt of gratitude for his years as president of the TA. He has been a tireless advocate for affordable housing, and has helped to set new standards for how rent-stabilized tenants can take control of their own destiny.

And on a personal note, Al has been a close friend and advisor to me. I first met Al at the old Jefferson Democratic Club headquarters, next to Ess-a-Bagel, when I was in high school. Over more than 20 years, I have always looked to him for his insights, and particularly his judgment, when it comes to difficult issues affecting Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper.

I pride myself in knowing our neighborhood backwards and forwards, but I’ve got nothing on Al Doyle.
He is a pleasure to work with, and a model for how any leader should act: He is calm, thoughtful, and approaches decisions without haste.

I will miss Al Doyle’s leadership, though I am comforted by the fact that he is staying on as a member of the board of directors. We are in very capable hands with John Marsh as the new president and Susan
Steinberg as the chair – two people with a deep commitment to Peter Cooper and Stuyvesant Town – and they stand ready to defend the interests of their neighbors.

Al, thank you. Please know that I am here to assist you and the new officers in any way I can.

Dan Garodnick, PCV
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Security cracking down on dog policies

A couple of pooches make themselves at home on a Stuy Town bench on a recent greenmarket Sunday.
Photo by Jonathan Wells

Who let the dogs in?

Not the public safety officers in Stuyvesant Town, at least not for the past month, according to ST/PCV Security Chief Bill McClellan.

A number of local dog owners, both resident and non-resident, noted they’ve been getting stopped lately with officers asking if they’re residents of the property and if their pooches are registered. If they’re non-residents, they may have been asked to leave.

According to McClellan, the rules about no outside dogs have always been there, but they’re just now beginning to be enforced.

While ST/PCV is private property, there has always been public access, making the place a natural destination for dog owners. One dog owner however told T&V she thought the new rule was unfair because it cuts off access to the East River if one is with their dog.

McClellan however said the rules are here to stay and part of the reason people are being stopped is to let residents know that they need to get their pets registered. Once pets are registered, the owners are given information about the related policies, including a 50-pound weight limit. Under Tishman Speyer, the policy allowed for one or two dogs with a weight limit of 80 pounds.

“It’s been four years since this dog policy, and we’re trying to keep the property for the enjoyment of our residents and not just people walking through,” said McClellan.

 Sabina Mollot