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

Behind the scene at Stuyvesant Cove Park

Dear Editor and Steve Sanders,

I was casually reading the June 7 issue of our local Town & Village paper when your column caught my attention.  How grateful I am to you not only for your support for Stuyvesant Cove from the beginning, but for now reminding our old and new neighbors that the park came after a David and Goliath struggle through the efforts of a community united with the political leaders of both parties working toward a common goal.

At the Wednesday Community Board meeting, I gave each of the members of the Stuy Cove Park Association a copy of the paper and I will send the article to those members who weren’t there.  Their work is behind the scenes and it was very kind of you to recognize them (and me) publicly.  When Solar 2 finally gets built, I would like to find a way to memorialize those who led the fight, but are no longer with us – Steve Rosen, Sandi Simmons, Margaret Lawrence, Helen Collins, and Eileen Fox, as well as those civic leaders who found the financing to make the park possible.

I hope that as a result of your article more people will discover the beauty and healing powers of nature that the park offers and treat themselves to the summer programs planned by Solar 1 and the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association.

I wish you a happy summer and many blessings.

Joy Garland, ST

Barking mad about doggie toilets

I have lived in Stuyvesant Town for over 45 years and love this oasis from the Manhattan concrete grind.
The grass, plants and trees afford us a connection to nature few Manhattanites enjoy. My three children had the opportunity to run in the grass and see flowers bloom.

Now my grandchildren have to be warned to avoid the lawns and planted areas since they have become the province of dog owners who allow their dogs to urinate and defecate in these areas.

As a youngster living in Manhattan, before I moved to Stuyvesant Town, I had several dogs. I knew to curb my dog and to use a pooper scooper.

Many dog owners ignore these procedures.  Security appears to tolerate this behavior. I believe that as residents we have an obligation to remind those who violate these rules that this is unacceptable.

I have expressed my displeasure to many dog owners who walk their dogs in the grass and plants and would suggest that other like-minded residents join me in protesting.

Management could help by posting more “No Dogs” signs on planted areas.

Victor La Place, ST

Editor’s note: Since the writing of this letter, ST/PCV security officers have stepped up enforcement of certain dog policies.

2 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor, July 6

  1. I don’t think Stuyvesant Town is an oasis from the manhattan concrete grind anymore. It certainly used to be. Now the Oval is a 3-ring circus with more and more commercial enterprises popping up; the buildings are filthy; the recycling areas are overflowing with garbage, flies, roaches and mice and the laundry rooms are dirtier than the Ganges. Letting dogs use the grounds as their toilet is quite in keeping with the standards that Tishman Speyer started and Rose Associates continues.

    • Excuse me for not having specific numbers, but I believe there are more than 20+ playgrounds designed for children to play in. The number of no-dog areas has grown exponentially – I just walked my dog in the courtyard at 20th and 1st and counted at least 5 no-dog areas. There is one particularly beautiful, fenced-off, grassy area that is larger than the size of all of the other grassy areas in the courtyard combined. It amazes me that dog-hating tenants refuse to simply take advantage of the tremendous number of ST land that has been put aside solely for their use, but instead, choose to focus on the areas not dedicated to them but shared with the now thousands of dog owners. What? Other people should be happy too?

      In case you did not know, there is not one solitary piece of land in ST/PCV that would protect us (dog owners) from the venom spewed on us by the miserable minority. And the overwhelming majority of dog owning tenants follow the rules and are equally upset (and quite vocal) with dog owners who do not.

      And you may not believe this, but the majority of tenants without dogs, even those who had lived here for a long-time before the new pet policy, feel that the neighborhood is better off now. Seriously, I’ve discussed it with many. It is astounding how many more people stop to say hello/pet, keep walking but say something nice, smile or laugh and even smile while looking down or straight ahead in that big city way when you have a dog by your side. And I invite those of you who do not believe me (and I am SURE there will be many) to join me on a walk to count the numbers of the positive versus non-positive (giving you the benefit of the doubt with the use of non-positive instead of negative) people interactions throughout. Or, why don’t you simply walk around town yourself and count the number of people who, without solicitation, stop to talk to you or say hello or even smile? Or even try walking around and exhuberantly saying hello to fellow residents you don’t know and see how many strange looks you get versus happy or even more exhuberant responses!

      A new dog owner who lives in the building next to me tells the story of living here for four years prior to becoming such and having barely been acknowledged by any fellow residents before (let us leave out elevator or door-holding niceties, shall we? Or leave them in and simply compare the landslide loss in comparing to interactions with the dog). It is the same with all of us. Many of the older people so appreciate the opportunity to interact with the dogs (and their owners). Many say that they can’t take care of their own, but they feel the neighborhood has become a much friendlier place.

      And while security has had their problems since the dog policy has changed, long-time employees acknowledge that the neighborhood is tangibly more friendly and positive for most residents since. And, that the majority of headaches could have been avoided had there been clear policies and rules instituted from the very beginning, and have been now that they are.

      Finally, as with anything else, instead of simply complaining and seeing and wanting a one-sided, only my opinions and needs should be considered solution, why don’t you try to see other points of view? Why don’t you support creating a small number of designated dog-friendly areas on the property to go along with the enormous number of already existing, dog-forbidden areas? There are so many different ways that these can be in place quickly, cheaply, well-run and even fully-staffed with an actual profit. Clearly, dog owners go above and beyond to make their dogs happy – pet spending constitutes $55 billion (yes, that’s BILLION!) in retail sales a year – and resident owners would prefer to have their dogs in a positive environment but currently get zero support from property management. Clearly, there are and will be rule-breakers in any and all circumstances, but there is no other population that is so targeted for negativity in this community. Have there been injuries caused by larger breeds? No. But many have been banned and weight limits are being lowered. Why? But you have you heard about bicycle/pedestrial accidents? Yes! Close calls with scooters? I know I’ve seen many. I’ve got to move on – the negativity is killing me.

      The truth is that people who don’t like dogs have more time and energy to complain and campaign for their cause. If you take the time to research my claims you will find that dog-lovers have more social-interactions, larger families, enjoy more time pursuing hobbies, do more charity work, contribute higher percentages of income to charities, have more disposable income, are more physically active and healthy in general and have a happier outlook on life. And that is the reason that I do not have the time or want to expend my energy, countering the negativity pursued by those who have the extra time and energy because they have limited amounts of the above.

      So even though the productive step would be for the unhappy to pursue win-win solutions, I fully expect the responses to my comments to be overwhelmingly negative… all of the happy people are too busy enjoying the beautiful day and enjoying life!

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