Op-Ed: Greco has no attachments to big businesses

The following op-ed was submitted by Chelsea resident Russell Orenstein, a friend of Tom Greco, who’s one of three Democratic candidates for Tom Duane’s seat in the State Senate.

There is a discernible difference between the candidates running in this year’s election for the newly drawn 27th State Senate District in Manhattan.

Tom Greco, a business owner and community activist from Hell’s Kitchen, is the best choice. The record of Greco’s opponent, Brad Hoylman, is dubious at best. Sure, he is the hand-picked selection of the Democratic establishment in Manhattan. But in times like these we deserve something more in who represents us than the result of political deal making and pre-determined coronations. After all, this is Manhattan and we are New Yorkers. As voters, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard of what we expect from our elected leaders, and owe it to ourselves to do the necessary research in finding out who the candidates really are, their records and what they truly stand for.

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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 30

Bed bug situation is being addressed

Re: “Residents reeling from bedbug ‘incompetence,’” T&V, Aug. 23

I am the person who led the 280 First Avenue bedbug meeting at the Community Center. I would like to clear up a few inaccuracies in last week’s article about it.

We have had at least six known (to us) bedbug infestations in the past few years, not six currently active bed bug infestations. There are two currently active infestations that are undergoing abatement.

There is a bed bug epidemic in NYC, so the fact that we have had a number of infestations over the past few years is not necessarily cause for alarm.

Our cause for alarm was the discovery that three of these infestations took place one after the other in adjacent apartments. Let’s call the infested apartments 14x, 14y, and 13y to protect people’s privacy.
These three infestations began this past April after apartment 14x tested positive for bed bugs and underwent a successful abatement.

Then in June, after getting numerous bites, the tenant in the apartment directly next door, apartment 14y, called management to schedule a bed bug test. 14y also tested positive for bedbugs and underwent abatement. During the course of abatement in that apartment, the apartment directly below, 13y, became infested and is still, to my knowledge, undergoing abatement.

That suggested to us that management’s pest control team might not have our situation under control. So the purpose of our meeting was twofold: to educate our neighbors about bedbugs and to discuss how we might find a way to work together with management to develop a comprehensive building-wide plan to rid 280 of bed bugs now, and to better contain any infestations in the future.

There is another active infestation (unrelated) undergoing abatement in a lower level apartment on a different line.


Name withheld, ST

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Shot dog has eye removed

Star, post-surgery, in a photo from NYC Animal Care & Control

By Sabina Mollot

Star, the pit bull who was shot by a police officer, has had her left eye removed, NYC Animal Care & Control said on Wednesday evening.

“She had surgery earlier this week to remove her left eye, which had not improved in recent days,” AC&C spokesperson Richard Gentles said. “Vets also removed some metallic fragments lodged in and around that area. Star had suffered soft tissue, bone, head trauma, and eye damage as a result of her wounds. She suffered a significant degree of hearing loss, but her hearing is coming back and the vision in her right eye also seems to be improving. She is able to walk, play with toys, and eat on her own. She’ll be transferred to the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, an AC&C New Hope partner, tomorrow.”

He added, “We are very grateful for all for the outpouring of support for Star.”

Six days ago, Gentles told Town & Village that she was showing signs of improvement.

The canine patient “continues to recover and receive excellent medical care,” he said. “She’s eating and moving around more.”

As for whether or not the injured pooch was expected to make a full recovery was too soon to say, said Gentles, since Star still had a lot of swelling in her face.

The shooting occurred on August 13, when a police officer attempted to wake Star’s owner Lech Stankiewicz, who reportedly had a seizure on the sidewalk outside a KFC restaurant on East 14th Street. The cop shot Star after she growled and became aggressive in an attempt to protect her owner. 

Op-Ed: Preserving ST/PCV housing legacy

By Brad Hoylman
Democratic Candidate for State Senate

One of the pleasures in running for the State Senate to succeed Tom Duane has been the richness and variety of the conversations I’ve had with hundreds of voters. Just the other day, I was at a senior center and struck up a conversation with a WWII veteran and his wife. He had flown bombers over the English Channel before making his way to New York and getting married. Over 65 years ago, he and his wife were among the first residents of Peter Cooper Village.

This couple is like so many other middle class New Yorkers who have made Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village their home. They’ve raised their kids here and sent them to local public schools. Many of them have been leaders in the community — whether on the PTA, Community Board 6, the 13th Precinct Community Council or the Tenants Association. In just over 65 years, they’ve built a strong, cohesive neighborhood that is both unique and admirable.

Indeed, the work of these pioneers made ST/PCV a model of affordable housing for New York and the entire country. But since the disastrous Tishman Speyer takeover in 2006, the status of the community and its 25,000+ tenants has been in severe jeopardy. The question facing candidates for public office like me is profound: How do we save Stuy Town and Peter Cooper for the middle class?
Last week, with the support of Council member Dan Garodnick, I released my ST/PCV agenda to help answer this question. In it, I laid out my vision for the future of ST/PCV, and what I will do as a State Senator to fight for that future.

Stuy Town/PCV must remain affordable, middle-class housing for every resident, whether through home ownership or permanent rent protections. We need to set aside adequate funds to properly maintain the property. And we must preserve the historical configuration of the property, including all of its open spaces.

The ST/PCV Tenants Association has been hard at work developing a solid plan with a reputable partner that respects these guiding principles, and as a State Senator I will lend my voice and influence to their cause. In the meantime, quality of life should not suffer even in the absence of a deal, so I will fight to ensure that CW Capital and Rose Associates fulfill their responsibilities to maintain the property, and that they stop block rentals to students.

We must fight to prevent exploitation by landlords all over the district.
Currently, “vacancy decontrol” provisions give perverse incentives for baseless evictions, and the “personal use” loophole allows landlords to clear out rent regulated apartments.

The Urstadt Law leaves New York City unable to put in place any tenant protections that are stronger than the state’s. As a result, our tenants are at the mercy of upstate Republicans. This must stop.
I will also fight to expand the tenant protections that are already in place. For example, Governor Cuomo has established a Tenant Protection Unit (TPU) to proactively enforce landlord obligations and impose strict penalties for failure to comply with HCR orders and New York’s rent laws. But the TPU is severely under funded, with a backlog of tenant complaints that is more than a year-long. I will fight to provide the TPU with the resources it needs to modernize the State’s housing database, making it easier to determine the rent history of apartments, detect fraud among landlords and shorten the waiting time to deal with tenant complaints.

We also need to fix SCRIE and DRIE. The Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption Program (SCRIE) and the Disabled Rent Increase Exemption Program (DRIE) offer rent freezes to low- income seniors and differently-abled people, respectively. I will work tirelessly to expand these important housing programs.

The Democratic Primary is on Thursday, September 13h. I hope you’ll give me the chance to be your voice in Albany.

Letters to the Editor, Aug. 23

Time for the many to show they give a frack

To the Editor and Neighbors,
Our Governor Andrew Cuomo, according to various news reports, is expected to allow the gas companies to soon begin “fracking” in New York’s southern tier. Many more citizens of New York, through films like Josh Fox’s “Gasland,” have learned that when Halliburton and the other gas companies were successful in exempting this new technology from the Clean Water and Clean Air Act in 2005, the unnamed toxic chemicals mixed with sand, and millions of gallons of drinking water used to extract the gas was poisoning the people and animals that drank it.
Many scientists believe, through examining present conditions and the history of climate change, that we are now in danger of reaching a climate “tipping point” from which there is no going back, not only for our generation, but for generations to come.
As a non-governmental representative for an international women’s organization, I am working with other NGOs to urge the governments of the world to put into place policies for “sustainable development.” I think that by now, Republicans, Democrats and Independent voters realize that our political and economic system has been taken over by national and multi-national corporations who wield their influence for the few at the expense of the many. We are witnessing in our time the mindless destruction of the environment and extinction of species. Population is booming and earth’s resources of clean water are at crisis stage. What can we do as citizens who love our country and refuse to let it continue on its way of enriching the 1% in the short term and ignoring the needs of the poor and middle classes that include the elderly, children, the ill, and the disenfranchised?
What is needed is for local citizens like us to speak out, not only with our voices, but also with our actions. We need to tell Governor Cuomo right now that we don’t want to jeopardize the water for 9 million New Yorkers even though some landowners will lose out. We need to work for renewable energy in New York State and to train out-of-work men and women and struggling farmers in jobs that are needed and have a future.  It is up to our generation to pass on to our children and future generations a world where human needs are met without bankrupting the planet.  It’s a David and Goliath challenge right here in New York State.  I believe that New Yorkers are up to meeting the challenge.  If you agree, please call the governor at (518) 474-8390 and ask him to ban fracking in our state.  No names are asked for, only your zip code.  Go to Google and type in “fracking” to learn more about it and what groups are doing that you might want to participate in and support.  It’s helpful to remember the wisdom of Margaret Mead when she said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Joy Garland, ST

Little League investigation off pitch

Your August 16 article “Little League to be investigated” clearly indicates how ridiculous grown men can become.
For instance, a Riverdale press reporter “interviewed a few Kingsbridge players.”
Because of this “F.B.I.-type interrogation,” without legal written proof, Kingsbridge president Chris Navarro is charged with having “ringers” by the president of the Downtown Little League Bill Martino, who “was unaware of that rule” about “extra practice time for his players.”
Unaware, Martino apparently organized tournament activities before June 16, which is not allowed.
This investigation ain’t going nowhere.
When I was involved in Stuy Town Little League, the minor leagues, below 12 years old, pitched from 40 feet to home plate. Guess what? The pitching distance was 43 feet. The layout was in error. I demanded that this be corrected. And the Stuy Town Little League president at the time stated, “three extra feet is no big deal.”
I wrote a certified letter to the president of the Little League and, lo and behold, heads rolled!
Nolan Ryan would have gone bonkers if he had to pitch from 63 feet, 6 inches instead of 60 feet, 6 inches.
Louis Buffalano, ST


Weekend Street Closures

Streets will be closed this Saturday from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. for the last weekend of Summer Street activities. Fourth Avenue between Lafayette Street and East 15th Street will be closed to traffic, in addition to Union Square East between 15th Street and 17th Street and Park Avenue South between 17th Street and 32nd Street. There will be rest stops available at these locations that will offer various activities, including free bike rentals, a zip line, rock climbing walls, water stations and free rollerblade rentals. Visit the website for a full list of activities and a map of the route.

Letters to the Editor, Aug. 16

Chick-fil-A cartoon inappropriate

I’m reading the August 9 Town & Village and I find your cartoon exceedingly obnoxious, insulting and unfair about Chick-fil-A.

Just because the owner of this place has a religious view that doesn’t support homosexuality, typically (gay) people have been all over the company. It is against the law to not hire anybody and god forbid he didn’t follow the law, he would really deserve criticism. Why is a Christian criticized for having Christian views? I have no religious views so for me this isn’t about my religion. My criticism is about freedom of speech.

If you’re going to criticize somebody, people in the Orthodox Jewish community would excommunicate or shun or expel any member of their community who is homosexual. Muslims murder homosexuals. Not only do they not have homosexual marriage in the Muslim world, they’re killed before they get a chance. But I don’t hear any of this nonsense.

People have a right in this country to say what they like. If you don’t agree, it is your right to disagree with it with facts and figures, not your own personal hatred and stupidity.

Joseph Moskowitz, ST

I found the Chick-fil-A cartoon included in your August 9th issue to be out of place in T&V, a neighborhood newspaper that doesn’t typically take a stand on broader social and political issues.

If the editors do want to take a stand on an issue, fine, but then take the time and professionalism to write an op-ed piece explaining your view and why you take the stand that you do.

Your inclusion of the cartoon was a cheap shot and shows a disregard for the beliefs and opinions of others with whom you may not agree.

Mr. Cathy had and has every right to express his belief regarding same-sex marriage. His chain of restaurants does not condemn or deny service to anyone and he has made that clear in his statements.


Amy De Rosa, PCV

Editor’s note: In our view, it isn’t unfair and is in fact pretty traditional for newspapers, including community newspapers, to run cartoons on a variety of political and social issues.

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Impark out, Quik Park in

After five years of managing Stuyvesant Town’s six garages, residents have recently learned via letter that the company Impark will no longer be doing so. Additionally, Impark is already in the process of transferring information about its roughly 1,900 parkers who pay by the month to the company coming in, Quik Park, a spokesperson for Impark said.

The spokesperson, Julian Jones, said the reason the company is leaving is that its contract expired on May 31, and after that Rose Associates put the project up for bid.

“Quik Park was successful in that bidding process, unfortunately for us,” said Jones. “We’ve really enjoyed working in Stuyvesant Town. The tenants have been great to deal with. Right now we’re working with the new parking managers to make sure things go as smoothly as possible in this transition.”

What will change is that customers who choose to pay online with a credit card via Impark’s online account system will obviously have to switch to whatever system Quik Park uses.

Quik Park and CWCapital have not yet gotten back to us on whether the current parking rates will remain the same. On its website, Quik Park says it offers parking discounts and coupons.


Weekend Street Closures

Streets will be closed on Saturday from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. for the second weekend of Summer Street activities. Union Square East between 15th Street and 17th Street and Park Avenue South between 17th Street and 32nd Street will be closed to traffic and there will be rest stops available at these locations that will offer various activities, including free bike rentals, free bike repair, rock climbing walls, water stations and free rollerblade rentals. Visit the website to see a map of the route and a full list of the activities offered.

Third Avenue between East 23rd Street and East 34th Street will be closed from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. for the Church of the Good Shepherd and Gustavos Adolphus Lutheran Church Fair.

Letters to the Editor, Aug. 9

No place for a dog run

According to the article, “Dog owners bite back” (T&V, July 26), Stuyvesant Town tenant Bill Oddo wants a designated dog area – better known as a dog run – located on the property so that his dog and the other dogs living here can have a place to exercise.

Anyone who’s ever seen a dog run knows how noisy they can be given the natural – and inevitable – barking, howling and yelping of dogs as they play and frolic.

Ironically, Mr. Oddo was a major driving force spearheading the protest against the ice skating rink in Stuyvesant Town this past winter because he was concerned – and understandably so – about the noise the rink would generate since it was located next to the building he lives in. So, the noise from the ice skating rink disturbing nearby tenants was a cause for much concern, but the noise from a dog run disturbing nearby tenants is not?

Having a dog run in either Stuyvesant Town or Peter Cooper Village is simply not realistic or appropriate since there is no area in which to locate it where the tenants of the nearby buildings would not be adversely affected by its presence. Given the fact that every apartment here is allowed to have two dogs, if just a small percentage of the 11,000+ apartments had even one dog – let alone two – and brought it to a dog run located on the property the noise created would be unbearable. In fact, the way that sound carries around here, it would only take a very few barking, howling and yelping dogs to disrupt the quiet enjoyment of their homes that tenants are entitled to by law.

Dog owners living in ST/PCV, please be respectful, considerate neighbors and exercise your dogs in one of the nearby, legal dog runs located in Stuyvesant Square Park and Tompkins Square Park that are situated in areas where the noise and activity won’t bother anyone. Yes, it means that you have to exert yourselves somewhat, but that’s the price that people everywhere all over the city pay to provide exercise for their dogs and not disturb their neighbors. Hopefully, you think your dog is worth the effort.

A. Miller, ST

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The Soapbox: What about positive effects of dogs?

This column was submitted by Randi Sinel of Styuyvesant Town re: “Barking mad about doggie toilets,” Letter, T&V, July 6

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 First and counted at least five 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 dog owners. What? Other people shouldn’t 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. Continue reading

Op-Ed: Why dog rules were stepped up

By Sean Sullivan
General Manager, PCVST

Since I became general manager of Peter Cooper Village-Stuyvesant Town in May, it has been a great pleasure getting to know the people of this community, and hearing ideas and concerns about ways to make PCVST equally enjoyable for everyone.  One area of discussion that arouses particularly strong passion is our policy regarding dogs.  While we certainly welcome dog owners and recognize how appealing the PCVST campus is for dog walking, we’ve also heard strong feedback from residents who felt that there was a lack of clarity about where dogs can or can’t walk, and that dog owners weren’t always following — or aware of — rules that have been established to maintain peace, safety and public health.

After careful consideration, PCVST management decided to launch an initiative to step up enforcement of our dog policy.  These are designed to enable PCVST public safety staff to better enforce its existing dog policy as part of an ongoing effort to improve quality of life standards for the PCVST community.

Pets were first allowed on the property in 2008 and were originally restricted to a maximum weight of 80 pounds.  In May of this year, PCVST management reduced the size limit from 80 lbs. to 50 lbs. in response to concerns from residents.

Those who registered dogs weighing over 50 lbs. prior to May 2012 are exempt from the 50 lb. restriction, and receive special registration tags that indicate this distinction. Public safety officers will issue notices to PCVST residents and others who violate dog policies. Those who repeatedly receive written quality of life violations will face legal action up to and including lease termination.  Non-residents walking dogs on the property will be asked to leave immediately.

Our goal is always to ensure that PCVST is a safe, clean environment for everyone who lives here.  This requires both the cooperation of residents in treating their neighbors with courtesy, and the support of management in making sure that there are consequences for failing to abide by our community standards.

While most of our dog owners follow the rules and are respectful, we do receive complaints about dog owners who violate the rules.  This new system is designed to create an enhanced level of accountability for dog owners and give us improved documentation, which will enable us to take action when necessary.

Since launching this initiative, PCVST management has been very pleased, both with resident cooperation and with the positive feedback we have received.

National Night Out Against Crime

On Tuesday, August 7 from 5-8 p.m., 13th Precinct Office of Community Affairs and the 13th Precinct Community Council present National Night Out Against Crime, an annual event geared towards bringing the community together with members of local law enforcement and other agencies.

The event is also usually a block party-type gathering with tables occupied by members of local organizations and medical/health venues.

As always, there will be children’s entertainment and free food and drinks for all guests at the M.S. 104 Playground (20th Street and Second Avenue.)