Upcoming Events

Town & Village has compiled a list of events that we believe are of interest to the community, from health fairs to community board meetings. See T&V’s blog for arts and entertainment listings, local health workshops and events at local houses of worship.

Art in Odd Places begins on Oct. 5 along 14th Street

September 29
Stuy Town Yoga
Stuyvesant Town is celebrating National Yoga Month with free outdoor classes on Sat., Sept. 29. Sun Salutation with Erin will be at 9:15 a.m. Power yoga with Chintamani will be at 10:15 a.m. Yoga master class with Justin will be at 11:15 a.m. Classes are free to all residents and will be held in Playground 10.
National Prescription Pill Take Back Day
Precincts throughout the city will be participating in National Prescription Pill Take Back Day on Sat., Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Additional information about the event is available by calling 311. Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents can bring their unused prescription pills and medication to the 13th Precinct at 230 East 21st Street.

October 1
CB6: Public Safety, Environment & Transportation meeting
There will be a Community Board 6 meeting about the sanitation garage proposed for East 25th Street and First Avenue. The meeting will be on Mon., Oct. 1 at the NYU Medical Center, 550 First Avenue, Coles 109 at 7 p.m. and will include a presentation from Daniel Klein, the director of the Department of Sanitation Office of Real Estate. Edward Janoff of the Department of Transportation will also be at the meeting to provide updates on Kips Bay Plaza.

October 2
CB6: Parks, Landmarks & Cultural Affairs meeting
Community Board 6 will be hosting a meeting about the new Asser Levy playground and about crime reporting in public parks on Tues., Oct. 2 at the NYU Medical Center, 550 First Avenue, Coles 101 at 7 p.m.

October 4
Senior Resource Fair
Senator Liz Krueger will be hosting the 6th annual Senior Resource Fair on Thurs., Oct. 4 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Temple Emanu-El, 1 East 65th Street at Fifth Avenue. Various exhibitors will be available to provide information to older adults about food stamps, health care, senior centers, social security, technology, legal services and other issues. Lenox Hill Hospital will be on site to offer blood pressure testing and NY Legal Assistance Group will offer help with health care proxies and living wills.

October 5
Art In Odd Places
Art In Odd Places is an annual art festival that takes place along 14th Street from Avenue C to the Hudson River. This year the festival will be from Oct. 5 to Oct. 15 and will feature poetry, performance, site-specific installations, videos, painting, sculpture, drawing, illustration, street art, mobile studios, design and music.

October 6
Roller Hockey Tournament
The annual roller hockey tournament will be held on Sat., Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. in Playground 7. The event will be open to residents 21 years old and up.
Paddle Tennis Doubles Tournament
The annual paddle tennis doubles tournament will be in Playground 5 on the weekend of Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The tournament is open to residents age 16 and older.
Worldwide Day of Play
Stuyvesant Town will be hosting a Worldwide Day of Play for residents on Sat., Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. on the Oval. All residents ages 5 to 11 will be able to participate in games, field events and Zumba.
Zumba
There will be a Zumba class on Sat., Oct. 6 from 12 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. at Oval Fitness. This class is free to all residents on this day only and attending will earn a point for Maintain Don’t Gain.
Outdoor Sports Screening: MLB Division Series
Residents will be able to watch the 2012 MLB Division Series Playoff on Sat., Oct. 6 from 1 to 7 p.m. on the Oval. The event is free for all residents and their guests.

October 13
Bocce Tournament
Playground PCV 1 will be hosting a singles and doubles bocce tournament on Sat., Oct. 13 at 10 a.m. The event is open to residents 16 years old and up.
Thriller Dance
Stuyvesant Town residents will be able to learn the choreography to Michael Jackson’s iconic Thriller music video at Oval Fitness on Sat., Oct. 13 from 2 to 3 p.m. This event is free for all residents.

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Dogs take a bow (wow) at GNA parade

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By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday afternoon, the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, Inc. held its annual Canine Comedy Parade, an event at which every dog is guaranteed to have its day — or at least a few minutes of fame on a hydrant-lined red carpet.

As always, area residents showed up with their four-legged friends, many of them in costume, and competed for gift certificates from Gramercy pet supply shop Canis Minor as well as ribbons.

Unlike most dog shows, the GNA’s 25-year-old affair is always a low-key one; $5 gets pooches a chance to compete for titles such as “Most Likely to Eat Your Dinner When You’re Not Looking” and “Most Likely to be Mistaken for a Dustbunny.”

What pedigree a dog has isn’t important, and the event, held on the street on Gramercy Park West, has been

billed as the “anti-Westminster.” Outfits for the contestants are optional, but this year a theme seemed to be sports; several dogs came in jerseys of their owners’ team of choice, while other costumes included a devil, a fairy and a yenta.

Ultimately, the title of “Best in Show” and a $50 gift certificate from Canis Minor went to Comet, a poodle pinscher dressed up as a hot dog.

“Last year he won ‘Best Upcoming Supermodel,’ even though he’s male,” explained Linda Phillips, his owner.

Runners up and winners of $25 gift certificates were Cody, a bijon dressed up as a dragon and Coco, a poodle-bijon in fairy wings.

Diminutive Coco, owned by Ruby Serafin and Juliette Knight, also won the title “Most Likely to be Mistaken for a Dustbunny.” According to Serafin, attending the parade is something of a tradition for her family.

“I’m not sure how many times we’ve come,” she said. “We used to come all the time when we had another dog.”

As for the other runner-up, unlike the rest of the dogs, which came from either Gramercy or Stuy Town, Cody came all the way from Queens with owners Rita and Mike Horowitz. The couple lives in Queens but heard about the event online and figured they’d check it out.

Cody appeared to be excited about the event and the chance for photo ops, but then again it could have been due to all the eggs (his treat of choice) that Rita had given him.

“If you give this dog eggs, he’ll do whatever you want,” she said. “And we have plenty in the house from the Jewish holidays.”

Along with the prize-winners, all dogs went home with ribbons that seemed to make their owners happy.

Molly, the only pit bull to enter, won a ribbon for “Most Likely to Blog About the Award.”

Hal Cohen, her owner, noted that last year she was honored as “Pit Bull Ambassador of the Year” and he and Molly were parade regulars.

As for her costume this year, a pink kerchief worn over her head, transforming her into “Yenta Dog,” it wasn’t even planned. Molly had apparently had a pink kerchief around her neck after leaving the groomer’s, and didn’t seem to mind it was there, so Cohen left it on.

He added that he hoped Molly would get less harsh words from passersby as a yenta than when Cohen dresses her up in a Mets jersey.

“Yankee fans hate on my dog, but she doesn’t know it’s a Mets banner. She’s a dog,” he said.

Passion about sports seemed to be in the air though.Bauer, a shih tzu in a Michigan Jersey, won the “I Still Hate Woody Hayes” award.

Exhibitors at the event were from local pet-related businesses and organizations such as Wiggly Pups dog spa, Hope’s Hand Knits, Bideawee and Cauz for Pawz thrift shop.

Alan Krevis, president of the GNA, said the event has gotten better over the years with little changes such as including the vendors and the addition of the red carpet.

This year’s “was a great day. Everybody had a good time and by the turnout is something the neighborhood enjoys,” he said.

Letters to the editor, Sept. 27

Why management should bring back ST flea

Dear Editor:
As StuyTown and Peter Cooper have a new manager,  I say “Welcome.”
I’ve noticed that at all of  the functions sponsored by them, there are quite a lot of friends present who are not residents. I also know that there are lots of apartments occupied by noisy NYU students and not long-term tenants.
I have an idea that will solve this dilemma: Bring back the wildly popular flea market! This two-day event brought everybody outside, especially friends of tenants!  Even my cousin from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (over 90 minutes away by train on any weekend day) brought two friends for a full day of browsing, shopping and  fun.  It was a big event for both kids and adults. I’m sure that prospective tenants showed up,  too. What a wonderful way to introduce a new  group to living here!
Flea markets  of this type are not “low brow” events and do not attract undesirables. It was a stabilizing occasion, one that so many of us miss, my family included.
Yours,

Susan Schoenbaum, ST
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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 20

Conservative thoughts

Two items have outstripped inflation during the past decades: medical care and education. Why?

One obvious reason for increased costs of medicine is good: new understandings, treatments and technologies (some scanning devices cost in excess of $1M). But why does every “first rate” hospital have to own one? They could be shared. Prestige costs excessive money.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, my family saw a physician whose fee was $3 per office visit and a house call (really!) was $5. Now with inflation a consultation is at least $100 and house calls are hardly even remembered.

Then every patient knew what he/she was paying. With the advent of insurance and government entitlements, few know what’s being charged. (And, don’t care.) So, that has made many physicians increase fees as a result of avarice.

Education: in 1973, when I began graduate school at Columbia, my aunt who had attended during the 1940’s. She asked me how much I paid for tuition. “$96.” She was shocked and told me that she had paid $10. This is a pattern which envelopes almost all universities – college and graduate school. Now Columbia, the other Ivy League schools and even the overrated NYU, charge over $1,200 per credit.

Why? Certainly Columbia has an endowment of about a zillion dollars. The cost exists because they can and students keep on applying. Loans have to be taken by many students.

Public primary and secondary education keep on receiving more monies – yet the result is that today’s undergraduates are being exposed to yesterday’s high school curriculum.

For medical care and education to be effective, the free market should be used: be sure to let patients know what is being paid per visit and procedure. (The higher the fee, the more insurance has to be paid.) And universities must be made more demanding in curriculum and far more competitive in their fees – so that post graduates are not burdened for practically the remainder of their lives.

Some on the right speak of “European socialism.” Well, some unworkable and ineffective form is what’s going on here.

David Chowes, PCV

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High voter turnout at Democratic Primaries, voters choose Hoylman, Mella and Kavanagh

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Brad Hoylman

Voters in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village had three decisions on their ballots for the Democratic Primaries yesterday: the spot for Tom Duane’s Senate seat, Surrogate’s Court judge for Manhattan and the seat for the Assembly, 74th District.

Brad Hoylman, a Greenwich Village resident, came out on top in the State Senate race with 67.4 percent of the vote. Opponents Tom Greco received 23.9 percent of the vote and Tanika Inlaw received 8.7 percent.

Rita Mella

Rita Mella, a Stuyvesant Town resident, won the primary with 59.7 percent of the vote over Barbara Jaffe’s 40.3 percent for the Surrogate’s Court judge position, and incumbent Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh won with 63 percent. Challenger Juan Pagan received 37 percent of the vote.

The polls at the Asser Levy Recreation Center were quiet with only about 10 percent of registered voters coming by 4 p.m., according to voting coordinator and Peter Cooper Village resident Kathleen Kalmes, but many of the other sites for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents reported being busier than usual, especially for a primary election.

“Primaries usually have a small turnout because I think some people might feel like there’s no point since this is a Democratic area in general,” said the site coordinator at 272 First Avenue who didn’t want to be named. “But this has been a busy day, especially compared to the Republican Primary a few months ago.”

Brian Kavanagh

Clarieel Reyes, who was working the polls at 360 First Avenue and who has worked in primary elections in the past, said that over a hundred people had voted at her table alone and the other tables at that site had similar numbers. “This one has had a pretty good turnout, more than past Democratic primaries, from what I’ve seen in previous elections,” she said.

Due to redistricting, there was some confusion among voters about where their poll sites would be. The most notable change for some, according to the coordinator at 272 First Ave., was that a handful of voters in Stuyvesant Town were now supposed to vote at the location in Peter Cooper Village. One irate voter came into 360 First Avenue and was frustrated about where he was supposed to vote, but poll workers said that while there was some confusion about where to go, most were not too put out by the changes, even if they had to go to a different poll site.

Arnie Latterman, a Stuyvesant Town resident who was working as a scanner inspector at the 525 East 14th Street poll site, said that there were a number of referrals throughout the day at his location. “We made at least 40 referrals because there were people who came in (to this location) and didn’t vote here,” he said.

Despite the lower turnout expected at the primaries compared to the general election, voters felt strongly about the decisions they had to make. “Even though they’re all Democrats, there’s a wide variance in the candidates,” Latterman said. “One is maybe a bit more progressive than the others and depending on personal preference, that can be important.”

Others who came out said they felt obligated to vote to have their voice heard.

“Primaries are just as important as the final election,” said Stuyvesant Town resident Gary Wiss after voting. “Putting a ballot in the box is a special kind of thing. It’s democracy in action.”

Letters to the editor, Sept. 13

Advice for NY Senate candidate Hoylman

To the editor:
Given my letter, I write to advise that State Senate candidate Brad Hoylman invited me for coffee after seeing it. But when I couldn’t think of a coffee shop, we went for beers.  He seems like a lovely and gracious guy for a Harvard educated lawyer. More important, his real love is for his baby girl, Silvia.
I explained that I wasn’t displeased with him but, rather, the county organization accepting his leap from district leader/community board chairman to state senator sans protest; that, in essence, he just happened to be good enough. My problem is that there is no Democratic organization, no team, no bench strength; like when the Mets had to call up Lee Mazzilli from Double A.
I see these free-for-all primaries as a result of Democratic reform and Mr. Hoylman sees himself as an unqualified reformer. From that perspective, we are left as rivals: After all, I earned my undergraduate degree at Syracuse.  He earned his at West Virginia.
For a full week after we spoke, I considered our chat and sent him e-mail arguing why he would be better off running for City Council in 2013, per his initial plan. He thought that my arguments were sober, but the Senate seat was open now.
But Town & Village’s coverage of the State Senate debate got me seeing things ironically. Mr. Greco, a regular guy, and more physically fit to “bang on desks to get a deal,” spoke like a reformer. He wants to get younger people involved who have strayed from local Democratic politics.
This is as opposed to Mr. Hoylman, the reformer, who, given the way he was hand-picked for the nomination, acted like Tammany Hall’s legendary George Washington Plunkett, who said, “I saw my opportunities and took them!”

Billy Sternberg, ST

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Where to Vote: Polling Places for Primary Day

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

This year’s primary elections were bumped from the usual day due to falling on September 11th and its commemorative ceremonies and will be held instead on Thursday, September 13. Additionally, many of the polling places for residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village have changed due to redistricting. There are five polling sites for ST/PCV residents: 272 First Avenue, 360 First Avenue, 283 Avenue C, 525 East 14th Street and the Asser Levy Recreation Center at 501 East 23rd Street. Residents can find their polling place for the election in the list below, which was compiled by the ST-PCV Tenants Association.

 

272 First Avenue:

405, 435, 447, 449, 451, 453, 455 East 14th Street; 240, 250, 270 First Avenue; 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 15, 17 Stuyvesant Oval

 

360 First Avenue:

400, 410, 420, 430, 431, 440, 441, 442, 444, 446, 448, 450 East 20th Street; 272, 274, 276, 278, 280, 300, 310, 330, 350, 360, 370, 390 First Ave.; 2, 3 Peter Cooper Road

 

283 Avenue C:

245, 271 Avenue C; 605, 615, 625, 635, 645, 647, 649, 651, 653, 655 East 14th Street

 

525 East 14th Street:

2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 19, 21 Stuyvesant Oval; 445, 505, 515, 521, 523, 525, 535, 545 East 14th Street

 

501 East 23rd Street (Asser Levy Recreation Center):

4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Peter Cooper Road; 440, 510, 530 East 23rd Street; 511, 531, 541, 601 East 20th Street

Public school teacher running for Duane’s seat

Tanika Inlaw

Primary Day is Thursday, September 13. Town & Village is running bios of Democrat candidates for the positions of Manhattan Surrogate’s Court judge and the State Senate seat to be vacated by Tom Duane.

This article was originally published on July 12

.

By Sabina Mollot

For potential candidates for the State Senate seat now occupied by Tom Duane, it may be hard to believe that it was only just over a month ago when the longtime lawmaker announced his intentions not to seek reelection. After all, for them, there’s been something of a mad dash to collect enough petition signatures to ensure their names on the ballot for the September primary. The deadline is this Thursday.

As of Monday, no candidates had yet submitted their petitions to the Board of Elections. However, there are now at least three Democratic candidates who’ve said they definitely plan to run in the September primary:

The first is Brad Hoylman, a nonprofit attorney and friend of Duane who received his support the day Duane made his announcement. The others are Hell’s Kitchen bar owner Thomas Greco and Upper West Sider Tanika Inlaw, a public school teacher.

Town & Village previously interviewed Hoylman and Greco, and this week, Inlaw spoke with this newspaper about her campaign and her agenda, which focuses on affordable housing, education and job creation.

Already, Inlaw said she’s been pounding the pavement throughout the district and recently learned firsthand from residents of Stuyvesant Town about their top issues of concern, from classroom overcrowding to the stuffing of students into divided apartments.

In response, she said she thought CWCapital should be made to stop the practice of putting up pressurized walls and renting to students.

Tenants, she learned, “are upset that a lot of families are being displaced and that now all these students are coming in and making noise. We can’t have dormitories. We need to stop that.”

Inlaw also said she considers herself an advocate for LGBT rights as a result of being raised by her uncle, who’s gay, and her grandmother. She called Duane an “amazing” senator. “He’ll be a tough act to follow.”

Though her background is in journalism (she worked for several years for ABC News Radio and for the network’s TV show, “The View”), Inlaw said she “got the bug” for politics from her husband, Evan Inlaw. He had run for a City Court judge position in Yonkers in 2005, and won at the primary level, but lost the general election. Meanwhile, Inlaw was active in the campaign, talking to district residents about their problems and finding that she wanted to do more than she could do at the time. This was just to steer those individuals to the right city agency or public official.

Inlaw around that time also got involved in advocacy work, becoming president of her local chapter of the NAACP. She held that position until a few years ago, and said when she heard about the Senate seat for what will soon become the 27th District, she just decided to go for it.

“I’m a teacher at a Bronx elementary school, and I feel I’m the best candidate because I have no special interests behind me,” said Inlaw.

Though Inlaw knew Hoylman was all but officially endorsed by Duane on that first day, she said she wasn’t going to be deterred by any political “machine.”

“I’ve seen that before with just one candidate, but how can you call that democracy?” she said.

She added that as a senator, she would be an advocate for the middle class, which she feels is now shut out of the political process.

“Barack Obama is a black president, so color is not the shut-out anymore; it’s class,” she said.

“Middle income people don’t have opportunities anymore. It used to be that as long as you had a good education, you could buy a house. Now you could have a good education and have to live with your parents. And I don’t want my daughter living with me when she’s 40.”

Inlaw, who’s 38, began her career in education not long after having children. She now has a five-year-old and a seven-year-old. The idea originally was to be a stay-at-home mom, but that didn’t last too long.  “I needed a break,” she admitted, “and you don’t get any break as a stay-at-home mom.” She also noted she she’s “about to be a single mom,” since she’s in the midst of a divorce from Evan.

On matters related to education, Inlaw said if elected, she would fight to create smaller classrooms and have additional support via assistant teachers for special education classes. She also said she wanted to “bring back extra curricular and arts programs,” which are the first things cut from any school budget. “Every child should have the opportunity for a well-rounded education,” she said.

Bullying is also a focus, with Inlaw saying one way to help stop it would be to demand accountability of the schools where it happens. However, she stressed it should be done in a way that doesn’t shame the schools or administrators, since that approach too often leads to incidents of violence or other problems being swept under the rug. She also thinks it’s important to create a classroom environment that’s rigorous. “That’s what we need — to make kids more competitive.”

And Inlaw says she’s the voice of experience on that topic, being the first person in her family to graduate from college. She got her bachelor’s degree from SUNY Purchase and later her master’s in education from Hunter. She also attended a specialized high school, La Guardia, studying drama.

She also wants to see hydrofracking completely banned and focus on repairs needed to the city’s infrastructure, including bridges and tunnels. The work would create jobs and not the minimum wage sort. (She also supports raising the minimum wage.)

On issues of housing, Inlaw, who grew up in a Mitchell-Lama building, said fighting for affordable housing is a top priority.

Repealing the Urstadt Law is also a goal. Obviously, Inlaw said she knows what she’s up against in Albany with the Republican majority frequently blocking any tenant legislation. However, she said if elected, she would try to plow through the bipartisan divide by being willing to give and take at the negotiating table.

“(Right now) everything is landlocked because everyone is holding fast to their own opinions and not seeing how it is through someone else’s eyes,” she said. “We have to come together. Even if someone’s attacking me, I’ll agree with them, and that disarms them. They’ll hear me, because I hear them. People want to be heard.”

Another challenger steps up for Duane’s Senate seat

Primary Day is Thursday, September 13. Town & Village is running bios of Democrat candidates for the positions of Manhattan Surrogate’s Court judge and the State Senate seat to be vacated by Tom Duane.

This article was originally published on June 28.

 

Thomas Greco

By Sabina Mollot

Not long after State Senator Tom Duane announced he wasn’t seeking reelection ― and that he thought a friend, attorney Brad Hoylman, would make a good replacement ― another challenger for the Senate seat announced he too would be running. That candidate was 36-year-old Thomas Greco, owner of Hell’s Kitchen gay bar/lounge, The Ritz. Though not gay himself (he’ll be married to fiancée Tia in a week) Greco said he is a big LGBT advocate and also said if elected, his top priorities for the 27th senatorial district would be affordable housing and education.

Greco said his decision to run was made recently, pretty much right after Duane’s announcement that he wouldn’t be running. Part of the reason, he explained, was the way that particular bombshell was dropped, including the endorsement for Hoylman it led to.

“He did it at the 11th hour,” said Greco of Duane. “He did it in a way where no career politician could have the option of getting a campaign together.”

Greco, however, said he wasn’t deterred by all the publicity for Hoylman, noting that as the owner of a business, he has some startup cash for a campaign.

He opened The Ritz in 2006, though he’s also been the part-owner of a restaurant with his brother, Philip Marie, since 2001 and he also owns an LGBT bar called Posh. Prior to those ventures, the Park Ridge, New Jersey native worked as a financial consultant for A.G. Edwards.

As for his latest endeavor, already, Greco’s gotten started collecting signatures, saying he hopes to get quadruple the amount he needs to avoid any potential ballot challenges.

What’s also helped him beyond the immediate need to fundraise is that he’s active in two political clubs, as the executive vice president of the McManus Midtown Democratic Club and director of fundraising for the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club. Otherwise, Greco said he considers himself a political outsider, and it’s this that he feels makes him the right person for the job.

“Because I don’t have an alliance with this politician and I’m not worried about making that one mad,” he said. “I just care about what the district needs and I don’t care how many eggs I have to crack to get it done. I’m the kind of guy who just keeps running into walls until the walls start falling down.”

On issues facing the district, Greco said affordable housing was something he’d fight for, because he’s tired of seeing longtime residents of his own neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen, being priced out.

“I see all these massive buildings under construction and they’re all luxury high-rise,” he said. “We have to come up with a better plan, because now it’s becoming a gated neighborhood.”

Specifically, Greco said he thought there should be more tax breaks given as incentive to develop more affordable housing than the current 80/20 structure provides for. And not just dumpy-looking projects, either, but, he added, “a nice building where you give people some dignity.”

Another aspect of affordable housing would be the protection of what’s already in existence, including Stuyvesant Town.

“I feel what went on there was horrible,” he said, referring to the years of tenants being pushed out through residency challenges. “But I’m pro tenant.”

Education is another priority, with Greco saying he’s seriously been considering private school for his own children when he has them. “And why should I cough up the money for private school when I’m already paying all these taxes?” he said.

In his view, the quality of education offered would be improved through better communication between schools and parents, including allowing interested parents to know details like what’s in the lesson plans and what children are expected to know by the end of the year.

Another issue of concern, affecting the west side of the district, is the lack of a full-service hospital following the closure of St. Vincent’s.

This was one of the issues that prompted Greco’s run, because he said he wasn’t satisfied with the way the area’s elected officials responded to news of the closure.

“They kind of just let it happen,” he said. “They made speeches, but no one threw themselves in front of a bulldozer.”

Along with the area’s residents’ loss of access to healthcare, the closure caused a nosedive in business at nearby restaurants that relied on the patronage of physicians. “It was like a bomb went off,” said Greco, noting that one of the affected restaurants is Philip Marie. The Village’s restaurants, he said, have soldiered on, but one newsstand owner told him he’d lost 90 percent of his customers before ultimately deciding to close.

“It’s like they looked at the first ripple, but not the other ripples,” Greco said.

Being a restaurant owner himself, Greco said even if he does end up in Albany, he would still identify as a businessman rather than a career politician.

“At the end of the day, I’m doing this as a public service,” he said. “I’m not making a career move. I have a career. I have my business. I’m not going to make deals so someone can benefit me.”

 

* In related senatorial race news, a recent published report alluded to the fact that Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh could also run for Duane’s Senate seat. However, an employee at Kavanagh’s office said last week he definitely won’t be running.

Senate hopeful: Priorities are tenants, education issues

Brad Hoylman with voters

Primary Day is Thursday, September 13. Town & Village is running bios of Democrat candidates for the positions of Manhattan Surrogate’s Court judge and the State Senate seat to be vacated by Tom Duane.

This article was originally published on June 14.

 

By Sabina Mollot

Last week, following the announcement by State Senator Tom Duane that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection, several names were mentioned as being possible replacements for the representative of what is now known as the 27th senatorial district. However, only one got the blessing and encouragement of Duane himself and that was Brad Hoylman, a nonprofit attorney who the lawmaker called one of his closest friends and someone who would be “a fighter” for the district.

Naturally, it took all of 24 hours for Hoylman, who was running for Christine Quinn’s seat on the City Council, to instead officially throw his hat in the ring for the State Senate.

Hoylman, who left his work in law a few months ago to work on the Council campaign, is also the chair of Community Board 2. Like Duane, he is gay and lives in Greenwich Village with his partner, documentary maker David Sigal, and their 18-month-old daughter, Sylvia.

This week, Hoylman, who spent much of his Saturday petitioning in Stuyvesant Town, spoke to Town & Village about his platform, which he said is very much like Duane’s is that it is pro-tenant, pro-LGBT rights and very much against “irresponsible development” like the planned NYU expansion in Greenwich Village.

“I think the plan is wrong for the community which is essentially a residential neighborhood and it really threatens what makes the Village and NYU special,” he said.

While speaking with residents in Stuy Town, Hoylman said he also heard residents’ concerns about the influx of college students and said that he thought the marketing of apartments to students should stop.

“For CWCapital and Rose Associates to market the property to college students, I don’t think it’s appropriate,” he said. “I understand that they’re putting up partitions in some spaces, and I think it’s outrageous.”

If elected, he said he would work with other East Side politicians “to make sure that stops. In the East Village, we had a problem with that, and now it’s Stuyvesant Town.”

On that issue along with the planned redevelopment of NYU, Hoylman said there are ways to make even super-schools like NYU listen to the community.

“We have levers we can pull to make sure that they listen,” he said. “They have to come before community boards for approvals and to council members for other things.”

On other ST/PCV-related issues, Hoylman said he supports the Tenants Association’s proposed plan to go condo. He also said he was in support of keeping nearby co-op complex East Midtown Plaza, which is currently mired in a war over privatization, in the Mitchell-Lama program.

As a parent, Hoylman also said he was “very dismayed at the attitude of the current administration towards parents and teachers. I want to work to change the system where teachers are demonized and parents don’t have a voice.”

Another issue would be to try and get a bill passed, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Squadron, that would give protections to transgendered people in the workplace.

Politically, Hoylman said he considers Duane a role model, noting his success as getting legislation passed, even while in the minority party, for tenant protections, marriage equality and against hate crime.

As for the fact that the State Senate’s been the place where rent laws typically go only to be shot down by Albany Republicans, Hoylman echoed a sentiment frequently mentioned by Duane, about the need for campaign finance reform as the best way to deal with pols catering to special interests.

In his role as community board chair, Hoylman said he’s been active in matters involving historic preservation and landlord-tenant issues. In one recent deal that CB2 had a hand in, developers of the old St. Vincent’s site agreed to provide a $1 million legal defense fund for tenants and another $1M for arts programs for local schools.

As an attorney, Hoylman began his career in a private practice, and later worked on housing issues in the nonprofit sector, most recently for the Partnership for NYC.

As a political candidate, his work so far has only been to start the lengthy process of gathering enough signatures to not get booted off the ballot by an opponent. He needs 1,000 to run.

The 27th senatorial district covers part of the East Village, ST/PCV, Waterside, Chelsea, Greenwich Village and Hell’s Kitchen.

Manhattan Surrogate candidate: I’d make court more user-friendly

Primary Day is Thursday, September 13. Town & Village is running bios of Democrat candidates for the positions of Manhattan Surrogate’s Court judge and the State Senate seat to be vacated by Tom Duane.

This article was originally published on September 6.

Judge Barbara Jaffe

By Sabina Mollot

Recently, Town & Village spoke with a candidate for one of two Manhattan Surrogate’s Court judge positions, the Civil Court’s Judge Rita Mella, a Stuyvesant Town resident.

Along with Mella, who’s said if elected she would make the Surrogate’s Court — which sooner or later everyone has to go through for matters relating to wills, estates and guardianship — more user friendly, an East Midtown resident and State Supreme Court judge dealing with matrimonial cases, Barbara Jaffe, is running on a similar platform.

“This court itself is very important because anybody can end up in Surrogate’s Court,” she said. “That’s why New Yorkers should be interested (in this race). Everyone loses family friends who pass away and the litigants are not there voluntarily. They don’t just show up to sue somebody. They’re fighting over an estate.”

The two Democrats will face off in a September 13 primary. So far no Republicans have announced candidacy for the position, which would represent a district covering Manhattan and Roosevelt Island over a 14-year term. However, if Jaffe, who’s 60, is elected, she noted that for her it would only be a 10-year term due to a required retirement age of 70. The current Manhattan surrogate, Kristin Booth Glen, will be leaving the bench this year for that reason as well.

So far, Jaffe’s earned the lion’s share of endorsements from other judges while Mella has earned the backing of politicians including Council Members Dan Garodnick and Rosie Mendez.

However, Jaffe said she believes she’s the right judge for the job based on her judicial background and business background. She’s mainly a matrimonial judge while her opponent is assigned to the Criminal Court.

“I believe I can make the most significant contribution to this important court,” said Jaffe. “I handle custody cases and I handle a lot of very divisive family issues. I also have to deal with financial issues, which crop up a lot.”

She also gets the occasional housing case, like primary residence challenges, and NYCHA is often involved.

Most of her cases, however, end up being settled, a good 98 percent of the financially related ones in fact. It isn’t that she’s “trial-shy,” as she put it, but Jaffe said she does try to get cases concluded quickly.

“I don’t shoot from the hip, (but) I work smart and I work fast,” said Jaffe.

In many of the cases, she pointed out, there are no attorneys, and this makes it all the more important for the system to be understandable.

As for how to make that happen, Jaffe said she has a few ideas.

“One is something I’m already doing,” she said, referring to a handbook she created on the criminal justice system that’s been translated into several languages. “It’s still distributed. It costs no money,” she said, adding that she would like to create similar how-to type literature for the Surrogate’s Court. As she got it done the last time, Jaffe said she would get the handbook produced with the help of volunteer law school graduates who must do 50 hours of pro bono services. The court would then pay the printing costs. Jaffe also said she would like to create literature to help people use computers that are available for public use at the court.

The candidate added that she has also done outreach on the workings of the court in other ways.

While serving as the president of the Association of Small Claims Arbitrators in the mid-1990s, Jaffe would go to places like churches and synagogues as well as community board meetings and do presentations on court proceedings, like how to file a small claims suit.

While doing this she also worked as an attorney in the State Supreme Court and then as a law clerk for Justice Marcy L Kahn. In 2002, she began serving as a judge in the Civil Court of New York City and in 2010, as a justice specially assigned to matrimonial trials in the State Supreme Court.

As for the fact that if voted in to the Surrogate’s Court, she’d have a somewhat shortened term, Jaffe said this actually works in the public’s benefit since as someone who wouldn’t have to worry about reelection, “I don’t have to curry favor with anyone to run again.”

Jaffe, who began her career in law in 1986 as an associate counsel for the Legal Aid Society, said she always wanted to work in that field. However, law is actually her second career. After graduating from Brooklyn Law School, she worked in the antique industry, running Madison Galleries, a wholesale antiques and arts business. Ironically, her eight years there would help her later on the bench, when dealing with estate cases that involve antique collections. She also has given presentations and written many articles on art and law “and how to prove what things are worth” in legal publications.

Jaffe has been a resident of Manhattan since 1975 and has lived in the East Midtown area since 1994.

Stuy Town resident running for Surrogate Court judge position

Rita Mella, with her husband, talks with a neighbor in Peter Cooper Village.

Primary Day is Thursday, September 13. Town & Village is running bios of Democrat candidates for the positions of Manhattan Surrogate’s Court judge and the State Senate seat to be vacated by Tom Duane.

This article was originally published on August 23.

 

By Sabina Mollot

While this summer, much of the focus of the local political world has been on the race to fill the State Senate seat that will be vacated by Tom Duane at the end of the year, another race has quietly been running for the position of Manhattan Surrogate’s Court judge.

Along with State Supreme Court Judge Barbara Jaffe, another hopeful for the position is Judge Rita Mella of Manhattan Criminal Court, who’s also a longtime resident of Stuyvesant Town. Like Jaffe, Mella is a Democrat, and the two will face off in the September 13 Primary.

During a recent chat on a bench in Peter Cooper, Mella spoke with Town & Village about how the court system is more a part of people’s lives than they think “even if you’re not in trouble with the law,” and that if elected, she’d do outreach to make Surrogate’s Court more accessible and inclusive.

“Most New Yorkers have never set foot in this beautiful building on Chambers Street,” Mella said. “This is a court that works as an agency. You need to go there if you want to adopt a child or if you need guardianship of a mentally disabled young adult. You need to go there for your probate. You could stay out of court if you have no assets, but if you do, you have to go to court to administer your assets. This is a court of administration rather than litigation.”

Mella, who was born in the Dominican Republic, said she’s always wanted to do public work. She came to the United States at 22, barely knowing how to speak English, and studied and graduated from the CUNY Law School in 1991. On a scholarship, she got her master’s in Latin American history from the University of Florida and her undergraduate degree in the Dominican Republic.

After completing her education, she began her career in law working for a small firm with a focus on criminal defense and for the next 13 years, worked as an attorney in several courts: Surrogate’s, Supreme Court, Civil Court, Family Court and Criminal Court, according to her official bio.

For Mella, the switch to Surrogate’s Court from the Criminal Court, where she’s been assigned since 2007, would be a return to her roots. Previously, she worked as principal law clerk for Surrogate’s Court Judge Margarita Lopez Torres in Brooklyn. Lopez Torres, who Mella calls a reformer, had come in following a period of corruption in the court and it was part of Mella’s job to help her implement “systems of accountability” and make the operations more transparent.

In her current role, Mella chairs the Gender Fairness Committee of the Manhattan Criminal Court, which has organized programs aimed at addressing issues such as sex trafficking of young women, domestic violence among teenagers and relations between the Criminal Courts and the transgender population.

The judge position Mella is running for now would represent all of Manhattan as well as Roosevelt Island and the term would be for 14 years.

Reflecting on the length of the term, which is unusually long by political standards, Mella seemed undaunted.

“Serving the public from a bench is such an honor you don’t ever want to leave it,” she said.

Mella has lived in Stuyvesant Town since 1999 with husband Robert Rosenthal.

Farewell to The Frenchmen

Bill Koniuk at the store in 2009
Photo by Sabina Mollot

We recently received word that Bill Koniuk, owner of The Frenchmen on First Avenue, has closed the store due to some health issues.

The Frenchmen, an air conditioner shop, is well known to residents of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village and Gramercy for its annual Christmas party for neighborhood kids.

The party, a decades-long tradition, included free horse carriage rides, live music, toys and a holiday window display that rivaled midtown’s department stores. Koniuk has told Town & Village that during the winter season, when demand for air conditioners is low, he would focus pretty much entirely on creating the display and party.

“After Christmas, I’ll think about selling,” he once said.

Party guests go for a hayride at a recent holiday party thrown by The Frenchmen.
Photo by Sabina Mollot

Letters to the Editor, Sept. 6

‘GOP and GOPier’ cartoon ‘offensive’

Dear Mr. Hagedorn:
I have lived and raised my children in Stuyvesant Town for the past 32 years. And I have been a subscriber to Town & Village for all those years, enjoying the community news and reports. These past years I have noticed a certain tilt to extreme left political views in your articles and opinions such as the column of Mr. Wally Dobelis. I choose to skip over his writings.
However, I draw the line with the extreme left cartoon insulting (“GOP and GOP’ier,” depicting two men named Romney and Ryan, the Republican Party nominees no less, beating on an elderly woman lying down on the street grounds). This cartoon by J.Meadows is very offensive to those of us that are Americans and GOP’ers.
Furthermore, I am a senior citizen, recently retired and very much involved in the running of our beloved country.  The extreme left has taken over the Democratic Party and no longer hides its goal: to do away with the Republican Party and eventually turn our beloved country into a dictatorship. Those in the extreme left Democratic Party no longer hide their distaste and their hatred toward their fellow Americans in the Republican Party.
Contrary to the Democratic Party, we (the GOP’ers) do not wish harm to our fellow Americans. We believe in our Constitution, our Two-Party system and our freedom. I am therefore asking you to balance out the cartoons you so liberally shove down our souls by printing a cartoon just as offensive to “Democrat & Democrat”iers showing President Barack Hussein Obama bowing down to the King of Saudi Arabia, or telling the American people that “They did not build their business” or how he granted presidential immunity to Eric Holder to save him from being impeached for lying to Congress for the “Fast and Furious” cover-up scandal. Or how he robbed the Medicare Program by 725 billion dollars to help pass Obamacare.
While President Obama is running our nation’s debts by the trillions of dollars each year since he took office and in the pretext  of wanting to redistribute the wealth in this country, he has taken our tax money and give it to his rich pals to finance their failed businesses such as the Solyndra fiasco. Posing as the president that cares mostly for the “poor,” he rubs elbows with the super rich of Hollywood and the likes of multi-billionaire, America-hater George Soros. Oh, and let’s not forget the entire leftist media starting with WCBS, WNBC, WABC, PBS, CNN, HBO etc… NY Times, Daily News, Washington Post, etc… that carries this president’s water in the fear of appearing racist.
I expect my neighborhood newspaper to give me the news concerning my neighborhood and not to insult me and other Republicans citizens by publishing the hateful cartoons of J. Meadows. Have the courage to be fair and balanced.

Jeannette Shuck, ST

Editor’s note: This newspaper appreciates the points made. We hope that the cartoons we run show this publication’s willingness to spoof all politicians and parties equally.
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