Conversion would bring back stability
To the Editor:
After the ST/PCV Tenants Association’s recent mailing to residents explaining that it will be taking its plan for a rental or purchase conversion plan directly to bondholders, two long-time neighbors asked me why a conversion was needed at all – why Stuy Town and Peter Cooper can’t just go happily on as an all-rental community. The answer is pretty simple: Because MetLife sold us to Tishman Speyer for $5.4 billion dollars (most of it borrowed.)
As Tishman Speyer learned in its brief, turbulent few years as owner – there is no way that the income from rent-stabilized apartments can support maintenance along with payments on that huge debt. So while it’s possible that we could remain an all-rental community, there is no way that we can remain an affordable all-rental community.
Unless we tenants can gain control of our lives – which is the goal of the Tenants Association-Brookfield plan for a condo conversion with the option to remain a stabilized renter – the future looks grim for those of us who love this place.
If CW Capital chooses to sell to another Tishman-like real estate operator, the new owner must make a concerted drive to increase revenues by replacing rent-stabilized residents with those who can pay market rates. Long-time residents would face renewed harassment to drive them from their homes and, if they managed to stay, would be surrounded by crowds of eight or nine young people jammed into the two-bedroom market-rate apartments it takes eight or nine of them to pay for.
The other destructive possibility is that a new owner would view our wonderful parks and playgrounds as potential profit centers with who-knows-what-kind-of commercial development consuming some of these 80 prime New York acres.
I’ve lived here for 51 years and, like many others, would love to recapture those happy days when we were a family-oriented community of rent-stabilized tenants, when there was one porter per building and the parking garages charged $35 a month.
But Met Life built this community as a kind of public service to returning World War II veterans. Met’s little Eden was a unique, historic and not-to-be-repeated event that we lucked into. No profit; they just needed to break even.
We can’t go back to the good old days, so let’s move forward to a return to stability. Someone who understands these things explained to me that the TA-Brookfield conversion plan would produce that stability by lessening dependence on rental income to cover operating costs and debt payments.
In addition to the upfront capital Brookfield can provide, the many current residents and outsiders who would value ownership of their homes would also help produce the capital needed to maintain the property and to lower the size of a new mortgage, making a structurally sound and affordable combined ownership-rental community possible into the future.
Soni Fink, PCV
Note: The author of this letter is a board member of the Tenants Association, though she is not writing on behalf of the TA.
Hoping Quik Park makes a quick exit
Since the new management of the garage has taken over (about two months ago) there appears to be an “arrogance” of the new managers. It can be felt every time one enters the garage. Although the staff remained the same, they appear apprehensive about everything. I had a recent situation that was repeated a number of times, some of which I witnessed first hand!
Apparently my office failed to pay the garage bill, so they blocked my card and I could not exit the garage. I tried telling the manager that I was in a rush as I needed to take my dogs to the vet, which is located in Rockland County. The attendant, although he empathized with me, told me that if he opened the gate he would be fired. I tried explaining to the manager that I had parked my car in the garage for more than a decade and that I was coming back that evening. He was unmoved.
In the interim, my daughter was waiting for me with my two dogs on 18th Street and 1st Avenue. As we all know, cell phone service in the garage is spotty at best. She didn’t know what to make of the situation. I was trying my best to sway the manager on grounds that I had a specific appointment with a vet. He absolutely didn’t care. He insisted that in order to release my car I had to pay on the spot, end of conversation. My daughter in the meantime had walked with the two dogs from 18th Street to the garage and was upset because we were going to be late. I finally gave them my credit card and charged the amount due. No one from their office had called me to inform me that I was delinquent. They just stopped the key-card.
I found the manager, Mr. Isaacs, and asked how long he had known me. He told them “as long as he had been at the garage” (which was more than 20 years!), and he also could not sway them. I found out today that they have since terminated Mr. Isaacs, which is absolutely ridiculous.
I also spoke with the head of all the garages and asked that he assist me. He also refused. When I asked who owned the Quik Park Garages, he advised me that it was his brother. I asked to call the main office but was told that he was not in and to leave a message which I did requesting that he call me. No return call. I was furious. When I finally calmed down and returned from the vet there was another older gentleman who was going through the same humiliation I was put through.
I don’t find this style of management helpful, especially for those of us who have patronized this garage for decades. The new management of Stuyvesant Town are the ones who decided to remove Rose and the previous management of the garages. It really needs to be looked in to.
Name withheld, ST