Growing up in Playground 5

The following story was submitted by former Stuyvesant Town resident Brenden Crowe. The greatest place to grow up in the 60s and 70s was Stuy Town and the greatest playground there ever was, was playground 5.

UP ABOVE IT ALL–A view of Stuy Town’s Playground 5

UP ABOVE IT ALL–A view of Stuy Town’s Playground 5

To those who don’t know Stuy Town, it has 12 playgrounds. Each playground is different. Some playgrounds had swings and slides, some had basketball courts, and some had paddle tennis courts. Playground 5 was a rectangle playground about 75 yards long and 35 yards wide. It was a perfect playground to play football, hockey and punch ball. Those were the sports Playground 5 guys were good at. Playground 9 and Playground 11 had basketball courts and they were good in basketball.  The playground you lived on decided what sports you would play. There was great pride in the playground you lived at.

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Letters to the Editor, Dec. 27

I shot Santa Claus

By John Cappelletti

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And I went to my shrink.
He sat there, not stirring
And his eyes didn’t blink.

He said I was paranoid
To believe as I do,
That people might harm me,
Rob, mug and kill me too.

So I left. I was angry.
And soon began to run
Home to my collection
Of rifles and guns,

Which I keep for protection
From burglars and crooks
And others called “bad guys”
In movies and books.

The Second Amendment
Gives me the right
To shoot these intruders –
On sight!

Our founding fathers formed militias
To fight the red-coated British.
They didn’t have Semis or Glocks,
But you wouldn’t call them skittish.

They had muskets and loaded each shot
To fire. These were the “arms,”
They insisted was their “right
To bear” as a militia to keep us from harm’s

Way; today the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines,
Homeland Security and the local police,
FBI, CIA and Special Operations Forces
Comprise our militia to keep the peace.

We now have pros to protect us.
Militias are a thing of the past.
There’s really no need to bear arms anymore
So the NRA should give it a rest.

These truths should be self evident,
Keeping guns in the home doesn’t work.
And, as we’ve seen, it makes no sense,
Because somebody might go berserk.

But back to my story
Lest these facts put you to sleep:
I was home, feeling angry.
It was quiet… not a peep.

Then I heard the floor creaking,
A shadow stalked the walls
And the flames in the fireplace
Fell on someone decking the halls.

The chiaroscuro hindered my view.
So it might have been a mirage.
But I heard some foreigner singing,
“Fah, lah, lah, lah, lah, lah, lah, lah, lah.”

Then I grabbed my trusty Semi,
Aimed it at the intruder’s head.
But I had never fired a weapon before
So I sprayed his big belly instead.

“Oh, oh, oh,” he cried,
This riddled man with a white beard.
He gasped and mumbled, “Merry mishmash,”
And then he just disappeared.

Well, I know now it was Santa.
I’m sorry. I think he’s dead.
But when I shot at Santa that night,
I felt threatened and I was seeing red.

From now on at Christmas time,
There won’t be joy for anyone.
But that’s the price we all must pay
When one of us shoots a gun.
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Letters to the Editor, Dec. 20

Adventure in Peter Cooper, step by step

Gentlepersons,

I’m an 83-year-old wheelchair-bound amputee with serious chronic medical conditions. My domestic partner and I have lived in a seventh-floor apartment before, during and since hurricane Sandy, with the exception of a week right afterward.

All PCV personnel were immensely helpful throughout the storm and its aftermath. My personal unsung heroes are Security Officers Royster and Jean-Pierre (first names unknown). I hope they the recognition they deserve. Here’s the saga:

After two days and a night with Sandy sans lights, phones, power, water, heat or a working elevator and only one other family left on our floor, and a few others anywhere in the building, it seemed time to leave. When my daughter-in-law and nine-year-old granddaughter appeared unannounced after traipsing up the seven flights to the apartment invited us to share their family retreat two hours upstate, I was grateful and overjoyed to accept – but unfortunately gave little thought to the logistics that would be involved in getting there.

Miraculously, our car was bone dry on First Avenue even though the cross streets had been a wind-driven flood the night before. In preparation, my partner, in her sixties, walked down and then up the seven flights many times to load up the car with necessities, including my heavy medical paraphernalia—for the trip and our projected stay of uncertain duration.

Then it was my turn. Security at the gate said that two officers would be dispatched to get us out of the apartment and the building. Shortly these gentlemen — the said Officers Royster and Jean-Pierre — arrived, having climbed the entry stairs and the six remaining flights to our doorway, one a young beanpole, the other fifty-ish and husky, a single narrow-beam LED torch between them. They were, and remained, pleasant, polite, all-business and, considering their mission, in remarkably good humor.

First, they rolled me in my wheelchair out of the apartment to the pitch-dark stairwell. After some consultation about which of them would hold the chair high with me aboard, while walking backward down the stairs (Royster started and a flight or two later they switched positions), we began the tediously slow descent. To keep synchronized, they chanted “step” before moving down each step, then paused a few seconds to rest before the next.

Perched aloft, feeling very unstable with every wobble and tremble of the chair, worrying about my elevated center of gravity, and constantly in fear of plummeting headlong down the black concrete abyss, I clenched the wheelchair arms tightly but somehow also managed to swing the feeble light with which I’d been entrusted up, down and from side to side like a spastic night watchman. But from them there was never a complaint or grumble, nor an expressed doubt about getting me down safely. On each landing we paused about two minutes to regain strength, breath and faith.

During one such pause, we heard footsteps descending from above. Seconds later out of the blackness appeared a couple well-known in the building. I asked whimsically as they rounded the corner, “Why didn’t you take the elevator?” The beam accidentally and momentarily crossed the man’s face. “Why don’t you just get that damned light out of my eyes,” he answered mirthlessly, moving around and on down past us. With them presumably out of earshot, my partner turned to the officers and explained, “You’ve just met the building A-hole.” They nodded and we resumed the trek.

Our procession continued in fits and starts. The heavier officer started sweating profusely even with my partner now carrying his uniform coat. We continued inching tediously and perilously to the main floor and then down the entryway stairs, finally reaching terra firma and facing the soggy outside.

After those 20 minutes or so (that for me seemed like at least a couple of hours) of being terror-stricken, I exhaled, never more relieved and grateful. Of course, they wouldn’t accept any material token of my thanks, politely demurring with “Just our job,” and initially were even reluctant to part with their names.

My everlasting thanks, guys. You are the best.

Joe Lobenthal, PCV

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Letters to the Editor, Dec. 13

Now’s a good time for new laundry machines

The following is an open letter to Sean Sullivan, general manager of Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town, about laundry machines. 

Dear Mr. Sullivan,

We are writing you to urge that management install high quality commercial grade equipment when replacing laundry room washers and dryers that were damaged as a result of the recent flooding from Hurricane Sandy.

As you are no doubt aware, it has been well documented that the equipment installed in the laundry rooms by Tishman Speyer has been the subject of regular complaints by tenants; machines have been prone to breakdowns that regularly put them out of service, which results in great inconvenience to residents.

In fact, the laundry room equipment and its failures have been among the leading quality of life complaints in the community.

We believe that using high quality commercial grade washers and dryers will reduce complaints and breakdowns to the benefit of residents and management.

Further, the replacement of equipment in a small number of buildings will allow management the opportunity over a period of time to evaluate the performance of the commercial grade equipment against the current under-performing equipment before the inevitable replacement cycle begins for those older machines.

The Tenants Association appreciates your serious consideration of this recommendation.

Sincerely,

Susan Steinberg,Chair
John H. Marsh III, President
ST-PCV Tenants Association

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‘Roberts’ scam caller targeting ST/PCV tenants

Local politicians and "Roberts" attorney Alexander Schmidt in Stuyvesant Town after the Appellate Court win in 2009.

Local politicians and “Roberts” attorney Alexander Schmidt in Stuyvesant Town after the Appellate Court win in 2009.

By Sabina Mollot

It didn’t take long for scammers to start targeting victims of hurricane Sandy, and as of today, the latest targets of what appear to be a phone scam are residents of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village.

Within the past hour, Council Member Dan Garodnick told Town & Village that he’s been made aware of at least one phone call from someone claiming to be involved with the “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” class action and asking a resident for personal information.

“This is a fraud,” said Garodnick, after confirming as much with lead Roberts attorney for the plaintiffs, Alexander Schmidt.

The caller apparently told a resident that they were entitled to money as a result of the recent settlement, but then went on to ask for personal information.

“You should not expect such a phone call and you should not give out personal information,” said Garodnick.

Though residents should expect to hear from attorneys soon with more information about the settlement and what kind of damages they’re entitled to, that information will come via mail in the beginning of January. In addition, it will come from the Berdon Claims Administration.

Letters to the Editor, Dec. 6

Neighbors were the truly helpful ones

Shortly after 8:30 p.m. that Monday, October 29 everything went down: the lights, the electricity. We were plunged into darkness. I had just finished heating my dinner in the microwave. As fate would have it, a few days earlier someone gave me a rotary phone. It rang out. My brother was on the other end; he lives on the Upper West Side.  “Why are you still there?” he asked, “They said they were evacuating Stuyvesant Town on the news.”

That’s the first I heard, I told him. I’ll call you back, we just lost our electricity. So much for the intercom.Years earlier, Tishman Speyer won the right to charge us for it during one of their many MCI battles. The intercom, they argued, could also be used as an “emergency warning” system — yeah, right!

As our building began to shake palpably in the hurricane winds, I decided to go out to assess the situation and hopefully move my car which was parked on 13th St. between Ave. C and Ave. D. As I left my apartment, I got a text from a neighbor. Her and her partner were stuck in the elevator. I called to them to make sure they were alright, (they were), and I told them I’d get help.

Meanwhile, other concerned and anxious neighbors came out into the hallway. I told them to call 911 and Stuyvesant Town while I tried to get help. But, they said, “They couldn’t get through to Stuy.”  Keep trying, I said, as I made my way down the stairs using a pen-light as a guide. Almost immediately, I ran into another neighbor in the stairwell. She was very concerned about the neighbors on the 8th floor that were trying to rescue the people trapped in the elevator. “They’re gonna cause a short or start a fire or something.” I told her I would talk to them.

I got out on the 8th floor where a large group of concerned neighbors had assembled. One neighbor was trying to jimmy the elevator door open with a screwdriver. I recognized him and told him to please stop because it might make things worse. The people stuck inside were okay and others were calling for help. I would go outside to get help. Little did I know.

Nothing prepared me for what I was about to see. The water on the Ave. C loop was waist high, lapping the stairs leading to the T-levels. I lived in Stuy Town nearly thirty years and I have never seen the water come up that high. It was a bit of a shock and it stopped me in my tracks. Where would I go, how would I get there. We were surrounded by water. There was literally no way to get anywhere without going through the water. I wasn’t so sure about this rescue plan anymore. I finally decided to go through it.

I would make my way to Ave. B and 14th St. by hugging the building walls along the C Loop while holding onto the trees and bushes for support. Gingerly at first, I made my way through the waist-high water, in pitch darkness, to the beginning of the path that leads to Ave. B. I was surprised by how far the and deep the water remained. At that point I started to encounter other people with flashlights. Each time I saw someone, I asked if the were from Stuyvesant Town, and each time I got the same response: “No!” For some reason, I kept expecting to run into one of the vast array of personnel from Stuyvesant Town: someone from security, management or maintenance.

I ran into many people on my way to 14th St., but no one from Stuy Town. Where were they; where was this vast armada of workers one usually sees around the complex? I mean, the hurricane wasn’t exactly a secret. News outlets had been warning about it for at least a week. Why didn’t CompassRock have more of a presence; why weren’t they more prepared? It may seem naive, but I was surprised.

At 14th St. and Ave. B there were various emergency workers: firemen, police. They had a rescue boat available in case it was needed. And they cordoned off 14th St. so you couldn’t go east toward Ave. C. The water was too high and it was too dangerous. They told those assembled to go home. I reported my neighbors predicament to all the various emergency personnel. They were sympathetic and said they would report it. I knew my car was a goner.

Finally, I asked if anyone from Stuyvesant Town had been around. I kind of knew the answer but somehow felt compelled to ask. The answer was the same, no!

Matthew Handal, ST

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Alert for Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village: Tenants will get an extra 15 percent on rent abatement

The following is a property alert emailed to residents of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village by CompassRock this morning. The memo includes status reports on ongoing repairs and also said tenants will get an extra 15 percent on their rent abatement for days without heat and power. It also warns tenants their last rent checks may have been destroyed by the storm and not processed.

PROPERTY UPDATE     12.5.12

We continue to work diligently on restoration efforts throughout the property. Below please find updates of recent progress. We will continue to update you on additional progress and restoration timelines.

Gas Service: We are pleased to announce that all gas service was restored as of last Friday.

PCV Heat Distribution System and Water Pumps: Parts of Peter Cooper Village are still experiencing above normal heat at times and reduced water pressure due to the damage sustained to these systems. Necessary parts to repair these two systems are expected to arrive on-site by next week. We will provide a more detailed timeline as soon as it becomes available.
Rent Abatement: In addition to the previously announced abatement for days without electricity, heat or elevator service, we will also be providing a 15% rent abatement for each additional day a unit did not have gas service beyond when all other utilities were restored. Rent abatements will appear on your January rent bill.
Rent Bills: Your opening and closing balances may be higher than anticipated in your most recent bill since checks you remitted previously may have been destroyed by flooding during the storm and not processed. Please confirm with your bank that these payments were not processed, and issue payment for your total outstanding balance. If you cancel your prior payment and provide documentation of the bank fee for this service, we will refund the bank fee by issuing a credit on your next month’s rent statement. For all additional questions, please email accounting@pcvst.com.

Resident Services: Some of you may have experienced issues in trying to get through to us at the (212) 420-5000 number during peak times. We apologize for the inconvenience. Due to the storm, our phone capacity was reduced to one third of our standard capacity. As of the end of last week, the capacity for our phone lines was restored to pre-storm standards, which should resolve these issues. You can also reach the various departments via email:
residentservices@pcvst.com
accounting@pcvst.com
legal@pcvst.com
leasing@pcvst.comKey Card Access: We continue to work with third-party contractors to restore access cards in 440, 510, 530 E 23rd St.; 441, 511, 531, 541, 601 E 20th St.; 7 & 8 PCR. In some cases, this work is further complicated by the conditions in the basements. Once the basements are able to be demolished, restoration efforts should accelerate.  Contract security guards will remain posted in these buildings to provide access to residents who do not have carriage room keys for the entrance doors.

Intercoms: Intercom service was restored to the following buildings on schedule last week, with the exception of being able to contact Public Safety directly: 431 E 20th St; 2, 3, 4, PCR; 350, 360, 370, 390 First Ave. The intercoms in Stuyvesant Town buildings are operational but cannot access Public Safety at this time. We continue to work on restoring the connection between the intercoms and Public Safety and will notify you as soon as this has been completed.Two addresses which were scheduled to be restored with inter-building intercom service last week, 441 E 20th St and 5 PCR, have experienced worse damage to their infrastructure than initially realized. A timeline for the restoration of intercom service will be provided as soon as possible for these two buildings , as well as the other buildings that experienced extensive infrastructural damage: 420, 440, 510, 530 E 23rd St; 511, 531, 541, 601 E 20th St; 6, 7, 8 PCR.

Basement Access:  In the impacted basements, we continue to use dehumidification machines to help keep the basements dry until demolition is complete. These machines are being powered by generators which operate from 7AM-10PM Monday-Friday and 9AM-10PM on Saturday and Sunday.

·         Limited Access: Residents in the following buildings were granted access to those basements over the past several weeks during specific hours: 3, 4, 5, 6 PCR; 441, 541, 601, 620 E 20th St. (ST); 420, 440, 510, 530 E 23rd St. Access is no longer permitted to these basements as of December 1st. As previously explained, any property not removed is being discarded.

·         No Access: Access remains restricted to 511 and 531 E 20th St. and 7 & 8 PCR.

Demolition is expected to begin as soon as possible. At the request of the Tenants Association, demolition work was delayed by five days past the November 30th deadline to allow some residents extra time to access the storage areas. Once demolition is complete, we can begin to restore the laundry rooms, repair the electrical equipment and rebuild the basements in the affected buildings.

Trunks: We will be re-commencing trunk retrieval for trunks located in Stuyvesant Town beginning today. Please be aware that because of the backlog from the last month and the limited staff we are able to allocate given all the other priorities on the property, it may take longer than usual to schedule an appointment. We appreciate in advance, your patience. Please help to minimize the volume of requests and only request your trunk if it is absolutely necessary.

As previously reported, we continue to remove trunks from the flooded basements and store them securely. We are still working to identify a location and process to allow retrieval. As soon as that has been finalized, we will advise residents immediately and will provide you with 30 days to claim your trunks.

 

Parking: We remind you that all damaged cars not removed by December 15th will be towed by Quik Park at the vehicle owner’s expense. To contact Quik Park, please call (212) 832-2066.

Tele-town hall with “Roberts” attorney Alexander Schmidt set for Friday, Dec. 7 at noon

Tenants' "Roberts" attorney Alexander Schmidt in Stuyvesant TownPhoto by Sabina Mollot

Tenants’ “Roberts” attorney Alexander Schmidt in Stuyvesant Town
Photo by Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday morning, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association announced that a tele-town hall on the recent “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” settlement will be held on Friday, December 7 from noon-1 p.m.

Roberts Plaintiffs’ Attorney Alexander Schmidt will be answering questions on the settlement.

According to an email sent by the Tenants Association, Friday’s call is “listen-only” but residents will be able to submit questions on-line upon registration.  The call is estimated to last about an hour.

Residents should register in advance at using the Register Now! link. Registration will close Thursday, December 6th. Early registration and submission of questions will help the call’s facilitators to ensure that widely held concerns are addressed during the tele-town hall.