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.