Letters to the Editor, June 20

Lyric the latest loss in neighborhood diners

To the editor,

Several months ago, a resident of the building I live in went to the Lyric Diner at Third Avenue and 21st Street to get his morning coffee and found it closed. For several days, we all waited anxiously to find out what had become of Lyric. Finally, we saw a sign in the window, saying that the restaurant was being remodeled and would reopen in a month.

A restaurant called Taverna has opened on the site of Lyric. Its hours are considerably shorter, its menu items more expensive. The police from the precinct and Police Academy and the students from the School of Visual Arts, who routinely jammed Lyric at lunchtime, are conspicuously absent.

Lyric is just the latest of several neighborhood coffee shops to go. Remember Pete’s, the coffee shop on Third Avenue and 21st Street with the lovely old tiled floors and the decorative metal ceiling? Their back room frequently resembles an annex of the police station and the academy. Then there was the Third Avenue diner around 24th Street. They served the best Sunday brunches in the neighborhood, and a very serviceable pizza as well. I understand that it is a difficult and expensive proposition to run a restaurant these days. Rents are high, help is not cheap and food is perishable. One remedy is to get a liquor license. Some coffee shops don’t always have them, but many do.Sunday brunch at that nice Third Avenue Diner always came with a bloody mary!

We have a few diners in the larger neighborhood, and they are always busy. But there are none in my immediate area. I wonder where the cops go for lunch?

Bettijane Eisenpreis,
Gramercy Park


What do the bondholders say now?

To the Editor,

Thank you for your brilliant editorial on the predatory steps taken by STPCV’s owner to raise rents.

Eight months ago, the Tenants Association announced to great fanfare that it was taking our case “directly to the bondholders” – and “cutting out the middleman” in order that we could gain control of our destiny.

Since then, the Tenants Association has spent valuable time and effort – first, claiming the Farmers Market violates the zoning laws (it doesn’t).

Then, the TA told audiences citywide in the New York Post that the wearing of a bikini on a warm spring day is “not appropriate in a residential community.”

Now, the time has come for the TA to report – fully and honestly – how the bondholders responded, when the TA put our case directly to them.

Or, the TA leadership should observe fair and reasonable term limits of two years each, and step aside.
Yours sincerely,

Name Withheld, ST


About CWCap purchaser Walker & Dunlop

At the recent demonstration in front of the STPCV leasing office on First Avenue, several in the crowd called out, “Who is CWCapital?”

Good question. Here’s what I found out:

On June 2, 2012, Walker & Dunlop, (WD), a NY Stock Exchange listed company, purchased CWCapital LLC and CW Financial Services LLC for cash and stock.

The 8-K, which is the official report to the regulators, can be found by Googling “Walker & Dunlop, Inc. 8-k filed 9/10/2012.”

Walker & Dunlop has a board of directors listed on its website, and as part of their board duties, I am sure that the WD directors are fully aware that they are throwing families out on to the streets.

Name withheld, PCV


Walking tour guy a real trip

Dear T&V and Sabina Mollot,

I just re-read your 04/18/13 article, “Stuy Town man takes tourists on walk through time.” My first thought was: Somebody, get this Alfred Pommer fellow an apprentice so when he can no longer do his walking tours, his stories, tidbits and facts of neighborhood history aren’t lost.

Your article on him was a treat and this man’s knowledge is a treasure trove of neighborhood lore, and in a fast-changing Manhattan, is worth preserving.

Thank you.

Richard Luksin, 
Minneapolis, MN


What do flood map changes mean for tenants?

If/when FEMA flood zone maps described in T&V’s 6/13/13 article, “PCV, sections of TV in preliminary FEMA flood zone maps,” are finalized, likely the property owner’s flood insurance cost will skyrocket. If such is the case and looking ahead, the possible impact on tenants’ rents is alarming. Also, this is likely negative for any plans for condo conversion (as condo ownership includes land and mechanics). So very unfortunate.

Carol Z, PCV

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3 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor, June 20

  1. THE ENORMOUS CHANGES TO ST/PCV DURING THE PAST DECADE . . .

    It merely represents a metaphor for the evolution that has been going concerning economic conditions in our nation. As the middle class shrinks and entry for those who want to part of “the American Dream” becomes almost impossible.

  2. Thanks to “Name Withheld,” who brought up a smart point about the TA’s leadership around Stuy Town (a ridiculous waste of time and energy). And thanks especially to “Name Withheld” who investigated the new owner of CW Capital.

    A quick look at the home page for Walker and Dunlap shows a disturbing specialty, but one that won’t surprise pcvst residents. They are really good at getting commercial landlords financing for creating student housing.

    Just great.

    • Talk about conflicts of interest!! Bad enough that CWC bought up all of the Ackman (purchased) debt and, as result, is currently both a lender AND the property manager of our community. Now, with Walker & Dunlop (who own CWC) openly pulling strings there seems to be the distinct whiff of even more conflict. They’re one of the biggest lenders to commercial properties for student housing (http://www.walkerdunlop.com/Press%20Releases/WD-Provides-$61-Million-for-Student-Housing-Properties.pdf).

      Coincidentally (maybe?) the LARGEST lenders for student housing happen to be Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac (who are OUR single largest senior lender).
      “In an effort to keep up with the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) guys, Fannie Mae…underwrote student housing loans to the exact same parameters as conventional loans.” “Fannie Mae’s $700 million in student housing financing, combined with Freddie Mac’s $1.7 billion, set an all-time record…” (http://www.housingfinance.com/student-housing/05142013-a-lesson-in-student-housing-financing.aspx).

      How DO we see that CWC is removed from their position as special debt servicer (since managing a property where you have a vested interest in its finances isn’t absent cross purposes), even if, worst case scenario, we must wait until 2015, the end of their current custodianship?

      Before moving forward to relieve them of their current stewardship of our property’s indebtedness, perhaps we might research (as Tishman Speyer clearly did on their own behalf) a better, alternative “special servicer,” whether government agency or private business (or combo of the two). As the state of our community becomes more fraught, and the dormitories and one-year/in & out renters a majority (continually growing), we need to assert and educate ourselves as best we can. Otherwise, those who truly seek to keep us as nothing but a commodity (since it’s their domain & specialty) will always have the advantage. Time to see what we can do to re-assert the claim to our own destiny, or at least go down fighting!

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