Letters to the Editor, July 25

Feeling separated from the parks

I am a five-year resident of Stuyvesant Town and mother of two young children.

The deciding factor in moving here was the affordability that included many outdoor spaces containing grass and trees surrounding the buildings.

Sadly, this wonderful aspect of our community has been robbed from all of us with the permanent installation of vast, confining and unsightly fencing throughout the community. Now instead of experiencing the outdoors with freedom and wonder, my children are forced to stay on sidewalks bordering what is now off limits. I have to soften the pain of no more picnics near our playground. No more walking barefoot in the grass while playing around their favorite trees.

The reasons for this drastic change (according to management) is to correct mismanagement of the grounds by previous property owners. After taking a closer look at these “improvements” I am convinced this amounts to an ill-planned, ridiculous venture that included trashing hundreds of thriving plants and costing a lot of money.

Why in the world would prospective tenants move in with this fencing destroying the landscape and prohibiting enjoyment of the outdoors?

This change in the property has been done in a cold, calculating, insidious way that proves management does not like the tenants it manages.

M. Deren, ST

A fence runs through it

Stuyvesant Town is marketed as 80 acres of private park and a quick review of the website shows unfenced open grass and greenery. However, it is more accurate to say a fence runs through it as the entire property is almost completely covered with ugly black fencing that limits the view to concrete sidewalks. What is the value of plantings when they are obscured by ugly fence?

Some may believe this is necessary for vegetation to grow but that is not the reality.  And some may think that people and pet traffic are to blame. But the reasons things do not grow in the complex is that for over 50 years all the nutrients have been raked up and removed. Trees drop their leaves each year to restore the nutrients to the soil and here this process has been prevented. And every winter salt and chemical ice melt is over applied and transfers to the nearby gardens and grass.

The result is a zone of death along the sidewalks for several feet.  These fences are a return to the MetLife era of separating the community from the experience of the gardens and grass. Think of a child’s view point; they are living in outdoor cages with concrete floors which is a prison experience, not a private park. The offensive fences must be removed.

Name withheld, ST

Dog poop problem vs. rug policy

To the editor:

A few months back, STPCV employees came to inspect our apartment. In response to my asking what they were inspecting, they told me, “We are looking to see if illegal walls had been put up.”  The inspection was quick, and, I thought, to that point. Well, not quite!

Recently, we received a notice from management that our apartment had little or no carpeting. Deliberate or not, that claim is almost comical! Granted, when we signed our lease we agreed that carpeting would “cover 80 percent of all floors at all times in order to avoid noise disturbance to neighboring tenants.” The contractual words are “in order to avoid disturbance to neighboring tenants.” Hence, reading the rule seriously implies that carpeting is not an end in itself.

Carpets, we are told, serve to accomplish an end: avoid disturbance to neighbors immediately below ones apartment. That should be clear even to the most rule-compliant among us.

Now comes the tricky part:  Is there a circumstance where such a regulation, agreed to or not, is unreasonable?  I have thought of two. The carpet rule is not needed if a tenant does not wear shoes in the apartment. It may be objected that that would require a ludicrous number of inspections.

Let’s not be forced into picture thinking — where we are  imagining security running all over the place checking for carpeting. Checking for carpeting would be limited, as with any other difficulty, to actual complaints about the ongoing clunking of, say, heels (for one).

My second support that the rule is unreasonable lies in the failed actions of management and some dog owners on some occasions. As we walk within PCV/ST the presence of fecal matter, in chunk form and in streaks is blatant! Just last week, as an example, I witnessed a neighbor, whose dog gave plenty of notice that it was about to void itself, allow her dog to release itself on the sidewalk. Rather than move it some three feet onto available grass or equally into the gutter, she allowed it to release. True, this neighbor was quick to scoop, but, and here is the rub, she could not clean the rough pavement. Fecal matter was left behind right smack in the middle of the rough porous sidewalk. Good luck, shoes and good luck, rugs! I have seen precisely the same occurrences with other fecal and urinary releases in the middle of walkways.

My conclusion: When management made PCV/ST “dog friendly” it failed, how should I put it, oh yes, since we are keen on percentages, it failed 100 percent to provide for dogs. It failed…  again, 100 percent…  to enforce the size limit on dogs and the size of fecal matter! Yet, it has the face to tell us that we must keep our apartments 80 percent rugged. I can wash/disinfect my wood floors; I cannot disinfect my rugs.

Our eyes function at a gross level, and even when observant, it lies beyond our visual capacity to see that tiny bits of feces are transported by the soles and heels of our shoes. The transport occurs throughout our community and into our apartments. Some may want to ask, “Do the droppings, the smears and the transports matter, really matter… beyond chronic complaints?” If this is a community they do!

John M. Giannone

5 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor, July 25

  1. I agree with Mr. Giannone regarding the dog feces which is liberally spread and clumped all over the property, but as to the carpets I have to disagree. Carpeting not only prevents footsteps (especially in shoes) to annoy downstairs neighbors, but also acts as an insulation against the noise from both you and your downstairs neighbors. People don’t realize that without carpeting, it is possible to hear just about every loud conversation, hear televisions, music, etc., even if it is not actually blasting and uncarpeted apartments give off an echo which “enhances” every sound. BTW, sound travels up as well as down and if you don’t have carpeting to muffle some of your sounds, you may very well annoy your upstairs neighbors as well as the folks downstairs.

  2. I am going to assume that the tenant living above you has carpeting because otherwise you would know what it is like to live below a person without carpeting. You would also know that walking around without shoes on does nothing to alleviate the myriad of noises that carry when one does not have carpeting. It’s not just footfalls that are disturbing. Sweeping, moving furniture, loud music, yelling, vacuuming, dropping things – even small objects like coins and pens – all reverberate and echo through your floor and is amplified as the sound travels down through your neighbor’s ceiling. As a person with an upstairs neighbor who also does not have carpeting, I can tell you that it is absolutely essential and not optional if you wish to be a good neighbor and comply with the rules of the lease. As for your contention that knowingly violating your lease should be okay because not all rules are enforced at all times, like the problem of people not cleaning up after their dogs, well that’s just silly. Using that argument why should anyone follow any of the rules?

  3. M. Deren, I must correct you: the management here may (mis)manage the property, however it does not manage the tenants. But no, they clearly do not like us.

  4. Mr Giannone,

    Our new upstairs neighbors moved in two Thursdays ago. Three very young women, apparently students. My first trip up there was Fri nite, the day after they moved in. Around 10pm, it started to sound like a stampeding herd of buffalo overhead. They were having a party. It was so loud they couldn’t hear the doorbell at first. Finally a very young woman answered the door and apologized profusely when I explained that shoes on hard wood floors over concrete can be sort of loud. I assume that they asked their houseful of guests to remove their shoes, because it was more or less tolerable after. I had to go up a few days later to remind them about clonking around on bare floors in high heeled shoes. My wife has been up three times since, once around 3 in the morning after awakening to the dull heavy thud of bare feet running feet on bare floors, but cannot fathom what causes the repetitive heavy thuds and that suggest professional wrestling or a bar room brawl directly over our bedroom. BTW, it’s not just us. The second time my wife went up, she found two young women ahead of her in pajamas who lived directly over our new neighbors already ringing the kids’ doorbell. My wife and the two young women then reminded our new neighbors about how their banging around an apt without rugs can be tough on neighbors who have to work for a living.

    The last time we had 3 students overhead, I once had to go up in my pajamas to ask them to stop drunk-vacuuming the bare floor in the bedroom at 3:30 in the morning after one of them broke a glass.

    So as far as I’m concerned, you can tell it to the Marines. And please do your downstairs neighbors a favor and follow the contractual agreement you signed, sealed and delivered. Thank you.

  5. I don’t usually go in for conspiracy theories, but I strongly suspect that this horror of a “management” is deliberately putting students (not the most desirable tenants in the world in any respectable property) in close proximity to long-time tenants in an effort to drive out those tenants. It is obviously harassment, but rather hard to prove. We all know what is in the dark and hard hearts of our evil overlords, though.

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