Push for new school at Police Academy

Police Academy building on East 20th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Police Academy building on East 20th Street (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Neighborhood residents are renewing the push to have the Police Academy building on East 20th Street converted into a school. Community Board 6 passed a resolution in 2008 from the Youth and Education Committee proposing the change and board members are again urging the city to revisit the issue because the academy will be leaving the space soon.

The 2008 resolution noted that the building, located at 235 East 20th Street, would be ideal for a school because it already contains classroom space, an auditorium and a gymnasium and there is a need in the neighborhood for more public school seats.

The board’s Land Use and Waterfront committee discussed the possible conversion in a meeting last Wednesday evening, bringing the issue up again because the police academy is expected to move to Queens by the end of next year, vacating the space on East 20th Street.

Residents at the meeting said they wanted to discuss the possibility of a public school not only because the city needs the seats for students but also to prevent the land from being sold to private developers for luxury high-rises.

“(The NYPD) needs to transfer the property to the Department of Education,” CB6 Vice Chair Ellen Imbimbo said. “So many properties have been sold out from under us with little or no notice with no opportunity to recast the transaction.”

A neighborhood resident suggested that a Department of Education official tour the facility to assess the feasibility of such a project and most at the meeting agreed that action needed to be taken because the DOE has not yet commented on whether or not the building could become a public school.

The committee will be drafting a letter to send to the DOE but the issue will not be reviewed by Community Board 6 again until the next full board meeting in January.

“It would make a wonderful high school or intermediate school,” resident Jim Collins said of the facility. “Yes, it’s beat up, but the cost of cleaning this space up is relatively de minimis compared to building a new school.”

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Town & Village holding holiday toy drive

Some of the toys from a previous Town & Village toy drive

Some of the toys from a previous Town & Village toy drive

With the holiday season here, Town & Village is asking readers and community residents to help spread cheer by participating in our annual Christmas and Hanukkah toy drive. An ongoing tradition for this newspaper for decades, the drive delivers gifts to children at one of our local hospitals.

This year, donations will be accepted for young patients undergoing treatment at Beth Israel Medical Center as well as the children of patients of various in and outpatient clinic programs.

According to Bonnie Robbins, head of the medical center’s outpatient clinic for families, the gifts from drives have made a world of a difference to the children the hospital serves, as in many cases, their families would not be able to provide them with any presents for the holidays.

Gifts appropriate for children of all ages are welcome as well as teens. Due to hospital policy, the donated items must be new. Used toys, even gently used, can’t be accepted for health reasons. If interested in donating, unwrapped gifts may be brought to any of the following drop-off centers:

• Stuyvesant Town Community Center, 449 East 14th Street*

• M&T Bank at 397 First Avenue near 23rd Street

• Waterside Management Office, 30 Waterside Plaza

• Waterside Swim & Health Club, 35 Waterside Plaza

• The Town & Village office at 20 West 22nd Street, 14th floor

The deadline to submit toys is Thursday, December 19.

* Please note that the Stuyvesant Town Community Center is also being used as drop-off points for a separate toy drive being organized to benefit Toys for Toys. T&V’s Drive will have its own box for donations. Additionally, the center may be closed on Tuesday, December 17 and Wednesday, December 18 for renovation work. Additionally, a previously announced dropoff point, the Oval Concierge booth in front of Peter Cooper Village, won’t be available for dropoffs.

 

Letters to the Editor, Dec. 12

You’re not paranoid if someone is after you

This letter was originally published on the Town & Village Blog as a response to “The Soapbox” column by Richard Luksin, “My visit to Stuyvesant Town,” T&V, Dec. 5.

I have been critical of the many changes that have occurred since MetLife went from a mutual insurance company to a for-profit corporation. Then, CEO Robert Benmosche quickly converted ST/PCV into “high end” apartment complexes. The “greatest generation” is quickly being overrun by the “greedy generation” to match the now materialistic nation that has been wrought.

MetLife sold ST and PCV to Tishman Speyer for $5.4B. They defaulted and sold off to CWCapital. Many widows of the “greatest generation” in their 80s had been manipulated out of their 60-year-old apartments by devious and false allegations. Too scared (and old) to challenge — they moved out. So the very members of families who fought in World War II were usurped by the new generation who only fought for more money.

The Rent Stabilization Law (with significant input from monies given to the “pols”) allowed any vacated apartment to go into “free market” status. So, a $2,000 apartment (with minor additions and renovations) could now be rented for over $5,000.

Pity the poor landlord(s)! Each month and now online, management includes a “bonus” of $500 to anyone who recommends someone and they sign a lease. (The new tenant also gets $500.) What a scam. Luxury sans a doorman or large staff that few need. Get with it, guys! This means that there is a dearth of people seeking these neo-luxury suites.

Then there is the conundrum of global climate change… Sandy! Since we are near the East River, waters overflowed to First Avenue. As bizarre weather patterns evolve with speed, if ST/PCV may well end up (as Tony Soprano might have said) “sleeping with the fishes,” these two giant real estate properties will be worth zip! (Not to mention all of Manhattan — remember it’s an island!) And, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.

All of the changes here are designed for the always changing CEOs and shareholders to make more money. All are already wealthy, but want more and more A study was done which compared “happiness and fulfillment” between those New Yorkers who were making $150K and those “super wealthy.” And the results: once you made $150K there was no increment in having a good life.

The greedmongers of Wall Street, the banks, real estate, and… are just playing a game with our lives. It’s a sort of obsessional compulsive disorder (OCD) — except it is destroying our economy, country and people — into an Ayn Rand-ish hell!

I have lived here for 38 years and remember fondly and sadly (the late) General Manager Bill Potter who, when I had had a life threatening illness, said, “Don’t worry about the rent, until you get better.” Those were the good old days which are now gone. Now, methinks that the neo-management would want me to die so they could get more money for my apartment — seriously!

Thank you, Mr. Richard Luksin, for not forgetting!

David Chowes, PCV

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