Stuy Town Girl Scout is third highest in cookie sales in New York City

Madeleine Noveck at home with a few boxes of cookies

Madeleine Noveck at home with a few boxes of cookies

By Sabina Mollot
Meet the savviest businessperson in Stuyvesant Town.
At the ripe old age of seven, Madeleine Noveck, a second year Girl Scout, has secured the title of the third highest seller of Girl Scout cookies in the entire city.
Last year, Noveck was also no slouch — selling over 1,000 boxes of the traditional American treat —but this year, she topped her own results, selling 1,403.
According to her mother, Rebecca Carroll, going on the selling spree was purely Noveck’s decision, though Carroll would accompany her when she went from building to building in Stuy Town, knocking on neighbors’ doors.
“She came up with the 30-second elevator speech,” said Carroll, adding that her daughter did actually use it in the elevator, chatting up residents she knew and didn’t know. Though not everyone bought a box of the $4 cookies, Noveck said she found the experience of selling fun.
“Everyone was nice,” she said. “Some of them didn’t have much money, but they were still nice about it.”
She and Carroll also ended up getting to know their neighbors better through the experience, even meeting a woman who said she was the oldest resident in the complex at 105 years old. Noveck also knocked on the door of a resident about to celebrate a birthday, and she and her mother got invited in for cake. “It’s been a great experience,” said Carroll, “a community building experience.”
As for the customers who did buy, the most popular cookie choices were Thin Mints — also Noveck’s favorite — and the caramel-flavored Samoas. People who didn’t want any cookies still bought some, since there was an option to have their purchases shipped overseas to U.S. troops. And Noveck also did some selling at her school, around 100 boxes, to teachers.
The selling did get tiring at times, though. After hitting the 800 mark, Noveck found herself tempted to call it quits for the evening, since she was thirsty.
“I said ‘mom, I’m thirsty,’” said Noveck, “and she said, ‘If we go downstairs to get water, we won’t be able to sell anymore tonight,’ so I said, ‘I wanna sell.’”
Of course, it helped that there were some great prizes at stake. Girls who sold over 1,000 boxes of cookies got an iPad Mini, which Noveck won last year. This year, she said she’s going to give her iPad to her brother Stephen.
As for the money generated by the sales, it goes to Girl Scouts programming like trips, as well as support for the St. Francis Xavier Homeless Shelter.
Unlike Noveck, who’s a student at P.S. 110, the top two sellers in the city were middle schoolers.
The top seller, Najah Lorde, sold 2,833 while the second top seller, Olivia Cranshaw, sold 2,141, the Daily News reported in March.
Girl Scout cookies, for which there’s always been a demand, are sold throughout the winter season by the organization’s young members. Recently, Girl Scouts also began selling through food trucks and in this month, it was announced that there would be a pop-up cookie shop in the Flatiron District. The shop, which opened on March 17, will remain open for business through May 8, Tuesdays through Thursdays at 43 West 23rd Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues).
However, Carroll, who works in marketing, said she didn’t think the new shop would cut into the girls’ sales. Because, she explained, “There’s a huge demand. Everyone smiles when you say Girl Scout cookies.”
Though the selling was hard work, Noveck said “yeah,” when asked if she thought she could work in sales when she grows up. In fact, when she joined Girl Scouts it was with the idea that she could sell cookies competitively. “I think I want to do it again,” she said.


Letters to the editor, Apr. 3

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Charters just an illusion of equality

To the Editor,

Charter schools have an aura of equality stemming from getting their students by lottery but, it seems to me, that is false.

Parents need the energy and ability to tune in on the educational milieu of her/his child to negotiate entering the lottery in the first place. How does a parent of a child with special needs discern if a charter school could or would serve those needs? What about parents whose English is poor and blocking them from “hustling” this particular system?

New York City has more than 22,500 children living in homeless shelters, many with working parents. Are any of these students in a charter school? Then there is the perennial “acting up” student who has always been able to disrupt classes (remember 600 schools? Do they still exist?).

Charter schools can act like private schools and just kick them out… i.e. someone else’s problem. I’m afraid I could go on and on, but the biggest question is how could a charter school fail to score higher than a public school when they do not accept the harder to educate student?

The other question stems from the fact that the organizations promoting charter schools (and paying for the slick TV ads we’ve seen so frequently lately) contain a lot of Wall Street money.

Robert Lewis of WNYC News wrote a detailed report on this on 3/6/14 online if you are interested.

We all know they’ve given Gov. Cuomo a lot of money.

I know educators who believe the longer term motive is to get the contracts (financed by taxpayers) for new educational and testing materials. I have no evidence of this but it’s not an unreasonable suspicion.

Joyce Kent,
Gramercy Park

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Mayor picks 5 members of Rent Guidelines Board

Tenant rep Harvey Epstein has been reappointed.

Tenant rep Harvey Epstein has been reappointed.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Only a few hours before it was scheduled to meet last Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed four new members to the Rent Guidelines Board, which is responsible for setting the rent on about one million rent-regulated apartments throughout the city.
Mayor de Blasio appointed two public members, a tenant representative and an owner representative. He also reappointed tenant representative Harvey Epstein. The chair’s seat has not yet been appointed and four other seats on the board will open up at the end of this year.
The board is comprised of nine members, all of whom are appointed by the mayor, making it one of the few tools he has to directly influence the cost of housing. There are two landlord representatives, two tenant representatives and five public members, one of which includes the chair.
Cecilia Joza and Steven Flax were appointed as the two new public members. Joza is currently the housing counseling program director at Mutual Housing Association of New York, a not-for-profit housing organization that owns and manages over 1,200 affordable rental apartments in New York. She facilitates and conducts home purchases for first-time homeowners and offers foreclosure and predatory lending prevention counseling.
Flax has been involved in promoting community-based housing and development for the last few decades. He is currently a vice president of community reinvestment at M&T Bank and oversees community development lending.
De Blasio also appointed Sheila Garcia as a tenant representative. Garcia is currently the community organizer at CASA New Settlement, a not-for-profit, mixed-income housing and community-service organization the Bronx, where she works with community residents to improve living conditions and maintain affordable housing.
Sara Williams Willard, who works at Hudson Companies as a senior project manager running the company’s activities on Roosevelt Island, was appointed as an owner representative, replacing Steven Schleider, who often appeared unfazed by the booing at public meetings that would drown out his calls for maximum rent increases.
The mayor also reappointed Harvey Epstein, who has been on the board since last April and called for a rent freeze before the board’s vote last June. Epstein is project director of the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center and represents member organizations in litigating housing, health and consumer matters. Several years ago he ran a hotline for tenants that was mostly called by Stuyvesant Town residents who were facing primary residence challenges.
Tenant advocates have responded positively to the new appointments, hoping that the new members will help sway the vote towards a rent freeze, which was also a campaign promise of then-public advocate de Blasio.
“These appointments can be the first step for the mayor to give some relief to tenants, who got pummeled by big increases last year,” Garodnick said. “I hope this board will deliver that relief.”
Michael McKee, the treasurer of TenantsPAC, said that he thought that de Blasio’s appointments were “excellent.”
“He’s chosen new people who seem to understand, based on their performance at the meeting last week, that the job of the board is to keep rent affordable,” McKee said. “Under Bloomberg, they seemed to think that their job was to protect landlords’ profits. We’re waiting to see who he’ll appoint as chair, but so far the appointments are good. It was like a new board and a new day.”
Susan Steinberg, chair of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, indicated that she was cautiously optimistic.
“While the devil is in the details and I would prefer to reserve my judgment for the actual vote on rent increases this summer, I am encouraged by the fact that the new appointees for the most part seem to have solid background in community development and affordable housing and would, presumably, understand the challenges faced by rent-burdened tenants of moderate means,” said Steinberg.
“I am keeping my fingers crossed for a very modest increase in June.”