High school students meet atomic bomb survivor

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Atomic bomb survivor Shigeko Sasamori at East Side Community High School (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Atomic bomb survivor Shigeko Sasamori at East Side Community High School (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Students at the East Side Community High School got a rare opportunity on Monday to meet an atomic bomb survivor from Hiroshima thanks to the program, Hibakusha Stories, an initiative of Youth Arts New York.

The sophomores in Yolanda Betances global history class listened in the school’s auditorium as Shigeko Sasamori recounted her experience in Hiroshima on the day the atomic bomb was dropped on the city on August 6, 1945.

Sasamori was 13 years old at the time, sitting in a classroom with other kids her age, when she heard an airplane.

“That day was very hot and sunny and there was a beautiful blue sky,” she told the students. “I looked up and saw the airplane so I told my classmate next to me to look at it too, and as soon as I pointed up, I saw white things drop out of the plane and I was knocked unconscious.”

She didn’t know how long she was unconscious but the next thing she remembered was how pitch black it was outside. After she made it outside, everyone she saw had their clothes torn away and their skin was raw and pink, so badly burned that it was peeling off their bodies. She made her way to the river but couldn’t get in because there were so many dead bodies floating in the water.

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More ‘Roberts’ payments to be sent out this month: Attorney

Alex Schmidt

“Roberts” attorney for tenants, Alex Schmidt

UPDATE: June 4, Attorney Alex Schmidt said a court order had been signed at around 3 p.m.  to authorize the payments and checks should be going out next Thursday.

UPDATE May 30: Attorney Alex Schmidt said he will be going to court on Monday, June 2.

By Sabina Mollot
Current and former ST/PCV residents who are members of the “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” class action should be getting their rent overpayment checks later this month, the lead attorney for tenants, Alex Schmidt said.
Though they were originally supposed to be paid earlier in the year, there was a delay because CWCapital had claimed many of the tenants owed back rent.
The delay was also due to the settlement between CWCapital and the ST-PCV Tenants Association over five MCIs (major capital improvements). As a result of the settlement, along with the monthly rent increases being reduced or eliminated, retroactive portions of those MCIs were also eliminated for most tenants.
“Once that agreement was signed and announced, we had to go back and make sure all the current tenants who were slated to receive non-payment deductions were not being improperly charged for retroactive MCIs, which the TA’s superb settlement precludes,” Schmidt said.
At this time, the process of awarding damages to over 11,000 people who still need to be paid is almost done, Schmidt said. The attorney, who’s with the firm Wolf Haldenstein, said he’ll go to court this week or the following week to get the next round of payments to class members. Those who are believed to owe rent will still get part of their damages. To get any amount that’s in dispute, the tenant or former tenant will have a 45-day period to object.
Out of a $173 million settlement for tenants in apartments that were illegally deregulated by former owners MetLife and Tishman Speyer, close to $69 million will be paid out to tenants. The rest of the money is in the form of rent savings.
“Roberts” tenants and former tenants who were owed money from when Met Life was the owner of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village were paid at the end of 2013.
A spokesperson for CWCapital declined to comment.