This week in history: Bellevue South redevelopment

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Town & Village newspaper has been providing news for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village for over 65 years and we’ve decided to start taking a look back to see what was going on in the community 50 years ago. Here are a couple of snapshots from the August 27, 1964 issue of Town & Village.

Bellevue South Redevelopment

Phipps Plaza, known as Kips Bay Court, between First and Second Avenues at East 26th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Phipps Plaza, known as Kips Bay Court, between First and Second Avenues at East 26th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

A handful of articles in this 1964 issue of Town & Village dealt with the city’s proposal for what was known then as the Bellevue South neighborhood, located between First and Second Avenues from East 23rd Street to East 30th Street. The urban redevelopment plan called for essentially bulldozing the entire seven-block area and rebuild to include more affordable housing. The project envisioned 17 residential buildings from six to 32 stories tall, containing 2,260 lower to middle-income apartments.

Residents of the neighborhood had recently drafted their own alternative plan in an attempt to fight the plan proposed by the city. The group presented themselves as the Bellevue South Planners Group and presented their proposal for the Board of Estimate. Their plan included the development of buildings which, by their description, sound similar to what Waterside Plaza became: low and middle-income housing surrounding a central park area and use of air rights above the FDR.

The plan was in contrast to that of the city’s, which they said would “plow through” 23rd to 30th Street, “uprooting thousands of tenants, destroying hundreds of businesses and ending employment for more than a thousand workers.”

Another story in this issue of T&V noted that residents had debated the merits of the city’s redevelopment plan at a public hearing the previous Thursday. Opponents of the plan insisted that the area wasn’t a slum and wanted to encourage the developers to consider making improvements on the existing buildings rather than razing the whole area. They also felt that the proper plans weren’t in place to relocate the residents and businesses that would be displaced.

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Patients First center has closed

By Sabina Mollot

Patients First had reduced its hours before finally closing.

Patients First on First Avenue had reduced its hours before finally closing.

Patients First medical center, a family health practice that had done business in Peter Cooper Village for 21 years, closed its doors on August 21.

Patients of the clinic, which had previously been run by Dr. Glen Marin, were alerted in a written notice two weeks ago that if they couldn’t continue to see Marin at another practice he runs in Oakland Gardens, Queens, that they could contact an internist named Veronica Zaharia.

An employee reached at Zaharia’s office on Tuesday confirmed that Zaharia is now taking appointments for any interested former Patients First patients. Her practice is located at 237 East 20th Street.

In July, Town & Village reported that Patients First had reduced its hours to just two days a week and had reduced its staff.

At the time, an employee said the office at 350 First Avenue was in danger of losing its lease. CWCapital declined then to comment on lease negotiations and this week declined to comment about what future plans, if any, there were for the space.

However, Marin may have had other problems besides his lease. When asked this week for the reason for the closure, an employee at the Queens office would only say that the Manhattan location “had some issues.”

But there were also license issues.

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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 28

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Playground is supposed to be for everyone

I recently had two unpleasant experiences at Playground 4 while supervising my grandchildren at the showers.

In one, children had covered the drain with a plastic bag, creating a pool. When I asked them to remove it because it is a drain and it created an unsafe condition for the little kids, their father got irate with me… calling me a grumpy old lady and that I shouldn’t be reprimanding anyone’s child and they were having fun.

Just today, I brought my granddaughter out. Every adult who had a toddler was sitting along the railing because a group of boys from a local soccer team were having fun running, racing and pouring water on one another. When I asked them not to run near my granddaughter, their coach (I assume) pointed out to me that “the playground was for 5-12-year-olds” and the baby shouldn’t be there. My reply is that it was a hot day and certainly we all could enjoy the sprinklers and the boys could run around in other parts of the playground. Later when I reread the sign – it was about the equipment – on one side it is for kids 5-12 years old and the other side 2-5 years old.

I get it; the older kids have other ideas about water and sprinklers… and they need to expend their energy, but these facilities Stuyvesant Town has beautifully kept up are for the use of everyone in the development. I feel there is utter disregard for responsible behavior towards one another. (And don’t let me get started on dog owners not picking up after their pets, letting them run around in fenced areas.) It is not just what you and your child or team wants. It is about respecting others’ right to enjoy the same space.

J.Thomas, ST

The unaffordable zone

As I run and walk around Manhattan, I can’t help but notice all the buildings being demolished so they could put up luxury buildings. In Brooklyn, the old Domino Sugar factory is now gone. On South and Pitt Street, the Pathmark is gone so they could put up a 65-story building.

What happened to all the zoning laws on height of buildings? Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport is gone so they could put high-end stories in. And right on 14th Street between Avenue A and B, they are going to put mainly luxury buildings with a few affordable apartments.

Now, we could blame the greedy real estate moguls and the Republicans but this is a Democratic town. I blame all the politicians who former Mayor Mike Bloomberg paid off so he could make New York the way he thinks it should be, besides other reasons.

Shame on all of them. Just look around Stuyvesant Town, how they are constantly eliminating parking spots. This only hurts the middle class, the very people they say they’re fighting for. Like President Reagan said many times, “I work for the people, not the other way around.”

Name withheld, ST

Just an observation on letters

Re: Letter, “Why limit topics in T&V letters?” T&V, Aug. 21

I read Mr. John M. Giannone’s letter and agree that he is fortunate that T&V publishes him. As many times as I tried to makes sense of his last two paragraphs, they came off as cryptic.

If, however, Mr. Giannone read the New York Observer-– a County centric paper that lapses into Brooklyn – cover to cover every week, his letters to T&V would soon be crisper.

Billy Sternberg, ST

A few suggestions on ‘petiquette’

DOs
Elevator etiquette: If an elderly neighbor, or family with a baby, toddler, or small children are on the elevator, take the following elevator. You might have to wait 30 seconds but you will communicate a considerate and caring concern for others in doing so.

When outdoors, always be mindful of how close you and your dog are to an apartment window or building entrance. Move along if your dog starts to bark or howl.

Always always always clean up. Forgot your bag? Ask a person walking their dog to give you one of theirs. Never leave a mess no matter what. Come back later if you have to and pick up.

Steer away from the Oval for your dog’s first walk of the day.  Save the pleasure of an Oval stroll with your pooch until after she/he has already finished going and his/her bladder is empty.

Train your dog to never pee or poop where people walk. Head straight for the curb, gutter, or walk to the cobblestones on the perimeters of the PCVST property, or the border areas that separate the walking path from the black garden fencing.

Still, accidents can and will happen so carry a small squeeze bottle with water and diluted dish liquid (such as Dawn brand which is plant and wildlife-friendly). Squirt the mild soapy solution once or twice anywhere the dog pees or leaves a mark.

DON’Ts:
Don’t let a dog pee on or around park benches or seating. Practice odor-control. Never deposit any bagged pet waste in a trash receptacle near bench seating.  Don’t use retractable leashes.

Name withheld, ST

Canine cameos

Thank you so much, Town & Village, for featuring our beautiful four-legged friends on your photo gallery page of dogs (“The Dog Run,” Aug. 7). The article is fantastic as usual! We appreciate your continued support.

Cathryn Duhigg, President, Cauz for Pawz