Letters to the editor, May 14

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

ST native’s book an exploration of virtues

David Brooks, conservative op-ed columnist for The Times, and a regular commentator on the PBS Newshour and Meet the Press, has just published: The Road to Character (Random House, 2015). Brooks spent his formative years in Stuyvesant Town. He remembers these years with warmth and appreciation.

In his most recent book he speaks about two aspects of our lives: “resume virtues” and “eulogy virtues” which can be quite antithetical. The former deals with our accomplishments: wealth, fame and status; the latter deals with our integrity, kindness and bravery and who we are.

The dichotomous relationship of our worldly accomplishments and eulogy virtues both exist, but Mr. Brooks believes that how one is remembered is more important.

This reminds me of two persons here: Mr. Bill Potter, the resident manager of both developments who was very kind to me during my most trying time and others who remember him when he worked here always say the most laudatory things about him.

And then there was MetLife CEO Robert Benmosche who began the decline of our developments from ideal and rare apartments for the middle class to faux luxury and pseudo-upscale units. Benmosche, who recently died, must have made billions of dollars but sans many significant “eulogy values.”

Mr. Potter’s life mainly was left others with memories of his sensitivity and many kindnesses while Mr. Benmosche is now remembered as having made lots of money and lacked the higher spiritual values. And much of his wealth was made from the destruction of PCV/ST.

David Chowes, PCV


Bike riding should be allowed in Stuy Town

To the editor,

There seems to be a serious misunderstanding at CompassRock over exactly what city law says about bicycle riding.

The Administrative Code says that riding a bike on a sidewalk is prohibited.   However, that law does not apply in the interior of STPCV, because those areas are not “sidewalks” within the meaning of the law.

Under Administrative Code 19-176(a), a “sidewalk” is the portion of the “street between the curb… and the adjacent property line.” Where things are unclear, a sidewalk is “that portion of the street between the building… and the curb.”

Moreover, a person under the age of 14 is fully and specifically exempt from the law.

Note that a “sidewalk” is not the paved pathways inside of Stuyvesant Town, or the pathways around the Oval. Police officers or public safety officers have no legal standing to stop a cyclist or delivery person from riding a bike in these areas.

Any time a public safety officer forces a cyclist to stop, that public safety officer is committing harassment, and could face legal action or arrest.

Name withheld, ST


Motorized bikes putting tenants in danger

​​To the Editor:

The plague of motorized bicycles in Stuyvesant Town, going at any speed, around corners, silently, is an imminent threat. Someone will die soon. Or suffer traumatic brain injury when their head smashes onto the concrete. Not to mention that the danger posed by regular bikes on sidewalks is of any less concern.

Apparently it will take tragedy, a death probably, for us to see any commitment by elected officials to protect residents and other pedestrians. Yes, they write letters and issue press releases. And when tragedy strikes, they will call a press conference, declare (for the cameras and microphones) that they “will not sit idly by” and demand action — presumably enforcement of state and city laws. Think that will change anything? Stuyvesant Town residents’ lives matter. Someone will die, because nobody takes this seriously.

Steve Kaufman, ST


Was anyone surprised by RGB vote?

To the Editor,

“Tenants hoping for the possibility of a rent rollback this year were disappointed…” (T&V, May 7).

Really? I’d say that rather than “disappointed” they were dreaming. After all, this is the same de Blasio-appointed Rent Guidelines Board that gave us a rent increase last year. Did people really expect things to be different this year?

So as far as “affordable housing” is concerned, the only difference I see between Bloomberg and de Blasio is that when a waiter asks me if I want bottled water or tap, I ask for Classico de Blasio instead of Chateau Bloomberg.

John Cappelletti, ST

6 thoughts on “Letters to the editor, May 14

  1. It’s really critical to understand that no one at all should be riding motorized bicycles through the middle paths of PCV/ST. This is immoral behavior considering the risks, and the NYPD should be writing tickets for this. It’s fish-in-a-barrel.

    As for “normal” bicycles:
    I understand that many people would have reservations about PCV/ST being permissive of this. My understanding is that it would only be workable if bicycles used defined pathways and proceeded very slowly, with extreme caution, just as a way of connecting to the interior driveways. If that were to be followed, and if the cyclists were yielding to pedestrians AND keeping a very long distance away from them, there can be some safe sharing of some of the paths. It’s no different from the sharing of space on the West Side Greenway, which has similar shared paths. But it wouldn’t work if everyone came tearing through at 20mph – there would need to be restraint by the cyclists.

    It’s important to consider: the PCV/ST property cut off all of the travel among side streets when it was established, and the perimeter streets were built to maximize parking & auto speed, not pedestrian or bicycle safety. First Avenue has gotten better, but the perimeter streets on the north and east are still shamefully unsafe for bicycles, and on the eastern perimeter the East River Greenway is triple-barricaded from the street by quite a lot of concrete & steel encumbrances. There is an ethical duty for the stakeholders here to consider remedies for that situation, including additional shared paths and/or petitions to the DOT to re-imagine the perimeter streets as safety-first corridors & not as highways.

    To be clear: Any bicycle travelling quickly through PCV/ST should be ticketed for proceeding recklessly, in any situation.

  2. As this is private property, management could and should ban bicycle riding (especially the motorized bicycles) on the walkways throughout PCV/ST. There surely will be a terrible accident at some point and management will be liable. There are seniors and small children who are particularly vulnerable to getting hit by a bicycle and the injuries sustained would likely be devastating, if not fatal. Security used to enforce the rules concerning this problem, but not in recent years. I hope that management will step up to the plate and do something about this.

  3. Interestingly, in 60 years, no elderly person or children have been injured by cyclists. Do you have any reason to feel there is a clear and present danger?

    • You are quite wrong about there never having been any elderly persons or children injured by cyclists on the property. There have been quite a few. You just didn’t happen to hear or read about them. I did. One elderly lady who was my neighbor was knocked to the ground, suffered a broken hip and never walked again. There have been many similar accidents.

      There is definitely clear and present danger to elderly people and children, more so now than ever before because there are absolutely no restraints on the speeding cyclists.

  4. Mr. Chowes, I remember Bill Potter very well. He was a gentleman and a good person. He ran the two developments like clockwork and his staff and the tenants greatly admired and respected him. Those of us who have lived here long enough to remember him will always remember him with fondness and respect. As for Mr. Benmosche’s life, death and legacy: No comment.

    • Ms. Clarke, At age 38 I suffered a life threatening disorder. was at NYU Hospital for two weeks and survived. I was told not to return to work for two months. Though I had two disability policies, it would take two more months to receive any benefits. Having gone through all my assets with the disorder and hospital expenses and out of work, I was out of money and couldn’t pay the rent. I called the accounting department and they advised me to call Bill Potter.

      He said, ‘Don’t worry about the rent. Just call me in a month. ‘Why,’ I asked him: ‘To see if I have the rent paid?’ He laughed and said, ‘No, Call me to tell me how you’re feeling. And, don’t sorry about the money.’

      Years later, after he was no longer the resident manager, I was having Thanksgiving dinner with friends at the Gramercy Park Hotel. I saw him with some others at another table. I so wanted to thank him — but being polite, I didn’t want to interrupt his dinner.

      To this day, I’m quite sorry I didn’t say anything to him. They simply don’t make people like him anymore — certainly with this new and greedy PVC/ST management cadre.

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