Letters to the editor, June 18

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

What happened to Stuy Town recreation?

As a very long-term Stuyvesant Town resident whose three children grew up here it is very sad to see what happened to the Recreation Department. At one point about 4-6 years ago the Recreation Department under Radu Ocnean (who left a number of years ago) had a staff of about 40-50 people. There used to be countless tournaments run by the Recreation Department (soccer, basketball, paddle tennis, table tennis, free throw contest, chess, bocce, etc.). Kids of all ages and adults were looking forward to them every year. None of them exist anymore.

The Recreation Department used to run a Super Bowl Trivia Contest, Oscar Trivia Contest, March Madness picks every year. Hundreds of people attended all these events and looked forward to them every year. None of them exist anymore. Kids looked forward every year to something called Point Tournament. All kids who grew up here participated in it at one point or another. It does not exist anymore. As a parent who could always see a familiar face of a Recreation Department staff in almost every playground starting games with kids, paying attention to make sure rules are followed and engaging with kids and parents alike. It does not happen anymore.

I remember talking to Radu many years ago when the budget was cut down to zero for the Recreation Department and he needed to find ways to procure equipment for the kids/adults for the many sports. He got ZogSports to come and in return for using a couple of courts for a couple of hours a few days a week he got tens of thousands of dollars of equipment in return. I remember that because after one complaint from a person they stopped that great program which ran here for years.

Radu also starting selling Christmas trees which has grown to a cash cow. (I guess they still keep that since it makes a lot of money).

To finish, it is sad because it seems that there are only about 4-5 Recreation staff if that. The Recreation Department staff was always the face of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. All residents knew them, grew up with them and parents were more comfortable with their children in the playgrounds because of them. It does not exist anymore.

Jim Altman, ST

Service roads need to be safer for pedestrians

The following is an open letter to Council Member Dan Garodnick.

Dear Council Member Garodnick,

This morning, I witnessed an all too common occurrence on First Avenue: A pedestrian sprinting for the bus tried to dash across the service road separating the main sidewalk from the island with the bus stop, and was struck by a car. Fortunately, he didn’t seem to be seriously injured. But it’s only a matter of time before someone is: Pedestrians treat the service road as a sort of semi-sidewalk, while drivers drive at full speed. Collisions are inevitable.

I’m writing to urge you to demand that NYCDOT make the service roads safer. A number of simple and cheap options exist to fix the unnecessary dangers. For example, simply placing mid-block crosswalks near bus stops would give riders a safe alternative to jaywalking. Similarly, NYCDOT could post a lower speed limit, recognizing that the service roads are more like driveways than city streets. Alternatively, making the service road a “shared street” – a concept that NYCDOT’s design manual defines as a single roadway shared by low-speed vehicles and pedestrians – might enhance safety and better accommodate pedestrians and drivers alike.

One way or another, something needs to be done. I hope you’ll fight to protect the people who live and work in and around Stuy Town from these dangerous roads.


Joseph M. Sanderson

There’s a hole in my sole

When I first moved to PCV decades ago, there was a shoe repair shop less than five minutes away. It had been there for many years and an older guy ran it. He retired and sold it to a man from South America. Then, the lease had to be renegotiated and guess what? He had to leave.

An ever growing number stores in the area have gone upscale have had their rents more than doubled.

And let me mention CVS, Duane Reade and Walgreens and high end restaurants. All can afford to pay far more than the old shoe store or Ess-a-Bagel and other retail landmarks that were integral parts of our neighborhood.

CVS is now where the cobbler’s shop was. And here’s how they operate. Each week they present loss leaders, e.g., Bumble Bee Tuna for 77 cents, canned pound hams at $2, coffee at half price.

But don’t let that fool you. Most of the other products are about 40 percent more than at any other store.

For example, a ream of computer paper is about $8 at CVS – while the Rite Way pharmacy sells it for about $5. Check it out.

Now many stores are far away and when I moved here, there were about eight supermarkets. Now two are left… Morton Williams and the ever struggling to survive Gristedes. All others replaced by pseudo gourmet shops with double the prices.

Why? Again, the excessive greed of the real estate industry, which is just a microcosm of our new economic system.

David Chowes, PCV

2 thoughts on “Letters to the editor, June 18

  1. Re: Jim Altman’s letter. This is another reminder of how much more MetLife did with fewer dollars, even adjusted for inflation. But they knew what they were doing and wanted to do things well. The opposite is true of current so-called management. They’re on a learning curve to nowhere.

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