ST/PCV residents listen to Gerry Kelpin, the Department of Environmental Protections Environmental Compliance Unit director. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Frustrations were high for Stuyvesant Town tenants attending a forum on noise while trying to come up with solutions for peace and quiet in the neighborhood. The main complaint from tenants at the meeting, held by the ST-PCV Tenants Association at the PS 40 auditorium, was the seeming lack of enforcement on the part of management about noise issues. Discussing the issue with a crowd of around 70 tenants were city experts on noise.
“People will call management then management will call public safety, but by the time public safety comes up they won’t hear the noise,” Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg said. “They say not to get involved with your neighbors so you have to wait for public safety but the next thing you know, it’s going on again.”
In response, Noise Activities Chair for GrowNYC.org Dr. Arline Bronzaft said that she disagreed that tenants shouldn’t approach their neighbors.
“You should know your neighbors,” she said. “If there’s a problem, we should be able to interact with each other.”
Other residents felt that the lack of enforcement was due to the non-compliance of many apartments on the 80/20 carpet rule, which states in Stuy Town leases that 80 percent of the floor must be covered by carpeting to mitigate noise between floors.
“Two of the last three tenants who have lived above me were not compliant with the carpeting rule,” resident Arlynne Miller said. “You have to get (management) to jump through unbelievable hoops to get them to comply.”
BODY FOUND IN STORM DRAIN NEAR NYU LANGONE
This Tuesday around 11:39 a.m., police found an unconscious man inside a storm drain near East 33rd Street and First Avenue. The man was unconscious and unresponsive, police said. EMS soon arrived and pronounced the man deceased at the scene. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing. Police are withholding the man’s name pending proper family notification.
‘MUGGER’ ARRESTED ON EAST 23RD
Police arrested 33-year-old Bryan Fuge for robbery in front of 23 East 23rd Street last Saturday at 9:16 p.m. Police said that Fuge followed a woman along the sidewalk and when she entered a dimly lit area he allegedly charged at her and forcibly snatched her pocketbook, causing the strap to break. Police said that Fuge fled east, which wound up being towards four plainclothes officers.
An officer then identified himself by stating, “Police, don’t move,” and Fuge yelled and allegedly lowered his shoulder, ramming into the officers. Police said that he resisted arrest by shoving, striking and writhing around while maintaining possession of the bag. Police said that Fuge is a suspect in two other robberies in the 13th and 17th precincts and was currently on parole. He was charged with robbery, criminal possession of stolen property and resisting arrest.
WOMAN ARRESTED FOR ‘SWIPING’ PURSE AT PARK AVE. SOUTH AND EAST 22ND
Police arrested 31-year-old Jenea Osborne at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 22nd Street last Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for grand larceny and possession of stolen property. The victim told police that she was eating a salad with her friend when someone came up to her and told her that he saw her bag get taken. She said that she had an iPad inside her bag. A witness told police that he saw Osborne walk into the store with a man who was behaving in a disorderly manner and he saw Osborne take the victim’s bag. The witness said that the man who was with Osborne left the store and came back briefly to make sure that no one was following her.
Officers later searched the area and put a description on the radio. Two officers were canvassing the uptown 6 train station and stopped Osborne since she fit the description. Police said that prior to the stop, they witnessed Osborne throw the black handbag into the train tracks. The witness made a positive ID of Osborne when she was arrested. The victim told police that she didn’t see her bag get taken but when the bag was recovered she said that it was hers.
MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘GROPING’ WOMAN ON 4 TRAIN
Police arrested 41-year-old Francisco Garcia at the Union Square subway station for sexual abuse last Friday at 12:18 p.m. Police said that Garcia was on a downtown 4 train, allegedly rubbing and pressing his groin area against the victim’s buttocks and hip multiple times.
A reader sent this letter to Town & Village last Tuesday about traffic problems during ongoing work along Avenue C. A response from the DOT and Con Ed follows.
Avenue C has been torn up for over three weeks, between at least 20th Street and 14th Street. I assume this is done by the DOT but I’m not certain of it.
In any case how can any responsible agency be permitted to tear up a major access road (this stretch serves as both means of entry and exit for the East River Drive) and leave it in the condition of a veritable mine field? It’s beyond reason. Traffic is slowed to a crawl and vehicles are swerving left and right to avoid major pot holes, exposed sewer covers and gas vents. (On what had been a level street to begin with, I traverse the area daily and there were no issues with this street.) Vehicle and pedestrian safety are severely compromised.
One evening last week, Con Edison employed the use of traffic cones and security guards on both 16th and 14th Streets to secure parking for their employees on the Stuyvesant Town perimeter. I believe this was done due to the congestion caused by no parking on Avenue C. Is this legal? And to top it off, that same night DOT (?) was tearing up the intersection at 14th Street and First Avenue.
What’s going on here? Why is our neighborhood being taxed so severely by poorly coordinated city services and an out of control power company? If street work is necessary, fine. Tear it up as needed but don’t leave it in this condition for weeks (months?) at a time.
Demolition/tear-up should not be permitted unless the repairs are to be made immediately. Is this so contractors can start as many jobs as possible and then get back to them when they see fit? Who is responsible for this? The public is not being well served.
Jonathan Gray listens to tenants. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
At the big announcement on Tuesday, residents who’d skipped work that morning as well as a number of retirees made up most of the crowd (along with a gaggle of reporters, photographers and cameramen).
Many seemed shocked by the news, and not all were thrilled.
One man, as he walked home along the First Avenue Loop, stopped Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen to tell her she had done a beautiful job explaining the situation. However, he then added, “It doesn’t impact me because I’m market rate, so I’ll be killing myself this afternoon.”
He then walked away, as Glen responded, “Please don’t do that.”
Residents also gave Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray an earful after the press conference. When one resident asked if CompassRock would continue to maintain the complex, he asked, “What do you think of them?” The tenant then said, “Get rid of them,” before several other tenants also began descending on him with their own complaints.
A resident of 30 years who was standing nearby, Lawrence Scheyer, simply said, “I hope Blackstone will be good stewards of this property.”
Scheyer, a real estate attorney and member of Community Board Six’s Transportation Committee, said he also wondered how the tax breaks offered to the owner in exchange for preserving affordability in 5,000 units would impact funding for the MTA. “They get a fair amount of revenue from (mortgage) recording taxes,” he explained.
Rosemary Newnham, a mom of two in Peter Cooper who does some freelance medical writing, said she didn’t think the new arrangement would help her. Her husband is a doctor and she guessed they probably bring in just over $130,000 a year. But, she added, “What is middle income in Manhattan?” She guessed it was closer to $200,000, due to costs like babysitters and daycare. She added that the last articles she wrote, “I paid for because I had to hire a sitter.”
Newnham added, “My husband does important work, saving people’s lives and we barely have any money after we pay our rent.”
Her two-bedroom in Peter Cooper, where her family’s lived since 2008, rents for close to $6,000. After the “Roberts” settlement, the couple got a check for around $100, if it was even that much.
So that new deal “is not going to change our situation as far as I can see,” Newnham said.
John “Butch” Purcell, a resident of Stuy Town since 1968, seemed more optimistic about the future.
“I think it’s a great move in terms of the 20-year thing,” said Purcell, who’s retired from a career in drug treatment counseling. “I think de Blasio stepping in was a very good move. It’s a good situation. Most people are feeling relaxed although not too relaxed because we don’t know what’s coming after this, anything that’s unsaid. What’s coming down the pike we don’t know but it’s a lot better than it was.”
Marina Metalios, a 25-year resident, was also cautiously enthusiastic. Metalios is a tenant activist who also works for UHAB, an organization that helps tenants convert their buildings to affordable co-ops, among other assistance for tenants.
“I want to see the next generation have an opportunity to live here,” she said. “I have a niece and nephew born in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper and I wonder if they could stick around when they’re adults. It seems the plan for those 5,000 units to be targeted by income might create an opportunity for that. I like that, but what happens in the 20th year? Year 20 is troublesome for me. I want something that is permanently affordable or affordable for a very long time. I don’t see how this plays out after year 20.”
The Tenants Association meanwhile issued an official statement, praising the commitments made by the owner.
“After years of fighting to deliver a more stable and affordable future for our community, today we can celebrate an important success,” said Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg.
“We have eliminated the incentives that have existed for landlords to try to kick rent-stabilized tenants to the curb, and provided security for ‘Roberts’ tenants when the J-51 tax abatement expires in 2020. We welcome Blackstone and Ivanhoé Cambridge’s commitment to protecting our valued open spaces, keeping Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper as a unified whole, and endeavoring to create an environment that is most suitable for long term tenants seeking to develop roots here.
“We also strongly support the steps being taken to assist the senior population in our community. This deal is the result of years of advocacy, and we welcome the opportunity to work with Blackstone and Ivanhoé Cambridge to bring stability back to this community.”
Linda Ayache, a longtime resident, said her concern was about the students in the community or specifically frathouse antics she said she recently witnessed.
Last week, Ayache said a bunch of “young people jumped into the fountain and the women were rubbing themselves like it was a wet t-shirt contest.” Security didn’t respond right away, she said. Security itself was another issue Ayache hoped would be a priority for a new owner.
“Last night a gang of boys accosted a female at 9 Oval at 5 p.m.,” she said.