Letters to the Editor, Oct. 29

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

What about the 6,000 other apartments?

I’m writing to express my extreme displeasure with the terms of the recent sale of PCVST, which the mayor and our elected officials have been touting as a victory in the press.

I believe this “victory,” unfortunately, serves the mayor’s political agenda more than it does the PCVST community as a whole. While reserving 5,000 units for affordable housing is a good thing – and an admirable goal to strive for – it will, sadly, come at the expense of the other 6,000+ apartments, including market rate renters, the majority of whom are hard-working families who want to live in PCVST because it is a great place to raise a family and is zoned in a great public school district.

These people are struggling like any other New Yorker. There are no millionaires living here. This deal has sold out more than half of this community – and yet there was Mayor de Blasio, flanked by our trusted elected officials, boasting of how he “saved” STPCV.

The mayor had a real opportunity to effect real change in this community. Instead he took the politically convenient route: finding the easiest way to add numbers to his affordable housing quota. What he failed to take into consideration is PCVST’s uniqueness. It is a whole community, not a spreadsheet. He could have used his political clout to not only save those 5,000 units, but to work toward a plan for tenant ownership, which would have ensured a true, long-lasting, and better community – and helped the community as a whole.

Instead, he helped open our doors and let his real estate friends at Blackstone in. They are not about preserving our community. They are about turning a profit – at the expense of the community.

What this deal has done is essentially put a 20-year Band Aid on a wound that needed more serious attention. Mayor de Blasio has been quoted as saying, “We’re not gonna lose Stuy Town on my watch.” And he’s right. We’ll lose it on someone else’s. And it’s because of this sale.
I think he knew all of this. Which is why the deal was put together without the knowledge of residents. Even though he still had the nerve to stand on this property and thank residents for giving him our blessing. Please.

I would have had much more respect for him, Alicia Glen and everyone else had they just come out and said, “Listen. This is the best we could do. We got some good things accomplished. But it’s not perfect for everyone, unfortunately.” That I could live with.

Rather, they all but called themselves superheroes who came to the rescue of 100 percent of us. It’s simply not true, it’s disrespectful to a majority of residents here, and it’s soundbite politics at its best.

I’m happy for those in the 5,000 units that will enjoy the benefits of this new deal. Everyone should have a chance to live here comfortably if they want to.

This deal is shortsighted, politically convenient, and overall feels like a real squandered opportunity that will probably be the eventual undoing of our community as we know it.

Name withheld, PCV

But first, a word from our elected officials

First, I want to thank all the people who helped put together what appears to be a good deal to save what is left of affordable housing at PCV/ST. Next, let me say what I think is wrong with the way this deal has been presented to the tenants.

On Saturday, October 24, attracted by the opportunity “to meet Blackstone” and “ask questions,” I attended the TA’s meeting at Baruch College. After listening to our local politicians mostly praise each other for an hour, I left without hearing our new landlord or asking a question.

Maybe our elected officials never heard Shakespeare’s admonition that “brevity is the soul of wit.” “Wit,” in this case, means intelligence rather than its more common usage, “clever humor.” Since Shakespeare has the notorious windbag Polonius say this line, politicians probably believe that it shouldn’t apply. It should.

Most egregious were Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Chuck Schumer, each of whom parachuted into the meeting late, made his comments (again praising everyone by name), and left as soon as he was finished. Granted, these are busy people, but they always seem to have time to take bows and blow kisses.

I wanted to hear what the representative from Blackstone had to say and what concerns my fellow tenants. But there were two more politicians on stage yet to speak (and perhaps more in the wings, ready to make “special” appearances), and I was disinclined to sit through more bloviating.
Suggestion to the TA: In the future, limit politicians’ speeches to five minutes each. A red light could go on at the four-minute mark. At five minutes, a buzzer could sound. After that, it might be useful to resurrect the old vaudeville hook.

Joe Lisanti, PCV

Our already wonderful senior services

I am writing with regard to the flyers that were handed to residents entering and exiting the properties of Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, this morning (October 21). On the reverse side of this flyer the last bullet point of innovations read “provide social and senior services including: making available an onsite social worker, creating a senior community center and offering senior activities, senior wellness checks, health screenings.”

There is some confusion because the property already has a community center, with a dynamic staff that facilitates a robust and varied calendar of events, serving its seniors seven days a week. Scott Laubner, our director for the last two-plus years, is an amazing and talented man. He is assisted by the most cordial Sonia Serrano. Formally with Oval Amenities Sonia arrived, knowing each of us by name, during the blackout that followed Superstorm Sandy.

Additionally, the center has been equipped with an onsite social worker who knows, and serves, the seniors here. Liane Bellman, LCSW, has been on staff for 11 years and is most familiar with our individual case histories. (It goes without saying that seniors don’t respond to change well… if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!) With respect to the staff I would like to say that we, the seniors, don’t like them… We LOVE them!

Most sincerely,

Margaret Anne “Peg” Donohue, ST

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