Letters to the Editor: Feb. 18

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

An election closer to home

Forget Donald. Forget Hillary. Forget Bernie. Forget Ted and Marco.  The election that counts is coming this spring.  It’s the election of members of the Board of Directors of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association. Like the run for the US Presidency, this is not for sissies.

Members of the board serve all residents in a variety of ways. They negotiate with management on quality of life and other community issues. They, together with the Tenants Association’s attorney, handle appeals of Major Capital Improvements (MCIs) and other rent and lease issues with the Department of Housing and Community Renewal. They work with other tenant organizations in lobbying Albany and City Hall for fair rent laws and practices. They communicate with community residents via printed notices, a website, Facebook, Twitter and a phone-and-email Message Center.

“They” are the members of the Tenants Association’s Board of Directors, elected by Association members for rotating unpaid four-year terms. Although their names appear on the TA’s letterhead and many of its communications, you might like to know what special expertise they bring to our organization, which works on behalf of all Stuy Town and Peter Cooper residents.

The Board includes the hands-on vice president of a New York City construction firm; an urban planner with 20 years of experience in real estate development, property management and city government; a technology director of a major hospital; a marketing director; a special education teacher on child-rearing leave; a retired writer, editor and public relations professional; a writer and book editor.

Several members have been community activists for years; two serve on Community Board 6.  Four members are attorneys, in diverse fields of law, one with a practice focusing on estate and commercial matters, another is a supervisor in the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Practice. A third is the retired partner and chairman of the litigation department of a leading law firm, and the fourth is in the office of Mayor De Blasio as a senior health policy advisor and attorney.

Each spring, the Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association holds an election for its Board of Directors.

Being a member of the board means working to solve a problem when the solution is bound to leave at least some residents unhappy. It means hours of work with no compensation.

But current and past members of the board report that their time and effort pay off in other ways because being a member of the board of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association is a commitment to the continued protection and preservation of a unique experiment in urban living.

Susan Steinberg,
President,
Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association 

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Police Watch: Woman wanted for watch thefts, man arrested for punching woman on subway platform

Watch theft suspect

Watch theft suspect

COPS ON LOOKOUT FOR WOMAN WHO STOLE PRICEY WATCHES FROM TWO MEN
Police are looking for a woman who stole watches from two men she accompanied to hotels on different occasions last August. The first incident took place at a Flatiron hotel, the second one in Queens.
Police said that on Friday, August, 21 at around 4 a.m., the woman met the victim, a 35- year-old man, in the Meat Packing District before taking her to the ACE hotel at 20 West 29th Street.  When the man fell asleep, the woman took the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore watch worth $55,000 off of his wrist and took off.
Four days later on August 25 at 1 a.m., another man, 28, met up with the woman in front of the Catch Restaurant located at 21 9th Avenue in Chelsea. He then brought her to the Z hotel located 42-45 11th street in Queens. After the man fell asleep, the suspect took the watch off his wrist, another Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore watch worth $50,000, and left.
The suspect is described as Hispanic, approximately 5’8” with long black hair and a light complexion with a tattoo on her hand. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS .

WOMAN PUNCHED AT 23RD STREET N/R STATION
Police arrested 47-year-old Cleveland Gibbs for allegedly randomly punching a woman on the subway last Wednesday.
The victim said she was at the 23rd Street N/R station at Fifth Avenue at around 10:30 a.m., waiting for the train on the downtown platform when Gibbs punched her in the face for no apparent reason. His fist hit her right cheek, causing swelling and redness. She said that Gibbs then followed her out of the turnstile and walked towards her but when she told him to get away, he walked off. She then followed him out of the station at a safe distance while on the phone with 911 as she gave a description of him. At that time he approached her again but soon backed off, turning around when she told him to get away. He was arrested a short time later.

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The dos and don’t of buying vintage

Dealers at Manhattan Vintage Show share their tips

Denyse Sookdar of Denyse’s Closet (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Denyse Sookdar of Denyse’s Closet (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Three times a year, members of the fashion industry as well as lovers of vintage clothing converge upon the Metropolitan Pavilion for the Manhattan Vintage Show, an expo for vintage dealers from New York and around the country. The most recent event was held last weekend (the next show will be in April) with around 75 overstuffed booths as well as a costume installation that paid homage to the late David Bowie.

While there, Town & Village asked the pros for tips on how to shop for vintage clothes, which — as any of the customers who shell out $20 just for entry to the show to can attest to — can be a pricey undertaking. Especially with some of the dealers hawking Victorian pieces as well as other pre-Depression outfits, not to mention designer labels. Sometimes, the experts assured us, it’s worth it. But other times, customers should know when to walk away.

Denyse Sookdar, owner of Denyse’s Closet in Stanford, Connecticut, warns shoppers to look for flaws in an item that can’t be easily fixed.

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Stuyvesant Post Office: Progress being made

Rendering of residential building to be built at 432 East 14th Street

Rendering of residential building to be built at 432 East 14th Street

By Sabina Mollot

Construction will soon start on the eight-story, 114-apartment building that’s planned for the space that once housed the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office.

Additionally, according to the developer, Benenson Capital Partners, construction will end in late 2016 or early 2017 and the building will be 80/20 (market rent vs. affordable housing, respectively). The information was recently published on the owner’s website, which EVGrieve first reported.

The local blog also published a rendering for the project, the first one to be seen publically, which depicts the East 13th Street side of the property, with the ground floor façade covered, trellis-like, in what appear to be plantings.

In related news, on December 18, 2015, the Department of Buildings approved an application for a sub-division of the property’s existing tax lots to three new condominium subdivisions. One was for a commercial unit, the other two residential.

What this means, a spokesperson for the DOB explained, is that the lot is broken into three properties, which is done for certain tax purposes within the Department of Finance. The spokesperson said he couldn’t say whether this meant there would be condos in the traditional sense (owned units as opposed to rental).

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ST actor to star in autobiographical play about LGBT college rugby team

Una Aya Osato as one of the characters in “With You” (Photo by Anna Barsan)

Una Aya Osato will play every member of a college rugby team in “With You.” a new comedic play she also wrote for the upcoming FRIGID Festival. (Photo by Anna Barsan)

By Sabina Mollot

As she has for the past six years, Una Aya Osato, a Stuyvesant Town resident who’s an actor, writer, theater producer and burlesque dancer, is giving New Yorkers a reason to leave their apartments this snow-filled month.

She’ll be participating in the FRIGID Festival, an annual smorgasbord of alternative theater that’s now celebrating its 10th anniversary.

This year’s event will include 30 productions at two East Village venues, one of which is “With You,” a one-woman show written and performed by Osato.

This play, which Osato has described as a “queer rom-com,” focuses on a college rugby team with women and trans-people as members, and it’s actually semi-autobiographical. Osato had attended Wesleyan University, which she said was a pretty progressive place. “Especially in the rugby community,” which was full of artists and LGBT students. That would include Osato, although she prefers the term “queer” over gay.

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Hoppy ending: Bunnies rescued from hoarder’s home are put up for adoption

One of the bunnies at an adoption event held at the former Police Academy building (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

One of the bunnies at an adoption event held at the former Police Academy building (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

About a dozen bunnies that were rescued from the home of an animal hoarder found new homes during an adoption event in the former Police Academy building on Saturday.

The 50 bunnies up for adoption at the event were just a small portion of the nearly 200 rabbits that had been rescued last January in Brooklyn from bunny hoarder Dorota Trec, who was arrested for animal cruelty. When the rabbits were rescued, Ani-Care Hospital in Pennsylvania took custody of 150 of the bunnies and St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in New Jersey became responsible for 77. The total count of rabbits from the seizure was ultimately around 230 because some of the rabbits were pregnant at the time; the event last Saturday had at least one mother-daughter pair up for adoption.

The adoption event was hosted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Ani-Care Hospital and the NYPD.

Natasha Whitling of the ASPCA said that the use of the former Police Academy space was made possible through the ASPCA’s partnership with the NYPD, which still uses the building on East 20th Street as a candidate assessment center.

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Study: ST/PCV clearest neighborhood post-blizzard

An aerial view of Stuyvesant Town’s First Avenue Loop after the storm (Photo by Mark Thompson)

An aerial view of Stuyvesant Town’s First Avenue Loop after the storm (Photo by Mark Thompson)

By Sabina Mollot

In case anyone was wondering how Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper measured up with the rest of the city in terms of snow removal during last month’s “Snowmageddon,” the answer is that the roads and sidewalks were more ice-free than anywhere else.

More specifically, it got zero 311 complaints, according to a study by apartment listings company RentHop. In contrast, the East Village was the iciest and snowiest nabe in Manhattan, according to the study. The stats came from a 311 complaint count which was then adjusted to reflect the calls per square mile so that it wasn’t simply a matter of the biggest neighborhoods automatically being the worst offenders.

Shane Leese, a “data scientist” for RentHop, explained the adjustment seemed necessary considering that some neighborhoods in Queens which were two or three square miles long dwarfed many neighborhoods in Brooklyn, which then dwarfed many in Manhattan that were just a few square blocks. Additionally, the study noted that 311 complaints were not accepted while snow was still falling.

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The silver snowboarder

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Peter Cooper Village athlete Zach Elder (pictured at right) with his older brother Douglas (Photo by Karen Elder)

 

Resident wins medal in X Games Special Olympics

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

When Peter Cooper resident Zach Elder declared at age 9 that he wanted to learn to snowboard, his parents were shocked.

Elder is autistic and his mother Karen said that up to that point, her son was not very verbal, “never saying anymore than he needed to say to get the point across,” she said. But Elder was determined to snowboard, and that willpower to learn the sport paid off: he’s now 20 and on January 28, won a silver medal at the X Games in Aspen in the Special Olympics Unified Sports snowboarding event.

Elder, who has been competing in races since age 13 and who said his idol, Olympic and X Games gold medalist Shaun White, inspired him to learn the sport, is a member of a team with the Adaptive Sports Foundation, a non-profit organization offering outdoor physical activities and education for individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities and chronic illnesses. Although Elder trains at ASF, which is about an hour south of Albany, he has deep roots in Peter Cooper Village. His father, Richard, grew up in Peter Cooper and went to Stuyvesant High School when it was still in the neighborhood.

“My mom is 91 and still lives there,” he said.

The event at the X Games is a partnership between the games and the Special Olympics that first took place last year, which Elder also participated in, winning a bronze medal with snowboarder Scotty James. Last year’s event marked the first time that Special Olympics athletes competed during the X Games. Continue reading

Letters to the Editor: Feb. 11

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Feb11 PCVST truckPC Road a parking lot for trucks?

To the Editor:

When I attended Rick Hayduk’s get acquainted meeting, I was impressed by (among other things) his resolve to stop using Peter Cooper Road for overnight parking of the complex’s big box trucks.

The big trucks have disappeared, but a smaller one has taken up what appears to be permanent residence. The truck, complete with plow and salt spreader has not moved from its spot on Peter Cooper Road since the end of the last snowstorm. That’s about two weeks.

Perhaps it’s in position for the next big storm. If so, it may be here until fall. Or maybe its battery is dead. Should we call AAA for management?

I informed management of this truck’s permanent position last week via the “feedback” e-mail address that Mr. Hayduk said would be monitored for residents’ complaints. So far, I have heard nothing back and the truck has not moved.

Technically, this is not one of the big trucks that Rick Hayduk said would no longer be kept on the roads in the complex. As such, it doesn’t violate the letter of his statement but it certainly is at odds with the spirit. And the lack of response to my e-mail makes me fear that Blackstone, like the previous owner, is NATO (no action, talk only). If so, residents will have more reason than the similar names to confuse Blackstone and BlackRock.

Joe Lisanti, PCV

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Police Watch: Serial ice cream ‘thief’ busted, ‘Bank robber’ nabbed on East 28th

SERIAL ICE CREAM ‘THIEF’ NABBED
Police arrested 28-year-old Philip Jaudoa last Tuesday evening for allegedly stealing over $3,000 worth of ice cream and energy drinks from multiple stores.
Police said that the pattern began on December 18 when Jaudoa strolled into the Duane Reade at 777 Sixth Avenue and allegedly distracted store employees while the two other people he was with took ice cream without paying for it. Police said that the total amount of treats stolen was $1,470.
On January 14, Jaudoa went to a CVS at 215 Park Avenue South and allegedly swiped $106.03 worth of Haagen Dazs ice cream. Police said that he went into another CVS location at 750 Sixth Avenue on December 20, 2015 and took energy drinks without paying.
Police also said that Jaudoa stole $248 worth of ice cream from that same CVS location on January 14.
Jaudoa was additionally charged in an incident in the 6th Precinct where police said that he and two other people who weren’t arrested stole $1,683 worth of ice cream from the CVS at 20 University Place.
He allegedly also stole merchandise from a CVS at 300 Park Avenue South on November 16, 2015 but police did not specify what was taken that time.
Police didn’t have information on whether the sugary substances were intended for a lifetime of personal use or some other purpose like starting a mid-winter pop-up stand, but it seems that Jaudoa liked the good stuff. In one case, 54 pints of Haagen Dazs were allegedly pilfered along with 90 pints of Ben & Jerry’s. Jaudoa was slapped with four counts of petit larceny and two counts of grand larceny in connection with the aforementioned incidents.

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Opinion: The American catharsis

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

It’s contagious! In arguing for a return of the capital punishment in the form of the guillotine and public executions Maine Governor Paul LePage joked about where the severed head might land.

This just days after Donald Trump quipped, “I could shoot somebody in Times Square and not lose any support.”

When are our leaders and would-be leaders going to talk sense to the American people instead of trying for school yard boasting and juvenile behavior?

In answer to the threat posed by ISIS you may recall that Senator Ted Cruz bellowed that he would carpet bomb the whole region and “see whether the desert sand glows.” Another nifty one liner sure to please all his angry supporters who also agree with him that New Yorkers are “values challenged.”

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ST/PCV lenders getting repaid: Report

By Sabina Mollot

Following the sale of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, at a record-breaking price of $5.45 billion, the property’s senior lenders who’d forked over $3 million are finally getting repaid.

According to a report issued in mid-January by real estate analysis firm Trepp “the ship has come in” finally, at least for one of the tranches of the CMBS (commercial mortgage backed securities) packaged deal. The smallest one at a measly $202.2 million – had been repaid. That piece represented 11.3 percent of the entire deal.

Sean Barry, a research analyst for Trepp, explained, “Everyone who lent that has been paid back. We anticipate that the full $3 billion (will be repaid unless) someone files another piece of litigation, but we don’t think that’s going to happen.”

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Police arrest suspect in Manhattan bank robbery spree

ABDUL HARLEY

ABDUL HARLEY

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 43-year-old homeless man Abdul Harley for robbery last Thursday after he allegedly attempted to rob five different banks earlier that day, in addition to five other robberies that police said that he has committed since November. The suspect had been seen on surveillance video wearing a blue painter’s jumpsuit while running away from the scene of robberies he allegedly committed in January.

Harley’s alleged spree last Thursday began at 9:24 a.m. inside a Bank of America at 800 Sixth Avenue. Police said that he walked into the bank and demanded money but when the teller refused, Harley fled empty handed. He was more successful after an alleged robbery from a Banco Popular at 345 Park Avenue South between East 25th and 26th Streets at 10:47 a.m.

Police said that after Harley demanded money, the teller complied and he fled with an undetermined amount of money.

Later that afternoon at 1:09 p.m., Harley allegedly attempted to rob a Chase Bank at 1221 Madison Avenue on the corner of East 88th Street but police said that when he demanded money from the teller, the teller walked away from the window and Harley fled empty handed. He then went to the HSBC Bank at 1340 Third Avenue, between East 76th and 77th Streets, and approached an empty teller window. Police said that he motioned to an employee to come over but the employee, who recognized Harley from surveillance photos that had been handed out by police, ignored him and Harley then fled the bank.

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THE HOT SEAT

A few others say they may also join race for Garodnick’s replacement

Jeff Mailman (Photo by Liron Amsellem)

Jeff Mailman (Photo by Liron Amsellem)

By Sabina Mollot

As Council Member Dan Garodnick continues to fund raise for higher office, possibly even in a state role, only one person so far, Stuyvesant Town resident Joshua Thompson has been running an active campaign to replace his soon to be vacated seat.

But that seat is still being eyed by at least a few others as well.

One very likely candidate is East Midtown resident Jeff Mailman. Mailman, for the past four years, has worked as legislative director to Queens Council Member Liz Crowley, a job that entails making sure bills are drafted properly and preparing for oversight hearings, as well as working on constituent issues.

If he were to be elected to the Council, the 33-year-old said a priority for him would be public safety, “especially my district, which includes Times Square. Ensuring the FDNY and police have adequate resources, looking at response times for medical emergencies.”

He also would like to see the precedent begun with Garodnick in the East Midtown area of development being tied to infrastructure improvements continued.

“In (City Council) District 4, the stations are overcrowded,” he said. “We’re waiting for the Second Avenue Subway. So any type of rezoning that leads to greater density… I certainly have an interest in making sure that’s very thoughtfully done.”

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Stuy Town resident running for Council

Joshua Thompson, who’s held government jobs in Newark, New Jersey and Bridgeport, Connecticut, is hoping to replace Dan Garodnick in the City Council. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Joshua Thompson, who’s held government jobs in Newark, New Jersey and Bridgeport, Connecticut, is hoping to replace Dan Garodnick in the City Council. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With Council Member Dan Garodnick getting term-limited out, a Stuyvesant Town resident, Joshua Thompson, is hoping to succeed him, and has already gotten serious about amassing his war chest.

During an interview over coffee at the Coopertown Diner, which Thompson has come to think of as his second office, the Democratic candidate said his campaign has so far received $20,000. There’s also another $30,000 in pledged support.

Thompson, who’s 30 and from Newark, began his political career there under then-Mayor Cory Booker. Currently, he serves as executive director of external relations for the nonprofit New Leaders, which promotes leadership in education.

He moved to Stuy Town with his wife Julia, who founded the Bushwick location of charter school Achievement First, and the couple’s shih tzu-poodle mix pooch, Cody, in July of 2014. They’d also lived for a while on 85th Street in Manhattan and in Bridgeport, Connecticut when Thompson served as director of education for that city from 2012-2014.

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