The graying of Peter Cooper Village
As in many buildings in Peter Cooper and Stuyvesant Town, mine houses its share of young people from NYU grad programs and professional schools plus a lot of recent grads from around the country starting their new jobs or families, many doubling into a single apartment seeking to ameliorate our ridiculous market rate rentals.
For me, now a longterm rent stabilized tenant, most of these people are a welcome and ebullient contrast to the way things used to be. In those olden days Peter Cooper seems to have been populated predominantly by an overdose of somber and lugubrious graybeards who mostly got their leases by knowing an insider at Met Life, whose children (if they had any) had long ago flown far from the parental nest, and whose notion of liberalism was to tolerate blacks in the development only if they were judges, commissioners or squirrels.
Now the place abounds with young professionals, young parents, young children and young dogs — all liberally sprinkled amongst us lucky traditionals holding out in our stabilized homesteads. For me, despite occasional rare bouts of overenthusiasm emanating from the newcomers’ apartments, this new mix is a delight. The “kids” are great. It’s as if my own kids and grandchildren were (thankfully) not living with me but were (thankfully) nearby.
So what’s all this about the place graying? Well, it seems one of the last major “improvements” undertaken by the last owner, CWCapital, was to paint all the apartment and stairway doors gray, install new gray baseboards in the hallways, and replace the existing hallway carpeting with matching gray-ish wall-to-walls. This project was accomplished right after management completed installation of two gigantic illuminated “EXIT” signs on every floor, pointing to the stairwell a few feet away from each. Considering large stains on the carpet immediately facing the elevators (recently caused by hurried workmen renovating the apartment opposite mine) and another sizeable stain down the hall caused by the resident doggie’s premature expulsion — both nicely offset against the carpet’s two-tone gray — these improvements, now including a few gashes of black that have mysteriously appeared on the wall near one of the stairwells, have created an institutional-like décor, somewhat of a dreary cross between a prison and a hospital. The couple in the just-renovated one-bedroom apartment is paying north of $4,000 a month (for their first year).
My respectful suggestions to this development’s new owner are as follows: 1) Get rid of any holdover decoration and design personnel, 2) put a little color and imagination into the next makeover, 3) as chaotic as this would be, form a tenants’ committee to get input from some of the people who live here.
Joe Lobenthal, PCV