‘Smoking areas’ coming to ST/PCV

Urns like this one will be installed throughout the complex. (Photo by Chuck Hartsell)

Urns like this one will be installed throughout the complex. (Photo by Chuck Hartsell)

By Sabina Mollot

Where there’s smoke there’s ire — and Stuyvesant Town management has gotten that very clear message after poring over countless surveys, reports from focus groups and a steady stream of complaints from tenants from over the past few months.

Specifically, residents have told the new owner they’ve had it with neighbors who smoke outside building entrances, causing the smoke and ash to billow up into their windows. In response, StuyTown Property Services announced last week in a tenant newsletter that it would be introducing “designated smoking areas” to the property.

Additionally, there will be, over the next few weeks, a total of 70 urns for disposing of cigarette butts placed throughout Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk spoke in more detail about the plan with Town & Village this week, saying the project is part of the ongoing “Good Neighbors” campaign encouraging courteous behavior. Recent newsletters also addressed dog and noise related complaints.

As for the smoking concerns, Hayduk said management hoped the plan would work for nonsmokers and smokers alike since the urns, which will be the designated smoking areas, will be placed about 50 feet away from buildings.

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Tenants may get rent freeze

Tenant activists  interrupt the Rent Guidelines Board meeting to demand a rollback. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Tenant activists interrupt the Rent Guidelines Board meeting to demand a rollback. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

After the historic rent freeze for one-year leases the Rent Guidelines Board approved last year, tenants were hoping for another reprieve in the form of a rollback this year, which they didn’t get.

However, the range of possible hikes for the city’s rent-stabilized tenants approved at the preliminary vote on Tuesday evening did leave the possibility of a second rent freeze for one-year leases. After proposals from both the tenant and owner representatives, as well as one from a public member, were voted down, new board chair Kathleen Roberts’s proposal passed for a range of 0 to 2 percent increase for one-year leases and 0.5 to 3.5 percent for two-year leases. The suggested increases are the same range presented at last year’s preliminary vote, a proposal that was also presented by the chair at the time, Rachel Godsil.

The proposal passed 5 to 4 thanks to the votes from the chair and the public members, but both the tenant and owner representatives voted against the ranges.

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Letters to the Editor, May 5

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

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

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