Letters to the editor, Feb. 14

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

The time-honored tradition of greed

The average rent in Stuy Town/Peter Cooper Village is now higher than the average rent in the rest of Manhattan. This is pretty worrisome trend. Far from being a middle-class bastion, it is now a high-rent complex.

Greedy landlords contributed. Metropolitan Life had enormous help from city to clear 80 acres in the Gas House District and evict over 13,000 working class people and their families from their homes. They said it was a slum clearance project — but there were three churches, three schools and countless mom and pop stores all there. The landlord was given enormous tax breaks.

When Mike Bloomberg was asked to intervene when Met Life said they wanted to cash in their chips in a $5.4 billion payday, Bloomberg adapted a laissez-faire attitude and said it was a “private transaction.” He deliberately turned a blind eye.

De Blasio in his affordable housing proclamation said that he got the new landlord to preserve 5,000 apartments as rent-stabilized for 20 years. Although it was hailed as a great victory, it ignored that at one point all 11,200-plus apartments were rent stabilized… now close to two thirds are going to market rate. It is a failure of colossal proportion.

Sean O’Ceallaigh, ST

The more things change…

Last night I saw a 25-year-old movie based on a story by John Grisham with Julia Roberts giving perhaps her best performance. She plays a law student who uncovers a scandal involving the president of the United States and exposes it, writing the Pelican Brief, so-called because the scandal is all about the president’s enabling the destruction of a supposedly protected environment, specifically the habitat of pelicans and other birds and mammals, so that a billionaire supporter of and responsible for the president’s election can drill for oil in that protected place.

Of course, the president doesn’t believe in climate change or supporting any organizations that attempt to do something about it, including his own EPA. Sound familiar? But wait, there’s more.

The Brief also involves the assassination of two Supreme Court justices who believe in protecting the environment and would have nixed the art of this deal. When the director of the FBI learns about the Pelican Brief, he informs the president in a one-on-one meeting that he must commence an investigation of this matter. The president, of course, becomes visibly upset and asks the director if he would “back off” any investigation. As a favor to him. The director shows his loyalty, unlike some other FBI directors, and honors this request which a lawyer labels “an obstruction of justice.” Hmmm.

But the FBI director is not the only one who knows about the Pelican Brief scandal. Lawyers of the billionaire supporter have found out about the brief and its author and order their assassins to eliminate Julia Roberts, her older boyfriend and anyone else who could damage the reputation of the president and/or his billionaire supporter. A car bomb intended for Julia explodes and kills her boyfriend. So Julia goes to the press and contacts reporter Denzel Washington (always excellent). This, of course, puts Denzel at risk too, but, not to worry, this is only a movie so Denzel and Julia escape danger, expose the scandal, put the bad guys in prison (except, you know, the president), and hug happily at the end.

Without any mention of the orange elephant in the room, this movie is a prophetic revelation of the future, meaning 2019. We can be proud that art and artists have so much to contribute to our understanding of ourselves and our society. Grisham demonstrates what some people will do for money and power, and what others do for love. Hopefully, today’s real-life story will have a happy ending too.

We artists can dream, can’t we?

John Cappelletti, ST

Bikes are still a big concern

Re: “At Epstein town hall, concerns abound on bikes, voting rights,” T&V, Feb. 7

I applaud Assembly Member Epstein for bringing two critical issues to discussion in the community.

With the L train construction and now the no-shutdown scenario proceeding, thought needs to be given to our street configurations. Yes, to expedited bus routes on East 20th and 14th Streets, but expanded bike lanes on these streets as well as East 12th and 13th Street need serious scrutiny.

The anticipated volume of bicyclists cannot be a sustainable position. More enforcement with bicyclists now is one answer. Education of motorists and bicyclists has always had one guiding principle: the pedestrian always has the right of way.

Charles G. Sturcken, ST

12 thoughts on “Letters to the editor, Feb. 14

  1. With at lest half of the residents in PCVST still paying thousands a month below market rate— where’d the data for ‘average rent being higher than the rest of NYC’ come from? As for greed, let’s not forget how many longtime residents are paying 1/3 to 1/2 of ‘market rate’ and are still able to hide their wealth. Maybe if people hadn’t been greedy, saving the apartments for their relatives, which is the epitome of selfishness, and a rule that makes no economic sense, the community might have evolved more smoothly. Folks weren’t worried about being bastions of the middle-class, they only worried about themselves. The landlord isn’t in this for altruistic reasons, they in this business to make a profit. Too bad they have to make it off of ‘market rate tenants’.

    • I think I’ve heard this whine before. All those elderly rent stabilized tenants with Swiss bank accounts. Terrible!

    • So market rate renters are idiots, is that the point you’re trying to make.If so, I agree with you. I wouldn’t pay a dime more than the less than half what those idiots pay that I currently pay to live here because it’s not worth it. Just because you or people you know made a bad decision doesn’t mean your sour grapes are warranted. You’re a dope who made a terrible financial decision, own it and stop projecting on others because you feel like the fool you should. Can’t wait for the warmer weather so i can open up my vacation home and get out on the water.

  2. Funny how the usual gripers are quick to call people names. I never complained about paying fair market rates — nor did I say that all
    elderly residents are well-off — but we all know someone who can afford much more than their bargain basement rates, who cleverly hide their assets. People should pay what’s fair and not expect others to carry the load. RS was put in place for a good reason – not to be abused and certainly not to enable only a few ‘lucky’ families to spread out and stay for decades. Other New Yorkers should’ve been given a fair chance to move in here. For years, folks were blocked from coming in, by Met Life and those same families. Stop griping about MCIs, stop blocking improvements that might benefit all. If you can’t afford Manhattan, then yeah, maybe you *should* leave.

    • Other New Yorkers should’ve been given a fair chance to move in here

      Any if it weren’t for Vacancy Decontrol, they would have been. People used to move from one regulated unit to another back in the day. Decontrol turned every vacancy into market rate, so not much chance of moving on unless cost is no object…

    • I don’t know anybody with a bargain basement rent who can afford much more. Anybody who can afford better than this is a fool to live here.
      Sam, you sound like a very jealous, bitter old lady who pays too much attention to other people’s private business. What other people pay and what other people have is absolutely none of your business and you would be a much happier person if you just focused on your own business. Nobody has appointed you Watch Dog. If other people’s means and whether or not they deserve what they have bothers you so much, maybe you should leave Manhattan because Manhattan never has been and never will be an even playing ground. Some people are more fortunate than others and there will always be some who game the system, but unless somebody’s behavior affects you personally, MYOB.

  3. Don’t understand how “folks were [previously] blocked from coming in,” Sam. You don’t make any sense. If you don’t like it here, you are free to leave at any time. Others WISH they could afford to leave, but can’t….

    • Nobody was blocked from coming in, but there was a very long waiting list and you had to meet certain criteria (income, references, etc.). It was worth the wait if you were lucky enough to eventually get an apartment. People didn’t move out because it was such a great place to live. Not too many people risked eviction by playing the system. Now, we have a revolving door tenancy and no stability. It’s very hard to have a child or other family member “inherit” the apartment. Only a spouse can stay if you leave or croak!

  4. John Cappelletti, I didn’t see “The Pelican Brief,” but now I am trying to dig it up on NetFlix or On Demand. Sounds very prophetic! Thank you for the synopsis!

  5. Other posters-Just ignore this “Sam”, he is a REBNY troll, spouting off misinfo, false history and lies. He ends his rant with the despicable “move to” line. How obvious. Sorry, gotta go, my limo is waiting to take me to my helicopter to take me out to my South Hampton mansion. Ta ta!

    • Nah, she’s just an embittered “market rate” tenant who hates that people are paying less than she. The greed and avarice that caused this property to be turned into “the haves and have-nots” is not the fault of the people she despises. She hates that somebody might be getting more than, or as much as, she while she is paying more. All I can say is “Life’s Unfair.” Ask the kid with CP whose sibling is healthy if he or she thinks life is fair. Much worse case scenario, I grant you, but this whiner is just so totally obsessed with the older rent stabilized tenants and what they pay and what they might be getting away with, that it just eats her up. Who cares, though? We’ll all be in the graveyard in the not-too-distant future. Focus on your own life, Sam, and stop coveting what others have (or what you think they have).

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