Beloved StuyTown porter loses life to corona virus

Beloved Stuyvesant Town porter Zacarias De la Cruz has died from COVID-19.

Mr De la Cruz worked at the property in various capacities for 21 years, most recently as a porter in Peter Cooper Village.

Mr De la Cruz and his wife Zobeyda, also a porter, were well know in the community and were featured in an issue of Neighborhood Stories last year.

He is survived by Zobeyda, and their two grown children.

The couple, both from Miches, Dominican Republic, met while living here in NYC. They both worked at Swingline’s factory (staple company) in Queens.

When Swingline moved its factory to Mexico, they did not want to relocate. Instead, they waited for their union to place them in new roles. The union reached out to them both at the same time and told them to interview at StuyTown, on the same day, and both were hired.

In their 30 years together, they never worked apart.

Zac was the porter for buildings 4 & 511 Peter Cooper. Zobeyda works for 276 and 278 1st Ave Loop and Zac’s sister has been working at the property for 11 years.

Mr De la Cruz ran a non-profit in the DR to help local children and the couple had planned to retire there.

In an email to residents, management said, “StuyTown and our team will never be the same. We are eternally grateful for everything you did for us. We will miss you. Rest in peace Zac; our loss is heaven’s gain.”

Since the outbreak began, StuyTown Property Services has been notifying tenants when residents test positive for COVID-19.

General manager Rick Hayduk has asked residents to notify management if anyone in their household tests positive.

In addition to extra cleaning in building where cases are reported, management has taken additional measures to be prepared for COVID-19, including installing hand sanitizers in all buildings, screening staff for illness, screening residents who call for repairs, closing playgrounds and other measures.

Management also has a direct line of communication with senior-level administrators at Mount Sinai so that they have the most up-to-date information in order to keep the community informed.

“This is new ground for all of us and the health of the community is on my mind and in my heart, as we do our best to navigate this ever-changing situation. Individuals, families, and communities need to strike a balance between vigilance and the need to go on living our lives,” Hayduk said in an email.

“This is hard to do but essential. Our neighbors each have different perspectives, and when we can be supportive, whether that is a reassuring word or thoughtful action, we should take the opportunity.”

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