Veterans Day celebrated in Stuyvesant Town

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Residents place flags on the Oval lawn. (Photos by Kristy Ye-Ling)

By Kristy Ye-Ling

Despite frigid temperatures, around 150 Stuyvesant Town residents gathered on the Oval on Saturday morning for a Veterans Day ceremony held by management. General Manager Rick Hayduk welcomed everyone in brief opening remarks and introduced a few veterans. Then, residents had the opportunity to place American flags on the Oval lawn. A total of 7,008 flags were planted to express gratitude towards the servicemen and women who lost their lives since September 11th, 2001. Additionally, yellow paper was tied in bands around the trees in the area where residents (eventually hundreds) wrote thank you messages to veterans.

One of the veterans in attendance was former Navy personnelman Daniel Murphy, who shared, “I was in the Mediterranean three times, the Caribbean four times.” His most memorable experience was having President Kennedy on his ship during the Cuban crisis where he led a flotilla of 86 ships as a flagship.

 

 

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Stuyvesant Town going solar

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Rendering of Stuyvesant Town as it would appear following installation of solar panels (Photo courtesy of StuyTown Property Services)

 

By Sabina Mollot

On Wednesday, Stuyvesant Town’s owners, Blackstone and Ivanhoé Cambridge, announced plans to install solar panels on all of the roofs in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. Additionally, they said, it will be the largest private, multi-family residential solar project in the country.

The 3.8 Megawatt (DC) solar energy system will span across the property’s 22 acres of rooftops.

According to the owners, once the project is completed, StuyTown will have tripled Manhattan’s capacity to generate solar power. Renewable energy developer Onyx Renewable Partners is the project developer for the installation, which is expected to begin this winter and be completed in 2019.

The installation will consist of 9,671 high efficiency solar panels and will generate enough energy to power over 1,000 New York City apartments annually. The project is expected to offset approximately 63,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is comparable to removing 12,000 cars from the road for a year.

“We are incredibly proud of the long-term partnership we are building with the StuyTown community,” said Nadeem Meghji, head of Real Estate Americas at Blackstone. “In 2015 we made a commitment to preserve StuyTown’s unique heritage and be responsible stewards of its future. This innovative solar project is one of many initiatives we designed and implemented to make the community more sustainable and environmentally friendly.”

A spokesperson for Blackstone added that there will be no major capital improvement rent increase for the project, and that early on in the new ownership, environmentally friendly projects were actually suggested by residents in response to surveys issued by management. According to the Wall Street Journal, the project will cost $10 million.

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Stuy Town management hires new COO and CFO

StuyTown Property Services’ new COO Kelly Vohs, CFO Andreas Spitzer and Rick Hayduk, CEO (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuyvesant Town Property Services, the now year-old subsidiary of Blackstone created for the management of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper, has recently completed a round of hires, including two in upper management.

One is new chief financial officer Andreas Spitzer, who previously served as CFO of the American Farmland Company, which he helped sell. He also worked for three years at retail REIT Equity One and four years at the New York City Housing Authority, where he served as CFO. He also spent 10 years as a mergers and acquisitions banker.

Spitzer has spent the last six months since getting hired by SPS conducting internal audits, which hadn’t been done on the property in over seven years.

The other hire, who started last week, is chief operating officer Kelly Vohs. Like SPS chief executive officer Rick Hayduk, Vohs has worked extensively in the hotel and resort industry. He is also an Army veteran who served in Iraq.

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Leases indicate plan to submeter, but management said language is nothing new

Susan Steinberg

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg

By Sabina Mollot

Language in leases signed by Stuyvesant Town residents indicates that the owner has plans to submeter Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, which would make individual tenants responsible for paying for the electricity they use.

However, according to StuyTown Property Services, there is no plan to submeter the property any time soon.

The issue came up this week after a resident pointed out the language on Facebook and wondered if this meant Blackstone intended for file an application with the Public Service Commission (PSC) to have the property submetered.

In response, a property spokesperson, Marynia Kruk, told us, “The Facebook post (on the ST-PCV Tenants Association’s page) is accurate in that our current lease does have a clause about submetering or direct metering. However, this is not new language. New leases have contained the same language since 2009. Ownership has no current plan for submetering.”

Meanwhile, if Blackstone does eventually decide to submeter, it would be the second attempt by a Stuy Town owner to pass on the costs to renters. Tishman Speyer had planned to do this but then abruptly dropped the project upon losing the Roberts v. Tishman Speyer lawsuit at the Appellate Court level.

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TA says: More boots on the ground needed, better interior lighting

Susan Steinberg

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Following StuyTown Property Services announcing new efforts to make the complex safer, Susan Steinberg, president of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, responded with the TA’s own view, which is that equipment is nice, but live patrols are better. The TA also recommended more interior lighting. Read on for the association’s statements.

In the wake of the sexual attack on a young Stuy Town resident in her building vestibule in the early morning of February 19, The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association is once again speaking up for two vital safety measures we have been requesting for years: More foot patrols, especially at night, and far better lighting of interior paths.

General Manager Rick Hayduk’s follow-up communication to residents was a timely reminder of the emergency equipment already available: blue-lighted stanchions throughout the community, “security” buttons on lobby intercoms, the manned central video security screen system, and foot and car patrols 24/7.

Addressing future improvements, he cited plans to work with security consultants to identify where “new and additional equipment can be placed to enhance coverage.”

We at the TA insist that far more important than additional electronic wonders is a seriously enlarged force of on-foot public safety personnel and more small vehicles always on the move. It was just such a band of visible, on-foot and on-wheels security personnel constantly patrolling the property and checking the stairwells of each building every day that once made this community the lowest crime area in the city.

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StuyTown to offer self-defense classes after attempted rape

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

StuyTown Property Services will be offering self-defense courses to residents in the wake of the sexual assault in Stuyvesant Town early last Sunday morning, and the management has installed new lighting along the 14th Street corridor. General Manager Rick Hayduk made the announcements in an emailed newsletter to residents on Thursday night.

In addition to new lighting, Hayduk noted that perimeter lighting, particular along Avenue C, as well as interior lighting, is currently being reviewed. SPS will also be working with security consultants to identify areas where new and additional equipment should be placed, including improvements to the configuration of the surveillance system, since the assault on Sunday was not fully visible to the property’s security cameras.

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What ST/PCV lottery winners can expect in their apartments

The renovated units have a dishwasher and light wood finishes on the cabinets. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

The renovated units have a dishwasher and light wood finishes on the cabinets. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The apartments allocated as “affordable” in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village are, as Blackstone, has promised, renovated, which would be expected given the only somewhat reduced price.
However, unlike market units, they can’t be toured by prospective renters until they’re contacted because an apartment has become available. Would-be tenants won’t encounter any surprises though since all the available one and two-bedroom units are similar in layout and in the fixtures.

What’s to be expected is an included air conditioner in the living room window and in each bedroom, though like all other tenants, they’ll be paying extra surcharges to keep cool. The ACs will be either GE or Friedrich. At this time, monthly surcharges are $26.65 per unit, a rate set by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal for all tenants.

Kitchens will come with a dishwasher, which like the other kitchen appliances like the fridge and microwave, are manufactured by GE.

All kitchen cabinets have wood finish with white appliances and granite or Corian surface countertops.

All apartments have the classic blond wood parquet floor that will ultimately have to be 80 percent covered.

Bathrooms are white-tiled.

All apartments will have at least four closets, including a linen closet, though they won’t necessarily all be laid out the same way.

Additionally, like all other residents, lottery winners will have their utility fees included in their rents, which are determined by area median income.

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ST composting effort keeps 10,000 lbs. of garbage out of landfill each week

Rei Moya, the director of environmental services at Stuyvesant Town with Rick Hayduk, general manager (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Rei Moya, the director of environmental services at Stuyvesant Town with Rick Hayduk, general manager (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last summer, Rick Hayduk, the general manager of Stuyvesant Town, announced that the new owner was looking for ways to reduce the 80-acre property’s carbon footprint. This was mentioned after a decision was made not to bring back the heated sports tent that had been in the complex for two seasons. At the time, Hayduk said it wouldn’t be returning due to all the energy it took to keep the nearly three-story tent a comfortable temperature during the winter months, as well as noise complaints from neighbors.

Since then, Blackstone and StuyTown Property Services have made good on their commitment to undertake some environmentally-friendly initiatives. One in October was the installation of a weather monitor to be used by the property’s landscapers to prevent the grounds from getting over-watered. In June, the owner planted 30 new trees around the complex to replace those that had died over time due to disease or pollution.

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ST-PCV Tenants Association to fight video intercom MCI

By Sabina Mollot

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association is seeking neighbors’ help in an effort to challenge the recently announced video intercom MCI.

The major capital improvement rent increase, if approved, will impact the following Peter Cooper Village buildings: 420 and 440 East 23rd Street, 350, 360, 360 and 390 First Avenue, 2 and 3 Peter Cooper Road and 431 and 441 East 20th Street.

Susan Steinberg

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Susan Steinberg, president of the Tenants Association, said this particular MCI, one of four on the horizon, is expected to cost tenants $2.13-$2.50 per room per month.

At a meeting last month, Steinberg said the four MCIs would be challenged for different reasons, including issues with paperwork.

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Local pols, Rick Hayduk will speak at Oct. 22 ST-PCV Tenants Association meeting

ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk

ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association will hold an open tenants meeting on Saturday, October 22, at 1 p.m. in the auditorium of IS 104, 20th Street between First and Second Avenues.Speakers will include: President of the ST-PCV Tenants Association Susan Steinberg, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Rick Hayduk, CEO/General Manager of StuyTown Property Services. The general theme will be the state of the community. Each speaker will briefly address issues as they directly relate to and affect Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, from the L train shutdown to the telephone scams targeting the community, from MCIs to rent-freeze month. An open-mic question-and-answer period will follow.

“Tenants will want to hear from our own elected representatives as to what they have been doing on our behalf,” said Steinberg. “We also plan to provide a summary of TA activities during the year. This is an important meeting, and we hope to see a packed auditorium.”

Four new MCIs pending for ST/PCV

Blackstone representative Nadeem Meghji, pictured at a meeting last October, tells ST-PCV tenants the owner will not use MCIs as a tool to inflate rents. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Blackstone representative Nadeem Meghji, pictured at a meeting last October, tells ST-PCV tenants the owner will not use MCIs as a tool to inflate rents. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Requests are for facade waterproofing, water heaters, video intercoms and ADA ramps, but Blackstone says it will walk away from $10M in potential fees

By Sabina Mollot

Blackstone’s management company for Stuyvesant Town, StuyTown Property Services, announced on Wednesday that it will be filing for four MCIs for work done in the complex starting two years ago.

The MCI (major capital improvement) projects are for: building façade waterproofing (which the owner said was mandated by law), upgrading the hot water heaters, video intercoms for Peter Cooper Village buildings and the installation of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant ramps.

If approved, the cost that would be passed onto residents in the form of a permanent rent increase that a spokesperson for SPS expects will be on average around $8 per month per apartment. While applications don’t guarantee an MCI will be approved, based on community history, the state housing agency, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, has never met an MCI it didn’t like.

MCIs will be filed for 54 building addresses, a few with multiple filings, according to SPS spokesperson Paula Chirhart. The intercom MCI will be for all Peter Cooper buildings, while the ADA ramp one will be for just two buildings, 400-410 East 20th Street and 430-440 East 20th Street, with a shared ramp at each building. As for the intercoms, the new system will have its own wiring instead of using tenants’ land lines. The water heaters are being replaced, because, according to Chirhart, at this point, the cost of repairing them would be higher than buying new. The waterproofing work is the result of inspections which take place every five years, with work being done if the inspection shows it’s necessary. That work is being done at 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 Peter Cooper Road, 511 and 531 East 20th Street and 510 and 530 East 23rd Street.

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Carb Tease: Ess-a-Bagel says re-opening is next week

Sept8 Ess-A-Bagel bagels

Toasty (not toasted) Ess-a-Bagels (Photo by Danny Chin)

By Sabina Mollot

On Thursday, Ess-a-Bagel announced via Facebook that the long delayed store opening in Stuyvesant Town would be some time early next week.

“Will post the exact date over the weekend. Happy Labor Day and look forward to seeing you all next week!!” read a post.

Owner David Wilpon didn’t return a call for comment but said previously that the delay in opening had to do with numerous permits.

Ess-a-Bagel at 324 First Avenue was originally supposed to open in February, nearly a year after the company lost its lease across the street to Tal Bagels.

Since then three permits have been approved by the city for work related to the new store’s renovation, for signage, sprinklers and floors.

By Wednesday, Town & Village reader Danny Chin alerted us that good news was in the air.

“I was lucky enough to get a photo of the 1st test batch of bagels from the new Ess-a-Bagel,” he said. “They were testing out their new oven as I was walking by this afternoon. The bagel was nicely blistered and crispy.”

Grounds get more dog friendly

The addition of more mulched areas as well as fences in ST/PCV is aimed at protecting the grass from dog waste.  This is part of an ongoing landscape renovation. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The addition of more mulched areas as well as fences in ST/PCV is aimed at protecting the grass from dog waste. This is part of an ongoing landscape renovation. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

It’s springtime following a particularly rough winter that managed to be both unseasonably warm as well as frigid, and in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village that means just one thing: time for a landscape renovation.

Chuck Hartsell, the property’s director of horticulture and landscape, said this year’s damage wasn’t as extreme as in some recent years due to some precautionary work and current projects include adding 21 shade trees and protecting plants from dogs as well as making the grounds more dog friendly.

To accomplish the pooch-related goals, Hartsell said there’s been fencing and removal of fencing on a rotational basis on grass areas. This was done, he explained as “an experiment” with the grounds crew later noticing that a fenced-in area was kept pristine while an open area was completely laid to waste thanks to, well, dog waste.

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Stuy Town man facing eviction for starting fires

653 East 14th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

653 East 14th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Blackstone and Ivanhoé Cambridge filed a lawsuit against a longtime Stuyvesant Town tenant at the beginning of this month because the resident has reportedly had a history of terrifying his neighbors with erratic behavior and setting fires in his apartment.

The New York Post originally reported the lawsuit between the owner and resident Max Chalawsky last Sunday and the suit was filed on April 1. The landlord, officially referred to as BPP ST in the suit, is seeking permanent injunctive relief and damages against Chalawsky because of his “severely destructive behavior” detailed in the suit, which included leaving pots unattended on a gas stove and reconnecting gas lines. The suit also alleges that Chalawsky behaved menacingly towards his neighbors and building personnel and it seeks an injunction to bar him from tampering with the gas lines, as well as damages no less than $25,000.

The suit noted nine different incidents since last year that variously involved the NYPD, FDNY, EMS, other tenants and staff in his building. Five of the incidents resulted in his being taken to Bellevue or Beth Israel for observation and in a more than one instance, Chalawsky reportedly removed a cap that had been placed on his gas line.

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CompassRock officially out, Blackstone’s management company named

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Rick Hayduk  (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Three months after taking over the property, Blackstone has announced the name of its own recently formed management company that will handle the day-to-day operations at Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. This is following CompassRock’s official exit from ST/PCV on April 1.

Unlike CompassRock, the new company, called “StuyTown Property Services,” will — as its name suggests — just be for the management of ST/PCV, according to a Blackstone spokesperson.

In other management changes, along with four recent plumbing hires, StuyTown Property Services has also added three new people to its resident relations division. Those employees will be responsible for cleanliness inspections, maintenance issues and hands-on resident relations, said Blackstone spokesperson Paula Chirhart.

“The termination of the previous management agreement and the formal establishment of StuyTown Property Services marks a major milestone for all residents,” said Nadeem Meghji, senior managing director for Blackstone. “We are pleased to have Rick (Hayduk) and his StuyTown Property Services team in place and ready to serve the community.”

In January, resort and residential industry veteran Rick Hayduk was hired as Stuy Town’s new general manager. He was also the first person in that role to move into the community since the Met Life days, and is the new company’s CEO.

Meanwhile, this is the second apartment complex CompassRock has lost from its portfolio in recent months. CompassRock, CWCapital’s management arm formed in 2012, had been managing the 1,229-unit Riverton Houses in Harlem while CWCapital oversaw the property following an over-leveraged deal. Then last December, Riverton was sold to A&E Real Estate, and according to a spokesperson, Daniel White, A&E prefers to do its own management of the properties it owns.

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