Letters to the editor, March 26

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Plastics destroy the environment

I applaud the thoughtful, detailed article by J.G. Collins in last week’s Town and Village paper on the issue of the disastrous role plastic is playing in our environment. The recent ban on plastic bags is a very important first step to address the problem (and this took years!) but so much more needs to be done.

Read the list Mr. Collins presents and cry! I am appalled at the amount of plastic and glass refuse we regularly take to the recycle bins in our building. And this is from a two-person household where take-out food is a rare occasion.

Ultimately it all comes down to money. What is to be done when so many important conflicting demands are made on City and State budgets? One (partial?) solution is: Increase taxes on the middle and upper-income population. This is the way some European countries have successfully chosen. It will be controversial here but what is the alternative? Think about it and take action.

Irmgard C. Taylor
Stuyvesant Town


Modest proposals for the pandemic

I offer up two modest, sensible proposals as we attempt to make our way through our new pandemic age.

First, the more local one. We here in Stuy Town have one of those Little Free Library boxes along the southeast edge of the Oval. Last I checked, the bird-house-style box was filled with books, which, during normal times, is as it should be. But for now, maybe the books should be cleared out to allow space for folks with the means to place non-perishable food items in that mini-library space— cans of soup and beans, boxes of cereal and pasta — for folks who might need such items.

Second, and more broadly for all New Yorkers, Gov. Cuomo should consider pushing back the April 15 deadlines for the filing and payment of New York State income tax returns. Now that July 15 is the new deadline to both file returns and make payments to the IRS, our state needs to match up its deadlines with that of the feds. In the midst of this unprecedented crisis, with growing financial burdens on so many New Yorkers, such a three-month pushback of state income tax deadlines for those who owe the state money should be a no-brainer.

Ken Chanko
Stuyvesant Town


Restrict hours for seniors

Dear New York City Grocery Store Operators:

The grocery stores you operate are a crucial asset in communities across New York, including in my Senate district. Unfortunately, there have been many press accounts in recent days of mass hoarding by shoppers in your stores of basic necessities.

In response, as our city and state begin a new phase in our COVID-19 response, I write to seek from you two voluntary commitments: (i) you make accommodations for your most vulnerable shoppers by instituting special shopping hours for them; and (ii) you implement purchase restrictions on goods that have been the subject of hoarding, including such as toilet paper, bottled water and hand soap.

First, due to the enormous influx of shoppers at your stores, elderly, disabled, and immunocompromised individuals have found it difficult to go to their local grocery stores to purchase the supplies and food necessary to self-segregate themselves and avoid crowds. I’ve heard from many constituents who are unable to stand in long lines because of a disability or able to go into busy grocery stores because of the danger of infection. A solution to this problem undertaken by grocery stores in Jersey City, NJ is to implement special times to allow particularly vulnerable populations to shop without the crowds that put them at risk and allow them to buy the goods they need to survive. Stores like ShopRite of Metro Plaza will be open from 9 to 11 a.m. for shoppers that would benefit from less crowded stores.

Second, I also ask that your stores implement reasonable restrictions on the amount of certain goods like toilet paper, bottled water, and hand soap that can be sold to any individual. In addition to crowds, excessive purchasing and hoarding are also impeding access to essential goods for the vulnerable populations I mention above. Walmarts across the country, H-E-B in Texas, and Wegmans here in New York have already instituted these restrictions with the result of protecting the supply chain for all consumers.

These are turbulent times and New York State is doing everything it can to limit the effects of COVID-19, but additional steps should be taken to ensure everyone’s safety. I hope you agree that grocery stores should undertake these two common-sense solutions to be good neighbors and aid some of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors.

Sincerely,

Brad Hoylman
State Senator 27th Senate District 

Letters to the editor, Mar. 19

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Tenants should campaign against Blackstone 

I attended the press conference on March 5 announcing that the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association had filed legal action in New York State Supreme Court to protect about 6,200 rent-stabilized units in the community from being illegally deregulated by The Blackstone Group.

The Blackstone Group, a global private equity firm, is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). Blackstone, which is primarily owned and run by five of the greediest predators on earth, want to turn Stuy Town into a cash cow by raising rents sky high. The company is led by Stephen Schwarzman, chairman, CEO and co-founder. His net worth is $18.5 billion and he owns 231,924,793 shares or 47% of the company’s stock valued on March 5th at approximately $58 per share. His pay from 2016-2018 was $242 million.

The other four top executives at Blackstone are President Jonathan Gray (2016-2018 pay: $309 million), Executive Vice Chairman Hamilton James (2016-2018 pay: $232 million), Chief Financial Officer Michael Chae (2016-2018 pay: $65 million) and Vice Chairman J. Tomilson Hill (2016-2018 pay: $60 million).

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Letter to the editor, Mar. 12

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Questions about Blackstone’s agreement

1. Why doesn’t the expiration of J-51 allow Blackstone to deregulate the remaining stabilized apartments, if they leave 5000 affordable, per the agreement with NYC? (But which 5,000 will they choose?)

2. Who does this deregulation effort really affect, other than long term tenants? Market rate tenants get very little benefit from stabilization. Frankly, it feels like market rate tenants are subsidizing others. I believe stabilization started for good reasons, but that too many folks are just plain greedy.

3. Why don’t Roberts tenants, who not only received money, but had their rents “frozen/managed” till 2020, have to abide by that agreement and return to “normal,” which might mean destabilization in some cases? They signed an agreement, didn’t they?

Name withheld
Stuyvesant Town

Letters to the editor, Mar. 5

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Thank you from the Purcell family

Editor’s note: John “Butch” Purcell’s wife Mary and son John wanted to thank the community for their outpouring of support following Butch’s death earlier this year and passed along this note for us to publish.

“It’s hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember.”

Thank you for helping to celebrate and remember the beautiful life of Butch. Your love and support during this difficult time has given us great comfort and strength.

Much love,

The Purcell Family

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Letters to the editor, Feb. 27

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Editor’s note: We recently received an unsigned letter in the mail from a Stuyvesant Town resident about quality of life issues. Unfortunately, we do not publish completely anonymous letters but wanted to give readers a reminder that a letter writer’s name can be withheld upon request, but the letter should still be signed.


Funding needed for Electric Vehicle charging

Assemblymember Harvey Epstein sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, asking the mayor to make charging stations for Electric Vehicles (EV) more accessible for all New Yorkers because the stations are difficult to find throughout New York City, and adding infrastructure for EVs would encourage more New Yorkers to choose energy-efficient EVs over gasoline cars.

Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio,

I am writing to ask that you include funding for publicly-available charging stations to make Electric Vehicles (EV) more accessible for all New Yorkers. Cars are the largest source of greenhouse gases in the United States today and the vast majority of those emissions come from cars.

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Letters to the editor, Feb. 20

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

The climate crisis continues

“We are grieving our grandkids – yours and mine.” This powerful message was written on a large poster carried by two grandmothers during a recent demonstration in Park Slope initiated by the environmental organization Extinction/Rebellion (www.rebellion.earth). This sentiment is expressed often by seniors and is totally justified. If we do not take action to drastically reduce global warming now the future for the next generations looks bleak. Why are we procrastinating?

Fortunately, not everyone is. Recently, there seems to be a recognition of the dangers at hand at the highest level of industry, finance, and government, some of them expressed at the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, Switzerland. It behooves us to take note of the following:

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Letters to the editor, Feb. 6

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

The overwhelming climate crisis

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the climate change crisis? If so, you are not alone and have reasons to feel stressed. According to scientists, we are facing the sixth global extinction; but whereas the previous five extinctions happened over millions of years, this one is taking place within only 200 years and we are at the beginning of it. One psychological problem of the climate change crisis is the uncertainty of a fixed date of when it will hit you and your family catastrophically. This vagueness can lead in many to inaction and/or procrastination which in turn leads to more stress and feelings of hopelessness.

Are things hopeless? Not yet. If you live in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village you are blessed to have witnessed over recent years management’s deep commitment to promoting “green” actions, for instance the installation of almost 10 000 solar panels for renewable energy, and many other energy saving steps (for this they received the 2018 Platinum LEED Award) . You can personally assist their efforts by faithfully recycling, composting, saving water and electricity in your apartment and by generally avoiding waste.

The city and state of New York are heavily engaged in energy saving projects such as reducing car traffic, and banning plastic bags to name just two. Globally, at the recent Economic Forum in Davos alarm bells regarding climate change were sounding, a new development.

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Letters to the editor, Jan. 30

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Aggressive and persistent scammers

Dear editor,

Tactics used by phone scammers are becoming ever more aggressive. On Friday, January 25 between the hours of 4:30 and 8:30 p.m., I received at least 20 calls telling me about “suspicious activities….” The caller(s) had the audacity to leave numerous messages with the following “toll free” number: 208-262-0000. I was compelled to turn off my voice mail, but the phone kept on ringing. In the meantime, I found out that a neighbor of mine received identical calls, which makes me wonder whether other tenants of PCV/ST have been targeted as well. Verizon was of no assistance. What can be done about this? How can we put a stop to this intrusion on our lives?

Name withheld
Stuyvesant Town

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Letters to the editor, Jan. 23

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

A plug for D’Agostino

Amidst the excitement over the new Trader Joe’s, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind ST-PCV residents that there’s a terrific and convenient D’Agostino at 355 First Ave., between East 20th and 21st Streets, where the old Gristedes used to be. The store has been completely renovated, and now sports clean, bright, wide aisles, a salad and readymade food bar and a pleasant seating area with chairs and tables, where a weary shopper can also comfortably perch while reviewing a shopping list.

Best of all are Larry the manager, and his always helpful, friendly, and kind staff (thank you, Jose, Theresa, Zenia, Rose, Brandon, and anyone whose name I may have misspelled or inadvertently omitted), who always give customers the kind of personal service so very rare and sadly lacking in the impersonal online or chain big box experience. Whether helping you locate the products you want, or checking you out and bagging or delivering your groceries, the staff always offers help with genuine warmth and smiles.

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Letters to the editor, Jan. 16

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Three cheers for snow removal plan

I was extremely pleased to see the article on Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer’s attention to the issue of snow removal (T&V, January 2). Those of us who live in ST/PCV can usually expect a coordinated and well-executed snow removal plan for the interiors and perimeters of the properties. But people have jobs, appointments, etc. that take them to neighborhoods all over the city regardless of the weather, and non-compliant property owners create a hazard for all of us.

Many property owners seem to have the attitude that if Mother Nature dropped the snow, let her take care of getting rid of it. Others rely on pedestrian foot traffic to create a path and still others, who opt to leave storefronts vacant, seem to think they have no obligation to remove snow from in front of a property that is not producing income.

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Letters to the editor, Jan. 9

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Heat improvements in STPCV

I recently read a letter about the heat, or lack of heat, in PCVST.

Here’s my take. I’m a resident of the complex for 28 years. Over the years, I’ve had different devices that have told me the temperature in my apartment.

Up until there were sensors put in some apartments, the temperature in my apartment would hover around 80-83 degrees in the winter. That was with windows open.

I’m on the 10th of an 11-floor building, so I accepted that my apartment would be hotter than those below. But I always wondered, if my apartment was 80 degrees, was there really someone in my line on the first or second floor who was cold?

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Letters to the editor, Dec. 12

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Charged for new door

Recently I had to call 911 for a medical emergency. NYPD also came with them and proceeded to breakdown down my door, even after my telling them I could answer the door. Stuyvesant Town then made me pay $1,700 for the new door. That was my tuition money for Baruch College for a year. I am trying to finish my degree, even though I am elderly and disabled now. I couldn’t believe I had to pay for the door. Technically I didn’t break it. And you know Stuyvesant Town charges you for any damage you cause in the apartment. I did not cause this damage. I should have never been charged for this. Can anybody help?

Name withheld

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Letter to the editor, Oct. 31

Oct31 Toon Biden Only Choice

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Rudy will rise again

Re: “The Fall of Rudy,” Opinion, Assemblymember Steven Sanders, T&V, Oct. 17

Thank you for the elucidating column on Rudy Guliani’s supposed fall from grace. I am confident, given his political skill, that he can recover and regroup. After all, look at what Al Sharpton was able to accomplish in the wake of the Tawana Brawley scam. Unfortunately for Rudy, he does not have political correctness on his side. Nevertheless, he will always be credited with the monumental task of having cleaned up the city after it had slipped into gross decrepitude from the previous administration.

Jean Falzon
Stuyvesant Town

Letters to the editor, Oct. 17

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Street co-naming inconsistencies

To the editor:

The Town and Village report on the rescinding of the proposed street co-naming for William Maxwell Evarts was seriously in error (“Controversy over anti-Mormon rhetoric nixes street co-naming,” T&V, October 10).

Community Board 6’s objections were twofold: (1) Evart’s defense of the anti-Reconstructionist President Andrew Johnson in his Impeachment trial, and (2) Evart’s central role in the theft of the presidential election of 1876. There was no consideration or even any mention of any Mormon Church controversy by CB6.

Robert Pigott’s article highlighted Evarts’ role defending Johnson, but omitted Johnson’s efforts to obstruct the then newly passed 13th Amendment. It also omitted Evarts’ central role in the Hayes-Tilden election.

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Letters to the editor, Oct. 10

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Remembering Bernie’s son

To the editor:

I am delighted to know that Playground 3 is to be renamed for Bernie Rothenberg. As a resident of Stuyvesant Town, I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Rothenberg a few times. However, it is his son, Dr. Richard Rothenberg, whom I knew much better.  This gives me an opportunity to describe my memory of Bernie’s son, Richard.

I taught music at Stuyvesant High School for 8 years (1983-1991) while Dr. Rothenberg was the Math Chairman (Assistant Principal for Math). When Richie heard that I had just moved to Stuyvesant Town in November 1986 with my wife Lisa (who was pregnant with our first son, Benjamin), he asked me what my new address was. “That’s right near my dad. I visit him for lunch every week. I’ll probably run into you a lot.”

Richie was an enormous influence on my growth as a teacher and supervisor. He knew that I had aspirations of becoming a chairman. When he noticed or heard from someone else something that I said or did that was not exemplary for an administrative leader, he would gently steer me in the right direction. When I was preparing for the NYC Board of Examiners Examination for Assistant Principal for Music, Dr. Rothenberg invited me to sit with him doing lesson observations of math teachers and then have discussions with me afterward as we analyzed the teacher’s performance.

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