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.
Useful info about Gillibrand
I was pleased to read Steve Sanders’ column in last week’s T&V regarding Kirsten Gillibrand (“Who is Kirsten Gillibrand?”). It was a useful look at and recap of her CV and made several points that may not be common knowledge if one is not a politics wonk. I count myself a wonk, but not yet a pundit.
It is a service to our general voting population to point out that her current Liberal affiliation is second only to Saint Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. It was nearly instantaneous when she found herself downstate after a term as a Representative from upstate complete with the A rating from the NRA.
I would like to make one other point that Sanders did not make mention of in this article. That is the immediate hue and cry she unleashed calling for Al Franken’s resignation from the Senate after allegations of sexual misconduct were discovered. Make no mistake, I found his behavior reprehensible and unacceptable. However, not every crime warrants the death penalty and her reaction to the story was extremely swift as well as loud. It is my opinion that Kirsten Gillibrand tends to stay fit by jumping onto bandwagons.
Another view of the new 20th Street
To the Editor:
I was surprised to read the letter describing chaos and danger on 20th Street due to the street redesign (“You don’t have to drive to hate 20th Street,” T&V, Jan. 17). I’ve never witnessed any of this. But if you are interested in street chaos, I recommend the intersection of 14th St and 1st Ave. There you can witness hundreds, perhaps thousands of pedestrians an hour, in crosswalks, dodging aggressive drivers. Personally I’ve witnessed two people get hit (one pedestrian, one bicyclist, fortunately no serious injuries).
On 20th Street, I see a street redesign, which citywide, will prioritize public space for pedestrians, bicyclists and mass transit riders. I support bike lanes, bus lanes, expanded pedestrian space and light rail in this city.
Try this: dare to look at our streets with fresh eyes. Look at the cars passing on First Ave. See how many TLC license plates pass by. Stunning. Second, count how many cars, including the “For Hire” vehicles, which have only one person, the driver, in the car. Think about the public space, our streets, filled with this inefficient and dangerous form of transportation for so many individuals in individual cars. Then, look around and see how much space is devoted to parked cars.
This price hike won’t wash
On January 16, 2019, a “Dear Valued Resident of PCVST” note was taped to the laundry room in my building explaining that CSC Service Works was raising the price to use their washers and dryers.
CSC Service Works did not say we were valued customer of theirs. Supporting that blunder, however, CSC’s letter was dated November 15. Despite the price increase scheduled to be “finalized” on or about January 17, I got hit with the hike.
Every expense CSC offers as rationale to increase the price to use their machines pales in comparison to how much they make because one can’t round off the amount on their cards to fit the price of a wash and dry. The average balance that people carry around may be three dollars.
You don’t have to drive to hate 20th St.
Well, I’ve just about seen it all in my six decades here living in ST/PCV… mostly good, some great, some questionable, but now I have seen it all! The asinine idea by some “brainiac” in NYC government that decided to totally screw up East 20th Street between First Avenue and Avenue C!
No, I’m not a car owner that lost one of the few precious parking spaces; just a good ol’ fashioned resident that cares about his neighbors and most importantly, our safety. Over the last few years we went from the normal two east and westbound lanes, to one more narrow lane to appease all the Bloomberg/Big Bird bike riders.
And now we have the narrowest east/westbound lanes for traffic so that a two-way bike lane could be constructed on the north or Peter Cooper side… not to mention that those bike lanes must be crossed to get to a parked car, the two new bus stop islands or to simply cross the street to go to Lenz’s Deli, Mount Sinai or Oval Fitness. Bozos!
A royal screw-up on East 20th Street
I am deeply disturbed by the current state of our city. It appears from all indications that our dear mayor and his erstwhile Department of Transportation have absolute “Royal Authority” to change whatever they feel like without any community review or input.
Case in point is their recent removal of parking spaces along 20th Street between First Avenue and the FDR. To make matters worse they (without any notice or review) changed the traffic pattern on 20th Street. One can no longer access the FDR North by turning left at 20th Street. There is absolutely no explanation for this. There is no traffic coming from the opposite direction. What is the problem?
Now if you are uninformed you must turn right going south rather than being able to turn left to go north. There is absolutely no logic whatsoever that would explain this.
Better plans needed on sanitation garages
I’ve been a long-time opponent of the NYC Department of Sanitation’s (“DSNY”) plans to build a garage on one of the last available public lands in lower Manhattan’s East Side, the Brookdale Campus of Hunter College at East 25th Street and First Avenue. There, the city would claim nearly two acres of sparse NYC public land for a DSNY garage, as well as another additional two acres for “bookend” facilities.
But news a few months ago that DSNY had been evicted from a 30th Street garage facility led me to question why it is DSNY needs such huge footprint for garage facilities in the first place.
As I wrote for Gotham Gazette, land currently devoted to garages could be used to build more affordable housing, to create more active public parkland for a growing city, or – if sold – to help pay down the deathly underfunded NYC Pension Plans.
Transparency needed on NYCHA ‘fix’
The following is an open letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio:
On Wednesday evening, December 12, Mayor de Blasio announced on TV that he’s getting $24 billion to fix apartments in public housing or New York City Housing Authority. Funding, he said, will come from federal, NY State, NY City, as well as from city land and air rights sold to developers.
I’ve been writing and talking to elected politicians for years about not selling our NY City land because they are only temporary employees elected to administer our property and all necessary services for the well-being of the real persons who reside in NYC.
The land should be rented to developers for 80 to 100 years and air rights should be very well-studied; then, the elected mayor selects qualified persons to verify and/or be sure that all is working well, according to signed contracts before the jobs have been performed.
NYC homeless made to compete for help
The following is an open letter to Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo:
Perhaps if either of you, or any of our esteemed local representatives took the time to chat with some of the younger homeless, as I have, you/they would discover (as I did) that most of the people, aged 16-50, come from other states, as close as NJ and as far away as the Dakotas!
That being said, I do believe that NY State and City residents should help the homeless, but help our homeless first. There must be a law somewhere, or one should be written and introduced that would give preferential treatment to NYC citizens out of our NYC taxes. At the same time, our NY government should send these young, able-bodied (but mostly alcohol or drug-addicted) men and women back to the state they came from, and let those tax payers take care of their own. You could start by asking for any kind of identification before giving them services such as food stamps, housing or a bus ticket to their home state!
More bike regs would go a long way
To the editor,
Thank you for researching and publishing (in your Nov. 29 issue) data that’s been collected re: bike/pedestrian accidents in New York City (“Stats on bicycle/pedestrian crashes”).
I frequently cross at 23rd Street and Second Avenue. As at other major cross streets bicycles have their own traffic light which is rather adorable (red, yellow and green icon of a bicycle). Many, perhaps half, of the bicyclists ignore it, if they see it at all. It’s particularly evident when there is a left turn signal for downtown traffic to turn to go East on 23rd to the FDR. That includes many trucks and at least one bus route.
I’ve seen vehicles having to deal with a bicycle weaving about in front of them as they turn. More frequently the bikes zip outside their lane to continue straight down Second in the middle of the street.
Funding Amazon vs. NYers in need
To the Editor:
I wondered why our Democrat mayor and governor, who never agree on anything, were both thrilled to give such an enormous handout to Amazon’s owner, the richest man in the world. Despite a desperate need for funds to put towards the welfare of over 100,000 homeless NYC students and the aging homeless population, some of whom you can see every day on the corner of First Avenue and 14th Street, and the benefits of free health care and higher education for NY State residents, and even for more mundane items such as repairing the ever-increasing potholes in NYC, despite all this our, Democrat leaders have chosen to grease the palm of the wealthiest of the wealthy one percent. I found the answer to this conundrum on the pages of T&V.
“Tenant PAC spokesperson Michael McKee…believes Governor Andrew Cuomo will be working behind the scenes to fight tenant-friendly laws” (“Democratic lead too big for attempts at power grabs,” T&V, Nov. 15) and “He expects Cuomo to continue to portray himself as pro-tenant while also trying to keep his real estate donors for his long-rumored run for president.” (“What a true blue NY State Senate means for tenants,” T&V, Nov. 15)
Scofflaw cyclists are out of control
Dear Town & Village,
On two separate occasions I have been knocked down by bicycles going the wrong way against the light! This has led me to look both ways on one-way streets and in all directions when crossing the street. Now I have come so close to having had been run over on sidewalks with bicycles riding on sidewalks, going the wrong way! Stuy Town is pretty strict about the rules regarding bicycles riding around the Oval (riders are approached by Public Safety Officers to dismount) but of course, they cannot be everywhere.
No one should be riding on sidewalks or riding the wrong way against traffic.
Something has to be done!
Voting is not a duty
Re: Letter, “State elections can impact this area,” T&V, Nov. 1
To the Editor,
The Hon. Ms. Dankberg opens her letter encouraging people to vote. As district leader, she correctly asks them to bring friends. But she contradicts herself when she signs off, thanking them in advance for doing their civic duty.
Voting is not one’s civic duty. It is a right and a privilege in our nation. What is a civic obligation, however, is jury duty. If one doesn’t vote, that’s their business. But if one skips jury duty, one could have problems.
State elections can impact this area
November 6th is Election Day. Please vote and bring a friend or neighbor with you. The ballot will be two pages and you, the voter, will need to separate the pages at the perforations before having your vote scanned. The first page will contain the candidates for Public Office – Statewide and NYS candidates. The back of page one will contain the three ballot proposals. The second page will contain the Judicial candidates. Election staff will be able to assist if you incur any problems.
For those of you who will be voting for Democratic/Working Families Party candidates, it is urgent for Democrats that you vote on the Democratic Line. The Democratic results in a Gubernatorial election determine how many Election Districts there are for County Committee and how many Delegates will represent each Assembly District at the Supreme Court Judicial Convention. It may not mean much to you, but to those of us involved in local politics, these positions are very important. Thanks for doing your civic duty.
Democratic District Leader, 74th A.D. Part C
Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club
How we can help save the planet
To the Editor,
The election on Tuesday, November 6 comes with environmental issues like climate change that have both immediate and longterm consequences for everyone on Earth and the Earth itself.
Scientists have made dire predictions about increased temperatures and both the melting of sea ice and the increase of storms and forest fires. On September 28, 2018 the Washington Post reporters Ellperin, Dennis and Mooney let it be known that the present administration in Washington foresees and assumes in its 500-page environmental impact statement that the planet will warm a disastrous “7 degrees rise in global temperature by 2100.”
The present administration, according to Michael MacCracken, a senior scientist at the Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002, says that “human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society.” And then MacCracken says that the present administration “is not going to do anything about it.” Continue reading