Stuyvesant Town golfer turns 100

Bernie Rothenberg at his birthday party (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Life-long Stuyvesant Town resident Bernie Rothenberg’s advice for living to be 100 is not to stress the little things.

“Take everything one day at a time,” he said. “Laugh when you can. All you have to worry about is your health, your family, eating properly. Don’t get aggravated at the unimportant things. And keep the weight off.”

Keeping the weight off is easier for the newly-minted centenarian since he can usually be found knocking golf balls around Playground 3 whenever it’s not snowing. He’s become locally famous for his almost-daily habit, which he’s been practicing in the neighborhood since the turn of the millennium.

Aside from keeping a level head, Rothenberg also partially attributed his longevity to pure luck. A combat engineer who served in the Philippines and Okinawa during World War II, he was a lawyer when he was drafted and he joined the family stationery business when he returned to civilian life.

“They were bombing where I was and a shell landed by us and the guy right next to me was killed but I wasn’t touched,” he said. “Number 158 was the first draft number picked, and mine was the second. I could’ve ended up in the European theater and gotten killed. Sometimes you gotta be lucky.”

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Third round of ‘Roberts’ checks may be on the way

ST buildingsBy Sabina Mollot

Last October, residents of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village who were represented in the “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” class action lawsuit saw a second wave of payouts from the initial $68.75 million pool.

Now it’s likely that there will be a third round of checks, according to Michael Liskow, who’s one of the attorneys representing tenants from the firm Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz.

As a condition of the second payout, if there was more than $100,000 left after a deadline for checks to be deposited passed, then there would be another distribution. If there was less than $100,000 left, then the remaining funds would be split among two local nonprofits, the ST-PCV Tenants Association and the Peter Stuyvesant Little League.

The 120-day deadline has already passed for most of the recipients but attorneys won’t know the exact amount that’s left in the pool until around March 15. This is when the deadline will have passed for all eligible class suit members. However, as of this week, there was over $150,000 left, Liskow said.

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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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Stuy Town resident quits mayoral race, joins Massey’s campaign

Aug11 Joshua Thompson1

Joshua Thompson, pictured in Stuyvesant Town last summer (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Joshua Thompson, the Stuyvesant Town Democrat who ditched a campaign for City Council last year to run for mayor has announced he is “suspending” that campaign to serve as senior adviser to another candidate for mayor, Republican developer Paul Massey.

In an email blast on Thursday, Thompson, 31, said that although he’d raised nearly $200,000, it was “time to put values before party politics.”

“I believe deeply in his vision for this city and believe that consolidating resources is the best way to spread our message and affect the lives of New Yorkers,” Thompson wrote.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Thompson’s title will be director of policy and outreach for the campaign and he’ll be focusing on education and homelessness.

Thompson previously worked for the Cory Booker administration in Newark, New Jersey, as well as having held a government position in education in Bridgeport, Connecticut from 2012-2014.

He’s lived in Stuyvesant Town since 2014 with his wife, Julia, who runs a Brooklyn charter school.

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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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Teen who allegedly tried to rape Stuy Town woman hit with attempted murder charge

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A 17-year-old arrested for the attempted rape of a woman in her building in Stuyvesant Town has also been charged with attempted murder.

The alleged attacker, Aaron Kish, was arraigned on Monday night, after police said he admitted he wanted to snap the 22-year-old victim’s neck as she struggled to get away.

According to the criminal complaint, Kish followed the woman as she entered her building vestibule early Sunday morning and grabbed her from behind. She was then pushed against a wall and forced to the floor, police said, before Kish got her in a chokehold and pulled her dress and underwear off.

The victim tried repeatedly to scream for help, while Kish allegedly groped her and told her, “Let me finish I’ll let you go” and also warned her if she fought him, “it will only get worse.” The victim fought back anyway, and managed to elbow and punch Kish, he later told police, according to the complaint. At that point, a neighbor came up to the vestibule and saw the woman naked and Kish with his pants down and said he was calling police. Kish then ran off with some scratches while the victim was left with a bloody lip, pain in her neck and abrasions on her back.

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Teen arrested in connection with attempted sexual assault of woman in Stuy Town

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Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

UPDATE: Police have filed charges of attempted rape, assault, strangulation, sex abuse, burglary against the suspect, identified as Aaron Kish of Piscataway, New Jersey. Police didn’t have information on if the victim was injured, although she had been taken to the hospital for treatment and observation and police said there was a “physical confrontation.” Police also said Kish has been arrested before though it wasn’t clear how many times or what the charges were. In the alleged assault, he suffered some facial injuries when the victim fought back.

By Sabina Mollot

Police have arrested a 17-year-old who’s suspected of trying to sexually assault a woman inside the vestibule of her building in Stuyvesant Town.

Police said that at around 4:45 a.m. the victim, a 22-year-old woman, was walking into her building when the suspect entered the vestibule behind her. He then started talking to her before pulling off her clothes and trying to sexually assault her. At that point, a resident of the building came into the vestibule, and the attacker fled.

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Hawks ruling the roost in ST

A hawk or possibly more than one has been seen around the complex lately. (Pictured) The early bird catches the squirrel in Peter Cooper Village last Monday. (Photo by Shlomit Shalit)

A hawk or possibly more than one has been seen around the complex lately. (Pictured) The early bird catches the squirrel in Peter Cooper Village last Monday. (Photo by Shlomit Shalit)

Squirrels, pigeons and other morsels on notice

By Sabina Mollot

Being home to countless species of birds, not to mention squirrels that breed like rabbits, Stuyvesant Town is naturally a tempting hunting ground for local hawks.

Recently, a few residents shared their close encounters with the raptors on a local Facebook group. One was last month when a woman watched as a hawk devoured a pigeon on her air conditioner.

“It was pretty gruesome and awesome,” the witness, Jenny Dembrow, later told us, adding that her daughter wondered if the pigeon guts and feathers left behind would ever come off of the AC unit.

Last Monday, a hawk was spotted by a photographer in Peter Cooper, landing victoriously in a tree after capturing a squirrel.

For that observer, a newly moved in Shlomit Shalit, it was her first time seeing a hawk or a squirrel, since there aren’t any of either in her native Tel Aviv.

“When we saw the hawk we felt like we were in a National Geographic movie,” she said. “We couldn’t take our eyes off it. I love that we have this piece of nature here.”

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Garodnick asks city to investigate Quik Park rate increases in ST

Garage customers began complaining about the increases last September. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Garage customers began complaining about the increases last September. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Several months ago, drivers who parked their cars at any of the garages located in Stuyvesant Town found themselves socked with a $20 monthly increase in rent, without prior warning.

Now, Council Member Dan Garodnick is looking to the Department of Consumer Affairs to see if those increases, issued by garage operator Icon/Quik Park, are actually legit. In a letter to the DCA commissioner, Lorelai Salas, late last month, Garodnick wrote about the increases, which he started hearing about from garage customers last September.

“These increases have come without any notice,” he said. “The increases have been unaccompanied by any explanation; garage customers have simply received monthly bills higher than what they have paid previously. Since local law requires a 60 day prior notice of rate changes, it would appear that all of these increases are invalid, and should be reversed.”

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Market raters hopeful about lottery, some others say the cost isn’t exactly affordable

feb9-screenshotBy Sabina Mollot

Following the announcement that the Stuyvesant Town lottery would be reopening for would-be residents in the upper income tier, Town & Village asked a few market rate residents and former residents as well as others for their thoughts. The market raters we spoke with seemed to think that while the rents weren’t exactly cheap, the lottery was still welcome news. However, those unaccustomed to paying those kinds of rents were wary of labeling the available units as affordable.

After hearing what the rents were for one and two-bedrooms, Larry Watson, a former Stuy Town resident who moved out last year, said he thought the deal sounded better for the two-bedrooms.

He’d previously paid $3,900 for a converted two-bedroom.

“If you look at the price for a studio anywhere in Manhattan, it’s $2,000,” said Watson, “so it’s an $800 leap for a one-bedroom, but for a two-bedroom it’s an extra $1,300. So you get the value in a two-bedroom, but not a one-bedroom. I’d say it’s a decent offer,” he said.

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Stuy Town apartment lottery reopening

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The lottery website, stuytownlottery.com, is live.

By Sabina Mollot

The lottery for below-market apartments in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village is reopening.

On Monday, Blackstone announced that those who missed out the first time could try again during a one-month window.

This reopening is specifically for applicants in the higher-income bracket for one and two-bedroom apartments since those are the unit sizes that are most common throughout the property. However, the original waiting list is still active for unit types not included in the current lottery as well as one and two-bedrooms.

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Stuy Town sisters open Portuguese restaurant in former Yaffa Café space

Owners Raquel and Patricia Sanguedo (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Owners Raquel and Patricia Sanguedo (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

What started as the hunt for a new kitchen for a catering business turned into the debut of a Portuguese comfort food restaurant in Taberna 97, opened on St. Mark’s Place just after Thanksgiving by two sisters living in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

Raquel Sanguedo and her sister Patricia run Noz Catering, which provides services for the fashion industry. When looking around for a kitchen, they found out through Little Missionary’s Day Nursery director Eileen Johnson, a neighbor, that the space formerly occupied by Yaffa Café was available. In addition to the catering business, Raquel and Patricia own St. Dymphna’s, an Irish bar down the block, along with Patricia’s husband, Eric Baker, and the three own the new business together.

Raquel said that she and her sister didn’t necessarily have a lifelong dream to open a Portuguese restaurant — although they are Portuguese — but Baker had aspirations to open up a tavern. So when they found out about the space, it seemed like a good opportunity.

“I never thought I would own an Irish bar either but sometimes you just go with the flow,” Raquel said.

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Inauguration fails to inspire most people we spoke with

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The inauguration is screened to a mostly empty Stuyvesant Town Community Center. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With the majority of New York City residents not having voted for Donald Trump, the televised inauguration, which happened on Friday, wasn’t exactly must-see TV, at least not for too many people in Stuyvesant Town and Gramercy.

This became clear during the pre-inaugural ceremonies when this reporter, attempting to get some local reaction at Cooper Town Diner on First Avenue, was told “no comment” repeatedly.

But out of those who did comment, most, unsurprisingly, weren’t happy.

Josh Thompson, a Stuyvesant Town resident and Democrat candidate for mayor, once previously told T&V he considered Cooper Town to be his second office. But on this day, he was taking his food to go.

Asked for this thoughts, Thompson, an avowed “Obamacrat,” said he had recorded the inauguration of President Obama in 2009 and would go home to watch that instead.

“I’m going to do that for the day,” he said before rushing off.

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Mount Sinai practice will open in Stuy Town

The Mount Sinai practice will open at 516-518 East 20th Street. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

The Mount Sinai practice will open at 516-518 East 20th Street. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

As part of the $500 million Beth Israel rebuild effort, including the creation of a “Mount Sinai Downtown” network, the hospital system announced that it will be opening a practice in Stuyvesant Town.

The practice, to be located at 516-518 East 20th Street, will offer primary care and specialty services. Construction is expected to be completed on the space by the fall and it is expected to open in the fall. Currently the 4,000 square foot space is vacant with its windows papered up. Formerly it was home to Berkely Sutton Cleaners, which moved elsewhere in Stuy Town, and a key control room for the complex.

According to a press release, this center will “help achieve Mount Sinai’s goal of transforming and embracing a new model of care that focuses on serving patients in the most appropriate setting.”

Mount Sinai’s planned downsizing of Beth Israel involves transitioning to a mostly outpatient model.

The practice will also offer pediatric services, and as for the specialty care services, they are to be determined “in consultation with Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, surrounding communities and interest groups,” the hospital said, and “will also be offered on a rotating basis.”

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For homebound, Citymeals-on-Wheels offers more than just food deliveries

Council Member Dan Garodnick tagged along on a recent Citymeals-on-Wheels delivery to some of his neighbors, including Ellen Fidelman (pictured). Seventy recipients of the regular meal deliveries live in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village.  (Photo courtesy of Council Member Dan Garodnick)

Council Member Dan Garodnick tagged along on a recent Citymeals-on-Wheels delivery to some of his neighbors, including Ellen Fidelman (pictured). Seventy recipients of the regular meal deliveries live in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. (Photo courtesy of Council Member Dan Garodnick)

By Sabina Mollot

It was 35 years ago when Gael Greene, a food critic, read in the New York Times that many seniors would be going without meals on Thanksgiving weekend. Greene immediately called chef and cookbook author James Beard, who, along with the city’s Department of the Aging, worked together to raise enough money to get 6,000 meals delivered to the homes of the elderly in time for Christmas. The project, Citymeals-on-Wheels, didn’t end there, though. It continued to ensure that New York’s senior citizens wouldn’t have to go without meals on weekends or holidays when senior centers are closed. Demand for the service has only increased since then, with 18,000 homebound elderly currently benefitting from the program each year.

Seventy of those individuals live in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, an increase from 2014 when there were 47.

To qualify for the home deliveries, seniors can’t be physically able to shop or cook for themselves. For that reason, the organization has also become a lifeline for isolated individuals.

More than 60 percent of Citymeals recipients are over 80 years old; 23 percent are over 90; more than 200 have lived at least a century. All recipients are chronically disabled by conditions such as vision loss, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. Nearly all need assistance walking. It is estimated that 66 percent use a cane, 39 percent use a walker and 16 percent use a wheelchair.

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