City hopes to use ST composting program as model for other multi-family buildings

Stuyvesant Town Director of Environmental Services Rei Moya, Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk, Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, David Hurd of GrowNYC and Stuy Town resident Deborah Brozina (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town management and the Department of Sanitation are trying to raise awareness about the property’s efforts to compost food waste, and hopes to use the property as an example of how larger multifamily buildings can do this successfully.

DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia visited Stuy Town last Wednesday with representatives from greenmarket organizer GrowNYC and NYC Organics, the branch of DSNY that runs the compost collection program, to check on its progress.

The program officially started in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper on December 2 and director of environmental services for STPCV Rei Moya said that it took about a month to hit its stride. Moya recommended that residents who want to start composting can collect their food waste in the freezer and empty it directly into the brown bins in building recycling areas. The program will accept food scraps, food-soiled paper and plant clippings. He added that he has started composting in his own apartment and invested in a countertop container, lined with biobags that can be purchased at places like Walgreens or local supermarkets.

“Because the moisture just seeps out and dries up, there’s no smell,” Moya said.

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Residents welcome flea market’s return

Near First Ave Loop

The first Stuyvesant Town flea market to be held in 17 years was well attended by vendors and shoppers.

By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday, thousands gathered around the Oval for the long awaited Stuyvesant Town flea market, last held before 9/11.

After the attack on the Twin Towers, management cancelled the annual market, citing homeland security, but then never again held another one. This led many residents to suspect the reason had more to do with the timing as the property was going market rate and the decades-long tradition was suddenly being seen as too low brow.

However, if the event’s comeback crowd was any indication, community members welcomed the opportunity to make a few bucks cleaning out their closets.

There were 510 vendor spots around the Oval, stretching north and south towards the inside of the First Avenue and Avenue C Loop roads. There were also a handful of vendors alongside the 14th Street and 20th Street Loops and even inside Playground 11. There weren’t many no-shows for vendor spaces (two percent according to management’s count), although at least one empty spot this reporter passed by was quickly scooped up by someone with a stash of handbags. It isn’t clear how long this would-be vendor was there though since selling bags was against management’s rules. Other rules, aimed at preventing bedbugs, forbid the sale of clothing and furniture.

Jade Lee, a longtime resident who’d set up her table early, said she’d made lots of sales of books and trinkets within the first hour.

“I just wanted to get rid of things in my apartment but half of it’s gone,” said Lee, who was stationed close to First Avenue.

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Stuy Town woman performing in benefit show

Emily Ruderman, member of theater troupe that benefits charities (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

When Stuy Town resident Emily Ruderman made a shift in her career away from the arts, it happened to coincide with the beginning of her involvement in a Manhattan theater troupe, giving her a new creative outlet.

Ruderman, who used to work for nonprofit Roundabout Theatre and later Nickelodeon, started as a project manager at the advertising agency Grey about five months ago, and became a member of the Blue Hill Troupe about a month before starting her new job.

The all-volunteer troupe is based uptown and produces a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta and a Broadway musical every year, as well as a concert, to benefit various charities throughout the city. The organization focuses on one charity each year and this year is partnering with Rocking the Boat, a Bronx-based nonprofit that teaches high school students about science and math through boatbuilding and sailing programs.

The spring show for the company is “City of Angels.” It premiered on April 21 and will have its final two shows this coming weekend at El Teatro of El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem.

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Exhibit taking residents back in time

Hours of the exhibition, taking place at Oval Studio, have been extended. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday, StuyTown Property Services turned Oval Studio into a gallery space celebrating the community’s 70th anniversary.

The exhibition features various mementos from the property’s past, mostly on loan from residents. Items run from artwork showcasing the complex’s landscaping to photos of local businesses from days gone by to letters showing interaction between tenants and management. In one stern, type-written letter, a resident is informed that his child’s use of water gun on the grounds is a no-no.

The exhibition mostly steered clear of the property’s past major controversies, though, focusing on nostalgia, with a few exceptions. One could be the first year’s issues of this newspaper, which was displayed in a bound volume. (In the early years, an ongoing story involved Met Life’s policy of barring black residents.) There was also some other Stuy Town-focused reading material included.

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Stuy Town man robbed by guests

June23 sign

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 24-year-old Stuyvesant Town resident was robbed in his building by a group of seven people he had invited back to his apartment last Saturday at 4:20 a.m.

Police said that the victim met the men in a bar where he had been drinking earlier that night and he invited them back to his apartment in Stuy Town at East 20th and Avenue C. He told police that when he got into the elevator, the men started pulling up their hoods and covering their faces. When they got out of the elevator, they reportedly attacked the victim, forcing him to the ground and removing his wallet before fleeing the building. The victim reported the incident at 4:55 a.m. and no arrests were made at the time of the crime. Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney said at the 13th precinct community council’s meeting this past Tuesday that police were still looking for the suspects.

Police would not release the exact building where the robbery occurred to protect the victim.

Management did not return a request for comment on the incident by Town & Village’s press time.

Timoney said previously that locally thefts in homes were also up as a result of people inviting dates over, only to wake up and realize they’d been stolen from.

UPDATE: StuyTown Property Services responded to the incident on Thursday.

“StuyTown Property Services is aware of the incident and is assisting the NYPD with their investigation,” community affairs manager Marynia Kruk said.

 

Dog Days are here again

Diane Patrone, Cha Cha, Fanny, and Jordan Gunter

By Maya Rader

The dog days are officially upon us. On Saturday morning, Stuyvesant Town held its first Dog Days event of the season. Residents brought their pups to Playground 1 to play and socialize with other dogs while stands were set up manned by local pet-related businesses. The event was also attended by an adorable pot-bellied pig that arrived in a stroller. The pig is currently being housed at Whole Health Veterinary Hospital on First Avenue.

The event also included an obstacle course with toys laid out across the playground, including seesaws, tunnels and bars for Fido to practice jumping over.

Photos by Maya Rader

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Teen arrested for attempted knifepoint robbery in Stuy Town

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 15-year-old was arrested for attempting to rob a deliveryman at knifepoint in Stuyvesant Town last week.

Police said that the teen, along with another suspect who was not arrested, approached the victim as he was leaving 653 East 14th Street last Wednesday at 8:24 p.m. after making a delivery.

After the teen pulled a knife, the pair demanded cash from the deliveryman, but he managed to push them away without getting injured. The failed muggers then fled the location.

At that point, a bystander who saw the incident activated the emergency phone station connected to Stuy Town’s Public Safety department, and officers from the property as well as NYPD arrived at the scene.

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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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Stuy Town shop a hub for clothing drive for Syrian refugees

Amber Lewis, founder of Greater NYC Families for Syria, and Pratima Vijayakumar, donations leader, stand by a stuffed mini-van. (Photo by Maya Rader)

By Maya Rader

To a casual observer, two parked mini-vans on First Avenue on Saturday morning might have appeared to be owned by a hoarder, considering they were jam packed with bags of clothing, piled high against windows and ceilings.

The clothes, however, were all donated items and on Saturday, they were sent to the nonprofit NuDay Syria, which ships it into Syria and Beirut for Syrian refugees.

The donations (three van-loads in total) were collected, mostly from Stuyvesant Town families, as a partnership between Greater NYC Families for Syria and Stuy Town children’s clothing store Ibiza Kidz. Greater NYC Families for Syria is a group of mostly parents that collects clothing donations for Syrian refugees.

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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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