Former Stuyvesant Town resident’s memoir details fostering, adopting child on the spectrum

Margaret Gonzalez, author of Body in Space

By Sabina Mollot

Like many people who’ve retired, former teacher and Stuyvesant Town resident Margaret Gonzalez had fully intended to write a novel. But after joining a writing group, she was instead encouraged to get out her own story, which involves the lengthy and often frustrating process of becoming a foster parent and eventually adopting her daughter, who’s on the autism spectrum. Now a grandmother living in Cape Coral, Florida, Gonzalez said she’s now glad she took this advice, and over the holidays, self-published the memoir, Body in Space: My Life with Tammy. 

Gonzalez, who had a career as a French teacher at Friends Seminary for 34 years, became a foster parent after hearing from a friend about five children who were placed into foster care, four boys and a girl. Due to privacy regulations in the system, Gonzalez never learned the full story about the situation, other than that the father was incarcerated and the mother may also have been involved in illegal activities. Her friend had taken in the four boys and Gonzalez decided to take in their sister, Tammy. At that time, Tammy was already living with a foster family, though it wasn’t their intention to keep her.

She was four at the time, and so speech-impaired that she couldn’t say her own name. Then, like now (at the age of 40), Tammy isn’t one to talk about her biological family or the system.

“I still to this day don’t know what her family was like,” said Gonzalez. “Now she’ll say, ‘Been there, and it sucked.’”

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Powers concerned about Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town being marketed separately

Apr18 Leasing office 2 closeup

A new leasing office is under construction in Peter Cooper Village. (Photo by Thomas Rochford)

By Sabina Mollot

In response to the latest branding efforts by StuyTown Property Services, which have included new logos for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village and a new leasing office now being built in Peter Cooper, some residents have been worried this was an attempt to treat the two complexes differently.

Council Member Keith Powers, who said he’d been hearing from neighbors on this issue, sent a letter to ST/PCV general manager Hayduk last Wednesday, asking him to clarify that the branding wouldn’t mean Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village would no longer have access to the same amenities.

Powers also asked if apartments in both complexes would still be available through the lottery system for reduced rents. He also wanted to know if all the marketing would mean existing tenants should now expect diminished benefits and if management planned to reduce staff levels at either complex. Powers also had a question on apartment finishes, asking if Stuyvesant Town apartments would end up looking different from those in Peter Cooper.

“As a lifelong resident who has lived in both Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, I am concerned that current plans are to put the two properties on a separate path in the short-term and long-term,” Powers wrote.

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Reviews mixed on wine and beer for Five Stuy Cafe

Stuyvesant Town management said cafe staffers would undergo training to prevent customers from being overserved. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town residents expressed concern at a town hall last Wednesday about the possibility of increased noise and rowdiness if beer and wine were to be served at Five Stuy Cafe, while some others voiced their support for a license.

ST/PCV general manager Rick Hayduk, café operator Frank Traina and on-site manager Murat Alpay offered information at the town hall about the addition of beer and beer and wine to the menu, and some in attendance took issue with Hayduk and Traina’s assessment that the proposal had “overwhelming support” from residents.

“It’s very hard to create community but it’s very easy to destroy it,” one resident said. “Your position would be much stronger not just by asking people who frequent the cafe but everyone in Stuyvesant Town. The general statement about the ‘overwhelming demand’ just sounds like advertising copy. It doesn’t sound very convincing.”

Hayduk said that management would be willing to put together a survey in the days following the town hall that could be emailed to residents to get their feedback.

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New leasing office for Peter Cooper Village under construction

A new leasing office is under construction in Peter Cooper Village. (Photos by Thomas Rochford)

By Sabina Mollot

Earlier this week, residents noticed that a new leasing office was being advertised in Peter Cooper Village in the corner space previously occupied by the Petite Abeille restaurant. The slick-looking posters show smiling individuals of various ages, and the property’s very new logo for Peter Cooper.

Asked about the advertisements, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village general manager Rick Hayduk confirmed there is a new leasing office under construction just for Peter Cooper, but it will be housed in the neighboring 350 First Avenue. This is where another leasing office, primarily a center for brokers’ use, used to be until closing last year. The new leasing office was briefly mentioned in an e-blast to neighbors last week that also mentioned the Stuyvesant Town leasing office would be getting “a refresh,” as would signage and employee uniforms.

“Since our acquisition in late 2015, StuyTown Property Services’ and Beam Living’s focused attention has been on improving a resident’s experience (resident communication, situational response time, exterior aesthetics, quality of life issues, playgrounds, etc.), and we felt it was time to reset the ‘public’ image of the two communities,” Hayduk said in a written statement. Continue reading

Suspect charged with trying to rob Stuy Town Citibank

Citibank attempted robbery suspect

Police arrested a Bronx man on Thursday in connection with an attempted robbery of the Citibank at 262 First Avenue last month.

Robert Balsano, 47, of 1146 Ogden Avenue, allegedly strolled up to a teller on Saturday, March 23 with an encyclopedia that had a note inside demanding cash. However, the teller refused and he ended up fleeing without any money.

 

 

(Updated) Parking will be suspended on E. 20th during bike lane painting (and a film shoot)

The recently reconfigured 20th Street. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Update: Wednesday at 9 a.m.: In addition to painting work, there will also be a film shoot taking place on East 20th Street.

In an e-blast to residents on Tuesday evening, StuyTown Property Services said, “The City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment has posted notices today on East 20th Street asking that all cars parked between 1st Avenue and Avenue C be moved by tomorrow, April 10th at 6pm. Per these postings, any questions should be directed to the location scout: Gayle, reachable at 347.762.4009.”

By Sabina Mollot

Due to a bike lane painting project happening later this week on East 20th Street, parking will be temporarily suspended along the street.

The announcement was first made via an email blast from StuyTown Property Services on Monday evening after management was made aware of the project.

“We do not have an exact date yet but are expecting the work to be started later this week,” general manager Rick Hayduk said in the email. “Signage is being posted along 20th, please make sure to follow all directions so that no cars are towed. More updates will follow as we have them.”

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5 Stuy Cafe reapplies for wine, beer license

By Sabina Mollot

To drink or not to drink — that is the question surrounding Stuyvesant Town’s 5 Stuy Café, which recently reapplied for a wine and beer license.

As Town & Village reported last month, the café filed an application but then swiftly withdrew it after management asked its operators for time to review the proposal.

Since then, the café, with management’s blessing, has reapplied for a license to serve wine and beer and there will be a town hall on the subject for residents on Wednesday, April 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Center, 449 East 14th Street. The application will also go before Community Board 6’s Business Affairs and Street Activities Committee (which has an advisory role) at a meeting on April 25.

StuyTown Property Services announced the upcoming town hall in its weekly e-blast to tenants.

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Man tries to rob Stuy Town Citibank

Mar28 Citibank robbery

Police officer in front of the bank at 262 First Avenue (Photo by Sean O’Ceallaigh)

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who tried to rob the Citibank in Stuyvesant Town on Saturday.

Police say the man strolled into the bank at 262 First Avenue at 10 a.m. and, after approaching the teller, opened an encyclopedia he was holding to a page with a handwritten note demanding cash.

However, the teller did not comply and the man ran off.

The suspect is described as white, 30 to 40 years old, 6’1″ tall and 180 lbs. He was last seen wearing a black jacket, a grey hoodie, black hat, grey gloves, and black sweatpants with red stripes.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or log onto nypdcrimestoppers.com. All calls are strictly confidential.

Update: Rick Hayduk, general manager of Stuyvesant Town, said StuyTown Property Services has provided video to the NYPD and will continue to provide assistance to police. Additionally, the Public Safety department has beefed up patrols along First Avenue with officer patrols as well as cameras.

 

How a New York City Irish gang raised over $1 million for charity

Members of The Kelly Gang, pictured in 2002, including founding member and Stuyvesant Town resident Keith Kelly, standing behind former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (Photo courtesy of the NY Post)

By Sabina Mollot

What began with an annual get together by a group of media professionals with the last name Kelly has morphed over a period of 18 years into a charity that this week will have raised over $1 million for various notable causes.

Stuyvesant Town resident and New York Post columnist Keith Kelly, who’s one of the founding members of this group, spoke with Town & Village this week about The Kelly Gang and how its supporters have included former top cop Ray Kelly and even Donald Trump.

Ahead of its annual corned beef and cabbage dinner, which was held on Tuesday night at midtown restaurant Michael’s, Keith Kelly said the gang began with an informal Christmas meal in 2000. At first it was Keith, Ed Kelly, who was then CEO of American Express Publishing, Mike Kelly, then the publisher of Entertainment Weekly, Jim Kelly, editor in chief of Time magazine, and author Tom Kelly. At the time, it was for a news story on various media Kellys who’d gotten promotions and they met up at The Four Seasons.

“Ed Koch saw us and sent over a round of drinks,” Keith recalled. One day, when spotting the group at the pub Langan’s, Post columnist Steve Dunleavy dubbed them The Kelly Gang.

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Updated: 5 Stuy Café applies for wine and beer license (application withdrawn)

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5 Stuy Cafe (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Update at 12:15 p.m.: Cooper Cafe has withdrawn its application and will not be at Community Board 6’s Thursday meeting, CB6 has told us.

By Sabina Mollot

The operators of 5 Stuy Café have applied for a wine, beer and cider license and the application will be among one of several to be discussed at a Community Board 6 meeting on Thursday evening.

Liquor and beer and wine licenses are granted or denied by the State Liquor Authority, but community boards have an advisory role.

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association mentioned the upcoming meeting in an email blast to tenants on Monday evening. It will be held by the CB6 Business Affairs and Street Activities Committee on Thursday, February 28 at 7 p.m. at the board office at 211 East 43rd Street, Suite 1404.

Meanwhile, Stuy Town general manager Rick Hayduk told Town & Village that after learning about the application, he would be requesting that it be withdrawn until the details are vetted by StuyTown Property Services. The café is run by a third-party operator called Cooper Café LLC.

Susan Steinberg, the president of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, said the association has not taken a position on alcohol being served at the café.

“We acknowledge the many tenants who have requested the option of having a glass of beer or wine with their food,” said Steinberg. “We also acknowledge the many tenants who are concerned about the possible consequences (increased noise and commotion) that might arise as a result of the wine and beer license. An applicant who comes before the Business Affairs and Street Activities Committee of Community Board 6 will need to assure Board 6 and the public of their procedures to contain noise and nuisance. (Disclosure: I am Vice Chair of that committee; I can ask questions but will have to abstain from voting.)  Assuming the application is approved, if management is unable to contain behavior after a few months, the TA will come down hard.”

Performance on ice in Stuyvesant Town

man holding woman

On Sunday afternoon, Stuyvesant Town residents gathered at the ice rink for a performance by the Ice Theatre of New York. Following the outdoor show, attendees of all ages headed out onto the ice for some skate time of their own. The (residents and guests only) ice rink will remain open for the season through March 3. Tuesdays are free admission days for residents though this doesn’t include skate rental.

Photos by Sidney Goldberg

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Teens harass elderly couple, assault man at McDonald’s across from Stuy Town

jan31 mcdonalds assault suspect1

First assault suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for three teenagers believed to be responsible for a brutal beatdown at the McDonald’s at 404 East 14th Street.

According to police, on Saturday, December 29 at 8 p.m., the three teens were harassing an elderly couple at the restaurant, located across the street from Stuyvesant Town. At some point, another customer, a 44-year-old man, tried to stop them and the group then turned on him instead, punching and kicking him in his face and on his body. The attackers then ran out, heading east.

jan31 mcdonalds assault suspect2

Second assault suspect

The victim, who had cuts on his face along with pain and bruises on his face and body; was taken to Beth Israel, and later released.

The first suspect is described as male, black, 14 to 17 years old, 5’7″ tall and 140 lbs. He last seen wearing a pink hooded sweater, black sweatpants and black and white sneakers.

The second suspect is described as female, black, 14 to 17 years old, 5’8″ and 135 lbs., with red or light brown hair. She was last seen wearing gray hooded sweater, a black jacket, red and yellow pants and gray and white sneakers.

jan31 mcdonalds assault suspect3

Third assault suspect

The third suspect is male, black, 14 to 17 years old, 5’5″, 170 lbs., and had eyeglasses. He was last seen wearing a red hooded sweater, a beige jacket and blue jeans.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Driver injured after losing control of cab in Stuyvesant Town

The damaged taxi was moved onto the 14th Street Loop Road. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

A cab driver was injured after losing control of her vehicle in Stuyvesant Town on Tuesday.

The cab ended up on the lawn outside 521 East 14th Street after it took down about two car lengths of the chicken wire fence along the grass outside the building.

The driver was taken to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition after the accident was reported at 11:30 a.m., according to the FDNY. The department didn’t have details on the nature of the victim’s injuries.

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ST/PCV management warns recent crimes due to ‘piggybacking’

jan17 pcv burglary suspect

Peter Cooper Village burglary suspect

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town management sent a newsletter around to residents earlier this week warning about an increase in building break-ins throughout the complex and warning against allowing non-residents to “piggy-back” inside.

StuyTown Property Services CEO Rick Hayduk told Town & Village that none of the incidents mentioned in the email were new and had all been reported in the last six months. The incidents included the assault of a woman who had been hired by residents and was attacked after security buzzed her into the Stuyvesant Town building and a man followed her inside, in addition to a teenager who was mugged in a Peter Cooper Village vestibule last fall.

One incident that Town & Village did not learn of at the time was an apartment break-in that occurred within the last few months where a man followed a resident into the building and started checking for open doors. Finding one, he began taking things from an apartment and was leaving as a teenage resident was returning. The resident wasn’t harmed and the suspect hasn’t been arrested.

This incident wasn’t publicized at the time because the resident requested that it not be made public, although Hayduk noted that it was reported to the NYPD.

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman also noted at the 13th Precinct community council’s most recent meeting on Tuesday evening that package thefts have been up in the neighborhood, with two suspects being arrested for a string of six incidents in Stuyvesant Town on Christmas after they managed to get into multiple buildings. Hayduk noted in the email that package thefts have increased on the property and often occur when non-residents manage to piggy-back into the buildings.
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Update: Bronx Zoo rep thinks lizard’s fake

The Department of Conservation said this lizard won’t be able to survive long in the cold. (Photo by Valerie Nilsson)

Update: We showed the photo of the lizard to a source at The Bronx Zoo who believes it is a fake due to the way it’s positioned.

By Sabina Mollot

Earlier in the week, Valerie Nilsson, a woman walking through Stuyvesant Oval spotted what appeared to be some kind of lizard in a patch of grass. However, the three-foot-long creature appeared to be so still she wondered if it was a toy or prop someone had put there as a prank. Later noticing it was gone, she posted a photo she took of the lizard on the local Facebook group Stuyvesant Moms to ask if anyone else had seen it.

So far, no one had and Stuyvesant Town management has said no one has reported it as a missing pet.

Town & Village sent the photo to the New York State Department of Conservation, where a spokesperson said based on the photo it appeared to be a Monitor Lizard in the Varanidae family of lizards.

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