Executive Officer Ernesto Castro of the 13th Precinct (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper residents expressed concerns about cyclists around the property, especially the bike lane on East 20th Street between First Avenue and Avenue C, at the Tenants Association’s annual meeting last Thursday.
Resident Susan Mason said that a mom in the neighborhood said her stroller was hit while her child was in it. Mason did not specify if this was at the intersection of East 20th Street and First Avenue but said that the corner seems to be a problem.
“Since you’re trying to educate the bicyclists, it would be helpful if you could send officers to 20th and First because cyclists are constantly going through lights there,” she said.
The 13th Precinct’s executive officer, Ernesto Castro, noted at the meeting that there has been one collision reported at East 20th and First so far this year, and the NYPD usually focuses traffic enforcement on areas with more crashes, including East 23rd Street and Second Avenue, as well as at Sixth Avenue.
Vehicle collision at Second Avenue and 14th Street (Photos by Jefferson Siegel)
By Jefferson Siegel
Just after 7 pm Tuesday, the quiet early-evening atmosphere at 2nd Avenue and 14th Street was shattered by a loud metal-crunching explosion when three app-driven car service vehicles collided.
The crash was followed by screams as people rushed to find a Lyft driver trapped in his car and a cyclist on the curb. The driver appeared to be unconscious as he sat motionless, his body surrounded by front and side air bags. The driver-side door had been smashed by a mini-van which blocked anyone from reaching the driver. Firefighters arrived within minutes and tried smashing the passenger-side window to reach the driver. They were able to enter the car from the rear door and place a neck brace on the driver.
A mural on the 20th Street Loop depicts artist Frida Kahlo and performer Josephine Baker. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
In celebration of Pride Month, portraits of LGBTQ pioneers and celebrities have popped up in Stuyvesant Town, painted right onto outdoor staircases.
The larger than life faces in black and white, framed by rainbow backgrounds, include those of Freddie Mercury, Frida Kahlo, Josephine Baker and David Bowie, among others.
The artist is John Cuevas, a California resident who specializes in bright, colorful murals, and worked from Friday to late Saturday. Following a rain-soaked Sunday, some of the paint had peeled in spots, though those depicted in the murals remained recognizable.
On Monday morning, a few residents who were out and about near where the portraits were, around the loop roads, told Town & Village they were enjoying the art. The project was sponsored by Stuyvesant Town management and will remain on view through June.
Longtime resident Andy Ward, while out walking his dog Rexie on the 20th Street Loop, at first was concerned the art might be something promotional. But when told the promotion was for Pride Month, he changed his mind.
“I like good causes,” Ward said. While gesturing to the painting nearest to his feet, he added, “Who doesn’t like art? They didn’t have names at first but I could tell this one was Freddie Mercury.”
Also walking by that portrait at the time was Paul Sachs, who called the artwork “beautiful.”
He added, “It’s nice to see Stuy Town support Gay Pride Month, you know? I’m a native New Yorker, so I support everybody as long as they’re doing good.”
Near the community center, another staircase mural depicted David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust phase and the late astronaut Sally Ride.
A mural near the Stuyvesant Town community center depicts the late musician David Bowie and astronaut Sally Ride.
Of all the murals, Bowie’s seemed to have weathered Sunday night’s rainstorm the worst, with a large gash-like tear in his cheek due to the peeling paint.
Upon noticing this, Bowie fan Nancy Fischer said she hoped it could be restored.
“That didn’t last very long,” she observed, adding that she had enjoyed watching the artist at work, alongside a couple of neighbors who were seniors, a couple of days earlier.
“They were very receptive,” she recalled, which surprised her at the time. “Because a lot of people don’t like change.”
She added, “I would say that it is a very cool addition to the community. I just wish it could be more lasting.” Contemplating the portrait of Bowie again, Fischer said, “I’d still make out with him.”
Reached on the phone on Monday, Cuevas said the project came about after he was contacted by Stuy Town’s director of lifestyle services Robert Vasquez to do some outdoor art. It was Cuevas’ idea to do portraits and suggested possible subjects, all of whom got management’s approval.
A total of 10 portraits now appear on five different staircases. Along with the aforementioned names, others who were painted were mathematician and computing pioneer Alan Turing, stonewall activists and drag queens Marsha Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, novelist and activist James Baldwin and Eleanor Roosevelt, who some believe was a lesbian.
“I was stoked, because it was New York City Pride,” said Cuevas.
Another mural on the 20th Street Loop depicts singer Freddie Mercury and mathematician Alan Turing.
Since the portraits were intended to be temporary, they were wheatpasted onto the ground, with Cuevas noting that this technique has become synonymous with New York street art and has since spread to other cities and countries.
“It’s an amazing art form. What I really like is it’s non-toxic and removable,” he said.
While the wheatpasting process was somewhat new to Cuevas, he is no stranger to outdoor art. Immediately upon his return from Manhattan he got back to work on mural of a realistic-looking serpent emerging from a wall in La Quinta, California.
As for the Stuy Town art, Cuevas, who identifies as bisexual, said while he was working, he was overwhelmed with the amount of supportive feedback he got.
“Just the spirit of the community here, it was a lot of sharing,” said Cuevas. “Pride can be a difficult time for people who have a lifestyle that is not necessarily mainstream. I heard a lot of people’s stories about their brothers or themselves. It’s nice to feel that your community around you supports you.”
He recalled how residents he spoke with seemed surprised to learn that the owner had commissioned the Pride-themed project.
“I asked what had happened in the past, and they said, ‘Not this.’ I said, ‘That’s great.’ I look forward to doing more projects there.”
Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk told T&V the Pride project was “simply recognition of our concept of community and unity,” not unlike concerts on the Oval or the recently announced chips-and-salsa gatherings for neighbors.
“Pride Month was something we haven’t participated in and we felt it was time,” he said. Since Cuevas began work, Hayduk said the feedback has been unanimously positive. Even a resident who early on in the process called Hayduk to report what looked like someone making graffiti called back when Cuevas was finished to say it looked great.
As for the pieces of the portraits that have been torn away due to immediately being rained on, not to mention walked on, Hayduk said he was looking into seeing if Cuevas could return to touch them up. Especially since rainstorms aren’t exactly isolated incidents this time of year.
“It’s June in New York. We have 27 more days to go,” said Hayduk.
Cuevas, meanwhile, said he doesn’t mind the effect of the rain, having seen photos of the installation people tagged him in on social media. “There are sporadic drips of color that bathe the portraits,” he said. “The rainbow grime gives it new meaning.”
In related news, the first ever Stuyvesant Town Pride parade for residents and employees has been scheduled for Thursday, June 20. According to the property’s official website, the event will take place at 6 p.m. on First Avenue between 18th and 20th Streets and continue to the Oval for activities and performances.
Like the murals, Hayduk said it’s about building community. “One of our primary jobs is bringing people together,” he said.
Update: This article has been updated to reflect a change in time for the parade.
How sweet it is. The new ice cream truck in town will be operated by Mikey Likes it. (Photos by Thomas Rochford)
By Sabina Mollot
Stuyvesant Town residents who were out and about on the First Avenue Loop on Friday afternoon may have seen the newest vehicle to enter management’s fleet, only this time it’s not a security SUV or contractor club car, but an ice cream truck.
The baby blue and white van, which was parked on the side of the road, has the words, “Peter Coop’s Scoops” and the Peter Cooper logo on its side.
Asked about this, Stuyvesant Town general manager Rick Hayduk said that is really an ice cream truck and it will be open for business in Peter Cooper and Stuy Town (where legally allowed to operate), on June 19. It may also, where allowed, Hayduk stressed, pop up at public events in the city, and it will also appear at another Blackstone-owned property, Kips Bay Court.
The truck is part of Stuy Town Property Services’ recently announced re-branding efforts such as the new, minimalist property logos and last year’s apartment-in-a-box van that drove around the city. It’s being operated independently by Mikey Likes It, an ice cream shop owned by a Stuyvesant Town resident, Michael Cole. The business has a location in the East Village on Avenue A as well as on Fredrick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem. In exchange for having the ST/PCV wrap as a form of advertising for the property, management gave Mikey Likes It the truck to use.
“We’re not in the ice cream business,” Hayduk clarified.
Garland Jeffreys, pictured in Stuyvesant Town in 2012 (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
After a half century of performing in New York City and around the world, rock singer — and longtime Stuyvesant Town resident — Garland Jeffreys has announced he is retiring from the stage.
While he said he plans to do the occasional guest spot—and has planned a farewell/76th birthday concert next month with at least a dozen other singers — Jeffreys said he is now just focusing on writing and recording music.
“I’m kind of retiring,” he told Town & Village this week. “These days what I’m doing is picking and choosing. Like for example, I’m going to do something in Canada with Steven Van Zandt.”
The “Wild in the Streets” singer, who’s also shared stages with Bruce Springsteen and Lou Reed, added, “I love performing, but I’m not going to be on the treadmill, playing, playing, playing.”
This week, some residents of Stuyvesant Town received notices that the Division of Housing and Community Renewal had approved the owner’s request for hot water heater major capital improvement rent increase.
One resident shared the MCI notice on the Tenants Association’s Facebook page, which stated the increase to tenants’ rent would be $1.86 per room per month. However, MCI charges can vary slightly from building to building and this one is for the whole complex.
The ST-PCV Tenants Association had opposed this MCI, but the DHCR rejected its arguments that it would cause a financial hardship to tenants and that it was unfair because the property’s six commercial garages would also be benefitting from the upgrade. In its notice to tenants, the DHCR wrote that the garages are getting their own separate hot water systems, so they aren’t benefitting from the hot water heater (exchanger) system.
Playground 9 was bustling with vendors and shoppers at the Stuyvesant Town Flea Market this past Saturday. See Town & Village’s website for more photos of the event. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
After two failed attempts earlier this month due to rain, the Stuy Town flea market finally had its day in the sun last weekend with hundreds of residents searching for hidden treasures from their neighbors.
The market was originally scheduled for Saturday, May 4, and was rescheduled to the following day because of the weather, although when it quickly became clear that May 5 would be a washout as well, management postponed the event to last Saturday with fingers crossed and another slew of possible rain dates. But the additional raindates proved unnecessary as the weather cooperated this past weekend, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to high 70s.
General manager Rick Hayduk said that it seemed like a number of vendors who reserved a spot for the original date never alerted management that they wouldn’t be able to make the new date that was scheduled due to the rain, leaving the spot empty on the day of the market, but he said that the number of no-shows was still similar to that of last year.
Due to an April shower on Saturday, the traditional Easter activities for children in Stuyvesant Town, an egg hunt and visit from the Easter Bunny, were postponed by a day. However, children and their families still turned up en masse on Easter Sunday and an egg-citing time seemed to be had by all. (Photos by Steven Noveck)
By Stephen Noveck
Despite a rain-related delay of one day, the annual Stuyvesant Town Easter egg hunt had a massive turnout for children of all age groups on Sunday.
Countless pastel colored eggs were laid out for the taking in the middle of Playground 10, and the Easter Bunny also showed, drawing a long line for pictures at the end of the age 2-4 egg hunt. Each group took about two minutes to clear out the playground of eggs, which were quickly delved into for the treats inside. Stuy Town was recycling the egg shells and it didn’t take long for the bag to fill up.
A seven-year-old named Camila won the grand prize of a $25 gift card to the Ibiza Kids toy store on 1st Avenue in the age 5-8 group. Hundreds of children participated.
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.’”
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.
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.
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 →
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.
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.”
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.