Town & Village co-hosts City Council debate at Waterside Plaza

On Thursday night, an evening of debate among the candidates running to replace Dan Garodnick in the City Council was held at Waterside Plaza. The event’s hosts were Town & Village newspaper, the Waterside Tenants Association and Waterside management with the event taking place outdoors. A story covering the views of the various candidates on affordable housing, small businesses, issues affecting seniors, and the sanitation garage the city plans to build at the Brookdale campus, is forthcoming. Scroll down to see some photos from the debate, where all seats on the plaza were filled with a mixed crowd of community residents and candidates’ supporters.

Richard Ravitch, owner of Waterside Plaza and former lieutenant governor, makes opening remarks. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Crowd at the debate

Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal, event co-host

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Man arrested for crashing drone into Waterside apt.

Karma drone

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a 24-year-old man last Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. for crashing his drone through an apartment window at Waterside Plaza last Saturday. Shane Smith, a resident of East 33rd Street, reportedly flew the toy through the window of a 66-year-old resident’s apartment.

Peter Davis, general manager of Waterside Plaza, told Town & Village after the incident that flying drones in the area is especially dangerous because Waterside Plaza is adjacent to spots where helicopters and seaplanes frequently land.

A representative for DCPI said it was likely that investigators tracked the drone back to Smith through the registered serial number.

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Drone crashes through window at Waterside

Karma drone

Karma drone

By Sabina Mollot

A resident of Waterside Plaza got the shock of her life when a drone came crashing through her window at Waterside on Saturday evening. The woman, who’s 66, was nearby but unharmed when the drone landed. However, the window of her 27th floor apartment at 20 Waterside Plaza was shattered.

Police are investigating the matter, since flying drones in New York City is illegal except in certain parks.

Peter Davis, general manager of Waterside Plaza, noted that doing so is especially dangerous near the East River property because it’s adjacent to spots where seaplanes and helicopters land. Waterside is also home to 4,000 people.

“We’re very lucky that no one was hurt,” he said. “It was a reckless and irresponsible act to fly a drone in an urban area, not to mention illegal. It’s not fun and games.”

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City proposes reconfiguring 2 playgrounds as part of East Side flood protection plan

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Asser Levy Playground (pictured) and Murphy’s Brother’s Playground will be impacted by the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project. (Photo courtesy of Parks Department)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The city has been exploring options to redesign Asser Levy Playground and Murphy’s Brother’s Playground, since both will be affected by the construction of flood protection along the East Side of Manhattan from East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street.

Earlier in the month, representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency discussed the proposals at a community meeting held at Washington Irving High School.

Carrie Grassi, the deputy director of planning for the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, mentioned how the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project will run adjacent to both parks and construction will disturb activities there.

However, since the city is only in the concept design stage with the project, Grassi said that decisions for all aspects aren’t necessarily final yet. One such instance is the placement of the floodwall as it approaches the Asser Levy Playground. One configuration has the wall bordering the park along the FDR Drive, turning along East 25th Street and connecting with the floodwall that the VA Hospital is working on.

“But some feel that would be too imposing,” Grassi said.

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July 4th fireworks go on, despite rain

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Fireworks as seen at Waterside Plaza (Photo by Edward O’Rourke)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, July 4th, New York City’s annual fireworks show dazzled viewers along The East River as Macy’s also celebrated its 40th anniversary of putting on the skyward display. This year, four fireworks barges were positioned between 23rd and 37th Streets with another double barge downtown. Despite on and off rain which turned into a downpour not long before the show began at around 9:30 p.m. the crowds came out, though their numbers were rivaled by all the police officers patrolling along the East Side. At Waterside Plaza, where residents get a front row seat to the spectacle, over a thousand people lined up outside to watch. The property, where holiday festivities also took place outdoors on the plaza, was sealed on Monday other than to residents and their guests. Many more spectators, despite the weather, gathered alongside the car-free FDR Drive for a still closeup view.

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ST-PCV TA will hold meeting on planned E. 20th St. ferry landing

The East River Ferry service that was launched last year recently served a million riders. Mayor Bloomberg announced that he and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn will be launching a survey to help improve the service.

The East River Ferry

The city is planning to expand existing ferry service on the East River and citywide, and a new ferry landing is to be built at East 20th Street. The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association has invited officials from the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to fill residents in on the project. The new landing would be part of the Lower East Side route, a stop between an existing stop at East 34th Street and another at Wall Street/Pier 11.

The Tenants Association is holding an open meeting on Thursday, January 14 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the VA Medical Center atrium conference room, 423 East 23rd Street east of First Avenue.

Questions are encouraged, such as:

What impacts will the new facility have on noise and pollution? Will ferry passengers crowd local buses? What effect will the ferry landing have on the new storm barrier design? What impact will the landing have on pedestrians and bicyclists in Stuyvesant Cove Park? What new commuting options will be available to Stuy Town and Peter Cooper residents?

 

 

Garodnick: East Side Coastal Resiliency plans could leave Watersiders stranded

Councilman Dan Garodnick and Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal are concerned about a potential lack of vehicle access to Waterside Plaza in the event of an emergency. (Photo courtesy of Waterside Plaza)

Councilman Dan Garodnick and Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal are concerned about a potential lack of vehicle access to Waterside Plaza in the event of an emergency. (Photo courtesy of Waterside Plaza)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Councilmember Dan Garodnick said he’s concerned that plans for the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, which is aimed at protecting the East Side in the event of a disaster, will block vehicle access to Waterside Plaza.

He mentioned this in testimony he gave on the draft scope of work for the environmental impact statement that will be done for the ESCR Project, on Monday.

Each alternative design for the ESCR has a set of barriers that would block the northbound FDR Drive service road at 23rd Street when deployed in the event of a flood. Garodnick pointed out that the barriers would then be blocking the only point of vehicle access to Waterside Plaza, which would block access for emergency vehicles, buses and trucks to the complex.

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T&V toy drive deadline extended

Dec17 toys

Some of the toys already donated (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The deadline for Town & Village’s annual toy drive benefitting Mount Sinai Beth Israel has been extended to December 21. This year the deadline for the drive was earlier than those of past drives (December 11), which was aimed to helping the hospital distribute the toys to the children it serves in a more timely fashion. However, T&V’s partners in this endeavor, CompassRock, Waterside Plaza management and M&T Bank, have generously allowed the use of their spaces for a longer period in order to accept additional donations.

At this time, toys and other gifts appropriate for kids up to 14 years old can be left at any of the following dropoff points:

Stuyvesant Town’s management office, 276 First Avenue in the First Avenue Loop

M&T Bank at the corner of First Avenue and East 23rd Street

Waterside, where donation boxes will be at the management office, 30 Waterside Plaza; the Health Club, 35 Waterside Plaza; and the Community Center, 40 Waterside Plaza

Town & Village office, 20 West 22nd Street, Suite 1503, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

Due to hospital policy, all donated items must be new and unwrapped. All gifts are appreciated, though the highest need is gifts for older boys. Gifts from this drive go to children stuck spending their holidays in hospital rooms as well as families the hospital serves through its outpatient clinics, many of whom can’t afford to get presents for their children.

Town & Village would like to thank our partners on this project as well as our incredible readers who have donated already.

 

Halloween events for kids, adults and pets

Dog at last year’s parade at Tompkins Square Park

Dog at last year’s parade at Tompkins Square Park

The following local Halloween events start this weekend:

GREENWICH VILLAGE CHILDREN’S PARADE—NYU and Community Board 2 present the 25th annual Children’s Halloween Parade, the city’s largest free children’s event on Halloween Day, October 31. Parents and children aged 3-12 are invited to gather at the Washington Square Arch by 1 p.m. Children and families will march around Washington Square Park. After the parade, free trick-or-treat bags, games and rides await the children on LaGuardia Place. The event finishes at 4 p.m. The parade assembles along Washington Square North, near the Arch and ends at LaGuardia between Washington Square South and West 3rd Street.

FAIR FOR KIDS IN STUY TOWN—Stuyvesant Town will hold a “Halloween Spooktacular” event on the Oval on Saturday, October 24 at 2 p.m. There will be a haunted house, a pumpkin patch, live music, face painting, crafts, candy and more for residents and their guests.

CARNIVAL AT LITTLE MISSIONARY—Little Missionary’s Day Nursery pre-school will hold a haunted Halloween party on October 31 from noon-4 p.m. at St. Marks Church and the Bowery, at East 10th Street and Second Avenue. There will be a haunted house, puppet show, music, games, cotton candy, hot dogs, face painting, scavenger hunts, creepy stories with Thea Taube and food and drinks. No entry fee, but tickets need to be purchased for food and activities. The music, puppet show and story time will be free.

PARADE FOR PETS NEAR STUY TOWN—Cauz for Pawz thrift shop will be holding its first Halloween parade for pets on Sunday, October 25 from 1-3 p.m. The pets will walk a red carpet and be voted on. The venue is the store’s new location at 333 First Avenue between 19th and 20th Streets. For more information, call (212) 684-7299.

DOG PARADE AT TOMPKINS SQUARE PARK—On Saturday, October 24 from noon-3 p.m., the annual Halloween parade for dogs will take place at Tompkins Square Park. There will be tons of prizes for dogs in costumes at this event, which will be held in the dog run, East 9th Street between Avenues A and B. There will also be local rescue adoptions. Rain date is Sunday.

PARTY FOR KIDS AT WATERSIDE—All resident Waterside children are invited to attend the annual Halloween party on Sat., Oct. 31 from 5-7 p.m. at the Waterside Swim & Health Club, 35 Waterside Plaza and outside on the plaza, weather permitting. The event will feature face painting, a photo booth, a costume contest, a spooktacular number of games and activities and lots and lots of treats. Admission is free and open to resident children of Waterside Plaza. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

COSTUME BALL & PERFORMANCES FOR ADULTS—Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. at E. 10th St., presents its 38th annual Village Halloween Costume Ball on Saturday, October 31. This unique festival continues as a grand coming-together for everyday New Yorkers and artists alike. A carefree fall tradition, it celebrates the creativity that comes with the season. The one-night fiesta takes over all four of TNC’s theater spaces, plus its lobby and the block of East Tenth Street between First and Second Avenues. Admission is $20; costume or formal wear is required. Once inside, everything is free except food and drink, which are graveyard dirt-cheap. Big-Band Dance orchestras take over the large Johnson Theater. These will include Hot Lavender Swing Band, an all-Gay and Lesbian 18-piece orchestra, and Maquina Mono (The Monkey Machine), a Latin Salsa Rock band. The Johnson Theater will also have aerial dance by Suspended Cirque. Outside, there are R&B and Dixieland bands, fire eaters, jugglers, storyweavers and stilt dancers, all free to the public. Inside, there is theater all evening. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and indoor entertainment begins at 8 p.m. There will be two continuously-running cabarets. Outdoor entertainment will start at  3:30 p.m. Outdoor entertainment is capped by “The Red and Black Masque,” an annual Medieval ritual show written by Arthur Sainer, scored by David Tice and directed by Crystal Field which is performed by torchlight. Scattered through the event will be stilt dancers, jugglers, fire-eaters, Vaudeville playlets, Burlesque and Hellsouls. The annual costume judging begins at midnight with the “Monsters and Miracles Costume Parade,” as all revelers are invited to march past a panel of celebrity judges. Winners will receive one-year passes to TNC and a bottle of Moet and Chandon champagne. Reservations are strongly recommended. For tickets ($20, costume or formal wear required) or more information, call (212) 254-1109 or visit http://www.theaterforthenewcity.net.

‘Sully’ films at Waterside

Clint Eastwood directed a newly white-haired Tom Hanks in a scene for “Sully” about heroic pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger at Waterside last Wednesday. (Photo via Waterside Plaza blog)

Clint Eastwood directed a newly white-haired Tom Hanks in a scene for “Sully” about heroic pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger at Waterside last Wednesday. (Photo via Waterside Plaza blog)

By Sabina Mollot

Last Wednesday evening, residents of Waterside Plaza got a sneak peek of the upcoming film, “Sully,” when director Clint Eastwood and actor Tom Hanks shot a scene at the property. Between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m. the scene was shot between 40 Waterside Plaza and the Water Club just north of the complex.

Hanks is playing heroic pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who calmly saved his entire crew and over 150 passengers during a crash landing in the Hudson River in 2009 after the plane’s two engines failed. The incident became known as the “Miracle on the Hudson,” and the film is based on the autobiography, Highest Duty, by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow. The scene at Waterside called for a newly white-haired Hanks to jog alongside the East River.

Following the one-day shoot, a post about it appeared on the Waterside blog.

The post read, “The film crew used our Community Center as their green room so remember next time you visit for an event, you could be sitting in Clint Eastwood’s empty chair!”

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Elevated park option for East River waterfront

Those in attendance at the  meeting last Tuesday sat at tables while the pros and cons of each option for the project were discussed. (Pictured) Guests seated before the presentation began (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Those in attendance at the meeting last Tuesday sat at tables while the pros and cons of each option for the project were discussed. (Pictured) Guests seated before the presentation began (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

 By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Neighborhood residents recently learned that the East River may be getting a new elevated park along with flood protection. The discussion about the park took place at the most recent workshop for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, held at the Stein Senior Center last Tuesday. Representatives from the mayor’s office and BIG U, the winning design firm in the Rebuild by Design competition in 2013, said that this type of flood protection was one of the most popular with residents, according to feedback from the community at the previous workshop in May.

Carrie Grassi, senior policy adviser at the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, also discussed the three options for flood protection in the area along the East River between 14th and 23rd Streets, which includes a berm, which would have a park on top, a flood wall or a deployable, and noted that community members saw the advantages of all three depending on the area.

The area along the river from 14th to 23rd is known as Project Area 2 and Project Area 1 extends south from 14th Street to Montgomery Street. The workshops have been split along these boundaries to focus more on the specific needs of each area.

Grassi noted that there is a need for compromise when considering different characteristics even within each designated project area and the specifics of each kind of flood protection, and they’re hoping the workshops will help find the right balance for Project Area 2.

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Cooling centers open during Monday’s dangerously hot weather

Joey and Sammy Haskell load up their water guns at Stuy Town's Playground 9 on a recent afternoon. Photo by Sabina Mollot

Joey and Sammy Haskell load up their water guns at Stuy Town’s Playground 9 on a recent afternoon. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

With Sunday’s hot and humid weather expected to continue on Monday, the city has announced cooling centers will be open.

Additionally, due to the dangerously hot weather, Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging New Yorkers to take steps to protect themselves and help others who may be at increased risk from the heat, including vulnerable individuals such as seniors and those with chronic health problems.

Forecasted temperatures for Monday are in the 90s with heat index values reaching as high as the low 100s. Additionally, an Air Quality Alert is in effect today through 11 p.m. New Yorkers should use air conditioning to stay cool, go to a place that has air conditioning if it is not available at home, drink water at regular intervals and limit strenuous activity, especially during the hottest parts of the day.

Local cooling centers include the following locations. Hours may change during heat emergencies.

Epiphany branch of the New York Public Library, 228 East 23rd Street (between Second and Third Avenue). Call (212) 679-2645 to confirm hours.

Stein Senior Center, 204 East 23rd Street (between Second and Third Avenue) through 6 p.m. UPDATE: The center announced it will be closing at 4:30 p.m.

Campos Plaza, 611 East 13th Street (between Avenues B and C). Call (212) 677-1801 to confirm hours of operation.

Sirovich Senior Center, 331 East 12th Street (between First and Second Avenues). Call (212) 228-7836 to confirm hours of operation.

Tompkins Square branch of the New York Public Library, 331 East 10th Street (between Avenues A and B). Call (212) 228-4747 to confirm hours of operation.

Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village residents can also head to the Community Center at 449 East 14th Street (First Avenue Loop at 16th Street). Another option for cooling down is heading to one of the playgrounds with water features.

Waterside residents can head to the Community Center at 40 Waterside Plaza through 6 p.m.

Coalition formed against sanit garage

The Brookdale site as seen from Waterside (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

The Brookdale site as seen from Waterside (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Tenant groups against the proposed sanitation garage at the Brookdale campus organized themselves just in time for another public scoping hearing that took place at the site of proposed facility on Wednesday.

 The Brookdale Neighborhood Coalition announced their formation on Tuesday in the form of a press release. The individual tenant organizations have been fighting the construction of the garage since it was announced almost three years ago but this is the first time that the groups have officially come together to oppose the plan. The coalition consists of the tenant associations at Waterside Plaza, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, East Midtown Plaza and the Kips Bay Neighborhood Association.

The Economic Development Corporation had invited community members to provide their input on the project through a working group, but this venture was designed to discuss plans for the bookend sites, not the garage itself.

Janet Handal, president of the Waterside Tenants Association, said that many members of the community were hopeful and then quickly discouraged by the purpose of the working group because most people primarily wanted to discuss how to prevent the garage and talking about the outer parcels was less of a priority.

“(DSNY) said the time to talk about the garage would be at public meetings so we organized after last public meeting and decided we would be more effective as one voice,” Handal said.

The coalition aims to keep higher standards for the DSNY in terms of its requirements for the projected studies that the department will be conducting and a formal response will be released on July 22. At that time, the coalition will outline its concerns on pedestrian safety, traffic, air quality and other issues.

Tenants are concerned about the fact that DSNY says a public health analysis of the project is not warranted.

“When you start looking at the data, Gramercy has the worst health

quality and that’s from the mayor’s own portal,” Handal said. “DSNY says, ‘well, we use ultra clean diesel,’ but that does not do anything with the fine particulate matter. The filters on the trucks reduce that pollution by 90 percent, which is good, but that’s not all of it so you have a net increase of pollution. The devil is in the details, as they say.”

Other issues that the coalition is worried about involve pedestrian safety, especially because of the area’s proximity to a number of schools, in addition to the multiple residential housing complexes. Traffic is another concern: according to data from the city website for Vision Zero, there is a high density of traffic-related incidents in the area and there was a 30 percent increase in collisions from 2009 to 2014.

“When you go back and think about what Mayor de Blasio’s goals were with Vision Zero, the first responsibility of government is to protect its citizens,” Handal said. “How is that happening here?”

The group is also hoping to highlight some points that they feel the draft EIS has missed in terms of comprehensive analysis of the garage’s impact, including the identification of alternative locations and not adequately studying the health hazards.

The last public scoping hearing, which was scheduled for July 15 (after T&V’s press time), was meant to gather comments that will be incorporated into the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Residents will get a 30-day period in which to respond and then the final Environmental Impact Statement will be released. Handal said that she’s not optimistic that DSNY is open to a discussion addressing all of the community’s concerns, but she has been motivated by her investigation into the hazards to keep trying anyway.

“I sometimes get lulled into the notion of a kinder, gentler garage,” she admitted, “but when I do the research it’s so upsetting because we’re right next door.”

A spokesperson from the DSNY was not immediately available for comment on the coalition.

Local bird’s-eye 4th of July

Fireworks, as seen from Waterside, lit up the night on July 4th. (Photo by Tobias Batz)

Fireworks, as seen from Waterside, lit up the night on July 4th. (Photo by Tobias Batz)

By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday, July 4th, with four of Macy’s barges lined up from 23rd to 37th Streets over the East River, residents at Waterside Plaza enjoyed a particularly enviable view of the fireworks this year.

Throughout the evening, with access limited to residents and their guests, between 5,000 and 6,000 people lined up along the outdoor plaza.

Thousands more lined up just north of Waterside’s towers along the car-free FDR Drive. Another fireworks display took place further downtown near the Brooklyn Bridge. Before the sky filled with the familiar flash and boom though, at Waterside, festivities also included a barbecue on the plaza for residents and various kids’ activities.

During this time, Town & Village spoke with residents to ask about what July 4th has been like there over the years.

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Atomic Bomb survivors talk to students at UNIS

Yasuaki Yamashita from Nagasaki and Setsuko Thurlow from Hiroshima discuss their experiences when the bomb hit their cities. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Yasuaki Yamashita from Nagasaki and Setsuko Thurlow from Hiroshima discuss their experiences when the bomb hit their cities. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

High school students at the UN International School at Waterside Plaza welcomed two World War II survivors from Japan to their class on Monday to hear their experiences from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The program was brought to the school by the organization Hibakusha Stories, which is a UN-affiliated NGO and is honoring the 70th anniversary of the bombings this year. A uranium bomb was dropped over Hiroshima on August 6 and a plutonium bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

Yasuaki Yamashita from Nagasaki and Setsuko Thurlow from Hiroshima shared their experiences with the students.

Yamashita, now an artist in Mexico, was six years old at the time and living a mile and a half from the hypocenter in Nagasaki. He explained that on the morning that the bomb was dropped, he was playing outside by himself when a neighbor and his sister both said they heard strange airplanes flying over the city.

“My mother took my hand and when we got inside our house there was a tremendous crash,” he said. “It was like a thousand lightning bolts at the same time. She covered my body with her body. There was tremendous noise and then there was silence. When I looked up at the windows, doors and roof, there was nothing there.”

Yamashita said that he and his family attempted to reestablish normal life afterwards. He explained that didn’t really think of himself as an atomic bomb survivor until he was working in an atomic bomb hospital after he graduated high school and he encountered a young man with leukemia who was around his age.

“One day he was suffering and his body became covered in black marks, and he died the next day,” Yamashita said. “Then I thought it would happen to me.”

Thurlow was 13 at the time of the bombing of Hiroshima and was working at army headquarters to help the war effort.

“We were trained to use math skills to read top secret messages from the front lines and decode them,” she said. “It is unimaginable that a 13-year-old girl was doing this.”

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