Letters to the editor, Nov. 29

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Funding Amazon vs. NYers in need

To the Editor:

I wondered why our Democrat mayor and governor, who never agree on anything, were both thrilled to give such an enormous handout to Amazon’s owner, the richest man in the world. Despite a desperate need for funds to put towards the welfare of over 100,000 homeless NYC students and the aging homeless population, some of whom you can see every day on the corner of First Avenue and 14th Street, and the benefits of free health care and higher education for NY State residents, and even for more mundane items such as repairing the ever-increasing potholes in NYC, despite all this our, Democrat leaders have chosen to grease the palm of the wealthiest of the wealthy one percent. I found the answer to this conundrum on the pages of T&V.

“Tenant PAC spokesperson Michael McKee…believes Governor Andrew Cuomo will be working behind the scenes to fight tenant-friendly laws” (“Democratic lead too big for attempts at power grabs,” T&V, Nov. 15) and “He expects Cuomo to continue to portray himself as pro-tenant while also trying to keep his real estate donors for his long-rumored run for president.” (“What a true blue NY State Senate means for tenants,” T&V, Nov. 15)

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Editorial: Amazonian giveaway to a giant

After months of speculation on where Amazon would decide to hold court, the online retail giant finally announced the locations of its headquarters, which will be split in two cities: Crystal City, Virginia and Long Island City in New York.

It didn’t take long before City Hall and nearly every politician in town crowed about Amazon’s promise to make at least 25,000 hires  in positions paying an average of $150,000, after being promised up to $2.2 billion in state and city giveaways. Of course good-paying jobs are a benefit to New Yorkers. However, we still can’t help but feel the city has really turned its back on small businesses this time.

As the long-stalled effort to get the Small Business Jobs Survival Act passed proves, no one is afraid to parrot the real estate industry’s argument that the demise of mom-and-pops has more to do with online shopping than exorbitant rent. At the hearing for the SBJSA, a representative of the city’s Small Business Services agency argued against the bill, warning of “unintended consequences” like landlords being more hesitant to lease to small businesses.

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Letters to the Editor, Oct. 22

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Sick of Ave. C looking like Swiss cheese

A reader sent this letter to Town & Village last Tuesday about traffic problems during ongoing work along Avenue C. A response from the DOT and Con Ed follows.

Avenue C has been torn up for over three weeks, between at least 20th Street and 14th Street. I assume this is done by the DOT but I’m not certain of it.

In any case how can any responsible agency be permitted to tear up a major access road (this stretch serves as both means of entry and exit for the East River Drive) and leave it in the condition of a veritable mine field? It’s beyond reason. Traffic is slowed to a crawl and vehicles are swerving left and right to avoid major pot holes, exposed sewer covers and gas vents. (On what had been a level street to begin with, I traverse the area daily and there were no issues with this street.) Vehicle and pedestrian safety are severely compromised.

One evening last week, Con Edison employed the use of traffic cones and security guards on both 16th and 14th Streets to secure parking for their employees on the Stuyvesant Town perimeter. I believe this was done due to the congestion caused by no parking on Avenue C. Is this legal? And to top it off, that same night DOT (?) was tearing up the intersection at 14th Street and First Avenue.

What’s going on here? Why is our neighborhood being taxed so severely by poorly coordinated city services and an out of control power company? If street work is necessary, fine. Tear it up as needed but don’t leave it in this condition for weeks (months?) at a time.

Demolition/tear-up should not be permitted unless the repairs are to be made immediately. Is this so contractors can start as many jobs as possible and then get back to them when they see fit? Who is responsible for this? The public is not being well served.

Name withheld, ST

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UPS says delivery policy never changed

Packages recently piled up in the lobby of Council  Member Dan Garodnick’s building in Peter Cooper Village. (Photo by Dan Garodnick)

Packages recently piled up in the lobby of Council Member Dan Garodnick’s building in Peter Cooper Village. (Photo by Dan Garodnick)

By Sabina Mollot
Back in April, CompassRock alerted residents to a change in policy in which UPS would no longer be leaving packages for residents outside their doors without their signatures. Instead, residents were advised they could get a membership to Oval Concierge, which would accept packages on their behalf. One month of complimentary service was offered in the emailed alert to residents “while you sort out your plans to get deliveries safely home.”
However, this week, UPS said that it never changed its policy and that packages could still be left outside doors. Council Member Dan Garodnick was made aware of this in a letter from UPS’s Vice President of State Government Affairs Mark Giuffre, after contacting the company. Garodnick also said he’s since alerted Oval Concierge to the error.
When asked about the alert, a spokesperson for UPS, Dan McMackin, told T&V, “We’re confused. We have no idea what they’re talking about.”
He added that there are buildings where owners handle packages for tenants and in those buildings, tenants are notified by UPS that the owner has them. However, said McMackin, there’s no such agreement at ST/PCV.
In response to a call from T&V, a spokesperson for CWCapital, Brian Moriarty, said the reason the alert went out is because UPS drivers were the ones to make a call as to whether or not to leave packages in buildings. Apparently they can decline to do so in the event of package thefts being reported at a particular building.
“We were just told by the customer service rep it is the driver’s discretion whether or not to leave a package when three or more packages have gone missing from a particular location,” Moriarty. “I don’t know that the flag on certain PCVST building would necessarily be communicated to the national (UPS) office.”
Meanwhile, Garodnick said he’s also followed up on another issue relating to packages left in buildings. In recent months, residents have been complaining that a third party delivery company for Amazon has been leaving packages unattended in building lobbies.
Recently, when spotting a deliveryman doing just this in his own building, Garodnick said he asked why the packages were being left there. The response: “He said, ‘Well most people aren’t home,’” said Garodnick. “So I’ve raised the issue with Amazon and they’re looking into the issue. I am trying to get us back into a place where people can expect to see packages in front of their doors without having to rely on Oval Concierge service.”
The third party delivery company, which apparently works for various dot coms, is called Special Logistics. They did not return a call by T&V’s press time.
McMackin said UPS would be looking into the matter of any packages left in lobbies. “Packages should not be showing up in lobbies,” he said.