Democrats vying for Kavanagh’s Assembly seat

epstein

Harvey Epstein (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Following Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh’s easy victory at the polls last week for the downtown Senate seat he wanted, two Democrat candidates have expressed interest in filling the now vacant 74th District Assembly seat.

One of them is Harvey Epstein, a tenant representative on the Rent Guidelines Board and the project director of the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center. The other is Mike Corbett, an aide to Queens-based City Council Member Costa Constantinides and a former teamster. Marie Ternes, a communications consultant who previously worked for then-Congress Member Anthony Weiner, said she is considering running.

Recently, outgoing City Council Member Rosie Mendez told Town & Village she was mulling a run for Assembly, but then later told the local blog Lo Down that she’d decided against it. Council Member Dan Garodnick has also previously said he has no plan to run.

Corbett, Epstein and Ternes spoke with a Town & Village reporter this week, although Ternes declined to be interviewed at this time since she hasn’t yet made a decision on running.

It’s expected that there will be a County Committee vote held by each party to determine who will get onto the ballot for a special election. However, it’s still unclear when the vote will be or when the election will be, since a special election must be called by the governor. Another possible, though unlikely, scenario is that there will be a primary in June when there’s a Congressional primary, or even later.

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Republican Club president running against Kavanagh

Stuyvesant Town resident Frank Scala, also the president of the Albano Republican Club, at  the barber shop he owns, La Scala Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Stuyvesant Town resident Frank Scala, also the president of the Albano Republican Club, at the barber shop he owns, La Scala (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

For Stuyvesant Town resident Frank Scala, this is not his first time running for office in a race as a longshot candidate. In fact, it was just two years ago when Scala, who’s also the president of the Albano Republican Club, entered a race without even trying to win. He was completely inactive, merely giving Republican voters a chance to enter the name of someone from their own party.

This time, he’s running as a candidate for the New York State Assembly, 74th District, against Brian Kavanagh. In the last state election cycle in 2014, Scala ran against State Senator Brad Hoylman.

“Most of the time, people don’t vote for the person, they vote for the party,” said Scala, a native of Sicily, who, after over half a century living in the United States, still has the accent of his homeland intact.

For the past 40 years he’s been a barber at La Scala, a shop he owns, in an office building on Fifth Avenue. Ryant Serhant, a realtor featured on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York,” is a weekly client as are a number of others in show business, Scala said, along with more corporate types.

Overwhelming positive Yelp reviews commend his haircutting style and his providing of a “man’s man” environment, complete with racecar art on the walls and a stash of Playboys to peruse through.

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TA meeting to focus on management office construction

Rendering of the new management office as seen in 276 First Avenue (Photo by Kent Howard)

Rendering of the new management office as seen in 276 First Avenue (Photo by Kent Howard)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuy Town Tenants Association is set to host a meeting to discuss the construction of a new management office as concern over disruption caused by the project continues to rise.

The TA is primarily concerned about quality-of-life issues, including the removal of walkways and benches, loss of greenery and possible noise.The original management office on Avenue C was swept away by Hurricane Sandy . There are plans to turn what’s left into a children’s facility.

The new management office will border 272, 274, 276 and 278 First Avenue and while CW Capital met with residents to discuss the project last October, there has been little communication since then. Local elected officials — City Councilmember Dan Garodnick, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Brad Hoylman — sent a letter to CW Capital vice president Andrew MacArthur last Friday asking for transparency about the project.

The Department of Buildings is to conduct an audit of the site in order to ensure compliance with the Building Code and Zoning Resolutions.

The letter from the elected officials was in response to a meeting held by tenants of 276 First Avenue that was organized by building resident and former Community Board 6 chair, Mark Thompson.

“Seniors especially are really stressed out because now the park is gone,” he said. “(Stuyvesant Town) is being marketed as this green oasis in the city and they’re cutting all the trees down.”

Kent Howard, of 276 First Avenue, told T&V that he started the website StuyTownBigDig.com to keep track of what they see going on.

“It’s hard to tell at this point but it looks a lot larger than I originally anticipated,” Howard said.

“Tenants are concerned,” Thompson added. “That’s the bottom line.”

The TA meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 18 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium at PS 40, 320 East 20th Street.

Doors will open at 5:45 p.m. Representatives from CW Capital and CompassRock will be there, in addition to local elected officials Senator Hoylman, Assemblymember Kavanagh and City Councilmember Garodnick.

Waterside celebrates 40th anniversary

By Sabina Mollot

On Thursday night, hundreds gathered at Waterside Plaza for a celebration of the complex’s 40th anniversary that included a concert by the George G. Orchestra, dancing under the stars and a fireworks display over the East River.

Waterside owner Richard Ravitch, between schmoozing with tenants and local politicians, said he never could have imagined the evening’s landmark celebration when, close to 50 years ago, he was trying to convince city officials that the building of a four-tower complex east of the FDR Drive would be a good thing.

“Never in the world,” he said. But he kept pushing for the plans and eventually succeeded in getting federal legislation passed so that Waterside’s buildings could be constructed directly over the water.

“(Mayor) Lindsay was excited about this,” recalled Ravitch. For a while, he noted, Waterside also rented apartments to the FBI “so they could eavesdrop on North Korea.” These days, Waterside is home to 4,000 people, including 200 employees of the United Nations, and there are also two onsite private schools, United Nations International School and British International School of New York.

Over the years, Ravitch said the biggest challenge of running the property is staying on top of its upkeep.

“If you do this responsibly, you have to preserve the infrastructure, even if it means less money in your pocket.”

Ravitch lives uptown rather than at Waterside, explaining, “Every time I raise the rent, some tenants get… unhappy. So it’s never a good idea.” Tenants seemed receptive to the landlord on Thursday though, even greeting him with cheers when he addressed the crowd briefly to discuss the history of the complex and the land it was built on.

He noted the fact that Waterside, the first property to be built east of the FDR Drive, was designed by Lewis Davis, whose son Peter Davis is today the general manager of the property. When introducing him, Ravitch said, “When I was dabbling significantly in public service, I knew I’d have to find an extraordinary person who could raise tenants’ rents, but remain beloved by tenants. That person turned out to be the son of the genius who designed Waterside.”

Ravitch also had words of praise for Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal. Though he admitted she “gives me agita several times a year,” he also called her a tough leader for tenants.

He then went on to discuss how long before Waterside was even a concept, the area that now houses the four-tower complex was an important part of international history. In the 1940s, when the United States was trying to help the British with supplies, the ships they were delivered in, which could not return to the U.S. empty, used rubble from the ground in English city of Bristol as ballast. That rubble was then emptied in the area that now houses Waterside before the ships would take on more supplies. Waterside management was made aware of this bit of history a couple of years ago through the English Speaking Union and now has a plaque on the Plaza to commemorate it.

Also joining Ravitch to discuss the history were a couple of special guests, Edwina Sandys, the granddaughter of Winston Churchill, and Ava Roosevelt, the widow of William Roosevelt, David Roosevelt’s half-brother. Local politicians also appeared at the event, including Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Council Member Dan Garodnick and Council Member (and borough president Democratic primary winner) Gale Brewer.

Along with the brief ceremony, the evening included complimentary hot dogs and burgers grilled outside on the Plaza, music, dancing as well as dance performances by the Syncopated City Dance Company, a video tribute to the complex and entertainment for kids.

Editorial: RGB desperately in need of reform

Last Thursday night, a mixed crowd of tenants, tenant advocates and even a few landlords wearily took part in a dreaded tradition that each and every party in attendance understood was a complete sham.

As tenant reps begged, as they do each year, for a rent freeze, citing the economy and job market, owner reps asked for rent increases that few people’s annual raises (assuming they even get them) could possibly match. And as for the so-called “public” reps of the Rent Guidelines Board, they did what they do every time they vote for what over a million New Yorkers’ rent increases are going to be: nothing at all.

For years, both tenants and landlords have griped that the RGB system is broken. Tenants in particular have had no confidence in the board since its members are all picked by Mayor Bloomberg.
There is legislation, that if passed, would reform the RGB by giving the City Council more oversight in making sure those appointed to the board are actually qualified to make the decisions that they do (and not just vote the way the mayor would).

The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, said it passed the Assembly on Friday, just before the session ended for summer. This is not surprising, but what will be a surprise if it can make its way through the State Senate, where tenant-friendly legislation typically goes to die. This is unfortunate, since that legislation may be the best hope for the stabilized renters in this city, who’ve seen a rent increase every single time there’s been a vote.

Additionally, for the past several years at least, the June vote, which is the final event after a series of public hearings and meeting at which countless tenants, owners and advocates give testimony on why rent increases are either a disastrous idea or a necessary one, the evening plays out the same way each time. The two tenant reps propose a freeze, eventually hoping to negotiate by offering up percentage figures on the low side. The two owner reps usually propose increases around 10 percent, and then the board chair picks a number somewhere in between and the other four public members vote with him, giving that amount the majority vote.

In April, when the preliminary vote took place, RGB Chair Jonathan Kimmel insisted that the votes are not, as critics charge, decided beforehand. But this is pretty difficult to believe when the process is always carried out the same way, and in the same hurried manner too as if the RGB members feel they have better things to do than get heckled by tenants who fear getting priced out of the city.

While he wasn’t betting the bill would be given the blessing of the Senate this year, Kavanagh said progressive issues, such as this one, are now being pushed hard in Albany and RGB reform in particular is one of the top priorities of tenant advocates.

“The City Council having a say would be quite significant,” he said. “We don’t know if any of the current members believe there should be rent stabilization at all. If we had a hearing where (prospective board members) could explain why they want to sit on the board, we’d have a very different kind of process.”

Effort to protest mid-lease rent increases continues

May30 sign

The ST-PCV Tenants Association’s signs, like the one pictured, have been popping up at local stores.

By Sabina Mollot

Two weeks after CWCapital announced that mid-lease rent hikes would be issued to around 1,300 residents of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, the Tenants Association and local elected officials are still hoping to get the special servicer to change its mind.

On Tuesday, several East Side elected officials asked Andrew MacArthur, vice president of CWCapital Asset Management, for a sit-down aimed at “holding off on any increases until leases expire.” The request was made via letter signed by State Senator Charles Schumer, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill De Blasio, Council Member Dan Garodnick, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and Borough President Scott Stringer.

In the letter, the pols noted that leasing agents had been telling renters that it was highly unlikely CW would raise rents mid-lease.

“Since there is regular sharing of information within the community, it is very likely that many more residents believed they would be free of rent hikes mid-term,” they wrote.

The Tenants Association also continued to encourage neighbors to picket outside the leasing office. Though initially the intent was to have “sustained” protesting outside, the association was unable to have a continued presence mid-week, and has instead, since early this week, been focused on a flyer door dropoff campaign. Additionally, John Marsh, the president of the TA, said another plan has been to approach local businesses to ask if they’d agree to keep protest signs and flyers on sight. That way residents could drop by, pick up flyers, protest and then return the sign.

“Even if they can only give a half hour, if we can get 500 people to do a half hour, we’d be fully covered,” said Marsh. “To make it meaningful, you have to have a sustained effort, so now we have self-service protests.”

One volunteer, who didn’t want his name used, mentioned that he and his wife had already gotten a bunch of local retailers to participate. Those include Adam’s Deli and the Associated supermarket on East 14th Street and Duane Reade, CVS, Zeichner’s, Ess-A-Bagel and Nature’s First Pharmacy, Frank’s Trattoria, Duro Carpet and Johnny Mozzarella on First Avenue. The volunteer added that he was one of a handful of tenants who’d picketed over Memorial Day weekend, scaring off a few potential renters with tales of bedbugs and mid-lease rent hikes.

CWCapital increased the rents following the “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” settlement. Fine print in the leases had mentioned the rents could be raised, even mid-lease.

As reported by T&V last week, tenants had protested in front of the leasing office to tell prospective renters about the mid-lease increases as well as other problems such as continued lack of basic services in Sandy-battered buildings. Management responded by having leasing agents meet clients in the back of the leasing office or at the model apartments.

Additionally, in a newsletter emailed to residents last Wednesday, CWCapital said,

“In accordance with certain residents’ leases and in accordance with the court order approving the settlement agreement, some residents have received a rent adjustment. Some rents have gone down and some rents have gone up. If your rent has been adjusted, you already received a notice on May 14th.  

“We respect the fact that adjusting rents mid-lease term is disruptive and can be confusing… We look forward to resolving these last uncertainties and restoring stability to our community.”

In related news, since Tuesday, the Tenants Association has also been hearing from residents who received unusually high June rent bills. Those were not the same tenants who received the mid-lease increases, who’ve all been members of the “Roberts” class action, but tenants living in “Roberts” affected apartments, said Marsh.

However, according to a CW spokesperson, this turned out to be a clerical error. There was no comment on the continued effort to overturn the mid-lease increases.

In other news, residents have also been concerned about CW’s recently begun campaign to inspect all apartments for “unsafe conditions, unregistered dogs and compliance with the 80 percent carpet rule.” Tenants have told Town & Village via Facebook that in some instances, inspectors have looked inside their closets and Marsh said he’s heard the same, “which is disconcerting.”

In light of the recent spate of no-forced-entry burglaries, the TA has advised residents to comply with the inspections but make sure they can be present.

Marsh said the TA was successful in getting management to agree to take requests for appointments for an inspection via email. Previously it had only been by phone, which Marsh said concerned some tenants who weren’t sure there would be follow-through after leaving a message. The notice period may also be getting extended to 7-10 days.

This article was updated from the print version to include a response from CWCapital on the June rent bills.

CW to tenants: Pay up

Council Member Dan Garodnick (at podium) blasts the latest round of rent hikes. Pictured with him are: Steven Newmark, Tenants Association board member; Kevin Burke, an impacted resident; Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh; State Senator Brad Hoylman (behind Garodnick); Tenants Association President John Marsh and Council Member Jessica Lappin Photo by Sabina Mollot

Council Member Dan Garodnick (at podium) blasts the latest round of rent hikes. Pictured with him are: Steven Newmark, Tenants Association board member; Kevin Burke, an impacted resident; Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh; State Senator Brad Hoylman (behind Garodnick); Tenants Association President John Marsh and Council Member Jessica Lappin
Photo by Sabina Mollot

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday night, well over a thousand residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were shocked to see notices slipped under their doors alerting them to the fact that their rents would be raised mid-lease. Additionally, in most cases the hikes were for hundreds of dollars and in at least one known case, went as high as over two thousand. Residents were also told that they’d have 60 days to figure out whether they’d be staying (paying the higher rent in two weeks time) or going.

The notices were immediately blasted by local elected officials and the Tenants Association, who at an impromptu rally the next morning, called CWCapital’s actions “crass” and “destructive.”

“A mid-lease rent increase of $900 is nothing less than an eviction notice,” said a livid Council Member Dan Garodnick, who lives in Peter Cooper Village. “Have you ever heard of such a thing from any decent landlord? Or any landlord?”

Garodnick also noted that he believes there have been deceptive business practices on the part of CWCapital’s leasing agents who’ve given tenants the impression that their rents wouldn’t be increased mid-lease. He added that he’s bringing the matter to the attention of the attorney general. “Leasing agents were telling people not to worry,” he said.

Other elected officials at the event, saying they were supporting tenants, were State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and Council Member Jessica Lappin, who’s running for borough president.

John Marsh, president of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, said he was concerned the hikes would make living in the complex unaffordable to anyone except “groups of transients” packing into apartments with pressurized walls. “Who will replace these families? The woo-hoo generation,” he said.

He added that if this is being done so CWCapital can sell soon, the TA has approached the special servicer more than once with an offer to buy. “We’re ready to make their bondholders whole, yet they ignore us.”

TA Chair Susan Steinberg added that she thought “This is the most ruthless action in the history of ruthless landlords. They want to eject as many tenants as they can.”

The increases came on the heels of the final approval of the “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” settlement, in which it was mentioned that CWCapital did have the right to issue the increases, even mid-lease. The TA and Garodnick, who’ve cheered “Roberts” as a historic win for tenants, have also refrained from fully endorsing the settlement due to concerns of possible rent hikes.

In response to the concerns, CWCapital issued the following statement:

“CW Capital took over Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town in October 2010, nearly four years after the class action suit was originally filed.  Almost immediately we began to work with the plaintiffs to reach a settlement.  Last fall, we agreed to a historic settlement with the impacted residents.
“Those tenants who are affected by these increases participated in a $173 million settlement agreement that was approved by the court and every one of these residents received notice several months ago with respect to the terms of the settlement, including the ability of the landlord to increase the rent mid-lease term.
“They were represented by counsel in that process and their counsel was directed by a group of nine tenant representatives.  The attorneys and tenant representatives were fully aware of these terms and concluded that they preferred this outcome to others that were available to them during the negotiations.  These terms were widely publicized and the tenant attorneys specifically addressed the issue of midterm rent increases during their information sessions in January.  Nonetheless, there were no objections made to the court with respect to these terms.
“Despite these facts, we recognize that the timing of these increases may pose logistical challenges for some residents. In recognition of this, we are extending the date on which increases will go into effect by 30 days.  Rent increases will now go into effect on July 1st and not June 1st as allowed for in the Settlement.  Additionally, the Settlement give residents receiving the mid-term adjustment the option to terminate their lease by providing notice to the landlord within 30 days. We are also extending this deadline. Anyone who gives notice of their intent to terminate their lease by July 1 will have until August 1 to vacate and will not receive an increase during that time. New notices will be distributed confirming these dates.”

Tenants’ “Roberts” attorney Alex Schmidt said that the rent hikes were not a result of the settlement, but language CWCapital had included into new leases after it took over operations of the property. Schmidt said because attorneys became aware of language that would allow the special servicer to raise rents mid-lease, they negotiated to include some protections for tenants should they end up getting the hikes. Had it not been for the settlement, said Schmidt, CW could even sue tenants if they choose to break the lease and leave. But because of the settlement, a tenant can break the lease, penalty-free. He also noted that while around 30 percent of the units in ST/PCV are being hit with rent hikes, “up to 10 percent are getting rent reductions.”

However, this didn’t come as much comfort to tenants who attended Wednesday’s event in front of the leasing office.

Carla Massey, a 28-year-resident and a psychologist, carried a homemade sign expressing her concern that she was going to become homeless as a result of the 21 percent rent increase she received.

She declined to share what she’s currently paying, but said, “I have no place to go.” She hasn’t yet told her two children that they’ll be moving. “I think it’s a little traumatizing,” she said.

Another resident, who’s currently paying $3,900 for a two-bedroom apartment in Peter Cooper, said his rent will be going up by $1,000.

“To add insult to injury, I live in one of the buildings affected by hurricane Sandy and my wife has to do laundry a quarter mile away. There’s no use of the basement.”

The resident, John Beasely, said he does plan to stick out another year in the apartment since he works for Con Ed, but after that, he’s gone. “I’m going back to Oregon. I’m done with New York and I’ve been here five years.”

Kevin Burke, another resident socked with a rent hike, said after he saw the notice under the door he went to the leasing office, demanding answers. But he didn’t get any. “They said, ‘We’re clueless.’ Damn right you’re clueless,” he said. Burke added that he and his wife had spent three months trying to figure out where to send their children to school and were now given “two weeks to figure out where we’re going to live. This is not something New Yorkers should tolerate.”

Arlynne Miller, who was at the rally, said she was there because, “My entire community is being destroyed. It’s like a never ending tsunami of destruction around here. They’re boosting rents and they don’t care if it’s unrealistic or unsustainable. They want to roll rents as high as they can so they can go to potential sellers and get what they can get.”

Mitchell Posilkin, general counsel for the Rent Stabilization Association, a group that represents apartment owners, said the rent move shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

“There were some tenants in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village who were paying less as free market tenants than they would have been paying as stabilized tenants,” said Posilkin. “These notices are intended to increase their rents pursuant to the formulas that were agreed under the terms of the settlement.”

The landlord lawyer, who was not involved in the settlement discussions, added, “The settlement was agreed to between the tenants and their attorneys, the owners and their attorneys and, ultimately was reviewed and approved by the court, so it was no secret that there was a potential for rents to go up.”

Op-Ed: The East River Blueway: A model for all five boroughs

By Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer and State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh

Plans for the East River Blueway include a footbridge that would also serve as a seawall. (Rendering by  WXY Architecture + Urban Design)

Plans for the East River Blueway include a footbridge that would also serve as a seawall. (Rendering by WXY Architecture + Urban Design)

As New York City recovers from Hurricane Sandy, communities in all five boroughs are understandably focused on repairing waterfront neighborhoods that were hit by historic flooding. But we must also ensure that these recovery efforts protect our city against the next big storm and other threats to our coastal communities as the climate changes and sea levels rise.

That’s the philosophy and overriding goal of the recently unveiled East River Blueway Plan, which our offices began developing in 2010. We hoped to redesign an often forgotten stretch of our East Side waterfront, from the Brooklyn Bridge to East 38th Street. Our objective was to open up the long-neglected area, creating beachfront access, recreational activities, tree-lined walkways, and other amenities that would bring people closer to the water. But we also knew that we had to protect this low-lying area from storms and flooding.

When Hurricane Sandy hit, it confirmed our worst fears about the need to plan differently for the future. And it strengthened our resolve, because New York City cannot be a place where people’s lives and livelihoods are threatened by a storm, no matter how powerful. Now that the winds have died and the waters have receded, we must get down to the job of making our coastal communities more resilient, through better infrastructure and ecological features that provide natural protection from flooding.

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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 3

Some downtown areas still need Sandy aid

The following is a letter from State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Council Member Margaret Chin and Council Member Rosie Mendez to Robert Doar, Commissioner of the Human Resources Administration in mid-December.

We write regarding the federal government’s approval of the City’s request to bring the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) to areas of New York City impacted by the storm.

The approval of D-SNAP for residents throughout the city means that more New Yorkers in more places will get food assistance they need in the wake of the storm. Many New York City families continue to struggle in Sandy’s aftermath and D-SNAP is one way to help them through this difficult time. We are particularly pleased that residents from the 10002 zip code are eligible for the program. However, we do have concerns about the accessibility and eligibility of the program for Manhattan residents.

Of the twelve full and partial zip codes approved for D-SNAP in New York City, only one, 10002, is in Manhattan. In Lower Manhattan a large area was devastated by the storm, crossing a number of zip codes with a high proportion of low-income, elderly and vulnerable constituents. We urge the inclusion of additional full and partial zip codes to allow more Manhattan residents impacted by the storm to apply.

Additionally, for such a large program that is complex to administer, just two application centers (in Staten Island and Brooklyn), however large, will deter many eligible New Yorkers from applying. If there were additional application centers closer to more affected zip codes, open for a significant amount of time, it would spread the volume of applicants, reduce pressure on the existing centers, particularly in Brooklyn, and make applications more realistic for those who need it. In light of this, we recommend establishing an application center in Lower Manhattan.

Therefore, we urge the inclusion of additional full and partial zip codes that would allow more New Yorkers in Lower Manhattan impacted by the storm to apply, the opening of additional application centers closer to more affected zip codes, and an extension of the December 18th deadline for applications so that the program is as inclusive as possible for New Yorkers in need. Continue reading

Where to vote today

Today is Election Day, and along with voting for the next U.S. president and veep, community residents will also have the opportunity to vote for their rep in Congress, the State Senate and the Assembly, as well as Manhattan’s Surrogate’s Court.

For residents in the Stuyvesant Town/Waterside/Gramercy area, the choices are, for Congress, the longtime incumbent Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, or Christopher Wight, a Republican.

For State Senate, Democrat Brad Hoylman, who won the primary, is running unchallenged after an opponent stepped down.

For Assembly, Democrat and incumbent Brian Kavanagh is also running unchallenged after beating Juan Pagan in the primary.

Judge Rita Mella, a Democrat living in Stuyvesant Town, won the primary for Manhattan Surrogate, and is also running unchallenged in the general election.

As for where all the Republicans went, party insiders this fall seemed to agree there wasn’t any point in trying to win in this district.

Council Member Dan Garodnick, who is running for city comptroller (in 2013) has said he has inspected all seven Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village polling places and found that there was no damage to the voting rooms. Additionally, they all have power and will be used today.

However, he noted in an email to residents yesterday, “There is no heat at any of the locations, and it remains to be seen  whether the Board of Elections will take additional steps to warm them up.”

Additionally, due to a lack of power at Waterside Plaza, residents of Waterside  will be voting at the Asser Levy  Recreation Center along with many Peter Cooper residents.  So, the councilman warned, voters should be prepared for longer lines than usual.

ST/PCV poll sites:
360 First Avenue
Asser Levy Recreation Center
525 East 14th Street
3 Stuyvesant Oval
272 First Avenue
10 Stuyvesant Oval
283 Avenue C

Residents displaced by Hurricane Sandy are allowed to vote at any polling place, Borough President Scott Stringer announced yesterday.

High voter turnout at Democratic Primaries, voters choose Hoylman, Mella and Kavanagh

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Brad Hoylman

Voters in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village had three decisions on their ballots for the Democratic Primaries yesterday: the spot for Tom Duane’s Senate seat, Surrogate’s Court judge for Manhattan and the seat for the Assembly, 74th District.

Brad Hoylman, a Greenwich Village resident, came out on top in the State Senate race with 67.4 percent of the vote. Opponents Tom Greco received 23.9 percent of the vote and Tanika Inlaw received 8.7 percent.

Rita Mella

Rita Mella, a Stuyvesant Town resident, won the primary with 59.7 percent of the vote over Barbara Jaffe’s 40.3 percent for the Surrogate’s Court judge position, and incumbent Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh won with 63 percent. Challenger Juan Pagan received 37 percent of the vote.

The polls at the Asser Levy Recreation Center were quiet with only about 10 percent of registered voters coming by 4 p.m., according to voting coordinator and Peter Cooper Village resident Kathleen Kalmes, but many of the other sites for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents reported being busier than usual, especially for a primary election.

“Primaries usually have a small turnout because I think some people might feel like there’s no point since this is a Democratic area in general,” said the site coordinator at 272 First Avenue who didn’t want to be named. “But this has been a busy day, especially compared to the Republican Primary a few months ago.”

Brian Kavanagh

Clarieel Reyes, who was working the polls at 360 First Avenue and who has worked in primary elections in the past, said that over a hundred people had voted at her table alone and the other tables at that site had similar numbers. “This one has had a pretty good turnout, more than past Democratic primaries, from what I’ve seen in previous elections,” she said.

Due to redistricting, there was some confusion among voters about where their poll sites would be. The most notable change for some, according to the coordinator at 272 First Ave., was that a handful of voters in Stuyvesant Town were now supposed to vote at the location in Peter Cooper Village. One irate voter came into 360 First Avenue and was frustrated about where he was supposed to vote, but poll workers said that while there was some confusion about where to go, most were not too put out by the changes, even if they had to go to a different poll site.

Arnie Latterman, a Stuyvesant Town resident who was working as a scanner inspector at the 525 East 14th Street poll site, said that there were a number of referrals throughout the day at his location. “We made at least 40 referrals because there were people who came in (to this location) and didn’t vote here,” he said.

Despite the lower turnout expected at the primaries compared to the general election, voters felt strongly about the decisions they had to make. “Even though they’re all Democrats, there’s a wide variance in the candidates,” Latterman said. “One is maybe a bit more progressive than the others and depending on personal preference, that can be important.”

Others who came out said they felt obligated to vote to have their voice heard.

“Primaries are just as important as the final election,” said Stuyvesant Town resident Gary Wiss after voting. “Putting a ballot in the box is a special kind of thing. It’s democracy in action.”

Week in Pictures

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This week: a soccer tournament goes out with a bang in Stuyvesant Town, Kavanagh attends Community Day at Kips Bay Plaza, PSLL Minors District Team go far in the Memorial Day Tournament, Sarah Poppins NYC Explordinaire rates Tompkins Square Park among other playgrounds in the city, the community gets their fill of food and music at the World Music Fair in the Oval. Find full stories in Town & Village newspaper!