‘Safe Haven’ for homeless to open on East 17th St.

327 East 17th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The city is planning to open a new “Safe Haven” facility to house chronically homeless individuals in a Stuyvesant Square building that’s owned by Mount Sinai.

The building was previously used by Beth Israel as an HIV/AIDS hospice/residential treatment center. It is currently empty, located at 327 East 17th Street between First and Second Avenues. At one time, the site was a home rented by the Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, though it was later demolished.

Word of the proposal, which is aimed at housing 28 homeless people and helping them transition to regular housing, got out on Tuesday with an email from Community Board 6 to various community organizations.

According to the email, CB6 has plenty of questions about the plan, including why it’s coming to the area when there’s already an 850-bed shelter on East 30th Street and other, local smaller shelters, and concern over the location’s proximity to neighborhood schools. The email also noted there was no guarantee the homeless individuals would be people from the district.

Continue reading

PCV man enters Council race

Keith Powers, pictured petitioning, is a lobbyist and community activist. (Photo courtesy of Keith Powers)

Keith Powers, pictured petitioning, is a lobbyist and community activist. (Photos courtesy of Keith Powers)

By Sabina Mollot

A Peter Cooper Village resident and executive at a lobbying firm has become the most recent candidate to join the race for the City Council seat that’s now occupied by Dan Garodnick.

Keith Powers, 32, has already led a pretty politically active career, having previously worked for two Manhattan elected officials, and until recently served as president of the Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club.

Though he stepped down from that volunteer position earlier in the year, last month he took on a new role as one of three new board members of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association. He’s also been serving as chair of Community Board 6’s Business Affairs and Street Activities committee, which focuses heavily on nightlife and liquor licenses. He’s still involved with Eleanor Roosevelt, too, as the club’s district leader.

“I bring a certain amount of experience and I think it’s a great next step for me to be running to replace Dan,” said Powers. He added, “With term limits you don’t have a lot of time to play catch-up.”

Continue reading

Ideas for waterfront by Stuy Cove include cafes, elevated park

Area residents listen to a discussion about potential use of the waterfront at a meeting at Washington Irving High School. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Area residents listen to a discussion about potential use of the waterfront at a meeting at Washington Irving High School. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The coastal resiliency project backed by the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency has announced new possible plans for the waterfront by Stuyvesant Cove Park, with ideas including cafes or an elevated park.

The Tuesday evening workshop held at Washington Irving High School was more interactive than the previous gathering, which was mainly a presentation from ORR director Dan Zarilli and Jeremy Siegel, a project designer with the consultant team of Big U and director of Rebuild by Design.

Rebuild by Design was launched by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and held a competition for resiliency ideas, which resulted in the Big U project to protect the coastline known as the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project.

ORR senior policy advisor Carrie Grassi said this week that there was a short gap between the end of the contest and the beginning of the design process, but the project is now gaining more momentum.

Continue reading

DSNY insists alternative sanit. garage sites won’t work

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

At a meeting last Wednesday, reps from the Sanitation Department and the Economic Development Corporation addressed residents to who live near the proposed sanitation garage, to explain their rejections, at a previous meeting, of ideas from Community Board 6 for alternative sites.

The meeting was held by the Community Board 6 Land Use and Waterfront Committee.

In attendance was DSNY architect Mike Friedlander, who reiterated a position made before by the city that both alternatives to the Brookdale campus that had been suggested by CB6 were not feasible for both financial and physical reasons. The first alternative offered by CB6 suggests using land that is currently owned and occupied by Con Edison.

Friedlander said that DSNY has been able to discuss the plan with the utility, and found that Con Edison has no intention to sell the property at this time. He added, as he noted in a previous meeting, that even if Con Edison were willing to vacate the land, it would not automatically go to DSNY.

“There’s no funding for the acquisition of property,” Friedlander said.

As for making the garage underground at the Brookdale site, the second alternative suggestion from CB6, Friedlander said that it would be a prohibitively expensive plan.

“We would basically have to build a bathtub, built down 50 feet or so, and with a high water table in the area, that would cost a lot of money,” he said.

Money has always been a key part of the plan as it’s been proposed by Sanitation, as another representative, Andres De Leon, said at the most recent meeting. De Leon noted that the reason the plan stalled to begin with was because of financial difficulties when the economy crashed in 2008, which prevented the garage from being rebuilt in the original location.

Continue reading

Letters to the Editor, Dec. 18

You  want to put it where?

Re: “CB6 to vote on sanit. garage alternatives,” T&V, Dec. 18

To the editor:

On December 10, my wife and I attended an open meeting of Community Board 6.  Our chief interest was the report given by BFJ Planning — a private consultation firm — outlining two options for the construction of a sanitation garage in CB6. One plan would place the garage at 25th Street and First Avenue (Brookdale) as an underground facility with other as yet-to-be-determined structures above it. The other plan would place the plant on Avenue C between 15th and 16th Streets — a flat site currently owned by Con Ed and used for employee parking fronting a huge baseball/soccer field used by our community’s children in the spring, summer and fall seasons.

Both options would put the garage in a flood zone. In the case of the Brookdale option, with the garage underground, a flood from a storm of the Sandy type would not merely flood the garage with salt water, it would create a submerged structure — as in swimming pool — with indeterminate consequences for the garage itself, overlying structures and the immediate intersection — not a promising option.

In the second option, the one on Avenue C between 15th and 16th Streets, a flood of the Sandy type would clearly impact on the garage, as it impacted on everything in our area in 2012, but  here is the significant difference: the flood waters would recede. Of course there would be damage, but in this simplified scenario once the salt water recedes the area would dry and repairs would begin.

This raises the obvious question: for whom is the first plan, the Brookdale option, a consideration? We have heard some strong and firm objections to it, and in contrast, reasoned favorable remarks about the option on Avenue C — if Con Ed sells/rents/ transfers the property to the city, which I am sure the city and Con Ed will “work-out.” So… do we have two options? If you think, as I do (with the limited information available to us ordinary not-yet-apathetic-voters) you will conclude that in reality we have been given one real option.

It is the multiple story site on Avenue C between 15th and 16th Streets. To be sure, the decision making process will appear open, above board, well-reasoned, and in the end wholly predetermined. The result will be a two, three, four, five story maintenance/cleaning facility right smack in a flood zone.

So… in light of what scientists have been long-warning about climate change and the certain flooding of lowlands — witness this area in 2012 — can a paid consulting firm and city fathers do no better than propose building a garage in an area that government itself has designated a flood zone? (A suggestion: in view of climate certainties, find an elevated part of the island.)

John M. Giannone, ST

Continue reading

Upcoming Community Events: Town Hall for ST/PCV Residents, Con Ed Work and More

Town hall for residents
A town hall meeting for residents will be held at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center on Tuesday, May 7 at 5:30 p.m. ST/PCV General Manager Sean Sullivan will be on hand to answer questions. The Stuyvesant Town Community Center is located at 449 East 14th Street.

ConEdison Emergency Repairs
ConEdison will be performing emergency work on their steam facilities in various buildings throughout Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, CompassRock announced via email. There will be an interruption of steam and hot water service for approximately eight hours from 11 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7 to 7 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8 at the following buildings: 522 East 20th Street, 524 East 20th Street, 526 East 20th Street, 530 East 20th Street, 18 Stuyvesant Oval, 20 Stuyvesant Oval, 531 East 20th Street, 541 East 20th Street, 601 East 20th Street, 6 Peter Cooper Road, 7 Peter Cooper Road and 8 Peter Cooper Road. For more information on this outage, call ConEdison at (212) 894-9540.

Ready New York
The Midtown East-Stuyvesant CERT/MN6 will host a Ready New York presentation for Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village residents on Wednesday, May 8 at 6:30 p.m. This demonstration, which will be presented by CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), a group of volunteers trained by the NYC Office of Emergency Management, will help residents prepare their homes and go-bags to assist them before and after an emergency. Email rnymn6@yahoo.com to attend. The event will take place at the Podell Auditorium (Bernstein Pavilion) on East 16th Street between First and Second Avenues.

Emergency Preparedness for Senior Citizens
The Office of Emergency Management and The Department for the Aging will present “Prepare Don’t Scare,” an emergency preparedness event for Peter Cooper/Stuyvesant Town’s senior citizen residents next Wednesday, May 15 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Stuyvesant Town community center, 449 East 14th Street (off of East 16th Street and the First Avenue Loop).

CB6 BASA meeting
The Business Affairs and Street Activities committee for Community Board 6 will be having their monthly meeting on Thursday, May 30 at 7 p.m. and will be discussing new Senate and Assembly bills that would create a community liaison between the state liquor authority and community boards, and would establish a New York City liquor authority to regulate the retail alcoholic beverage business in the city, respectively. The location for the meeting has not yet been determined. Call CB6 at (212) 319-3750 for updated information.

Community Board 6 to meet on two new possible bars for Third Avenue

Community Board 6 has already mulled a ban on pub crawls (like the St. Patrick’s Day one pictured here). Tonight, two new possible bars for Third Avenue will be on the agenda of the CB6 Business Affairs & Street Activities Committee). Photo by Sabina Mollot

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Community concerns about an oversaturation of bars on Third Avenue will be on the agenda tonight at a meeting of Community Board 6’s Business Affairs and Street Activities committee. The meeting will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Loeb Auditorium at the Hospital for Joint Diseases, 301 East 17th Street. Specifically, the discussion will focus on the application of new liquor licenses for two new bars on Third Avenue, with one between 22nd and 23rd Streets and the second between 21st and 22nd Streets.

Arlene Harrison, president of the Gramercy Park Block Association, said,  “We don’t want this to become another Meatpacking District.”

While Third Avenue is home to a number of bars already, the Block Association is concerned about the two bars in particular. Both applicants submitted their paperwork at the last minute with very little information about the kind of business they want to run, Harrison said in a letter to the Business Affairs & Street Activities Committee, which was also signed by GPBA Chair Sean Brady. James Hendrick wants to open a wine bar/cafe at 284 Third Avenue, while Joe Pirozzi, who hopes to open a bar in a space formerly occupied by Hendrick, the old Black Bear Lodge, currently operates the Stone Creek Bar & Lounge.