Sinkhole growing on bike lane at E. 23rd St.

Cyclists have been stopping short in front of this sinkhole, which was first reported to the city by Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal over two weeks ago. (Photos by Janet Handal)

By Sabina Mollot

Cyclists, beware.

A sinkhole that appeared earlier in the month has grown even larger as the ground continues to ripple on the bike lane at East 23rd Street and the FDR Drive.

The sinkhole was reported to 311 on July 5 by Janet Handal, president of the Waterside Tenants Association, when she spotted it. But as of Wednesday, July 19 in the morning, it was still there, and, from what she’s observed, stretched into a yawning concrete chasm.

“A rapidly progressing collapse of the pedestrian-bike path in front of the 23rd Street Marina is happening and urgently needs to be attended to,” Handal said in an email.

Continue reading

Quik Park to refund customers $60 for no-notice increases

Quik Park operates garages in Stuyvesant Town.  (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuyvesant Town garage customers who were given a rent increase earlier this year without any notice can expect to see their money refunded.

The refunds of $60 will be paid in the form of credits to customer accounts in September, following the garages’ parent company, Citizens Icon Holdings, agreeing to pay a $1.2 million settlement. The settlement was announced by the Department of Consumer Affairs last Wednesday.

Council Member Dan Garodnick, who’d alerted the DCA to the increases after becoming concerned they were invalid due to the lack of notice, said he felt it was necessary to go through the enforcement authorities in order to get results from Citizens Icon, which runs Icon and Quik Park garages.

The $1.2 million is to be spread around its customer base in various garages around the city, since, according to Garodnick, “They were doing different sorts of things in different garages.”

Continue reading

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

Attendees at the debate Thursday evening (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

All eleven candidates in the District 4 City Council race gathered at Waterside Plaza on Thursday evening for a debate co-sponsored by Town & Village, the Waterside Tenants Association and Waterside management, covering issues important to the neighborhood.

Democrats Alec Hartman, Jeffrey Mailman, Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Rachel Honig, Vanessa Aronson, Maria Castro, Bessie Schachter and Barry Shapiro and Republicans Melissa Jane (MJ) Kronfeld and Rebecca Harary discussed affordable housing, concerns for seniors, the fate of small businesses and the sanitation garage planned for the neighborhood over the course of the two-hour debate. WTA President Janet Handal and T&V editor Sabina Mollot moderated the event, each asking two questions of the nine Democrats and two Republicans on the stage, who are running to replace term-limited Councilmember Dan Garodnick.

Continue reading

All candidates set to attend T&V/Waterside Council debate

Democrats Alec Hartman, Bessie Schachter, Jeffrey Mailman, Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Rachel Honig, Vanessa Aronson and Barry Shapiro and Republicans Melissa Jane Kronfeld and Rebecca Harary (Not pictured) Maria Castro

Town & Village has partnered with the Waterside Tenants Association and the management of Waterside Plaza to present an evening of debate between the candidates running for the City Council, District 4. The event will be held on Thursday, June 22 at 6 p.m. for mingling with the candidates, with the debate beginning promptly at 6:30 p.m. This has become a hotly contested race with 11 candidates hoping to win the seat currently occupied by a term-limited Dan Garodnick. All known registered candidates of both parties have been invited and have confirmed they’ll attend.

The candidates are Democrats Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Jeffrey Mailman, Bessie Schachter, Vanessa Aronson, Rachel Honig, Alec Hartman, Barry Shapiro and Maria Castro as well as Republicans Rebecca Harary and Melissa Jane Kronfeld.

The event will take place outdoors on the Plaza level with Janet Handal, the president of the Waterside Tenants Association, and Town & Village editor Sabina Mollot asking the candidates questions. Due to the number of candidates expected to participate, there will not likely be any time for additional questions from the audience.

If it rains, the event will take place inside 15 Waterside Plaza located on the Plaza. Waterside Plaza is east of the FDR Drive on the East River between 25th and 29th Streets. For directions, visit Waterside Plaza’s website. For more information about the event, contact Sabina Mollot at (212) 777-6611 x104 or editor@townvillage.net.

PCV woman abandons bid for City Council

Diane Grayson (Photo by Emmanuel Moline)

By Sabina Mollot

Diane Grayson, a Peter Cooper Village woman who’d been running for the City Council seat to be vacated next year by Dan Garodnick, has withdrawn from the race.

Reached recently by Town & Village, Grayson explained that she dropped out because she felt the current crop of candidates “represents the interests of the district.”

Grayson, 27, had been running as an Independent who’d promised to spend $50,000 of her own salary, if elected, on some sort of community program or service. Her platform focused on affordable housing and help for small businesses.

Continue reading

Pols urging left-leaning NYers to become activists

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with State Senator Liz Krueger (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Local elected officials are urging left-leaning New Yorkers to become political activists, saying there’s been a surge in citizen activism around the country since President Trump took office.

The push was made at an event last Wednesday evening, hosted by State Senator Liz Krueger and State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with an introduction by City Councilmember Dan Garodnick. Garodnick has previously hosted other so-called “State of the Resistance” forums, which offer information about how to get involved in local politics and with non-profit organizations around the city. More than 300 residents attended last week’s event, hosted at the Porshansky Auditorium in the CUNY Graduate Center.

“The state of the resistance is really seen in the burst of local activism since the election,” Garodnick said. “New Yorkers are holding their elected officials accountable. (Constituents) are breaking the all-time record for the number of calls to elected representatives.”

Continue reading

Brewer: Retail blight ‘worse than I thought’

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (pictured at a recent press conference on the Commercial Rent Tax reform bill) conducted a foot patrol study of vacant storefronts along Broadway. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Two Sundays ago, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, with the help of nearly three dozen volunteers, walked along the length of Broadway in Manhattan, taking note of every vacant storefront they passed. The exercise was for a study on retail blight conducted by Brewer’s office, the results of which were not pretty.

In fact, said Brewer, who strolled a strip from the 60s to the 70s, “It was worse than I thought.”

Along her way, she observed five empty storefronts in a two block radius. “I don’t know how long they’ve been empty,” she said.

She chose Broadway as the street to monitor due to it being a part of so many different neighborhoods. Additionally, from what she’s seen the problem doesn’t appear to be more prolific in some neighborhoods than others.

“In Manhattan, it’s everywhere,” she said.

Continue reading

Letters to the editor, May 25

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Bad old days are back on E. 14th St.

The following is an open letter to City Council Members Dan Garodnick and Rosie Mendez whose districts share a border along East 14th Street.

I would like to point out the present poor condition of street crossing on 14th Street and First Avenue.

A homeless man sleeps at a street corner.

Please note:
Southeast corner:
Homeless people on the corner in front of T-Mobile and McDonald’s
Garbage cans overflowing, papers spread out from First Avenue to half of the block
Grease and dirt underneath the garbage cans
Streetlight missing in bus station, stump is still there, but light was removed 20 years ago
Nonfunctioning emergency pole – an eyesore
Bus station not long enough, stopped buses block pedestrian walk

Continue reading

CB6 will meet on poll site confusion

Bill by Garodnick would mean signs get posted at former poll site buildings

Apr7 vote here sign colorBy Maria Rocha-Buschel

Community Board 6’s budget and governmental affairs committee will be discussing legislation regarding signage for former poll sites at its upcoming meeting next Monday. The timing of the meeting is somewhat serendipitous considering the presidential primary election that will take place the following Tuesday on April 19, but City Council Member Dan Garodnick, the prime sponsor of the legislation, said that this is a coincidence since the legislation was proposed back in 2014.

The upcoming committee meeting will be the first time that the community board is addressing the legislation. Garodnick noted that the issue may have pinged on their radar because there was a City Council hearing on legislation on February 29.

Continue reading

Garodnick’s $1.5M campaign warchest

Council Member Dan Garodnick Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Council Member Dan Garodnick (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Currently in his third term – and last due to term limits — Council Member Dan Garodnick has been actively fundraising for higher office, collecting a total of $1.5 million.

Earlier this week, when asked what position he’s seeking, Garodnick would only tell Town & Village: “I’m keeping my options open on my next steps.”

However, he is at least eyeing a state position, according to a report in the Daily News on Monday, which also quoted an anonymous source as saying he’s raised $400,000 in a state campaign coffer. The article said he may be looking towards the comptroller or attorney general seat if they open up.

His statements to T&V weren’t too different though from the sentiments from the article’s source, who added that Garodnick was just trying to be prepared for any potential openings.

Continue reading

Letters to the Editor, Jan. 14

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

The business of politics

After the T&V editorial on the SBJSA ran last week in the print edition, many offered negative comments online about New York City Council Member Dan Garodnick.

I met him for the first time many years ago when he first ran. He was friendly and seemed quite intelligent and won.

But Mr. Garodnick does need money each time he runs – as do all politicians. He may have first been elected as an idealist. But, now he lives in the real world of politics. Often people in his position morph into self-serving pols who run on helping the regular folks and end up accepting money from people in the real estate industry. Remember that power corrupts and the more one gets the greater corruption.

I gave quite moderate contributions to Obama and Sanders – so modest, that when and if they were or are elected, they owe me nothing. But, certain industries via lobbyists don’t care about the idealism or lack of it when they support a pol. All they desire is to be able to have access and call them directly or via a surrogate to suggest legislation which is in their financial interests.

This is my hypothesis about the insulting comments concerning Dan on the T&V Blog. And, if true it represents just a microcosm of what continues to occur in this city’s apartment and business rents – higher and higher. This also is happening in most areas of this nation.

If you have TWC they are running an important documentary on NY1’s Ch. 1020: “The Vanishing City.” This represents a comprehensive and honest explanation of what’s going down and affecting all of us. See it!

David Chowes, PCV

Continue reading

Letters to the Editor, Nov. 5

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Suggestions for dealing with neighbor noise

Dear Sirs,

I read with interest the reported comments about noise issues (“Residents sound off about noise,” T&V, Oct. 22). I offer three observations coupled with comments.

1.  Neighbor noise.  Meet your neighbors; slip a note under their door welcoming them and introducing yourself when you see the trail of packing materials indicative of the arrival of a potential friend.  First impressions have always been the most powerful, and this is a positive “hi.”
Then if/when there is a noise issue drop a note the day after the karaoke party/clog dance on bare floors/wild animal baying at the moon incident.  Only after that contact the ST/PCV office. Trying to solve strictly local concerns with a Public Safety response is guaranteed to generate a “to hell with them” response.

2.  The 80/20 floor coverage. I applaud this formula, and personally leap from rug to rug like a mad Frogger player in an effort to keep my neighbors happy.  Since it is a condition of the lease I would like to see a Grand Poobah who does inspect and verify this on an annual basis.

3.  Ambient noise.  My biggest gripe is with the day to day outside noise, generated by the overpowered 4x4s on the sidewalks, the five full weeks of construction involved in the ice rink, the all-day racket of the paper shredding truck, the leaf blowers on the weekend, movie and concert nights on the green.

I’d be happy if management did less for me and let this be a quiet place.

James Davis, ST

Continue reading

Letters to the editor, July 23

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Why New York needs its own state bank

Regarding Carolyn Maloney Congress Member and Council Member Dan Garodnick’s letter on “Why NY needs the Export-Import Bank,” T&V, June 25), I would like to mention the importance of having our own Community or State Bank in New York.  This is what Mr. Les Leopold, executive director of the Labor Institute in New York, an author of “How to Make a Million Dollars an Hour: Why Hedge Funds Get Away with Siphoning Off America’s Wealth” (2013), has mentioned.

He has also written other articles like “How Billionaires Use the Government as a Tool to Destroy Companies They Have Bet Against” (April 17, 2014), “Our Most Powerful Weapon Against Wall Street? The Rise of Reverse Eminent Domain” (Dec. 15, 2013), “Is Cutthroat Capitalism Pushing a Growing Number of Baby Boomers to Suicide?” (May 10, 2013), and many other articles during the last eight years.

It is my understanding that, as of June 2015, the only state of the USA that have had its own state bank is North Dakota, since 1919.  The CEO of that bank earns $250,000 a year – probably what a Wall Street bank CEO earns in one hour; hence, the student and mortgage loans there are cheap, and its main capital is probably the taxes residents pay to their own cities and state. What is more, when a business borrows money from their state bank, they are committed to create certain number of jobs with specific salaries.

Continue reading

Ravitch wants senior housing built at Brookdale site

Waterside Tenants Association president Janet Handal and Waterside owner Richard Ravitch at a Tuesday meeting (Photo by  Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Waterside Tenants Association president Janet Handal and Waterside owner Richard Ravitch at a Tuesday meeting (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Waterside’s owner and developer Richard Ravitch revealed on Tuesday that he would like to see the bookend parcel of the proposed sanitation garage on East 25th Street become housing for seniors.

Ravitch discussed the issue at a meeting held by the Waterside Tenants Association, saying that some kind of affordable housing option would be the most compatible use of the Brookdale site for the community.

“There’s no reason that the interests of the landlord should be different from those of the people at Waterside,” he said.

Ravitch, who’s an octogenarian himself, said that he has been talking with nonprofit organizations to come up with a plan for some kind of development that would offer both housing and services for seniors, although nothing is solidified at the moment. He emphasized that what he would like to prevent is a tall commercial building on what is now the CUNY Brookdale site, and would prefer the addition of services for tenants at Waterside.

“Having services that are easily accessible for the elderly is an important part of what we would like for the community,” he said. “Some tenants have lived here since the beginning, which is why I feel so strongly about it.”

He added that another one of his concerns, even more specific to Waterside Plaza residents, is the fate of the footbridge over the FDR Drive that connects the property to East 25th Street. He said that there is a possibility that the property is put to competitive bidding and if that happens, the possibility of making the bridge accessible seems even more uncertain.

Continue reading

Legislation takes aim at ‘tenant relocation’ goons hired by owners

Council Member Dan Garodnick discusses new legislation inspired by complaints from Stuyvesant Town residents about lack of notice for inspections and non-emergency work in their apartments. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Council Member Dan Garodnick, pictured with Stuyvesant Town tenants at a press conference last week (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Rent stabilized tenants often feel they’re at the mercy of landlords who would, if given the opportunity, replace them with someone paying market rate. Contributing to that fear in some cases that have recently attracted some media attention are specialists who are hired by owners and have used what local elected officials are calling unscrupulous tactics to get tenants to leave, with no regulations on their practices.

In an attempt to protect tenants from aggressive buy-out offers or other efforts aimed at intimidation, Councilmember Dan Garodnick introduced a bill at the end of February that would impose certain restrictions on these so-called “tenant relocation specialists.”

“Tenants need to be able to feel safe and secure in their homes and that is impossible if they’re being pursued relentlessly by someone whose job is to get them out,” Garodnick said. “They’ve used harassment, false offers and intimidation to remove tenants who are usually rent stabilized so that owners can financially benefit.”

The bill outlines a number of rules that these specialists would have to follow, including licensing and taking an exam to make sure they are knowledgeable about the rules and laws.

Continue reading