See Dan run for mayor… maybe

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Council Member Dan Garodnick (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

For months now, Councilman Dan Garodnick would only say he’s exploring his options when asked what position he’s now fundraising for. But according to a Saturday item in the New York Post, Garodnick is “seriously considering” running for mayor. Citing unnamed sources, the paper said he is “50-50” about running. Garodnick didn’t return our call requesting comment, nor did Waterside Plaza owner/former lieutenant governor Richard Ravitch, who the Post said Garodnick had spoken to about his thoughts about running. In February, Politico also ran a story about how he’d been speaking with donors, consultants and others about possibly throwing his hat in the ring.

It’s been expected that Comptroller Scott Stringer will run for mayor at some point, when and if charges are brought against Mayor Bill de Blasio for his fundraising tactics. Former mayoral candidate Christine Quinn has also been a rumored candidate. However, at this time, de Blasio’s most serious opponent seems to be Republican developer Paul Massey.

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Third round of ‘Roberts’ checks may be on the way

ST buildingsBy Sabina Mollot

Last October, residents of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village who were represented in the “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” class action lawsuit saw a second wave of payouts from the initial $68.75 million pool.

Now it’s likely that there will be a third round of checks, according to Michael Liskow, who’s one of the attorneys representing tenants from the firm Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz.

As a condition of the second payout, if there was more than $100,000 left after a deadline for checks to be deposited passed, then there would be another distribution. If there was less than $100,000 left, then the remaining funds would be split among two local nonprofits, the ST-PCV Tenants Association and the Peter Stuyvesant Little League.

The 120-day deadline has already passed for most of the recipients but attorneys won’t know the exact amount that’s left in the pool until around March 15. This is when the deadline will have passed for all eligible class suit members. However, as of this week, there was over $150,000 left, Liskow said.

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Tenants protest landlord lawsuit aimed at undoing rent freeze

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Council Member Dan Garodnick outside the courthouse where arguments were being heard over the Rent Stabilization Association’s lawsuit (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Lawyers for a landlord group were met by an angry crowd of protesters as they arrived in court to argue against a citywide rent freeze Tuesday.

Despite freezing temperatures and snow, the sign-waving group of renters, made up mostly of seniors, led chants that at times called for either a rent freeze or a rollback.

Among their supporters was Council Member Dan Garodnick, who said, “We have seen what happens year after year, even in years when costs went down. Rents only seemed to go in one direction and that was up. As a result, evictions go up. Homelessness goes up. The Rent Guidelines Board acted totally appropriately in making that determination.”

Judge Debra James was hearing arguments from the Rent Stabilization Association, the plaintiff, and those seeking to intervene in the lawsuit, including a coalition of tenant groups, legal service organizations and 18 City Council members.

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‘Jew man’ graffiti seen across from Stuy Town

Council Member Dan Garodnick, who took this photo, said this is the first time he's seen anti-Semitic graffiti in the community.

Council Member Dan Garodnick, who took this photo, said this is the first time he’s seen anti-Semitic graffiti in the community.

By Sabina Mollot

As local elected officials have pointed out, bias crimes are on the rise since the election nationwide.

The community has been seeing its fair share too. Yesterday, Council Member Dan Garodnick snapped a photo of anti-semitic graffiti across from Stuyvesant Town.

“Hate crimes spiking since the election,” Garodnick tweeted on Monday. “This graffiti now appears across from StuyTown & local synagogue (Town and Village). We can’t let this become the new normal.”

Garodnick later said he had never before seen anti-Semitic graffiti in the community. He also said this was the only recent incident he was aware of.

The graffiti, above the Papaya hot dog storefront on First Avenue and 14th Street, depicts the spray painted words “Jew man” accompanied by crude drawings of smiley faces with side locks, which are worn by religious Jewish men. It was spray painted large enough to be easily seen from across the street.

The incident comes three weeks after State Senator Brad Hoylman saw two swastikas scratched into the door of the building where he lives in Greenwich Village.

Additionally, a Muslim Baruch College student was harassed on the train at 23rd Street last weekend by men who were trying to grab her hijab and yelling “Donald Trump” and anti-Muslim slurs, according to a Daily News report.

UPDATE: According to a Stuy Town resident, the graffiti didn’t happen post-election. The tipster told T&V she first spotted the spray-painted sentiment in the middle of October.

Op-Ed: The Election 2016: The fight we had and the battles to come

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Council Member Dan Garodnick, his wife Zoe Segal-Reichlin, and their sons Asher and Devin on the campaign trail

 

By City Council Member Dan Garodnick

Like most New Yorkers, I was extremely disappointed in the outcome of the presidential election. Hillary Clinton won nearly 80 percent of the vote in Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, and the nationwide popular vote by more than 2 million votes.  Despite this result, she won’t be occupying the Oval Office in January.  

I am further disturbed and outraged by the uptick in hate crimes and bias incidents that have been taking place across the United States and in our own backyard. A swastika was recently carved into a door in the apartment building our own State Senator, Brad Hoylman. Hate crimes against Muslims in New York City have doubled from 2015 to 2016. A terrifying, homophobic death threat was sent to an openly gay colleague of mine, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens. This is shameful, unacceptable, and not the city I know.

It’s also not the country I saw as I campaigned for Hillary Clinton.

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More ‘Roberts’ money on the way for some Stuy Town residents

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Council Member Dan Garodnick discusses the payouts. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot 

Nearly 2,000 residents of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village who were part of the “Roberts vs. Tishman Speyer” lawsuit, which proved apartments were illegally deregulated, will soon see another round of checks.

Attorneys on the case said there was about $450,000 left in unclaimed damages from the suit, which in 2013 resulted in a $173 million settlement for tenants ($68.75 million of that amount being cash and the rest in rent reductions).

On Saturday, the checks were discussed by City Council Member Dan Garodnick at a meeting of the ST-PCV Tenants Association.

Garodnick, who’s a resident of Peter Cooper Village, told neighbors that in order to be eligible for the money, the class action suit’s plaintiffs would have had to file as current, not former, tenants, and have received more than the minimum payout, which was $150. They also would have had to deposit their original check.

In this case, “The checks should be coming in the next few weeks,” he said. Residents will then have 120 days to deposit the money. After that, any unclaimed money, if less than $100,000, will be split evenly between two local nonprofits: the ST-PCV Tenants Association and the Peter Stuyvesant Little League.

According to Garodnick, there are 1,973 people who are eligible for the payout, which would make the average check around $228. This time, no one has to file any paperwork to get their damages.

“This was a big tenant win for our community and for the city,” said Garodnick, who was a member of the “Roberts” class action suit. “I am glad that those who were harmed continue to see compensation.”

Lawyers for tenants said there were over 27,000 tenants and former tenants who were awarded damages from former landlords Tishman Speyer and Met Life. The damages were 100 percent of what the tenants overpaid based on calculations from a very complicated settlement formula, minus 30 percent for legal fees and other fees.

800 ST/PCV residents who qualify for SCRIE/DRIE haven’t enrolled

City pushing rent freeze programs on East Side

Last Thursday, Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha and Council Member Dan Garodnick announced that citywide, eligible seniors and disabled tenants aren’t taking advantage of an available rent freeze, especially in Stuyvesant Town and along the East Side of Manhattan. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Last Thursday, Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha and Council Member Dan Garodnick announced that citywide, eligible seniors and disabled tenants aren’t taking advantage of an available rent freeze, especially in Stuyvesant Town and along the East Side of Manhattan. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last Thursday, the city rolled out what’s it’s calling East Side Rent Freeze Month, a series of events in October aimed at getting eligible New Yorkers signed up for programs that would exempt them from rent hikes, including MCIs (major capital improvements).

The reason for the push was that in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village alone, 800 eligible tenants have yet to sign up for the programs. According to Jacques Jiha, the city’s finance commissioner, the number of eligible people citywide is 80,000, and many of them are East Siders.

“The East Side of Manhattan has the highest number of eligible participants,” said Jiha, as he stood outside Stuyvesant Town’s Community Center with local elected officials and tenants for a press conference. “During the month we’ll sign up as many eligible seniors and people with disabilities as possible.”

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ST service roads getting repaved

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The service road along East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

As Town & Village reported last month, the service roads around Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village will be getting repaved as will any curb cuts in need of smoothing out.

That project, a result of ongoing complaints from residents to Council Member Dan Garodnick’s office, is set to begin this Friday with milling. The actual paving will be done from September 12-16.

The repaving is being funded by the Department of Transportation separately from related work being done this summer to make the islands around the complex more user-friendly to the disabled by widening the walkways. That project had a price tag of $200 thousand, which was allocated by the City Council.

Both projects have come after years of wear and tear.

“For too long, the city has neglected these crucial arteries serving the residents of ST/PCV,” Garodnick said, “and residents constantly navigate the bumps, pools of still water and general unevenness of these streets.”

He added, “I am very pleased that these upgrades are finally moving forward.”

The work will be done on the Avenue C, First Avenue, 14th Street, 20th Street and 23rd Street service roads.

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Service roads and islands around Stuyvesant Town getting $200G renovation

The project is aimed at making the streets easier to manage for disabled pedestrians as well as anyone pushing a stroller. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The project is aimed at making the streets easier to manage for disabled pedestrians as well as anyone pushing a stroller. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The streets surrounding Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village are getting a $200,000 facelift.

The project, which is being paid for with funds allocated by Council Member Dan Garodnick, isn’t just cosmetic, however.

Service roads around the property from 14th to 23rd Streets will be repaved as will any curb cuts in need of smoothing, and the medians or islands on 14th Street, 20th Street and First Avenue will be repaved to make them wider for wheelchair users. Some, though not all of the cobblestones along with islands will be removed in order to do this. Currently, obstructions for anyone in a wheelchair user include signs and bus stops. Additionally, any cracks along the medians will be filled.

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Beth Israel will no longer offer some complex procedures

Mount Sinai Beth Israel (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Mount Sinai Beth Israel (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Mount Sinai Beth Israel, which, in a few years, will be downsized to a much smaller space on East 14th Street, won’t be offering pre-planned, very complex procedures, with patients instead being sent to other Mount Sinai medical centers. However, the hospital emergency room will still be able to treat people who are in unstable conditions so that they regain stability before getting transferred elsewhere.

This seemed to be the main takeaway from a presentation at Beth Israel last Wednesday that was specifically geared towards the community of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

The organizer of that event was the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, whose president, Susan Steinberg, later told Town & Village that the community’s primary concern was treatment at the emergency department.

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Behind the scenes of Clinton’s visit

Former President Bill Clinton strolls along the First Avenue Loop on his way to the community center on April 11. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Former President Bill Clinton strolls along the First Avenue Loop on his way to the community center on April 11. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last month’s surprise visit from former President Bill Clinton to Stuyvesant Town, while kept a closely guarded secret at the time, was surprisingly easily thrown together.

Just ask Council Member Dan Garodnick, who sponsored the event on behalf of the Clinton campaign, and pitched the idea.

This week, Garodnick told Town & Village that he’d suggested to the campaign that “Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village would be a very exciting visit for either Hillary or one of her top surrogates.”

This was a reference to the former leader of the free world, with Garodnick also telling team Clinton that the community hadn’t had a president visit since then Senator John F. Kennedy. He’d campaigned for his presidential run in 1960 at a rally on First Avenue that was attended by thousands. In response, Garodnick said, “They saw the wisdom in that and thought that it would be a fun event to get the former president over there.”

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Former President Clinton visits Stuy Town

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Former President Bill Clinton, at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center with Council Member Dan Garodnick and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and residents Herman Diamond and Doris Black (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With the presidential primary a mere eight days away, Hillary Clinton’s campaign got a boost in Stuyvesant Town, when her husband, former President Bill Clinton, stopped by to schmooze and pose for pictures with voters.

The visit by the former leader of the free world on Monday was almost as guarded as he was, with the event kept quiet up until the last minute when word started to get around the neighborhood. At that point, the Community Center started to fill up much more than it usually would for afternoon bridge games, mainly with politically connected residents. However, many of the seniors who’d gone there earlier to play cards were still shocked to see a president campaigning on the property for the first time in decades. Then presidential candidate John F. Kennedy had also made a campaign stop in Stuy Town in 1960.

With secret service men in tow, who cautiously allowed tenants to tap Clinton on the shoulder or back while requesting photos with him and asking him questions, the former president eventually made his way around the entire community center.

When shaking his hand, one woman informed him, “You are gorgeous.” In response, Clinton said, “It’s been a long time since a girl said that to me.”

He also got a compliment of sorts from longtime resident Tony Koestler, who told him he looked better in real life than he did on TV. An unruffled Clinton agreed with the man. “Most people with round faces do,” he said.

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Lottery launched for affordable apartments in ST/PCV

Mayor de Blasio speaks at the announcement of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village’s latest sale in October. Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Mayor de Blasio speaks at the announcement of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village’s latest sale in October. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

People who’ve been wondering how to get their hands on an affordable apartment in Stuyvesant Town won’t have to wait any longer to get a shot at it.

As of today, Tuesday, March 1, the application for a city-run lottery for the 5,000 units that will eventually be made available, has begun. The way it works, since there’s no telling when each of the units will actually become vacant and available, is that a maximum of 15,000 names of applicants will be put onto a waiting list. Applications will be accepted through March 31 on a website, pcvstlottery.com, and can also be mailed. To request an application by mail, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, 243 Fifth Avenue, Box 425, New York, NY, 10016.

The process does not give any preference to existing tenants of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, which is something market rate-paying residents had hoped for. Instead, the only preference given will to be to applicants who currently live in the five boroughs, with their applications being reviewed first.

On the fact that no preference will be given to tenants, a spokesperson for Blackstone, Paula Chirhart, said this was the decision of the city’s HDC (Housing Development Corporation).

“While we appreciate the spirit of inclusiveness, we are disappointed that we were not able to provide a preferred option for residents of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village,” said Chirhart.

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Garodnick says East Midtown transit problems too big to fix with rezoning

Council Member Dan Garodnick (Photo courtesy of B’Nai B’rith)

Council Member Dan Garodnick (Photo courtesy of B’Nai B’rith)

By Christian Brazil-Bautista

While the rezoning of East Midtown has been tied to transit improvements with promises of reworked subway stations, its overall effect may amount to a drop in a bucket.

“As to whether or not it would be enough to support the mass transit needs, definitely not. The transit needs in New York City and East Midtown are enormous,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick, who serves as the co-chair of a steering committee tasked with creating a framework to revive the aging commercial district.

Garodnick, who made the statements during a B’nai B’rith Luncheon earlier this month, described the benefits of the East Midtown rezoning plan, which allows developers to build taller buildings in exchange for funding transportation improvements, as “on the margins” of the solution to the area’s transit requirements.

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New GM promises improved service and more accessibility

Rick Hayduk (right), the new general manager of ST/PCV, speaks with tenants at a meet-and-greet event on Saturday. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Rick Hayduk (right), the new general manager of ST/PCV, speaks with tenants at a meet-and-greet event on Saturday. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The new general manager of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper, Rick Hayduk, has promised tenants that Blackstone is focused on improving services and communication and in particular, said the hiring of four new plumbers should end the two to three week wait times tenants have been experiencing for repairs.

Hayduk made the comments on Saturday at a meet and greet event that was held at the tents at Stuyvesant Town’s Playground 11.

Around 150 people, mainly seniors and other longterm tenants, attended the event, as did a couple of elected officials, State Senator Brad Hoylman and Council Member Dan Garodnick.

Rick Hayduk speaks at Saturday’s event.

Rick Hayduk speaks at Saturday’s event.

While at a podium in front of a Stuy Town logo-covered step-and-repeat, Hayduk discussed various tenant concerns, including the recent spike in plumbing repair delays. “Our standard is two to three days and that’s what you should expect,” he said.
Hayduk also said that a hotline for tenants that Blackstone had set up after the company bought the property has been transferred to his office.

“Go through normal channels, but if (a request) needs to escalate, we’re here for that,” Hayduk said. The number is (212) 655-9870.

He also encouraged tenants to slip him notes, gesturing to his pocket while saying that several neighbors had already done so.

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