Letters to the editor, Dec. 19

Fences cut off access to kids’ ‘sleigh hill’

The 20th Street Loop hill on Saturday afternoon (Photo by William Oddo)

The 20th Street Loop hill on Saturday afternoon (Photo by William Oddo)

To tenant organizers and local elected representatives,

For the first time in Stuyvesant Town’s history this past weekend, our children were prevented from sleigh riding on the “hill” safely because of the installation of a hideous bent metal fence and posts. The metal fence created an obstacle for kids to safely sleigh ride as they have done after every snow event for generations.

Kids were attempting to sleigh ride and have fun while avoiding the perils of the metal fence and poles. In fact, the higher and more fun hill was just too dangerous so most kids and parents used the adjacent smaller and slower area. To top it off even the Oval was fenced off.

I’m writing to you all because there is no one in management to address or contact concerning this very timely issue.  As many of you know, the “hill” along 20th Street Loop and Oval as it known is the only “sleigh ride hill” within a radius of more than three miles of our community. Without any capital expenditure, or entrance fee or expensive “produced family event” our kids were able to just have fun in the snow.

However, the current management is on a tear to fence off virtually every bit of space no matter how absurd the effect or benefit. Management has fenced off areas so small that the fences themselves comprise more area than the space it protects besides wasting money. It has even included a fenced off access to the Oval lawn Christmas tree (reserved for summer “practically no bathing suit” sunbathing) and a second fence around the new and not ready for prime time “Christmas” tree.

So please use your collective access to see if you can contact anyone in management to “temporarily” remove these “temporary wire fences.” They can be removed quickly and reinstalled later if needed at all.

In all fairness, I understand that leaf control was a partial reasons for metal fence policy. However, the many private park spaces have employed much less costly temporary natural material during late fall season, then removed it later. It has also been reported that fences were installed by management partly in response to complaints from tenants of pets ruining our flower garden areas. Perhaps a discussion could be organized to address these concerns and perceptions and resident pet owners’ concerns and not have our children suffer from a poorly thought out management policy.

What should management (who ever they are) do now? What you could tell them:

• Start by recognizing this longtime community activity and put in place temporary measures to support sleigh riding on the “hill” for our children.
• Remove the wire fence and metal poles.
• Install temporary safe barricades at the curb to protect sleigh riders like redeployed haystacks from Halloween events.
• Create a temporary safe walking path adjacent to the “hill” for other residents.
• Redeploy security personnel from standing inside the skating rink tent and post them outside in advance of the “hill” to protect kids and direct traffic.
• Open up the Oval (early spring is plenty of time to restore grass for sunbathers).

A longstanding community activity like “sleigh riding on the hill” supports an authentic and vital community. As a student of urban planning, community activities like these are a designer’s delight that planners, developers and architects work mightily to create. It’s what current management has failed to recognize here.

Lastly, this management team’s effort to control and watch everything in this community only serves to undermine and ruin their efforts. Worse yet, the world knows a fence, a wall or “security” camera can never contain a genuine human activity. I would be happy to help in this effort and appreciate a tenant organization’s or others’ response.


William Oddo,
Resident, organizer of Stuyvesant Town
Quiet Oval Group 

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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 29

Pissed off about not wanting to be pissed on

Re: Letter, “Why landscape fences make complete sense,” T&V, Aug. 22

John Giannone writes that irresponsible dog owners think “that it is ok for dogs to urinate on anything that grows and anything that does not — grass, bushes, trees, garbage cans, street posts, bench legs, the walkways, the legs of pedestrians. (Ok, so the last is false!)” John, are you sure “the last is false”? I witnessed my neighbor’s dog pee on her leg while I was speaking with her at the door of her apartment. So I know that man’s best friend (and woman’s too) does pee on the legs of humans. Some friend.

Also, it almost happened to me. I was sitting on a bench in front of the children’s playground in the Oval watching people walking their dogs in the “no dog area” gravel where the greenmarket is located on Sundays and where children play during the week. This was a weekday and I was watching a dog lift its leg to pee on the sign that read  “no dog area” when a cute little dog, which bore a resemblance to my neighbor’s cute little dog, approached me. Thanks to my scientific background, I could discern that he was a male. His owner was watching her dog, which is unusual as most owners are too busy talking or texting on the phone or to a friend or themselves to notice what their dog is doing, as the little doggie approached my leg and started to sniff my foot. This dog was probably smelling some other dog’s doo doo that I had inadvertently stepped on; it’s so difficult not to step on a schmear or two of this fecal matter, wet or dry, in Stuy Town as it is left all over the walkways so that residents can bring these little gifts home for their children or cats to enjoy.

But I became anxious as her male dog got within inches of my leg. She did not pull the dog away from me, being of the school that advocates letting the little pet pissers live their lives to the fullest by smelling everything in sight. To avoid any unnecessary confrontations, as I might have been mistaken for a fire hydrant, I gently lifted my foot to shoo the dog away. But the owner barked, “What are you doing to my dog?” I replied, “I don’t like having urine on my pants. It’s not good for relationships.” Then she growled, “Well, you don’t have to hit him!” And then her dog led her away. She had her nose in the air while his was towards the ground, living his life to the fullest.

John Cappelletti, ST

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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 22

Why landscape fences make complete sense

A number of neighbors have voiced irritation at the presence of fencing now encircling much of the plantings. About that fencing, I agree, it is rather cheap, ugly and not the sort of fencing likely to last. In fact, in some places it is already compromised.

However, I find our neighbors’ expressed puzzlement a bit fictitious. “Why has the fencing gone up?” they ask. Really? Really? They don’t know?

Let’s provide some data from which they might construct a hypothesis.

First: “dog friendly.” Second: irresponsible owners of PCV/ST: No place for dogs to do doggie things. Third: irresponsible tenants: First: buying dogs when it is know that the place has no way to accommodate their elimination needs. Second: some irresponsible dog owners: putting it out that it is ok for dogs to urinate on anything that grows and anything that does not — grass, bushes, trees, garbage cans, street posts, bench legs, the walkways, the legs of pedestrians. (Ok, so the last is false!)

Third: making a common practice of allowing dogs to defecate on common ground. (Thanks by the way to the large dog owner who covered his/her doggy’s fecal matter with leaves on the south side of the paddle ball courts a few weeks back: I really loved the soft gushy slippery feel.)

So, about our neighbors who want the rest of us to believe that they are puzzled about the presence of fencing and the closing of the “open look” give an explanation your best shot!

John Giannone, ST

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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 15

Fences ruin Stuy Town’s open setting

My family and I have a long history in Stuyvesant Town. My grandparents moved into Stuyvesant Town in 1947. My parents moved here as well in the 1980s. I grew up here.

Recently my friends and I went on a tour with the intention of moving in. I was upset to see they have fenced much of the grounds with tall fencing. It was surprising to see given the fact there had been no fences up for the past several years. I grew up here when the lawns were strictly off limits.

It was a fantastic change taking down that old-fashioned barrier chain link, and in effect getting rid of old fashioned thinking that lawns were off limits. My friends and I spend a lot of time outside and I have a dog. We can’t afford to live near Central Park. And if we did certainly we would not be fenced out of it.

I asked the leasing agent about the fencing (hoping it is temporary) only to receive an evasive response.

The Stuyvesant Town website specifically states “Manhattan Living With An 80-Acre Backyard” and “… live in a park — to live in the country in the heart of New York.” Paying market rates I would expect access to this park. The Oval lawn is nice if you don’t mind being elbow to elbow with hundreds of people.

After a little research I found out the owners are fencing in the lawns and gardens to possibly sell the property in the near future. By making the grounds look more manicured maybe they will get more money? In the meantime they have indefinitely ruined the best feature of living here: the open setting. By that I mean the views (now obstructed) and freedom to step off the sidewalks and respectfully enjoy the open spaces.

L. Platt 

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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 8

Good fences make good neighbors’ debate. This week’s letters are all in response to letters recently published in T&V that were critical of the recent installation of fences around green areas being landscaped in Stuyvesant Town.

There are other areas to walk besides lawn

Re: Three letters in the July 25th issue

As a resident of both Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper who, along with many friends, have brought up children here that were not allowed on the grass, I found the three letters to the editor in your July 25th issue to be ridiculously comical. First, let me reassure these folks and based on personal experience, that their children and the residents will probably survive quite well not being able to run through the grass, which is watered and fertilized each day by the many dogs in the area. Nor will they feel as if they are “living in cages, etc.” Wow, talk about an extreme comment.

I do wholeheartedly agree with M. Deren, that going through the many transitions here in PCVST are somewhat difficult, but I would like her to rethink her criticism and consider that in this case, perhaps management’s reasons for such action regarding the fences are quite valid.  Also, enforcing the rug rule is nothing new. It has always been part of the lease since the complex was built. The problem is that a lot of people just don’t read the fine print in the document.

My own personal transition has been to witness the decline of the property and quality of life from what it was, to what it has become. If people had respected our park-like grounds, it would not have evolved into a sandy, unkempt and overgrown property that was starting to look like a neglected and unattractive neighborhood.Personally, I am very pleased that management has taken action to restore our grounds to reflect what it has always been – a unique and beautiful oasis in the center of a thriving, busy and noisy city.

As for the black fences, I can reassure “name withheld” that there will be people who agree with him/her and won’t take the fences as a way of protecting our environment. Those folks can join the group of sunbathers in front of 510 East 23rd who actually climb over the fences in total disregard of what they are they for… some people just don’t believe that rules and social manners are important… at least as it pertains to them.

Perhaps going forward, our residents should pick their battles with management on more important issues such as questioning the safety of the buildings and basements, which were impacted by floodwaters in Hurricane Sandy and the insanity of increasing the people population within each building without providing the necessary amenities and services to keep it clean, safe and functional.

M. Full, PCV

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