Event organizer Jo-Ann Polise cited endless paperwork as enemy number one to the concert series. (Pictured) A concert from a previous year at Stuyvesant Cove Park with Sean Mahony and the Swing Orchestra (Photo by Jo-Ann Polise)
By Sabina Mollot
Last month, Jo-Ann Polise, the main organizer of the annual summer concert series put on by the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association, announced via this newspaper that after several years the music had come to an end. The reason, she explained at the time, was that despite the grants awarded to the group by Council Member Keith Powers, the city’s process for actually getting the funds had become so onerous, it was too much for an all-volunteer outfit to bear.
However, Polise has since changed her tune, saying the concerts will return — at least this year. After that it may not be possible to hold waterfront concerts for the next couple of years due to the planned East Side Coastal Resiliency Project.
The reason for the park association’s change of heart was twofold. First, since the SCPA had made the announcement, Polise found that she couldn’t go anywhere — even grocery shopping — without someone telling her how much the free, riverside gigs would be missed.
“We got a lot of responses; people were saying, ‘we’re so sorry,’” Polise said. “There was a lot of un happiness in the community.”
The John Colianni Quintet performing at Stuyvesant Cove Park
By Jo-Ann Polise, event organizer for the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association
After more than a dozen years the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association will not be sponsoring the free concert series at Stuyvesant Cove Park this summer. The cancellation, first announced in an e-mail sent out to Friends of Stuyvesant Cove Park on April 4, prompted many to respond with expressions of sadness and disappointment over the decision as well as praise and appreciation for seasons past.
The series cancellation was not due to funds being cut; Councilmember Keith Powers, like his predecessor, had made discretionary funds available to the organization for the program. However, the process of applying for the funds and the additional work required to receive payment of the funds has, over the years, become much too complicated and time consuming for an all-volunteer organization.
Additionally, the SCPA had been notified that its arrangement with Solar 1 was changing. In addition to paying a fee to Solar 1 for each event held at the Park, the SCPA would also have to purchase their own insurance to cover future events. This additional expense would undoubtedly result in a reduction in the number of concerts.
Unlike some organizations that have dedicated, paid staff to handle grant applications, the SCPA consists of members of the community who donate their time for the love of the Park.
Genesis Parra gets behind the wheel of a police car at the 13th Precinct’s National Night Out Against Crime event on Tuesday. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
National Night Out Against Crime, an annual event aimed at growing relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, took place on Tuesday night.
The event organized by the 13th Precinct and the precinct’s Community Council, went off without a hitch at the M.S. 104 Playground, despite some blustery wind and clouds that looked to be threatening rain. Fortunately, after two weeks of scorching heat and rain, many attendees from the neighborhood commented that they enjoyed the rare breeze. Families from the surrounding neighborhoods mingled with the local cops and business owners who had booths at the event while chowing down on chicken and rice from the Halal Guys, as well as burgers and dogs cooked up on the grill by officers from the precinct.
ST/PCV residents listen to Gerry Kelpin, the Department of Environmental Protections Environmental Compliance Unit director. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Frustrations were high for Stuyvesant Town tenants attending a forum on noise while trying to come up with solutions for peace and quiet in the neighborhood. The main complaint from tenants at the meeting, held by the ST-PCV Tenants Association at the PS 40 auditorium, was the seeming lack of enforcement on the part of management about noise issues. Discussing the issue with a crowd of around 70 tenants were city experts on noise.
“People will call management then management will call public safety, but by the time public safety comes up they won’t hear the noise,” Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg said. “They say not to get involved with your neighbors so you have to wait for public safety but the next thing you know, it’s going on again.”
In response, Noise Activities Chair for GrowNYC.org Dr. Arline Bronzaft said that she disagreed that tenants shouldn’t approach their neighbors.
“You should know your neighbors,” she said. “If there’s a problem, we should be able to interact with each other.”
Other residents felt that the lack of enforcement was due to the non-compliance of many apartments on the 80/20 carpet rule, which states in Stuy Town leases that 80 percent of the floor must be covered by carpeting to mitigate noise between floors.
“Two of the last three tenants who have lived above me were not compliant with the carpeting rule,” resident Arlynne Miller said. “You have to get (management) to jump through unbelievable hoops to get them to comply.”
It appears that all we ever hear about these days are politicians named Trump, Clinton and occasionally some of the other contenders. More locally it seems that the media is preoccupied with the ongoing (and really silly) political feud and attention grabbing between Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. They all seem so preoccupied with themselves and their own ambitions. Fame breeds self-absorption and the notion that the world truly revolves around your every move and remark.
This week I prefer to call attention to a few local unsung heroes whose names are not so well known but whose actions over the years have had a real impact on our community. These people have lived here and have worked here and have made our local world a better place without fanfare.
I am writing in response to the letter that was sent in about the homeless people sleeping on benches in Stuyvesant Town and the lack of actions from our security department (“Homeless around ST,” T&V, July 30).
I’d like to focus on the word people for a moment. Yes, there are people sleeping on benches in Stuyvesant Town and begging on the street along First Avenue and other places in the city. We do have a big homeless problem but the problem is not with the security department at Stuyvesant Town. The problem is so much bigger than that.
These are people. People like you and me who have met with hard times or a mental illness that they did not ask for. And they are people. People who need shelter, a place to sleep, food, companionship and meaningful work. This problem needs addressing from a perspective so much bigger than the security department here. I’ve seen countless articles and interviews on TV from our mayor addressing the horse drawn carriages and their plight.
I’d like to see a focus on humans over horses at the moment. I’d like to see our politicians addressing this homeless problem and how we can offer useful help to these people so that we don’t have to feel uncomfortable about encountering them in our community and more importantly they have a place to sleep each night that is sheltered, offers them nourishment and encouragement to better lives.
My small Band-Aid of the solution is to carry breakfast bars in my handbag. Along with the breakfast bars I carry a referral card to the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen where they offer a daily hot meals and counseling to help people get off the streets.
When I encountered homeless people in our neighborhood or in other places that I walk during the day I’m able to offer them an immediate solution of something to eat and a longer-term solution of a place to go where they can find solutions if they want them.
I encourage anyone interested to join me on this mission. It’s just one small way that we can help address this problem while forces with resources bigger than ours can address a long-term solution.
Four members of the John Colianni Quintet at a previous concert at the Cove (Photo courtesy of Stuyvesant Cove Park Association)
By Jo-Ann Polise
The Stuyvesant Cove Park Association is stepping up again this year to help improve conditions at Stuyvesant Cove and to lure area residents to the river with a series of free outdoor concerts.
The concerts are offered free of charge to all and include a variety of styles including swing, jazz, blues and bluegrass as well as an evening of traditional Irish music and dance.
Plans for the annual series begin in March and among this year’s musicians are several past performers including John Colianni, the Rutkowski Family Trio, Sean Mahony and David Hershey-Webb. New to the roster are Jason Green and The Labor of Love, New Harvest and Niall O’Leary and friends.
I serve on the board of The SCPA and am the coordinator for the annual concert series. I met Jason Green when I went to hear another artist perform at an East Village restaurant. I spoke to the guitarist during the break and Jason Green and The Labor of Love will be opening the concert series later this month. In a similar fashion, fiddle player Clarence Ferrari was part of a group that performed last year and will be performing country and bluegrass with New Harvest in July.