July 4th celebrated at Waterside

yellow bursts

Waterside residents gather outside for a closeup view of the fireworks. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Last week’s holiday came at the end of a heatwave that threatened a downpour, but the occasional raindrops didn’t dampen the lively party at Waterside Plaza for the July 4th holiday last Wednesday.

As always, after the sunset, hundreds if not thousands of people headed outside for a front-row seat to the Macy’s fireworks display.

In the hours leading up to the show, residents as well as local elected officials shared hot dogs and hamburgers on the plaza. Local politicians in attendance were reflective on the American experience, particularly of immigrants, because of the recent changes in immigration policy that resulted in children being separated from their parents at the country’s southern border.

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Where to view the July 4th fireworks

pink blooms rain

This year’s display will have the biggest selection of fireworks since 2000. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

With the mercury expected to rise into the high 80s for the next few days, the July 4th holiday is looking to be a scorcher, but at least residents on the East Side will be getting a good view of the annual fireworks display.

Fireworks will be shot off from seven barges in the East River for a 25-minute show beginning at 9:30 p.m. The 42nd annual celebration will feature a score performed by the West Point Band and in honor of the 100th anniversary of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” pop star Kelly Clarkson will perform the song at the climax of the fireworks display. The West Point Glee Club as well as the band will accompany Clarkson’s performance.

The score for the fireworks will also include the national anthem and in honor of the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, a medley of his classical music compositions, performed by the glee club and band. The performances will be on NBC starting at 8 p.m. and will only be viewable by the public through the broadcast, but the music will be audible for spectators watching the fireworks.

The fireworks performance this year includes more than 75,000 shells, making it the largest display since the millennial celebration in 2000.

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Letters to the Editor, July 6

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Dogs okay, owners… not so much

As a former dog owner, I began Bobbie’s Martowicz’s “Stuy Town no longer fit for a dog” letter (6/29/17) with sympathy for dogs—if a bit less for their owners— but that sympathy faded as I read the first paragraph, and vanished in the second. I myself cannot bring a dog into our community because in my own eyes I cannot pass The Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge: 1. Curb my dog — as required by our laws, 2. Always have the dog on leash — as required by law,  3. Obey the size limit regulations — as required by PCVST. (I had a boxer, and would not have wanted him (Bandit) living so constrained a life as I feel is rightfully required by mass-apartment living.)

Bobbie Martowicz’s letter may be good for the troops, but it really bangs the devil out the facts. The result is a public piece of utter self-indulgence. Martowicz omits failure to curb: 1. fecal matter left (by owners), 2. urination on grass, walkways, trees, plants (allowed by owners), and dog size regulations, (ignored by owners and management). Then there is the matter of who walks whom as the dogs leads the way and pedestrians give way.

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Fireworks and a message of unity on July 4th

Fireworks on the East River (Photo by Edward O’Rourke)

By Sabina Mollot

On July 4, thousands gathered at Waterside Plaza to view the fireworks from windows as well as outdoor areas on the complex. This year, with the barges centered solely on the East River from 24th to 41st Streets, the complex got an even more enviable viewpoint than usual. The roughly 25-minute display sponsored by Macy’s showcased 2,200 effects per minute from each of the five barges.

The event even drew a visit from Mayor Bill de Blasio who stopped by before the fireworks to discuss immigrant rights on Independence Day. He spoke about the travel ban and how if people are feeling disenfranchised by the Trump administration, they could fight back by remembering that New York is an immigrant-friendly place.

De Blasio, who began by saying it was his first time visiting Waterside, called it “pretty amazing. I’m seeing everything good about New York City in one place.”

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Letters to the Editor, July 7

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Zero % increase for stabilized tenants

To the Editor:

I’ve been listening to several of my neighbors, all rent stabilized, and something doesn’t add up.

We’ve had three apartments in and out over the last several years. My current neighbors, finishing up their lease, pay twice as much as me.  Once they’re gone, the new occupant(s) may pay closer to three times as much as me.

And who would argue that this increase per apartment isn’t happening on every floor of every building in both Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village?

Now, if you take the average age of all the rent stabilized tenants, it’s got to be closer to 80 than 60. So given that management is making such an enormous vig on all of the many new tenants, why wouldn’t the stabilized tenants be stabilized at their rents permanently? Management isn’t going to buy them out.

There’s no other stabilized housing in the city where half of the stock is luxury at unlimited turnover at unregulated increases.

Rentals to new tenants is tantamount to scooping up money with both hands. Raises to stabilized guidelines is tantamount to picking up bottles for their return deposits.

Zero increase for the lifetime of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village’s stabilized tenants.

Billy Sternberg, ST

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July 4th fireworks go on, despite rain

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Fireworks as seen at Waterside Plaza (Photo by Edward O’Rourke)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, July 4th, New York City’s annual fireworks show dazzled viewers along The East River as Macy’s also celebrated its 40th anniversary of putting on the skyward display. This year, four fireworks barges were positioned between 23rd and 37th Streets with another double barge downtown. Despite on and off rain which turned into a downpour not long before the show began at around 9:30 p.m. the crowds came out, though their numbers were rivaled by all the police officers patrolling along the East Side. At Waterside Plaza, where residents get a front row seat to the spectacle, over a thousand people lined up outside to watch. The property, where holiday festivities also took place outdoors on the plaza, was sealed on Monday other than to residents and their guests. Many more spectators, despite the weather, gathered alongside the car-free FDR Drive for a still closeup view.

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Where to view the fireworks

This July 4th, New York City will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the fireworks shows sponsored by Macy’s. The displays usually begin after 9 p.m. and this year, there are a handful of public viewing spots in Manhattan. Getting there much earlier is recommended to claim a spot and also because streets can be closed down later by the NYPD.

Barges will be located at the Brooklyn Bridge as well as four spots between 18th and 34th Streets, according to Macy’s online viewing map.

Public viewing spots in Manhattan are at: Broad Street, Upper Level; Old Slip, Upper Level; Frankfront and Pearl Streets; FDR and Houston Street, FDR and 23rd Street, FDR and 34th Street and FDR at 42nd Street. ADA/special needs accessible viewing areas will be at 18th Street and Avenue C and 34th Street and the FDR Drive.

Waterside Plaza will be hosting a party for residents outside on the Plaza and Stuyvesant Town will also have a viewing party via livestream for residents on the Oval from 7-9:45 p.m.

The summer that was – A look back at community events

By Maria Rocha Buschel

Summer is quickly drawing to a close, with an autumn chill in the early morning air and school starting up again soon. And with the last unofficial day of the season, Labor Day, occurring yesterday, we thought we would share a look back at some of the summer activities that took place in the community.

This summer saw the return of the popular concert series on the Solar One stage at Stuyvesant Cove Park, with the only complaint some Town & Village readers had being that the series was too short. Performers also got in the summer spirit at Madison Square Park underneath the Fata Morgana canopy installation in an Afro-Cuban dance workshop and performance in July. In what is becoming an annual tradition, area residents were also able to enjoy the waterfront through the free kayaking events, hosted in Stuyvesant Cove Park for the final time for the season last weekend.

Click through for photos.

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Mailboxes locked for July 4th

By Sabina Mollot

Last weekend, an eagle-eyed reader of Town & Village contacted the paper after noticing that a mailbox on East 23rd Street had been locked, unavailable for use, as was another mailbox, on East 20th Street.

We reached out to the U.S. Post Office, to ask for the reason for the locking, and if other mailbox locations were also affected, and if so, for how long.

In response, agency spokesperson Congetta Chirichello, said this was a temporary safety measure for July 4th.

“During special events such as parades and events where thousands of people are anticipated to be in a particular location – designated collection boxes are sealed at the request of the NYPD,” Chirichello said.  “Each year during the 4th of July Fireworks is one of the special occasions when this happens.”

The mailboxes were locked after the last pickup on Thursday, July 2, and were “unsealed” on Monday, July 6 upon the first mail pickup, with normal collection resuming after that.

Chirichello added that it was done as a precautionary measure with mailboxes that need to be sealed or in some cases temporarily removed for a few days determined by the USPS after being informed of the path for a parade or an event expected to be attended by thousands.

The NYPD didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Fireworks viewing spots, street closures on July 4th

(Photo by Sabina Mollot)

(Photo by Sabina Mollot)

With the July 4th Macy’s fireworks show on the East Side this year, it may be viewed in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn from any area with an unobstructed view of the sky above the East River.

The public viewing sections for Manhattan will be the elevated portions of FDR Drive with the following entry points:

From Houston Street to midtown: Houston Street, 23rd Street, 34th Street and 42nd Street.

From Lower Manhattan: Broad Street ground level, Old Slip upper level, Pearl and Frankfort.

ADA /Special Needs Viewing Area:

FDR Drive southbound lane at 16th Street and Avenue C or 34th Street (top of ramp) and Vietnam Memorial Park

Stuy Town and Waterside alerts:

Waterside Plaza will be holding a party that’s closed to anyone who isn’t a resident or a guest with a wristband. Wristband access only times are 12 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Deadline to register for wristbands is 2 p.m. on July 2.

Additionally, the NYPD will be closing streets to traffic around Stuyvesant Town. CompassRock issued a notice to tenants saying 14th, 20th and 23rd Streets from First Avenue to Avenue C will be closed to vehicular traffic from 6 p.m. to midnight. Peter Cooper Road and Stuy Town’s Loop Roads will also be closed from 6 p.m. to midnight. Avenue C and the FDR Drive will also be closed from 5 p.m. to midnight. During this time, entrances to Stuy Town will be staffed by Public Safety officers so residents will need to have their ID ready. Gates to Peter Cooper entrances will also be closed from 6 p.m. to midnight but Public Safety officers will be on hand to allow residents access. Guests of residents will be asked which residents and apartments they are visiting. Garages will be inaccessible from 5 p.m. to midnight and playgrounds will be closed at 6 p.m.

UPDATE: We didn’t hear from anyone in time to include this in this week’s issue of Town & Village, but Stuyvesant Cove Park will also be closed during the fireworks, according to a Solar 1 staffer, except for a ticketed event held by Zum Schneider at the north end of the park.