UPS says delivery policy never changed

Packages recently piled up in the lobby of Council  Member Dan Garodnick’s building in Peter Cooper Village. (Photo by Dan Garodnick)

Packages recently piled up in the lobby of Council Member Dan Garodnick’s building in Peter Cooper Village. (Photo by Dan Garodnick)

By Sabina Mollot
Back in April, CompassRock alerted residents to a change in policy in which UPS would no longer be leaving packages for residents outside their doors without their signatures. Instead, residents were advised they could get a membership to Oval Concierge, which would accept packages on their behalf. One month of complimentary service was offered in the emailed alert to residents “while you sort out your plans to get deliveries safely home.”
However, this week, UPS said that it never changed its policy and that packages could still be left outside doors. Council Member Dan Garodnick was made aware of this in a letter from UPS’s Vice President of State Government Affairs Mark Giuffre, after contacting the company. Garodnick also said he’s since alerted Oval Concierge to the error.
When asked about the alert, a spokesperson for UPS, Dan McMackin, told T&V, “We’re confused. We have no idea what they’re talking about.”
He added that there are buildings where owners handle packages for tenants and in those buildings, tenants are notified by UPS that the owner has them. However, said McMackin, there’s no such agreement at ST/PCV.
In response to a call from T&V, a spokesperson for CWCapital, Brian Moriarty, said the reason the alert went out is because UPS drivers were the ones to make a call as to whether or not to leave packages in buildings. Apparently they can decline to do so in the event of package thefts being reported at a particular building.
“We were just told by the customer service rep it is the driver’s discretion whether or not to leave a package when three or more packages have gone missing from a particular location,” Moriarty. “I don’t know that the flag on certain PCVST building would necessarily be communicated to the national (UPS) office.”
Meanwhile, Garodnick said he’s also followed up on another issue relating to packages left in buildings. In recent months, residents have been complaining that a third party delivery company for Amazon has been leaving packages unattended in building lobbies.
Recently, when spotting a deliveryman doing just this in his own building, Garodnick said he asked why the packages were being left there. The response: “He said, ‘Well most people aren’t home,’” said Garodnick. “So I’ve raised the issue with Amazon and they’re looking into the issue. I am trying to get us back into a place where people can expect to see packages in front of their doors without having to rely on Oval Concierge service.”
The third party delivery company, which apparently works for various dot coms, is called Special Logistics. They did not return a call by T&V’s press time.
McMackin said UPS would be looking into the matter of any packages left in lobbies. “Packages should not be showing up in lobbies,” he said.

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Local events this week: Mammograms, Bird walk, MulchFest

Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Brad Hoylman at a mammogram event in December

Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Brad Hoylman at a mammogram event in December

Free mammograms outside Stuyvesant Town

Following a successful event last month in which women 40 and older were offered free mammograms outside of Stuyvesant Town, the mammogram van is back today.

The event sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, is running now through 4 p.m. today on First Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets. Space is limited and appointments are mandatory. Call (800) 564-6868. All insurance plans accepted. Co-payments and deductibles waived. Free for women over 40.

Theater at the 14th Street Y presents ‘Kaddish’

“Kaddish,” a play based on Nobel Prize-winner Imre Kertész’s novel “Kaddish for an Unborn Child,” will run January 10-13 at the Theater at the 14th Street Y.
“Kaddish,” a one-man show featuring Jake Goodman and directed by Barbara Lanciers, comes to the Y following a critically-acclaimed run in Budapest this past June.
The play is an exploration of ritual and loss. It looks at a father’s unrelenting conflict over the absence of the child he never had during his ultimately doomed marriage. A Holocaust survivor, he had refused to bring a child into a world where horrors like the one he experienced can occur. The longing and regret that haunt this character give rise to one of the most eloquent meditations ever written on the Holocaust. The production is intimate, featuring a solo performance by Jake Goodman on a 10-foot square stage covered in dirt and light.
Performances (55 minutes in length) are Jan. 10 at 5 and 7 p.m., Jan. 11 at 11 a.m., 3 and 9 p.m., Jan. 12 at 1, 4 and 6 p.m. and Jan. 13 at 3 and 5 p.m. Tickets, $18, can be purchased at http://www.14streety.org/boxoffice or by calling 1-800-838-3006. The Theater at the 14th Street Y is located at 344 East 14th Street between First and Second Avenues.

Bobby Fulham memorial game set for January 11

On Saturday, January 11, 2014 the sixth annual Bobby Fulham Epiphany Alumni basketball game will be held at Xavier High School in the main gym, 30 West 16th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
Doors open for registration and warm-ups at 6 p.m. The ladies’ game is at 7 p.m. Men’s game to follow.
The late Bobby Fulham, a resident of Stuyvesant Town, was a good friend to many families in the neighborhood and was instrumental in getting the Epiphany Basketball Program to the level it is at today. Fulham lost his battle to cancer five years ago this past November. Every year many former players return to play in the game in his honor.
All of the proceeds of this year’s event will be donated to the CYO Basketball and the Epiphany School basketball program. Admission is a $20 donation, which includes a commemorative t-shirt, $5 for students and kids. Players are also asked to donate $20. All checks should be made out to CYO. For more information, contact Ray Curley (rtcurley99@aol.com), Tom Issing (tgi32@aol.com) or Mike Nealy (Michael.nealy@admlaw.com).

Bird walk on January 12

On Sunday, January 12 at 9 a.m., Anne Lazarus will lead a bird walk through Stuyvesant Cove Park and Stuyvesant Town. This free event will begin at the 20th street entrance to Stuyvesant Cove Park near the rocky outcropping, continue through the park and end in Stuyvesant Town. Possible bird sightings include several winter water birds as well as some interesting ducks. It is also hoped that the Varied Thrush, a rare bird recently spotted in Stuyvesant Town, will stay in the area until then. The walk will last approximately two hours and will take place even in the event of light rain. All are invited to participate and encouraged to bring cameras and binoculars. The Stuyvesant Cove Park Association would love to receive any photos of birds spotted on the walk. They can be sent to stuyvesantcove@yahoo.com.

Kips Bay neighborhood Alliance fundraiser

The Kips Bay Neighborhood Alliance is holding a fundraiser at Hill & Bay, 581 Second Avenue, on Monday, January 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to raise awareness and membership. The event will give residents a chance to meet their neighbors, community leaders and local elected officials. The $20 suggestion donation for the event includes annual membership to the KBNA, one drink ticket and appetizers. There will also be a cash bar available. For more information, contact kbna.info@gmail.com.

MulchFest in Stuyvesant Town, Tompkins Sq. Park

Stuyvesant Town and Tompkins Square Park will be participating as chipping sites in MulchFest on Saturday, January 11 and Sunday, January 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At this event, New Yorkers are encouraged to bring their discarded Christmas trees to be recycled into mulch. The site at Stuyvesant Town will be at the East 20th Street Loop and the site in Tompkins Square Park will be at East 7th Street between Avenues A and  B.  Free mulch will be available at each chipping site. Trees can also be brought to a drop-off site beginning on January 4 through January 12 to be recycled later. Special curbside collection for mulching and recycling of trees will be conducted by the Department of Sanitation from December 30 to January 15.

Coat drive at Oval Concierge through January 15

New York Cares is working with Community Partners in NYC to distribute coats to New Yorkers in need. A temporary bin has been set up at Oval Concierge to make it easy for PCV/ST residents to donate new or clean, gently used jackets and coats from Thursday, January 9 through Wednesday, January 15 at Oval Concierge (276 First Ave).

MORE EVENTS

For listings om local entertainments events: concerts, theater, comedy, burlesque, art exhibits, kids’ events, discussions and more, see T&V’s Around & About page.

For listings on local health and fitness events: support groups, screenings, classes and more, see T&V’s Health and Fitness page.

For listings on events held at local houses of worship: talks, special services, classes and volunteer efforts, see T&V’s Religion Page.

Town & Village holding holiday toy drive

Some of the toys from a previous Town & Village toy drive

Some of the toys from a previous Town & Village toy drive

With the holiday season here, Town & Village is asking readers and community residents to help spread cheer by participating in our annual Christmas and Hanukkah toy drive. An ongoing tradition for this newspaper for decades, the drive delivers gifts to children at one of our local hospitals.

This year, donations will be accepted for young patients undergoing treatment at Beth Israel Medical Center as well as the children of patients of various in and outpatient clinic programs.

According to Bonnie Robbins, head of the medical center’s outpatient clinic for families, the gifts from drives have made a world of a difference to the children the hospital serves, as in many cases, their families would not be able to provide them with any presents for the holidays.

Gifts appropriate for children of all ages are welcome as well as teens. Due to hospital policy, the donated items must be new. Used toys, even gently used, can’t be accepted for health reasons. If interested in donating, unwrapped gifts may be brought to any of the following drop-off centers:

• Stuyvesant Town Community Center, 449 East 14th Street*

• M&T Bank at 397 First Avenue near 23rd Street

• Waterside Management Office, 30 Waterside Plaza

• Waterside Swim & Health Club, 35 Waterside Plaza

• The Town & Village office at 20 West 22nd Street, 14th floor

The deadline to submit toys is Thursday, December 19.

* Please note that the Stuyvesant Town Community Center is also being used as drop-off points for a separate toy drive being organized to benefit Toys for Toys. T&V’s Drive will have its own box for donations. Additionally, the center may be closed on Tuesday, December 17 and Wednesday, December 18 for renovation work. Additionally, a previously announced dropoff point, the Oval Concierge booth in front of Peter Cooper Village, won’t be available for dropoffs.

 

CW talks plans for new management office

The Avenue C management office will be converted into a children's facility. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The Avenue C management office will be converted into a children’s facility.
(Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

In anticipation of major construction work to be done on the First Avenue Loop for the new management office, reps for CWCapital quietly met with residents in buildings along the loop last week to discuss the planned project and their concerns.

The meeting was held on Monday, October 7 at the auditorium of the Simon Baruch Middle School and was also attended by leaders of the ST-PCV Tenants Association. TA Chair Susan Steinberg said buildings where tenants may be affected by the construction and noise were fliered, though there wasn’t any promotion beyond that. However, one resident, who lives at 274 First Avenue, where the new management office will be built in the current Oval Concierge space (274-276), said he didn’t recall seeing any notices.

Still, there didn’t appear to be shortage of interest from tenants, with at least 100 people in attendance, said Steinberg.

Leading the meeting was Andrew Cain, an asset manager for CWCapital and Claire Hackney, vice president of construction for the company, who answered the bulk of tenants’ questions.

CW’s plans have yet to be approved by the Department of Buildings and there were also no designs available for tenants to view.

“It would have been nice to see drawings, but unfortunately they didn’t have them with them,” said Steinberg.

As T&V reported in June, CWCapital has said with the new management office in the Oval Concierge space, Oval Concierge would go elsewhere on the First Avenue Loop, but it wasn’t said exactly where it would go at the meeting.

Currently, the only readily available ground commercial space is being used by the Community Center, and said, Steinberg, “I would be really shocked if they did away with the Community Center.”

What CW did say, recalled Steinberg, was that the company hopes work can be done throughout the winter “when there’s less activity and less people walking by.” How long the project will take is uncertain, but what does help is that no jackhammering is anticipated due to a lack of bedrock under the building.

“It’s mostly fill,” said Steinberg, “so there’ll be trucks removing earth and pretty much that side of the building (the First Avenue) side will be impassable,” she said. “People will have to use the loop side.”

Part of the project however includes upgrades for a nearby Playground 8, including the addition of a water feature. Steinberg added that management conceded some trees will have to come down in order to extend the back part of the building. (First Avenue is considered the back.) The extension will also include a green roof over a landscaped area.

In June, management said in a newsletter to tenants that the new management office would be designed with future disasters in mind so it could function as a command center, and that work was expected to be completed by spring of 2014. (There wasn’t a timetable given at the meeting.)

As for residents’ concerns, Steinberg recalled that there was some mention of a lack of access due to the fact that there would be a staff of 100 people doing this work and a staff-only entrance.

“So the character of the whole area is going to change,” said Steinberg. “It will be less residential in character and more commercial.”

However, some residents seemed relieved that management would once again be onsite and this time not all the way on Avenue C. “There are going to be tradeoffs,” said Steinberg. “So we’re not 100 percent overjoyed or annoyed.”

Steinberg said she didn’t believe there could be an MCI for this type of project.

Following the meeting, when asked for comment, a spokesperson for CW would only say there would be an announcement about the plans soon.

As for the old management office on Avenue C, CW has said part of the space will be converted into a facility for children. Talks are currently being held with potential vendors.

Following the space being flooded during Hurricane Sandy, Avenue C in Stuyvesant Town has since been declared a flood zone. CWCapital and management company CompassRock moved management operations to temporary spaces in the Oval for a few months and then moved offsite. Since then, as T&V has reported, residents have found that it’s gotten harder to reach management.

Residents having a tougher time reaching management

The Avenue C management office, damaged by Sandy, is still boarded up. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The Avenue C management office, damaged by Sandy, is still boarded up.
(Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Where oh where is management?

That seems to be the question posed by residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village following CWCapital’s moving of the management office off the property last spring.

Since then, the feeling from many tenants is that management has been harder to get a hold of when they have questions or complaints or require some sort of follow-up to said questions or complaints.

This week, Susan Steinberg, the chair of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, told Town & Village “absolutely, unquestionably” there’s been a rise in this sentiment and the association would know because it’s been getting near daily complaints that reaching management has become a lot more difficult. After Hurricane Sandy destroyed the management office on Avenue C close to a year ago, for several months, there were the temporary offices opened at the amenity spaces. But then, management moved offsite (word is to CW’s midtown office) and residents were given phone numbers to call instead. In June, it was announced that management would be back eventually at 274-276 First Avenue (currently the Oval Concierge space) and at this time, some redevelopment plans for the building to accommodate the offices are pending with the city.

As of this week, Steinberg said the TA has been accumulating complaints from tenants who’ve said they have problems that have been made worse due to a lack of response from management.

Below are a few examples:

1) A resident who saw an unexpected $1,000 balance on a rent bill has been trying to get an explanation from the accounting department via email and calling, but has so far not gotten a response.

2) One former resident who recently moved out of the city has been asking CWCapital to confirm with his new landlord that he was a tenant in good standing. However, his calls have not been responded to nor have his new landlord’s. “He’s concerned he’s going to be without a home in a new city,” said Steinberg.

3) A new tenant who signed a lease in mid-September has still not gotten a copy of a lease and when he went to the leasing office, was told that his agent was on leave and no one else could help him.

4) One resident had his September rent payment returned along with a checklist of reasons why the payment might not have been accepted. However, none of the reasons on the list were checked off. The tenant has called the legal department and left numerous messages that have not been returned.

That resident, Stephen Solomita, told T&V he’s in the SCRIE program, so a portion of his rent has been getting paid by that program. Meanwhile, he’s only supposed to be billed for his portion, rather than the full amount though that amount is what’s been showing up on his rent bill.

“I called seven times in five days after getting the check back and nobody ever returns a call,” Solomita said. “You know what’s going to happen,” he added. “You’re going to get an eviction notice.”

He’d been directed by management to call a rent arrears hotline, “which doesn’t appear to be very hot to me,” he noted. “But ever since they went offsite, you can’t talk to a person and they don’t really respond.”

Another resident, Paul Lee of Peter Cooper, said he’s been having difficulties communicating with management since July when the amount of his rent was lowered — or so he thought — as a result of the “Roberts” settlement. There were a number of calculations on his invoice that he’d found confusing and had attempted to reach management for an explanation but wasn’t able to, he said. He paid the lowered amount on the invoice though and soon received a letter from the legal department, excusing the one-time lateness in payment but warning him he’d be paying a late fee next time. He was eventually able to reach someone, and said he was told he shouldn’t get another legal notice, though he still didn’t get an explanation about the different rent amount. Then in September after continuing to pay the lower amount that would appear on the invoice, Lee said he was did end up getting socked with a late fee. He admitted his rent was sent in late but said it was not by a full ten days, which is when the fees apply. After playing phone tag to try and dispute it, though he noted, “I’ve been doing most of the tagging,” Lee simply paid the fee, hoping the situation would get resolved eventually.

Having been a tenant since 2009, Lee said he feels the communication system has gotten worse since then.

“I understand it’s not easy for a landlord when half of your property is flooded by the East River, but we pay for certain amenities,” he said.

Steinberg, meanwhile, called the lack of onsite access to management “a growing frustration.

“While it is not a reduction in service in the classic HCR sense, it certainly is a diminution of what should be considered appropriate and timely management response to tenant inquiries,” she said. “Tenants have as much right to expect a responsible management as management has to expect responsible tenants. In some instances, particularly where the payment of late fees or rent demands are concerned, the lack of response from management starts to look, feel and smell like harassment.”

In response to the concerns, a rep for CWCapital did not respond to a question about the issue of residents having a harder time reaching management, and said the company won’t comment on correspondence from individual residents. However, as for the return of the management office, the spokesperson, Brian Moriarty, said, “We are planning to bring the full management office back to the property and are working on those plans. As soon as they are finalized we will share them with the community.”

In June, in one of management company CompassRock’s community newsletters, it was announced that management would eventually move to the Oval Concierge space, though there would need to be construction in the basement first to create more room. Oval Concierge would be moved elsewhere on the First Avenue Loop though it wasn’t said where exactly. Public safety would be moved to 2 Stuyvesant Oval. According to the newsletter, the new management office would be designed with future disasters in mind so it could function as a command center, and work was expected to be completed by spring of 2014.

Moriarty didn’t respond to say if those plans were still on track, but did have some news about the Avenue C office.

“As for the old management office space, we will be converting part of that space into a new facility for children,” he said. “We are currently speaking to several potential vendors for the space and hope to be able to announce an agreement soon.”