Letters to the editor, Jan. 24

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

This price hike won’t wash

On January 16, 2019, a “Dear Valued Resident of PCVST” note was taped to the laundry room in my building explaining that CSC Service Works was raising the price to use their washers and dryers.

CSC Service Works did not say we were valued customer of theirs. Supporting that blunder, however, CSC’s letter was dated November 15. Despite the price increase scheduled to be “finalized” on or about January 17, I got hit with the hike.

Every expense CSC offers as rationale to increase the price to use their machines pales in comparison to how much they make because one can’t round off the amount on their cards to fit the price of a wash and dry. The average balance that people carry around may be three dollars.

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Parents sent letters after too-young kids visit new playground

The fitness playground opened on August 1. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Since the opening of the new fitness playground in Stuyvesant Town on August 1, management has been taking the space’s age restrictions seriously, by putting some parents on notice.

Over the weekend, we heard from David Dartley, a resident who was irked to receive a letter from management he described as “creepy,” that asked him to keep his too-young kid out of the playground.

The letter, signed from Public Safety Chief William McClellan, read, in part, “As we’re of the belief that your child was observed on the Fitness Playground this past weekend, we respectfully ask that you adhere to the policies for the good of all residents who wish to work out without interference from unsupervised children.”

Dartley admitted to us that his kids were on the playground, explaining that he saw other young children there too, and figured the worst thing that could happen is for them to get kicked out. The playground is restricted to users who are 15 and up as well as 12-14 with parental supervision.

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Pigeon-napper strikes again, says PCV woman

Pigeons like these have been getting sold for target practice. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Pigeons like these have been getting sold for target practice. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last month, Town & Village reported that a ring of bird-nappers have been seen trapping and then selling local pigeons to customers out of state who then use them for target practice. While they have yet to be arrested, one bird-napper was caught last year on Stuyvesant Town’s surveillance cameras as he worked to catch birds on East 14th Street and First Avenue.

And now, he’s back, according to a woman who said she watched in horror as a man caught pigeons in a net in Peter Cooper Village on Saturday.

The witness, a resident of Peter Cooper who asked that her name not be published, said it happened in broad daylight at around 12:10 p.m. on First Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets.

She said she watched as he put out some seed, and following a few birds’ immediate interest, quickly scooped them up. He didn’t get more than those few, however, since the woman said she screamed at him to stop.

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Editorial: Squirrels: To feed or not to feed?

We definitely don’t recommend doing this. (Illustration by Sabina Mollot)

We definitely don’t recommend doing this. (Illustration by Sabina Mollot)

In mid-July, Town & Village published a story detailing recent complaints made by three parents on a neighborhood Facebook group, claiming that their children had been bitten by squirrels in Stuyvesant Town. While the squirrels in the complex are known for being overly-friendly, this was the first time we’d heard of a child getting bitten by one, let alone three. So we asked around for more opinions, which, as usual, were mixed, though most people we interviewed seemed to agree the resident squirrels were aggressive in their begging habits.

Well, as anyone who reads this paper knows, that coverage didn’t go over too well with the community’s squirrel lovers, who interpreted the parents’ concern as hatred toward the fluffy tailed critters in letters we published. In addition, this newspaper was blasted as being irresponsible. “Malicious,” “slander” and “perverse” were some of the words used to describe the article, written by Town & Village editor Sabina Mollot. Our publisher, Chris Hagedorn, even got a call from a woman who threatened to boycott every business that advertises within our pages for our treatment of the local Eastern Grey population.

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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 8

Jan8 Toon Panda

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Mayor ‘focused’ on affordability how?

Re: “TA not scared off by $4.7B debt figure,” T&V, Jan. 8

To the Editor:

Here we go again! T&V states, “The mayor has so far not taken a position on the TA’s goal of a non-eviction condo conversion, though he’s focused on preserving affordability at the approximately 6,000 apartments in ST/PCV that are still in fact affordable.”

How can Town & Village or any other newspaper or media state this as fact when the evidence is to the contrary? What proof is T&V using to make this statement? Using basic 1+1=2 math any child should be able to understand that raising the rent every year is going to make once-affordable apartments UNaffordable. And this, unfortunately, is the truth. Like his Republican predecessors, our mayor has appointed all nine members of the current landlord-friendly Rent Guidelines Board which has just given tenants another annual rent increase by a vote of 5-4. And unless the mayor changes the composition of his personally-selected Rent Guidelines Board to one  favoring tenants instead of landlords, as it has for the past 24 years, we can look forward to more and more rent increases for as long as de Blasio is in office.

When I moved to Stuy Town I was using 20 percent of my salary to pay rent. Now, as a result of yearly rent increases, I’m paying 50 percent. So would someone explain to me how this supports the statement that the mayor is “focused on preserving affordability at the approximately 6,000 apartments in ST/PCV”?  I will not believe that de Blasio cares one bit about affordable housing in Stuy Town until he appoints five members to his board that will vote in favor of tenants. Anything less is just more political malarkey and newspapers should not assist in its dissemination.

John Cappelletti, ST

Editor’s note: John Cappelletti makes a fair point. The mayor’s talk about preserving affordability in Stuy Town is encouraging, but some action would be nice, too.

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Letters to the Editor, October 2

Windows present a hazard to visiting birds

Black-throated Green Warbler that collided with a window in Stuyvesant Town

Black-throated Green Warbler that collided with a window in Stuyvesant Town

Today a sizable number of migrating birds visited Stuyvesant Town. Unfortunately, I found a deceased Black-throated Green Warbler. The bird had collided with a glass window.

We are losing billions of birds to glass fatalities. Many of the birds are insectivores and also consume other invertebrates such as ticks. They serve us well by eating vast numbers of mosquitoes and other insects we try to control with toxic pesticides.

Their numbers are declining because of habitat loss, pollution, including pesticides, feral cats, incorrect lighting on cell-phone towers, deforestation and glass collisions.

Is this acceptable? People were looking sadly at the beautiful bird.

We can help by keeping our shades drawn whenever we can and keeping our screens on our windows. If you see a deceased bird you can take a picture and send it to: dbirds@nycaudubon.org. Please include the location.

Thank you,

Anne Lazarus, ST

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Letters to the editor, Sept. 25

Conversion would allow NYU tenants to buy

To the Editor,

A letter in your Sept. 18 edition says conversion of PCVST to condos can serve to end dormitory living here by NYU undergraduates. The opposite could happen. In a conversion, existing leaseholders have the right of first refusal to buy the apartments they are leasing.

If NYU holds leases on the apartments occupied by students, NYU would have the right to buy those apartments in a conversion.  Also, NYU would be able to buy any apartments not purchased by other leaseholders. NYU obviously needs student housing in this area. A conversion could result in an increase in the number of apartments occupied by undergraduate students.

There are efforts to keep, or make, PCVST affordable housing. That’s consistent with having undergraduate students as neighbors. Students need affordable housing. NYU undergraduates will disappear from PCVST when NYU builds more dormitories, or when rents rise to a level where the owner finds it more attractive to rent to someone other than students.

Another letter in the same issue wonders what happened to the concept of converting PCVST to condominiums. The beginning point of a conversion is either a purchase of PCVST by a new owner who will pursue conversion, or a decision by the present owner to do a conversion. If the property isn’t for sale, there can’t be a new owner.  So the basic question is: How likely is it that the existing owner will sell, or convert, the property?

PCVST was built and owned by MetLife as an income producing property, because MetLife wanted a reliable source of income. When MetLife sold the property, the largest source of financing for the buyer was first mortgage bonds purchased by large institutions. They bought those bonds, because they wanted a reliable source of income, and the bonds provided that.

When the owners of the bonds took over ownership of PCVST, they acquired a property that provides the reliable source of income they want. Ownership of PCVST meets their investment objective.

The amount of income the owners can earn from the property is limited by rent stabilization, until the low interest rate J-51 financing on the property matures in June 2020 (or earlier if the J-51 financing is prepaid).  Then apartments can move to market rents as provided by New York law. Thus, in six years the owners will be able to start increasing their rental income.

The owners are large, deep pocket, institutions.  For them, six years is a reasonable wait.

As the total rental income increases, the value of the PCVST will increase. The increase in rental income will occur gradually over a considerable number of years, and the property’s value will continue to rise during those years. At some point, the owners may want to cash out, either by sale or conversion. But right now the property is meeting the owners’ investment objectives, and future of the property is positive. It will be a lot of years before the present owners sell or convert.

Floyd Smith, PCV

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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 3

Weekly cartoon by Jim Meadows (jimtoon.com)

Weekly cartoon by Jim Meadows (jimtoon.com)

A bit of feedback

Dear T&V,

Steven Sanders’ article, “Obama’s cure for the common cold” in the opinion section of the Dec. 5, 2013 issue was exceptionally funny and insightful.

I don’t know what’s happened to movie critic Seth Shire, who I’ve always enjoyed. However, judging by four of his movie reviews, Michael Phillips is pretty good and very funny.

I am grateful that you thought my letter to you about my visit to Stuyvesant Town was worth printing in “The Soapbox” of your the Dec. 5, 2013 issue.

I love that the Third Street Music School is on 11th Street. Thank you, NYC.

To Sabina and Maria, it finally just hit me how many articles you two write every week! Where would T&V be without you? (It would be about six pages, mostly ads and columns and a couple of letters.)

Dear Mr. Kilik, your review of “Soul Doctor” was wonderful and I’m dying to see it but I’m here in Minneapolis. But you sure made it come alive in your terrific column.

Dear Mr. Hagedorn, you’ve done it again with your article in the October 3, 2013 article, “Subway grates: Urban Artifacts.” God, I love your column.

Most sincerely,

Richard Luksin
Minneapolis, MN

P.S. I’d give anything to go on one of Alfred Pommer’s (historical walking) tours.
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Op-Ed: De Blasio: City has an obligation to ST/PCV

In a press conference proudly accepting the Tenants PAC endorsement last week, I expressed my deeply-held belief that, while Peter Cooper Village-Stuyvesant Town is privately owned, the city has an obligation to keep its homes affordable for hardworking New Yorkers and their families.

PCV/ST was created through the power of the city and its use of eminent domain – therefore, it’s the responsibility of the city to ensure that these homes and other affordability housing are never beyond the reach of middle class New Yorkers.

This community and others like it are precious and rare assets in New York.

That is why I believe the next mayor should play a key role in helping to foster the next generation of affordable housing — in PCV/ST and around the city — while also tackling concerns of current residents.
Tenants at Stuy Town have lived in limbo for too long and deserve a say in the future of their community.

Residents need stability in their lives again, not endless speculation by real estate developers who are only concerned about their bottom line.  PCV/ ST needs to be preserved as a community where middle class New Yorkers can afford to live and raise their families, and as mayor I will work to make sure that this community and other affordable housing units are protected and preserved.