Letters to the editor, May 31

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Creeped out by all the critters

I am one of the very privileged to own the title, “Stuy Town lifer.” And what a true blessing it is to live in this great place. I love it! And how wonderful and surprising, in this day and age, to see it getting better and better in so many ways. The ever-increasing beautification is most impressive to me and wholeheartedly welcome Stuy Town’s new self-proclaimed designation — “the oasis.”

I truly feel that breath of fresh air every time I turn the corner at 14th Street and Avenue A.

My favorite spot for reading or meditating is on the benches outside my building alongside Playground 12. The tree-shaded view of the Oval and the kids in the playground are idyllic.

But only for a short moment until the onslaught of squirrels and pigeons. The emboldened rodents are relentless in their jumping on the bench and crawling at my feet. (Think Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”)

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ST residents concerned about trees and organized play at Playground 1

Rendering provided by StuyTown Property Services shows how the playground will look once renovated.

By Susan Steinberg
President of the ST-PCV Tenants Association

About 35 Stuyvesant Town tenants attended a town hall on Monday night focusing on the reimagined Playground 1. Hosted by Rick Hayduk, general manager of StuyTown Property Services, assisted by Wes Richards, chief landscape designer and Kevin Wyatt, master arborist, the event took place at the community center.

Hayduk reviewed the need for improvements, including unsafe asphalt requiring resurfacing, parapet walls that were collapsing and trees in various states of decay.  Construction work has already begun on rebuilding the parapets, to the chagrin of the residents living around the playground, well represented at the meeting, who are trying to cope with the drilling. The worst of the noise is expected to be over in two weeks. When completed, the playground will consist of two major areas, an AstroTurf section (about one third of the total area) and a resurfaced asphalt area (two thirds) allowing for roller hockey and T-ball. A net will separate the two areas. The decaying trees will be replaced by Princeton Elms 22 feet high. These grow 4-6.5 feet a year and produce food for squirrels. The design showed 28 benches. The playground is envisioned as serving children ages 12 and under.

Several residents challenged the project. They said playground as it existed was one playground where there was no “theme,” no organized play, no schedules and where residents could site and enjoy quiet time. One resident said she had specifically moved to a building overlooking that playground because it was quiet.

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Residents grieve for downed trees

Tree stumps line the south end of the playground on Friday. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

SPS says removals were for resident safety

By Sabina Mollot

Though it did come with warning, a number of Stuyvesant Town residents were nonetheless unprepared for the moment when trees that were nearly as old and as tall as nearby buildings began getting sawed down and carted away.

The old oaks’ removal was explained by management in an email on Friday (and in a prior email blast) as being necessary due to disease and decay. Additionally, StuyTown Property Services CEO Rick Hayduk added in the Friday email to tenants, they’d be replaced in June by Princeton elms and the remains of the oaks would be mulched. Still, for some residents whose windows overlook Playground 1, the removal of the 18 mature trees around it hit home as hard as the loss of an old friend.

“As I speak I hear a chainsaw cutting down a 70-year-old tree,” Stuart Strong, a resident of 330 First Avenue told Town & Village on Friday. Strong, who was horrified, added, “They’re sturdy as anything. We’re looking at stumps that used to be oak trees. I don’t see any decay. They provide environment and enjoyment.”

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Dog Days are here again

Diane Patrone, Cha Cha, Fanny, and Jordan Gunter

By Maya Rader

The dog days are officially upon us. On Saturday morning, Stuyvesant Town held its first Dog Days event of the season. Residents brought their pups to Playground 1 to play and socialize with other dogs while stands were set up manned by local pet-related businesses. The event was also attended by an adorable pot-bellied pig that arrived in a stroller. The pig is currently being housed at Whole Health Veterinary Hospital on First Avenue.

The event also included an obstacle course with toys laid out across the playground, including seesaws, tunnels and bars for Fido to practice jumping over.

Photos by Maya Rader

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No current plans for ST dog run

Dog owners at the first Dog Days event on April 16 (Pictured) Janet Spampanato with her dog Joey and Nicole and Dave Burner with Lulu (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Dog owners at the first Dog Days event on April 16 (Pictured) Janet Spampanato with her dog Joey and Nicole and Dave Burner with Lulu (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

While the “Dog Days” event series that’s also a trial dog run is being hailed as a success by management, there are currently no plans for anything permanent.

So far the event has been held three times at Stuyvesant Town’s Playground 1, and currently, it’s scheduled to run again on May 7.

ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk said that the response from dog owners has been overwhelmingly positive, which would mirror the sentiments of almost all the dog owners who’d previously spoken with T&V about the concept.

“We are pleased with the success of the dog days event, which provided an opportunity for neighbors to meet and enabled management to register over 50 dogs,” Hayduk said this week.

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