Re: Editorial, “That’s some key (card),” T&V, Aug. 10
I agree with you that “more boots on the ground” are needed in Stuy Town/Cooper Village, but that should be a 24-hour a day situation. The playgrounds are not open in inclement weather, and in fair weather they are only open from 9:15 a.m. to dusk.
Let us not forget that this was the first and (perhaps) still only “private, gated community” in Manhattan. We have no lobby concierges, and the fact is that there are many “outsiders” walking into this supposedly private community from north, south, east and west of the development. Not all are here to see our beautiful gardens and fountains! Many residents bring guests in, and that is just fine, as long as they are guests and not intruders. In my opinion, those guard posts at all entrances that cost thousands of dollars to build and stand empty year after year, should be manned, especially between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Last week, Stuyvesant Town management opened a brand new fitness playground, the first of the complex’s playgrounds to be completely renovated and outfitted with a key-card entry system.
At the ribbon cutting, General Manager Rick Hayduk announced the other playgrounds would eventually follow, not only in being renovated but in becoming key-card access only. This is now Blackstone’s property and the owner can of course do what it wants to the playgrounds. However, before this plan is put into action, we hope management reconsiders completely shutting the playgrounds’ gates to outsiders.
Granted, for years, signs on each playground clearly state that Stuy Town/Peter Cooper is private property and the premises are intended for residents’ use. However, we see nothing wrong with the current system, where non-residents are still welcome to visit a playground so long as a) they’re not being rowdy, b) they haven’t confused some part of the property for a dog run and c) they’re not crowding out actual residents. A few years ago, management began having monitors check IDs at the busier playgrounds to prevent this from happening, and it seems to have worked. We realize a key-card access system is cheaper in the long run than having someone staff the playground so maybe having such a system at just the busiest playgrounds could be a good compromise. The rationale behind this key-card entry plan is to make residents feel safe. Another way to do this would be to have more boots on the ground, worn by public safety officers. The sight of more security people still seems, to us, less intimidating than gating off the community, bit by bit.
We are not knocking gates, by the way. They work well at some places, like Gramercy Park, where the space’s exclusivity is its main selling point. But ST/PCV isn’t Gramercy Park, and we’re pretty sure its accessibility — without the pressure of a guided visit by a leasing agent — has helped rent more than a few homes.
I honestly do not mind people in Stuyvesant Town owning dogs. For the most part, so far, our walks and playgrounds are still fairly clean. I don’t even mind neighbors’ dogs barking every time I enter and leave my apartment. I acknowledge this is a shared building, and not a private home.
What I do mind is this preposterous idea of a Saturday morning dog “get together” in playground 6. I could not believe my ears June third when sitting in my living room reading the New York Times, there were at least twenty dogs all barking at each other. This continued from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. It was excessively noisy and extremely annoying that on Saturday, when most people and I have off from work, we were accosted by incessant dog barking for three hours.
I would like to know who thought up this crazy, offensive (to non-dog owners) idea. The owners thought this was great fun– 20 barking dogs for three hours. Do they not hear how loud this is? Obviously they put dog rights above human quality of life.
I hope there is not a next time for all of us whose apartments face Playground 6.
Until this practice is stopped, I have prepared myself with Advil and earplugs. I was thinking about standing outside a dog owner’s apartment and barking for three hours straight when he was trying to relax and his dog was no longer barking, but my husband reminded me that Bellevue was right up the block.
In light of all the discussion and now, published renderings of a fitness type playground on the drawing board for Stuy Town Playground #7, I felt it was time to make my contribution to the Soapbox “forum” regarding my thoughts, and more importantly memories of this iconic “hockey playground.”
While the makeup and demographics of the complex has changed over the years, and perhaps roller hockey is now not played every day in this playground, it would be a real shame if it went the way of other great memories and facilities in PCV/ST.
You see, growing up in Stuy Town, you were almost always identified or associated with what playground you hung out at or came from. Playground 7 was different, though. When it came to hockey, all roads led to Playground 7. Whether it would be rushing home from school every weekday from late September to mid-April to “lace ‘em up,” or participating in the Recreation Department sanctioned leagues, this was our life blood and formed lasting lifetime friendships!
Asser Levy Playground (pictured) and Murphy’s Brother’s Playground will be impacted by the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project. (Photo courtesy of Parks Department)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The city has been exploring options to redesign Asser Levy Playground and Murphy’s Brother’s Playground, since both will be affected by the construction of flood protection along the East Side of Manhattan from East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street.
Earlier in the month, representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency discussed the proposals at a community meeting held at Washington Irving High School.
Carrie Grassi, the deputy director of planning for the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, mentioned how the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project will run adjacent to both parks and construction will disturb activities there.
However, since the city is only in the concept design stage with the project, Grassi said that decisions for all aspects aren’t necessarily final yet. One such instance is the placement of the floodwall as it approaches the Asser Levy Playground. One configuration has the wall bordering the park along the FDR Drive, turning along East 25th Street and connecting with the floodwall that the VA Hospital is working on.
“But some feel that would be too imposing,” Grassi said.
TWO MEN PUSHED ONTO SUBWAY TRACKS IN SEPARATE INCIDENTS
Two men have survived being shoved onto subway tracks in separate incidents, within one week of each other. In both cases, the victims suffered only minor injuries.
In regards to one incident, police have arrested 25-year-old New Jersey resident Aaron Clary for allegedly pushing a 54-year-old man into the tracks at the West 18th Street/Seventh Avenue subway station. Police said on Sunday around 7:30 a.m., Clary pushed the man off the uptown platform while a 2 train was pulling into the station. Miraculously, when cops arrived, they found the victim underneath the subway car with a cut to his foot and a bruise on his head. The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital and police said that he was conscious and alert. Clary was arrested when he turned himself in and was charged with assault and attempted manslaughter
A 41-year-old man also suffered minor injuries after his girlfriend allegedly pushed him onto the tracks of the L train at the Union Square station after an argument last Monday at 6 a.m. The New York Daily News reported that the man initially told police that he’d fallen onto the tracks when the train pulled in the station. The train rolled directly over him, trapping him underneath it, but he only got a cut on his toe and a minor head injury. He was treated for his injuries at Bellevue Hospital and was released. No arrests have been made.
NEW SCHOOL DORMS VANDALIZED WITH SWASTIKAS AFTER ELECTION
A group of Jewish students at the New School found swastikas drawn on their dorm doors last Saturday, the Daily News reported. New School President David Van Zandt confirmed in an official statement that four dormitory doors were defaced and the administration was taking action to ensure students’ safety. The students affected said they were shocked that the anti-Semitic symbol showed up in such a “progressive city.”
A man employed as a caretaker by an elderly resident was caught taking pictures of kids as they played in a Peter Cooper Village playground this week.
A resident shared news of the incident on the Stuyvesant Town Peter Cooper Tenants Facebook page this past Saturday, saying it happened as her daughter and her daughter’s friends were at the playground.
The man was reportedly sitting on a bench in the playground and when the kids suspected he might be filming them, one snuck behind where he was sitting on the bench and found that he was, in fact, taking photographs. They asked him if he was taping them and he said he was, and when they asked why, he reportedly said it was because he wanted to.
The girl’s father then approached the man, asking if he had a child in the park. The man said that he didn’t but was the aide of an elderly man also sitting in the playground. After the girl’s father called security, the aide said that he wasn’t filming the kids but he handed officers his phone, which had photographs of the children on it. The resident who reported the incident noted that the man was not charged with a crime because NYPD said that citations are only issued in city parks for being in a playground without a child. Since ST/PCV is private property, such matters are left up to the Public Safety department, who reportedly deleted the media on the man’s phone before returning the device to him.
Rick Hayduk (right), the new general manager of ST/PCV, speaks with tenants at a meet-and-greet event on Saturday. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
The new general manager of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper, Rick Hayduk, has promised tenants that Blackstone is focused on improving services and communication and in particular, said the hiring of four new plumbers should end the two to three week wait times tenants have been experiencing for repairs.
Hayduk made the comments on Saturday at a meet and greet event that was held at the tents at Stuyvesant Town’s Playground 11.
Around 150 people, mainly seniors and other longterm tenants, attended the event, as did a couple of elected officials, State Senator Brad Hoylman and Council Member Dan Garodnick.
Rick Hayduk speaks at Saturday’s event.
While at a podium in front of a Stuy Town logo-covered step-and-repeat, Hayduk discussed various tenant concerns, including the recent spike in plumbing repair delays. “Our standard is two to three days and that’s what you should expect,” he said.
Hayduk also said that a hotline for tenants that Blackstone had set up after the company bought the property has been transferred to his office.
“Go through normal channels, but if (a request) needs to escalate, we’re here for that,” Hayduk said. The number is (212) 655-9870.
He also encouraged tenants to slip him notes, gesturing to his pocket while saying that several neighbors had already done so.
A Stuyvesant Town senior was struck on the head by an errant hockey puck, as he sat on a bench outside a playground, he told Town & Village last week.
The resident, who didn’t want his name published, said he was on the bench on Friday, August 14, with a female friend, when the puck flew out of the playground behind 250 First Avenue. Instinctively, he jumped up when it hit, thinking he was being attacked, possibly as a part of the “knockout game,” in which thugs around the city have attacked people randomly with one blow.
“I thought maybe someone slugged me with a baseball bat or fist,” he said. “I was dazed.”
Soon, however, he realized the puck that had sailed over, hitting the side of his head, was being used by a young man (the resident said he looked around 19) for practice, as he was by himself.
President Barack Obama (right) with David Axelrod (second to left) and others in the Oval Office (Photo by Pete Souza/ White House)
By Sabina Mollot
David Axelrod, the former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, who’d also helped strategize campaigns for him and a slew of other elected officials, and who worked as an adviser to President Bill Clinton, has recently written a book about his professional experiences. The Stuyvesant Town native, whose introduction to the world of politics began with a historic visit from then-Senator John F. Kennedy to the street where he lived, has called the memoir, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics ($35, Penguin). While in the midst of a multi-state media tour, Axelrod, now the director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, discussed his book, his background and his career with Town & Village.
What was growing up in Stuyvesant Town like for you?
I grew up reading your newspaper. It was a great experience. It was a different kind of community than it is now. It was pretty modest. A lot of World War II veterans and families, and it was really an oasis in the city. We all got together in the playground. I’m still friends with a lot of people I grew up with. Some of them came to my book event in New York and some of them are coming to my event in Boston. Back then there was a real sense of community in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper. The people you grew up with you stuck with from nursery to high school and ultimately through life. I have a great association with Stuyvesant Town and growing up there.
I was just there a week ago to film a piece for CBS about my book. We walked on 20th. My first address was 622 East 20th Street. We talked about the day in 1960 when JFK came and campaigned in Stuyvesant Town. I was noticing the change in the community, all the high end kind of stores and air conditioners in every window, because we didn’t have that back then. It looked like a very upgraded version of what I remember. When we lived at 622, my parents were mostly still married, but they did split up when I was eight. Then my mom and I moved to 15 Stuyvesant Oval. My mother was a writer and worked in advertising and my father was a psychologist. I had an older sister, Joan. At 622, it was a two-bedroom, so Joan and I shared a bedroom with a wooden divider.
As you know, Stuyvesant Town apartments are small, small kitchens, small bathrooms. By today’s standards, the apartments were very modest, but it seemed comfortable to me. My parents got divorced when I was 13 and my mom and I went to live at 15 Stuyvesant Oval. My sister was gone by then. My mom moved in 1948 and moved out in 2006 to an assisted living facility in Massachusetts. She died last year. (Axelrod’s father committed suicide in 1977.)
There was a lot of activity and my group was the Playground 10 group. There were parts of Stuyvesant Town that were predominantly Jewish and parts of Stuyvesant Town that were predominantly Catholic and parts that were predominantly Protestant, and the playgrounds roughly followed those ethnic divisions. Like Playground 9 was where the Catholic kids hung out. There were very few minorities back then.
I went to PS 40 and Junior High School 104 and Stuyvesant High School when it was still on 16th Street. In my day they were excellent public schools. I still have a teacher in my head who played a formative role in my life. It was at PS 40 and her name was Lee Roth. She brought poets to our classroom, well-known poets of the day, like Ogden Nash. In the classroom, she would engage us in discussions on current events. It really enriched my life and I feel a debt of gratitude to all the people like her.
When JFK came to Stuyvesant Town in 1960, David Axelrod was in attendance. This photo, originally published in Town & Village, also appears in his book.
Author Brenden Crowe is pictured shooting the puck. The player wearing the #21 jersey is Robbie McDonald. John Mastrorocco is the goalie. The boy closest to #21 is Phillip Spallino. Player #19 is Danny O’Shea. Other kids pictured are: Neil Crawford, Ricky Kirk, Eddie Mackey and Pat Mackey.
By Brenden Crowe
The greatest place to grow up in the sixties and seventies was Stuy Town. You had hundreds of kids playing in Stuy Town’s 12 playgrounds, not realizing that these friendships they were forming were not for a few years but for life. There was an unexplainable bond that Stuy Town kids had for each other. If you grew up on the same playground the bond was even stronger. If you lived in the same building, it was like you were family.
I grew up at 245 Avenue C on our side of the floor it was the same for families for over a quarter of a century. We had great neighbors, the Flemings, the Cordovanos and Wests and we could always count on each other if we ever needed help. Other families that lived there for decades were the Ryan, Collin, Clarke, Lyden and Delaney families. People like Mike Lyden always took an interest in my life. He would ask me, “When’s opening day for Little League?” or tell my brother Tim, “I heard you had a great time at the dance Friday night.”
When I was in second grade, I used to take Jimmy Delaney (first grader) to school at Saint Emeric’s. You were just taught to look after one another. When you went south of 14th Street in those days you had to be careful because it was a tough neighborhood. Charlie White of 271 Avenue C actually got shot in the leg going to Saint Emeric’s. A couple of Stuy Town kids got robbed going to school.
My father always taught me to see trouble a block ahead so you can make a left or a right hand turn. My brothers and the older kids taught us to be tough. When you walked to Saint Emeric’s you had to pass by Strauss Auto Parts store at 14th Street and Avenue C. There was no one ever in that store but somehow they made a living because it was there for over 40 years. Another establishment you would pass was Mousey’s bar on 13th Street and Avenue C. If you look in the dictionary for the word “dive,” you would see a picture of Mousey’s. They should have had a sign in the window, “underage drinking encouraged.” After you passed Mousey’s, you went east on 13th Street toward Avenue D and you had Haven Plaza on your right and Con Ed on the left. The Con Ed men would try to make us laugh and always gave us electric tape for our hockey pads if we asked. It was always comforting knowing they were there. When you got close to Avenue D, you made a right into an alley way. Once you made it past the alley way you knew you were safe and now it was time to have fun in the playground.
There were many games we used to play but my favorites were ring-a-levio and punch ball. The Saint Emeric’s playground was probably four times bigger than the average Catholic school playground so there was plenty of space to play. Ring-a-levio was usually played with seven or eight kids on each side. One side would start behind a safety line and each kid’s goal was to touch the Church wall which was about 100 feet away. Each kid would go off on his own and try to touch the church wall with about seven or eight kids trying to grab you. And kids didn’t grab you softly. The last two kids were usually the best athletes who got to run towards the wall together. They were known as the Big Two. If you were a member of the Big Two, you were moving up in the world. If one of the Big Two touched the wall he freed all the kids. You had to get back to base without being captured. If you were captured again it was really sad.
The other game was punch ball. All you needed was a rubber ball and chalk for the bases. It was played like regular baseball. The batter would throw the ball up in the air and punch the ball as hard as he could.
Playground 5 was the place to play punch ball. It was a rectangle playground being 200 feet long and 75 feet wide. The game was seven on seven (no pitcher or right fielder). If you wanted to hit a home run you had to hit it to dead center and it had to go between the “three trees.” You would see unbelievable one handed catches because you didn’t have a glove. Kids would slide on the concrete like it was nothing. I remember my brother Brian, Sid and Mike Lyden being able to reach the “three trees.” Other players like Frannie Sheehan, Pat Cavanaugh, and Kevin Keane seemingly could punch the ball just wherever they wanted. If you found yourself playing catcher or second base in punch ball you knew you were close to not being picked next time because they were positions that didn’t get much action.
One time my brother Timmy was playing punch ball with the older guys. It was the bottom of the last inning and a boy on third with two outs. Ronnie Driscoll, an older boy, came up to Timmy and said, “Timmy, I really want to win this game.” Timmy got a hit to win the game and Ronnie picked up Timmy on his shoulders. Years later Ronnie told Timmy he had a bet on the game.
One time Mike Cavanaugh hit a home run hitting a ball on top of Saint Emeric’s roof. When I think of Mike Cavanaugh I don’t think of him as a successful engineer but the boy who was the only one to hit a home run on the roof of Saint Emeric’s. When I think of Billy “Nat” Foley, I don’t think of him as a successful Wall Street executive, but the boy who made some amazing shots at Playground 9. When I think of Jim Nestor “Wolfe,” I don’t think of him as a successful writer but the clutchiest pitcher in the Knights of Columbus softball league. When I think of Eddie Mackey, a successful CPA, I think of Eddie Mackey, a successful CPA. The Mackey family has been a great family in Stuy Town for over 60 years.
At Saint Emeric’s, there were hardly any problems between the Irish and Italian kids from Stuy Town and the Puerto Rican kids from below 14th Street, some of whom lived in the projects across the street. The parents also got along famously and it definitely showed at Midnight Mass on Christmas when half the mass was in English and the other half in Spanish. There was great camaraderie. The only time there was tension was when one of the teachers in my brother Timmy’s class decided it was a good idea to put a production of “West Side Story” on with the white kids as the Jets and the Puerto Ricans as the Sharks.
When I was in third grade, I got invited to a party for Carlos Lopez in Jacob Riis housing project. I always heard how dangerous it was. If I had to go there by myself I probably would have been scared, but my mother took me to the party. It seemed to be an unwritten rule that if you were with your mother no one could bother you so I felt safe. Everyone had a great time at the party.
Stuy Town kids were good kids but no one I knew was an angel. Our third grade class got invited to the Bozo the Clown T.V. show. It was exciting and fun to be on a set. Roseann Keane was chosen to try and win prizes. She had to spin a Frisbee on a stick. I thought Roseann spun the Frisbee on a stick for a period of time. Bozo disagreed. Our mothers were best friends and I figured I would have gotten all the boy toys. When the camera started to span the students I didn’t make the best decision in my life when I gave the finger to the camera. A week later Bozo was going to be shown on T.V. My strategy was to sit in front of the T.V. and when they showed me flipping the bird to Bozo I would stand up and block my mother’s view. It worked. When I went to school the next day I was treated like a hero with lots of pats on the back. I still was worried about being called down to the principal’s office. I somehow got away with it.
Another time I was with my friend Johnny Messina. We went to Dalton’s malt shop on Avenue B. The Dalton brothers were hardworking men and also owned a fish store and a deli. Johnny and I walked into the malt shop and Johnny said, “Dalton, can you get me a chocolate milk shake?” Mike Dalton, who was probably in his early thirties, looked down at this 10-year-old boy and said, “That’s Mr. Dalton.” Mike Dalton went on for about three minutes why he should be called Mr. Dalton. When Mike Dalton finally finished Johnny said, “Dalton, can I get my milk shake now?”
Right below 14th Street, there was a gang called the Black Spades. They always wore their gang leather jackets. An off-shoot of this gang was called the Young Spades, who also wore gang leather jackets. They were young teenagers. One time the Young Spades were walking from Playground 4 to Playground 5 when Neil Crawford, John Mastrorocco and I threw dirt bombs at the gang. They immediately chased us.
We ran through Playground 11 and when I got to the other side of the playground, I got my pass key out and ran into 14 Stuyvesant Oval. Every Stuy Town kid had a pass key for all 89 buildings. We got away. Somehow the Young Spades found out John’s name. I saw Mrs. Mastrorocco the next day and she said, “If they know John’s name I think they should know your name too.” I remember thinking that that was the worst idea I ever heard of.
The author and friends on the playground–(Front row) Ricky McDonnell, Brian Mastrocco, Timmy Crowe, with his face covered is Brendan Crowe, (Back row) Kevin Keane, Jimmy Mastrocco, Bobby Curran, Ken Sidlowski, Ray Stout, Brian Crowe and Mike Lyden
Most Stuy Town kids stayed on their playground or the one closest to them until they were 11 or 12 and then they branched out. Whatever playground you lived on was the sport you played. Playground 7 was the mecca of Stuy Town hockey even though Playground 5 and Playground 1 also played hockey. We had a hockey league at Playground 7. Playgrounds 9 and 11 were basketball playgrounds. Our Playground was Playground 5 where we played football, hockey and punch ball.
My brother Timmy and his friends Mike Cavanaugh, Danny O’Shea, Rickey McDonnell, Marc Smalley and Robbie McDonald, just to name a few challenged the Playground 11 boys — Billy Jaris, Paul Gannon, Billy Kiernan, Jake McGarty and Jimmy Murtha to a game of football. This was definitely a Playground 5 sport. It was always exciting to play kids from another playground in any sport. I was proud of the Playground 5 boys, winning the football game 5-1, with my brother Timmy catching two touchdowns. When the Playground 11 boys challenged Playground 5 in basketball, they crushed the Playground 5 boys.
Stuy Town had the greatest athletes because we played sports all the time. There were no emails, phones, computers or Instagram. We played hard and played all day long. Kelly Grant played professional basketball in Europe. Donny Jackson was the quarterback at Columbia. Kevin McQuaid set football receiving records at Fordham. John Owens had the Catholic school track record for the 100-yard dash. Mike Lyden and Richie Maier were stars playing hockey in college. In one game Mike Lyden scored a hat trick and my brother Brian and his friends threw their hats on the ice. Roger McTiernan was the M.V.P. in the Xavier-Fordham football game; 35 years later Roger’s son also won the M.V.P.
The boys weren’t the only great athletes in Stuy Town. Nancy Murphy was three years older than me and I would watch in awe how well she competed against the boys. Nancy was the prettiest tomboy and was excellent in football, basketball and punch ball. Gina Ribaudo along with Rosemary Bennett and Dianne D’Imperio led the Epiphany eighth grade girls in basketball to the Manhattan Catholic school championship. Gina, in a foul shooting completion at the Police Academy, was 15 for 15.
We all played hard and had fun doing it. Barry McTiernan once told my wife Margaret, “Stuy Town guys don’t like to lose.”
If we weren’t playing sports we were finding fun things to do. I remember my brother John and his friends jumping off the garage ventilators which were about 15 feet high and jumping into the snow drifts. I remember scores of kids sleigh riding on Playground 5 hill and sleighing underneath a two-foot chain. God must have been watching after us because no one broke his neck. Once in a while my father or another parent would take us up to Pilgrim’s Hill in Central Park and go sleigh riding on some big hills. We played a game called “Animal,” where one kid had the football and all the other kids tried to tackle him. We had snowball fights, went skitching, played scullies and played tackle football in the snow in the playground. We had great games of manhunt. One kid at Playground 7 took the long fire hose out of the staircase and turned the water on in the winter full blast. Instead of playing roller hockey the next day, kids brought out their ice skates.
Kids from Immaculate Conception and Epiphany would have water balloon fights. Once, kids from Immaculate chased Padraic Carlin, Brian Loesch and me with eggs, shaving cream and water balloons. Unfortunately Brian didn’t make it. Mrs. Loesch had to do an extra load of wash that night.
One time I was going home and I heard two people screaming my name from the roof. It was Jimmy Murtha and Jeanie Collin who locked themselves on the roof. I went up to unlock the door. The roof was one place that Stuy Town kids found love.
I’m proud telling people I grew up in Stuy Town. We had so many characters but even better guys and girls. We were raised by parents from the greatest generation who all seemed to think alike. Kids moving away from Stuy Town was extremely rare. There was such stability. There was no keeping up with the Joneses because we all lived in the same complex. I wouldn’t trade my growing up in Stuy Town for anything in the world.
The kids of Stuy Town are now in their 50s and 60s but many are still called by their nicknames. People still call my brother Brian Birdie. People still ask D.A. Hopper what D.A. stands for. Donald Hopper would tell them it means, “Don’t ask.” The kids of the 60s and 70s do get together periodically. Bubba Kiely has had his turkey trot party for over 40 years. Stuy Town guys go to the racetrack at Monmouth once a year and always have a great time. My brother Timmy, among others, have golf outings to keep in touch.
Unfortunately we also see each other at wakes and funerals. One of Stuy Town’s best passed away last month. His name is Jimmy Capuano. He was a great athlete, played guitar, was tough and loved to laugh. He was a great father and husband. You know how much he was loved because you were waiting on line at Andrett’s Funeral Home for over an hour. I would make a winning bet that Jimmy is playing guitar right now for the choirs of angels.
God bless Jimmy, his family, and the people who grew up in the playgrounds of Stuy Town in the 60s and 70s.
Lawn in Peter Cooper Village (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
The east side of Peter Cooper Village where there’s currently a spacious lawn could become another playground.
A resident of 8 Peter Cooper Village told Town & Village that last week he saw a man walking around on the lawn between his building and 541 East 20th Street, measuring things like the circumferences of trees and the length of shadows the trees cast. When the resident, who didn’t want his name published, asked the man what he was doing, the reply was that he was an architect hired by CWCapital and that the owner was thinking of turning the lawn into a playground.
According to the resident, who’s since started circulating a petition against changing the lawn to a playground, the green space is already utilized as active play space by kids to play ball. Additionally, he said, the other playgrounds aren’t over-crowded.
“Even people in our building with children are against it,” he fumed. He added, “If I hadn’t asked the guy what he was doing, all of a sudden there would have been bulldozers tearing it up.”
After the conversation with the architect, the resident spoke with fellow PCV resident Council Member Dan Garodnick, who in turn, spoke with management to say he too was opposed to repurposing the green space.
“This is a bad idea and I hope they shelve it,” Garodnick told T&V. “The playgrounds in our community are great. If anything, they should do a better job making sure that people are respecting the rules. As to the green spaces, community members don’t know if they’re for dogs or for people or neither or for both.”
In related news, a winter roof is currently in the works for Stuyvesant Town’s Playground 11.
A spokesperson for CWCapital declined to comment at this time on the green space and Playground 11.
The following story was submitted by former Stuyvesant Town resident Brenden Crowe. The greatest place to grow up in the 60s and 70s was Stuy Town and the greatest playground there ever was, was playground 5.
UP ABOVE IT ALL–A view of Stuy Town’s Playground 5
To those who don’t know Stuy Town, it has 12 playgrounds. Each playground is different. Some playgrounds had swings and slides, some had basketball courts, and some had paddle tennis courts. Playground 5 was a rectangle playground about 75 yards long and 35 yards wide. It was a perfect playground to play football, hockey and punch ball. Those were the sports Playground 5 guys were good at. Playground 9 and Playground 11 had basketball courts and they were good in basketball. The playground you lived on decided what sports you would play. There was great pride in the playground you lived at.
We have made significant progress today in our efforts to restore services. We remain on schedule in the restoration efforts posted yesterday, and in many cases have seen progress ahead of schedule.
ConEd is on-site and continues to work on repairs. ConEd continues to have issues with power distribution which has effected elevators in some buildings that otherwise have power. We apologize for previous updates that indicated these elevators were operable. Restoring services and correcting additional issues which arise as power is restored remains our top priority. We will continue to provide you with updates as quickly as they become available.
Heat & Hot Water Service: Additional buildings in Peter Cooper Village regained hot water service today, but not heat service. We anticipate full restoration of both heat and hot water service for the entire property within the next six days, as announced yesterday. Please refer to the attached matrix to see the status of your building.
Electricity Service: Additional buildings regained power yesterday and today, though several of those buildings had issues, particularly with elevator outages and certain apartment lines remaining without electricity. This is due to issues ConEd is having with their power distribution system. Full electrical service from ConEd has not yet been restored in these buildings. ConEd is on site working to repair their equipment so that these services may be restored. Otis, our elevator service company, is also on site to ensure elevators are operable as soon as possible following the completion of ConEd repairs.
Those buildings without power continue to have critical electrical equipment repaired in order to ensure resident safety when power is restored. This work is partially dependent on ConEd which has made the completion schedule difficult to estimate, though the timetable for power restoration to the balance of the community remains Tuesday evening at the latest. Depending on the location, certain buildings currently without power may have electricity sooner.
Elevator Service: Several buildings that have had power restored continue to have issues with elevator service. Please refer to the matrix below to understand the status of your elevator service. These service disruptions are due to continued ConEd repairs. ConEd currently has significant resources onsite working with management engineers and Otis, our elevator service company, to restore elevator services as soon as possible. If you your building is currently without power, elevator service will likely be delayed by 12 hours following the restoration of electricity. The exceptions to this statement are the three buildings which had elevators damaged by flood waters: 7 Peter Cooper Road, 8 Peter Cooper Road and 440 East 23rd Street (please refer to the matrix for details).
Gas Service: We have no further updates regarding gas service at this time, though we continue to assess the damage and evaluate remediation options. We will report back as soon as the updates become available.
Water Service: Basic water service is restored in Stuyvesant Town. In Peter Cooper Village, nine of the twelve pumps that distribute water to PCV buildings will undergo repair, currently allowing for basic service, though pressure drops may continue to occur during peak usage periods.
Heating Centers: On Monday, November, 5, the ice rink tent will be available as a heating and charging station between 8am and 8pm; the Community Center is available as a heating center for elderly residents from 6am until midnight. Please let your elderly neighbors know.
Resident Check-Ins: Today, November 4th, we knocked on the doors of all residents in buildings without power; and the doors of all elderly residents without elevator service. Elderly residents who requested food received food deliveries.
Playgrounds: All playgrounds have now reopened. Due to daylight savings, the operating hours will be from 9am to 5pm.
Security: We continue to have additional Public Safety staff on-site, and particularly in the buildings without power. In case of emergency only, please call (347) 680-2212. For all other inquiries, please continue to go to Resident Services at Oval Café or call (888) 885-8490.
Laundry Service: Laundry Service is available in all buildings where electricity service has been fully restored, though certain buildings continue to have only cold water. We will continue to provide updates regarding restoration of laundry services in buildings which sustained damage to laundry machines. Oval Concierge will be open to all residents for laundry services from Monday through Saturday, from 8am to 8pm, and is located at the First Avenue Loop Road between buildings 276 and 274. Please note that they only accept credit card payment.
Garages: Quik Park expects all garages to be open for damage assessment by Wednesday morning November 7th. Customers who have not had access to their garages should assume their vehicles suffered significant damage and act accordingly with their insurance companies. Beginning the morning of Wednesday, November 7th, insurance adjusters will be allowed into the garages to inspect vehicle damage.
Amenity Spaces: All amenity spaces have been closed indefinitely. This includes Oval Fitness, Oval Kids and Oval Study. Membership billing has been suspended indefinitely. Oval Concierge remains open at standard operating hours.
On Wednesday, Stuyvesant Town’s management told Town & Village that the company ZogSports, which had been holding events in playgrounds that at least in one instance shut out residents, would no longer be doing so.
The company was cut loose from the property following a flurry of complaints from residents about one woman being shut out of Playground 3, while she was with her children.
The woman, Stephanie Smith, had posted about the situation on the STPCV Tenants Association’s Facebook Page on Tuesday.
“I went with my children to play ping pong this evening,” Smith wrote. “We were told the playground is closed because an organization called ZogSports was using it. Not a single ping pong table was being used; it was only basketball and volleyball. When I protested that we were residents and should be allowed to use the open tables, the rec employee told me that the Zog people ‘pay a lot to use this space’. He also told me to talk to his boss if I have a problem with it. I did bring my kids into the playground and we did play some games, but it felt uncomfortable. I left an irate message at the rec office with my name and number but I was wondering if there was anything else I can do. Is it really ok for a private, paying organization to take over our public playground? Thanks for any suggestions.”
In response to the complaints, Joe DePlasco, a spokesperson for CWCapital, said the company hadn’t been renting out the space but was permitted to hold events in a few different playgrounds for a few nights a week in exchange for sports equipment that would be donated to the property. Residents could participate in the programs by signing up through Zog, he added.
However, by late Wednesday, that arrangement, which predates CW’s control of ST/PCV, was no more.
“They reviewed park usage based on complaints and given concerns they will discontinue Zog usage of their facilities,” said DePlasco.
Meanwhile, the shut-out had triggered enough attention that even Council Member Dan Garodnick made an inquiry into the issue.
On Thursday, he told T&V, “We appreciate CWCapital’s attention to this issue. Playgrounds must be available for residents and their guests.”
Along with Stuyvesant Town, ZogSports, which calls itself a charity-focused league on its online bio, holds events at a number of locations around the city. Washington Irving High School, the playground used by Simon Baruch Middle School and the playground used by P.S. 19. are just a few.