Letters to the editor, June 18

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

What happened to Stuy Town recreation?

As a very long-term Stuyvesant Town resident whose three children grew up here it is very sad to see what happened to the Recreation Department. At one point about 4-6 years ago the Recreation Department under Radu Ocnean (who left a number of years ago) had a staff of about 40-50 people. There used to be countless tournaments run by the Recreation Department (soccer, basketball, paddle tennis, table tennis, free throw contest, chess, bocce, etc.). Kids of all ages and adults were looking forward to them every year. None of them exist anymore.

The Recreation Department used to run a Super Bowl Trivia Contest, Oscar Trivia Contest, March Madness picks every year. Hundreds of people attended all these events and looked forward to them every year. None of them exist anymore. Kids looked forward every year to something called Point Tournament. All kids who grew up here participated in it at one point or another. It does not exist anymore. As a parent who could always see a familiar face of a Recreation Department staff in almost every playground starting games with kids, paying attention to make sure rules are followed and engaging with kids and parents alike. It does not happen anymore.

I remember talking to Radu many years ago when the budget was cut down to zero for the Recreation Department and he needed to find ways to procure equipment for the kids/adults for the many sports. He got ZogSports to come and in return for using a couple of courts for a couple of hours a few days a week he got tens of thousands of dollars of equipment in return. I remember that because after one complaint from a person they stopped that great program which ran here for years.

Radu also starting selling Christmas trees which has grown to a cash cow. (I guess they still keep that since it makes a lot of money).

To finish, it is sad because it seems that there are only about 4-5 Recreation staff if that. The Recreation Department staff was always the face of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. All residents knew them, grew up with them and parents were more comfortable with their children in the playgrounds because of them. It does not exist anymore.

Jim Altman, ST

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