Remembering a talented neighbor
To all our friends and neighbors, it saddens me to tell you that last month we lost Phoebe Hoss, a longtime resident of Stuyvesant Town. Phoebe died on December 13, 2017 at the age of 91. A memorial for her was held earlier this month at All Souls Unitarian church where she was a longtime member.
We lived in the same building and shared a love of poetry that resulted in the publication in 2006 of River Voices, original poems by Stuyvesant and Peter Cooper poets that included Rose Bernal, Esse Casnoff, Esther B. Cohen, Marilyn Driscoll, Mary Fordham, Joy Garland, Barbara Gurman, Phoebe Hoss, Anne Lazarus, Pamela Machado, David Mayer, Eve Nethercott, Judy Schermer, Alison Carb Sussman, and Peggy Unsworth. It was Phoebe who gave countless hours to helping the poets by proofreading our work and giving suggestions.
Dickensian Carolers stroll through Stuy Town. (Photo by David DuPuy)
On Friday evening, residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village gathered for the annual Christmas tree lighting on the Oval. Highlights from the event included Dickensian Carolers singing as well as General Manager Rick Hayduk reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Prior to the lighting, cookies and hot beverages were served.
In addition, Santa Claus will soon make his annual appearance on Monday, December 11 and Wednesday, December 13 from 5-7 p.m. for residents who wish to take pics with St. Nick. The venue is the ice rink (no rink admission required for photos).
The Hanukkah menorah lighting will take place on Tuesday, December 12. Rav Shoshana Mitrani Knapp will lead the blessings at 6 p.m. The menorah lighting will be followed by dancing, music, donuts and hot beverages until 7:30 p.m.
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Residents place flags on the Oval lawn. (Photos by Kristy Ye-Ling)
By Kristy Ye-Ling
Despite frigid temperatures, around 150 Stuyvesant Town residents gathered on the Oval on Saturday morning for a Veterans Day ceremony held by management. General Manager Rick Hayduk welcomed everyone in brief opening remarks and introduced a few veterans. Then, residents had the opportunity to place American flags on the Oval lawn. A total of 7,008 flags were planted to express gratitude towards the servicemen and women who lost their lives since September 11th, 2001. Additionally, yellow paper was tied in bands around the trees in the area where residents (eventually hundreds) wrote thank you messages to veterans.
One of the veterans in attendance was former Navy personnelman Daniel Murphy, who shared, “I was in the Mediterranean three times, the Caribbean four times.” His most memorable experience was having President Kennedy on his ship during the Cuban crisis where he led a flotilla of 86 ships as a flagship.
Management has tried to deal with the issue through signage, but the squirrels have continued their M.O. of approaching people anyway, and looking at you like this. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Just when you thought it was safe to unwrap your Snickers bar in Stuyvesant Town, reports have surfaced of another child getting attacked by a squirrel. Last Thursday, in its weekly newsletter to residents, StuyTown Property Services stated that a child was scratched when a squirrel leapt out of a garbage can.
Because of this, management is asking residents not to feed the local wildlife anywhere on the property. SPS also not so subtly alluded to the fact that residents have been ignoring its rule about not feeding squirrels within 50 feet of the playgrounds specifically for children’s use.
Now, along with the signs, if a resident is spotted by a public safety officer feeding the critters near any of those five children’s playgrounds, he or she will be told to stop, a spokesperson for management told us. The rep added that the scratch received by the child wasn’t serious.
Peter Cooper Village
By Sabina Mollot
This week, the city issued stop work orders on four apartments in Peter Cooper Village that had been undergoing renovations, due to a lack of permits. The four units were among the 115 apartments in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village that are being reconfigured to add an additional bedroom in each, and management is currently in the process of applying for the permits for the work.
The Department of Buildings issued the stop work orders after inspecting the apartments on Friday morning, the ST-PCV Tenants Association said. In five apartments, they found three violations in each, all related to work without a permit. Stop work orders were issued on only four, though, since management was able to immediately get a permit for one of the units.
Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg said it was the TA who tipped off the city to the problem as well as alerting management, who had been unaware of the lack of permits. The TA was initially only looking into the situation after hearing from several tenants in neighboring apartments to the ones being renovated, who were complaining about noise, vibrations and even walls cracking. While management has been responsive to requests for repairs that Steinberg’s aware of, a few eagle-eyed residents also noticed that permits weren’t posted in buildings.
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.
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.
Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
With the future of Stuyvesant Town’s Associated Supermarket once again up in the air, following Morton Williams’ decision not to sign a lease for the space, the ST-PCV Tenants Association has asked Blackstone to let the Associated stay.
The request was made over the Tenants Association’s concern that with a Trader Joe’s store as well as a Target eventually moving across the street from Stuyvesant Town, Blackstone would no longer feel obligated to keep an affordable supermarket in the complex, as the owner had committed to previously. But, the TA is arguing, Trader Joe’s, with its unusual and somewhat curated range of products, doesn’t offer a “complete grocery experience.”
The plea was made via a letter from Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg to Stuyvesant Town’s General Manager Rick Hayduk on Monday.
Stuyvesant Town Director of Environmental Services Rei Moya, Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk, Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, David Hurd of GrowNYC and Stuy Town resident Deborah Brozina (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Stuyvesant Town management and the Department of Sanitation are trying to raise awareness about the property’s efforts to compost food waste, and hopes to use the property as an example of how larger multifamily buildings can do this successfully.
DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia visited Stuy Town last Wednesday with representatives from greenmarket organizer GrowNYC and NYC Organics, the branch of DSNY that runs the compost collection program, to check on its progress.
The program officially started in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper on December 2 and director of environmental services for STPCV Rei Moya said that it took about a month to hit its stride. Moya recommended that residents who want to start composting can collect their food waste in the freezer and empty it directly into the brown bins in building recycling areas. The program will accept food scraps, food-soiled paper and plant clippings. He added that he has started composting in his own apartment and invested in a countertop container, lined with biobags that can be purchased at places like Walgreens or local supermarkets.
“Because the moisture just seeps out and dries up, there’s no smell,” Moya said.
Bernie Rothenberg at his birthday party (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Life-long Stuyvesant Town resident Bernie Rothenberg’s advice for living to be 100 is not to stress the little things.
“Take everything one day at a time,” he said. “Laugh when you can. All you have to worry about is your health, your family, eating properly. Don’t get aggravated at the unimportant things. And keep the weight off.”
Keeping the weight off is easier for the newly-minted centenarian since he can usually be found knocking golf balls around Playground 3 whenever it’s not snowing. He’s become locally famous for his almost-daily habit, which he’s been practicing in the neighborhood since the turn of the millennium.
Aside from keeping a level head, Rothenberg also partially attributed his longevity to pure luck. A combat engineer who served in the Philippines and Okinawa during World War II, he was a lawyer when he was drafted and he joined the family stationery business when he returned to civilian life.
“They were bombing where I was and a shell landed by us and the guy right next to me was killed but I wasn’t touched,” he said. “Number 158 was the first draft number picked, and mine was the second. I could’ve ended up in the European theater and gotten killed. Sometimes you gotta be lucky.”
For Stuy Town General Manager Rick Hayduk, the effort is also a family affair. Daughter Jordan (left) is the divsion’s co-chair and daughter Jamison (center) will be a player. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
With baseball season about to begin, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League will be debuting a new division for players with disabilities.
The Challenger Division is open to would-be players of any age up to 18 with any type of physical or intellectual disability, and was the idea of Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk.
One of Hayduk’s three daughters, 11-year-old Jamison, has Down Syndrome, and had participated in a Challenger Ball team where the family lived prior to moving to the community, in South Florida. However, there was no local division — until now.
Jeff Ourvan, president of the PSLL, explained that the reason such divisions exist (as opposed to just letting kids with disabilities play on any other team) is for their own safety.
“Some of the kids, I understand, have some fairly restrictive physical disabilities,” explained Ourvan. “Obviously we can’t have those kids playing against 11-year-olds who throw 50 miles per hour. So it’s mostly from a safety perspective.”
Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)
UPDATE: Police have filed charges of attempted rape, assault, strangulation, sex abuse, burglary against the suspect, identified as Aaron Kish of Piscataway, New Jersey. Police didn’t have information on if the victim was injured, although she had been taken to the hospital for treatment and observation and police said there was a “physical confrontation.” Police also said Kish has been arrested before though it wasn’t clear how many times or what the charges were. In the alleged assault, he suffered some facial injuries when the victim fought back.
By Sabina Mollot
Police have arrested a 17-year-old who’s suspected of trying to sexually assault a woman inside the vestibule of her building in Stuyvesant Town.
Police said that at around 4:45 a.m. the victim, a 22-year-old woman, was walking into her building when the suspect entered the vestibule behind her. He then started talking to her before pulling off her clothes and trying to sexually assault her. At that point, a resident of the building came into the vestibule, and the attacker fled.
The Mount Sinai practice will open at 516-518 East 20th Street. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Sabina Mollot
As part of the $500 million Beth Israel rebuild effort, including the creation of a “Mount Sinai Downtown” network, the hospital system announced that it will be opening a practice in Stuyvesant Town.
The practice, to be located at 516-518 East 20th Street, will offer primary care and specialty services. Construction is expected to be completed on the space by the fall and it is expected to open in the fall. Currently the 4,000 square foot space is vacant with its windows papered up. Formerly it was home to Berkely Sutton Cleaners, which moved elsewhere in Stuy Town, and a key control room for the complex.
According to a press release, this center will “help achieve Mount Sinai’s goal of transforming and embracing a new model of care that focuses on serving patients in the most appropriate setting.”
Mount Sinai’s planned downsizing of Beth Israel involves transitioning to a mostly outpatient model.
The practice will also offer pediatric services, and as for the specialty care services, they are to be determined “in consultation with Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, surrounding communities and interest groups,” the hospital said, and “will also be offered on a rotating basis.”
Parking garage in Stuy Town
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Quik Park, which operates the parking garages in STPCV, recently announced that customers would face a fee unless they enrolled in the online payment plan that automatically charges the monthly bill to a credit card or bank account, but according to Councilmember Dan Garodnick, his office has learned that this new policy will not be implemented.
Garodnick had sent a letter to StuyTown general manager Rick Hayduk and Quik Park CEO Rafael Llopiz last Wednesday regarding the new proposed policy, arguing that online payment would adversely affect the high senior population in STPCV. Garodnick also noted that concerns about the proposed policy were especially high given that Quik Park had also increased its rates earlier this year.
Llopiz did not respond to a request for comment on the policy.
By Sabina Mollot
In October, Governor Cuomo signed a law that will impose steep fines on Airbnb hosts who break local housing regulations. The short-term rental listings giant sued over the law though the company recently settled with the city of New York once it was made clear that hosts and not Airbnb were the target.
Short-term rentals in apartments were already illegal in many cases in New York City if the stay is under 30 days and the apartment’s tenant of record isn’t also staying there. Additionally, the practice also violates lease terms at some properties, including Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, though this hasn’t stopped tenants from listing their homes on Airbnb and other sites.
In recent years, this has been a worry for tenants who are concerned about problems like the spread of bedbugs as well as safety in an environment where they don’t know who’s staying next door. Four years ago when there was an uptick of bedbug sightings in the complex, then Tenants Association President John Marsh suspected that might be the reason. At one point, representatives from the ST-PCV Tenants Association and management met with representatives from Airbnb. The meeting resulted in the company agreeing to issue a pop-up notice on its website stating that rentals are illegal if the site’s user tries to advertise a Stuy Town or Peter Cooper address.
Yet, the practice has persisted.