Tenants Association asks Blackstone to keep Associated in Stuy Town

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.

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City hopes to use ST composting program as model for other multi-family buildings

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.

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Stuyvesant Town golfer turns 100

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.”

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Peter Stuyvesant Little League to debut division for disabled kids

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.”

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Teen arrested in connection with attempted sexual assault of woman in Stuy Town

June23 sign

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.

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Mount Sinai practice will open in Stuy Town

The Mount Sinai practice will open at 516-518 East 20th Street. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

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.”

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Quik Park won’t charge planned fee for non-electronic payments

Aug16 garage

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.

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Airbnb apts. still an ongoing issue in ST

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.

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Local pols, Rick Hayduk will speak at Oct. 22 ST-PCV Tenants Association meeting

ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk

ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association will hold an open tenants meeting on Saturday, October 22, at 1 p.m. in the auditorium of IS 104, 20th Street between First and Second Avenues.Speakers will include: President of the ST-PCV Tenants Association Susan Steinberg, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Rick Hayduk, CEO/General Manager of StuyTown Property Services. The general theme will be the state of the community. Each speaker will briefly address issues as they directly relate to and affect Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, from the L train shutdown to the telephone scams targeting the community, from MCIs to rent-freeze month. An open-mic question-and-answer period will follow.

“Tenants will want to hear from our own elected representatives as to what they have been doing on our behalf,” said Steinberg. “We also plan to provide a summary of TA activities during the year. This is an important meeting, and we hope to see a packed auditorium.”

Cops hunting man who robbed 3 women on same night in Stuy Town and East Village

Update: Police have released a photo of the suspect.

oct20-robbery

Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for a man who robbed three women in one night, two in Stuyvesant Town. One of the robberies happened at 15 Stuyvesant Oval, the other on the sidewalk near 330 First Avenue, and another took place in the East Village. All the incidents happened on Monday, October 10 from 2-3 a.m.

The crimes were discussed by the commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, on Tuesday night at a meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council.

Timoney noted, however, that one of the Stuyvesant Town victims successfully fought the mugger off, knocking him down before he got away. This was near 330 First Avenue.

“She threw the guy around a little,” he said.

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Stuy Town flea market will be postponed until spring

Oct9 flea market

Stuyvesant Town flea market

The long awaited return of the Stuyvesant Town flea market will be delayed by several months, management announced on Friday, due to expectations it will rain on Saturday.

In a notice to be emailed to tenants, StuyTown Property Services CEO Rick Hayduk wrote:

“With great regret, StuyTown Property Services has made the difficult decision to postpone tomorrow’s Flea Market until the Spring. The most recent weather forecast shows a high probability of rain coupled with wind gusts up to 25mph throughout the day. Trust we share your disappointment but the safety of residents and the SPS employees is and will always be our priority.”

Residents who were signed up to have a vendor space this weekend will get the first shot at a space for the spring flea. The date for the flea market has yet to be announced.

Despite the new flea coming at a price — much tighter restrictions on what could be sold, like no clothes or bags due to fear of bedbugs — residents still quickly lined up to participate. The flea was expected to have 525 vendors setting up around the Oval.

Hayduk said, “We’re saddened with this decision but seeing that the last Flea Market was over ten years ago, we don’t think another few months will take the excitement away.”

 

800 ST/PCV residents who qualify for SCRIE/DRIE haven’t enrolled

City pushing rent freeze programs on East Side

Last Thursday, Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha and Council Member Dan Garodnick announced that citywide, eligible seniors and disabled tenants aren’t taking advantage of an available rent freeze, especially in Stuyvesant Town and along the East Side of Manhattan. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Last Thursday, Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha and Council Member Dan Garodnick announced that citywide, eligible seniors and disabled tenants aren’t taking advantage of an available rent freeze, especially in Stuyvesant Town and along the East Side of Manhattan. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last Thursday, the city rolled out what’s it’s calling East Side Rent Freeze Month, a series of events in October aimed at getting eligible New Yorkers signed up for programs that would exempt them from rent hikes, including MCIs (major capital improvements).

The reason for the push was that in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village alone, 800 eligible tenants have yet to sign up for the programs. According to Jacques Jiha, the city’s finance commissioner, the number of eligible people citywide is 80,000, and many of them are East Siders.

“The East Side of Manhattan has the highest number of eligible participants,” said Jiha, as he stood outside Stuyvesant Town’s Community Center with local elected officials and tenants for a press conference. “During the month we’ll sign up as many eligible seniors and people with disabilities as possible.”

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‘Smoking areas’ coming to ST/PCV

Urns like this one will be installed throughout the complex. (Photo by Chuck Hartsell)

Urns like this one will be installed throughout the complex. (Photo by Chuck Hartsell)

By Sabina Mollot

Where there’s smoke there’s ire — and Stuyvesant Town management has gotten that very clear message after poring over countless surveys, reports from focus groups and a steady stream of complaints from tenants from over the past few months.

Specifically, residents have told the new owner they’ve had it with neighbors who smoke outside building entrances, causing the smoke and ash to billow up into their windows. In response, StuyTown Property Services announced last week in a tenant newsletter that it would be introducing “designated smoking areas” to the property.

Additionally, there will be, over the next few weeks, a total of 70 urns for disposing of cigarette butts placed throughout Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk spoke in more detail about the plan with Town & Village this week, saying the project is part of the ongoing “Good Neighbors” campaign encouraging courteous behavior. Recent newsletters also addressed dog and noise related complaints.

As for the smoking concerns, Hayduk said management hoped the plan would work for nonsmokers and smokers alike since the urns, which will be the designated smoking areas, will be placed about 50 feet away from buildings.

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Former President Clinton visits Stuy Town

Clinton p1pic

Former President Bill Clinton, at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center with Council Member Dan Garodnick and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and residents Herman Diamond and Doris Black (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With the presidential primary a mere eight days away, Hillary Clinton’s campaign got a boost in Stuyvesant Town, when her husband, former President Bill Clinton, stopped by to schmooze and pose for pictures with voters.

The visit by the former leader of the free world on Monday was almost as guarded as he was, with the event kept quiet up until the last minute when word started to get around the neighborhood. At that point, the Community Center started to fill up much more than it usually would for afternoon bridge games, mainly with politically connected residents. However, many of the seniors who’d gone there earlier to play cards were still shocked to see a president campaigning on the property for the first time in decades. Then presidential candidate John F. Kennedy had also made a campaign stop in Stuy Town in 1960.

With secret service men in tow, who cautiously allowed tenants to tap Clinton on the shoulder or back while requesting photos with him and asking him questions, the former president eventually made his way around the entire community center.

When shaking his hand, one woman informed him, “You are gorgeous.” In response, Clinton said, “It’s been a long time since a girl said that to me.”

He also got a compliment of sorts from longtime resident Tony Koestler, who told him he looked better in real life than he did on TV. An unruffled Clinton agreed with the man. “Most people with round faces do,” he said.

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Blackstone looking at ways to reduce noise

The sports tent at Playground 11 a.ka. The Courts at Stuy Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The sports tent at Playground 11 a.ka. The Courts at Stuy Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With noise from neighbors’ parties to the sounds of equipment used for maintenance work echoing through Stuyvesant Town being a top tenant concern, Blackstone has been mulling a number of ideas for taking the volume down a notch.

In one example, to cut down on noise from the large tent at Playground 11 from basketball games and other sports played inside, Blackstone is considering replacing it with two smaller tents in different playgrounds next year. Management’s also looking into a new kind of cart for transporting garbage around the property that won’t make as much noise as the kind currently used when wheeled around.

These ideas were mentioned in a letter written by ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk to a tenant in response to a letter she sent him on Monday airing her concerns about ongoing noise. (Both letters were passed on to Town & Village by their respective authors.)

In the original letter, the resident, who later asked that her name not be published, ticked off a list of chronic disturbances, from the tent to barking dogs to the shouting of employees as they worked.

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