Letters to the Editor, Aug. 6

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Forty years at Peter Cooper Village, USA

August 1st marked four decades of my having lived at PCV. The management (MetLife) was the owner and operator in 1975. Careful screening was done as the waiting list was about 15 years. At that time, all aspects of PCV/ST were perfect.

And the resident manager Bill Potter was one of the finest and most sensitive persons I have ever known. The residents were mixed and included the famous and the middle class. Maintenance was 24/7. Perfecto except that my late wife thought that it looked like a city project.

Then about 12 years ago CEO Robert Benmosche decided to convert the developments to upscale. (From about $1,500 to over $5K.) As Manhattan has become the hot place to live in the U.S…. more $$$! The only significant advantage was an upgrade for the elevators.

Well, you know the rest… Affordable housing was on its way out in Manhattan. So, people convergent in algorithms were replacing the middle class.

Why does my title include the USA? When President Ronald Reagan was elected it was clear that this nation was concentrating on the mantra: greed is good. During the past 35 years union membership is now one third of what it was and the middle class is being squeezed as Fox and friends concentrates on what is supposedly a war on Christmas.

The Judeo-Christian ethic has been replaced by outrageous materialism. And, what has been done to PCV/ST is just a mere microcosm of the morphing of our nation to a new Gilded Age.

And Murdoch, allies and the Koch brothers now through the Citizens United SCOTUS decision have made the election of our politicians according to how much money they can raise. Is this what our founders envisioned?

The changes in PCV/ST are congruent with the changes in our nation since the end of WWII. Or was this period where the middle class shared in the wealth a mere aberration? Who know? But, we do know how flawed the human condition is and the disastrous results it can bring.

David Chowes, PCV

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Letters to the editor, May 14

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

ST native’s book an exploration of virtues

David Brooks, conservative op-ed columnist for The Times, and a regular commentator on the PBS Newshour and Meet the Press, has just published: The Road to Character (Random House, 2015). Brooks spent his formative years in Stuyvesant Town. He remembers these years with warmth and appreciation.

In his most recent book he speaks about two aspects of our lives: “resume virtues” and “eulogy virtues” which can be quite antithetical. The former deals with our accomplishments: wealth, fame and status; the latter deals with our integrity, kindness and bravery and who we are.

The dichotomous relationship of our worldly accomplishments and eulogy virtues both exist, but Mr. Brooks believes that how one is remembered is more important.

This reminds me of two persons here: Mr. Bill Potter, the resident manager of both developments who was very kind to me during my most trying time and others who remember him when he worked here always say the most laudatory things about him.

And then there was MetLife CEO Robert Benmosche who began the decline of our developments from ideal and rare apartments for the middle class to faux luxury and pseudo-upscale units. Benmosche, who recently died, must have made billions of dollars but sans many significant “eulogy values.”

Mr. Potter’s life mainly was left others with memories of his sensitivity and many kindnesses while Mr. Benmosche is now remembered as having made lots of money and lacked the higher spiritual values. And much of his wealth was made from the destruction of PCV/ST.

David Chowes, PCV

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