Reader opinions: Crime in the city

In our last issue, Town & Village asked readers if thoughts of crime in this city affect their daily routines. We also asked, “Do you avoid certain streets or going out at certain times?”

Here are a few responses:

Martha Wolberg says, “I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 40 years. I have never felt safer. When I moved here, it was quite dangerous. Now, I can come home at 2 or 3 in the morning and there is no problem. I live on 14th Street between Second and First Avenues. All the bars in the neighborhood make it very safe – there are always people hanging out late at night.”

Kay Vota says, “It is always wise to be cautious. Once I was being followed in subway facility and I led guy straight to a cop! Once I was followed on the streets of NYC and I ducked into a building with a doorman and told him I was being followed. Once I started out of my garage back door and a giant man was on the steps and I slammed the door, called Public Safety and an officer arrived in a matter of minutes. I do not answer phone calls that I do not recognize the number. A lot of seniors live in our community and we are harassed by spoofing (an official phone number that is faked by some techie device) pretending to be the IRS with threats about being arrested if we don’t call right back. Stuy Town Public Safety when under William McClellan offered a course to tenants, teaching ways of protecting oneself when attacked. The same people taught us that taught Public Safety officers. I thought it was very valuable. Finally, if someone comes to your door claiming to be some kind of inspector, do not open your door. Tell them you will call public safety to escort them in to your home. Also, if you have home aids, be sure to have a closet key to lock valuables so there will be no temptation for anyone to steal what is too easily accessible. Better safe than sorry! And another thing, always trust but verify.”

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Editorial: Will the city guarantee our safety?

When the concrete jungle starts exploding, seemingly out of nowhere, shutting down much of a neighborhood for a week (with some buildings still off limits!) the first question is what happened and why? Then of course one has to ask when could this happen again and where? And whose fault was this?

The steam pipes underneath the streets’ surface are Con Ed’s to maintain but the company has not yet been able to explain the cause of such a major pipe malfunction although we can certainly guess. The system and this city’s infrastructure are old. This isn’t the first steam blast to rock a neighborhood and probably won’t be the last. Still, it’s a scary thought that these geysers-in-waiting can shatter right through the concrete at any time.

So it now has to be asked what can be done to prevent future catastrophes like the one in Flatiron last Thursday and whether the city and Con Ed will commit to some plan of action.

It is miraculous that no one was seriously injured as a result of this recent blast. (Just ask our company driver who nearly drove into it had it not been for a red light!) We believe Con Ed and the city are doing a thorough job in inspecting and cleaning the impacted buildings and in communicating their progress. Additionally, on Tuesday Con Ed made a statement on Twitter that once the cleanup is finished the utility would conduct a “thorough investigation” into what caused the pipe to break. That’s a good start. We will hold them to it!

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Blackstone surveys tenants on concerns

Residents tell T&V safety, maintenance should be management’s priorities

Blackstone’s Nadeem Meghji, pictured with tenants at last month’s press conference announcing the sale of Stuyvesant Town, said the owner has been asked about students more than any other subject. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Blackstone’s Nadeem Meghji, pictured with tenants at last month’s press conference announcing the sale of Stuyvesant Town, said the owner has been asked about students more than any other subject. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Following Blackstone’s commitment to make Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village more conducive to families and longterm tenants, a rep for the new owner told Town & Village that steps were being taken to address tenants’ concerns about student apartments and noisy neighbors.

Blackstone doesn’t actually know how many students are living in ST/PCV altogether, since that isn’t information the owner collects, but a spokesperson for Blackstone noted there is currently a block lease to New York University for about 100 apartments and another 100 to other institutions (not all academic).

The company rep, Christine Anderson, added that management is aware there are many students beyond those units, but is still in the information gathering phase with regards to concerns about students and other issues.

This month, Blackstone began leaving surveys at tenants’ doors as well as the community center and some have been emailed.

In the meantime, the owner has plans to crack down on illegal subletters and monitor noise complaints.

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Letters to the Editor, Oct. 1

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows


Does anyone give a flying puck about safety?

In the Aug. 27 issue of Town & Village, we reported on a Stuyvesant Town resident who’d been struck on the head by a hockey puck that sailed over the fence of a playground behind 250 First Avenue as he sat on a bench. The man, whose name was not published in the story, has since submitted the following open letter to CompassRock about the incident. The letter has been edited for length.

As you are aware, on August 14, I sustained an injury to my head while seated on a bench from a hockey puck flying out of the playground, an incident that could have been prevented had you/CompassRock management taken precautionary steps (i.e. a higher fence) to preempt such a predictable incident.

Due to the fact that hockey is frequently played in the playground in question and that the hockey puck frequently flies out of this playground into the pathway/perimeter surrounding this playground, it was clear that management should have taken steps to devise a viable plan to implement appropriate measures to contain this hockey puck projectile within the confines of the playground that caused me such a serious injury and severe stress from the blow to my head.

In short, this preventable incident has deprived me of my right to a peaceful environment in which I reside and pay my rent.

Most disturbing is that while I exercised good faith by informing you of this ongoing physical danger posed to the safety not only of myself but of other tenants as well as the public you have indifferently allowed hockey games to continue in the playground in question, thereby exposing the elderly, children and others to a potential dangerous situation, which two of the physicians examining my injury indicated could have resulted in death or a catastrophic injury, and obviously still poses this risk.

Joel Buchheim, ST

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New lighting planned for Kips Bay around homeless shelter

Council Members Dan Garodnick and Rosie Mendez outside the 30th Street men’s shelter Photo by David Kimball-Stanley)

Council Members Dan Garodnick and Rosie Mendez outside the 30th Street men’s shelter (Photo by David Kimball-Stanley)

By Sabina Mollot

City Council Members and Dan Garodnick and Rosie Mendez are hoping to shed a little light on the subject of resident safety in Kips Bay.

The plan is to have new lighting installed on the streets around the Bellevue shelter on East 30th Street and First Avenue. Additional lighting is also planned for a nearby playground, Bellevue South and possibly other playgrounds.

The project is in response to concerns by neighbors of the shelter, who, as Town & Village reported last week, feel that the city-run facility’s 850 residents have gotten out of control with aggressive panhandling, loitering, fighting, public urination and sometimes worse.

On a recent evening Garodnick and Mendez took a stroll through the neighborhood along with employees of the Department of Transportation’s lighting division to see which streets could use more visibility.

Though Garodnick said all the exact locations have not yet been determined, the block of the shelter, from 29th to 30th Streets along First Avenue, will be included as will 30th Street between First and Second Avenues. The manager of the residential building located there has said men have used that block as a toilet and the ledge of the adjoining garage wall as a bed.

“We are exploring funding those initiatives as soon as this month in the city budget which we are about to pass,” said Garodnick.

He added that he doesn’t know yet what the project will cost since it hasn’t yet been determined if the lighting will be standard DOT issue or a “less ordinary solution.”

Another safety improvement planned is to cut back any overgrown trees along 30th Street between First and Second Avenues which have been impeding light.