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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Stuy Town’s sports tent won’t return next year

Management cites environmental reasons, but will partner with PSLL on alternate practice location

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 Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Courts at Stuy Town, the name given to the tented basketball courts open during colder months at Playground 11, will not be returning this coming winter. ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk made the announcement in an emailed newsletter last Wednesday, noting that analysis showed that “the actual usage of the basketball courts did not contribute to the overall quality of life” for residents.

The newsletter noted that the decision not to bring back The Courts after just two seasons was because of environmental factors, but Hayduk clarified that this explanation had two meanings. The first related to Stuy Town’s “Good Neighbors” campaign aimed at reducing noise and other complaints related to quality of life.

“This was almost a three story tent and we got a lot of complaints about that,” Hayduk said.

STPCV Tenants Association president Susan Steinberg said that the TA also received a number of noise complaints about The Courts when they were open.

“From the perspective of tenants who were unhappy, we’re pleased for them,” Steinberg said on the decision to not reopen the tent. “We agree it’s an environmental issue in terms of noise. There were too many tenants around the tents who were suffering.”

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Letters to the Editor: Mar. 3

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Trump and Pope Francis

Donald Trump began his campaign for the presidency by descending from his escalator at Trump Tower (where else?) and began with his attack on Mexicans. Then he was critical of Sen. McCann because he only likes “winners.”

His continuing mantra was and is “to make America great again,” but lacking any substance. But, he is winning most of the base of the Republican Party – as he uses his unreality show street smarts and taps into the collective conscious, unconscious and subconscious of many of the low information segments of the electorate: often ignorant, racist and who depend on the reptilian aspects of their brains.

He has continually lied and attacked anyone who has gotten close to him. And, as in Love Story – he never had to say that he was sorry.

Last week, he attacked Pope Francis who is not only beloved by his flock, but by many non-Catholics – even many who have no faith.

Trump assures us that he is a Christian but doesn’t realize that the essence of the faith is not group membership – but rather involves emulating the teachings of Christ in behavior.

Trump and Cruz laud the religion but their behaviors are not consistent – for all they want is power. To be concise: they are part of the garden variety of populist fascists who emerge every once in a while – as they are destroy our always fragile democratic republic.

David Chowes, PCV

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Letters to the editor, July 23

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Why New York needs its own state bank

Regarding Carolyn Maloney Congress Member and Council Member Dan Garodnick’s letter on “Why NY needs the Export-Import Bank,” T&V, June 25), I would like to mention the importance of having our own Community or State Bank in New York.  This is what Mr. Les Leopold, executive director of the Labor Institute in New York, an author of “How to Make a Million Dollars an Hour: Why Hedge Funds Get Away with Siphoning Off America’s Wealth” (2013), has mentioned.

He has also written other articles like “How Billionaires Use the Government as a Tool to Destroy Companies They Have Bet Against” (April 17, 2014), “Our Most Powerful Weapon Against Wall Street? The Rise of Reverse Eminent Domain” (Dec. 15, 2013), “Is Cutthroat Capitalism Pushing a Growing Number of Baby Boomers to Suicide?” (May 10, 2013), and many other articles during the last eight years.

It is my understanding that, as of June 2015, the only state of the USA that have had its own state bank is North Dakota, since 1919.  The CEO of that bank earns $250,000 a year – probably what a Wall Street bank CEO earns in one hour; hence, the student and mortgage loans there are cheap, and its main capital is probably the taxes residents pay to their own cities and state. What is more, when a business borrows money from their state bank, they are committed to create certain number of jobs with specific salaries.

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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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Letters to the Editor, Dec. 11

Dec11 Toon de Blasio

Thanks, Con Ed, for Saturday morning ‘alarm’

The following open letter was written by Stuyvesant town resident Sherman Sussman, who had been getting routinely woken up by vehicles entering and exiting the Con Ed property during the wee hours of the morning.

Why??? You guys were doing so good. Not perfect by far but good.

So why is it that the neighborhood needs to be awakened at 6:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning?

Con Ed has decided that the big orange bucket truck with its noisy movement alarm (which is unnecesesary in a non-construction site, in fact the only noise that is being made is by the alarm) is necessary to move at this time in the morning.

A. Is it because there is an emergency? I don’t see one.
B. Is it because people like myself like to get a little more sleep on a Saturday morning?
C. Or is it because Con Ed really doesn’t care what they do at whatever time they feel like doing it?

Sherman Sussan, ST

Did you say… too much heat?

To the Editor:

I must admit to being flabbergasted by a letter in this week’s paper (“Can’t take the heat,” T&V, Dec. 4) complaining about too much heat in his/her apartment. Wish I could say the same.

In my building heat has been at a minimum. I always thought that when it is under 50 degrees outside, heat is required.

Oh well, maybe 20th Street has a different climate from 14th!

H. Zwerling,
430 E. 20th St.

Appreciative of T&V’s de-cluttering tips

Dear Town & Village,

I know I’ve written you in the past about how useful and informative and interesting AJ Miller’s column is, and I’m doing so again.

For example, her “De-cluttering problems and solutions” in your October 30 issue, as an example, was a simply written yet eloquently stated column.

Well-written and practical. She’s a gem as are many of your fine writers, reporters and columnists.

Thanks.

Richard Luksin,
Minneapolis, MN

What happened to going to the bondholders?

To the Editor:

On October 20, 2012, to great fanfare, press releases, and news conferences, local elected officials and the STPCV Tenants Association said that they were taking our case directly to the bondholders. TA leaders said the time had come to “cut out the middleman.”

If CW Capital would not give us a seat at the table, they said, then CW should step aside and we would “talk directly to the bondholders.”

Two years later, we have heard nothing. Apparently, the TA prefers to have press conferences.  Perhaps despite their promises, they did not really contact the bondholders. If they did, then we the tenants deserve to know what did the bondholders say.

The TA repeatedly says that it wants a seat at the table to allow the 11,000 tenants to take charge of their destiny and ensure middle class affordability through a non-eviction condo conversion.   But now Mayor de Blasio feels that STPCV should remain a rental complex forever, and the TA refuses to challenge him on it.

The TA apparently prefers to trumpet “affordability!” like a voice crying in the wilderness, rather than tell us what the bondholders said – and require the mayor to be responsive to 30,000 residents of our community.

Mayor de Blasio needs to stand with tenants, not with the developers of affordable housing and the landlords.

The time has come to go directly to the bondholders, as the TA promised us two years ago.

Name withheld, ST

Letters to the Editor, Nov. 20

Thankful to a neighbor in Stuyvesant Town

Giving thanks came early last week at Associated thanks to Pat, the lady behind me on line, who insisted on paying my grocery bill when the cashier informed me I had only three cents left in my food stamp account.

It was November 12, my usual day to start receiving food stamps for the month, and I had only a small change purse with me that had nowhere near enough to cover the bill.

What I didn’t know was that the federal government wasn’t working on Veterans Day so all those who usually get their allotment on the 11th had to wait til the next day and those on the 12th still another day. Don’t know how long it takes for everyone to get back on schedule.

This most generous woman lives in Stuyvesant Town but refused to give me her last name so we could eventually pay her back. She’s somewhere in the SW quadrant near Playground 7, maybe 455 or 453 East 14th St. And we can’t thank her enough!

Name withheld, ST

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Not many tenants are challenging ‘Roberts’ non-payment deductions

By Sabina Mollot

Alex Schmidt

Alex Schmidt

Although over five thousand ST/PCV residents and former residents had non-payment deductions taken out of their “Roberts” damages checks, so far, it looks like only dozens are attempting to try to get that money back.

As of Monday, July 21, only 78 people had filed to object to CWCapital’s claims that the owner was entitled to the money. This was one week from the deadline to object, July 28.

Alex Schmidt, tenants’ attorney in “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer,” said he isn’t expecting that there will be too many additional objections before time is up since people with objections don’t typically wait until the last minute. As for why more tenants aren’t challenging the deductions, Schmidt guessed this is because more than half of the deductions were for amounts lower than $100 and that in other cases, tenants may have just been aware they owed the money.

At this time, Schmidt said he doesn’t know how much money tenants are fighting to get back or what kind of payments are in dispute. Attorneys won’t be calculating the total until all the challenges are in, since CWCapital has said it won’t negotiate until then.

Susan Steinberg, chair of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, said the Association has heard from a number of tenants concerned about the accuracy of their deductions. However, the TA doesn’t know how many people went on to challenge them.

In addition to the 78 objections, Schmidt said 30 former tenants who were mistakenly paid from a pool of money intended for the distribution of damages to current tenants have also submitted claims. This is because current tenants had 30 percent of their damages taken out for legal fees and expenses. Former tenants meanwhile, got 110 percent of their damages (before MCI deductions) since there was more money left over in that pool due to fewer people filing. Schmidt said that is currently being corrected.

Former tenants hoping to fight their MCI (major capital improvement) deductions may have a tougher time, since, according to Schmidt, the owner is entitled to the money. It’s different, he said, if the former tenant thinks they might have been calculated improperly.

“Roberts” plaintiffs who want to challenge a deduction can do so by contacting the Berdon Claims Administration, either by email through the contact link on the BCA website, www.berdonclaims.com, or by calling (800) 766-3330.

Letters to the Editor, July 24

Conversion should be fully supported by mayor

Mayor de Blasio came to Stuyvesant Town last week to sell his vision of affordable housing for all – including designating ST-PCV as part of his plan for affordable housing throughout Manhattan.

Buried within your article, you reported that the mayor “was open to the idea of a conversion.”

Apparently, the Tenants Association did not press the mayor on the TA’s clearly stated goal, made on behalf of thousands of ST/PCV tenants: a tenant-led, non-eviction condo conversion of the property.

Recall that in October, 2012, to great fanfare, the Tenants Association said that it was taking our case directly to the bondholders. The TA leaders said the time had come for CW Capital to step aside, and if CW would not meet us at the table, we would “cut out the middleman.”

In fact, however, the TA failed to contact the bondholders, and took no further steps on behalf of the 11,000 tenants who wanted to take charge of their destiny and have a seat at the table.

A condo conversion keeps things affordable because long-term tenants can remain in their apartments, without the fear of ever-increasing MCIs that are designed to squeeze tenants until they leave.

A condo conversion allows the new stabilizers to become new homeowners.

Mayor de Blasio needs to stand up in solidarity with tenants and the TA that has worked so hard for a condo conversion. First, he sandbagged our councilmember, lobbying for Dan Garodnick’s opponent in the speaker race.Now he is sandbagging the Tenants Association.

Whose side is the mayor really on?

Name Withheld, ST
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Letters to the Editor, June 5

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Blame Albany for tenant bills going nowhere

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Albano Republican Club President Frank Scala’s Letter to the Editor (5/22/14) inferring that elected Republican officials haven’t caused the continuing stagnation of pro-tenant legislation in Albany.

Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village’s state representatives, Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, are vigorous proponents of MCI reform, repealing vacancy decontrol, restoring home rule to New York City, comprehensive campaign finance reform and the rest of the Real Rent Reform Campaign agenda.

In fact, on May 13, the Assembly once again passed a series of bills that will strengthen rent regulations and increase New Yorkers’ access to affordable housing. Senator Hoylman and the vast majority of his Democratic colleagues co-sponsor these bills but unless they are allowed to come to the floor for a vote by Republicans in the Senate Majority Coalition, they will again die as one-house bills.

As Senator Hoylman said at the May 10th ST-PCV Tenants Association meeting, for our own future, we need to participate in electing pro-tenant candidates from across New York State. He didn’t specify that those candidates be Democrats, but the parties’ records speak for themselves.

Senator Hoylman and Assemblyman Kavanagh continue to work on behalf of the interests of ST/PCV as well as tenants across New York City and New York State, regardless of their political beliefs or party registration.

Sincerely,

Mark Thompson, ST
President, Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club

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Letters to the Editor, Apr. 10

Thank you, Stuyvesant Cove Park Angels

Re: “Volunteers keep Stuy Cove Park in bloom,” T&V, Apr. 3

Sincere thanks to the dedicated team of volunteers who showed up at Stuyvesant Cove Park for the recent March 29th Volunteer Day.  As an area resident I am so appreciative of their commitment to maintaining the beautification and cleanliness of this wonderful green space along the East River. And, as vice-president and treasurer of the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association I want to reiterate our commitment to support their efforts.

For many years the SCPA has helped cover the cost of planting materials and supplies to help in this important work and when the work is done, the SCPA funds the well-deserved pizza lunches at the end of the many scheduled Volunteer Days. Special thanks to Wendy Byrne whose comments remind us of the proposed over-development of the site that would have limited our access to the waterfront, severely taxed local infrastructure and deprived the surrounding community of a precious oasis.

I hope more area residents will take the time to learn the history of Stuyvesant Cove Park and give some time as a Park Angel to help preserve this park that so many before them fought for.

Jo-Ann Polise, ST

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Letters to the Editor, Dec. 12

You’re not paranoid if someone is after you

This letter was originally published on the Town & Village Blog as a response to “The Soapbox” column by Richard Luksin, “My visit to Stuyvesant Town,” T&V, Dec. 5.

I have been critical of the many changes that have occurred since MetLife went from a mutual insurance company to a for-profit corporation. Then, CEO Robert Benmosche quickly converted ST/PCV into “high end” apartment complexes. The “greatest generation” is quickly being overrun by the “greedy generation” to match the now materialistic nation that has been wrought.

MetLife sold ST and PCV to Tishman Speyer for $5.4B. They defaulted and sold off to CWCapital. Many widows of the “greatest generation” in their 80s had been manipulated out of their 60-year-old apartments by devious and false allegations. Too scared (and old) to challenge — they moved out. So the very members of families who fought in World War II were usurped by the new generation who only fought for more money.

The Rent Stabilization Law (with significant input from monies given to the “pols”) allowed any vacated apartment to go into “free market” status. So, a $2,000 apartment (with minor additions and renovations) could now be rented for over $5,000.

Pity the poor landlord(s)! Each month and now online, management includes a “bonus” of $500 to anyone who recommends someone and they sign a lease. (The new tenant also gets $500.) What a scam. Luxury sans a doorman or large staff that few need. Get with it, guys! This means that there is a dearth of people seeking these neo-luxury suites.

Then there is the conundrum of global climate change… Sandy! Since we are near the East River, waters overflowed to First Avenue. As bizarre weather patterns evolve with speed, if ST/PCV may well end up (as Tony Soprano might have said) “sleeping with the fishes,” these two giant real estate properties will be worth zip! (Not to mention all of Manhattan — remember it’s an island!) And, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.

All of the changes here are designed for the always changing CEOs and shareholders to make more money. All are already wealthy, but want more and more A study was done which compared “happiness and fulfillment” between those New Yorkers who were making $150K and those “super wealthy.” And the results: once you made $150K there was no increment in having a good life.

The greedmongers of Wall Street, the banks, real estate, and… are just playing a game with our lives. It’s a sort of obsessional compulsive disorder (OCD) — except it is destroying our economy, country and people — into an Ayn Rand-ish hell!

I have lived here for 38 years and remember fondly and sadly (the late) General Manager Bill Potter who, when I had had a life threatening illness, said, “Don’t worry about the rent, until you get better.” Those were the good old days which are now gone. Now, methinks that the neo-management would want me to die so they could get more money for my apartment — seriously!

Thank you, Mr. Richard Luksin, for not forgetting!

David Chowes, PCV

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Residents choose de Blasio

De Blasio, Lhota, Mendez, Brewer top in primary

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and staffer Anna Pycior campaign for Gale Brewer outside Stuy Town on Tuesday. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and staffer Anna Pycior campaign for Gale Brewer outside Stuy Town on Tuesday. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

After a long and contentious primary season and a race with more Democrats than can be counted on one hand, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio climbed to the top of the pack in the election on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, it was still unclear whether or not de Blasio, who at times during the campaign lagged in fourth place behind City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former City Comptroller Bill Thompson and former Congressman Anthony Weiner, would avoid a runoff with Thompson.

According to election results from the New York Times, de Blasio won all of the districts in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, as well as most of the surrounding districts except for some in the Flatiron area and Gramercy, which went to Quinn. The Republican primary was only slightly more split, with former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota winning all of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village districts except two.

The race was too close to call between de Blasio and Thompson on Tuesday night. While various news sources put de Blasio slightly over the requisite 40 percent at around midnight, Thompson said that he would continue his campaign until all of the ballots were counted, which could take days. As of Wednesday morning, the Board of Elections said that de Blasio had 40.13 percent of the vote with Thompson at 26.16 percent.

Quinn, the longtime frontrunner, conceded on Tuesday night with only 15 percent of the vote and disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner ducked out early in the vote-tallying with less than five percent.

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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 12

Gale Brewer for borough president

Gale Brewer is a unique politician. As a volunteer, I have seen firsthand how she connects with people by her caring and sincere disposition. Gale is the real deal and will make seniors, disabled, working families proud to call her president.

She has initiated and helped pass the paid sick leave law in the Council. I see Gale on TV and how hard she works for all New Yorkers.

Gale has campaigned often in Stuy Town, standing on street corners at the food market and grocery store. She has pledged to fight hard for Stuy Town and rent regulation to keep this community affordable.

Her most recent endorsements are NY Times, Mike McKee of TenantsPAC, Assemblymen Brian Kavanagh and Dick Gottfried, Gloria Steinem, Liz Holtz, many unions, Sierra Club and many, many others.

Stuy Town is lucky to have such a seasoned candidate — 40 years in government, 12 years in the City Council and a president to be for all Manhattanites.
Sincerely,

Cissie Hawkes, ST

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Letters to the Editor, June 20

Lyric the latest loss in neighborhood diners

To the editor,

Several months ago, a resident of the building I live in went to the Lyric Diner at Third Avenue and 21st Street to get his morning coffee and found it closed. For several days, we all waited anxiously to find out what had become of Lyric. Finally, we saw a sign in the window, saying that the restaurant was being remodeled and would reopen in a month.

A restaurant called Taverna has opened on the site of Lyric. Its hours are considerably shorter, its menu items more expensive. The police from the precinct and Police Academy and the students from the School of Visual Arts, who routinely jammed Lyric at lunchtime, are conspicuously absent.

Lyric is just the latest of several neighborhood coffee shops to go. Remember Pete’s, the coffee shop on Third Avenue and 21st Street with the lovely old tiled floors and the decorative metal ceiling? Their back room frequently resembles an annex of the police station and the academy. Then there was the Third Avenue diner around 24th Street. They served the best Sunday brunches in the neighborhood, and a very serviceable pizza as well. I understand that it is a difficult and expensive proposition to run a restaurant these days. Rents are high, help is not cheap and food is perishable. One remedy is to get a liquor license. Some coffee shops don’t always have them, but many do.Sunday brunch at that nice Third Avenue Diner always came with a bloody mary!

We have a few diners in the larger neighborhood, and they are always busy. But there are none in my immediate area. I wonder where the cops go for lunch?

Bettijane Eisenpreis,
Gramercy Park

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