Letters to the Editor, Mar. 30

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Making Stuyvesant Cove flourish

Re: “Spring is here: The proof is in the park,” T&V, Mar. 23

Kudos to Liza Mindemann, park manager at Stuyvesant Cove Park, for her work at the park and her T&V article about the park. And our thanks to her for mentioning that the park exists today because of sustained community advocacy.

Members of our community, some now gone, led the fight that succeeded in defeating the planned over-development that would have blocked access to the waterfront. It is so easy for this effort to be forgotten when area populations and demographics change as much as our neighborhood has over the last several decades.

Many people know the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association as the group responsible for presenting the free concert series in the park each summer. But the SCPA has a long history of assisting Solar One by recruiting volunteers, purchasing mulch, providing funds to replace plants swept away by Hurricane Sandy or paying for fencing to protect those plants as they took root and established themselves.

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Spring is here: The proof is in the park

Mertensia virginca buds emerge from the ice at Stuyvesant Cove.

By Liza Mindemann
Stuyvesant Cove Park Manager

Despite the recent blanket of heavy snow, we are slowly moving away from the dormancy of winter into the season of spring ephemerals at Stuyvesant Cove Park. Due to another mild winter, we had consistent signs of life all winter long in the scattered lemon-yellow blooms of Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea), much dwarfed compared to their usual summer height but present nonetheless, which bloomed just above their basal leaves throughout the coldest days.

Later in the season we will notice the taller stalks of these very same flowers and in August, the swallowtail butterflies they attract. Just within the last two weeks, peaking through the remaining patches of snow, Virginia Bluebells (Martensia virginica), have also begun their spring show of small purple buds that when fully open are more of a cobalt blue and bell-shaped.

Spring ephemerals are the earliest to bloom, woken by the shift in sunlight and longer, warmer days, but short-lived, as by early June they have moved through the entire cycle of bloom, fertilization, seed production and are ready to retreat back under the earth as other, taller plants over-shadow and the large canopy trees leaf out and change the light-landscape of the garden.

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Murals will soon adorn Stuy Cove

Art to become a yearly project for SVA students

The mural will have a theme of birds and butterflies. (Pictured) A butterfly lands on a plant at Stuyvesant Cove Park. (Photo by Heather Holland)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

Students at the School of Visual Arts will soon be working on a project to spruce up Stuyvesant Cove Park with murals. The project is being organized through a community service program aimed at getting students more involved with the neighborhood since the university recently opened a new building at 340 East 24th Street.

Regina Degnan, a student advisor at SVA’s International Student Office, explained the project at a recent meeting for Community Board 6’s parks committee, whose members were supportive of the idea.

Dina Elkan, director of communications and events at Solar 1, was also at the meeting and said the area frequently has problems with graffiti and artwork would help combat that issue. Although the pieces will only be completed with acrylic paint and aren’t meant to be permanent, Elkan said that they would be looking into coating the completed pieces with a graffiti-resistant finish to discourage vandalism.

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Letters to the Editor, Nov. 10

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Local candidates kept things classy

To the Editor,

Many thanks to our neighbor and former State Democratic Assemblyman Steve Sanders for reminding us that members of our community have independently crossed lines in the past to vote for and support a number of Republicans like Senator Roy Goodman, Congressman Bill Green and Councilman Eristoff. They were able to work with other bi-partisan legislators to get things done and avoid the national voting gridlock we’ve experienced these last four years.

Credit is well deserved for Frank Scala, a Republican who is a member of our Community Board 6 and the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association Board and active on the 13th Precinct Community Council.

Frank believes in the two party system and will defend his viewpoint but not engage in prolonged gridlock. Even the editorial staff of Town & Village doesn’t disparage either candidate, but can suggest to the reader “Does years of being elected reflect voters’ approval of performance or is it preferable to have term limits such as those persons we elect to the City Council?”

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East River flood protection plan extended to 25th St.

Meeting attendees in 2015 look at a model of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village with a planned elevated park at the waterfront. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Meeting attendees in 2015 look at a model of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village with a planned elevated park at the waterfront. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The plan to provide flood protection to the community along the East River has shifted design elements from East 23rd Street to 25th Street due to complications with the intersection in the original plan. The Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency announced the changes to the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) plan in a task force meeting with Community Boards 3 and 6 on Tuesday night.

Representatives from the Office of Recovery and Resiliency as well as the urban design team working on the project have spoken at community meetings previously about the plan, the goal of which is to provide flood protection from Montgomery Street to East 23rd Street, incorporating floodwalls and an elevated park.

Carrie Grassi, Deputy Director for Planning at the Office of Recovery and Resiliency, said that the “tieback” was moved to East 25th Street because East 23rd Street is a technically difficult area.

“We’re trying to come up with an alternative that doesn’t make that intersection worse,” she said.

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3 local organizations holding food festivals as fundraising events

At a previous Harvest in the Square, guests sit outside the tent. (Photo by Liz Ligon/courtesy of Union Square Partnership)

At a previous Harvest in the Square, guests sit outside the tent. (Photo by Liz Ligon/courtesy of Union Square Partnership)

By Sabina Mollot

Supporting neighborhood organizations is about to get very tasty.

This is because three local organizations are holding food tasting events this month bypassing more traditional kinds of fundraising events. The hosts are, respectively, the Union Square Partnership, hosting the 21st annual Harvest in the Square festival on September 22, Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, holding the fourth annual Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood on September 24, and Solar One, holding an Oktoberfest event on September 27.

Details for each event are as follows:

Harvest in the Square benefits its host’s efforts to maintain and beautify Union Square Park as well as fund summer programming. Over 50 local restaurants will participate at this event, held under a giant tent at the park’s North Plaza.

A handful of those include Croque Monsieur, Gramercy Tavern, Ngam, Rosa Mexicano, Strip House, Flats Fix, Black Barn, The Pavilion, The Poke Spot, Union Fare and Hill Country Chicken. There will also be tastings from a dozen regional wineries.

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Get to know your native plants, one streetside planter at a time

Boy Scout Baird Johnson, Epiphany Church custodian Fidel Rivera, and Solar One employees Diana Grueberg, Stuyvesant Cove Park gardener, and Liza Mindemann, park manager

Boy Scout Baird Johnson, Epiphany Church custodian Fidel Rivera, and Solar One employees Diana Grueberg, Stuyvesant Cove Park gardener, and Liza Mindemann, park manager

By Liza Mindemann, Stuyvesant Cove Park manager

In an effort to add some green to Second Avenue, Stuyvesant Cove Park, which is managed by Solar One, recently partnered with Epiphany Church to fill unclaimed street planters at the corner of Second Ave and 22nd Street.

Stuy Cove supplied the plants, carefully dug and potted by community volunteers from areas where the park’s plants were spreading too aggressively, while the church offered to take over the maintenance and watering of the planters going forward. The two parties jointly organized a volunteer event around planting day and with the help of Baird Johnson, a volunteer and also a member of the Boy Scouts, the soil in the planters was replenished with compost from Stuy Cove and filled with an array of native plants, curated to bloom throughout the season.

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ST-PCV TA will hold meeting on planned E. 20th St. ferry landing

The East River Ferry service that was launched last year recently served a million riders. Mayor Bloomberg announced that he and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn will be launching a survey to help improve the service.

The East River Ferry

The city is planning to expand existing ferry service on the East River and citywide, and a new ferry landing is to be built at East 20th Street. The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association has invited officials from the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to fill residents in on the project. The new landing would be part of the Lower East Side route, a stop between an existing stop at East 34th Street and another at Wall Street/Pier 11.

The Tenants Association is holding an open meeting on Thursday, January 14 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the VA Medical Center atrium conference room, 423 East 23rd Street east of First Avenue.

Questions are encouraged, such as:

What impacts will the new facility have on noise and pollution? Will ferry passengers crowd local buses? What effect will the ferry landing have on the new storm barrier design? What impact will the landing have on pedestrians and bicyclists in Stuyvesant Cove Park? What new commuting options will be available to Stuy Town and Peter Cooper residents?



Area residents wary of planned ferry landing

Meeting attendees look at a model of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village with a planned elevated park at the waterfront. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Meeting attendees look at a model of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village with a planned elevated park at the waterfront. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Community residents got the opportunity to interact with 3D models showing possibilities for flood protection and access to the waterfront on the East Side at the most recent workshop for the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project last Thursday evening. This meeting was the third in a round of public workshops, held at Washington Irving High School, discussing different options for the area along the East River from East 14th to 23rd Streets in terms of protecting the neighborhood from future storm surges and future Hurricane Sandys.

Since the first public workshop was held in March, the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency along with the urban design team working on the project have narrowed the design ideas down into a combination of an elevated park that integrates static floodwalls and deployable features. The break in the elevated park, known as a berm or levee, at East 20th Street is partially to accommodate a ferry landing that the Environmental Development Cooperation is considering developing there. Representatives from the city and the urban designers working on the project said they could not answer specific questions on the ferry landing itself since that project is not under the purview of the ESCR, but some residents at the meeting expressed concern about what the increased foot traffic would mean for the neighborhood.

“We want to see certain lovely things stay but newer, shinier and busier isn’t always better,” Stuyvesant Town resident Laura Koestler said. “Right now it’s small potatoes but it can become commercialized. With the possibility of a ferry over there, I just picture what the insane crowds have become at the Williamsburg Flea.”

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The summer that was – A look back at community events

By Maria Rocha Buschel

Summer is quickly drawing to a close, with an autumn chill in the early morning air and school starting up again soon. And with the last unofficial day of the season, Labor Day, occurring yesterday, we thought we would share a look back at some of the summer activities that took place in the community.

This summer saw the return of the popular concert series on the Solar One stage at Stuyvesant Cove Park, with the only complaint some Town & Village readers had being that the series was too short. Performers also got in the summer spirit at Madison Square Park underneath the Fata Morgana canopy installation in an Afro-Cuban dance workshop and performance in July. In what is becoming an annual tradition, area residents were also able to enjoy the waterfront through the free kayaking events, hosted in Stuyvesant Cove Park for the final time for the season last weekend.

Click through for photos.

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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 13

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

How we can help the homeless around ST

I am writing in response to the letter that was sent in about the homeless people sleeping on benches in Stuyvesant Town and the lack of actions from our security department (“Homeless around ST,” T&V, July 30).

I’d like to focus on the word people for a moment. Yes, there are people sleeping on benches in Stuyvesant Town and begging on the street along First Avenue and other places in the city. We do have a big homeless problem but the problem is not with the security department at Stuyvesant Town. The problem is so much bigger than that.

These are people. People like you and me who have met with hard times or a mental illness that they did not ask for. And they are people. People who need shelter, a place to sleep, food, companionship and meaningful work. This problem needs addressing from a perspective so much bigger than the security department here. I’ve seen countless articles and interviews on TV from our mayor addressing the horse drawn carriages and their plight.

I’d like to see a focus on humans over horses at the moment. I’d like to see our politicians addressing this homeless problem and how we can offer useful help to these people so that we don’t have to feel uncomfortable about encountering them in our community and more importantly they have a place to sleep each night that is sheltered, offers them nourishment and encouragement to better lives.

My small Band-Aid of the solution is to carry breakfast bars in my handbag. Along with the breakfast bars I carry a referral card to the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen where they offer a daily hot meals and counseling to help people get off the streets.

When I encountered homeless people in our neighborhood or in other places that I walk during the day I’m able to offer them an immediate solution of something to eat and a longer-term solution of a place to go where they can find solutions if they want them.

I encourage anyone interested to join me on this mission. It’s just one small way that we can help address this problem while forces with resources bigger than ours can address a long-term solution.

With blessings,

Susan Turchin, ST

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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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Concerts still running at the Cove

Vocalist Jamie Rae at John Colianni’s first concert this season in June Photos by Jo-Ann Polise/Stuyvesant Cove Park Association)

Vocalist Jamie Rae at John Colianni’s first concert this season in June (Photo by Jo-Ann Polise)

In what has become an annual tradition at Stuyvesant Cove Park, a series of free concerts that kicked off at the end of June is still in full swing.

The concerts include a variety of music styles including swing, jazz, blues and bluegrass as well as an upcoming evening of traditional Irish music and dance.

Performers include John Colianni, the Rutkowski Family Trio, Sean Mahony and David Hershey-Webb. New to the roster are Jason Green and The Labor of Love, New Harvest and Niall O’Leary and friends.

On Mon., July 27 at 6:30-8 p.m., Niall O’Leary & Friends will bring accordion, bodhran and spoons for an evening of traditional Irish music and dance. Rain date is July 28.

On Saturday, August 1 from 7-8 p.m., folk dancing with Christine Meyerson, no experience necessary. Rain date is Aug. 2.

The series is organized by the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association. For more information, visit the Association’s website.

Kayaking at the Cove on July 12

Kayakers with STPCV and Waterside Plaza in 2013 (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Kayakers at a Stuy Cove kayaking event in 2013 (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

A Stuyvesant Cove walkup paddling event will be held on Sunday, July 12 from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Participants must be 18 or older or accompanied by a parent or guardian and know how to swim. For more information on this free event, visit Stuy Cove Kayaking’s website or Solar 1’s website.

The event is co-sponsored by Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and Council Member Dan Garodnick.

Police Watch: CVS ‘robbery,’ ‘fraud’ at the Gansevoort Hotel

Police arrested 47-year-old Nicholas Micena for robbery inside the 7-Eleven at 107 East 23rd Street last Tuesday at 6:47 a.m. Micena allegedly entered the store and demanded cash from the clerk while simulating a gun. Police said that Micena has four open warrants and was allegedly in possession of a hypodermic needle.

Nineteen-year-old Nathaniel Pierrelouis was arrested for robbery in front of the CVS at 750 Sixth Avenue on Wednesday at 10:13 p.m. The victim told police that Pierrelouis and another person who wasn’t arrested forcibly swiped merchandise from the store. When the victim confronted the man who wasn’t arrested, Pierrelouis allegedly threw punches at the victim and a loss prevention agent at the store while trying to leave with the goods. During the struggle, Pierrelouis allegedly managed to get the items again and flee the store. Police said that Pierrelouis also returned to the store shortly after and assaulted the manager. Details of the alleged attack weren’t clear but the victim said Pierrelouis caused pain to his nose and face. He was also charged with possession of stolen property.

Police arrested 25-year-old Deondra McCord for grand larceny inside the Gansevoort Hotel at 420 Park Avenue South last Friday at 1:20 p.m. McCord allegedly used a fraudulent credit card to check into a hotel and make charges to the victim’s account without permission to do so. After searching her, police found that she was allegedly in possession of two more fraudulent credit cards that she had charged purchases totaling $1,020. McCord was also charged with forgery and possession of stolen property.

Angel Torres, 37, was arrested at the 13th precinct last Friday at 3 p.m. for aggravated harassment. Torres allegedly called the VA Hospital and threatened to blow the place up.

Aubin Debraux, 43, was arrested for assault at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 15th Street last Thursday at 11:26 p.m. Debraux allegedly pushed a woman to the ground, causing pain to her left shoulder and breaking her cell phone. Police did not know if Debraux and the victim knew each other before the alleged assault.

Twenty-year-old Bakari Green was arrested for a New York State law misdemeanor inside Stuyvesant Cove Park at Avenue C and East 20th Street last Friday at 12:51 a.m. Green was allegedly inside the park after midnight, in violation of a posted sign stating the park closes at midnight. Green did not have a valid ID and police said that he refused homeless services.

Seventeen-year-old Timothy Hilton was arrested for possession of stolen property and grand larceny at the corner of Third Avenue and East 24th Street last Sunday at 2:40 a.m. Hilton was allegedly operating a bicycle on Third Avenue against the flow of traffic and when he was stopped, could not produce ID. Police said that after he was searched, he was found to be in possession of a stolen credit card and property that was previously reported stolen in the confines of the Fifth Precinct earlier that morning. He was also charged with a second count of possession of stolen property because the bike he was riding was a Citi Bike that he allegedly did not have proof of payment for or a Citi Bike keycard.

Police arrested 53-year-old Vance Howell at the corner of Irving Place and East 17th Street for possession of stolen property last Tuesday at 6 p.m. Howell was allegedly casing the area and police said that he sat on a bench in front of a restaurant at the corner and appeared to continue casing the area. When police searched him, he was allegedly in possession of stolen property and a quantity of heroin. He was also charges with possession of a controlled substance.

Fifty-year-old Thomas Braunson was arrested for grand larceny at 23 East 26th Street last Monday at 9:50 a.m. Police said that Braunson was dismantling a bike in front of the building because he was allegedly trying to steal it. A witness confronted Braunson right before police arrived, but when he saw the cops, Braunson allegedly fled and was stopped at the train station about two blocks away. A hex key was allegedly found in Braunson’s left pants pocket and he was also charged with possession of burglar’s tools. Police said that screws and bike pieces were recovered from the scene.

Thirty-year-old Ramel Allston was arrested for petit larceny inside the Home Depot at 40 West 23rd Street last Tuesday at 1 p.m. An asset protection manager for the store told police that Allston was fired from the store on Tuesday and upon termination, he was searched and found to have items valued at a total of $71.36 that were in his backpack. Upon further review by the store, Allston was allegedly responsible for four other incidents on June 23, June 24 and two incidents on June 25. He was also in possession of alleged marijuana at the time of his arrest, which police said was in his pants pocket.

Police arrested 29-year-old Jonathan Ramos for petit larceny last Wednesday at 11:25 p.m. in front of 149 East 15th Street. Ramos allegedly took someone’s unattended cell phone from the location without permission. He was also charged with theft.

Police arrested 49-year-old Mohammad Siddique for assault inside 1186 Broadway last Thursday at 10:45 a.m. The victim said he was talking to a customer at the store when Siddique came running up to him, allegedly grabbed him by the neck and threw him into the elevator. Police said that Siddique hit the victim on the arm, causing marks on his neck and arm. The victim then ran out of the elevator and back into his store and called 911, and Siddique was arrested at the scene. There was no information about how Siddique knew the victim or what the argument was about.

Police arrested 26-year-old Michael Napolitano for criminal mischief in front of 400 First Avenue at 24th Street last Thursday at 11:31 a.m. Napolitano was allegedly tagging a wall at a construction site using a permanent marker. He was allegedly in possession of eight markers in total.

Police arrested 51-year-old Kevin Hines in front of 242 Fifth Avenue last Thursday for an unspecified New York State law misdemeanor. Hines was allegedly selling five kites for sale and could not produce a general vendor’s license.