Solar 2 design released

This rendering, by Bjark Ingels Group (BIG), shows how the replacement building for Solar One will look, complete with a kayak launch accessible at Stuyvesant Cove Park.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Project architects have released renderings for Solar One’s new building that will be replacing the environmental organization’s original structure along the East River across from Peter Cooper Village within the next two years. The Economic Development Corporation, the city agency overseeing the project, presented the plan to Community Board 6’s land use and waterfront committee on January 22.

Although the project has been referred to as “Solar 2,” the new building will fully replace the organization’s original structure and the renderings show a “Solar One” sign on the building’s western face. According to the presentation, construction on Solar 2 is expected to be completed before the start of 2019 and construction on the additional flood protection in Stuyvesant Cove Park, which is part of the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project, won’t begin until 2021 or 2022. The ESCR project includes a combination of berms and flood walls to protect the nearby neighborhoods from a possible flood event, and since Solar One’s building is expected to be operational before construction begins for the ESCR, that flood protection will be built around the new structure.

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Man and woman violently mugged near Stuy Town

Suspects wanted for additional incidents

The police are seeking three people they believe are behind three robberies, including one across from Stuyvesant Town.

In that incident, on Sunday, January 21 at about 1 a.m., three people, two male and one female, approached a man and a woman as they sat on a park bench on East 20th Street in Stuyvesant Cove Park. The suspect then threw the female victim, 28, to the ground by her hair and punched the male victim, 22. Together the muggers got a credit card and cash from the woman and a Samsung cell phone from the man.

Female victims were also targeted in the other known incidents.

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Winter has arrived, but gardens will still be blooming at local parks

Some plants can withstand bone-chilling temperatures, like hellebore flowers that have been planted at Madison Square Park. (Pictured) Hellebores that bloomed last winter (Photo by Stephanie Lucas)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Despite the deep freeze that has taken over the city for the last week, local parks are still expecting flowers to be blooming during the winter months. The resident plant experts for both Stuyvesant Cove Park and Madison Square Park told Town & Village that the prolonged cold shouldn’t have a lasting impact on the vegetation in the parks and both spaces have plants that not only can withstand the chilly weather but can also bloom in the frigid temperatures.

Stephanie Lucas, director of horticulture and park operations for Madison Square Park, said that there are a number of winter-blooming plants in the park but one of the most plentiful is witch hazel, which, while more commonly-known to consumers as an astringent available at Walgreens, is also a native plant to the northeast.

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National Christmas Bird Count

THESE BERRIES WERE FOR THE BIRDS.—On Saturday, Stuyvesant Town resident Barbara Bienenfeld spied this robin in a snow-covered bush with berries as she walked into the 14th Street Loop at Avenue A. The photo was taken on Saturday, the day before the National Christmas Bird Count.

On Sunday morning, a local group of birders participated in the national Christmas Bird Count, beginning at Stuyvesant Cove and then moving onto Stuyvesant Town.

Local team members were Pearl Broder, Wendy Byrne, Louise Fraza and Anne Lazarus, who passed along the list of bird species that were spotted, including Sharp-Shinned and Cooper’s Hawks attempting to hunt. “Lots of drama out there,” reported Lazarus, who compiled this list.

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Stuy Town bus terminal proposed for L shutdown

MTA graphic depicting proposed mitigation plans during the L train shutdown

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A new temporary bus terminal may be headed for under the FDR Drive across from Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, the MTA and the city have announced. The terminal will act as a transfer point for ferry riders during the 15-month L train shutdown, with more than 60 buses per hour going through the space under the FDR.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Department of Transportation both discussed the plan while testifying at a City Council Transportation Committee hearing last Thursday. During the hearing, they provided information on the proposed terminal and other mitigation plans for the shutdown, including a new, also-temporary ferry route that will end at the planned Stuyvesant Cove ferry stop at East 20th Street and connect with the M14 Select Bus Service (SBS), which is expected to launch in time for the shutdown.

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Soapbox: Stuyvesant Cove Park going strong thanks to support from neighbors

Children planting flowers at the park

By Liza Mindemann, park manager at Stuyvesant Cove Park

Saturday, November 18 was the last community volunteer Day of 2017 at Stuyvesant Cove Park, and there couldn’t have been any better way to celebrate. A first in many years, the event was a partnership between Stuyvesant Town and Solar One — the rekindling of the collaboration between neighbors that will grow into next season. New York Cares, a strong partner of the park for quite some time, also joined for a healthy turnout of almost fifty people of all ages.

As part of Stuyvesant Town’s Good Neighbors Program, residents and employees joined the event to volunteer, and the group included several kids.

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Work to start soon on Stuy Cove ferry landing

Rendering released by Economic Development Corporation in May 2016 of what new ferry landing will look like

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Winter is coming and so is construction on a ferry landing at Stuyvesant Cove. Construction on the 20th Street stop will likely begin this winter and finish by spring in order to be functional on the new Lower East Side route launching next summer.

Representatives from the Economic Development Corporation, the city agency that controls NYC Ferry, offered the information on the new landing at a City Council hearing for the economic development committee last Thursday.

EDC executive vice president Seth Meyers said that the work needed to be done during the winter because of restrictions that prevent construction from parts of spring into summer.

“There are times of the year, due to what’s called a fish moratorium while fish are breeding, that we can’t do work in the water,” he said.

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Letters to the editor, Aug. 3

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Classroom condemnation uncalled for

In his “Ugly rhetoric on charter schools” (T&V “It Seems to Me” column, July 27), Christopher Hagedorn gave vent to what can only be described as a long-held gripe with the United Federation of Teachers and kids who saw that as a teacher, he, the emperor, wore no clothes. Those experiences, back in ‘68, seems to have lain and festered, and, I think, inhibited a more available and objective view of the teachers’ union and public schools.

Mr. Hagedorn takes us back to the time when men and women, charged with the care of kids for six hours a day, were securing for themselves a voice on the job, a grievance process, a salary scale commensurate with education, medical protection, and a measure of financial and medical security after 25-30 years on the job and into old-age — all while leaving dismissal for incompetence (absolutely) intact. Mr. Hagedorn’s rejection of these human needs-goals in ‘68, at the very outset of his own teaching career, indicates a disconnect from those working-people’s goals–if not an anti-union disposition.

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Section of Stuyvesant Cove Park inspires short dance film

Dancer Megan Nordle performs at Stuyvesant Cove Park.

By Sabina Mollot

Recently, a Stuyvesant Town journalist and artist found inspiration in a section of her neighborhood that’s so small it’s likely to get overlooked even by people who pass it by all the time.

That plot of land is a rocky outcropping of the shoreline that’s covered in sand and a known hangout for ducks and geese.

Karen Loew, who refers to the spot in Stuyvesant Cove Park as “the beach,” first found herself drawn to it for a simple reason. She liked it. But after learning about the controversial history of the location as well as the park itself from a neighbor, Loew knew she wanted to film it. She went on to put together an exhibition of photography as well as a short, dance film, called “No Man’s Land,” that will be shown at the 14th Street Y this summer.

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Letters to the Editor, Apr. 20

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

It’s only another local business

After 40 years serving high-quality food at reasonable prices, our neighborhood vegetarian restaurant, Angelica’s, is closing its doors.

Reportedly, the main reason for this sad event is the increase in rent to $26,000 a month. In order to meet this landlord-imposed hefty price tag, symbolic of the Trump Administration’s values or lack thereof, the owner, Leslie McEachern, would have to pay her employees the equivalent of the Chinese child-worker rate, probably a bowl of rice.

In addition, in lieu of serving fresh organic produce and helping local farmers support their families, Leslie would have to serve to her patrons the cheapest food available, food no doubt lacking in the nutritional value of organics. Although many business men are guided by the principles encapsulated by the phrase “It’s only business,” Leslie would never serve meals under these conditions.

Following in the bootsteps of the Trump administration, which intends to throw such humanitarian programs as Meals on Wheels under the bus, Angelica’s landlord has returned our earth Angel-ica to heaven much sooner than her patrons would like and if this landlord were asked, “Where is Angelica’s?” he’d no doubt reply, “She sleeps with the fishes.” I guess we are in the tyrannical age of “It’s only business.”

John Cappelletti, ST

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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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