Letters to the editor, Oct. 3

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

TA: Stand up to Blackstone

Re: “Blackstone not required to provide polling places,” T&V, Sept. 26

“Name withheld” writes that Blackstone doesn’t have an obligation to provide polling sites. This is incorrect.

In 1946, a vibrant neighborhood with streets, schools and polling places was seized under eminent domain and turned over to Metropolitan Life, and became Stuyvesant Town.

In return, Met Life promised to maintain municipal streets, remove garbage, and provide places for citizens to vote. The Tenants Association needs to stand up to our property owner to ensure that Blackstone honors these obligations. Bring back the polling sites!

Name withheld

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Letters to the editor, Sept. 19

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

City’s plan will hurt Stuy Cove

In response to the ad in the September 5 issue of T&V, the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association received a number of comments and questions. The following letter has been sent to elected representatives in Washington, Albany and New York. The SCPA thanks to all those who took the time to contact them.

On Monday, October 21, the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association will hold its annual Friends of Stuyvesant Cove Park meeting. The meeting will take place at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center, located at 449 East 16th Street. Among our agenda items is the planned razing of Stuyvesant Cove Park as part of the East Coast Resiliency Project.

It is the opinion of this body that the planned destruction and modification of the park, a project estimated to deprive the community use of the park for two years or more, will do nothing to prevent flooding in Stuyvesant Cove Park in the future. In addition, despite the surge in 2012, regular park-goers observed that within months, most of the flora was alive and well, with only a few exceptions, and within six months, you would not know anything had happened. All this in spite of the fact that the park had been under four feet of river water.

We understand that funds are being provided by the federal government. However, spending money simply because it is available should not be confused with justification and we are in total disagreement with the city’s decision to choose years of construction, hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs and no discernible new protections for the park itself. Moreover, Stuyvesant Cove Park’s natural resiliency in the wake of Hurricane Sandy proves that this is an ill-conceived over reaction to this event.

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ESCR will mean lots of noise for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village

East Side Coastal Resiliency Project rendering showing the Stuyvesant Cove area

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project has found that construction on the flood protection project will likely create disruptive noise for some residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

The document, released by the Department of Design and Construction on Friday, April 5, predicts that construction on the flood protection system will result in “significant adverse noise effects” for 315-321 Avenue C and 620 East 20th Street in Stuy Town and 601 East 20th Street, 8 Peter Cooper Road, 7 Peter Cooper Road, 530 East 23rd Street and 520 East 23rd Street in Peter Cooper.

Despite the increase in outside noise, the DEIS predicts that the decibel levels will actually be considered acceptable inside when the windows are closed because the buildings in ST/PCV have insulated glass. Other buildings within the project area farther downtown, as well as the Asser Levy recreation center, appear to have non- insulating glass windows and are expected to experience noise levels higher than the threshold recommended for residential use, according to City Environmental Quality Review noise exposure guidelines, due to pile driving and other construction work west of the FDR immediately adjacent to the rec center building.

The 961-page document examined overall potential impacts of the plan that the city has chosen to provide continuous flood protection for the East Side, in addition to considering the impact of not building any flood protection and four other alternative plans that the city considered.

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Fly up and be counted

The early hawk catches the mourning dove in Stuyvesant Town during a local Christmas bird count. Despite poor weather conditions, participating birders still saw some unusual birds. (Photo by Ron Lulov)

Local birders conduct annual avian search

Despite truly miserable weather on Sunday, December 16, a team of devoted birders made their annual jaunt through Stuyvesant Cove and Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village to do their part for the annual city bird count. One of them, Stuy Town avian expert Anne Lazarus provided Town & Village with the official count from the walk as well as some birds seen earlier by participants throughout the week. (16 different species on count day, 14 during count week, for a total of 30 kinds of birds.) This was far fewer than usual for the tree-filled neighborhood, but due to the nonstop rain, Lazarus said it was one of the most difficult birding days she’d ever seen.

While at the Cove, “Low tide looked more like an approaching high tide. The wind and pelting rain did not help,” she said.

The day’s sightings included an immature Cooper`s Hawk as well as an adult Cooper`s Hawk with its prey, an unfortunate mourning dove, secured firmly in its talons as it perched on a sweet gum in Stuy Town not far from the 16th Street entrance to the First Avenue Loop.

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Man found dead next to East River at 20th Street

Stuyvesant Cove beach William Farrell

Stuyvesant Cove (Photo by William Farrell)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, December 10, a man was found dead at the shoreline of the East River and 20th Street.

Police found the man, who hasn’t been identified and was in his 40s, at around 7 a.m. after responding to a call about an unconscious person. He’d appeared to have been in the water and was taken to Bellevue Hospital, but he couldn’t be saved.

The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing. A spokesperson for the medical examiner didn’t have further information about the individual.

Police are asking that anyone who might have information about the man or the circumstances surrounding his death to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

Letter to the editor, Oct. 25

Oct25 Toon Cuomo

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

How we can help save the planet

To the Editor,

The election on Tuesday, November 6 comes with environmental issues like climate change that have both immediate and longterm consequences for everyone on Earth and the Earth itself.

Scientists have made dire predictions about increased temperatures and both the melting of sea ice and the increase of storms and forest fires. On September 28, 2018 the Washington Post reporters Ellperin, Dennis and Mooney let it be known that the present administration in Washington foresees and assumes in its 500-page environmental impact statement that the planet will warm a disastrous “7 degrees rise in global temperature by 2100.”

The present administration, according to Michael MacCracken, a senior scientist at the Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002, says that “human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society.” And then MacCracken says that the present administration “is not going to do anything about it.” Continue reading

LES ferry makes maiden voyage

ferry arrives at Stuy Cove2

The Ocean Queen Rock Star, part of the fleet of NYC Ferry’s Lower East Side route, arrives at Stuyvesant Cove at 6:45 a.m. on Wednesday. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Despite temperatures climbing high enough to warrant an official heat advisory from the city, cool winds prevailed along the East River on Wednesday for those aboard the new ferries along the Lower East Side route that launched that morning. The ferry that made the maiden voyage took off from Long Island City at around 6:30, arriving at Stuyvesant Cove at exactly 6:45 a.m. as the sun rose, carrying a mix of Stuyvesant Town residents and reporters.

The ferry, named the Ocean Queen Rock Star, then proceeded — at around 26 miles per hour — to downtown landing Corlears Hook, named, like Stuyvesant Cove, after a park on the waterfront. There, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Member Keith Powers cheered the new route, which made its debut months ahead of the dreaded L train shutdown.

De Blasio mentioned that the city has been getting many requests from New Yorkers who want a ferry stop in their neighborhoods and said that by the end of the year, decisions will be made on where else they would go. As of Wednesday, there were already six active ferry routes in the city, all operated by Hornblower. According to the mayor, there have also already been six million riders so far on NYC Ferry.

“We know how crowded the subways are. We know the streets are congested,” he said. “We know we need new ways to get around the city. We will not be the city we were meant to be if we don’t have better options.”

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The pretty flower that’s strangling Stuyvesant Cove Park

July19 Bindweed flower

Growth of the vine-sprouting weed has exploded in the warm weather. (Photos by Emily Curtis-Murphy)

By Sabina Mollot

Though the blooming of a large, stinky flower at the New York Botanical Garden has been getting all the attention lately, there’s another plant in this city that’s starting to sound even more sinister than the aforementioned corpse flower.

A white-petaled menace that grows on vines has been described by the gardeners at Stuyvesant Cove Park as “an invader from far-off lands and nothing short of pernicious.”

That would be the field bindweed (also known as Convolvulus arvensis), a trumpet-shaped flower that looks very similar to a morning glory and has been growing like what it actually is — a weed – in green spaces across New York City. Along with parks and gardens, the hardy plant has also been sprouting up on traffic medians and vacant lots.

Environmental education center Solar One, which is located at Stuyvesant Cove Park’s north end, sent neighbors an email about the bindweed on Monday, while also making a plea for help in keeping its beastly growth at bay.

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Where to view the July 4th fireworks

pink blooms rain

This year’s display will have the biggest selection of fireworks since 2000. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

With the mercury expected to rise into the high 80s for the next few days, the July 4th holiday is looking to be a scorcher, but at least residents on the East Side will be getting a good view of the annual fireworks display.

Fireworks will be shot off from seven barges in the East River for a 25-minute show beginning at 9:30 p.m. The 42nd annual celebration will feature a score performed by the West Point Band and in honor of the 100th anniversary of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” pop star Kelly Clarkson will perform the song at the climax of the fireworks display. The West Point Glee Club as well as the band will accompany Clarkson’s performance.

The score for the fireworks will also include the national anthem and in honor of the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, a medley of his classical music compositions, performed by the glee club and band. The performances will be on NBC starting at 8 p.m. and will only be viewable by the public through the broadcast, but the music will be audible for spectators watching the fireworks.

The fireworks performance this year includes more than 75,000 shells, making it the largest display since the millennial celebration in 2000.

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Ferry service to start by end of summer

‘Stuy Town’ sign will be changed to ‘Stuy Cove,’ landings will offer some protection from weather

A completed ferry landing in Astoria (Photo courtesy of the Economic Development Corporation)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Service on the new Lower East Side ferry route, including at Stuyvesant Cove, is on schedule to begin at the end of the summer, representatives for NYC Ferry reported to Community Board 6’s transportation committee this past Monday, although spokespeople did not have a more specific date.

The ferry, operated by Hornblower Cruises and managed by the Economic Development Corporation, will run starting from Wall Street, making stops at Corlears Hook on the Lower East Side, Stuyvesant Cove and 34th Street before ending at Long Island City, Queens.

Because construction appears nearly finished at the Stuyvesant Cove landing near 20th Street, one Stuyvesant Town resident, Larry Scheyer, questioned why service wouldn’t be starting sooner.

In response, EDC Vice President of government and community relations Radhy Miranda said that even after the landings are built, there are additional protocols before service can actually begin.

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Mayor announces expanded ferry service

The ferry landing at Stuyvesant Cove Park (Photo by Thomas Rochford)

By Sabina Mollot

One year after the launch of NYC Ferry, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that ridership along the city’s waterways could grow to as many as 9 million annual passengers by 2023. This is twice as many passengers as were initially projected, so in anticipation of commuters abandoning the subway and flocking to ferries, the city will be nearly doubling its fleet of boats. For this purpose, $300 million has already been socked away for use over the next several years.

The funds will go towards three new 350-passenger capacity ferries (by late this summer) along the busiest routes and a second homeport where ferries will be maintained and repaired. There will also be improvements to the two main ferry terminals, Pier 11/Wall Street and East 34th Street. These include wider gangways and new bow-loading locations to increase the number of vessels that can dock simultaneously. Infrastructure improvements and upgrades are also planned for existing barges and landings to accommodate larger crowds. Eight charter vessels will also be deployed this summer, each with capacity between 250-500 passengers.

Commuters will also see increases in service. Boats will be arriving every 20-30 minutes on weekdays and weekends on all four routes. Additionally, beginning on Memorial Day Weekend, Governors Island will be the last stop on the East River and South Brooklyn routes. This is aimed at increasing service to the popular summer destination.

No changes were mentioned specifically for the ferry stop at Stuyvesant Cove, although it, along with four other stops on the Lower East Side route, is expected to open late this summer, which would be on schedule.

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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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