Goodbye summer, hello fall

Ajna Dance Company performed at Waterside Plaza in July.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Although the official end of the season isn’t until the end of this month, the unofficial end of summer comes at the start of the school year, which begins for public school students this week. With another summer over, Town & Village takes a look back at some of the activities and events in the neighborhood that took place in the last few months in the sunshine and heatwaves.

After an announcement earlier this year that concerts at Stuyvesant Cove wouldn’t happen this summer due to a cut in funding, the park’s association got sponsorship for the series from New York City Ferry, operated by Hornblower. The funding was initially short because the application process for receiving discretionary funds from Councilmember Keith Powers had become too complicated and time-consuming for Stuyvesant Cove Park Association, an all-volunteer run organization.

This season opened with a performance from the NYPD Jazz Band on July 9 and the Haggard Kings brought country sounds to Stuyvesant Cove on July 15. Sean Mahony and the New York Swing Orchestra performed on July 17. Rutkowski Family and Friends performed in Stuyvesant Cove on July 24 after the original date was postponed due to rain. Harlem Renaissance Orchestra performed the final show of the season on July 30.

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Third time’s the charm for Stuyvesant Town flea

Playground 9 was bustling with vendors and shoppers at the Stuyvesant Town Flea Market this past Saturday. See Town & Village’s website for more photos of the event. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

After two failed attempts earlier this month due to rain, the Stuy Town flea market finally had its day in the sun last weekend with hundreds of residents searching for hidden treasures from their neighbors.

The market was originally scheduled for Saturday, May 4, and was rescheduled to the following day because of the weather, although when it quickly became clear that May 5 would be a washout as well, management postponed the event to last Saturday with fingers crossed and another slew of possible rain dates. But the additional raindates proved unnecessary as the weather cooperated this past weekend, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to high 70s.

General manager Rick Hayduk said that it seemed like a number of vendors who reserved a spot for the original date never alerted management that they wouldn’t be able to make the new date that was scheduled due to the rain, leaving the spot empty on the day of the market, but he said that the number of no-shows was still similar to that of last year.

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Irish dance school students kick off market with style

Photos by Arica Aylesworth

On Saturday, during the Stuyvesant Town Flea Market, a troupe of Irish step dancers performed on the Oval lawn. The performance was organized by Aherne Sheehan School of Irish Dance and Stuyvesant Town residents Arica Aylesworth and her husband Peter Lavin. Their children Ryan and Kristin do competitive dancing with Aherne and thought of the idea to perform came from hearing from many of Stuy Town’s Irish-American residents that they used to do Irish dancing as children.

Aylesworth and Lavin, who’s an Irish-American lifelong resident of the community had discussed ways of giving back to the community and said the school and instructor Elise Wright agreed to donate the performance.

Aherne has been featured by the BBC and has had performances at the Apollo Theater and several off-Broadway shows.

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Crowds come out for flea market

Vendors Waltrine Cooke and Carolyn Laws-Parker both welcomed the opportunity to see neighbors at the resurrected event. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday, the second flea market to take place after a hiatus of about 15 years took place in Stuyvesant Town under a mostly sunny and warm sky.

Around 530 vendors were selling their wares, a number that was slightly higher than last year’s. This time vendors had tables inside three playgrounds, instead of lining the Oval out to the loop roads. Vendors who spoke with Town & Village seemed to have mixed feelings about this, though all were nonetheless glad to see the flea market tradition living on.

At Playground 9, Marilyn Ray, who was stationed near an entrance, seemed happy with the arrangement as her table was a popular stop for those looking for vintage prints and ephemera. Asked how business was going, she answered, “Pretty good. It’s the prints that are selling better than anything else.”

Alicia Zanelli, a longtime resident selling some Peruvian-made items, was less impressed about how packed Playground 9 was with sellers. “Everyone’s getting squeezed,” she said. “We have so many beautiful areas. Open them up!”

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Epstein elected to Assembly

Harvey Epstein (right) with an aide at the Stuyvesant Town flea market (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday, residents of the 74th Assembly District trickled into polling places, almost exclusively to make Harvey Epstein the next Assembly Member.

Epstein, the Democrat nominee who was also running on the Working Families line, obliterated three other candidates with 90.59 percent of the vote, according to unofficial poll results released by the New York City Board of Elections.

Republican Bryan Cooper got 4.69 percent, the Green Party’s Adrienne Craig-Williams got 2.16 percent and Juan Pagan, a Democrat running on the Reform Party line, got 2.25 percent. Thirteen people (.3 percent of the voters) opted for write-in candidates.

All the now-former candidates are residents of the East Village and had run on platforms that included affordable housing and tenant protections. Pagan is a retired entrepreneur and former corrections employee who’s run for office several times. Cooper is an event planner and the vice president of the Albano Republican Club who’s also run for office before. Craig-Williams is a graduate student and longtime Green Party activist who was running for the first time.

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Stuy Town flea market will return with designated space for artists on April 21

At this year’s flea market, sellers will only be located inside playgrounds. (Pictured) Vendors at Stuy Town’s Playground 11 at the 2017 event

By Sabina Mollot

On Friday, Stuyvesant Town management announced that the flea market, which returned last year after a hiatus of over a decade, will take place this year on Saturday, April 21.

In an email to residents, a few changes to the way the market is set up were mentioned. For one thing, instead of circling the Oval and sprawling out into the loop roads, with playgrounds included, this year, the market will only take place inside three playgrounds.

Asked about this, General Manager Rick Hayduk said this isn’t to limit the number of participants. (Last year, there were over 500.) Rather, management is confident the same if not more vendors will be able to fit this way.

The new layout may also improve visibility for vendors who may have otherwise been stationed on the outskirts of the event. (A few vendors in the playgrounds and on the loops furthest from the Oval told Town & Village last year they suspected they were getting less foot traffic.)

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Letters to the Editor, July 6

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Dogs okay, owners… not so much

As a former dog owner, I began Bobbie’s Martowicz’s “Stuy Town no longer fit for a dog” letter (6/29/17) with sympathy for dogs—if a bit less for their owners— but that sympathy faded as I read the first paragraph, and vanished in the second. I myself cannot bring a dog into our community because in my own eyes I cannot pass The Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge: 1. Curb my dog — as required by our laws, 2. Always have the dog on leash — as required by law,  3. Obey the size limit regulations — as required by PCVST. (I had a boxer, and would not have wanted him (Bandit) living so constrained a life as I feel is rightfully required by mass-apartment living.)

Bobbie Martowicz’s letter may be good for the troops, but it really bangs the devil out the facts. The result is a public piece of utter self-indulgence. Martowicz omits failure to curb: 1. fecal matter left (by owners), 2. urination on grass, walkways, trees, plants (allowed by owners), and dog size regulations, (ignored by owners and management). Then there is the matter of who walks whom as the dogs leads the way and pedestrians give way.

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Stuy Town flea market will be postponed until spring

Oct9 flea market

Stuyvesant Town flea market

The long awaited return of the Stuyvesant Town flea market will be delayed by several months, management announced on Friday, due to expectations it will rain on Saturday.

In a notice to be emailed to tenants, StuyTown Property Services CEO Rick Hayduk wrote:

“With great regret, StuyTown Property Services has made the difficult decision to postpone tomorrow’s Flea Market until the Spring. The most recent weather forecast shows a high probability of rain coupled with wind gusts up to 25mph throughout the day. Trust we share your disappointment but the safety of residents and the SPS employees is and will always be our priority.”

Residents who were signed up to have a vendor space this weekend will get the first shot at a space for the spring flea. The date for the flea market has yet to be announced.

Despite the new flea coming at a price — much tighter restrictions on what could be sold, like no clothes or bags due to fear of bedbugs — residents still quickly lined up to participate. The flea was expected to have 525 vendors setting up around the Oval.

Hayduk said, “We’re saddened with this decision but seeing that the last Flea Market was over ten years ago, we don’t think another few months will take the excitement away.”

 

New website is inspired by Stuy Town flea market

Oct9 David Weiss

David Weiss founded Zip Code Flea with his wife Linda. (Photo courtesy of David Weiss)

By Sabina Mollot
Like most people who’ve lived in Stuyvesant Town long enough to remember the community’s annual, sprawling, outdoor flea markets, David Weiss and his wife Linda continued to miss it, over a decade after its being discontinued.
And, since they know many neighbors feel the same way, the couple decided to bring the event back the only way they could — online.

Three weeks ago, they launched a website called Zip Code Flea, on which anyone living in the zip codes of 10009 (Stuy Town) or 10010 (Peter Cooper, Waterside and Gramercy) can list items for sale, at a cost of $1 per listing.

Already, it’s seen a fair amount of activity with neighbors listing castaway goods that range from used children’s ice skates to Prada handbags to offers for services like tarot card readings. Users can also list items they’re giving away and a few freebies have made it onto the page already.

“We loved the flea market and everyone who remembers it says the same thing — how much they miss it,” said Weiss, a technology writer who runs a website called Sonic Scoop. “I kept saying, ‘we need to do something.’”

Having always been a reader of classified ads, he set up a site for classifieds, which Linda, an avid online shopper, helped design to make it look more like an online store. Initially, Weiss planned on calling the creation Stuy Town Flea. “Then I realized — these things are trademarked,” said Weiss. He then decided on Zip Code Flea, figuring that would also work if the service grows, as he hopes it will, beyond its hyper-local outreach.

“We really hope this can present people with an opportunity to be able to move their stuff,” said Weiss. “It also encourages people to reuse and recycle. Why get something new that has to be trucked in by UPS when there could be the same thing on sale in your building or next door?
“The other thing that’s really important,” he added, “is that people need money. This is a useful tool for raising a little cash.”

Oct9 flea market

The Stuy Town flea market (pictured) stopped taking place over a decade ago. (T&V file photo)

Currently, the most common items for sale are clothes for children and babies and the site is aimed at being as family-friendly as possible. (Residents hoping to make a few bucks off of their old Playboys will have to look elsewhere.) As for how buyers pay for the goods once an item is sold and how it gets delivered is up to the buyer and seller to work out. Zip Code Flea doesn’t have a function enabling online payments, with Weiss expecting that most people will opt for hand to hand transactions.

“Because of our local landmarks that exist, people are a lot more comfortable being able to say, ‘I’ll meet you at the fountain,’ for example,” said Weiss.

But of course, there’s always the likelihood that not everyone using the site will have neighborly intentions.
In the terms of use, users are advised to watch out for anything that seems scammy. They’re also still expected to use their own due diligence, said Weiss, “and be careful in their dealings and meet in public if you like. We don’t have the capacity to police users (but) I don’t think we’re any different than other classified ads websites.”
That said, Weiss said he hopes the hyper-local angle will make his site a safer alternative to the online listings giant Craigslist.

“A lot of people don’t feel comfortable using it because it casts too wide of a net,” said Weiss. “The inspiration (behind Zip Code Flea) is the Stuy Town flea market. It was such a great way for people to offload the things they didn’t need anymore and get something new and it allowed us to see each other in this concentrated, festive atmosphere. We’re sorry as anybody that it’s gone. It’s important to allow people to connect in this way.”