LOCAL HISTORIC PROFILE: The Hendrix family, Stuyvesant Town integrationists

Illustration by Sabina Mollot

By Sabina Mollot

Even seven decades later, the fact that Stuyvesant Town was the site of an epic battle for racial equality is well known among the complex’s residents. It is, after all, hard to forget how members of the community first developed their reputations as fighters, warriors even against formidable opponents, when the cause is important enough.

What perhaps not everyone knows is that it was mainly 21 activist families who’d put their own leases on the line by demanding the landlord, then Metropolitan Life, de-segregate the complex and allow black veterans to move in. This activist group, the Committee to End Discrimination in Stuyvesant Town, was led by Lee Lorch, a mathematics professor who’d allowed a black family, the Hendrixes, to live in his apartment when he left to teach at Penn State. The late Lorch is still a well-known figure, at least by historians and local activists. But little has been said over the decades about the Hendrixes’ role in the story, specifically their quiet brand of activism, simply living their lives — albeit illegally — in Stuyvesant Town.

The members of the Hendrix family (Hardine, his wife Raphael and their son Hardine Jr.), like Lorch, are now deceased, Hardine Jr. having died before his parents in a car accident. Hardine, an army veteran, died in 1999 at the age of 78 and is now buried at Calverton, a brief bio on the website ancientfaces.com states.

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Stuyvesant Town apartment lottery reopens

Stuyvesant Town

By Sabina Mollot

Stuyvesant Town’s apartment lottery has reopened on Tuesday for renters in the upper income tier of eligibility. Based on the affordability deal between the owners Blackstone and Ivanhoe Cambridge and the city in 2015, half of the apartments that become available are put into a lottery system for reduced rents. Ninety percent of those units are for tenants earning a household income of up to 165 percent of the area median income while the other 10 percent are for those earning up to 80 percent of the AMI.

According to an email sent out by Stuy Town management on Tuesday, this amounts to rent for a one-bedroom apartment going for $2,975 for households of one to three people earning incomes starting at $89,250. The maximum income for three people is $154,935, the maximum income for two people is $137,775 and for one person the maximum income is $120,615.

The savings from average market rent, $3,587, is 17 percent, according to the lottery website. Market rate one-bedroom apartments in Stuy Town range from $3,273-$3,675, based on current listings. Peter Cooper one-bedrooms range from $3,717-$4,046, according to listings. There are also converted or “flex” apartments, which are usually higher in price.

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Opinion: A walk in the park

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

For many years the The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the first owner of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, advertised our environs as a “park-like residential community.”

A community of 110 buildings housing 25,000 persons situated amongst acres of green grass, trees, plantings and shrubbery removed from the teeming streets of Manhattan. Met Life was pretty much on point.

But the current ownership has taken this now-quaint community to greater heights of amiability and helpful amenities. So last week while visiting my mom, I decided to do something I have not done in years… to walk the length and breadth of our unique neighborhood.

I crossed over 20th Street from the redesigned playgrounds and basketball courts of Peter Cooper Village over to Stuyvesant Town. I walked passed Lenz’s, the venerable local deli/grocery store owned by the equally venerable Naz who has been a friend and merchant to our community for decades.

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Updated: 5 Stuy Café applies for wine and beer license (application withdrawn)

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5 Stuy Cafe (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Update at 12:15 p.m.: Cooper Cafe has withdrawn its application and will not be at Community Board 6’s Thursday meeting, CB6 has told us.

By Sabina Mollot

The operators of 5 Stuy Café have applied for a wine, beer and cider license and the application will be among one of several to be discussed at a Community Board 6 meeting on Thursday evening.

Liquor and beer and wine licenses are granted or denied by the State Liquor Authority, but community boards have an advisory role.

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association mentioned the upcoming meeting in an email blast to tenants on Monday evening. It will be held by the CB6 Business Affairs and Street Activities Committee on Thursday, February 28 at 7 p.m. at the board office at 211 East 43rd Street, Suite 1404.

Meanwhile, Stuy Town general manager Rick Hayduk told Town & Village that after learning about the application, he would be requesting that it be withdrawn until the details are vetted by StuyTown Property Services. The café is run by a third-party operator called Cooper Café LLC.

Susan Steinberg, the president of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, said the association has not taken a position on alcohol being served at the café.

“We acknowledge the many tenants who have requested the option of having a glass of beer or wine with their food,” said Steinberg. “We also acknowledge the many tenants who are concerned about the possible consequences (increased noise and commotion) that might arise as a result of the wine and beer license. An applicant who comes before the Business Affairs and Street Activities Committee of Community Board 6 will need to assure Board 6 and the public of their procedures to contain noise and nuisance. (Disclosure: I am Vice Chair of that committee; I can ask questions but will have to abstain from voting.)  Assuming the application is approved, if management is unable to contain behavior after a few months, the TA will come down hard.”

Man charged with package theft in Stuyvesant Town

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police caught a man last week believed to be responsible for an alleged package theft in Stuyvesant Town that took place last January.

Carl Cadell, 29, was allegedly seen inside 445 East 14th Street by StuyTown Public Safety on January 5, 2018 around 3 p.m. Police said that Cadell was on the 12th floor of the building with a package that didn’t belong to him. The package was allegedly addressed to a resident in 449 East 14th Street. According to the district attorney’s office, Cadell could be seen on surveillance video entering that building and removing the package before he went inside 445 East 14th Street.

StuyTown Property Services general manager Rick Hayduk said that video showed Cadell “piggybacking” into both buildings.

According to Hayduk, public safety approached Cadell because he was acting suspiciously inside 445 East 14th Street, and police said that he shoved the officer against the wall before fleeing on foot.

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Police Watch: Massage therapist charged with sex abuse, Man busted for alleged attempted purse-snatching

MASSAGE THERAPIST CHARGED WITH SEX ABUSE
Police arrested 36-year-old Omar Walrond for alleged sex abuse that took place on December 3, 2018, at 10 a.m. inside Metassage at 12 West 27th Street. The victim told police that Walrond, her former coworker who is a licensed massage therapist, allegedly groped her numerous times during a massage session. She said that during the session, she was wearing underwear and Walrond allegedly reached inside to touch her vagina. He also reportedly groped her breast excessively during the session, and she said that she felt extremely uncomfortable during the massage. Police said that the victim used to work in the massage parlor with Walrond.

Walrond was arrested on Monday, January 28 at 8:15 a.m. and was charged with sexual abuse and forcible touching.

MAN BUSTED FOR ALLEGED ATTEMPTED PURSE-SNATCHING ON EAST 15TH STREET
Police arrested 29-year-old Jerome Richards for an alleged attempted theft in front of 210 East 15th Street on Saturday, February 2 at 7 a.m. The victim told police that she was leaving the Third Avenue L station on 14th Street and headed north towards East 15th Street towards her job when she noticed that Richards was following closely behind her. She then crossed East 15th Street and Richards followed, then allegedly attempted to snatch her bag from her three to four times. Richards failed to get the victim’s bag from her and fled the location, but was arrested when the victim searched the area with officers and spotted him nearby.

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Performance on ice in Stuyvesant Town

man holding woman

On Sunday afternoon, Stuyvesant Town residents gathered at the ice rink for a performance by the Ice Theatre of New York. Following the outdoor show, attendees of all ages headed out onto the ice for some skate time of their own. The (residents and guests only) ice rink will remain open for the season through March 3. Tuesdays are free admission days for residents though this doesn’t include skate rental.

Photos by Sidney Goldberg

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Teens harass elderly couple, assault man at McDonald’s across from Stuy Town

jan31 mcdonalds assault suspect1

First assault suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for three teenagers believed to be responsible for a brutal beatdown at the McDonald’s at 404 East 14th Street.

According to police, on Saturday, December 29 at 8 p.m., the three teens were harassing an elderly couple at the restaurant, located across the street from Stuyvesant Town. At some point, another customer, a 44-year-old man, tried to stop them and the group then turned on him instead, punching and kicking him in his face and on his body. The attackers then ran out, heading east.

jan31 mcdonalds assault suspect2

Second assault suspect

The victim, who had cuts on his face along with pain and bruises on his face and body; was taken to Beth Israel, and later released.

The first suspect is described as male, black, 14 to 17 years old, 5’7″ tall and 140 lbs. He last seen wearing a pink hooded sweater, black sweatpants and black and white sneakers.

The second suspect is described as female, black, 14 to 17 years old, 5’8″ and 135 lbs., with red or light brown hair. She was last seen wearing gray hooded sweater, a black jacket, red and yellow pants and gray and white sneakers.

jan31 mcdonalds assault suspect3

Third assault suspect

The third suspect is male, black, 14 to 17 years old, 5’5″, 170 lbs., and had eyeglasses. He was last seen wearing a red hooded sweater, a beige jacket and blue jeans.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

ST/PCV management warns recent crimes due to ‘piggybacking’

jan17 pcv burglary suspect

Peter Cooper Village burglary suspect

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town management sent a newsletter around to residents earlier this week warning about an increase in building break-ins throughout the complex and warning against allowing non-residents to “piggy-back” inside.

StuyTown Property Services CEO Rick Hayduk told Town & Village that none of the incidents mentioned in the email were new and had all been reported in the last six months. The incidents included the assault of a woman who had been hired by residents and was attacked after security buzzed her into the Stuyvesant Town building and a man followed her inside, in addition to a teenager who was mugged in a Peter Cooper Village vestibule last fall.

One incident that Town & Village did not learn of at the time was an apartment break-in that occurred within the last few months where a man followed a resident into the building and started checking for open doors. Finding one, he began taking things from an apartment and was leaving as a teenage resident was returning. The resident wasn’t harmed and the suspect hasn’t been arrested.

This incident wasn’t publicized at the time because the resident requested that it not be made public, although Hayduk noted that it was reported to the NYPD.

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman also noted at the 13th Precinct community council’s most recent meeting on Tuesday evening that package thefts have been up in the neighborhood, with two suspects being arrested for a string of six incidents in Stuyvesant Town on Christmas after they managed to get into multiple buildings. Hayduk noted in the email that package thefts have increased on the property and often occur when non-residents manage to piggy-back into the buildings.
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Stuyvesant Town residents hope for less chaos on 14th St., old layout on 20th St.

Workers remove signs surrounding the L train construction zone on East 14th Street after Governor Cuomo’s announcement for an alternative plan to the shutdown. (Photo by Hermann Reiner)

By Sabina Mollot

With the dreaded L train shutdown no longer in the works, residents along the East 14th Street construction zone are now wondering if this means they can finally get a break from the endless construction, at least on Saturdays, while others are hoping the city will undo the recent reconfiguration of East 20th Street that’s led to a slew of parking tickets and towed cars.

Susan Steinberg, president of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, is among those wondering about both.

“What effect will the change have on the construction on East 14th Street?” she asked. “Did the relevant agencies just spend two years doing work they didn’t have to? Will East 14th Street still be a staging area? Will there be impacts on noise, dust and debris? Does that mean the East 20th Street redesign was not required? Can 20th Street be restored to what it was originally?”

Until those questions are answered, Steinberg said the TA has no position on the new plan.

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Producer of Stuyvesant Town documentary dies

Partner on project says he will complete film

Marie Beirne, who had a background in preservation, died on November 26. (Photo from Marie Beirne bio)

By Sabina Mollot

It was over a decade ago when, as part of an effort to get Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village landmarked, the Tenants Association formed a committee to help with this goal, including by potentially making a short film.

Ultimately what happened was that, while the apartment complex still hasn’t been landmarked or even on the waitlist for consideration, the short film turned into a full-length documentary that according to one of its two co-producers, William Kelly, is currently about 85 percent complete.

Sadly, the other co-producer of the film, Stuyvesant Town resident Marie Beirne, died on November 26, 2018. Beirne’s death at age 72 was unexpected, Kelly said, stemming from complications from what was supposed to be a routine hip replacement last May. There wound up being complications including infections that landed her back in the hospital, including for more surgery. Though Beirne seemed in good spirits just four days prior to her death, when family and friends celebrated Thanksgiving with her over Chinese food at her hospital room, she was never able to recover.

She died peacefully in her sleep at New York Presbyterian.

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Update: Bronx Zoo rep thinks lizard’s fake

The Department of Conservation said this lizard won’t be able to survive long in the cold. (Photo by Valerie Nilsson)

Update: We showed the photo of the lizard to a source at The Bronx Zoo who believes it is a fake due to the way it’s positioned.

By Sabina Mollot

Earlier in the week, Valerie Nilsson, a woman walking through Stuyvesant Oval spotted what appeared to be some kind of lizard in a patch of grass. However, the three-foot-long creature appeared to be so still she wondered if it was a toy or prop someone had put there as a prank. Later noticing it was gone, she posted a photo she took of the lizard on the local Facebook group Stuyvesant Moms to ask if anyone else had seen it.

So far, no one had and Stuyvesant Town management has said no one has reported it as a missing pet.

Town & Village sent the photo to the New York State Department of Conservation, where a spokesperson said based on the photo it appeared to be a Monitor Lizard in the Varanidae family of lizards.

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Cuomo calls on MTA to hold public vote on new L train plan

Sept20 L train work site closeup

Part of the L train construction site on East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Friday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who a day earlier had made a bombshell announcement that the dreaded L-pocalypse could be avoided, further argued for his alternative plan, which would limit L service during repairs but not halt it.

Cuomo, during a phone conference with reporters, called on the MTA to hold a public board meeting on the proposal, made by a team of engineers from the universities of Columbia and Cornell, and make a quick decision for it or against it. However, the call may have been more about defending the governor’s change of heart mere months before the 15-month shutdown between Brooklyn and Manhattan was slated to begin, since the MTA had already stated that it accepted the engineers’ findings.

Asked about the governor’s request, a spokesperson for the MTA referred to its statement from Thursday, which said:

“The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today accepted the recommendations of a panel of engineering experts that determined a complete closure of the L Train Tunnel is unnecessary… Work could be completed on nights and weekends only, with a single tube providing continued service in both directions during work periods.

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Pair arrested for package thefts in Stuyvesant Town

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested two men for alleged package burglaries from a number of buildings inside Stuyvesant Town during the early morning hours of Christmas Day last week.

Police said that 19-year-old Rahul Cuya and 32-year-old Justin Irizarry broke into six different buildings between the hours of 1 and 1:45 a.m. on Tuesday, December 25 and took packages from the lobbies.

Cuya and Irizarry allegedly got inside 245 Avenue C at 1 a.m. and stole packages from inside the building. Shortly after that, the two men reportedly got into 277 Avenue C and stole packages. Police said that Cuya and Irizarry got into 651 East 14th Street around 1:15 a.m. and stole packages from that building before breaking into 271 Avenue C and allegedly stealing packages from inside that building as well. Police said that the two suspects also got inside 281 Avenue C and 645 East 14th Street around 1:40 a.m.

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UPDATED: Two attempted robberies on Oval

Dec7 ST Christmas security booth

Security booth at Stuyvesant Oval (pictured December 2017)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuy Town’s Public Safety department is on the lookout for two male suspects who attempted to rob an older man as well as a couple in the Oval early on New Year’s Eve morning.

A Town & Village reader alerted us that as he was walking around the Oval at around 12:30 a.m., an older man was mugged by two people. Fortunately, the victim was able to get help from a couple of other people who happened to be around. The reader noticed this happened near the security booth, which was unmanned at the time.

Asked about this, Stuy Town General Manager Rick Hayduk confirmed the incident, but said the victim wasn’t touched by the suspects.

According to Hayduk, they’d approached the man on the Oval and said, “Give us your money.” The resident refused and continued to walk away and they didn’t chase him. However, the pair then tried the same thing with a nearby couple, who also declined to turn over their money, and the would-be muggers fled empty-handed towards First Avenue.

“The first resident immediately reported it to Public Safety who canvassed the area (officers on foot and by video) to no avail,” Hayduk said, adding that the resident asked management not to call the NYPD.

Hayduk added, “The Oval booth is only occupied when the officer is seeking shelter, otherwise that officer is patrolling the Oval or the immediate vicinity.”

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect management’s statement that there was no physical contact between the suspects and the victim.