Landlords warn warehousing could be the new normal

Stuyvesant Town

By Sabina Mollot

Landlords are warning warehousing apartments could become the new normal.

The news comes as the city confirmed it is investigating reports that Stuyvesant Town landlord Blackstone is warehousing apartments at its 11,000-unit East Side complex.

A spokesperson for the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development, which oversees affording housing developments in the city, said it is “now looking into the matter.”

Blackstone insists it is still evaluating its options at Stuy Town, a sprawling complex it bought with Ivanhoe Cambridge for $5.3 billion in 2015. As part of the deal, the city provided $220 million in tax incentives in exchange for a commitment to keep 5,000 apartments in a “reduced rent program.”

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New photos of Stuy Town attempted rape suspect

Attempted rape suspect

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police have released new images from surveillance video depicting the man wanted for an attempted rape at the beginning of this summer. The NYPD previously re-released images and information earlier this summer about the incident that took place on Saturday, June 29 at 5:10 a.m. in front of a building on Stuyvesant Oval but no arrests have been made in the case.

The attempted sexual assault occurred when the 20-year-old victim was walking near the M level exterior door on Stuyvesant Oval. Police said that the suspect approached her from behind, grabbing her neck, and although she resisted, she was knocked unconscious. When she fell to the ground, the suspect reportedly attempted to sexually assault her but another resident who was nearby came to her aid and called 911.

The man reportedly fled the scene on foot and was last seen running west on East 17th Street towards Second Avenue. Shortly before the incident, the suspect was spotted on surveillance video walking north on First Avenue and turning right onto East 16th Street. Police said that at the time of the incident, the suspect was wearing a blue shirt and black jeans.

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Stuyvesant Town resident challenging Maloney

Stuy Town resident Peter Harrison (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town resident Peter Harrison is the latest candidate to challenge Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for her seat in the 12th District, with a campaign centered on the housing crisis.

“I’m a housing person, both as an activist and as a policy person,” he said. “And there’s a moment right now in this district to talk about housing as this lens for other major, major issues. The narrative of the campaign really is centered on housing as this focal point for talking about economic justice, climate justice and racial justice.”

Harrison moved in Stuy Town as a market-rate tenant in 2009 with some friends and less than a year later, they received a letter saying that they were members of the Roberts class-action lawsuit. That prompted him to get involved with the STPCV Tenants Association.

“There was an amazing opportunity to learn how to organize tenants because it was a ton of effort, and a huge capacity left for the TA,” he said. “So I really got thrown in, became a building captain and was knocking on hundreds and hundreds of doors, learning a lot about it.”

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Longtime Stuyvesant Town resident dies at 97

Beatrice Nava

Beatrice Nava, a long-time Stuyvesant Town resident, passed away peacefully on Monday, July 29, at age 97 in her apartment. She is lovingly remembered and already missed by those and her grandchildren, extended family, neighbors, friends and even her doctors.

Born in Philadelphia, she lived in that area and taught for many years before relocating to Mexico for several years with an extended stay in Nicaragua, before returning to the US and settling in New York City in 1984.

She got her B.A. and M.A. from Bryn Mawr (in 1943 and 1964, respectively). She prided herself on her social awareness and activism, and was even arrested in Washington Square Park for protesting police brutality. On another occasion, she was protesting the Vietnam War in Washington, DC, and happened to run into her son, Ed.

She was an avid reader, never missing a day of the New York Times and other important publications like the New Yorker. She contributed her story to the book, Written Out of History: Memoirs of Ordinary Activists. She enjoyed the company of a wide range of friends, both in person and via computer, as she mastered the digital age of email.

She is survived by her four children (Ed, Joan, Jim, and Maggie) and her cat (Esperanza).

Attempted rape in Stuyvesant Town

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Attempted sexual assault suspect

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police are looking for a man who attempted to rape a woman in Stuyvesant Town in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 29. 

The 20-year-old victim was walking near the M level exterior door of 7 Stuyvesant Oval around 5 a.m. when the suspect approached her from behind and grabbed her by the neck.

Police said that the victim resisted but she was knocked unconscious and fell to the ground when the suspect attempted to sexually assault her. Police said that another resident who was nearby came to the victim’s aid and called 911, after which the suspect fled on foot.

The suspect was last seen running west on East 17th Street towards Second Avenue. The victim suffered bruises to her forehead, neck and elbows and was transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation. 

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First Avenue florist retiring

Pete Tsoumas is retiring on Friday. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

After 65 years in business, the colorful floral stand tucked in a corner at the Brooklyn-bound exit of the First Avenue L is selling its last bouquet on Friday. Current owner Pete Tsoumas has been operating the stand for almost 50 years, having taken it over from his grandfather and uncle after running three other stores in the city, and now he finally gets to retire. 

“If you told me I’d be here for 48 years, I’d say you’re crazy,” Tsoumas said. 

Tsoumas said that the construction on the station was a challenge but the main reason he’s closing up shop is his health and he’s looking forward to spending time with his family. 

“I need a rest. ‘If you don’t close on Friday, you won’t make it (to your appointment) in September,’” he said his doctor told him at a previous appointment, indicating that his stem-cutting arm gives him trouble.

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Stuyvesant Town golfers come out for clinic

On June 11, the Stuy Town Golf Club held a clinic that was attended by over 50 residents from all age groups. Because of its success, Stuyvesant Town management has asked that the club hold another event that has been set for July 15. The “Full Swing Clinic” will take place in Playground 10 from 7-8:30 p.m. with PGA pros Matt and Shaun. To attend, RSVP to info@stuytowngolf.org.

The club’s organizers are Rich “Coach” Remsen and Bill Oddo. Remsen will be hosting “Golf “FUNdamentals” Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30-8 p.m. at Stuy Town’s Playground 3, weather permitting.

Other upcoming events include an outing to Rockland Lake Golf Course on June 23 (rescheduled from June 20 due to predicted unfavorable weather conditions. Another outing is scheduled for July 9 at Doral Arrowwood Resort in Westchester. Space limited, so if interested RSVP.  For more information, visit stuytowngolfclub.org.

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Man dead outside East 14th Street building in Stuy Town

435 East 14th Street (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police said that a 53-year-old man jumped from the roof of 435 East 14th Street around noon on Thursday, June 6. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Stuy Town-Peter Cooper Village general manager Rick Hayduk said at the scene that management and the police are still trying to figure out exactly what happened but at the time that the man appeared to be a visitor of the building and not a resident. Police could not confirm if the man lived in Stuyvesant Town, but a source who didn’t want to be identified due to privacy concerns told Town & Village that the victim had been a resident of 445 East 14th Street since 2003.

The incident was reported by a 911 caller at 12:10 p.m. Police are not releasing information about the identity of the victim because it was a suicide and the NYPD does not usually release identifying information in these cases. The cause of death has not been officially confirmed, however, so the investigation is still ongoing.

Brooklyn resident Emily Krell said that she and her daughter happened to be walking by on East 14th Street when the man appeared to either jump or fall from one of the buildings.

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Man robbed for his Citi Bike on East 14th Street

Citi Bike robbery suspects

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are looking for a group of teenagers who robbed a man for his Citi Bike on East 14th Street.

The victim, a 23-year-old man, told police he was riding his Citi Bike on June 4 at around 9 p.m. on First Avenue when he stopped on 14th Street to get something to eat.

Robbery suspect

When he left his bike to go inside Halal Guys at 307 East 14th Street, he saw a group of teens try to take the bike. The victim confronted them and was able to grab the bike back at first, but was struck on the head by one of the teens and he dropped it. The group then fled with the bike, heading west on East 15th Street towards Second Avenue. Police later found the Citi Bike nearby.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). All calls will be kept confidential.

New ice cream truck to serve up scoops in ST/PCV

Peter Coops Scoops

How sweet it is. The new ice cream truck in town will be operated by Mikey Likes it. (Photos by Thomas Rochford)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuyvesant Town residents who were out and about on the First Avenue Loop on Friday afternoon may have seen the newest vehicle to enter management’s fleet, only this time it’s not a security SUV or contractor club car, but an ice cream truck.

The baby blue and white van, which was parked on the side of the road, has the words, “Peter Coop’s Scoops” and the Peter Cooper logo on its side.

Asked about this, Stuyvesant Town general manager Rick Hayduk said that is really an ice cream truck and it will be open for business in Peter Cooper and Stuy Town (where legally allowed to operate), on June 19. It may also, where allowed, Hayduk stressed, pop up at public events in the city, and it will also appear at another Blackstone-owned property, Kips Bay Court.

The truck is part of Stuy Town Property Services’ recently announced re-branding efforts such as the new, minimalist property logos and last year’s apartment-in-a-box van that drove around the city. It’s being operated independently by Mikey Likes It, an ice cream shop owned by a Stuyvesant Town resident, Michael Cole. The business has a location in the East Village on Avenue A as well as on Fredrick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem. In exchange for having the ST/PCV wrap as a form of advertising for the property, management gave Mikey Likes It the truck to use.

“We’re not in the ice cream business,” Hayduk clarified.

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Stuy Town-Peter Cooper residents have been asking for Avenue A entrance to L train since 1947

Rendering of Avenue A entrance to First Avenue subway station, currently under construction

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

With the L train slowdown officially underway, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents and others who rely on the train are already enduring service cuts and crowding. However, the bright light at the end of the tunnel, especially for residents living farther east, along with a safe subway system, is the promise of a new entrance at Avenue A and East 14th Street for the First Avenue station.

Town & Village has reported in the last five years that neighborhood residents, transit advocates and local elected officials had been asking the MTA to consider a new entrance at least since 2014 and were denied on more than one occasion, but the request is actually almost as old as Stuyvesant Town itself.

A Stuy Town resident who moved into the complex when it opened in 1947 wrote a letter to the Brooklyn Manhattan Transit Corporation, which operated the L at the time, asking if the transit agency would expand the First Avenue station by building an entrance at Avenue A. Resident Reginald Gilbert of 625 East 14th Street argued that pressure on the station from the influx of new residents made the new entrance a necessity.

“With the increase of tenants in (Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village), the First Avenue station is becoming more and more crowded during the rush hours with passengers jamming up in the first cars going west and the rear cars coming east,” Gilbert wrote in his letter, which T&V also published in the November 27, 1947 issue. “This condition exists with only a small portion of (the complex) occupied and will be aggravated with the influx of new residents during the next few months.”

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ST rock singer Garland Jeffreys says he’s retiring

Garland Jeffreys, pictured in Stuyvesant Town in 2012 (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

After a half century of performing in New York City and around the world, rock singer — and longtime Stuyvesant Town resident — Garland Jeffreys has announced he is retiring from the stage.

While he said he plans to do the occasional guest spot—and has planned a farewell/76th birthday concert next month with at least a dozen other singers — Jeffreys said he is now just focusing on writing and recording music.

“I’m kind of retiring,” he told Town & Village this week. “These days what I’m doing is picking and choosing. Like for example, I’m going to do something in Canada with Steven Van Zandt.”

The “Wild in the Streets” singer, who’s also shared stages with Bruce Springsteen and Lou Reed, added, “I love performing, but I’m not going to be on the treadmill, playing, playing, playing.”

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Easter egg hunt in Stuyvesant Town

Due to an April shower on Saturday, the traditional Easter activities for children in Stuyvesant Town, an egg hunt and visit from the Easter Bunny, were postponed by a day. However, children and their families still turned up en masse on Easter Sunday and an egg-citing time seemed to be had by all. (Photos by Steven Noveck)

By Stephen Noveck

Despite a rain-related delay of one day, the annual Stuyvesant Town Easter egg hunt had a massive turnout for children of all age groups on Sunday.

Countless pastel colored eggs were laid out for the taking in the middle of Playground 10, and the Easter Bunny also showed, drawing a long line for pictures at the end of the age 2-4 egg hunt. Each group took about two minutes to clear out the playground of eggs, which were quickly delved into for the treats inside. Stuy Town was recycling the egg shells and it didn’t take long for the bag to fill up.

A seven-year-old named Camila won the grand prize of a $25 gift card to the Ibiza Kids toy store on 1st Avenue in the age 5-8 group. Hundreds of children participated.

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Man found dead outside Stuy Town building

647 East 14th Street

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 60-year-old man was found dead outside 647 East 14th Street in Stuyvesant Town around 6:30 a.m. on Monday, and is believed to have jumped out of an apartment on the sixth floor of the building.

Police said that while it appears to be a suicide, an investigation is ongoing. Emergency services personnel found the victim face down and unresponsive, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim’s name is being withheld pending family notification.

Former Stuyvesant Town resident’s memoir details fostering, adopting child on the spectrum

Margaret Gonzalez, author of Body in Space

By Sabina Mollot

Like many people who’ve retired, former teacher and Stuyvesant Town resident Margaret Gonzalez had fully intended to write a novel. But after joining a writing group, she was instead encouraged to get out her own story, which involves the lengthy and often frustrating process of becoming a foster parent and eventually adopting her daughter, who’s on the autism spectrum. Now a grandmother living in Cape Coral, Florida, Gonzalez said she’s now glad she took this advice, and over the holidays, self-published the memoir, Body in Space: My Life with Tammy. 

Gonzalez, who had a career as a French teacher at Friends Seminary for 34 years, became a foster parent after hearing from a friend about five children who were placed into foster care, four boys and a girl. Due to privacy regulations in the system, Gonzalez never learned the full story about the situation, other than that the father was incarcerated and the mother may also have been involved in illegal activities. Her friend had taken in the four boys and Gonzalez decided to take in their sister, Tammy. At that time, Tammy was already living with a foster family, though it wasn’t their intention to keep her.

She was four at the time, and so speech-impaired that she couldn’t say her own name. Then, like now (at the age of 40), Tammy isn’t one to talk about her biological family or the system.

“I still to this day don’t know what her family was like,” said Gonzalez. “Now she’ll say, ‘Been there, and it sucked.’”

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