Mayor grilled on garage

Council Member Dan Garodnick and Mayor Bill de Blasio at a town hall on Tuesday (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

On Tuesday, the mayor was grilled about the proposed sanitation garage for East 25th Street by neighbors who attended a town hall.

The hotly-contested issue was the topic of discussion at numerous Community Board 6 meetings when it was first announced in 2012 but the plan has stalled in the last two years, and Mayor de Blasio said at the town hall, which was also hosted by Council Member Dan Garodnick, that the issue will be reviewed again once the next term for City Council begins.

“The fundamental problem is that the facilities are concentrated in Lower Manhattan so we need some kind of facility to serve this area and so far this seems like the most viable site,” he said. “But there should be a real conversation about what the community needs.”

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Renovation work stops in four PCV apartments due to lack of permits

Peter Cooper Village

By Sabina Mollot

This week, the city issued stop work orders on four apartments in Peter Cooper Village that had been undergoing renovations, due to a lack of permits. The four units were among the 115 apartments in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village that are being reconfigured to add an additional bedroom in each, and management is currently in the process of applying for the permits for the work.

The Department of Buildings issued the stop work orders after inspecting the apartments on Friday morning, the ST-PCV Tenants Association said. In five apartments, they found three violations in each, all related to work without a permit. Stop work orders were issued on only four, though, since management was able to immediately get a permit for one of the units.

Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg said it was the TA who tipped off the city to the problem as well as alerting management, who had been unaware of the lack of permits. The TA was initially only looking into the situation after hearing from several tenants in neighboring apartments to the ones being renovated, who were complaining about noise, vibrations and even walls cracking. While management has been responsive to requests for repairs that Steinberg’s aware of, a few eagle-eyed residents also noticed that permits weren’t posted in buildings.

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Neighbors demand answers on planned E. 17th St. shelter

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Around a dozen leaders of neighborhood groups, who’d been stunned to learn late last month that the city planned to open a “Safe Haven” shelter in Stuyvesant Square, finally got to hear from the shelter’s operator, BRC, at a meeting last week.

Those attending the meeting, which was specifically held for representatives of local organizations, seemed wary but open-minded about the new 28-bed facility that is supposed to open in a former Beth Israel AIDS hospice building at 327 East 17th Street. The meeting was held at Mount Sinai Beth Israel last Wednesday evening.

Representatives from the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association and the Kips Bay Neighborhood Association were at the meeting and all wanted to know how the BRC, which runs the Safe Haven pilot program, would address safety concerns around the new shelter, especially because Safe Havens don’t have curfew requirements.

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Steinberg shoots down RSA’s argument that MCIs are ‘laughable’

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

At a Manhattan hearing of the Rent Guidelines Board, where both landlords and tenants were invited each year to give testimony on their respective suffering, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg took umbrage at one owner representative’s argument that MCIs are not sufficient rent increases.

She spoke up after Rent Stabilization Association president Jack Freund, whose organization represents landlords throughout the city, said at the hearing that Major Capital Improvements (MCIs) and preferential rent increases don’t offer enough income to sustain landlords.

“You cannot substitute MCI increases for maintenance and operating rent increases,” he said. “MCIs have nothing to do with this issue and the suggestion that preferential rents somehow should play into this, that you can eliminate the need for rent increases because owners can increase rent (with MCIs and preferential rent increases), is a ludicrous notion. Both of those suggestions, that MCIs and preferential rent increases, can somehow substitute for a necessary, across-the-board rent increase, are just laughable.”

Later, Steinberg, who said she’d originally planned to read pre-written testimony, changed her mind in order to respond to Freund.

“Perhaps he forgot that MCIs get onto a tenant’s rent in perpetuity,” she said during her testimony. “It goes way beyond recouping the landlord’s costs and if you’re a tenant living in a building and have received several MCIs that get added permanently on top of the RGB increases, that adds up really fast. Maybe it’s laughable for the landlord but it sure isn’t for tenants.”

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Tenants Association asks Blackstone to keep Associated in Stuy Town

Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With the future of Stuyvesant Town’s Associated Supermarket once again up in the air, following Morton Williams’ decision not to sign a lease for the space, the ST-PCV Tenants Association has asked Blackstone to let the Associated stay.

The request was made over the Tenants Association’s concern that with a Trader Joe’s store as well as a Target eventually moving across the street from Stuyvesant Town, Blackstone would no longer feel obligated to keep an affordable supermarket in the complex, as the owner had committed to previously. But, the TA is arguing, Trader Joe’s, with its unusual and somewhat curated range of products, doesn’t offer a “complete grocery experience.”

The plea was made via a letter from Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg to Stuyvesant Town’s General Manager Rick Hayduk on Monday.

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Signs on squirrel feeding appear outside playgrounds

A sign outside Peter Cooper Village’s Playground 2 (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Aw nuts! Squirrel feeding is now being actively discouraged in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village playgrounds.

Following a few reported incidents of squirrel bites on the grounds nearly a year ago, a number of parents pushed the owner to install some signage indicating that people shouldn’t feed the local wildlife. This week, that signage finally appeared — although it only asks people not to feed the squirrels near the playground as opposed to not at all on the property.

The sign, which features a silhouette of a squirrel as well as management’s “Good Neighbors” campaign logo of a blue heart, reads: “Please do not feed the squirrels within 50 feet of this playground.”

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Leases indicate plan to submeter, but management said language is nothing new

Susan Steinberg

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg

By Sabina Mollot

Language in leases signed by Stuyvesant Town residents indicates that the owner has plans to submeter Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, which would make individual tenants responsible for paying for the electricity they use.

However, according to StuyTown Property Services, there is no plan to submeter the property any time soon.

The issue came up this week after a resident pointed out the language on Facebook and wondered if this meant Blackstone intended for file an application with the Public Service Commission (PSC) to have the property submetered.

In response, a property spokesperson, Marynia Kruk, told us, “The Facebook post (on the ST-PCV Tenants Association’s page) is accurate in that our current lease does have a clause about submetering or direct metering. However, this is not new language. New leases have contained the same language since 2009. Ownership has no current plan for submetering.”

Meanwhile, if Blackstone does eventually decide to submeter, it would be the second attempt by a Stuy Town owner to pass on the costs to renters. Tishman Speyer had planned to do this but then abruptly dropped the project upon losing the Roberts v. Tishman Speyer lawsuit at the Appellate Court level.

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Letters to the Editor, Mar. 9

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

New Yorkers for immigrant rights

To the editor,

Today, some of our worst fears are fast becoming reality. In his first days in office, President Trump signed orders attacking women’s rights and environmental protections, and moved to restrict entry to the United States from majority Muslim countries and ban Syrian refugees. He also targeted sanctuary cities like New York City.

The Workmen’s Circle was founded by immigrants who arrived in the early 1900s in a United States that was not always welcoming to them. They had to fight for fair paying jobs, safe working conditions, decent housing, education and adequate healthcare, and the Workmen’s Circle responded by organizing activist communities to successfully work for a better world for all. Many of these same rights are now under attack, and we again pledge to organize and empower communities to fight back.

In New York City, we joined a Vigil with the New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), one of a number of rallies across the country. The presence of so many New Yorkers from diverse communities sent a strong message of support for Muslim and immigrant rights.

The landscape ahead will be one of rollbacks to civil liberties and human rights. Here in New York, we can continue to show the country – and world – that we will stand strong against such hate and intolerance.

Ann Toback
Executive Director
The Workmen’s Circle

The Workmen’s Circle is a Jewish educational and social justice organization based out of 247 West 37th Street.

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Pols, political clubs head to march

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Public Advocate Tish James, State Senator Liz Krueger and Manhattan Borough Gale Brewer (Photo by Larson Binzer)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Public Advocate Tish James, State Senator Liz Krueger and Manhattan Borough Gale Brewer (Photo by Larson Binzer)

By Sabina Mollot

Politically minded members of the community were split this past weekend on where they wanted to do their marching, with some heading to Washington, DC and others opting for the hometown event.

Local elected officials who marched in Manhattan however, included State Senator Brad Hoylman, Council Member Dan Garodnick, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Borough President Gale Brewer.

Brewer, spotted wading through the crowd at one point, told Town & Village, “This is one of the most exciting marches, if not the most exciting, I’ve ever seen. Sixty-three percent of the people who are marching around the country have never marched before. People are angry and upset and it really makes a difference.”

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PCV man dies shortly after 100th birthday

Albert Steinberg, pictured with wife Evelyn on a vacation

Albert Steinberg, pictured with wife Evelyn on a vacation

Just two weeks after his 100th birthday, Albert Steinberg, a Peter Cooper Village resident and father of Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg, died.

Steinberg had recently been ill with pneumonia. He spent five days, the past Monday to Friday, at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, and passed away the day after coming home.

Susan, one of two children Steinberg had with his late wife Evelyn, said her father had made his goal of turning 100, and suspected that after that, he had simply run out of goals.

“People know when they want to let go,” she said.

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ST-PCV Tenants Association to fight video intercom MCI

By Sabina Mollot

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association is seeking neighbors’ help in an effort to challenge the recently announced video intercom MCI.

The major capital improvement rent increase, if approved, will impact the following Peter Cooper Village buildings: 420 and 440 East 23rd Street, 350, 360, 360 and 390 First Avenue, 2 and 3 Peter Cooper Road and 431 and 441 East 20th Street.

Susan Steinberg

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Susan Steinberg, president of the Tenants Association, said this particular MCI, one of four on the horizon, is expected to cost tenants $2.13-$2.50 per room per month.

At a meeting last month, Steinberg said the four MCIs would be challenged for different reasons, including issues with paperwork.

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Tenants tell tourists: Take your picnic somewhere else

By Sabina Mollot

Last Friday, after word got out about an article suggesting places to visit in New York included a mention of Stuyvesant Town as “a secret picnic location,” a handful of residents reached out to demand — successfully — that the information be removed from the online story.

By Monday morning, the mention of the private property was gone, with Chelsea Waterside Park instead mentioned as a quiet place for tourists to have a picnic in the online article by the UK Evening-Standard.

Susan Steinberg, president of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, later said that she was one of the residents to ask for the removal of the information by contacting the editor. A few others had made a similar request.

“It seems a lot of people are calling our Oval a public park,” said Steinberg. She noted how the article had mentioned there were few spots downtown to set down a picnic with food bought at the Union Square Greenmarket, so she argued that that’s simply untrue.

“By the greenmarket, there’s a park,” said Steinberg. “There’s Madison Square Park. There’s Tompkins Square Park, all of which are public while we are private.”

Service roads and islands around Stuyvesant Town getting $200G renovation

The project is aimed at making the streets easier to manage for disabled pedestrians as well as anyone pushing a stroller. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The project is aimed at making the streets easier to manage for disabled pedestrians as well as anyone pushing a stroller. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The streets surrounding Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village are getting a $200,000 facelift.

The project, which is being paid for with funds allocated by Council Member Dan Garodnick, isn’t just cosmetic, however.

Service roads around the property from 14th to 23rd Streets will be repaved as will any curb cuts in need of smoothing, and the medians or islands on 14th Street, 20th Street and First Avenue will be repaved to make them wider for wheelchair users. Some, though not all of the cobblestones along with islands will be removed in order to do this. Currently, obstructions for anyone in a wheelchair user include signs and bus stops. Additionally, any cracks along the medians will be filled.

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Beth Israel will no longer offer some complex procedures

Mount Sinai Beth Israel (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Mount Sinai Beth Israel (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Mount Sinai Beth Israel, which, in a few years, will be downsized to a much smaller space on East 14th Street, won’t be offering pre-planned, very complex procedures, with patients instead being sent to other Mount Sinai medical centers. However, the hospital emergency room will still be able to treat people who are in unstable conditions so that they regain stability before getting transferred elsewhere.

This seemed to be the main takeaway from a presentation at Beth Israel last Wednesday that was specifically geared towards the community of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

The organizer of that event was the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, whose president, Susan Steinberg, later told Town & Village that the community’s primary concern was treatment at the emergency department.

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ST-PCV TA bracing for more facade MCIs

Susan Steinberg

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Sunday, June 26, the ST-PCV Tenants Association sent out an email to neighbors to warn that dues for membership would be going up to $50 a year, but also to mention that additional MCIs were expected.

When explaining the dues raise, the TA said it was due to legal fees mostly for legal challenges like those aimed at fighting MCIs (major capital improvements).

“And we know more MCIs are on the way,” came the warning.

Asked about this later, Susan Steinberg, president of the TA said while this wasn’t in reference to anything new she’d heard about, CWCapital had applied for “a number of them covering many buildings, and only some were issued.”

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