This week in history: Recalling before Stuyvesant Town was built

In the September 23, 1948 issue of Town & Village, Harry Delman, who was the very last person to leave the area that was getting razed to make way for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, along with his wife and 10-year-old son spoke about the day they moved out.

Delman, who owned a shoe store at 233 First Avenue, recalled how in May of 1945, cranes lifted huge planks of wood and pile drivers banged away while he and his family lugged suitcases through a dust cloud as they walked out of 441 East 15th Street, never to return. However, the Delmans ended up moving to Stuyvesant Town, not far from the address they had vacated.

Delman said the ongoing construction noise of ripping and tearing didn’t bother him since most of time he was out during the day. He recalled how his apartment faced the East River, offering a view of ships coming and going up and down the river. “There was no activity on the streets and it was like a country atmosphere,” Delman said.

Letters to the editor, May 31

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Creeped out by all the critters

I am one of the very privileged to own the title, “Stuy Town lifer.” And what a true blessing it is to live in this great place. I love it! And how wonderful and surprising, in this day and age, to see it getting better and better in so many ways. The ever-increasing beautification is most impressive to me and wholeheartedly welcome Stuy Town’s new self-proclaimed designation — “the oasis.”

I truly feel that breath of fresh air every time I turn the corner at 14th Street and Avenue A.

My favorite spot for reading or meditating is on the benches outside my building alongside Playground 12. The tree-shaded view of the Oval and the kids in the playground are idyllic.

But only for a short moment until the onslaught of squirrels and pigeons. The emboldened rodents are relentless in their jumping on the bench and crawling at my feet. (Think Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”)

Continue reading

This week in T&V history: Epiphany gets money to rebuild

The old Epiphany Church goes up in flames.

The old Epiphany Church goes up in flames.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Town & Village Newspaper has been providing news for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village for over 65 years. Here is a snapshot of what was happening in the neighborhood 50 years ago this week.

Epiphany gets money to rebuild

This issue of T&V reported that the fundraising campaign to rebuild Epiphany Church had surpassed all expectations, raising $360,000. The church had been almost completely destroyed in a fire a few days before Christmas the previous year. The amount raised almost reached the suggested minimum of $400,000 that the church would need to rebuild and the story noted that the rate of donations indicated that the real need of $900,000 was likely to be pledged by the time the campaign ended in November.

Architectural firm Belfatto and Pavarini designed the new church, which was “strikingly modern.” The estimated cost of the new building was a total of $1.3 million. The insurance from the fire covered $704,450, which left about $600,000 of that sum, but the church had also purchased additional property, adding about $300,000. The rebuilding process started in 1965 and took two years, completing in 1967. It ultimately cost $1.2 million. The rectory on East 21st Street, which was built in 1936, was not burnt down in the fire.

Students aid “needy Southern Negroes”

Local residents and about 20 Stuyvesant High School student volunteers participated in a food drive in front of a supermarket on East 14th Street the previous Saturday, raising food, clothing and money for people in Mississippi and other areas in the South.

The event was the third annual food drive hosted by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which was also affiliated with local and national civil rights organizations. At the time, Mississippi law stated that the names of all people who had taken the voter registration test had to be printed in the local paper for two weeks, which subjected black families to retaliatory actions. Many of the children didn’t go to school because they didn’t have clothing to wear and many families were the target for homemade bombs and telephone threats.

The story reported that the kindness of residents exceeded expectations and volunteers found themselves deluged with clothing and food, and monetary donations from the sale of books, buttons and bumper stickers were also overwhelming.

This week in T&V History: Stuy Town policewoman breaks gender barriers by taking sergeant test

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Town & Village newspaper has been providing news for the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village community for over 65 years and we’ve decided to start taking a look back to see what was going on in the community 50 years ago. Here are a couple of snapshots from the April 16, 1964 issue of Town & Village.

1964 World’s Fair debut
T&Vers (as residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were called) were clearly excited about the then-upcoming 1964 World’s Fair.
According to the report, three to four thousand tickets for the fair were sold at the First National City Bank at 262 First Avenue and about 80 percent of those were sold to ST/PCV residents. The story also enthusiastically noted that residents would be able to see their building in a to-scale model, which represented every building in the city and would debut at the fair. The panorama is still on display not far from where the World’s Fair originally took place, housed in the Queens Museum.
At the time of the exhibit’s debut, it cost attendees 10 cents to take a look and find their building. (These days, the Queens Museum’s suggested admission is $8, so trying to hand over the 1964 fee isn’t recommended.)

Police Officer Felicia Shpritzer (Photo from Town & Village)

Police Officer Felicia Shpritzer (Photo from Town & Village)

Policewoman breaks barriers by taking sergeant test
Police Officer Felicia Shpritzer helped break gender barriers in the city’s police department by taking the sergeant’s exam.

Shpritzer, who was a 21-year-old resident of 446 East 20th Street at the time, had previously sued the city because the NYPD claimed that women were “unsuitable” for the position of sergeant. She challenged the department’s decision, and in the previous November, the State Court of Appeals upheld her position that women had the right to take the test.
The New York Times obituary that was published when she died in 2000 noted that Shpritzer was one of two policewomen who passed, out of the 127 women who had taken the test.