Letters to the editor, Nov. 23

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Pedestrian demanding accountability

Dear Editor:

I was run down by a speeding bicycle that made a turn as I was crossing to the curb on 2nd Avenue and 11th Street.

I suffered a break in my pelvis as well as torn adductor muscles. When I tell people the story each one has another story of being hit by a bicycle themselves or knowing someone close who was hit similarly. Careless bicycle riders have no liability for their recklessness.

If there was some identification like license plates or numbered placards the riders would take more care knowing that they could be identified.

We demand licenses on cars so why not bicycles, which can be as deadly when driven thoughtlessly?

Toni Davis, PCV

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All candidates set to attend T&V/Waterside Council debate

Democrats Alec Hartman, Bessie Schachter, Jeffrey Mailman, Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Rachel Honig, Vanessa Aronson and Barry Shapiro and Republicans Melissa Jane Kronfeld and Rebecca Harary (Not pictured) Maria Castro

Town & Village has partnered with the Waterside Tenants Association and the management of Waterside Plaza to present an evening of debate between the candidates running for the City Council, District 4. The event will be held on Thursday, June 22 at 6 p.m. for mingling with the candidates, with the debate beginning promptly at 6:30 p.m. This has become a hotly contested race with 11 candidates hoping to win the seat currently occupied by a term-limited Dan Garodnick. All known registered candidates of both parties have been invited and have confirmed they’ll attend.

The candidates are Democrats Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Jeffrey Mailman, Bessie Schachter, Vanessa Aronson, Rachel Honig, Alec Hartman, Barry Shapiro and Maria Castro as well as Republicans Rebecca Harary and Melissa Jane Kronfeld.

The event will take place outdoors on the Plaza level with Janet Handal, the president of the Waterside Tenants Association, and Town & Village editor Sabina Mollot asking the candidates questions. Due to the number of candidates expected to participate, there will not likely be any time for additional questions from the audience.

If it rains, the event will take place inside 15 Waterside Plaza located on the Plaza. Waterside Plaza is east of the FDR Drive on the East River between 25th and 29th Streets. For directions, visit Waterside Plaza’s website. For more information about the event, contact Sabina Mollot at (212) 777-6611 x104 or editor@townvillage.net.

All candidates set to attend T&V/Waterside Council debate

candidate banner color

(L-R) Democrats Alec Hartman, Bessie Schachter, Jeffrey Mailman, Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Rachel Honig, Vanessa Aronson and Barry Shapiro, and Republicans Melissa Jane Kronfeld and Rebecca Harary

Town & Village has partnered with the Waterside Tenants Association and the management of Waterside Plaza to present an evening of debate between the candidates running for the City Council, District 4. The event will be held on Thursday, June 22 at 6 p.m. for mingling with the candidates, with the debate beginning promptly at 6:30 p.m. This has become a hotly contested race with 11 candidates hoping to win the seat currently occupied by a term-limited Dan Garodnick. All known registered candidates of both parties have been invited and have confirmed they’ll attend.

The candidates are Democrats Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Jeffrey Mailman, Bessie Schachter, Vanessa Aronson, Rachel Honig, Alec Hartman, Barry Shapiro and Maria Castro as well as Republicans Rebecca Harary and Melissa Jane Kronfeld.

The event will take place outdoors on the Plaza level with Janet Handal, the president of the Waterside Tenants Association, and Town & Village editor Sabina Mollot asking the candidates questions. Due to the number of candidates expected to participate, there will not likely be any time for additional questions from the audience.

If it rains, the event will take place inside 15 Waterside Plaza located on the Plaza. Waterside Plaza is east of the FDR Drive on the East River between 25th and 29th Streets. For directions, visit Waterside Plaza’s website. For more information about the event, contact Sabina Mollot at (212) 777-6611 x104 or editor@townvillage.net.

Letters to the Editor, Jan. 5

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Hey, T&V, watch your language

Re: “Man drops pants, pees in view of kids across from PS 116,” T&V, Dec. 29, 2016

I was disturbed to read about a homeless man openly urinating in front of school children in the neighborhood this week.

But I was also disturbed to see you characterize this sick person as a “bum.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen that label used by a reputable journalist.

Labels like that reduce the problem to two-dimensional, black and white thinking, them versus us, which does nothing to resolve the problem the community is facing, and only further marginalizes a desperate, untreated population.

I hope in the future you’ll commit to raising our understanding of complex problems in the community through language that more accurately reflects the true nature of the problem, and the people involved.

Name withheld, ST

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Throwback Thursday: This week in T&V History

Town & Village has been covering news in the Stuyvesant Town area for over 66 years. This week, we took a look back at the coverage in an issue of this newspaper that ran 50 years ago.

Three Stuy Town teens beaten in random attacks

Three 15-year-old residents of Stuyvesant Town were beaten bloody in two random attacks as they walked home from a dance at Town & Village Synagogue. Though the band of 10 attackers also stole a watch from one the boys, they mainly seemed interested in punching and kicking their victims. The “hoodlums” behind the attacks at around 11:45 p.m. on a Saturday were described as being around 18 years old.

In the first incident, the attackers’ method was to split into two groups of five, each jumping on one of two boys walking through the Oval. One of them managed to escape after getting punched just a few times. However, the other teen suffered a severely bruised and swollen face, his scalp lacerated. His mouth cut and his body bruised. When he screamed, lights went on in surrounding apartment windows and residents leaned out their windows to see what was going on.

Unfortunately, according to the boy’s father, Stuy Town guards weren’t as interested as random neighbors. He said when his son told the guard he had been beaten up, the guard turned his back and said, “So what?” The father said he lodged a complaint, and Stuyvesant Town management said it was being investigated.

The second attack occurred moments after the first as the three members of the wolfpack, apparently broken into smaller groups, were leaving Stuyvesant Town. They walked quickly rather than run out to avoid suspicion. That’s when they encountered a 15-year-old who’d just entered the property on Avenue B. When they walked past him, one of them punched him in the face and then continued walking out.

The boy, whose nose spattered blood, also suffered a chipped tooth, and he became dazed. He was taken to Beth Israel by his parents and later released. He also later went to a dentist to have the tooth repaired.

Refrigerator repairman killed in restaurant blast

In other news that week, a refrigerator repairman was instantly killed in an explosion at a restaurant on East 29th Street the previous Wednesday. Michael Cappelli, 44, of Brooklyn, was trying to recharge the refrigerator in the basement of the restaurant, the Weather Vane, with compressed gas.

After the blast, the restaurant’s cook rushed to the basement and found Cappelli lying face up with most of his head severed.

His last rites were given by Father Karney of St. Stephan’s Roman Catholic Church. The Fire Department, the Bomb Squad and the Emergency Service Department all responded to the call.

Compiled by Sabina Mollot

Remembering Roy Goodman and more civilized days in Albany

Roy Goodman in a photo that ran in Town & Village in 1977

Roy Goodman in a photo that ran in Town & Village in 1977

By Sabina Mollot
On June 3, 2014, Roy Goodman, the Republican New York State senator who represented part of the East Side of Manhattan, including Stuyvesant Town, for 33 years, died at the age of 84.
According to his daughter Claire Pellegrini-Cloud, Goodman’s death at a hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, was most likely caused by pneumonia.
He had also, for around a decade, been battling Parkinson’s and relied on a wheelchair to get around. His death came as a surprise however, since he’d been active and was just returning home to Manhattan from a trip to see one of his six grandchildren graduate from Harvard. He also attended a number of other events at Harvard, his alma mater, recently, including an awards dinner. On the way home from the graduation trip, an aide noticed that Goodman’s hands were turning blue and called 911. Goodman was admitted to Danbury Hospital on Thursday night, but wound up taking a turn for the worse over the weekend.
“He was surrounded by family up until the last moment,” Pellegrini-Cloud said. “It was a peaceful death.”
Throughout his lengthy political career, Goodman was known for his socially liberal views. He was a supporter of women’s rights, from protection against domestic violence to the right to choose, as well as of LGBT rights and services for people with HIV/AIDS when the disease was just coming into public awareness. He also fought for tenant rights and affordability and was instrumental in the prevention of Riverwalk, a towering luxury development that would have cut off ST/PCV residents’ access to the waterfront and blocked their views of the river. While tackling the city’s fiscal crisis during the 1970s, he still pushed for continued funding of the arts. He also worked on city charter revision and ran the State Senate’s committee on investigations.
Though he left office over a decade ago, with his passing, former colleagues have been wistfully noting the official end to an era when Republicans and Democrats enjoyed a far less contentious — and far more productive — working relationship.
Since his departure from office in 2002, when he was succeeded by Liz Krueger, there have been no Republicans elected anywhere in Manhattan.

State Senator Roy Goodman (left) with Vincent Albano, chairman of the New York County Republican Committee, in a 1979 Town & Village photo

State Senator Roy Goodman (left) with Vincent Albano, chairman of the New York County Republican Committee, in a 1979 Town & Village photo

At that time, noted Pellegrini-Cloud, Goodman was disappointed at the sharp right turn his party had taken, and that “people couldn’t rise above personal vendettas to work together. He was very solution oriented.”
She added that this attitude extended to Goodman’s family life. When she was growing up, Goodman would make sure each of his three children, Claire, Randolph and Leslie, got equal airtime at the dinner table. When there were disagreements, “He would say, ‘Let’s not be so quick to judge that person. Let’s see it from their point of view,’” said Pellegrini-Cloud.
Meanwhile, she disagreed with a detail in a recent story in the New York Times, which first reported on Goodman’s passing, that said her father was seen by some as a snob.
“He was known for mixing it up with anyone,” she said. “Yeah he used flowery language, but he was a great believer that the average person could understand that. Why dumb it down?”
Steven Sanders, the Assemblyman who represented the ST/PCV area for 28 years (25 of those alongside Goodman) recalled working with the senator to fight Riverwalk as well of another development farther north in Tudor City. That Harry Helmsley project would have destroyed residents’ park space. Sanders, on the morning of his wedding day, heard that a bulldozer had come to the site, and promptly headed over there to join the tenants in forming a human chain. Goodman, meanwhile, managed to secure an order from a judge to stop work despite it being a weekend.
He also recalled how due to legislation sponsored by Goodman in the Senate and Sanders in the Assembly, the cost of major capital improvement rent increases (MCIs) for tenants was reduced.
“Since MCIs as we know are paid in perpetuity, the cumulative savings for tenants became hundreds of dollars in each year,” Sanders said. They also worked together with the owner of Waterside Plaza, Richard Ravitch, and the Waterside Tenants Association to create an affordable housing contract for tenants at the complex when its Mitchell-Lama contract expired in 2001.
He also recalled how back in the 1980s, he and Goodman, along with then Town & Village Publisher Charles Hagedorn and Bill Potter, then the general manager of Stuyvesant Town, would meet for lunch every few months. The spot was usually Capucines, a restaurant on Second Avenue at 19th Street that recently closed.
“It was social and an occasional discussion of some community issues,” said Sanders, who is now the only surviving member of that group. “Imagine that… Republicans and Democrats, and the representative of the landlord Met life along with the publisher of the Town & Village joining together as colleagues.”
But, added the former assemblyman, who left office eight years ago, “Roy and I come from a different time. That notion of governing seems to have been lost. Politics has been exceedingly contentious. It’s all about winning and losing. We had our tussles every two years when I supported my candidates and he supported his, but then we’d have a drink or lunch and we would do community work for our district. We will not see his like again.”
Krueger, whose first run for office was against Goodman, said she remembered her opponent’s humor when he ultimately defeated her.
“His graciousness and good humor were on full display from that campaign’s beginning to its end, when, victorious after a six-week recount, he jokingly dubbed himself ‘Landslide Goodman,’” she shared in a written statement last week.
According to a Times article, he had a similar attitude when he lost a mayoral race in 1977 to Ed Koch.

Roy Goodman (right) with Frank Scala in a 2006 campaign  flier for Scala’s Assembly run

Roy Goodman (right) with Frank Scala in a 2006 campaign flier for Scala’s Assembly run

Frank Scala, the president of the Vincent Albano Republican Club, was a friend of Goodman’s and had his endorsement when he ran an unsuccessful campaign for Assembly in 2006 during a special election.
This week, Scala pointed out that most people living in ST/PCV are unaware of Goodman’s involvement in the creation of Stuyvesant Cove Park a decade ago.
While still in office, he’d allocated $1.2 million for its construction. “If it wasn’t for Roy Goodman the park wouldn’t have been built,” said Scala.
Goodman had also encouraged Scala to revive the Albano Club after it had been inactive for years.
In 1981, Goodman became the Republican New York County Committee chair and remained in that position for 20 years.
After leaving office, he served as CEO for the United Nations Development Corporation and was a participant in a handful of organizations supporting the arts. Up until the time of his death he lived on the Upper East Side, where he grew up, the grandson of Israel Matz, founder of Ex-Lax.
In an interesting coincidence, Goodman’s death occurred within 24 hours of the time his wife of over 50 years, Barbara, died eight years ago.
On both days, Pellegrini-Cloud remembered there being loud, violent thunderstorms, and only after the more recent one, she spotted a rainbow.
“I like to think it was my dad’s stairway to heaven, going to join Mom,” she said. “It was incredible.”
Condolence visitation for Goodman was held on Sunday, June 15 from 6-8 p.m. at Frank E. Campbell, 1076 Madison Avenue at 81st Street. The funeral service was on Monday, June 16 at Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue and 65th Street. The burial was private.

Letters to the editor, May 8

Landmarking won’t help T&V Synagogue

The following is an open letter given as testimony regarding the possible landmarking of the Town & Village Synagogue. (It has been edited for length.)

Dear Commissioners and Landmarks Preservation Staff:

As a member of the Town & Village Synagogue and as a longtime resident of the community in which the Synagogue is located, I strongly oppose landmark designation of our building.

I have been a member of the synagogue for the past 21 years and a resident of this community since 1980. The T&V Synagogue has been an important part of my life, and the life of my wife and family. Our children attended its innovative Hebrew School for many years and we as a family have attended services at T&V regularly for more than two decades. It is a spiritual home and a community home for all of us. We are not a wealthy congregation but a very engaged, active community.

Throughout the period in which we have been members of the T&V community, our building has been a problem without solution. Our physical space has been a great challenge to us and has placed great limitations on the number and kinds of activities and programs that we can have at any one time. Even without the threat of landmarking, making our building safe, accessible and adaptable to our needs has proved to be beyond our means. Moreover, the space, laid out almost 150 years ago, poses tremendous safety risks to our congregation. During regular Saturday services, our sanctuary usually has approximately 125 people in attendance, many of them elderly and dependent on canes, walkers and wheelchairs. Despite years of efforts to solve the emergency egress problems that are posed by the dangerous stairways and limited exits, our congregation has not been able to come up with a viable plan to rectify this dangerous situation. This situation is even more dire on the high holidays, when the sanctuary is jammed with more than 400 people. I have served on several committees over the years tasked with finding a solution to these dire problems.

Despite our best efforts and consultations with several professionals, we have been unable to come up with a practical and affordable solution to making this antiquated building safe.  In addition, the lack of an elevator makes access to the sanctuary difficult or impossible for people with disabilities, which is only partially rectified by the presence of a chair lift on one of the stairwells, which when working, makes entry and egress for both the disabled and those who otherwise use that stairway slow and difficult.

We also take issue with the alleged basis for landmarking our building. We believe that our building has minimal architectural value, and the historical value of it having been a house of worship for many generations is simply misplaced. The congregations that occupied our building before us left for more suitable locations, and we as a congregation should be free to do so also. In fact, it is not this undistinguished building that is of historical value to the community, but the vital continuation of the traditions of worship and community service that can best be served by allowing our congregation to maximize the benefits of a new or radically redesigned building.

We are lucky to be serving new constituencies as our community grows and changes, but the financial constraints of a landmarking designation for our building will be a hardship to us.

I have consistently supported landmarking of major architectural and cultural buildings. However, blanket landmarking of whole neighborhoods (or individual buildings) with little architectural import makes a mockery of the substantial benefit that underlies the landmarking law. If T&V is to be landmarked (to which I vehemently object), I repeat and renew the request to exclude from landmark designation the separate back building that is not visible from East 14th Street or First and Second Avenues.

Thank you for your consideration.

Henry Condell, PCV

 

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Letters to the editor, Feb. 23

Tenants should control commercial spaces

Permit me to follow up on last week’s excellent letter from Larry Edward (“Commercial property an issue in conversion”).  I recently submitted a list of questions to the Tenants Association regarding the conversion.  I am especially concerned about Brookfield having ownership of the professional offices, retail space, garages, and unsold apartments.

We will lose lucrative income that would go towards operating costs.  Without that income, condo maintenance fees will be much higher.  The competitor, Guterman’s website indicates that it’s customary for a sponsor to get the commercial space. Maybe, but we’re not a single building with just two or two stores. (I asked Guterman if they’d do a deal without it, but they have not answered my question on their website as of Feb. 16.)

Any outside entity that controls the commercial space can lease to businesses that we would not want.  They will say it’s not in their interest to do so, but if they want to maximize income, they will certainly do so.  Further, if any of the commercial space is sold as a commercial condo, we will be stuck permanently with such businesses.

The Tenants Association should structure this deal so that WE own all commercial space. The TA meeting, phone conference call, websites, and T&V articles seem to repeat the same few talking points. Here’s hoping tenants took the opportunity to write the TA about the “meat and potatoes” issues.

Kathleen Dragulski, ST Continue reading

Happy birthday…to us

This artwork by Edward C. Caswell, which graced the front page of the premiere issue of T&V, depicts the construction of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village

Sixty-four years ago today, as World War II servicemen and women and their families were still moving into Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, newsman Charles Hagedorn realized the new community would need a newspaper, and published the first issue of Town & Village on November 7, 1947.

Delivered to about 800 households, that first issue included local interest stories such as “First Baby Born in Stuyvesant,” “Edison Co. Plans to Eliminate Smoke Nuisance,” and “No Phones Til Early ’48, Says Phone Company.”

The paper, which has come out every Thursday since then, has steadily chronicled the events, both large and small, in the community, from tenants’ early battle to end segregation to more recent battles aimed at protecting stability and affordability.

Week in Pictures

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This week: a soccer tournament goes out with a bang in Stuyvesant Town, Kavanagh attends Community Day at Kips Bay Plaza, PSLL Minors District Team go far in the Memorial Day Tournament, Sarah Poppins NYC Explordinaire rates Tompkins Square Park among other playgrounds in the city, the community gets their fill of food and music at the World Music Fair in the Oval. Find full stories in Town & Village newspaper!

Letters to the Editor: July 14

Keep NAC apartments affordable

The following is an open letter to new National Arts Club President Dianne Bernhard and the club’s Board of Governors, following stories in Town & Village and its sister publication Real Estate Weekly on plans to rent vacant apartments at NAC at market rate prices.

The Concerned Artists and Members of The National Arts Club write to you and the Board of Governors in response to your recent statement in Real Estate Weekly announcing your intention to rent or sell club-owned apartments for the maximum prices obtainable in the NYC real estate market.  Continue reading

Photo essay: Stuyvesant Cove Park

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Besides the waterfront view and the various flora of Stuyvesant Cove Park, the hidden gems are the Monarch butterflies that appear in the park during the summer. New Yorkers don’t have to wait for the occasional butterfly tagging events held in the park to catch a glimpse of these orange and black wings, because according to park manager Daisy Hoyt, Stuyvesant Cove is a “way station” for the migrating Monarchs.

Photos by Heather Holland

Letters to the editor (6/30)

When a dog’s owner is its worst enemy

If the photo nearby doesn’ make you angry, you need either new glasses or a sensitivity upgrade. The poor animal in the picture has been tethered to a signpost in the full glare of a noonday sun, on a sidewalk that would fry bacon. The shadow near the dog is the edge of a huge, shaded expanse within which the owner could just as easily have tied the dog to any number of posts–or to the tree that’s providing the shade. Continue reading