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Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The Insult of Oval Essentials
They are now called "Oval Essentials." Part of the Oval amenities due for completion sometime in September, these spaces comprise the Oval Lounge, Oval Kids, Oval Film and Oval Study. They are strategically placed at four corners of the Oval, the central hub and lifeblood of Stuyvesant Town. Unless you live on the borders of Stuy Town and never go into the interior, you will be unable to miss these new spaces as you walk by. And, don't forget, they are now "essential," so if they are not a part of your life, you are less of a person that you thought you were. What's the matter? Can't afford the small initiation fee and monthly charge?
Tishman Speyer, in creating these "Essentials" and mandating a charge for them, furthers the division of the Stuy Town community into those who have and those who haven't. We are already seeing how different classes of people were created and/or nurtured by TS decision making and "improvements." We now have the following cliques of people, not all actuallized since TS came into the picture, of course, and some interchangeable: 1) rent stabilized tenants, 2) market rate tenants, 3) NYU tenants, 4) tenants without dogs, 5) tenants with dogs. At various times, members of each group bitch about the other group, creating bad feelings and rifts in what used to be a unified community. Now we are going to have two more cliques (although one of these should be rightfully called "the peasants"): those who have the "Essentials" and those who don't.
It is easy to foresee the looks of loathing that will be directed at those enjoying the "Essentials," as those without the essentials will be going to or returning from work. Or the dejected looks of our community's retirees on fixed incomes who will not be able to partake of those essentials, though they've been around long enough to remember when all of Stuyvesant Town's true essentials were available for free to everyone here.
It is also easy to foresee the kids who will be nagging their parents without essentials to join the "Essentials" because of Oval Kids. Perhaps some of their friends will have essentials, but they won't. See Jack cry. See Jane weep. See Jack cry some more. See Jane weep some more. See Jack and Jane's parents join Oval Essentials!
I truly feel sorry for those parents who, on a tight budget, may not be able to afford these essentials, which will leave their kids feeling as if they are in the poor house rather than in Stuyvesant Town, the "ultimate living experience in Manhattan."