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Management has two priorities: 1) Making sure money is made, hence upgrading and filling up apartments is their goal. "Amenities" are important in selling the place, though few residents use them. 2) If someone needs medical attention, Public Safety will be there, if alerted.

Quality of life issues are not that important, however. They tend to be ignored, despite "the rules." So you will see a lot that isn't taken care of properly, and complaints will be met with a creative excuse and a smile.

"Peace and quiet" must be a cruel joke, though this property is sold that way. There can be no peace and quiet as ALL apartments must be upgraded, which includes the installation of an AC unit below the window. Aside from the continual construction about the neighborhood, there is a new and noisy subway extension being built along East 14 st and the shut down of the L line. "Choosing" to live in NYC, now the newest mantra, is a fabrication when the talk is of ST and PCV, which was traditionally quiet, with no construction noise.

Though money was always important, it is now more important than ever. Money rules many things, as you will find.

At this point, 30 years into living here and seeing many things, I can state that Management and their reps are BS-ing us. I can't say that loudly enough: We are being BS-ed. I don't see any genuine change. Sorry.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Neglected Oval

It used to be the pride of Stuyvesant Town. The Oval. A central gathering place and focal point of a community. A fountain, a lawn, and an encircling border of trees, plants and flowers that made one feel so very separate from the madness of Manhattan. It was, indeed, an oasis. Tranquil and lovely.

This is what it was, but since Tishman Speyer took over as landlord of this complex, the Oval has been progressively neglected, so that now it is ugly beyond measure. Here is what Tishman Speyer's neglect has done to the Oval....

Flowers and plants were once abundant here:



And here:



And here, as in so many other places:



There was no bare ground here, just nice, well-maintained grass:



The lawn is now a tragedy. Even without rain, water bubbles up from somewhere below to infest the ground, which once upon a time was covered with, yes, nice healthy grass:





Overlooking the Oval is the new landscaping of dead trees and weird, excessive ugly plantings:



I have it from a good source that Tishman Speyer intends to deal with the Oval once other projects are finished. Once again, we will see workers slaving over an area of Stuyvesant Town, with the resultant mess and loss of access. Tishman Speyer has purposefully let the Oval deteriorate to open up the necessity of redoing the Oval. And yet it was so beautiful a few years ago, when MetLife's newly hired landscaper took to making the entire area aesthetically delightful. Responsible for the destruction of this artistic work, Tishman Speyer will attempt to give us a replacement. Given how horrid much of the landscaping has been under its administration, I can't say that any of us can look forward to what's ahead.

8 comments:

AnnieMae said...

I can't figure out whether Tishman Speyer has deliberately ruined the Oval or if it the result of sheer stupidity and incompetence on their part. This Californian "landscaping" company must be part of some deal TS made. It's obviously a boondoggle because the "gardeners" are totally incompetent day laborers brought in from somewhere. I wonder if there is some organized crime connection here?

jaygates said...

I remember when it was almost a felony to even walk on the Oval grass, and I'm not advocating a complete return to that kind of unilateral militancy about our grounds. But I kinda miss that sense of good order and tidiness that characterized Stuy Town a few years ago.

Now the Oval is in worse shape than the Sheeps Meadow in Central Park!

Inebriated studs and blowsy coeds, with their beer-fueled games and whining dogs, currently own the Oval as they gather in groups of eight or ten to blast their radios or shout "Dude" to one another.

No wonder the landscape is a mess; when a sense of "anything goes now" prevails, who can worry about tramping through flowerbeds, or curbing dog doody?

I'd trade all these grad students in a minute for a bit more tranquility, less construction noise, and an elimination of the mud that makes the Oval now the Pig Stuy Swamp!!

AnnieMae said...

A lot of the problems with the Oval were actually started by the former management company under the leadership of a phenomenal jerk names Steve Stadmeyer. He decided to cut down most of the beautiful shade trees that circled the Oval and protected it from wind and rain erosion. What he had in common with Robert Speyer is that he had the intelligence of a turnip and should not have been in the business of managing residential property. Speyer has escalated the destruction of the Oval which was started by Stadmeyer. Some mothers do have em!

stillinstuy said...

I agree that TS is deliberately letting the Oval plantings deteriorate. The plants are similar to ones that have been ripped up throughout the complex --and replaced with sometimes bizarre plantings like the "instance grove" of kinko trees outside one of the ST buildings. At one point in their annual growth cycle, kinko trees produce berries that smell exactly like vomit. So some ST residents have something special to look forward to.

I expect that the Oval plantings will be ripped out and we'll be witness to more of the gross waste TS has thus far displayed. Ex.: pulling out Japanese painted ferns, throwing them away, and replacing them with NEW Japanese painted ferns!

Daniel said...

The Oval is the way it is, partly because of the properties original construction in the 1940. When the Gaslight district buildings were torn down, the foundations weren't dug up and removed. Underneath the earth, there are slabs of hundred year old concrete that were once basements to old non-existent buildings. When water seeps through the soil, it pools in these concrete pools with no place to go. But up. And the swamp that is called an Oval is formed.

BeachNYC said...

Man, in your mind, they can't win. The Oval is a mess, but if they try to fix it, our precious access will be denied.

Was there EVER a website that did more whining about NOTHING?

I live in Stuy Town. I have lived here for 10 years. This is the absolute best it has ever been.

Yeah, let's bring back that time when it was "almost a felony to walk on the Oval grass'...that was great.

Anonymous said...

AnnieMae is correct. Many of the problems in PCVST originated with former management (such as Stedmeyer), but unfortunately many of management from Met Life days are still on the payroll. Tishman Speyer should have cleaned house and implemented some really worthwhile initiatives (with long term vision and not quick "buck" actions). Quality of life in apartments here is a misery. There is blatant breach of the warranty of habitability for probably 50% of the tenant population. Laws, rules, and regulations are not enforced, and tenants who are well within their rights and try to enforce those rights, are denied those rights on a continuous basis (with nowhere to turn -- all roads lead back). The quality of life within apartments here is undeniably horrendous. Noise, filth, paper thin walls/ceilings, bare floors, transient tenants, bugs, vermin, and on and on. Met Life ran this place into the ground and Tishman Speyer has taken a page from Met Life's book.

AZS said...

I agree that TS could have done a better job with the landscaping and other "improvements" of the past two years. It seems to me that TS didn't bother asking the tenants -- either rent-stabilized or market-rate -- what *they* wanted from Stuy Town or how they currently use the grounds. That said, I've got to disagree with Anonymous. "The quality of life within apartments here is undeniably horrendous"? That's not the Stuy Town I live in. Compared with most non-doorman housing in NYC, STPCV is a *great* place to live. Apartments are roomy and well-designed (and at least in my apartment's case, well-maintained). Public areas are well-lit and relatively clean. And the grounds are *way* better than anything else I've seen in Manhattan. I feel really lucky to live here, and I really hope that the recent Court of Appeals decision doesn't prompt TS to make cuts in maintenance.