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Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Peter Cooper Village Tour

The other day I decided to take a tour of Peter Cooper Village. Once upon a time, PCV was the jewel of the Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village complex. The apartments are bigger than their ST brothers, and the landscaping was nicely maintained, though there was no impressive Oval area as there is--sorry, was--in Stuy Town. How does Peter Cooper Village look now, under Tishman Speyer's stewardship? Well, not that good. Just as in Stuyvesant Town, the plantings of last year have managed to bloom and become pleasant visuals, but much of the grass areas are poorly maintained, if at all, and the areas near the walkways are just patches of dirt now.

We start the tour....

Near PCV's sole playground, this is the way the front of 441 East 20 Street looks--looks like no one cares:



To the east of the playground, we see more of the lack of groundskeeping care, including a man-made cutway path that was never there before:



As expected, the entrance to Peter Cooper Village, off of 1st Avenue, looks lovely:



But go deeper into PCV and you find this, at 5 Peter Cooper Road:



Nearby is a part of the landscaping of the old Peter Cooper. Still going strong, thankfully:



Making a turn and heading to 531 E 20 Street, we are greeted by the slum look that Tishman Speyer has cultivated so well:



And here's Peter Cooper Village's unofficial dog run area. This may have been the place in which a security guard gave a smack down to a resident recently. Can you spot the resident's body imprint in the mud below?....



The front of 511 E 20 Street doesn't look too good. Wonder how many market-raters are paying top dollar for this gardening?....



And this says it all, I think:



Incidentally, nowhere to be found: the 100 cherry blossom trees that a champion of Tishman Speyer, who has been posting in the commentary section of the Lux Living blog, claimed were in front of a building in Peter Cooper Village. Absurd to even think this was ever possible.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I noticed that the sprinklers came on at about 1:00 AM today and totally drenched the borders of the "grassy" areas. It's no wonder that there is only mud and erosion in these areas. If the people in charge of the "groundskeeping" would apply a little basic intelligence, we wouldn't have such scruffy, ugly grounds. The sprinkler system is a disaster. Just another example of how Tishman Speyer burns through money on useless projects while not taking care of the basic services.

jon said...

Thanks for putting up pictures that capture what I have been writing about the dismal condition of PCV landscaping.The large barren area you picture was the site of the PCV plant and tree cemetary last year until repeated complaints got it removed. Of course, our "friends" at TS never bothered to reseed the area.
THe previous poster is 100% correct that the sprinkler system is defective and causes flooding along the borders of the grassy areas which leads to the killing of the grass,again TS could care less.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had your free time to walk around hunting for unplanted areas, but c'mon, give the grounds people a break: in general, the plantings look great, everything's in bloom (the lilacs were amazing this year, almost knocked me out with their scent), and there's not a better-looking planted landscape in Manhattan that I know of, but I'm sure you'll find the time to turn one up to prove me wrong. Dirt is a part of landscape, it's always just under the surface. Sometimes the surface is exposed, due to nature (wind, rain), or angry self-righteous people walking on it with cameras photographing the areas they themselves might well have just despoiled. Find something meaningful to whine about, landscaping is not a real issue at PCVST. Good grief.

Anonymous said...

Well, yes it is an issue. Some people know the way it was before TS got their hands on this place. Grass is part of landscaping too. ST-PCV has been home to lots of people for a long time and to see it destroyed and uncared for in so many ways is a shame.

Anonymous said...

There are more pressing issues than random bare spots of earth—why don't you do an exposé on the bikers who ride recklessly (and illegally) on the sidewalks, which pose far more of a threat than a bit of dirt? And why focus on the exceptional bare spots rather than on the beds that are well-planted and in full bloom? And if it so offends your delicate horticultural senses, why don't you move out? Nobody is forcing you to live her and be assaulted by these "scruffy, ugly grounds." Or organize a "green up" day and help plant or seed or do something to fix the problem rather than just complain about it?

Anonymous said...

There are many issues but the landscaping remains a valid one. It's so inferior to what it was and should be. They'll never stop the bikes because some of the bikers are your neighbors who are paying outrageous rents for their luxury apartments. Who's here to stop them anyway? The 2-man security team? Who are the people driving through the one-way loops and going the wrong way? Also illegal. Who's stopping them? No one because they pay inflated amounts of rent. Mighty dangerous but Robbie gets his money. You go out and make a "green up" day. This isn't a tiny lot on a tiny street where the community plants a garden. Maybe you're on the wrong web site. I so hope you're market rate and I hope you signed your lease before they lowered the net rent to $2250.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

I'm always amazed by commentary that tries to remove or invalidate criticism of something happening in ST/PCV through the opinion that other, more pressing things should be talked about. If you read through this blog, or Lux's (where the same criticism is raised at times), you will find a wide variety of issues discussed. Each issue, each problem is worthy of being pointed out on a blog. If you don't like the content of this blog or any other, start you own, and see how far you get.

As for your comment about the grounds and how well they look--you must not get that far in whatever walk you do about Stuy Town/Peter Cooper. The photos that I've shown DO NOT LIE. There are many more such photos that I've not uploaded. And, yes, I've shown photos of nice groundskeeping areas, too, so I'm trying to be fair. Fair but not blind.

Anonymous said...

I recently moved into Peter Cooper Village about three months ago, during the cold and leafless time of winter. Even without the vegetation, gardens, and bountiful trees, I was still amazed by the tranquil ground of PCV. And when spring came around, I was in awe. The cherry blossoms, apple trees, and other tall bushes not only looked gorgeous, but smelled incredible. There were beautiful daffodils and healthy lawns perking up everywhere. Now that's it's summer and some of those white and pink blossoms have sadly blown away, PCV is still a sight to behold. I love walking in and out of the village, and I love looking out my 9-story window, peering over the tops of many trees. I admire the grounds here and I feel lucky to still live in Manhattan without having to sacrifice this sense of tranquility and beauty about my home.

Unfortunately, landscaping is very difficult to keep up on in cities. With so many people busseling about, it's difficult to maintain perfect lawns where footpaths have been made for shortcuts. It's inevitable. Also, it is true that there are many areas around some of the buildings that lack grass, however there are good reasons for it. Salt from the roads has been pushed back onto the lawns, prohibiting any vegetation to survive; the bare lawns surrounding the buildings have little source of light; and it been exposed over and over by the paws of our precious dogs, a luxury we have here at PCV.

Yes, there are imperfections, but for a Manhattan community to have such beautiful grounds, it is far from inadequate.

Anonymous said...

Great that you love it. Enjoy! You should have seen it a few years ago!

Stuy Town Reporter said...

That's a great write-up for the official Stuyvesant Town website, but unfortunately it's way too Pollyanish to be taken seriously. I walk through Peter Cooper Village at least once every other day, winter, spring, summer and fall, and haven't had a similar experience in a while. Again, the photos I've taken do not lie. Furthermore, I took photos of PCV a few weeks before things started to bloom, and the bare grounds at PCV, without the present growth, looked awful. I never posted these photos, because by the time I could do so, the blooming of PCV and Stuy Town was upon us, and I didn't want to present an untruthful picture of Peter Cooper as is.

I'm not claiming that Peter Cooper Village and the groundskeeping are the dumps, but there are a lot of areas that are woeful looking and haven't been dealt with expeditiously and intelligently.

Anonymous said...

Slow down, nobody is trying to "remove" your criticism, only to point out its extreme bias by proposing a different point of view, something which is clearly not welcome here. In fact, there is nothing reportorial or even remotely fair about your blog, it's thinly veiled passive-aggressive class warfare: recent arrivistes at StuyTown, here only because the Mammon-worshippers at Tishman Speyer invited them in, must be rich "market-rate" luxury-seeking yuppies, arrogant enough to drive their cars the wrong way down one-way streets, and who have destroyed what was once a "livable area with community spirit." If the hateful invective you and your fellow kvetchers spew here is your idea of community spirit, then maybe it was due for a change. If you're good neighbors, prove it. I've only lived here 7 months, and see several areas for improvement, but hating my neighbors is not a solution to any one of them. The time it takes to photograph bare dirt and update your blog could be used to organize some of this alleged community spirit to make improvements you feel important. But that's actually harder work than sitting at your computer railing against evil landlords and the nouveaux riches, most of whom are undoubtedly underwriting some of the improvements here you do enjoy and take advantage of. Why all the anger?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

You must be reading someone else's blog. I've no problem with recent "arrivists," nor do I hate my neighbors. Since I've lived here for twenty or so years, I've seen the changes that have come about, and in the Tishman Speyer era those changes have been, for the most part, for the worst. Tishman Speyer is a terrible landlord, discourteous to residents and comically tragic in the manner of running this place.

The epitome and symbol of Tishman Speyer's stewardship is the Oval lawn. Take a look at it, walk through it, get to know it. It has never been in such pitiful condition.

You say you have lived here 7 months and your fellow anon from the other post has lived here for 3. Indeed, you guys have no idea of what both Stuy Town and PCV were like before Tishman Speyer. So your commentaries are, in part, understandable, as they are uninformed.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea, instead of sniping at each other anonymously, I will send you an email offline, and maybe we can meet to discuss how to make improvements that we agree on (surely there must be some, like my own pet peeve, the crazy bikers on sidewalks, not all of which are "market-raters," please), even though you've already prejudged me as "uninformed," I imagine we both want the best (safest, cleanest, etc) living experience we can get here. I'd be happy to meet you face-to-face, hope you're willing to do the same.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

LOL. Don't you know I have to be like the Lone Ranger and wear a mask to protect my identity? You want to meet "face to face"? Who are you, George Hatzmann, Stuy Town's managing director? LOL.

Anonymous said...

LOL, STR! Too funny!

Anonymous said...

Don't delude yourself, Lone Ranger. I don't think anybody cares who you are. I have no idea who George Hatzman is, nor do I have anything to do with Stuytown or Tishman Speyer; I'm just an "uninformed" and obviously hapless recent resident who held his hand out to you in what I thought was a neighborly gesture to meet and discuss how to improve the living complex we share. To which your reply was a "LOL" in the face. It's obvious now that you have no interest in making STPCV a better place to live, you just need a target at which to vent your sad, lonely-ranger anger. It's neither pretty nor productive, and it's unfortunate that you seem keen on making everybody else around you as angry as you are, for whatever reason. Happily, I don't have to read your diatribes, and like any angry screed I will just ignore it from now on. Good riddance, neighbor.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

If anyone is angry and humorless around here, it is you, as you have proven in your posts. You know the saying about the door.... Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

I agree, that looks pretty awful compared to years past. 3 years ago they had sodded all that dirt and either the sod died or didn't take. The area is prone to flooding and the ground closer to Avenue C was always wet and muddy, making it very difficult to grow new grass there. The sprinklers made it worse.

I am saddened about this and the state of the whole community, despite no longer being a resident. (moved out about a year ago)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you've made my day! This is the first time I've seen the word 'screed' anywhere online. I did a thesis on Chaucer, so it's like an old friend.
~Missy H