Comment Policy

All comments to posts have to await approval. Please be aware that, depending on when I'm logged onto the internet, it may take me hours, even longer, to moderate comments, so if they don't turn up in a speedy fashion, they are still in the queue. Comments that cross a line I'm not comfortable with will not get approved. NOTE: Comments reflect the opinions of the person writing them and should not be assumed to reflect the opinion of the blog.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tishman Speyer Can't be Bothered to Treat the U.S. Flag with Respect

Alerted by commentary postings on the Lux Living blog, Stuy Town Reporter went out tonight to confirm that, indeed, Tishman Speyer is not lowering the flag of the United States at night as guidelined by the U.S. Flag Code. The flag of the United States is on display at four points in Stuyvesant Town--two at opposite sides of the 14th Street Loop and two at opposite sides of 20th Street Loop. All four flags were up at night, in dark gloom. (I had to brighten considerably the photo above to make one of the flags viewable.)

Here is part of the UNITED STATES CODE TITLE 36 CHAPTER 10, which addresses this issue:

"It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness."

The flags at Stuyvesant Town have NO illumination.

The Flag Code is U.S. Federal Law. There is, however, no penalty for failure to comply with this law, so Tishman Speyer is not in legal jeopardy here.

It is a sorry commentary that Tishman Speyer is disregardful of this law and the courtesy behind it that honors not only this country, but the veterans who have served this country. Just as Tishman Speyer has trampled on the intent of the Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village complex, via the affordable housing purpose of the complex, it is trampling on the history of this place, with its strong connection to veterans. Good going, Jerry and Rob Speyer! How much further can you sink in our estimation of you?

UPDATE 3/21/09: The flags are now being taken down for the night. Only one, on the Ave. B side of the 14th Street Loop, is not, due to the rope being twined around the pole. So the flag is stuck there until the problem is fixed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Oval Lawn - Let's Try Again!

Tishman Speyer's stewardship of the Oval Lawn has been abysmal. The lawn has never looked this dismal, with many swampy areas, an ugly central mound that can almost grow no grass (the mound was added last year), and numerous people-made paths crisscrossing what once was a pristine green turf. Well, it's that time of the year again when Tishman Speyer attempts to, once again, do the Oval Lawn right. Will they succeed? By the summer, no way.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Appellate Division Decision is Great News

Much has been made in the past few days about the decision by the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court that Tishman Speyer, according to the NY Times, "wrongfully raised rents and deregulated thousands of apartments after receiving special tax breaks."

The NY Times continues: "The decision ... could ultimately cost the landlord, Tishman Speyer Properties, $200 million if it is required to repay residents of more than 3,000 apartments for improper rent increases over the past four years, said a lawyer for the tenants."

While various voices in the commentary section of the Lux Living blog raise concerns about a lessening of services and security should Tishman Speyer be forced to foreclose on this property, a point to remember is that a landlord must maintain basic services, so that whoever will be in charge has to provide legally mandated services and security to Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. I also don't think it's a bad idea, should the complex start "falling apart," that tenants pick up the slack and spruce up their buildings and adjacent grounds. If tenants became stewards of their own turft, then perhaps we'd see these buildings shine as they are supposed to and residents become more responsible and interested in what goes on in ST and PCV. Certainly the current state of affairs, via services and security, is not that glowing. Energized tenants can do much better than the clowns at Tishman Speyer. And if we can't, then we are just as much the clowns as Tishman Speyer & Company and we deserve what we get.


It's not over till the fat lady sings. It is still possible that Tishman Speyer will get a reversal on the appellate ruling.

Nevertheless, right now this is a very positive outcome for affordable housing in Manhattan. The tide just may be turning.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Is Oval Film Showing Movies Illegally?

Oval Film was created last year to show, via DVD, films old and new to Oval Essential members. So far, Oval Film must have exhibited scores of films since its inception--but were these legal showings? All films on DVD that are not shown in your own home need a license for exhibition. Stuy Town Reporter called the chief dispenser for such licenses and found out there is no record of a license being granted to any film showings in this zip code. The possibility exists, as it was explained to me, that the exhibitor of these films may be licensing them individually, studio by studio, but that would be a troublesome procedure, as generally an umbrella license can take care of a significant number of films.

Oval Film will be showing the following movies this week:

Zach and Miri Make A Porno
Old Yeller
Harold and Maude
Mr. And Mrs. Smith

So the question arises: Are these legal showings or do they violate Title 17, U.S. Code, Section 106? If they do violate copyright laws, perhaps the next showing at Oval Film will be THE FBI.

Stuy Town Reporter intends to follow this issue up with a query to the MPAA and will report back here with more findings.

BTW, this reporter already contacted Oval Amenities/Essentials on this matter, but did not receive a response to his query. If anyone wants to follow up my query, please feel free to do so.