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NOTE: Comments reflect the opinions of the person writing them and should not be assumed to reflect the opinion of the blog. Because of the anonymous nature of the commentary, specific agendas can be pushed by a sole individual and may not reflect a more popular belief by the residents of this community.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Priorities Set

Tishman Speyer's priorities in regard to Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village have been set for a while. Priority number one is to sell apartments, of course, which includes lying about what's to be found in this complex, both in and out of doors. Priority number two is to spruce up areas which can be used to promote, and sell, living in Stuy Town/PCV. Somewhere down the list of priorities is providing commendable service to members of the community. I mean, once you got the suckers in, who cares if you don't meet their expectations.

If you want to see relatively (for ST/PCV) lovely flowers and landscaping and nicely pruned lawns, your best bet is to head to the back of the rental office that's on First Avenue and check out what prospective market raters will see as they are shown Stuyvesant Town on their tour of the place.

This is the first thing that will meet your eyes:



Lovely, indeed! Gee, I want to live here! Sign me up right now!

For some reason, the Oval Essentials are still a top priority at Tishman Speyer. Just last week, a bunch of workers were fixing up the area in front of Oval Lounge and Oval Study, at the expense of doing any work on the awful looking Oval Lawn, which remains ugly and pathetic and a breeding ground for the mosquitoes coming soon. And today, workers were out early in the morning trying to upscale Oval Kids, with the addition of a row of bushes:



I've a feeling that the Essentials are the pet project of one of the biggies at Tishman Speyer. So money will be thrown at these even more this year. Expect a few open houses. Hey, free food and drinks, and I'm there!

Now in case you don't get out of Stuy Town/PCV much these days, you should know that other parts of the city, the city that's going through economic bad times, are actually looking quite nice in certain neighborhoods. I've already shown how the gardening at Tomkins Square Park has put the gardening in Stuy Town to shame. Yesterday, on a walking tour of the West Village, I came across this:



Now, ask yourselves, as you walk about Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, why can't we have something like this here?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Stuy Town Security Can't Handle ... Security



Stuyvesant Town residents have been seeing more and more the presence of cops on horses in the complex, with the expected huge deposits from these horses leaving a trail that Stuy Town workers then clean up. What is the reason for this police presence? As reported in this week's Town & Village by Andrew Park, "the mounted units were called in to patrol an area including Stuyvesant Town due to an increase in violence along the 14th Street corridor." But, as we see, these mounted units do not just patrol 14th Street. They have been seen as far up as 20th Street. And within the heart of the complex.

This raises one immediate and overwhelming question: Why is Stuyvesant Town Security, the Security that is publicized in Tishman Speyer promos as 24-hour protection for residents, not taking care of the security in the complex instead of the NYPD?

The answers are pretty obvious--even if depressing and revelatory as to landlord Tishman Speyer's "concern" for its tenants. The security staff of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village has been cut back from previous highs, and the remaining troops have now been placed chiefly inside the cozy security office at Ave C., near the FDR drive, to watch a score of monitors that do not reveal much of what is going on in the complex. If the monitors do reveal something, whatever criminal activity is occurring is certain to be over by the time the ST/PCV squad cars are sent out to investigate. In other words, THERE ARE NO BOOTS ON THE GROUND to monitor 24/7 what's happening in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

With the economy heading south as it is, crime will get worse in the surrounding areas of ST/PCV, and inside this complex itself. As reported by Town & Village, there was a recent mugging on or near Stuy Town property at 14th St and Ave. B, and an open-air heroin drug transaction within Stuy Town. Several weeks ago a female ST resident was mugged at night near 20th St. and Ave. C.--nearby the Security office!!! I guess those monitors aren't working that well or Security is falling asleep on the job (or taking their squad cars to pick up some take-out food).

The last time our Security was present in full force and "boots on the ground" was for a real-estate broker party held last year at Oval Lounge. Security was all over the place and was actually stopping bicycles from riding around, insisting the riders walk their bikes according to the rules. The object was to show these brokers that Stuy Town has all this security protection, so that the impressed brokers would relate this back to their clients. It was a calculated, cynical exhibition staged by Tishman Speyer, a company that has always been far more concerned with selling apartments than being decent stewards of ST/PCV. Even with the maximum presence of Security, a fight ensued among the brokers!

It is obvious that the landlord, Tishman Speyer, is neglecting the safety of this complex for budgetary reasons--and has been doing so for a while now. TS is relying on security cameras to somehow "patrol" the complex. This is not acceptable. Frequently I can walk from one end of the complex to the other without ever seeing a Security car or a patrolman. Criminals can also notice this--and can make good use of it, too.

And now, isn't it embarrassing for the Security here, and Tishman Speyer, their overlords, that the NYPD have to be called in like this? And that NYPD horses take dumps all over Stuy Town? Is the message here that the men have to be called in because the boys can't do the job?

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Dead Forests of Stuyvesant Town



Folks who live in the Stuyvesant Town Oval addresses at the north-eastern part of the Oval have the pleasure of several dead forests surrounding them. Few things say how much Rob Speyer has devastated Stuyvesant Town than the dead trees that have been around for months and which show no signs of life.

Picture above is one of the dead trees. Below is one area, as you head up the hill from the 20 Street Loop.



Here you work your way down, near the loop off of 1st Avenue:



And below is Stuy Town 15 Oval. This looked nice in late summer of last year, when newly put in, but as you can see the once vibrantly green plantings are expiring. All these photos were taken this morning, April 20th.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Photos that Speak a Thousand Words

Residents who have been in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village longer than the current landlord, Tishman Speyer, will remember how lovely the Oval area looked when Easter came along, with new flowerings in abundance and everything nice and manicured and neat. Granted this spring has been colder than normal, but the Oval area and surrounding regions have never looked worse during this time--under the administration of Tishman Speyer. It really is pathetic how terrible this complex looks now. If I didn't identify the photos below as being from Stuy Town, you might think they were taken in a ghetto complex.

The following pictures were all taken today, Easter Sunday.







Below: The large reflecting areas are mud.



Below: North side building in the Oval, with its "landscaping."




South of the Oval areas:







Near 14th Street and still in Stuyvesant Town. Looks like a dump.



And putting Tishman Speyer to shame, here are a couple of photos taken today of Tomkins Square Park. The difference is striking. Did you ever think Tomkins Square Park would look substantially better than the grounds here in Stuyvesant? Well, thanks to Rob and Jerry Speyer it has happened!



Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dog Tales



The subject of dogs is a popular--and acrimonious--one in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. As yet this blog hasn't said much, if anything about dogs. Well, here goes....

Dogs can be wonderful pets. They can enliven a person's life and make it more meaningful, and provide emotionally proven benefits to the dog owner. That said, Tishman Speyer has mishandled the dog situation from the beginning. I'm not going to get into the debate of whether it was a mistake for Tishman Speyer to allow dogs as pet residents. Clearly the previous decades-long policy against dogs was there for a reason, and we are seeing the reason (actually, reasons) every day in the life of Stuy Town/Peter Cooper Village.

A day doesn't go by when I don't come across in even a short walk through Stuyvesant Town the residue deposits of someone's dog on the walkways, sometimes even right around the Oval walkway--and in some cases close by to the little guard booth that is occasionally manned by a guard. I wonder if the dog owners responsible for letting their pets do nature's calling on these walkways just don't know the rules (both the city's and Stuy Town's) or, if they do know them, if they just brush them off as so much bother. After all, they reason, they will pick up after their dog--so what's the problem? The problem is, of course, that residue is typically left over, which, being small, is even more of a threat for the pedestrian to step on, as it's not as visible as an unpicked load would be. Oh, and speaking of unpicked loads, those can be found around Stuy Town/PCV, too.

There are other problems.

Dog owners are trying to get a dog run in Stuy Town/PCV, and I say good luck but not in my neighborhood (ie, anywhere near my building). These owners are not to be faulted for this desire, as it's natural that a dog owner would like to have a dog run. I'd probably want one, too, if I owned a dog. But with a dog run will come a concentration of dog noise throughout the day and wafts of doggie smells to nearby residents who open their windows in the warmer months of the year. The instant response from certain owners to the noise issue is typically, "Well, kids make more noise," but even if that is true, that's no reason to double the noise quotient with a dog run. We should be working to lessen unnecessary noise in ST/PCV, not increase it. (For that reason, I'd love to see a ban of skateboarding here.)

In setting the rules for dogs in ST/PCV, Tishman Speyer developed an unrealistic set of expectations and policies. They set rules which are 1) easily broken, and 2) which they don't enforce. Dogs, for instance, are not allowed on any grass area, but it is impossible for a dog not to gravitate to that area and frequently take leak somewhere in that region. Sure a dog owner can insist that his/her dog not go on the grass, but that's rather hardcore, given the nature of a dog (or even a person).

As for leaks, well.... I see ST/PCV dogs taking many at the base of trees, which is never good for the health of tree. And, if you haven't noticed, we have a lot of trees in the complex. Do I fault the dog? No. I fault the owner. And even then, I'm beginning to cut the owner some slack, as it is Tishman Speyer's policies, both in allowing a dog presence in ST/PCV and in setting unrealistic rules, that are at fault here.

Dogs on long retractable leashes. Against the law. Dog owners are either unaware of this or they just flaunt their disregard for this law. I'm just waiting for the sob story when a speeding bicycle gets caught up in one of these extended (and almost invisible) leashes. Both bicyclist and dog will probably wind up in the hospital--the former in a human one and the latter in an animal one.

Barking dogs. Thank heavens that I don't live next to a neighbor that has one--though that can always change. This must be a particular kind of hell--as is living next to noisy human neighbors.

Dog hair in the washers. Yup, I've heard the complaints and I've come across this myself. You open up the washer to throw your clothes in, and there's a ring of brittle dog hairs along the rim of the washer. Please, dog owners, if you wash your dog stuff in the laundry room, have the courtesy to remove your dog's hairs after you are done.

Big dogs--two of them! Another frequent sight in ST/PCV. These dogs come from outside, one would think, as Tishman Speyer restricts the weight of the dogs one owner can have. I've yet to come across a security guard stop any outsider from walking their illegal-in-ST/PCV dogs around the complex.

"Love my dog as I love him/her." This is a frequent, presumptuous attitude on the part of dog owners. From this attitude arises the stance that one's dog can do anything it likes and whatever it does is fine and adorable. Okay, your dog is adorable and everything, but give non-dog owners the courtesy and the space to allow them the feeling that your dog is not the most wonderful creature in the world, human or otherwise. Perhaps the second most wonderful creature, but maybe not the first.

"Be afraid of my dog or he/she can eat you." This is a different kind of attitude. These dog owners scowl and their dogs scowl along with them. The message is: Be very afraid of me and my dog. Only owners with huge beasts, that nearly tip the scale of what's allowed in ST/PCV, have this attitude. These owners tend to hook up with similar owners of big dogs. I pity the people who have to get into elevators with these residents, though my sense is that most of these owners are coming into ST/PCV from outside the complex.

And when it is that Tishman Speyer contacts dog owners to remind them about dog policies in the complex? Things are not in control here. The rules are being violated daily, hourly. (Not just the rules concerning dogs, of course, but dogs are the subject of this blog post.) What is TS going to do about these violations? If you guess not much of anything, you are correct.