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. 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.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Amazing Stuy Town Apartment

Forget the cheap assembly-line renovated market-rate Stuyvesant Town apartments. This guy knows how to makes a Stuy Town apartment really look like luxury living! Wow!



Saturday, June 27, 2009

RIP: Oval Lawn

It's a disaster right now. Mud, standing water, and stink all over the place. Amazingly, you will find stupid people--like some of our Yunnies--who lie on this mess, hopeful of getting a few "rays" so that they can look as if they went to an exclusive Long Island beach over the weekend. One chick at least brought a plastic tarp to put over the swamp, yet I still don't know how she could stand the noxious odors arising about her.

The worse area is where the Farmers Market is placed every Sunday (until late November!). Take a look:







Absolutely disgusting. If desecrating one's own property were a crime, Jerry and Rob Speyer would be in jail now, doing some serious time.

Now, Photography is Permitted at Stuyvesant Town

The website NYCPHOTORIGHTS.COM, which covered the Stuyvesant Town photo controversy via Lux Living's blog, managed to get a response from Stuyvesant Town (the Management Office?) that appears to clarify the matter:

"Personal photography is permitted at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. After receiving a number of inquiries, we circled back with our staff to make sure everyone is clear on this. Thanks and have a nice weekend."

From the looks of this, the following possibilities exist:

1) Stuy Town security didn't understand a new directive from the Management Office and assumed that personal photography was not permitted in Stuyvesant Town by residents. The directive, if it exists, may have had to do with use of the property by professional photographers for commercial purposes. In such case, a permit is indeed needed.

OR:

2) Stuyvesant Town backed down from their original directive, which security got correct, when they saw the online outrage and possible protests--and the illegality of having such a rule.

My feeling is that number one is the more correct assumption, as I can't believe that Tishman Speyer would be that stupid to ban residents from taking photographs in the complex.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Photography Banned in Stuyvesant Town?



Suddenly, this is now a hot question being asked on Lux Living's blog and this one. It appears that individuals have been told yesterday and today by Stuyvesant Town security that taking photos of the property is a "no-no." At this point, I haven't heard anything official from the landlord, Tishman Speyer, about this supposed new policy, so until notices are posted, on the grounds and in buildings, this new rule is rather flimsy and just based on security's understanding (ie, misunderstanding) of some directive from the Management Office.

I've done some internet searching on the topic of taking photographs in a public/private area, and the conclusion reached by the writers I've read is that one is certainly allowed to take photos in a public place (of anything and anyone), and even in a private area, where the only "no-no" is being on the grounds if you are trespassing.

As one website states:

"Trespassing is the act of being on property without permission from the owner or lessee. Note that this is about where you are, not what you're doing -- trespassing is legally separate from photography. You can be illegally trespassing and still be legally taking photographs."

My impression is that Tishman Speyer is upset by the photographs of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village that have been appearing on this blog and on Lux Living's blog, and that in an effort to stop more of such photos (which, after all, only show the property as it is) the company is trying to put an intimidation squeeze on those who photograph the property. The fact that a security guard demanded to know of one photographer whether he was a resident hints that the only enforcement possible is to escort a non-resident off the property if he or she is taking a photograph in this private community. (Though many times this is an open community, as witnessed by the various events in which outsiders are encouraged to enter Stuyvesant Town, so even then the law may be vague for a non-resident.) Using the non-resident rule (if it is indeed applicable here), Tishman Speyer hopes to cloudy the matter and imply that residents also are not allowed to photograph the property, which appears to be BULLSHIT at this point in time.

My recommendation for residents is to continue taking photographs as you would normally, for whatever purpose, and if you are confronted by a security guard press the matter. Ask to see his supervisor, remember what is being said and GET NAMES. If you have to go to the Management Office, do so, and remember what is said to you there and take down the name of the person who spoke to you. I will gladly post this information here.

You should also feel free to contact the Town & Village newspaper with your story. Editor Sabina Mollot's e-mail is editor@townvillage.net, and the phone number to T & V should be 212-777-6611.

One more point: Under NO CIRCUMSTANCE is a security guard allowed to confiscate or destroy your camera or take it away temporarily to erase what you have photographed. This is an illegal act on his part.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Oval Lawn in Complete Ruin

A blog reader sent in these two photos of Stuyvesant Town's Oval Lawn in its present condition. With the lousy weather we've been having, the "concerts," the farmers market, and the sloppy use of the space, this lawn is more a disaster than ever. How much worse can it get? Stay tuned!



Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pro-Tenant Rent Bill - "It's dead." -- Michael McKee


Above: The face of political corruption.

Thanks to the shenanigans of Democrat Pedro Espada, Jr., the pro-tenant rent bill that Democrats promised would get passed if the Democrats could gain the majority in the State Senate is dead. So says Michael McKee, the hard-working tenant rights activist whom we've seen many times at Stuyvesant Town tenant meetings. According to reports (including this one from the NY Times), Espada has been courted by the landlord lobby, but refuses to divulge if real estate interests have given him donations, a disclosure that is required by law! With all his other legal troubles, one wonders what's keeping this bum Espada from being housed in jail???

Anyway, score one for Jerry & Rob Speyer. But payback will be a bitch.

Update: The more you read about what was/is happening in Albany, the more ill and angry you get. The fix was probably in before Espada's break with the Democrats. The former (current?) Senate Majority Leader, Malcolm Smith, received more than $236,000 from landlord interests since 2007. Smith is the guy who gave Espada his high-ranking position of chairman of the Housing Committee.

Oh, and the guy who preceded Espada as State Senator from his district? Efrain Gonzalez. What kind of person/politician was he? We learn from Wikipedia:

"On August 25, 2006, it was disclosed that Senator Gonzalez had been indicted for mail fraud. He surrendered to federal authorities shortly after his indictment was unsealed, and was subsequently released on $25,000 bail following his arraignment. According to the indictment, Gonzalez is accused of defrauding the West Bronx Neighborhood Association Inc., a not-for-profit corporation, by using funds donated to the organization in order to pay for over $37,000 in personal expenses. In December 2006, in a new Federal indictment that replaced the August indictment, he was charged with diverting over $400,000 meant for the community not-for-profit to personal expenses, including vacation homes in the Dominican Republic, homes for his wife, mistress, renovations to his mother-in-law's home, Yankees tickets and college tuition for his daughter. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison."

So is "politician" a dirty word?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Oval Lawn Ravaged After Concert

The condition of Stuyvesant Town's Oval lawn is so bad that it's not ready for the further deterioration that concerts and the Farmers Market will cause this summer. Stuy Town Reporter took a walk about the Oval lawn on Saturday morning and found it in the worse shape he's ever seen, and that's saying a lot.

Here's where the concert stage was set up, leaving behind lengthy strong etchings into the ground that are now filled with water and mud:



Here's a closer look of different parts of this L-shape scarring:





And that low-lying mound in the center of the lawn, a mound that was a Tishman Speyer addition, is now a revolting mass of swampy mud giving off noxious fumes, probably coming from the stagnation of the surface water and the Brownfield gasses (supposedly trapped) below:





Amazingly, the Yunnies (Young Urban Narcissists) of Stuyvesant Town and the Yunnie visitors from the Lower East Side will still plant themselves face-up, then face-down on the smelly, swampy lawn when the sun comes out. It's all yours!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Wobbly Swing Back?

It now appears that Democrat Hiram ("MonsterRat")Monserrate may be having second thoughts about joining the Republican coalition. He walked about of the Senate chamber today, telling reporters outside, "You can't have coalition government with two Democrats. We need to continue to work on that. My role here is to make sure the Democratic Party is at the table." Aside from MonsterRat and Espada, no Democrats showed up in the chamber today.

Meanwhile, Tom Duane has thought things over (ie, gotten a lot of heated feedback from New Yorkers). Quoting the NY Times:

Senator Thomas K. Duane, a liberal Manhattan Democrat who had remained in his hotel room since Monday and skipped meetings with Senate Democrats — leading to speculation about his party loyalties — resolved on Wednesday to remain with the Democratic caucus, his staff said. "He needed some time to reassess," said Mark Furnish, Mr. Duane’s counsel.

It just may be that Espada will be the lone Democrat in the Republican coalition, denying the 32 vote majority needed to pass any bill/law. Stalemate?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Democrats Falling Apart



Well, now it appears that Tom Duane, among other Dems, may be jumping ship and accepting the new Republican leadership.

This from the NY Times:

One of the senators who is believed to be considering breaking ranks with the Senate Democratic conference, Thomas K. Duane of Manhattan, would not say where he planned to cast his political allegiance.

“I am not considering anything but trying to get passed all the legislation I’ve spent my whole life fighting for,” he said. Mr. Duane, who did not attend meetings with his Democratic colleagues on Tuesday, said he had spent all day in discussions with senators from both parties.

Mr. Duane is the sponsor of legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in New York. He has been working to garner the 32 votes necessary to pass the bill, and said he would continue to do so.

Republicans are probably dangling the same-sex marriage vote in front of Duane in an attempt to influence him.


Basically, the Republicans have played the Democrats like a fiddle or the suckers they seem to be at this point.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Espada's Thugs in the Bronx

To a local journalist: "This is to teach you some manners, Papa." They broke his camera and sent him to the hospital. Now Espada is next in line to assume the governorship of New York should something happen to Paterson.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Breaking News: Republicans Seize Control of State Senate!!!


Democrats Pedro Espada, Jr (Bronx) and Hiram Monserrate (Queens)

From the NY Times City Room Blog:

ALBANY – Republicans apparently seized control of the New York State Senate on Monday, in a stunning and sudden reversal of fortunes for the Democratic Party, which controlled the chamber for barely five months.

A raucous leadership fight erupted on the floor of the Senate around 3 p.m., with two Democrats, Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens, joining the 30 Senate Republicans in a motion that would displace Democrats as the party in control.

In a news conference in the early evening, Senator Malcolm A. Smith of Queens, leader of the Senate Democrats, insisted that the Republican-engineered vote was illegal and violated parliamentary procedure. He said the vote was illegal because it had already taken place after the meeting was already brought to an end.

Giovanni Rufino for The New York Times Senator Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, is expected to become the new majority leader.

It was a noisy and acrimonious scene on the floor of the Senate as Senator Thomas W. Libous, a Republican from Binghamton and the party’s deputy leader, shouted for a roll-call vote, while Democrats attempted to stall the vote by asking to adjourn the session.

All 30 Republicans stood with their hands raised, signaling a vote for a change in leadership. Mr. Espada and Mr. Monserrate joined them, each raising his hand. Republicans won the vote by a 32-to-30 margin. The Senate will now be governed under a new joint leadership structure, with Mr. Espada serving as the president pro tempore, and Senator Dean G. Skelos, of Long Island, as the new majority leader.

More at the above link. One wonders what, if anything, this will do to tenants rights in New York City.

If you want to know more about Hiram Monserrate, click on the link above, and you'll be shocked by this info:

On March 23, 2009, a grand jury in Queens handed up a felony assault indictment against him, charging that he stabbed his girlfriend last December with a drinking glass, leaving a gash that required 20 stitches to close, prosecutors announced.

The six-count indictment charged Mr. Monserrate with three counts of second-degree assault, a D felony, in the episode on Dec. 19, 2008, when he was a city councilman waiting to be sworn in to the Senate, to which he was elected in November.

The charges, according to a press release from the office of the Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown, announcing the indictment, also include three counts of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.

Mr. Monseratte, who was arrested hours after the episode, denied assaulting the woman, Karla Giraldo, and said he had fallen while bringing her a glass of water in his Jackson Heights apartment. He was released on $5,000 bail and, over the objections of some fellow senators, was sworn in Jan. 7, 2009.

Ms. Giraldo has refused to cooperate with the police and prosecutors in Mr. Brown's office, but a judge in January refused to lift an order of protection keeping Mr. Monserrate away from her, despite her statement saying that she did not want it.

The state senator faces a maximum of seven years in prison if convicted of the felony.

A former Marine, Mr. Monserrate served 12 years in the New York Police Department before getting a psychological disability pension in 2000. The cause for his claim was not known and he has declined to discuss it.

I'm trying to find out more about Espada, but already it's amazing the quality of the people that get elected to important political offices. These are the men and women that hold the fate of this city's and the state's residents in their hands. I've never been as disgusted with politicians, of both parties, as I have in recent times. I almost wish we were back in the days when citizens would storm a politician's office or home, drag them out, then do the tar and feather routine. Only then will these bums learn.

Update: Apparently, Espada doesn't live in the Bronx district he represents, but in a far more upscale area--Westchester.

Below is a video of Espada, from last year, confronted by a tenant of the Bronx building he supposedly lives in. From the blog that's hosting the video:

We live in this co-op! In fact, Mr. Espada apparently lives in Mamaroneck in Westchester. Neither I, nor my wife (as well as most of my real neighbors), have ever seen this gentleman in the building. It is insulting that Mr. Espada, he of past political scandals involving government money funnelled from his Soundview Medical Center to his own political campaign, was extremely rude to a long time resident as evidenced by the video below.



And this is really disgusting, going back to January 2004:

New York State Attorney General Spitzer, joined by New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) Executive Director Nicole Gordon, today announced the indictment of four senior managers at the Soundview Health Center who are charged with stealing state funds earmarked for programs designed to serve impoverished women, children and persons diagnosed with HIV and AIDS and using the funds to finance political campaigns.

The four individuals charged are: Sandra Love, Soundview Senior Vice President, Maria Cruz, Vice President of Operations, Norma Ortiz, Executive Assistant to the President and Esther Hill, former Director of the Women Infants and Children ("WIC") Program. The four are charged with multiple counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree as well as a Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. Defendants Love and Hill are also charged with filing false documents.

If convicted, each individual faces up to seven (7) years in prison on the most serious charge of Grand Larceny.

According to the indictment, the four above-named defendants engaged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain money intended for Soundview’s WIC and HIV programs and applied those funds to pay for costs incurred in advancing the political campaigns of Soundview’s President, including a bid for Bronx Borough President in 2001. The amount of diverted funds is estimated to be more than $25,000.


The Soundview President was, yes, Pedro Espada, Jr. More at this link.

Another update. From WNBC. Astounding the balls of Espada and Monserrate and the brazen power play here. I also like that bit about Monserrate being proud of electing "the first Latino President of the New York State Senate." The current (?) majority leader, Malcolm Smith, is black, btw, and the first black senate majority leader. Anyway, here's WNBC:

Pedro Espada told NBCNewYork that he is now the Senate leader, saying the people of New York deserve "a government that is not in gridlock." Espada said he supports gay marriage, and the leadership upheaval had nothing to do with that issue.

In a statement, Monserrate said “I am a life-long Democrat and remain a loyal Democrat. After today’s proceedings, I am proud to form a bi-partisan coalition that has elected the first Latino President of the New York State Senate, my colleague, the Honorable Pedro Espada Jr."

President, vice president and majority leader are the most powerful positions in the chamber. With them, the bipartisan coalition can direct legislation and reassign committee and leadership posts.


More at this link.

Yet another update, from the NY Times. I'm just offering some highlights. The full report is here. Read it and weep or get pissed off angry--or both.

The Democrats’ tenuous control of the New York State Senate abruptly collapsed on Monday, throwing the Legislature into chaos with just two weeks remaining in its session.

Two dissident Democrats, who had been secretly strategizing with Republicans for weeks, bucked their party’s leaders and joined with 30 Republican senators to form what they said would be a bipartisan power-sharing deal. But the arrangement effectively re-establishes Republican control.

The change upends the agenda in Albany, where Democrats had assumed power in the Senate in January, with 32 seats, after more than 40 years in the minority. Democrats were pushing bills to give tenants more rights, strengthen abortion rights and legalize same-sex marriage this session. And the move underscores the continuing tumult of New York politics, where there have been three governors in less than three years and four Senate presidents since last summer....

A spokesman for Mr. Smith, who lost the titles of majority leader and Senate president in the shakeup, issued a statement later saying that Democrats would challenge the vote, but it was not clear that they had grounds to do so.

Gov. David A. Paterson, at a news conference Monday evening, called the move “an outrage” and said Albany had become a “dysfunctional wreck.”

The governor also said “I will not allow this,” but then conceded that there was nothing he could do to stop it....

Both Mr. Espada and Mr. Monserrate said they would remain Democrats even as they work with Republicans to run the Senate.

Both men have legal troubles. Highlighting the often elastic nature of ethical stands and alliances in Albany, Republicans who earlier this year were calling on Mr. Monserrate to resign after his indictment on felony charges that he stabbed his companion with a broken glass are now welcoming him as part of their power-sharing coalition.

Asked about the reversal, Mr. Skelos said, “He’s an elected member, and the reforms are more important.”

Mr. Espada has been fined tens of thousands of dollars over several years for flouting state law by not disclosing political contributions.

The state attorney general’s office is also investigating the Soundview HealthCare Network, a nonprofit organization that Mr. Espada ran until recently.

The new leadership structure means that Mr. Espada would become governor if Gov. David Paterson were incapacitated....


I thought I'd leave you with these two images. Monserrate and Espada. Kinda says it all:



Sunday, June 7, 2009

An Unfortunate Addition

It was as glorious day in Stuyvesant Town as possible. Warm, sunny, the outdoors refreshing and both spirited and tranquil, depending on where one was sitting. The crowds filled the lawn (many people from outside of Stuy Town, it seems, but that's a subject for another post). So what do I spot at the Oval walkway, not far from the security booth? Four pieces of unpicked dog turd. (Unlike some posts at the old Tenants Forum, I won't be giving you close-ups, but the evidence is there, with photoshopped circles identifying the gifts.)



Now a few questions arise. Where is the security at the security booth to stop this crapping on the walkway and insistence that the turds be picked up? Where are the people with cajones to confront the dog owner who decided to leave the area without picking his or her dog's deposits up? (After all, the walkway, as well as the entire Oval, has been busy all day.) And what kind of fucked up dog owner just doesn't pick up after his/her dog?

As the evening progresses and visibility lessens, people will be certainly stepping into these deposits. Check your shoes before you enter your apartment!

More Potpourri

So yesterday Tishman Speyer put up four posted dog signs at the Oval lawn--two on the north side, two on the south. These signs are the same ones that were placed in front of the playgrounds a few weeks ago. The signs state that dogs must be leashed, cannot go on the grass, flower beds, etc.



Being a student of human nature, I couldn't wait to see if these signs would have an impact or whether, as I suspected, dog owners would still walk their dogs across the lawn. This morning, relaxing at the fountain, I didn't have to wait long to receive my answer, and it came moments apart.

Here's a fellow who let his unleashed dog roam about the lawn, stirring up a female resident taking in some morning rays....



This lady actually stopped in front of one of the newly posted signs to read it--and still walked her dog across the lawn to get to the farmer's market!....



Incidentally, this is the ground the farmer's market is being placed on, covered in a green plastic mesh....



Lovely, isn't it? And, no doubt, this ground will get lovelier now that the farmer's market is here till the end of November.

And a reader of this blog sends in this photo of the return of the old-style dumpster, undoubtedly on loan from some Bronx project, as if the three permanent dumpsters at the other end of the loop are not enough. This one is parked off Ave. C at 16th Street. Another lovely sight. The dumpster has been there for three days, but not to worry. Surely it will be picked up soon--at 2AM, 3AM or 4AM. Wake up call!



Luxury living--not.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Potpourri

With all the moving trucks and vans parked around the loops, Stuyvesant Town residents can't help to notice that the annual ritual of move-outs from Stuy Town dorms has been in full swing, an event that's followed a couple of months down the line by student move-ins. Well, sometimes you just can't fit everything into that Moshe truck or daddy's van, so you have to leave some of your valued possessions behind....



Meanwhile, Tishman Speyer's dog rules are being broken wherever you look, wherever you go, and there's little visible enforcement from Stuy Town's crack security team. This was to be expected, of course, which is why Met Life maintained a no-dog policy in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village since the complex was built. But Tishman Speyer needed to attract market-rate tenants, so the company did away with the old policy, putting in rules that anyone with a thinking brain must have known would not be adhered to. I say, if you can't and won't enforce the dog rules, change the rules. Do something, rather than just lay back and let lawlessness, albeit of a petty nature in most cases, become a prominent theme on your property. These type of minor violations of the rules just increase a feeling that nothing matters in this community but self-interest--neighbors or courtesy be damned. This is just going to get worse, folks.



I like Dan Garodnick. Pleasant, good-looking guy. Always there at tenant meetings. A proponent of the "green" movement, sustainability, the environment, etc. So I was surprised to receive in the mail his latest "letter," which I'm sure most of you must have also received. It's a deluxe four-page color affair printed on high-quality, glossy paper. Something Bloomberg would put out. But definitely not environmentally friendly and definitely a waste of resources, taxpayer resources included. Come on, Dan, if you urge others to get with the green movement program, let's see your next letter printed on recycled paper using soy-based inks.