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. Please note: Posts that overdo their passion and veer into name-calling or that make serious accusations without proof are going to have a hard time getting through.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Ruling that Surprises: Tishman Speyer/Blackrock Lose



A lot of us felt that big monied interests would win out and that the Court of Appeals would decide against tenants and for Tishman Speyer/Blackrock in the J-51 case.

You can read more about this ruling at the NY Times.

This is a HUGE win for tenants--not only in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village, but in the city.

So, Jerry and Robbie Speyer--YOU LOSE!!!

Get the latest up-to-date info about this ruling and its possible results at the "newsreel" sidebar on the right.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Even Californians Are Pissed



The LA Times website features a blog piece by Jill Stewart on the California Public Employee Retirement System and its investment in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. Here's the part that addresses Stuy Town/PCV:

.... the other ugly news breaking today about corruption at Calpers: its board of directors poured vast public funds -- your money -- into a scheme in Manhattan to force working-class people out of thousands of apartments on the city's East Side, and rent those apartments to the rich. Sick, sick stuff.

Calpers' board of directors and staff need a massive political and fiscal enema. Here's what these people have been up to:

According to the Wall Street Journal, CALPERS was a very, very big investor in a plan to convert 11,000 apartments that make up the vast "Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town" of 56 (yes, 56) brick high-rises on the city's East Side. Apparently, these 56 towers provide roofs for about 30,000 working-class New Yorkers.

In a plot thick with evil intent -- like forced homelessness and mass evictions -- Calpers poured in cash, along with the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. and others, to own a piece of Cooper Village/Stuy Town, which was built for returning veterans and their young families after World War II.

Calpers' hope -- it's actual hope -- was to force out thousands of working-class residents, and turn the vast brick complex into "market rate" units.

The term "market rate" in Manhattan means housing for the upper-middle-class and the rich.

Add some granite counters, WiFi, poodle doors and snobby doormen, and force thousands of working people out of their rent-controlled homes. But do it 3,000 miles away from California in New York City.

We California state taxpayers paid for this nasty scheme, but we never knew it.

But now, with Calpers mired in intellectual corruption -- and possibly fiscal corruption, thanks to its pals like Al Villalobos -- the WSJ reports that the vast brick Manhattan complex worth $5.4 billion when Calpers bought into it is now worth $2.1 billion and default appears "imminent."

Let's see it blow up in Calpers' face. California voters are not shitheads. California voters have approved bond measure after bond measure to provide affordable housing and house the homeless. California voters would never, ever have backed such an anti-human, anti-family, anti-worker scheme as the one Calpers invested in in New York.

Maybe Californians will put an initiative on the ballot to upend the Calpers board of directors and outlaw its ultra-rich private middlemen, and start over at this troubled pension fund.

As the WSJ reported about Cooper Village/Stuy Town: "The new owners predicted they would be able to convert thousands of protected apartments to higher market rents. These projections convinced Calpers" to jump in. How despicable.

Fall Foliage in Stuyvesant Town



Though there's a different kind of "fall" awaiting this complex, it's good to enjoy whatever blessings we get--via nature. A faithful reader of this blog sent in these photos of the fall foliage at the Oval. (Thank you!)





Of course, we seem to be in the middle of winter right now, but hopefully we can enjoy the fall season for a while longer.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village "Teeters"



According to the Wall Street Journal, it appears that a "special servicer" will be dealing with the debt over ST/PVC soon, no matter if Tishman Speyer wins the J-51 court case. Tishman Speyer's problems, which are mostly the problems of the suckers who invested at TS' urgings, are detailed in the article linked below:

Wall Street Journal

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Failure of Stuy Town Security

By now you probably have heard that a Stuyvesant Town female resident was attacked and robbed near the M level of 8 Stuyvesant Oval, Sunday, September 27th. It was only through the vocal responses of neighbors and the woman's own grit to fight her attacker that the incident didn't escalate into something far more tragic. According to Town & Village, the woman was robbed of somewhere between $200-300 and suffered two black eyes and broken capillaries in her eyes.

The attack took place deep into this area, near 8 Oval:



Looks charming in the daylight hours, but at night it can be a foreboding forest for a solitary walker, particularly a woman or a senior citizen.

Stuyvesant Town Security did arrive, once they were alerted, but they never "caught their man" and, despite all the cameras around the complex, were not able to see and stop the attack in progress.

All this was foreseen many, many months ago. When Tishman Speyer's massive tree planting campaign started, residents questioned the practicality of having so many trees all around Stuy Town, when the trees would be an obvious natural cover for potential robbers and rapists. In their arrogance, Tishman Speyer didn't listen and even made the potentially dangerous situation even more perilous by reducing Stuy Town's security staff and relying on newly installed cameras, instead of "boots on the ground," to deal with safety issues.

There have been various other incidents inside Stuyvesant Town--muggings and a rape--and in each instance that I know of, Stuy Town Security has not been able to stop the crime nor apprehend the criminal. That's the serious stuff. If we mention the trivial "quality of life" issues, Security has also been a dismal failure. The dog rules are not being enforced and, despite the extra (and pathetic) effort of putting up green barricades, bicyclists still ride their bikes wherever they choose.

I don't blame Security for not being up to the task of stopping crime and enforcing Stuy Town's rules. I blame Tishman Speyer, which has eviscerated Security and relied on technology that has been proven not to work. I've said this over and over: You need an actual security presence on the ground, walking, to even hope to deter crime and enforce the rules. Driving around the loops or the Oval every hour in vehicles is not going to do it; huddling in front of monitors at the Management Office isn't going to work, either. You have to have foot patrols and have those patrols walk throughout the entire complex, the back ways in particular where rules are continually being broken and crime is awaiting to sprout.

My guess is that Security is just as fed up with Tishman Speyer as are residents. My guess is that, furthermore, they feel Tishman Speyer will not stand up for them if they enforce some of the "petty" rules of this place. (I'm sure all of Security is aware of what happened to one of their own when a confrontation took place between a misbehaving dog owner and a security officer who was just trying to enforce the rules; the security officer was fired.)

Tishman Speyer's destruction of Security is just one step in the process of destroying Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. And tragic consequences are beginning to arise out of this.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Return of Cabbages



I know a lot of you (yes, you know who you are) will be overjoyed at the return to Stuyvesant Town of cabbages. These charming decorative cabbages are perfect for this time of year and much appreciated by Stuy Town mice and rats who, with the lessening of human picnics on the Oval grounds, would have had a hard time seeking out food to live on through the winter months. Expect the aroma of rotting cabbages some time early next year, but that will be a small price to pay for the visual bounty we are getting and the food supply for our little (and not so little) rodent friends.