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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where Does Dan Garodnick Stand on the Issue?


No, it's not a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening up of the Stuy Town ice-skating rink...yet.


On the issue of the commercialization of Stuyvesant Town? This includes, of course, the ice-skating rink, whose construction will close Playground 10, one of the most frequently used playgrounds by children and young people, this November 1st.

When I contacted our councilman's office, I was told that the money-making ventures inside Stuyvesant Town, from food trucks to the ice-skating rink, were not clearly against the residential zoning laws because of this or that, or something or another. ("Accessory use" was mentioned once.) A recent letter that Dan Garodnick sent to CW Capital and Rose Associates made demands that the rink be open for free to residents and that the noise levels coming from the rink to those residents living near Playground 10 should be minimized. Not one word about zoning, as if Garodnick doesn't feel it's an issue to be even explored.

It seems that ever since the beginnings of construction of the Oval "Essentials" several years ago, Dan Garodnick has had plenty of opportunities to check with whatever legal counsel is available to him about the zoning for Stuy Town, and whether the Essentials, the Farmer's Market, the food trucks, the Verizon/Zip Car/etc tables set up at events, and now the forthcoming ice-skating rink, break the zoning laws for this community. Whether or not zoning laws are being broken, we, the tenants of this community, NEED TO KNOW. Instead, we get vague responses, as if no one in the councilman's office, to include the councilman, has seriously investigated the zoning laws for Stuyvesant Town.

So if Dan Garodnick, a lawyer himself with lawyer friends from his old firm (which represents tenants, btw), still does not know if commercial enterprises inside Stuy Town break a zoning law--the question becomes: Why he doesn't know? What is he waiting for? His term limit to run out?

P.S. It should be noted that Garodnick and the City Council he is part of are responsible for the zoning laws of NYC. So, to plead ignorance here or a lack of clarity.... Well....

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent Post STR. Did you notice that today’s T&V does not mention the zoning issue at all in its front page ice rink article? Not one word.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Zoning is something so obvious that it becomes more than mystifying why it's such a silent issue for some key players. Then, again, I still remember when the City Council, to include Dan Garodnick, threw out the zoning laws for midtown 7th Ave, to allow a high rise that would block views of the Empire State Building.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we can expect any honesty or transparency so long as Bloomberg is in office. These are qualities that are absolutely not encouraged from the Mayor, Speaker or the City Council. The fact is that we, the taxpayers/voters/public whom these "public servants" are supposed to serve, have absolutely no rights or legitimate expectations (in their eyes) to hold them accountable. Ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to shut up or die. Preferably the latter if we are rent stabilized tenants.

Shaik said...

This is such an beautiful post! Thank you very much for creating and sharing it.

Fed Up Tenant said...

If you care about this latest scheme by CW Capitol and Rose Management to wring every penny out of this property at all costs and you care that this and other of their actions are having – or have the potential to have – a deeply negative impact on tenants’ quality of life here and you want clarification about exactly what kind of activities the zoning regulations permit in STPCV, let a reporter like CHARLES BAGLI OF THE NY TIMES know. He is writing a book about Stuyvesant Town and has covered many STPCV issues over the years. Here’s his email address: chbagli [@] nytimes.com.

Anonymous said...

Thanks STR. I think this post mirrors my beliefs exactly, and probably does that for many people in the community.

Laws can be interpreted in many different ways. "Accessory Use" might very well hold for some of the commercial uses of the interior space, but the landlord (starting with Tishman-Speyer) was/is counting on the fact that if they lied about the legitimacy, nobody would challenge them in court. Now is the time for the Tenants Association to step up and truly put their resources and experience to work. Once this skating rink goes unchallenged, there will be nothing stopping them from usurping the public spaces for a myriad of commercial uses.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the councilman is getting some type if kickback for his actions.

Maybe free rent in PCV?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

I can't see Garodnick getting any obvious kickback, as 1) I don't think he is that kind of politician, and 2) it would be the end of his political career if it ever came out that he did get a kickback.

I do believe what may be in play here is something more subtle and sinister, if not purposefully so. The City Council has been at fault for erasing considerable aspects of middle-class housing in Manhattan, with its zoning laws and those duplicitous "air-rights," so I can see a pattern emerging of screwing the middle class and gradually doing away with the earthy vibrancy of Manhattan and its neighborhoods in favor of the wealthy and their offspring--and hordes of tourists, of course. ST/PCV was once a rock bed of the middle class, but now it's getting less so with each passing year.

Perhaps, just perhaps, Garodnick knows very well what has been going on with zoning here in this community, and knows where he and the City Council stand on the issue, if not in specific reference to ST/PCV, then in reference to New York in general.

Something stinks, in other words.

Anonymous said...

Now that's taking a stance. I'm impressed!

Anonymous said...

Can't you just see them turning the Oval green space into some kind of indoor shopping mall? Think of the rents they could command and enhancement to the property value from a market-rate rental standpoint.

I'm sure they are working on it. All of the trucks and the rink and the other "services" are a toe in the water.

Occupy Playground 10 said...

This morning Rose shut down Playground 10 and posted security guards at the gates. (They said it would be shut Nov 1st.) Heavy machinery has moved in. Winches, cranes, steel girders. Temporary structure? Playground 10 which had been for the use of all the children of the community is gone and is now a paid admission attraction.

Anonymous said...

Well, now is the time for Garodnick to step up and show us what kind of a politician he really is. Is he part of the corrupt and sinister cadre of City Hall or is he truly a representative of the people who voted for him? If he is part of the status quo, then he will get kicked to the curb by the voters because things are changing; people are fed up of the status quo. If, however, he is truly an honest man, then he will go far. There's a populist movement afoot in this city and in this country that is indicative of the total disgust and discontentment with the corruption of our politicians and their corporate pimps. There is a lot of anger out there and it would behoove any politician who values his job to do the right thing while he or she still has that job.

Anonymous said...

Well...they're working on the rink.

Yellow tape across the entrance gates this morning.

When I asked the "managers" in ties as to what the deal would be as far as music and hours of operation they stared back at me with the deer in the headlights look and only offered one statement..."no comment".

By the way...the recreation director advised that this would be a totally commercial pay as you skate area.

In other words.... no free skating even for ST/PCV residents.


I really can't believe that this is happening.

Anonymous said...

Rose and CW will be charging residents for the use of this rink, which as Council Member Garodnick in his letter to CW pointed out is the first time in the history of the community that residents are being charged for open space. Council Member Garodnick's public silence on this zoning issue and his office's response are extermely disappointing. This is particularly so because the Council Member is a member of the Council's Land Use Committee which is responsible for zoning matters.

Anonymous said...

Dan Garodnick is and has always been the King of Double Talk.
His greatest talent is to "Tell people what he thinks they want to hear at that moment." His only agenda has been to be re-elected.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

The fact that Playground 10 has been shut down ahead of schedule may be indicative of a certain worry that work may be forced to stop, so they're hurrying along the process so that it gets finished before anything like that happens.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the zoning map at the city site, there's a 100' setback on the north side of the ST property. I wonder if this is how the supermarket (or, whatever they built there) and the parking lots there are zoned? In any case, Playground 10 looks like it is within that block, which might be how they're skating by (pun intended) - it's vertically on top of one of the other commercial uses that's been around a while. Incidentally, if that setback isn't appropriately zoned, how did they lease space to the supermarket, deli, etc? Some kind of exception? I remember those being around for a long time on 20th before they made it into that stupid gym.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

The zoning must be different for the border areas of Stuy Town, which is where the stores are. Commercial activities have been happening inside Stuy Town, right in the center Oval area, for several years now. We need definitive answers from our councilman Dan Garodnick on how Stuy Town is zoned, and if there were changes made to ST's zoning, and who agreed to those changes. Garodnick can't plead ignorance here.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

BTW, I won't have computer access for most of today and tomorrow, Sunday, so whatever comments people make will have to wait till pre-midnight to turn up.

Anonymous said...

Garodnik has most definitely lost my vote.

Anonymous said...

So, anyone living near the Oval is being subjected RIGHT NOW to exactly what you can expect once the ice skating rink opens in playground 10 - LOTS OF LOUD NOISE. I just called Security and they told me that this is a "Halloween" event and is going to last from 10AM-6PM today. 10AM-6PM??!! So, on a Sunday - when tenants might like some peace and quiet - Management, as usual, is completely oblivious to that fact. Or, more likely, simply doesn't care. Just wait till the skating rink opens. If this is what tenants are going to be subjected to, there is going to be BIG, BIG TROUBLE HERE. Mark my words.

Anonymous said...

I was interested until people started implying Garodnick's on the take. Thats when this conversation lost all credibility.

Anonymous said...

Dan Garodnick is losing a vote from people based on reporting that describes his position as "not clearly against the residential zoning laws because of this or that, or something or another. ("Accessory use" was mentioned once.)"

It appears that a position WAS given to the reporter but he/she didn't take the time to report it back correctly. This is ridiculous writing & reporting, and appears more to be some vendetta against Garodnick more than anything else.

- Tom

Stuy Town Reporter said...

You're not interpreting the written word correctly or, rather, twisting it to make a point. You should fully quote the sentence, which stated nothing about Garodnick's stance on commercial ventures inside Stuy Town:

"When I contacted our councilman's office, I was told that the money-making ventures inside Stuyvesant Town, from food trucks to the ice-skating rink, were not clearly against the residential zoning laws because of this or that, or something or another. ("Accessory use" was mentioned once.)"

Anonymous said...

Vote with your wallets, people!!!!!!!!