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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Press Conference Today - 11AM, 1st Ave & 16th St.

TENANTS TO BID FOR STUYVESANT TOWN - PETER COOPER VILLAGE

Partnership with Brookfield Asset Management Aims To Keep Historic Community Affordable for Middle-Class

NEW YORK – The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association will announce on Wednesday a partnership with Brookfield Asset Management to submit a tenant led-bid to purchase the storied development, protect current residents and permanently maintain the middle-class character of the historic Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper community.

The proposal from the Tenant Association and Brookfield Asset Management would allow tenants to buy their apartments at reasonable rates while protecting those who wish to remain as stabilized renters from harassment or eviction. The proposal would also aim to create a set of permanently affordable rental units with help from government sources,
improve maintenance and upkeep across the development, and preserve the community’s existing open space.

Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village is home to more than 25,000 residents.

The tenants and leadership of Brookfield Asset Management will announce their partnership at a press conference at 16th and First Avenue at 11:00 a.m.

Who: The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, Councilmember Dan Garodnick, and Brookfield Asset Management

When: Wednesday, November 30th, at 11 a.m.

Where: At the corner of 16th St and First Avenue

What: Tenants of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village and Brookfield Asset Management announce partnership for a tenant-led bid to buy Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, protect residents, and keep community affordable

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oh-oh....

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/30/nyregion/stuyvesant-town-and-peter-cooper-tenants-hope-to-buy-apartments.html

For the second time in six years, the tenants at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village are seeking to buy the financially troubled complexes, which have served as a leafy refuge for generations of middle-class families in high-priced Manhattan.

The tenant association hopes to convert the adjacent complexes, with 11,232 apartments, into a condominium or cooperative under a plan in which residents could buy their apartments or remain as rent-regulated tenants.....

The tenant association is holding a forum on Saturday to solicit recommendations and to explain the plan to residents of the complexes, which sit between 14th and 23rd Streets and First Avenue and the East River. The association and Brookfield have not worked out the details of a proposal, but several people involved in the discussions said that an unspecified number of apartments, perhaps 10 percent, would permanently remain as rentals. Residents could buy their apartments at a discount with restrictions on reselling, or at near-market rates with fewer restrictions.....

MORE AT THE ABOVE LINK.

Another article about Brookfield and the Tenants Association:

http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2011/11/29/brookfield-making-a-go-for-stuyvesant-town/

Monday, November 28, 2011

Kips Bay Ex-Con Arrested for Stuy Town Muggings

NY Daily News:

A brazen mugger who attacked two elderly men in Stuyvesant Town this month has been arrested, police said Monday.

Ex-con Henry Huggins, 51, was charged with robbery and burglary in the two crimes, which left one victim with a fractured shoulder.

Huggins is a career criminal with 11 prior arrests for robbery, forgery, selling drugs and criminal trespassing, among other counts, records show.

Huggins, of E. 30th St. in Kips Bay, was most recently released on parole in July after serving a sentence for grand larceny, according to the state Department of Correctional Services website.

Huggins is to be arraigned Monday in the Nov. 23 attack on William Shafer, 71, of Stuyvesant Town and the Nov. 3 mugging of a 77-year-old resident of the same Manhattan housing complex.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stuyvesant Town Residents On Edge After Violent Muggings



NY1 REPORT:

Residents were on edge in Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan on Sunday, following violent attacks on two elderly men there earlier this month.

Police released surveillance video of one of the incidents that happened Wednesday.

The suspect is seen attacking a 71-year old man in the building's lobby.

The older man's money was stolen and he suffered a broken arm.

Police say they believe the same suspect also grabbed a 77-year old man in a building entrance on November 3, attacked him and robbed him.

Some residents told NY1 the neighborhood needs better security, while others said it was a matter of vigilance.

"They have money to spend on ice skating rinks and things people don't need, but apparently they don't spend it on security," said a Stuyvesant Town resident.

"We need foot guards, the patrolmen around again," said another resident.

"The basic thing is you have to be careful and you have to watch what's happening around you," said a third.

"This is one of the safest places you could live in New York City," said a fourth resident. "I feel comfortable, in spite of the report of the robberies. I would think to be more aware of what is happening around you."

According to crime statistics, robberies have increased 5.6 percent in the neighborhood in the last year.

The suspect is described as in his 40s, about 5-feet-8-inches tall and 180 pounds.

Anyone with information on the attacks should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink Feedback



It's beginning tomorrow, from 9am to 9pm (with filming around the area, no doubt, so beware if you don't want to be used for promos.) Comments are welcome, pro or con. I'm particularly interested in hearing from those residents who live around Playground 10 and may be affected by any noise coming from the rink.

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11/26/11 UPDATE: A STR reader sent in these following photos from today's activities. I've cropped a few and whited out faces.

First off, the important "Filming Taking Place in This Area" notice:



No refunds in case of weather conditions. And don't forget you are skating at your own risk:



Security abounds, but no checking of key cards for "residents and their guests":



More security, on the other of the rink:



This banner will look beautiful in the video promo:



Please tell me they played at least one ABBA song:



Skates, anyone? $7 rental:



OMG, junk food vending machines! I predict these and their brothers are going to find a place in refurbished former trunk rooms once that issue gets settled in favor of CWCapital.



More photos!!!

Spiderman trying to get info from penguin about the recent muggings of senior citizens in Stuy "Gramercy Park" Town:



Not to worry. Stuy Town's Public Safety (ie, Security) is on the case:



Councilman Dan Garodnick (in orange shirt and blue tie) performs in front of the crowd at opening day celebrations.... (Oh, just joking, Dan.)



That's it for now. Have a Happy Winter Wonderland!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Guest Key Card Charges


As if the troubles here in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village were not enough, we learn that now guest key cards will cost $8 per card. When the key card system was set up, a certain amount of guest key cards were to have been issued for free.

According to the TA: "This policy is counter to the DHCR order and will need to be looked at." The DHCR is the Department of Housing and Community Renewal.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

However... Farmers Market Still There



If you thought that the disappearance of the Joyride food truck this week indicated that the Farmers Market would also be missing this Sunday, as a result of compliance with what the Dept of City Planning and Councilman Garodnick stated weeks ago that such commercial enterprises are not allowed inside Stuy Town--you were wrong! The only thing missing from the photo above is a giant middle finger sign to the city's zoning regulations.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Joyride Truck No More



It may be too early to tell, but it looks as if we will not be seeing Joyride any more at the Oval. The company's main page used to list Stuy Town in "Our Spots" for six of seven days of week, but now every location on that list is "Closed 4 Winter." The last Tweet on the company's Twitter page (about the truck's presence in Stuy Town) is from eleven days ago. There have been no new Tweets since then. I didn't notice Joyride here yesterday, and the truck was scheduled to be present at Stuy Town for the rest of the week.

Stay tuned.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Letter from the Department of City Planning

Just so everyone knows the legalities here. Letter from the Department of City Planning to Councilman Dan Garodnick. Dated November 1st. (Click on letter to increase size.)





The TA has a PDF link to this letter here.

Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village Zoning Map:



Joyride food truck doing commercial business in R7-2 zone inside Stuyvesant Town. Date November 11:



By now, everyone (CW Capital, management, Joyride and concerned tenants) are aware of what the Department of City Planning wrote and Councilman Dan Garodnick's response on Tuesday, November 8th -- ("With regard to other commercial activities – such as food trucks and greenmarkets – that are not permitted in an R7-2 residential zone, we expect CW Capital/Rose Associates to bring themselves into compliance with the law.")

So the question stands: Why is a food truck allowed to continue to operate in a zone that does not allow for its presence???

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UPDATE, 11/12/11. We live in interesting times here in Stuy Town. Re: calling the 13th precinct. The police claim there is nothing they can do, as long as management accepts the presence of a food truck or any other commercial activity taking place within Stuyvesant Town. The only other option is to take the issue to civil court. The ball is now very much in the hands of our councilman, Dan Garodnick.

I have to say that it's pretty startling to have "the powers that be" (CW Capital and/or management) purposefully go against the zoning of Stuyvesant Town and NYC Department of City Planning and this district's councilman, elected by the people of this area. Says it all, I think.

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UPDATE, 11/12/11. The Stuy Town Living site has more information about calling 311:

Continue to call 311 when you see a Joyride truck and then call Dan Garodnick’s office with the complaint number. Today a tenant advocate called 311 regarding the presence of the Joyride truck in the Oval and asked to speak with a supervisor regarding any confusion over the calls. When filing a complaint your request should specifically say: Commercial activity in a residential zone. Additionally, tell them to file a complaint with the Department of Buildings.

The Department of Buildings does not work as quickly as Dan Garodnick’s office but don’t be discouraged. You’re not throwing a message in a bottle out to sea, these complaints DO count.

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Update, 11/13/11. So in the morning I hear Joyride's hum from hell across the Oval, but I don't see the truck. Where is Waldo? Well, after a tour of the Oval, I see Joyride parked, its engine idling, in front of 521 14 St and fuming up the place.



Later the truck joins the Green Market, the other commercial activity taking place in Stuy Town's non-commercially zoned area.




I note a couple of management big shots around, too, very protective of Joyride, as if concerned that the truck may vanish through some magical wand waving from a councilman or cranky resident. All is right with the world in Stuy Town, however. Market and Joyride in place. Business as usual.

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Another contact for zoning complaints: the Dept of Buildings Commissioner, Robert LiMandri, at robertl@buildings.nyc.gov.

It's Melting ... and Autumn Leaves ... and JoyRide



Reportedly the NYPD turned up last night at Playground 10, where Stuyvesant Town's controversial new ice-skating rink is being finished, and whatever noise complaint was the impetus, it mandated the shutting off of a generator that kept the ice inside the rink solid. This morning the ice-rink was flooded, with water seeping out beyond the rink's actual walls.



Another problem: Autumn leaves. Yes, they do fall, and they fell all over the rink. Clean-up time and expense.

If this ice-rink has a fixed budget, the budget will certainly go over, with what is turning out to be a fiasco for CW Capital in both financial and publicity terms. (NY's newspapers are carrying articles about the controversy, and yesterday the city's local CBS News aired a segment about the rink twice.)

Oh, and despite the pronouncement from the Department of City Planning and Councilman Dan Garodnick that the interior of Stuy Town is not zoned for food trucks, the Joyride truck turned up both yesterday and today.



Regarding the presence of this food truck, residents should contact Dan Garodnick's office at 212-818-0580. If the food truck is making noise, you can also call 311. You will receive a Service Request number, and the matter will given over to the 13th precinct.

Location-wise, the food truck is currently near 1 Stuyvesant Oval, 10009. You can also call the precinct direct at 477-7411 and ask to speak to the Community Affairs Officer. Management is trying to make sure that the Joyride truck is not making noise, but at this point the issue is not noise, per se, but the illegal nature of a commercial enterprise like this food truck being situated in a residentially zoned area. That is the primary complaint.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What's Next

With a win for tenants who are against the commercialization of the Oval, we can expect some type of pushback from “the powers that be.” The most obvious one will be to try to get Stuyvesant Town rezoned for commercial use. We, as well as our representatives, have to be vigilant to make sure that there will be no zoning change in the R7-2 classification this complex now holds.

The powers that be will try to gain tenant support by rallying around the “Green Market flag,” but it must be remembered that the only way the Green Market can make a comeback in southern grass area of the Oval is if Stuy Town’s zoning is changed. While having the Green Market move to another location, or disappear altogether, may be an inconvenience to some, having the Green Market legally remain where it was situated will mandate a zoning change. The greater picture is that, if such a zoning change becomes successful, commercialization of Stuyvesant Town's open spaces will become legal and the powers that be will have no restraint in introducing newer ways of inserting commercial entities within Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. Indeed, such a “green light” will surely see more of our open free spaces, which we value greatly, reduced to money and publicity making gimmicks, furthering the aesthetic devaluation of our environment.

Though our Tenants Association has taken some criticism, I think it's imperative that we, tenants, have to stick together so that we can present an organized front and speak with a greater voice to the powers that be and even to our political representatives. Ultimately, it was the cooperation of several entities (from voices on websites, to the TA, to Councilman Garodnick and his office) that led to this current victory over the commercialization of Stuyvesant Town.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Food Trucks and Green Markets NOT Permitted in Stuy Town! Ice-Rink May Not Be Considered "Accessory" Use if Paid Admission and Open to Outsiders

STATEMENT FROM COUNCIL MEMBER DAN GARODNICK

Re: Commercial Activity in Stuyvesant Town

The Department of City Planning (DCP) has responded to the questions I posed to them about commercial activities in Stuyvesant Town.

With regard to the planned ice skating rink, DCP has advised that, due to “the unusualness of this circumstance,” we should seek the review of the Department of Buildings (DOB), which enforces zoning regulations. My office has already reached out to the DOB for a final word on whether an ice skating rink, for a fee, conforms to the R7-2 zoning regulation applicable in Stuyvesant Town.

Further, I have asked the DOB for a complete review of the construction permits and the work that is actively being performed – including the electrical wires being strung through trees – to ensure that any construction activity is being conducted without risk to residents or workers, and within appropriate hours of the day. We expect the appropriate enforcement of any violations.

I have also asked the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a test of the sound that will be emitted from various ice machines in order to ensure compliance with the noise code, and to confirm the safety of chemicals that appear to be used in connection with the rink.

With regard to other commercial activities – such as food trucks and greenmarkets – that are not permitted in an R7-2 residential zone, we expect CW Capital/Rose Associates to bring themselves into compliance with the law. I am happy to offer the assistance of my office in helping to relocate the Stuyvesant Town Greenmarket to an area around the property that would be both legal and convenient for the many residents who enjoy making use of it.

Residents who want to know what you can do to expedite enforcement on the ice rink or any other issue are advised to call 311 and to contact my office with your 311 reference number which will be helpful to us in following up. Residents should also feel free to contact my office at (212) 818-0580 with questions or concerns on any of these matters.

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STR here: Thanks to Dan Garodnick and his office for pursuing the legality of commercial activities inside Stuyvesant Town. It appears that the ice-skating rink WAS the straw that broke the camel's back. The powers that be just went too far on this. A strong spotlight came on not only the rink, but the other commercial activities that have been going on in the Oval. The ice skating rink issue is not yet settled, but it appears that if admission is charged and the rink is open to outsiders, the rink cannot be considered "accessory" usage.

The pity is that the relatively popular Farmer's Market is a causality here (at least within the confines of R7-2 zoning), but the blame rests purely on the powers that be who were speeding up the commercialization occurring inside Stuy Town while ignoring the concerns of tenants or the Tenants Association.

As for the Food Trucks, I'm going to send off a message to Joyride, who can now take a joy ride someplace else.

In summary, this is a substantial victory for what Stuyvesant Town has stood for and what it can hopefully stand for again.

Please, to whomever is "the powers that be"--all tenants want is for their buildings and the property to be clean and attractive, and for the traditional duties of a landlord to a tenant (heat, water, neighbor noise control, etc) to run smoothly. That's it! And so simple, without excessive expenditure.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

And now for something completely different....

Today was a wonderful autumn day in which one can take pleasure in the nature surroundings that we still have in Stuy Town.







And during this time, I sat down by the fountain and couldn't help but be thankful that there was no intrusive noise coming from an ice-skating rink or even a food truck, which was absent from the Oval.

More from Councilman Dan Garodnick

A reader spoke with Garodnick and sent in this message:

I spoke with Councilman Dan Garodnick this morning and here is a summary of what he had to say.

He is addressing the skating rink issue on all city fronts. He has contacted The Department of City Planning (zoning) and The Department of Buildings (permits) and will be going to the City's Department of Environmental Protection, which enforces the noise code, shortly. There is some sort of a permit on file with The Department of Buildings. He said that he expects to hear back from The Department of City Planning and more fully about the permit from The Department of Buildings sometime this week.

He is suggesting that everyone contact 311, make your complaint, get a complaint number and send it or call it in to his office so he can follow-up/track complaints, if necessary. You can telephone 311. You can go online to www.nyc.gov/311. You can also text your complaint to 311NYC (311692). The City does not charge for this service but your wireless charges may apply.

I just called 311; 311 tried to transfer me to 911, but 911 turned me over to the Fire Department instead. I made my complaint about the electrical wiring that is being run out of 19 Stuyvesant Oval - and also out of the EXPOSED OPENING of a LIGHT POLE in front of 19 Oval - and strung up into the trees and snaked over to Playground 10. The Fire Department said that it would send someone to investigate.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Saturday 11AM Meeting at the Oval



From the Lux Living Facebook, an e-mail he received:

Is the new ice skating rink the last straw for tenants already upset with commercial activities in Stuyvesant Town’s parks? Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village tenants who are tired of businesses operating in the property’s park space are meeting by the Oval fountain Saturday morning at 11AM to discuss what they can do to stop these noisy and intrusive gimmicks.

UPDATE: A good crowd of tenants gathered around in front of the ice-skating rink to listen to speakers address the commercialization that's happening inside Stuy Town, and particularly what's going to be occurring at the forthcoming ice-skating rink. The main speaker for most of the time was Bill (Otto?), the apparent ringmaster of the event, along with his wife, who was passing out petitions to sign. The crowd got larger as the event proceeded, as passerby residents (who knew nothing of the meeting beforehand) stopped to listen and sign petitions. (Flyers posted in lobby buildings alerting tenants to the meeting were quickly taken down by maintenance staff.)

Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera with me, but other residents did, so I'm sure we will see photos from the event turn up soon. Town & Village's Sabina Mollot was present, too, taking photos, jotting down what was being said, and interviewing protesters. Expect a T & V article on this meeting.

Two-sheet handouts were available, listing "Good Neighbor" policies concerning the ice-skating rink based on management's own "Good Neighbor" definitions.

A few people questioned why there were no work permits posted anywhere around the forthcoming ice-rink. Perhaps a temporary (albeit lasting 3 months) structure doesn't need one, but it was an interesting query I hadn't heard before.

A couple of suggestions from yours truly that may already be under consideration:

1) This newly-formed group should have a web presence, where basic info can be posted. Even a no-cost blog would be beneficial.

2) There are several online petition sites that can harbor a "Say No to Commercialization of the Oval"-type petition.

3) Have volunteers go door-to-door in their buildings to sign the paper petition.

Contact for this new group is quietoval@gmail.com

On a personal note I was very heartened to see this event actualized and that tenants are concerned about what has been happening in this complex with its ever-expanding commercialization. We need to get the word out to more tenants, many of whom are unaware of the issues involved and that the commercialization of the Oval will continue and expand even more. As if to stress the point of the importance of reining in such commercial activity, the awful hum from the Joyride food truck across the Oval could be heard while the meeting was in progress. (This truck has not been hooked into Stuy Town's electricity for a number of days now, whether by malicious f.u. intent or some other factor like a malfunctioning cable.)

I want to also add something else. I noticed that Bill and his wife have a dog, and that at some point in the life of my blog, the both of them must have gotten pissed off at my dog postings. I will also note that there was once a rift between Lux and myself (now healed completely, btw). Despite whatever disagreements the group of us may have had, the issue of the commercialization of this complex has united us, as it is beginning to unite tenants. And that is a very good thing, indeed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What the Rink is Going to Look Like

As progress continues on Stuy Town's ice-skating rink, we are beginning to see the design take shape. At the southern end a covering structure is being put in place that, I assume, will house the skate rental space and perhaps the cafe that's being promised. This structure takes up about a third of Playground 10, making the skating area that much smaller.



The space for skating may be even smaller than that as there's a cooling system at the northwestern corner:



So that leaves this space for actual skating:

And in other news....

STATEMENT FROM COUNCIL MEMBER DAN GARODNICK

Re: Victory on Retroactivity in Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Case

“The court today made official what we have known all along – that the Roberts v. Tishman Speyer case can be applied retroactively. The harm done to Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents extends years into the past, and today’s victory will help ensure that they can be made whole for their landlords’ flouting of the law.

“Recent precedents, such as Gersten v. 56 7th Ave, prepared us for this result, but making it official still comes as a moment of relief and celebration for the thousands of tenants whose apartments should never have been deregulated, and who never should have been forced to pay market rents to stay in their homes.

“Today’s win will add great weight to the damage claims of those residents. With this most recent round of vindication in court, we hope and expect that the parties can come to a resolution on that matter so that the tenants can finally get the appropriate compensation for their landlords’ years of overcharges.

“I congratulate Amy Roberts and her co-plaintiffs and their attorneys for securing this important decision for our community.”

Council Member Dan Garodnick represents Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, where he is a lifelong resident.

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And from Bloomberg.com:

A New York state appeals court affirmed a lower court’s decision to deny a motion by MetLife Inc. (MET) to dismiss a class-action lawsuit brought by tenants of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

The decision, by the state’s Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed an Aug. 5, 2010, ruling by New York State Supreme Court Justice Richard Lowe III to deny a motion to dismiss the case against MetLife, the complex’s former owner.

The 80-acre Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village development is Manhattan’s largest apartment complex with more than 11,000 units. MetLife sold the complex in 2006 to Tishman Speyer Properties LP and partner BlackRock Realty LP for $5.4 billion.

Tenants sued MetLife and Tishman in 2007, claiming the companies improperly forced at least a quarter of the apartments to pay market rates while receiving more than $25 million in tax breaks.

Lowe dismissed the tenants’ original lawsuit in 2007, and the appeals court later reinstated the suit and ruled on the tenants’ behalf. The tenants are seeking more than $215 million in damages.

Tishman Speyer and BlackRock missed a $16.1 million debt payment due in January 2010 and said they would cede control of the complex to lenders after the value fell and they were prevented from >raising rents.

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And this.

The Straw that Broke the Camel's Back?



An ice-skating rink is a pretty big straw, but it seems it has had the effect of mobilizing tenants and making both residents and politicians hyper aware of zoning and the commercialization occurring inside Stuyvesant Town. This week's Town & Village carries a front page article, "Garodnick Questions Legality of Commercial Activity in ST/PCV." Though commercial activities have been happening inside the complex since Tishman Speyer took over as owner and manager, though we've seen the Farmer's Market, Food Trucks, tables for Verizon and Zip Car, charges for the Oval "Essentials," etc, make their way into Stuy Town with some push-back from tenants, this ice-skating rink may just have tipped the balance into getting residents finally fed up with the commercialization inside this property. Or perhaps not. To be seen.

The T & V article carries quotes from councilman Garodnick and management's Adam Rose. Garodnick: "People want to make sure it is legal and I am currently exploring that question. There's a lot of concern over the variety of commercial activities, including the food trucks and now an ice rink and the paid storage facilities." Rose contends that "We believe the minor commercial activity in Stuy town such as food trucks and the ice rink are completely legal, and provide additional amenities and attractions to the vast majority of our residents, especially families." While the legality of commercial activities is yet to be determined by the Department of City Planning (I'm not holding my breath), it has to be stated that the "vast majority" of residents are not using any of the amenities being offered at Stuyvesant Town. We're talking about a resident population of anywhere from 25K to 30K, and certainly you don't even see a tenth of that number using the Oval Essentials, the food trucks, etc, or attending the summer concerts and events, which, at best and on rarer occasions, can draw in a few hundred people.

It can't be stressed enough in these discussions (even T & V skips this point) that these amenities are being used to sell the place to prospective renters, and it must be admitted that some amenities are directed at prospective renters with families, which is a good thing, as we'd like to increase a more stable population rather than the transient student one we see continually growing.

The T & V article reveals more of what Garodnick asked of the Department of City Planning: "Does zoning allow for food trucks to be positioned within the Stuyvesant Town Oval? Management recently announced that they would be installing and opening an ice rink in a Stuyvesant Town Playground. Does the present zoning allow for an ice rink on the property? And if so, would charging for admission or equipment change that?" These are pivotal questions.

Garodnick also stated to T & V that he believes the ice-rink should be complimentary to residents. "An hour a day in a playground that is normally open and free is not a good policy and it will not have a good outcome." Dan must be really hopping mad now, as the updated schedule for free use of the ice-rink allows for just two hours of free use to residents per week, not the previously publicized seven hours per week. (Perhaps I'm wrong, but I smell a slight set-up here, with a "generous" gesture forthcoming that will go back to the one free hour a day schedule.)

A bulging letters column in T & V contains responses from tenants. A couple of tenants are for it, including a familiar voice who calls the rink's detractors "cranky" and "better suited to a gated community in Florida than apartment living in a dense urban environment."

Other letter writers share their concerns, which have also been addressed repeatedly on this blog and Lux's website and Facebook.

The heart-warming surprise comes from an opinion piece by Steven Sanders, who had been our state assemblyman for 28 years. As someone who grew up in Stuy Town, Sanders takes a nostalgic journey in his piece, writing about Playground 10.... "Every kid growing up in Stuy Town or Peter Cooper had 'their' playround and #10 was mine." His article is well worth reading as giving insight into what that playground means and meant. He begins to finish it off this way:

"There are just some places, which are just really special, that corporate America, in such a hurry to make a buck, just does not really get." And: "I may be entirely wrong but I am not sure that there has been an outcry from the residents demanding an ice skating rink which is a very specialized activity that only a relatively few will participate in." Finally:

"When Tishman Speyer bought this community five years ago and over spent literally billions of dollars, they did so in the belief that they could make big changes to our already successful and iconic community that would make it more profitable. In hindsight I am sure they wish that they would have just let well enough alone. So a word to CW Capital and Rose management... 'If it ain't broke don't fix it.'"

Residents should hurry out and get this week's issue of T & V before it gets sold out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011



The prices for entry to Stuy Town's Ice-Skating Rink have just been posted on the pcvst.com website. First impression: They are somewhat troubling. For one, Town & Village reported that "residents would get to skate for free for an hour each day the rink was open." This was a verbatim rendering of what, purportedly Adam Rose told T & V, so either the newspaper got it wrong or there was a change in pricing structure since the paper came out. Big surprise then. Also the free times are placed at odd hours. Sunday from 9-10 AM. That's not too bad if you are up that early and ready to go on a Sunday, but the other free time period, Wednesday 3-4 PM, is simply insulting. You may as well not give out any free time.

Otherwise, the cost of entry is $7 per day, which is not bad, I think. (I don't ice-skate, so I'm not familiar with typical rink entry fees. The rink at Bryant Park charges no fee, while Rockefeller Center does.) But I do wonder if "per day" will really be "per day" or if once you leave the rink you will have to pay again to go back in. There's something called a "season pass" going for $100. Three and four season passes are mentioned, so that means, yes, the rink will be a regular feature in Stuy Town as long as CW Capital is calling the shots.

Ice-skating lessons are costly, it seems to me. $40 for a 25 minute session, which includes admission, but not rental of skates. A "cafe area" is also mentioned, which will not be giving away free food, obviously.

The rink is open (for a fee, excepting those two hours already mentioned) to PCVST residents and their guests. No mention, however, of key cards being checked or any other filtering of outsiders who are not guests.

Then there are those waivers of legal action against "Ice Rink Events, ST Owner LP and Rose Associates, Inc., and their respective subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, officers, directors, employees, agents, equipment suppliers and volunteers arising out of the Skaters' use of the ice skating rink and all surrounding areas."

And, of course, no Oval event could exist without its publicity purpose: "Skaters permit Ice Rink Events to use any photograph or video recording taken while in or around the ice skating rink venue for publicity, advertising, or any other commercial purpose."


Aggreko Event Services are working now at Playground 10.

Here's what they do.

Aggreko is, according to the company's website, "the global leader in providing temporary power generation, temperature control, and oil-free compressed air systems." It's a British company, with "over 100 locations in 29 countries, and over 50 in North America alone." The company has dealt with football stadiums, and has powered and cooled the U.S. Open for many years.

This Stuy Town Ice-Skating Rink is going to be costly, for sure, and from the looks of it, very professionally done. It's hard to foresee how the money spent here will turn a profit in just three months. According to Adam Rose in the last issue of Town & Village, the venture will "break even at best, but that was never the point. The point is to provide a wonderful new amenity for residents and their guests." Pricing has just been revealed at the pcvst.com website. (More on the pricing in the next blog post.)

With pricing for residents, councilman Dan Garodnick's admonition ("that should not be open to debate") about the commercial use of previously free open space is not being heeded to its full extent.

Residents have still yet to see, and experience, how this will all play out. Will the noise coming from the rink be bothersome to the tenants living in that area? Will temporary commercial shops be set up around the rink? Does it make any difference? Or is using free areas of Stuy Town for commercial ventures a diminution of services? Will residents, in the majority, even care? Or even use the rink? Will free hot cocoa with floating mini-marshmallows be served on opening day? And more commercial ventures are looming, if Garodnick's communications director is correct.

So we wait.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dan Garodnick in 2013



In one of my previous comments, I mistakenly stated that Dan Garodnick, because of term limits (flexible term limits according to the dictates of the Mayor and the City Council), wouldn't be able to run again. I was wrong, however. Despite the voters' wishes three times at the ballot box to limit the Mayor and the City Council to two-terms, the powers that be sneaked in a provision in the last vote, in 2010, that would allow the city councilmen/women to go for a third term! (Read about this travesty here.)

That said, it is instructive to take a look at the companies and people who donated to Dan's campaigns in 2005 and 2009 and who are already donating to his as-yet undeclared candidacy in 2013.

You can view the lists here.

You will see investment firms, real estate firm, hedge funds, etc, even the president of the Tenants Association and the heads of Rose Associates donated to the cause of getting Dan elected.* I don't mind the president of the TA or Rose donating, but ask yourselves why are investment/real estate/hedge fund firms donating to a city councilman? (BTW, donations from these firms are not exclusive to Dan; other city councilmen/councilwomen also receive similar donations.) These donations are not of the mom-and-pop type either. Thousands of dollars are being dropped into the coffers for Dan's and other city council members' elections.

The story of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village is just one part of the mosaic of the story of New York City and how the middle class is gradually being squeezed out of Manhattan, to be replaced by the rich and the sons and daughters of the rich. It seems these contributions are being well spent.

This is not to say that Dan Garodnick, or other City Council members, are in the pockets of the people who wish to make a huge profit from the real estate in Manhattan (Dan has fought on the right side in the Roberts decision, for instance), but the infiltration of large sums of investment and real estate money into the City Council is troubling, particularly when it's the City Council that deals with zoning regulations.

*Note: I've been informed that the contributions from a couple of people connected to Rose Associates were because of Dan's support of the Park Avenue Armory, of which Elihu Rose is philanthropically Vice-Chairman. Rose Associates has not donated to Dan's campaign since becoming manager of PC/STV.