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Management has two priorities: 1) Making sure money is made, hence upgrading and filling up apartments is their goal. "Amenities" are important in selling the place, though few residents use them. 2) If someone needs medical attention, Public Safety will be there, if alerted.

Quality of life issues are not that important, however. Things like the carpet rule or outsider dogs. These "rules" tend to be ignored, on purpose it seems. So you will see a lot that isn't taken care of properly, and complaints will be met with a creative excuse and a smile.

"Peace and quiet" must be a cruel joke, though this property is sold that way. There can be no peace and quiet as ALL apartments must be upgraded, which includes the installation of an AC unit below the window. Aside from the continual construction about the neighborhood, there is a new and noisy subway extension being built along East 14 st and the shut down of the L line. "Choosing" to live in NYC, now the newest mantra, is a fabrication when the talk is of ST and PCV, which was traditionally quiet, with no construction noise.

Though money was always important, it is now more important than ever. Money rules many things, as you will find.

At this point, 30 years into living here and seeing many things, I can state that Management and their reps are BS-ing us. I can't say that loudly enough: We are being BS-ed. I don't see any genuine change, though the "selling" of this place is intense. Few of the "rules" will be enforced, as Management doesn't want to lose customers or potential customers. Where personal integrity is a hallmark of an excellent management style, this integrity is not seen in enforcing some of the rules.

Our Tenants Association is, basically, null and void. Oh, it is still around, but it lacks the will power to confront much of anything. The TA will ask for your dues, however. By now, the TA is a charade.

About those "club cars" we see going this way and that way, and outside of Stuy Town or Peter Cooper Village:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dog Rules Showdown

So, the powers that be have placed several "designated no dog area" signs in front of the southern portion of the Oval Lawn, where the Farmers Market is held on Sunday.  And, of course, dog owners (like the one pictured above) are ignoring the signs.  A Public Safety officer was around when I was there and did notify dog owners of the rule, while checking registration tags.  I overheard one older dog owner, whose dog didn't appear to have such a tag, reply to the officer, : "You tellin' me this?  You can repeat it to me about ten times!"  And he walked away.

Okay, management has drawn a line in the sand (almost literally considering the ground at the Farmers Market). Now, let's see how well this dog rule will be enforced.

My suggestion is for management to also put up a chain-link barrier that can be removed for the Farmers Market.  Having those signs up is not going to stop dog owners when Public Safety isn't around, and you know they are not going to be around 24/7.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Backyard Where There is Always Something Going On!

Call it a slogan, motto, catch-phrase or whatever, and perhaps it's been used for a while now, but I became alerted to it the other day when I went to the official Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper website to see if there was any heat advisory info online for residents. There wasn't.  But the website did tell me about "Manhattan Living with an 80-Acre Backyard'" and that: "There is always something going on at Stuyvesant Town!"  The latter is not a surprise, as since Tishman Speyer days the goal has been to present this complex as active and fun, with a "no stopping us now" attitude.

Unfortunately, this goal and the thinking behind it is low-class when it comes to aesthetics (no real upscale residential community would tolerate the "events" and the inane amenity classes that go on around here) and stubbornly overestimates just what most residents want, which is something far more simple: a place in the city that feels like it's away from the city.  Instead, the powers that be are trying to bring the city into a residential community that was not built for such accommodations, causing disruptions to tenants (not all, admittedly; some would even want a Walmart here), excessive wear on the Oval grounds and a huge clean-up thereafter, with an increase in the rodent population who savor the food delights left over during the day.  In other words, in trying to appeal to an upscale demographic, the powers that be are cheapening this place with predictable plans that rely on whatever meme is current in the real estate market.

It's also telling that the powers that be consider the grass, trees and foliage here a "backyard."  A backyard is where you hold a barbeque and dump your junk and have your dog urinate and defecate.  So that's how upscale the thinking is here.  Bravo. What an impression!

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While surfing I caught a flash ad for Stuyvesant Town.  The features of this ad:

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And this morning I received a STPCV email blast with the subject heading, "It's Getting Hot in Here!"  I thought this was a delayed alert about the hot weather we've been having the last couple of days, but no, it was a message about today's concert!  Enjoy the noise!

Friday, June 22, 2012

"This is a swell little town with a lot of good folks."

For those who have forgotten and for those who never knew, here's an interesting look at Stuy Town, but not one from the 1950s or even the 60s.  The New York Observer, from 2000:

From where I sit in Manhattan’s largest and most inscrutable apartment complex, Stuyvesant Town, the start of each day seems like it could be scripted from a sweet, 1930′s Hollywood comedy, something directed by Frank Capra. As the early sunlight slants over the East River, I look north out my window at one of the largest chunks of privately held land in the city. From First Avenue to the F.D.R. Drive, from 14th Street to 23rd Street, Stuyvesant Town and its slightly more plush cousin, Peter Cooper Village, cover 18 square blocks, with acres of twisting walkways, tulip beds, tended trees and fountains-a beautiful parkscape out of which rise 35 nearly identical 13-to-14-story buildings, erected more than 50 years ago by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

As I look out my window, into the new morning comes a couple of uniformed members of the grounds-keeping and maintenance crew. A little blue-and-white S.U.V., guided by a member of the complex’s private security force, lifts itself gently over a curb. From the tiled foyers emerge some of the earliest risers among the 20,000 residents, who by design and tradition are relentlessly middle-class.

Some days, it’s all I can do to keep myself from launching into a kind of Capra-esque voice-over: This is a swell little town with a lot of good folks. Yes, sir, this place suits me fine.

Rest of the article here:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Selling to Tenants/Brookfield Most Likely Outcome

A new report from JPMorgan Securties claims that selling Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village to tenants/Brookfield will be the most likely outcome in no less than a year's time and, according to Crain's: "offer the best returns to the holders of the troubled property's first mortgage."

The Crain's analysis continues: "The report said that a 2011 appraisal valued the property at $3 billion, but added that the figure seemed 'aggressive' if the complex were still to be run as a rental building where revenue would only increase substantially as units are deregulated. On the other hand, the report estimated that a partial condo conversion could bring in as much as $4.4 billion. Holders of the senior mortgage are owed $3 billion. Another $1.4 billion is owned to the holders of the mezzanine debt."

This is an obvious morale booster for the TA and Brookfield and will reinvigorate the tenant buyout idea at a time when hopes were lessening.  I still suspect that CWCapital will try auction the place and sell to the highest bidder.

Read more here:

A similar but more detailed article online at Real Estate Weekly suggests that plaintiffs in the J51 case are going to get a bit of screwing, at least that's the way I read this:

In the report, it was also noted that plaintiffs in the J51 case have waived their claim for treble damages and that “the liability associated with rent overcharges is joint and several, meaning it would pass onto any eventual buyer.

“Furthermore since the Roberts plaintiffs have not been certified as a class, other current and former tenants could in principle sue the owners (again with joint and several a class, other current and former tenants could in principle sue the owners (again with joint and several liability), leading to further litigation and potentially greater liability. As a result, CWCapital has been quite clear in their commentary that this case must be resolved before the workout can move forward,” said the report.

Keeping Cool

Tomorrow promises to be very hot, with temperatures edging close to 100 (and today and Friday will have high temperatures also), so stay-in residents without air-conditioning should keep as cool as possible in their apartments, blocking out sunlight and keeping the windows only very slightly ajar, if at all.  The Stuyvesant Town Community Center, located along the 1st Ave loop, near 15th St, should be available during the day for those residents who may find the heat particularly unbearable.  As usual, neighbors should check on fellow neighbors who are elderly and don't have air-conditioning.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday, June 16

The TA Facebook page was jumping this week with the outing of many illegal hotels in Stuy Town. Even our councilman, Dan Garodnick, got involved in the discussion, appearing to promise action on these rapid turnover apartments.  The suspicion (or my suspicion) is that a good portion of these are apartments sold by brokers.  Management really has to get the word out that these ventures are illegal.  If it's not mentioned in a lease rider, it should be, and very prominently.  It would also help to have flyers distributed to every apartment indicating the illegal nature of starting up a hotel business in PCVST.  These flyers can easily be distributed along with the monthly event promotions that we are very familiar with by now.

Here's an amazing list of apartments available for temporary rent, and it's probably be partial!  (At this point some may already have evaporated.)

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Work continues on Oval Cafe.  Oval Lounge was supposed to shut down this month for a "refreshing" also, but it appears Oval Cafe has to get finished first, otherwise amenity members will have very few amenity spaces left!  (Monthly dues are being frozen during this time period.)

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The grounds near the lower Oval numbers are really being spruced up and fenced off.  Looking good!

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It appears that popular Stuy Town deli, Bruno's Gourmet Market, is more gourmet (ie, tasty morsels you may not expect in your food) than we thought. The place was closed upon re-inspection on June 14, and its doors are still closed to the public as of today, June 16.  Next to the official yellow sign from the Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bruno's has put up their own version of events, stating that the store will open once "technical & electrical issues are resolved."  These are the "technical and electrical issues" that have to be resolved, as listed on the NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene page:

1) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation.
2) Appropriately scaled metal stem-type thermometer or thermocouple not provided or used to evaluate temperatures of potentially hazardous foods during cooking, cooling, reheating and holding.
3) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility's food and/or non-food areas.
4) Live roaches present in facility's food and/or non-food areas.
5) Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.
6) Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.
7) Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.
8) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.
9) Non-food contact surface improperly constructed. Unacceptable material used. Non-food contact surface or equipment improperly maintained and/or not properly sealed, raised, spaced or movable to allow accessibility for cleaning on all sides, above and underneath the unit.

I've had a couple of nauseating experiences at Bruno's, sighting workers with hand swipes along their runny noses handling food and, in one instance, a worker sneezing directly into her palms and about ready to proceed with her business as if nothing had happened.  I dread to think of the mice and roaches scampering around in the back kitchen and their droppings, and how those droppings wind up in the lasagna, ravioli or pizza sold by Bruno's.  No, that's not an extra dash of pepper you see!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

You Gotta Love This Place

It really keeps on giving.  You just have to laugh unless you want to cry.  So, today's "concert" was attended by hordes of the Stroller Mafia, perhaps due to its promotion in places like The New York Times (in its "Spare Times for Children" section).  I'm sure the students who wanted to sunbathe today on the Oval Lawn were pissed.

So in anticipation of the Stroller Mafia, PCVST had made it known that strollers would not be permitted on the Oval Lawn.  Signs around the Oval, prominently displayed today, were also clear on this point:

So, what happens? Well, if you've been paying attention to what goes on around here, you realize that rules just don't mean what they say they mean.  And strollers were parked all over...the Oval Lawn:

Public Safety was letting anyone in, with stroller or without.  Gee, I wonder if the Stroller Mafia protested the "rule" and PS had to give way?

And in another attempt to pimp the property, PCVST has latched onto free T-shirt giveaways at these events, so people can become walking advertisements for PCVST and its events. The T-shirt promotes the "Roots & Rock Sessions" being held at the Oval Lawn throughout the summer.  Information about the events being "For Residents and Their Guests" is conveniently missing.  But you knew it would be.

Front logo
Close-up of back

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday, June 3

Public Safety has indeed stepped up its watchful eye on the dog situation (at least around the Oval). This past week they even stopped dog-owners to check registration tags.

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Yesterday, while enjoying the Oval Lawn, I spotted two couples, together, with two dogs, cute little ones that they were obviously trying to hide from too much public view, as they were all sitting on the lawn. At the same time a couple of male student studs were throwing a football around in the southern portion of the lawn, as if they owned the place. I was thinking that, here we go again, Public Safety after a week of effort is going to drop the ball (no pun intended) and slack off, when, after a while, PS did show up and deal with both situations in a professional manner. Of course, since boys will be boys, as soon as PS was not around, the studs were back throwing their football around, joined by two other studs throwing their own football around. (These guys had also been warned previously.) My impression is that PS took care of this new situation later, but I wasn't present.

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I did a rough count of the sunbathers on Saturday, which was a partially cloudy day, and came up with about 100. This means that for events that take place on the Oval Lawn, you can subtract about that amount as people who would, if they're sunbathing, already be there.

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Oh, and it was nice to see our new general manager, Sean Sullivan, taking a tour of the Oval Lawn on Thursday.

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Seems like there WILL be an oven at Oval Cafe. Oval Study is due next to be "refreshed."

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The grapevine states that the Community Center will get shorter hours and that staff has been or will be cut back. Yeah, since there's no profit in it, understandable.

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Meanwhile, a blog reader sends in this photo, of what I assume are dry walls: a quick alternative to lath and plaster walls. Up they go, an extra room added, more student bodies per apartment and more rent paid!  That's the way it's done!