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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:

http://observer.com/2000/10/my-escape-from-new-york-stuy-town/

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

When my turn came up in 1980, after 4 years on the waiting list, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. When I look at the state of the place now and am woken up at 4 am by noisy student neighbors now, I think I have died and gone to Hell.

Anonymous said...

It's still heaven for me. I don't have the same student problem you do and I don't mind the dogs or sunbathers. It makes me feel part of a vibrant community.

Anonymous said...

You don't have the problem now.... It's important that you remain problem free. And sympathy for others having the problem is good for community.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article--thank you! And that picture--beautiful, well tended, inviting. That's how the grounds used to look.

Anonymous said...

Was:

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

Now:

"This is a swelled little town with a lot of rude folks."

Gotta go...I think they just started tap dancing upstairs...

Anonymous said...

I don't mind the dogs and sunbathers, but I do mind being woken up at 4 am by noisy students.

Anonymous said...

"You don't have the problem now.... It's important that you remain problem free. And sympathy for others having the problem is good for community."

Can someone translate this for the benefit of all?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

How's this?....

You don't have a student problem now. It's important that you remain problem free. Sympathy for others with problems (sympathy you seem to be currently lacking) is good for the community.

Anonymous said...

So it's better to have contempt for dog owners and have sympathy for dog haters?

Anonymous said...

Translate what? YOu don't have student noise and garbage problems NOW You don't have a lonely dog barking day and night next to your apartment NOW

What is it your brain cannot comprehend? It's obvious you don't have sympathy for others who are very much having problems with noise and students here.

Why not try to think of someone other than yourself?

Tommyboy said...

It's still the best, many have grown up & left, forgotten how to cope with the mini kitchens, how to share a single bathroom, etc. . Life-Longers have reason to complain about the demise of services, the lack of neighborly common decency. Part of its the times we live in, partial blame needs to be spread over mgt. that seems to have differing rules for their tenants. But its a cruel world across the street.

Anonymous said...

Tommyboy: I agree with you. I am an old-time tenant. RS and don't apologize for that. I miss the spirit of community and neighborliness we used to have. We looked out for each other, grieved with each other over deaths and illnesses (still do in my little neck of the woods where RS tenants are still in situ), rejoiced with each other over new babies (as we still do in my neck of the woods where a MR family just had a joyful addition) and looked out for each other when we were sick or old. Still applies in my neck of the woods where we have a couple of oldsters and someone on chemo and needs a little help with shopping, etc. What hurts is when management treats us like garbage or freeloaders, which we are NOT! We pay our rent, keep our apartments clean and bug free and will do as much as we can to make newbies feel at home. Thankfully, a lot of the newbies appreciate being greeted with friendliness and given a few tips on how to make those terrible MacGray monsters work better (secret is don't overload them and use "he" detergent and clean the filth from the last user out from under the doors and in the gasket). We like a friendly, pleasant ambience. We will turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to a lot of stuff, but we don't like being treated as pariahs and freeloaders because our rents are a bit lower thanks to rent regulations and because we are a bit older and don't party through the night and would appreciate if others didn't party through the night as though they were in a sound-proof club! All we need is a little mutual respect. Is that too much to ask? Stuytown used to be called "Rabbit Town" because it was filled with young couples with families. Kiddies are not the problem. It's the overcrowding of students and young adults into chopped up apartments where there are no carpets, plastic Cosco and Ikea furniture that has to be thumped together and absorbs no noise. That, and the overloaded "recycling" rooms are what make this place so undesirable today. Management needs to rethink its priorities. Are we a complex of comfortable homes or are we a dorm with gimmicky Oval attractions (which never seem to attract many people) and a transient/b&b complex which is highly unattractive to anybody thinking of living here long-term? I won't move out until the Grim Reaper or the Lord calls me home, depending on how you see it. I sure as hell won't let a cheapjack shoddy outfit like Rose/CW/Tishman Speyer type of money mongers drive me out. I'll see them in hell first! Unless, of course, I win the Lotto or Mega in which case, they can have my apartment and I will leave it in a condition better than any that new people are moving in because my ethics demand that much.

Anonymous said...

HUH? I'm supposed to think about YOU? Not my neighbor with the dog that I LIKE? Or the students who AREN"T rowdy jerks? I'm supposed to side with YOUR complaints over people I know and like?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

I don't know about siding with someone who has complaints, but perhaps being sympathetic to their complaints would be in order. I'm currently not bothered by noisy neighbors, but I do very much sympathize with those who have them. I think that's what people are talking about here.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Nice post, Anon 10:25 PM. Thanks.

Tommyboyardee said...

First off compassion is free, understanding ones dilemma can be a valued trait. All it takes is a vacant apartment, a group of roommates that don't get along and presto! Welcome Lux-Living!
I did notice yesterday (Friday) is recycling removal day? Meaning mountainous piles of clear bagged garbage with a purchase! It's still trash and needs to be dealt with respectfully.
Things are still better here, than anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

We have several dogs in the building I live in (445) and they are lovely. Their owners are very nice people (some are longtime RS tenants and some are very young new tenants). They all have trained their dogs to behave well and it is a real pleasure to meet them in the elevators, on the street, coming and going. I would be the first to complain if there was a mean or annoying dog that I had to encounter as I go about my business, but that has never been the case. I understand that some dog owners are better than others and the lazy, selfish ones are going to create animosity with their animals' behavior, which probably reflects their own behavior, but I have to say we have the best of the best in this building. Let's hear it for the good four-legged neighbors: Bubba, Lou, Wellington, Norah, Gizmo, Bruno. Great guys and gals who own great people! (Sorry if I missed anyone).

Anonymous said...

"I sure as hell won't let a cheapjack shoddy outfit like Rose/CW/Tishman Speyer type of money mongers drive me out. I'll see them in hell first!"

Well said and I'm with you. The problem for management though is that they HAVE TO turn apartments into dorms because (with few exceptions) the only people who will pay $3300 for a one bedroom in a 60 year old run down housing project would be a group of graduating kids who want a flop house in the city. I too have been extremely fortunate that I don't have any frat houses or barking dogs left alone (anymore) around me. But all of us who are this lucky are always on a razor's edge in that regard. Furthermore, if anyone feels that management really cares about the inconvenienced RS tenants in this regard is crazy. From their perspective it's all the better if our lives are made miserable as a result of their policies. Ask yourselves this: would management prefer RS tenants stay here or leave? Once you answer that things get a lot clearer. Like the previous poster though, I ain't ever leaving.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to believe, but up till about 16 years ago air conditioning was not allowed in Stuyvesant Town and God did we suffer! Some folks even died as a result of extreme heat waves and stifling apartments. Iknow we were not alone in that plight and we were very grateful to have those beautiful shade trees and the fountain (which was strictly off limits then!). Not everything about the Stuytown of yesteryear was wonderful!

Anonymous said...

I agree STR. This is what is wrong with this dumpy place. Most people don't give a ___ about each other and if they're put out.

Lower level, for sure.

Anonymous said...

All these things, like concerts, incessant back up beeping trucks, dog shit, dog barking... etc. are just a subtle and "legal" way by management to harass tenants.

They do NOT want long term tenants any longer. THEY WANT YOU TO GET OUT SO THEY CAN RE-RENT for higher prices.

That's what it's all about.

It's a mean world run for profit and the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

I am coming up on one year here and decided to renew. It's far from perfect but I like it here. I moved from the E. Village because it drove me crazy. I came here because peace and quiet mean a lot to me and I think for the most part I got what I bargained for. Also I like my big apartment my nice kitchen and view of PG10 and the fountain, like taking my dog on walks all over the complex.

Don't have loud neighbor issues but can understand the people who have them--even moderate sounds carry too well, probably my main beef here. (Maybe it is the relative quiet ambience of the whole place that enables neighbors to hear each other.)

If you focus on the positives, this is one of the best spots in Manhattan to live. You cannot beat this combination of atmosphere + location. Sometimes I come home after a long day, enter the complex, feel the quiet and the trees overhead and I really do get a nice feeling.

Anonymous said...

To 12:26. Seriously? You don't know why people have empathy, do you?


It's like talking to a doorknob. Why bother?

Anonymous said...

I have lived in Stuy Town for over 14 years; I absolutely loved it when I first moved here. Amazing sense of community, a civilized, well-run residential complex with reasonable rents. Could not ask for more. Then... well, you know the rest. I am now in the process of buying a coop uptown, and cannot WAIT to get out of here. BTW, monthly costs (30 yr mortgage & maintenance) for nice one-bedroom coops in some good Manhattan neighborhoods are comparable to my current monthly stabilized rent. See ya!

Anonymous said...

11:19--- REally? we've been searching for years and just do not find that.

Which area are you talking about that equals the same price as your rent? thanks

Anonymous said...

Inwood, Wash Hts, there are very nice apts on nice streets to be had in a depressed market. Just go on the NYT website and do a search for apts in the 200-280K range.

Anonymous said...

"11:19--- REally? we've been searching for years and just do not find that.

Which area are you talking about that equals the same price as your rent? thanks"

You don't see it because it doesn't exist. While I agree with that poster's gripes with sty town, there is simply no way you can buy something comparable and carry it with our monthly (real) stabilized rent.

Anonymous said...

12:03--I do not find Wash Hts or Inwood to be in any way comparable to us. Depending on what you want in city living, I am so grateful to be downtown, near so much of NYC's best offerings, East Village, Gramercy, Union Square/Flatiron, Chelsea, Village, Soho, East River park, ferries or L to Brooklyn, all other trains. I would feel very isolated and removed if I way up in the 200s.

Anonymous said...

If your RS rent is approx 1600. (and rising) like mine is, then here is a typical example of how a mort/maint breaks down (use the calculator tool):
http://realestate.nytimes.com/sales/detail/641-4089/340-Haven-Ave-2T-NEW-YORK-NY-10033

mortgage does not go up, maintenance very incrementally in a fiscally fit building.

Anonymous said...

nonymous said...

Inwood, Wash Hts, there are very nice apts on nice streets to be had in a depressed market. Just go on the NYT website and do a search for apts in the 200-280K range.

Who the frig want's to live in Washington Heights?

Anonymous said...

"Inwood, Wash Hts, there are very nice apts on nice streets to be had in a depressed market. Just go on the NYT website and do a search for apts in the 200-280K range."

There are values to be had there. Just be sure to dress appropriately. I suggest Kevlar undergarments...

Anonymous said...

There are values to be had there. Just be sure to dress appropriately. I suggest Kevlar undergarments...

That's what they used to say about this oh-so-hot-and-trendy neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

"That's what they used to say about this oh-so-hot-and-trendy neighborhood."

Gee. I can't recall ever hearing that. Please don't lump PCVST in with Loisaida & 5th Street. This community was always among the safest in the City--when it was still a community.

There have been more problems here of late but they have coincided with the erosion of the community and the diminution of security.

I hope you enjoy your new home in Washington Heights. Just remember to bring extra clips for extra sh-t.