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.

NOTE: Comments reflect the opinions of the person writing them and should not be assumed to reflect the opinion of the blog. Because of the anonymous nature of the commentary, specific agendas can be pushed by a sole individual and may not reflect a more popular belief by the residents of this community.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bloomberg and the Soda Ban

When is this little dictator's reign over? Or will he maneuver the City Council to allow a fourth term for him? I rarely drink soda, and when I do would prefer a small size, but for people who do drink soda, this new law will just have them purchasing smaller bottles to make up for what they crave, creating more waste and more expenditure for the poor and middle classes. Many fruit juices contain more sugar than sodas anyway. Wine and beer also up one's pounds. Should there be a limitation put on them, too? How about combating obesity by building more city gyms, available at low cost to residents, and instituting more exercise and sports programs in our city schools? And if Bloomberg is so interested in creating a nanny state, why not first "nannify" the tenant issue and mandate affordable housing for the middle class in the city and in Stuy Town/Peter Cooper Village?

UPDATE: So Bloomberg follows this soda ban proposal by celebrating National Donut Day! Here's the BS response from Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs when queried by a reporter about the conflict (ie.,hypocrisy):

In case you have difficulty hearing her response, it's:

"The work of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reflects the mayor’s public health agenda. The message is that we will do what we need in our official capacity to protect the health of New Yorkers. The celebratory events, the naming days in honor of individuals or items, or frivolities that are fun and exceptional joy are quite distinct from a public health agenda."

Got that? So celebrating the donut is not encouraging anyone to eat it.

Oh, and how will National Donut Day be celebrated in New York? By the eating of free donuts!!! (BTW, one donut has way more calories than one can of soda.)

From USA Today Online: In celebration of National Donut Day, tomorrow Krispy Kreme will be offering one free doughnut to anyone who walks in the door. No purchase is necessary to take part in the promotion. Elsewhere, Dunkin Donuts is offering a free donut with a beverage purchase. LaMar's Donuts also is advertising free treats, and Tim Hortons is giving away doughnuts to those with Facebook coupons. Entenmann's will mark the holiday by unveiling the "largest box of Entenmann's Donuts ever created," along with a $25,000 donation to The Salvation Army. Free coffee and doughnuts will be available in New York's Madison Square Park.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It May Be a Good Idea to Hire a Night Shift Clean-Up Crew

Sometimes waking up very early in the morning, and taking a walk through Stuy Town, offers "interesting" sights.  Like all the garbage receptacles overflowing.  Rats must love this during the night.  Below, a photo showing three overfilled garbage receptacles in a row.


A closer look at the worst offender:



One of the major complaints from tenants has been the piles of garbage that appear, post work hours and during the weekend evening hours, in the recycling area of buildings....

From a recent TA survey of tenants:

"91 percent of respondents note that recycling rooms are kept clean between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., when maintenance staff are working, the same number report that conditions deteriorate dramatically after 6 p.m., especially on weekends.  An overwhelming majority indicate that vermin have been seen in recycling rooms, where discarded items, frequently containing food debris, overflow an insufficient number of recycling bins.  According to 89 percent of respondents, some tenants leave bags of recyclable items in areas outside recycling rooms, while others bring their food garbage to the recycling room instead of bundling and disposing it via the compactor chutes on each floor."

With the burgeoning number of residents in this complex and outsiders permitted to enjoy and eat and drink at the Oval, it seems the only solution is to hire an evening/night staff to empty out all the garbage that overflows at certain times of the week.  It's true that the morning shift does an exemplary job of clearing out all the garbage, but the evening and nighttime presence of such vast amounts of garbage is surely a feast for vermin and one that encourages their population growth.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Oval Cafe Preview



The window covering at the forthcoming Oval Cafe (ex-Oval Lounge) went down today, accidentally I assume, and passerby residents were treated to a preview of what's been happening inside.  Nothing dramatic. The removal of the pool table and a dark-chocolate coat of paint at the bottom half of the interior walls.  Looks kinda ugly at the moment, but wait till everything shines on opening day, whenever that may be.  (This space has been in the process of being "refreshed" for quite a while.)

Rumors are already floating around about the installation of an oven, with either fresh-baked or heated goodies, to go along with your cafe latte, but I suspect some serious coffee machines.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday, May 26

A number of newsworthy items for Stuy Town/Peter Cooper tenants....

This week's Town & Village reported that we have a new general manager, Sean Sullivan, replacing Jim Yasser, who will stay on as a consultant.  Sullivan is "a former Marine and 20-year real estate veteran who previously worked for Avalon Bay Communities, Inc. as well as Tishman Speyer."  Yes, Tishman Speyer, but not to worry, Sullivan wasn't working for TS during that company's reign here. Still, a small world, at least in Manhattan.  Sullivan is quoted in the article, from an official CW Capital/Rose Associates statement: "Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town is celebrated for its strong sense of community within this city. I am proud and honored to join the effort to make PCVST a place that this community is happy to call home."  I'm not sure about our current "strong sense of community."  Nowadays, this complex seems made up of various differing and at times mutually combative communities.  It's not the homogeneous one it was years ago.  The internet tells us that "Mr. Sullivan received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and English Literature from Iona College, graduating summa cum laude and ranking first in his class. He went on to receive his Master of Science degree in Real Estate Finance at New York University." Yes, a small world in Manhattan!  This blog wishes Sean Sullivan success in ensuring that this community, or these communities, are happy to call this place home.

*        *        *

The official word finally arrived about the landscaping that's already started about the complex and which this blog previewed in past entries.  Here's some of the work:

Temporary fencing will be installed around newly seeded areas until the turf is well-rooted and dense (approximately 4 months).

New planting beds will receive 28” black, PVC-coated, welded wire fence for about two years until the plantings are well-rooted and established enough to withstand the abuse from dogs and foot traffic. 

Approximate total number of new plants added as part of Phase 1: 1,500 Trees, Shrubs, Grasses, and Perennials and over 100,000 groundcovers.

Approximate number of plants to be transferred within the property and off-site. Approximate number to be transferred within:

Trees – 25

Shrubs – 482

Perennials – 700

Total number of plants/species on the Property:

Total existing species on the property (both PCV & ST): 223

Tree Species – 70

Shrub Species – 96

Perennial Species – 57

Normal landscaping activities: Weeding, Mulching, Grass cutting, Trimming, Plant relocation, Annual planting, Tree pruning, etc.

*        *        *

Town & Village speculates at the transformation occurring to the former Oval Lounge.  For some reason this is a semi-official secret, but various clues point to a new entity: Oval Cafe.  (The official PCVST website mentioned an "Oval Cafe" a while ago.)  T&V notes that "an employee at Oval Amenities said this week that whatever the space winds up being used for, it will be open to all residents."  While this is a smart idea, it will mark, if true, the first time that a commercial enterprise will be open permanently and daily inside Stuy Town.  So the slippery slope that some warned about with the introduction of temporary commercial enterprises (the greenmarket, the ice-rink) may now come to pass.

*        *        *

Town & Village also did a survey of some residents to find out their top concerns.  The proposed condo/co-op conversion was on people's minds, with a good number of those queried about it, balking at getting involved as buyers.  Remarkably, a few dog owners are disappointed about the lack of a dog run in PCVST.  What, most of the grounds being at the disposal to you and your dogs is not enough?

*        *        *

Boy, the powers that be love their students (and want to fill up Oval Fitness)!  The push is on to give students discounts for membership at Oval Fitness....


 *        *        *

The Oval Lawn is now open, as is Playground 10 (with new astro turf). Enjoy, though beware that starting Wednesday, June 6th, the Oval will be periodically taken over by movie showings, an outdoor screening of a baseball game, and, yes, concerts.  Residents may wish to plan ahead, either for attending these events or, if they live around the Oval, leaving the complex for some peace and quiet.  Rumor is that some residents are planning rain dances early morning on the day a concert is scheduled.

 *        *        *

The other day I did spot Public Safety talking to two dog owners who may have been disobeying a dog rule near the fountain area, or about to disobey one.  So the stepped-up effort is appreciated.

 *        *        *

I had to laugh at this one.  In a previous post I remarked how the "For Residents and Their Guests" tag on the greenmarket promo banners could be hidden if the plantings in front grew high enough.  I was kinda joking....  Well, the plantings in front of the banner near the Peter Cooper Village guardbooth, already hide the information!  The tag is clearly visible on all other banners, btw.


*        *        *

This Saturday morning TA president Al Doyle and our councilman Dan Garodnick turned up at the Oval Fountain to have their picture taken.  What, no photos at Garodnick Boulevard?  (Garodnick Boulevard is the lengthy patch of newly-placed gravel on which sits the greenmarket every Sunday and which has been named in honor of our councilman, soon to be city comptroller.)


 *        *        *

Speaking of that area, I do like the bamboo sticks and string that have been placed on the other side of the fence along Garodnick Boulevard.  (Don't laugh, I'm serious.)  They partition off the area in a pleasing rustic way.  I almost expect to see sheep nearby.  I'll try to get a better picture. Or maybe not.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Stuy Town Fountain Dogs

You just knew that the dog rule forbidding dogs in the fountain area would be broken, again and again.  Even with a sign at the entrance to the Oval fountain blaring the message.  And you just knew that Public Safety would be no place around to catch this rule being broken...

Today, lovely day at the fountain.  Noon.  One dog was there, then another joined in the fun:



No Public Safety to be seen in the Doll House Booth or anywhere else.

Half an hour goes by.  The dogs are still there.  A Public Safety car circles the Oval, but, of course, doesn't see anything.

Soon afterward, another dog joins the two already at the fountain. That's three dogs.

An hour goes by.  One more dog at the fountain, making a total of four dogs in an area off limits to dogs.

Not once did a Public Safety officer step into the fountain area to check around.  For dogs.  Or hookah parties.  Or whatever.

Let's revert to the policy that if you can't enforce the rules, or don't feel compelled to regularly check if they are being enforced, get rid of the rules.  It's much better that way.  Less aggravation, less trouble, more freedoms for dogs and dog-owners everywhere.

UPDATE: ca. 4:15-4:45pm. Five (different) dogs at the fountain plaza!  Guys, forget about enforcing this rule and just remove the standing no dog sign.  Seriously.  The non-compliance of this rule just advances the concept that rules aren't followed here in general and dismays those that do follow the rules.

Saturday, May 19

Given time and opportunity, I'd like to do short weekly reports on the state of things in PCVST.  So, without further ado....

Peter Cooper Village residents who felt left out of the upgrade in landscaping that's already started in Stuyvesant Town have reason to cheer, as upgrading work has already begun in PCV....



Meanwhile the southwest corner of Stuy Town, where the landscaping started, is looking very good indeed. I urge residents to take a walk there and see for themselves.  Of course, this area is the one prospective tenants first see when they exit the back of the First Avenue leasing office, so who knows how far this improvement and maintenance will extend.


The Stuyvesant Town greenmarket is now being promoted along the perimeter of the complex.  Here's the banner:


And it does carry the "For Residents and Their Guests" tag at the bottom.  Yeah, I know it's smaller print and will become concealed if the plantings in front of the banner rise any higher...And one does wonder just for whom this banner is meant for?


 A Con Ed emergency truck, using compressed gas, has turned up at the Oval. Gossip away!


During this time Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper tends to look its best with everything in full bloom, so enjoy. On a negative note, I must mention that in my walk about the complex, I saw several dog violations. It always happens. One guy in Peter Cooper was taking out three dogs (!) and Public Safety inside their car didn't do a thing, even as they passed him right by...and slowly.

Oh, and finally, finally, Playground 10 appears to be heading to reopening very soon. Brand new astro-turf is being vacuumed and made shiny pretty.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's a Secret!


Yeah, I know.  That's the way "things are done."  But why is everything a secret around here?  Why was the Tenants Association decision to go with Brookfield kept a secret until the deed was done?  Why are the discussions Councilman Dan Garodnick had with the Dept of Buildings over the Greenmarket and zoning not available anywhere in a spirit of transparency?  Why are the negotiations on the Roberts' decision, and any movement on it or non-movement, merely a persistent "no comment" from the principles involved in these negotiations? Why are those tenants waiting for the financial resolution of the Roberts' decision (for some, important as to whether they renew their lease) being kept continually in the dark? Why is CW Capital silent on its intent regarding this complex and whether it welcomes, or not, a tenant bid on the complex?  Why does CW Capital and management not send out timely press releases, with details, on what is going to be developing/built/"refreshed" in Stuy Town/PCV and what residents can expect to see in a month or a few months' time or later?

Most everything is a damn secret around here until it gets actualized.  Secrecy like this compels tons of gossip (which can veer off into tangential ridiculousness), and destabilizes and demoralizes a tenant body that is on edge over what changes may or may not be around the corner. Tenants--young, old, new renters, long-time renters--are being treated like little children who must not know unless there's a critical need to know.  Not good.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Missing Person Alert - UPDATE: FOUND!

UPDATE: Jake Seaton has been found, and his parents are on their way to see him.  Happy Mothers' Day!

You may have seen the signs posted about the complex and outside of it, but I just received this also in an email, so I'm posting the info and photo, as every little bit may help. Info has been updated/corrected since being first posted here.




Jake Seaton, 16, went missing on Thursday, May 10, 2012. (NYPD)

MANHATTAN — Police are urgently searching for a missing Kips Bay teenager.
Jake Seaton was last seen outside his Kips Bay apartment about 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.  
Jake, of 141 E. 33rd St., is described as 5-feet-9, 135 pounds with green eyes and black hair. 
He was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt, dark jeans and black sneakers.
He had a navy "hoodie" with NEW YORK across the front.
Jake was carrying his guitar in a large black case.
He was also wearing a backpack — black and grey, with some orange, that had been mostly covered over with black magic marker.
Seaton's family has set up a Facebook page to to spread the word about his disappearance and share information.
Anyone who has seen Jake or has information is asked to call the 17th Precinct Detective Squad at 212-826-3206.
The public can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  Tips can be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES), then entering TIP577.
All calls are strictly confidential.

Public Safety Breaks Up Hookah and Booze Party at the Oval

Okay, I get it. You're young, smug, in an expensive college, mommy/daddy are paying for your expenses, and it's party time and an opportunity to show off your gym bod to the girls on a nice sunny Stuy Town day and pretend you are something you are really not.  But do you have to be an asshole and think it's cool to bring a hookah onto the Oval Fountain area for party time with your friends?

Thankfully, Public Safety came along to tell you to put out your hookah and dump the booze, or whatever you and your friends were drinking. And then, when you were just waiting for Public Safety to disappear so party time could resume, Public Safety doesn't walk away but stands and stands around until you get your ass and your hookah out of the area.











Meanwhile, some other entitled students haven't yet learned to read signs, or obey rules, and bring in a dog right up to the fountain, past the very visible NO DOG sign....


Public Safety kicks them out (unfortunately not literally).  As for the dog, is it a breed not allowed in Stuy Town....?

 

As predicted, certain people will bring dogs onto the fountain area despite the signs and will only move if Public Security tells them to.  (In a space of 15 minutes, PS had to inform two more dog owners who made a straight line to the fountain that dogs are not allowed in the area. Absence Public Security, and there would have been three dogs at the fountain, one being a suspected breed not allowed in Stuy Town.)

Oh, did I forget to mention that it was a really lovely day in the complex....


Thursday, May 10, 2012

No Fidos at the Oval Fountain Area

A reader sent in this photo:



Now the question is, just what area encompasses the Oval Fountain Plaza?  If it includes the benches, then this should be amusing to watch, with the guard booth in such close proximity.

Prediction: A decent number of dog owners will ignore the sign.

I'd also like to see a no human sunbathing on the Oval Fountain Plaza area sign, but my guess is the above sign is meant to ward off possible doggie stains on the ground for those very sunbathers.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Oval Grounds Changed Forever

Or at least until a new owner decides otherwise.

It's difficult to tell at this point just how the new graveling of the area that the greenmarket occupies, May through November for one day of the week, will look when the greenmarket is not present.  The damp weather these past days has also contributed to make such a determination problematic.

One thing is certain, though.  With the greenmarket getting approval in its current location by both our councilman Dan Garodnick and the TA (a tight partnership, for sure), the solidifying of the placement of the greenmarket at the southern end of the Oval grounds has reached finality.  The result is a new paving of gravel to cover the ugly patch of mud/dirt ground that was there, with this gravel now extending around the inner path of the grounds, to create a unified whole.

Another result, historically very important for Stuyvesant Town, is that we have officially lost a chunk of grass area that existed for decades in the Oval, an area that was taken over by the greenmarket for just 28 days of the year, leaving behind for the remaining 337 days a grass-less track of land to be used primarily by dog walkers as an impromptu deposit station for their animals.

In ye olde days, the Oval lawn had always been considered sacred, a piece of land to be cared for and nourished and enjoyed for its atypical "nature" beauty in Manhattan.  The first bit of permanent eradication of the ideal came when Tishman Speyer decided to widen the outlet of the path at its northwestern end, taking away a small piece of grass/planting grounds to make way for what was then trucks backing up to unload and load equipment for special events being held in the central Oval grounds. Next, post-Tishman Speyer, came the little guard booth doll-house, which mandated the removal of plantings and trees.  And now, the southern area of the Oval lawn, already decimated by Tishman Speyer with the introduction of the greenmarket, gets a more permanent marker and cut off.  I can't see what other area of the grounds will "go" in the future, but the opportunity exists, courtesy making anything zoned legally here because of "accessory use by residents and their guests."



My impression (and it can only be an impression at the moment) is that this southern area will be difficult to keep looking reasonably good, as the gravel used has a tendency to show every footprint and mark that goes over it.  Already, today, the gravel on the path looks a bit of a mess. Time will tell, though. Perhaps the gravel needs time to dry and adjust to weather conditions. [Update: This seems to be the case. The gravel along the paths is now clearly whitening.]




 ------------------

Meanwhile, on my trek about the complex, I could not help but notice the damage done to the fencing posts around the west side of the path...


...and our old friend, the pressurized wall truck, showing up next to Stuy Town:



















UPDATE:  As I originally thought, there seems to be zero apparent influx of outsiders to the ST greenmarket.  I did two walk-arounds and didn't notice anyone carrying bought produce at the greenmarket out of the complex, except for a grouping of three older people who just headed along 14th St and not to the Lower East Side.  (I did notice, however, a young couple walking an un-ST type dog and leaving for the LES.)  Plus, there are no banners on the periphery of the complex announcing the greenmarket, unlike other years.  That's not to say they won't appear in the future. At this point, it appears the greenmarket is being used exclusively, or pretty much exclusively, by residents and their guests.

ANOTHER UPDATE:  A reader sends in photos of the signs that were out today at the greenmarket.






Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Steve Reeves in Stuy Town?

And now for something completely different....


Here's a photo of Steve Reeves, the actor who was famous for playing in Hercules and peplum films in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  Now, the question is could Reeves be looking out of a Stuy Town or Peter Cooper Village apartment?  Certainly the windows look familiar and I vaguely remember that sort of radiator grating, but not sure if it was from a previous apartment I had here at another ST address?  I think the chances that Reeves is in a ST/PCV apartment are unlikely (he wouldn't have been a resident), but I wonder if old timers may remember a similar radiator.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

In case you missed it....

The greenmarket is scheduled to open this Sunday.  Here's the official word from our Tenants Association on the greenmarket and food trucks:

http://www.stpcvta.org/ta/post/greenmarket_to_return_for_residents_only

The Tenants Association of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village has long been concerned about the commercialization of the property, and has fought to protect the residential character of our neighborhood.

We are pleased to report today that as a result of our advocacy, and with the support of our Councilman Dan Garodnick, CW Capital agreed to remove the food truck which was omni-present on Stuyvesant Oval, and to only allow it to return during limited special events for residents.  On the other hand, the greenmarket, a popular offering for ST/PCV residents, will be able to return in its present location.

After an inquiry to various city agencies, it became clear that a greenmarket operating as an “open commercial use” would be prohibited, but making it available for residents and their guests only could be allowed.  Accordingly, CW agreed to change their policy and make it absolutely clear that the market is serving as an “accessory use” to the property for residents and guests, not open to the general public.  They will be adding language in all of their marketing materials, including any ads around the perimeter of the property, indicating that its greenmarket is intended for “residents and their guests only.”

The TA is pleased with this fair and sensible resolution of these issues. It thanks Councilman Garodnick for his key assistance in resolving the matter. 

-------------

Of course, I was thinking why does a greenmarket not open to the general pubic need "ads around the perimeter of the property," but we must surmise that there are residents completely unaware of what goes on here, who just live around the perimeter (or in Peter Cooper Village) and need to be told what's happening inside. Still....

Meanwhile, B&Y Farms has changed its main webpage to stress that their produce is for RESIDENTS.