Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Saturday, July 28, 2012
If you are a resident who lives around the Oval and you thought your Saturday morning was going to be peaceful--YOU WERE WRONG! It's seems that in a fit of "we're giving you this event whether you like it or not," the powers that be had work crews out very early in the morning making banging and clanging noises, echoing all over the Oval, to erect what looks to be a massive tent on the Oval lawn to protect from inclement weather whatever limited amount of people will be attending today's concert. Market rate tenants, if you were wondering why your rents are so high, as well as your lease renewal rents--well, this is part of the reason. All this labor costs money for an event that doesn't make any money and which is free for all New Yorkers and their guests. And, of course, someone must pay for Lady Maya's Starbucks brew (no Oval Cafe for her!) that she gets before she drudges into Stuy Town to boss people around. Updates to come for sure!
UPDATE: EPIC FAIL
It's been my contention that on a sunny day the crowds at the music events are significantly larger because of sunbathers, who are present on the Oval lawn not for the concert, but for the sun. Well, today, the sun was absent. Crowd size half an hour into the concert? About 50. So all this money spent on the performers, the setup, the advertizing, the raising of a tent, security, maintenance, etc, etc. is just money wasted, as are many of the gimmicks in this place. No wonder rents have to be raised for those renewing their leases on market rate apartments!
UPDATE: MAN, THAT WAS LOUD!
Alejandro Escovedo was really rocking, and he was joined by Stuy Town resident Garland Jeffreys for two final numbers to close out "Roots & Rock Sessions" for the summer, though we are promised more events to come (sigh). The music was pumped up real loud, as it needed to be for these type of numbers, but if you are an Oval resident, you can't escape the music unless you escape Stuy Town. I half expected a police car to show up. I'd say about 100 more people were added to the 50 I saw earlier. It's always embarrassing to see the white people here dancing to rock music (or, worse still, reggae). STR maintains his composure throughout.
PCVST managing director Sean Sullivan was present for a brief time and passed by STR within a few feet. I always find such chance occurrences amusing, as I do when Lady Maya passes me by, which has already happened to me several times.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Example of Pit Bull. Not actual photo of Stuy Town dog, unless he moved in yesterday.
Public Safety has been doing a commendable, and thankless, job in checking to see if dogs are registered in Stuyvesant Town, and in keeping dogs off the Oval Fountain area and pathways. The attitude of the Public Safety officers I have seen doing this has been friendly and respectful. Obviously, they get blowback from some dog owners, who consider these actions harassment, promising protests, an attitude I can understand if one has been repeatedly stopped while walking one's dog around the Oval, where most, if not all of the checks are done. (And that's the problem. I've as yet to see Public Safety conducting these checks in other areas of STPCV where many people bring their dogs. Perhaps these checks happen, but from what I've seen, they are done exclusively in the Oval area.)
All that said, there is a real problem that is still not being dealt with: pit bulls in Stuy Town. Pit bulls and pit-bull mixes are banned in Stuy Town/PCV, and yet I have seen three such dogs being walked with impunity in Stuy Town--dogs owned by Stuy Town residents! Two of these dogs were being walked around the Oval area. When I inquired of Public Safety about them, I was told that both dogs had Stuy Town registration tags. How is this possible, I inquired further? None of the Public Safety officers was able to tell me, as mystified as I.
Somehow, a few residents are getting away with having their pit bulls/pit bull mixes registered here. A glaring hole in Stuyvesant Town's dog policy and an insult to those dog owners who obey the rules.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Woke up this morning to this, a major article in the NY Times Region section about the illegal hotels here and the hunt by long-term residents, particularly Janey Donnelly and Margaret Salacan, to track the location of these hotels. Lux's initial publicizing of the problem on his blog is also brought to attention. And the article just doesn't get into the illegal hotel business in the complex, expanding out to include mention of other problems in STPCV:
Scratch a tenant angry about one thing, and a dozen more complaints will tumble out: students doubled or tripled up in apartments that previously housed families; noisy concerts on the lawn; food trucks and a farmers’ market bringing outsiders in; overstressed garbage and recycling areas; advertisements beckoning prospective tenants “to live and live it up.”
The powers that be respond to the illegal hotel problem via Joe DePlasco, spokesman for Rose Associates and CWCapital:
JOE DePLASCO, a spokesman for Rose Associates and CW Capital, which took control of the two complexes in 2010, after Tishman Speyer and BlackRock defaulted on their mortgage, said that management routinely combed the Internet for short-term listings and had sent cease-and-desist letters to 50 tenants since the middle of last year. Of these, 15 had moved out or had removed their listings, he said. The remaining 35 were “at various points in the legal process with general counsel or outside counsel,” he said. “They take this very seriously.”
The article has an appropriate ending, with a quote from Donnelly about Stuy Town:
“It’s not family-oriented anymore,” she said. “The oasis is gone.”
Thursday, July 19, 2012
There's money, time, energy, planning and manpower put into Oval Events and creating Oval Ice Rink and Oval Cafe, but it appears that Stuyvesant Town was caught short in performing routine fire door inspections throughout the complex, as well as other fire safety inspections. The NYC Fire Department was called in to investigate after volunteers from the Tenants Association found, according to Town & Village, "fire code violations in nearly every building." Because of this, CWCapital has received eight violations based on the the FDNY inspections and must fix the problems within 35 days or face a $1,000 fine for each violation. More Fire Department inspections are forthcoming.
Doors in stairways must close properly or else they can let through smoke and fire throughout a building should an apartment catch fire. Apparently, Public Safety used to check each building from top to bottom, but, according to John Marsh, TA's new president, the sweeps, he noticed, weren't being done anymore, which instigated his concern about the fire safety of buildings in PCV/ST. A FDNY Fire Inspector called the failure of doors closing “extremely dangerous, because it could fail to stop the spread of fire--and especially smoke--to other areas of the structure.” According to the fire inspector, the failure of self-closing doors could have a "severity level" in the "immediately hazardous category."
The TA website gives more information about its inspections, including this:
"The TA’s volunteers checked more than 2,900 doors in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village and identified 587 doors (20%) in 106 of the community’s 110 buildings (96%) that did not self-close and latch, creating a potentially hazardous situation.... In addition to the findings on the doors, the TA’s volunteers noted buildings that were missing floor indicator signage in hallways, on stair doors, and in stairwells; standpipes that were locked and chained; piping passing through holes larger than the pipes themselves creating a path for fire and smoke to travel; and what are unsafe and non-code-compliant window safety panes, such as plastic, in the fire doors themselves."
I myself noted that work done on pipes in the stairways in my building left gaping holes between floors. My concern was asbestos (the holes were significant with, to me, unknown fireproof material jutting out), but I never gave a thought that these holes could also let fire and smoke travel through a building. When nothing was done about these holes for weeks, I called maintenance about the problem, and still nothing was done. Months went by, and only recently were the holes plastered over. (Rumor is that Stuy Town was alerted to the forthcoming FDNY inspections and moved quickly to fix as many problems as it could before the actual inspections took place. Please note that this alert may have come because of the start of the inspections.)
The TA goes on to state:
"The Tenants Association is also outraged that, in addition to the safety findings, the volunteers found substantial evidence of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use in the stairwells as well as indications that people have been using stair landings to relieve themselves and their dogs. The TA sees these abuses as a direct outcome of the suspensions of the vertical patrols by PCV/ST Public Safety that were standard procedure for years."
Kudos to John Marsh and the TA volunteers for their work on this.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
I think we need to admit that there is nothing that we, as residents, can do about the summer events that happen at the Oval. We are not the current custodians of ST/PCV. Because these events are free, they don't even need to be advertized for zoning purposes as "for residents and their guests." Indeed, there is ample evidence that the powers that be are publicizing these events to people outside this community, without using the disclaimer, in the hopes of attracting larger crowds than usually come to these gatherings meant, or so their representatives claim, for "our community."
There is probably a purpose to this madness of summer events advertized to all of NYC, and that is to make Stuyvesant Town seem like a happening place--in the words of the publicity, a place where "there is something always going on." These summer Stuy Town events, btw, were first set in motion by our previous lords and masters, Tishman Speyer.
Of course, producing and managing these events costs money, and the bigger the crowds the more cost involved and the less such events become places where Stuy Town neighbors can meet other neighbors, a congenial get-together that has also been stressed in Stuy Town publicity, this time to residents, as if neighbors can't meet other neighbors aside from the events planned here at Stuy Town.
It would probably be beneficial to stress that our current custodian, CWCapital, is most interested in selling this property for the highest price in a year or two, while showing that it's financially booming and an exciting, lucrative property to own. The company is investing in its holding, which is why you are seeing the new plantings (at a cost of $2 million!), the Oval Cafe, the summer events, and Lord knows what else coming down the line. So this is CWCapital's primary concern, and everything else is reduced to less of a concern.
Which gets us to the residents of this community. How "concerned" is CWCapital about us, the residents? Surely, chiefly as dollar signs, which is why long-time rent-stabilized tenants must be the bane of a company like CWCapital, or any enterprise that will own this place. Brutally speaking, a landlord of this complex just waits out the day when long-term RS tenants will die out, and no apartment succession happens, placing apartments quickly into market-rate category where the rent can be doubled, at the very least.
Yet, surprisingly, I've heard from people who are paying market-rate prices that even they, as the renters whose rent matters most in the eyes of the landlord, are being squeezed for even more come lease renewal time. Some, already stretched thin with high rents, can't afford the extra that's being asked of them, and they move out, to be replaced by an eager renter who wishes to make New York his or her home and finds it hard to find something suitable with the current tight rental market in Manhattan.
There is something uncomfortably merciless about all this, but I think it underlines a truth we may find unpleasant. Absent a "beneficent" dictator approach, landlords are not our friends. That's why we need laws and the upkeep of laws, that's why we need a tenant organization, and local politicians who will truly fight for (and I mean fight, not pay lip service to) tenant rights.
Meanwhile, it seems that CWCapital can do anything it wants with the Oval events, and who it lets into the complex to make use of these events. For residents and their guests. Or not.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Here's the room in the Airbnb ad:
And a screen capture from the promotional video:
Now, I don't think this is any smoking gun exposing something nefarious. Surely not! Most probably someone is just using official Stuy Town/PCV promotional material for their Airbnb ad:
BTW, if you want to rent this apartment for a month, it will cost you $9468! Fantastic markup! (I think.)
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Well, that was quick. The Oval Cafe just barely opened and it already has a Sanitary Inspection Grade, passing with a flying "A"! But let's get to specifics (critical violations are in red):
1) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation.
2) Plumbing not properly installed or maintained; anti-siphonage or backflow prevention device not provided where required; equipment or floor not properly drained; sewage disposal system in disrepair or not functioning properly.
Wait till they start frying chicken fingers and heating up that pizza!
BTW, those of you who are believe in omens should note that the inspection was carried out on Friday the 13th.
Meanwhile, you will be pleased to learn that the cafe is selling La Colombe Torrefaction. This brew, despite the snotty hipster name, is apparently not good enough for the Director of Resident Programing in Stuy Town and the genius behind the cafe, who chooses to go to Starbucks for her morning coffee. So that's not much of recommendation, is it?
Here are some new rules for you at the cafe. The one I found of interest is that you can't seat your ass down in one of the patio chairs unless you have made a purchase from Oval Cafe. (Some tenants were wondering if this was an all-resident, non-purchasing tenant area. You gotta be kidding me!) Also, keep your damn pets (dogs, cats and monkeys) outside the cafe!
The TA Facebook page (which is really jumping these days!) notes that there's a Help Wanted on Craig's List for Oval Cafe staff. Here's the text:
Come join the American Leisure team at the NEW Oval Café in Stuy Town! We are seeking experienced café employees! Please send us your resume AS AN ATTACHMENT. We are seeking experienced, energetic and professional team members with a background in café service, to join the Oval Cafe team for ALL positions including the following: Baristas, Counter Service, Kitchen Prep Team. American Leisure offers a professional work environment with paid vacation and benefits program. Oval Café offers great coffee, grab and go, mercantile, ice cream and many more counter focused service items.
Okay, but where's the experienced staff who will know how to make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich?!
Curious that we learned from Town & Village that another company was going to be running the Oval Cafe. But now it's our familiar friends, American Leisure. Donations of salt shakers, toothpicks and toilet paper gratefully accepted. See Radu.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Remember how not too long ago there was at least a pretense that the summer musical events were for "residents and their guests"? Well, no more, as these days the advertising via social media and news pages is rampant. Why they've even placed a banner at the busy corner of 1st and 14th to advertize the summer events with absolutely zero information about "residents and their guests." Of course, crowds are needed, as events in years past were, in general, not that well attended and an embarrassment to the powers that be and the person, or persons, scheduling these events. Oh, and don't forget: the "Hood" where Stuy Town is located is the East Village (according to My Social List).
Spotted this morning at the Starbucks on 1st Ave--Lady Maya (!), who walked out with some delectable brew. Doesn't say much about the coffee at Oval Cafe, does it, when the person behind that cafe and menu chooses Starbucks coffee instead. Well, truthfully, the Oval Cafe is meant for the peasants around here, the naive tenants of Stuy Town who are too lazy to go to the perimeter to purchase a better brew and get better food.
A letter to the Town & Village editor that's of interest to read:
Thursday, July 12, 2012
The uproar was considerable, after all.
From Town & Village's Facebook:
On Wednesday, Stuyvesant Town’s management told Town & Village that the company ZogSports, which had been holding events in playgrounds that at least in one instance shut out residents, would no longer be doing so....
In response to the complaints, Joe DePlasco, a spokesperson for CWCapital, said the company hadn’t been renting out the space but was permitted to hold events in a few different playgrounds for a few nights a week in exchange for sports equipment that would be donated to the property. Residents could participate in the programs by signing up through Zog, he added.
However, by late Wednesday, that arrangement, which predates CW’s control of ST/PCV, was no more.
“They reviewed park usage based on complaints and given concerns they will discontinue Zog usage of their facilities,” said DePlasco.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Don't be surprised to see more of ZogSports here and, perhaps, in a big way.
More courts used by Zog:
More games in Stuy Town, this time back in 2009.
...and what may take it over, which may (or may not) have something to do with ZogSports. Again, let me caution that this is just a rumor at this point and hasn't been verified.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Some troubling experiences are being related over at the TA Facebook page. It appears that an organization called ZogSports (listed on its website as "a co-ed social sports league for young professionals") is getting preferential treatment at Stuy Town playgrounds because, in the words of a recreation staff member, the ZogSports people "pay a lot to use this space." This pimping of the property's playgrounds, which are supposed to be for the use of "residents and their guests," is quite simply disgusting and unacceptable.
UPDATE 7/11/12: So now we learn from a posting on the TA Facebook page that the director of the Stuy Town recreation department stated that, in the words of the poster who spoke to him, "the basketball and volleyball areas are for ZogSports only on Tuesday evenings. He said that there will be teams from ZogSports using one of the Stuy Town playgrounds 5 days a week for approximately two hours and during those times, whatever area they are using will be closed to Stuy Town residents." WTF?!?! 5 days a week!!! And whatever area in use by ZogSports will be closed to residents!
In exchange (aside from money, we assume) Stuy Town will be gifted with basketballs and other such items. I didn't know we were that poor that we needed to accept basketball donations from young professionals who then take over our playgrounds!
It should be noted that Dan Garodnick, our councilman, is looking into the matter and has already contacted CWCapital about these occurrences.
Monday, July 9, 2012
As you may have deduced, we have an "insider" who is letting us know what's going to happen in this complex before it happens. At first we were dubious, but after the Oval Cafe cart became a reality, something this insider informed us about, we knew we had a good source for what's coming up in Stuy Town.
Well, we have just learned that Dominico Figaroa, the renowned organ grinder of Coney Island, will be doing his organ grinding performance around the Oval. Much like the Oval Cafe cart, Dominico will take his organ to various places around the Oval to play hurdy-gurdy music and showcase the talking and movable mechanical monkey placed atop the machine. (NYC law prevents the use of a real monkey.) The catch? You have to put a dollar into the organ for the performance. The machine will accept bills or coins.
Lady Maya, the director of resident programming in STPCV, has already prepared a response to the certain inquiry from Town & Village that's to come in a week or two: "Having an organ grinder play with his organ and monkey for the children will be a wonderful addition to our community. We are very excited about this new amenity performance that is sure to become popular among our residents."
UPDATE 7/10/12: Dominico Figaroa informed me on the phone just now that he is still under contract negotiations with Stuy Town and that his organ grinding appearances are not a done deal yet. "They wanna take 95 cents outta da dollar I charge, but I said no way. It's gotta be a 50/50 split. My monkey needs to be lubricated to work well, and lubrication is not cheap!"
Meanwhile, spotted today at the 20th Street Loop, a pressurized wall truck parked right in Stuy Town. But, don't forget, there are no pressurized walls in this complex.... Must be putting up some dry walls.
Caught this sign at the Farmer's Market the other day. All you residents that are paying $4K plus for your apartments now get to use your EBT cards to buy fresh produce that costs twice as much as the produce being sold at Associated....
Yes, indeed, there is "always something going on in Stuyvesant Town"! Too much going on, in fact, because I have more news, but will hold it off for another day. I'm exhausted!
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Bread (usually two slices to make a sandwich)
Jam or Jelly
Spread peanut butter onto one slice of bread:
Spread jam or jelly onto the other slice of bread:
Assemble your sandwich by putting the two slices of bread together. (Note: the peanut butter and jam/jelly sides should be facing each other.)....
Voilà! The classic Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich that you can now serve to your eager customers!...
Friday, July 6, 2012
You have to wonder sometimes if it's just not part of some weird game. Certainly the powers that be knew that there would be blowback at the Oval Cafe opening with no signage or stated regulations that it was for the exclusive use of "residents and their guests." So, of course there was blowback, and now, with Town & Village highlighting the matter, we see the above blaring signage, with Oval Cafe banners hanging around the Oval also stating that the newly opened cafe is for "residents and their guests." Okay, but wouldn't everyone have been spared a certain amount of tension if these signs were around before the cafe was opened or on opening day?
One of the feature articles in this week's Town & Village is devoted to the Cafe. Lady Maya, director of resident programing and responsible for such things as putting a huge TV screen in front of the Oval Fountain, is quoted as saying, "Having a central place to grab a bite to eat and chat with your neighbors, located conveniently within PCVST, will be a wonderful addition to our community." Okay, Lady Maya, but the bites to eat are rather not sophisticated enough to but an accent on the "e" of "cafe." (Hot dogs and chicken fingers?) And certainly this amenity is not located conveniently for Peter Cooper residents, as well as many residents even in Stuy Town, who don't pass by the Oval area because they live a distance from it. (Note to future statements from the powers that be: Please think of something new than "a wonderful addition to our community" whenever you add something to the complex. This corporate-speak is redundant and boring. Perk it up a bit.)
I had to laugh at the last paragraph in the T & V article, which stated that a rep for management explained away the affirmations by Oval Cafe staffers that the cafe was "open to the public" as the staffers actually meaning that it was open to to "non-members" of the Amenities. Yeah, sure. In actuality, the staffers didn't know anything about key cards or Amenity members or non-members. According to T & V, the cafe (no accent on the "e" from me) is run by ABC Kitchen, though the cafe menu is certainly considerably different.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention one detail in the T & V article that I thought of interest concerning the cafe. The patio extension will gouge out 15 feet of the Oval "park" to accommodate more outdoor seating. So, first we lose a portion of the southern Oval Lawn to the Farmers Market, and now this. Both for commercial enterprises.
Who writes for the official PCVST Facebook and Twitter page? Well, both are kinda dopey (I mean a "Happy World Kiss Day" post?), but the writer fell flat on her feet (yes, I suspect anyone intrigued by Happy World Kiss Day is going to be a chick; sorry), when she posted a photo of a pit-bull/pit-bull mix being walked around Stuy Town with what appears to be a portion of a human limb in its iron-jawed mouth:
Pit-bulls/pit-bulls mixes are a banned breed in Stuy Town/PCV. But, aw how cute!!!
[Hat-tip: Alice Aaronson, TA Facebook]
The big news over at the Tenant Association is that President Al Doyle has stepped down due to increased work responsibilities and other commitments. John Marsh (aka, the sock puppet "Peter Stuyvesant" on the TA Facebook page) is now the new president. But, seriously, folks, hats off to these gentlemen and others who work for the TA. Though I've had my disagreements with the TA (and how!), these people are volunteers who give of their free time to work for tenants in this complex. And anyone who does that is an "ace in my book," even if I misplace the book from time to time.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
It’s infuriating that you are so wrong or, pardon the suggestion, so thick.
Wikipedia, as other sources, will inform you:
"A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception. The term—a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock—originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an internet community who spoke to, or about himself while pretending to be another person. The term now includes other uses of misleading online identities, such as those created to praise, defend or support a third party or organization. A significant difference between the use of a pseudonym and the creation of a sockpuppet is that the sockpuppet poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer."
Several examples are given of “sock puppetry” that you may find illuminating. This is one of the best:
"Between 2000 and 2003, John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, made numerous posts under the sockpuppet name 'Mary Rosh.' 'Rosh' praised Lott's views and disputed with his critics on Usenet, posting laudatory reviews of Lott's books and panning those of his rivals. Lott admitted he had used the name 'Mary Rosh' to defend himself but claimed the book reviews were written by his son and wife."
Yes, someone posing on the TA Facebook page under an assumed tenant identity to support co-op conversion, while in reality working for Guterman, is a “sock puppet,” but clearly “Lamont Cranston” was never a “sock puppet.” The name was a pseudonym (just as is “Stuy Town Reporter”), and an obvious one at that. The avatar used was a drawing of “The Shadow,” the crime-fighter alias of the fictitious “Lamont Cranston.” If the moderators are unknowledgable enough to assume--for the many, many months that “Lamont Cranston” posted on the TA's Facebook (without a word of warning or recrimination from the mods)--that “Lamont Cranston” and “The Shadow” were real, then their intelligence is highly suspect and bewildering. Seriously. Can you guys be that dumb? Or is it pettiness that is driving your mental wheels this week?
As to the TA’s generosity in retaining links to the STR blog on their little-seen resource page, please don’t do me any favors, as I won’t do you any. We parted company today, at your instigation.
Lamont Cranston, aka The Shadow, was able to post freely on the TA's Facebook, under the same rules that now have him banned. So one can deduce that for many months the moderators of the TA Facebook page assumed that Lamont Cranston, with his The Shadow avatar (see below), was a real person and a graduate of a secret Tibetan university, where he learned to cloud men's minds.
Older post from 6/28:
It's unfortunate that the Tenants Association Facebook page, the only consistently active voice that tenants have with their association, has speedily unraveled due to heavy-handed moderation which has forced out two supposed "Sock Puppets"--Brian O'Shanahan and Jill Saunders.
I (and I suspect other members of that Facebook page) don't care if Brian and Jill are aliases who use phoney avatars. As long as they are respectful members, that should be the only requirement for being a member in good standing. It seems that the bounce of Brian was compelled by some link he (or she) gave to the Conversion Blog, a blog that is anti-condo/pro co-op, and thereby at odds with the push of the TA/Brookfield for ownership as condos. If so, this banning on the part of the moderators is rather surly and childish. Surely, ALL matters related to PCV/ST tenants have a right to be discussed openly and without recrimination.
Worse, according to the posting by "Peter Stuyvesant"--an alias "group handle" for the TA--there's this threat:
"Furthermore, those who perpetuate Sock Puppets by Friend-Spamming with Sock Puppets, will also be de-friended, be banned from the TA Facebook page, and have their posts will be deleted." [sic]
I don't have a clear idea what's meant by "Friend-Spamming with Sock Puppets" (I believe someone posted a response from the then-banned Brian), but the threat is obviously directed at other members in good standing.
Frankly, all this heavy-handedness is bullshit and deeply disappointing coming from a couple of people who represent the TA, the organization that is suppose to represent ALL OF US.
It surprised me that there was no attempt made to restrict the cafe to "residents and their guests," as I'm assuming such an action is mandated by zoning regulations, which seemed to have been clarified for both the Farmers Market and the Stuy Town ice rink. My guess is that we will see at least some signage indicating this rule, but on the first day of business, it wasn't there. No one was checking key cards, either. (As a matter a fact, the sales person I asked behind the counter didn't even know what a key card was.)
The interior of this "refreshed" space is, I think, a significant step down from the way Oval Lounge looked. The floor is an ugly dark-gray mess of swirls that look like a sloppy paint job, while the tall white tables are too Ikea-like. The color scheme of dark-grey, white and blazing orange-red (chairs) is not cozy or inviting.
The menu is pretty dismal, with the Kids Menu (Coming Soon) filled with junk food like chicken fingers, hot dogs, mac & cheese and pizza fingers. Of course, the menu will be popular with children, who will be pulling their mommies and nannies inside to buy the stuff. I guess that's why Oval Cafe has decided on such a menu!
I can't really say anything positive about the Oval Cafe. It's not charming or pleasing in any aesthetic manner, and offers a limited menu that makes the food and drink just a presence rather than a favored food/drink destination. So it's just there, breeding.
Older post from 6/29:
I predict this cafe will be a glowing success. Hell, if they put in Wi-fi also, why should I drudge to Starbucks, which will seem a mile away? Why should I even support Lenz's and buy their pizza, when I now have, for my convenience, a mini-deli available in Stuy Town's backyard? I'm already feeling my lazy bones convincing me that Oval Cafe is the way to go.
Monday, July 2nd, opening day. If they're giving freebies away, I may be there.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
The Oval Cafe will be opening tomorrow, despite a significant patio area outside still not finished. Residents who may wish to see what the cafe will look like (aesthetic Ikea) can go past the place now, as the windows have been cleared of hanging brown paper.
The previous Oval Lounge looked exquisite compared to this. Ditto, the "refreshed" Oval Study:
In place of the comfortable chairs along the windows that were there before, spaced well apart, the powers that be have installed similar Ikea-like tables to those in Oval Cafe, with chairs that almost rub elbows with fellow chairs. The place has now obviously been converted to more of a "study" and guess for whom? Yes, our student population. So you seniors that liked to sit there and read the paper, you will have less comfort and space to do so. I was once, briefly, an amenity member, more to escape the hot days of the summer (I don't have AC), and found Oval Study especially inviting and a pleasure to sit in. You could sit by the window, gazing outside while sipping your coffee or tea. Not anymore. This "refreshed" space is wretched and institutional now, from what I see.
Meanwhile, we know the aesthetics here are pretty now, but placing a screen in front of the Oval Fountain to broadcast a baseball game to those on the Oval Lawn--well, it's pretty tacky. Plus everyone you see below is interested in sunbathing or picnicking, not in watching a baseball game that, with the daylight diluting the picture quality coming from the screen, no one can appreciate. It's a dumb, low-class idea, but, then again, when you hire someone to do a job (such as provide events for Stuy Town to show the world that "something is always going on" in our "backyard") they think up of these stupidities just to justify their salary.
A reader sent in these amazing photos of Stuy Town doing sidewalk sweeping along the corner of 14th and 1st Avenue during morning rush hour! Yes, that machine can barely fit through the sidewalk by the subway, yet there it goes, blocking pedestrians and creating a nuisance. Even along the rest of 1st Avenue that Zamboni-like vehicle can pose a danger to pedestrians. Hey, buddy, watch out for the stroller!!!
Another reader sent in photos of workers putting in fence posts in the mezzanine area of 15 Stuy Town Oval, which pierced the underground sprinkler hoses, causing geysers to burst forth when the sprinklers were turned on! Yes, there is always something going on in Stuy Town!
This is my favorite photo of the week, perhaps of the month. I actually came across this tenant dumping of garbage along the 20th Street Loop and did not touch or rearrange a thing. The title of this photo surely must be "Giving Up on Roberts"....
A close-up of the book, just in case you can't read the cover:
Condo dreams dashed!