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.

Friday, August 31, 2012

CompassRock Admits It Has No Solutions to Quality of Life Issues

In a bizarre, but at least truthful, admission, David Woodward, president of our new managing company, CompassRock, admitted in the latest Town & Village that CompassRock doesn't have a solution for the quality of life issues that have plagued Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, issues that T & V explained range from "dog policy to illegal hotels to concerns stemming from the ever-growing population of students." (The exact quote from Woodward: "I don't have a solution for any of those things.")

Well, here are some suggestions, particularly as Woodward is quoted as saying, "We pride ourselves on being open to suggestions and following up on solutions."

Dog policy: A moratorium on new dogs. New tenants have to sign a statement that they will not be acquiring a dog under penalty of eviction.  Public Safety extends its watchful dog-rule eye from the Oval Fountain to other parts of the property.

Illegal hotels: Just follow the listings (and the TA Facebook page).

Ever-growing population of students: Don't rent to hordes of students!  Also make sure you follow the law and do not allow three unrelated people to live in one apartment.

A red flag was raised in another part of the article, however....

"Woodward also said that while on a recent stroll through the complex with management staffers, the conversation turned to recreation 'and what activities tenants might like to see.'"

Stop it with the "activities"!!!  Everything is fine without imposed-on activities. Tenants have playgrounds, the Oval where they can relax, etc.  Don't push things to the ridiculous level.  Don't ruin the park (Oval)!

UPDATE (very interesting link posted on the TA Facebook page):
http://www.chicagorealestatedaily.com/article/20120328/CRED03/120329779/laramar-sues-ex-ceo-over-loan

* * *

UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS, STUY TOWN REMOVES CABBAGE PATCH KIDS AND REPLACES THEM WITH ARUGULA PLANTS.



Sad to say, the Cabbage Patch Kids at Cafe Kubrick's Grand Canyon have been removed by swarthy Italians in the dead of night and were replaced, early morning, with arugula plants.  A spokesman for CWCaptial did try to mitigate the disappointment by promising a full line of cabbages (minus the Patch Kids) in the Fall, when the weather gets colder.

* * *

And speaking of Cafe Kubrick....  If you passed by the cafe this morning, you may have spotted three splotches of dog turd right in front of the cafe.



The turds were removed later.  I wouldn't order anything chocolatey in Cafe Kubrick for a few days.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Team That's Going to Take Care of Us

Here's the crew:

http://www.compassrockrealestate.com/regional-leadership

Note Fred Knapp is present and accounted for.

In case you don't know who Fred Knapp is, well, he was around during Tishman Speyer days when many residents had to go to court to prove their residency in PCVST. The NY Times called Knapp "the scourge of illegal tenants."  Perhaps he'll be dealing effectively with the illegal hotel situation in PCVST.  Or perhaps he'll have his sights set on different imperatives. More about Fred here:

http://www.nysun.com/new-york/private-eyes-will-prowl-apartments/48326/

UPDATE:

Interesting quote from here:
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120530-706050.html

"Critics of servicers also are concerned that they may sell assets to affiliates at lower prices than they could get on the open market. They also worry that servicers may be influenced by the fees they occasionally receive from borrowers or their use of affiliated companies to provide appraisal or other real estate services."

CompassRock is an affiliate of CWCapital.

CWCapital's View

This will explain a lot.  Including how CWCapital prides itself on reducing "management fee" by 33%. (CompassRock, the new management firm of PCVST, is joined at the hip to CWCapital, the latter being its financial partner. This crucial fact is left out of this PR piece.) And, yes, CWCapital states that it has "improved the resident experience."  That's the reason Oval Cafe was created, of course, and why you will see more "improvements" to the resident experience.  Never forget, these people don't care what YOU think but how they can promote the property.

Here goes the official statement from CWCapital:

New York – August 28, 2012 – CWCapital Asset Management LLC (CWCAM), a subsidiary of CW Financial Services, announced today strong financial performance at Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town. Since taking control of the asset in October, 2010, CWCAM has focused on stabilizing and creating value for the asset. Working together with current Property Manager Rose Associates, CWCAM has renovated and leased over 900 vacant units and successfully restructured the union agreements on the Property, resulting in labor stability for the next several years and enhanced flexibility to manage the union labor force. 

Early in 2012, CWCAM led a management restructuring that included re-assigning senior executives and re-ordering functional departments to better manage on-going projects and increase operational efficiency.   As a result of these enhancements, CWCAM has increased NOI since taking over by more than 45% on an annualized basis

“I am very proud of the results at Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town,” said Charles Spetka, CEO of CW Financial Services. “Since taking control, we have realized significantly improved financial performance and at the same time improved the resident experience. Our intent is to continue both trends.”

More here: 

http://www.cwcapital.com/News/Pages/DisplayItem.aspx?pid=120

UPDATE (for those who don't think there's a solid connection between CWCapital and CompassRock. Garodnick also has a say.):

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20120829/REAL_ESTATE/120829870 

ANOTHER UPDATE - Much of the same info, but now we get a quote from Adam Rose:

http://www.globest.com/news/12_426/newyork/multifamily/CompassRock-Becomes-Property-Manager-at-Stuy-Town-324706.html

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Nauseating


This particularly stood out for me: "During this time, resident programming was also enhanced through the launch of the PCVST Ice Rink, Oval Cafe, and continued presence of the PCVST Farmers Market."

These people do not understand the true value of PCVST.  Truly, they are strangers here.  It's going to get worse.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rose Associates Exits, CW To Take Over



The rumors, it appears, are true.  On September 1, CWCapital will be effectively taking over management of Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town from Rose Associates, which has been at the helm since Tishman Speyer left.  Expect more on this in the forthcoming Town & Village, but my guess is that, with much in place or being positioned to run relatively smoothly, CWCapital's move to gain operating control is a money saving measure, among other things.  Apparently CWCapital has more plans/ideas for this complex, too.  Stay tuned.

While there have been tenants who have vigorously railed against Rose Associates, Rose Associates was always the middleman in what goes on here and in a frequently uncomfortable position of needing to deal directly with unions, frustrated tenants and all the problems (illegal hotels, excess student population, furniture dumping, etc) that have arisen through the recent years in PCVST.  Now this is all going to rest on the shoulders of CWCapital.

I have had some minimal contact in the past with Adam Rose and have always felt that he was sincere in his desire to run this complex as best as possible for tenants (and, obviously, for the owner of PCVST).  For one, he made himself personally available to those whose problems were not being solved in the normal chain-of-command scenario.  Think back to the days of Tishman Speyer, and you will realize what a difference that was.  So the best to him and his crew.

How will CWCapital run this place?  As I started at the outset, I believe the company will fall into the groove, if they can, of how things are being run right now, but that we'll start seeing changes on the property.  Who knows?  Perhaps we'll see a Walmart, or its equivalent, here one day.  Or perhaps not.

Another interesting chapter in the history of Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town begins.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stuy Town: Dog Turd Town

So what does this man:


Have to do with this?--



Well, every time you come across a dog turd in Stuy Town or Peter Cooper Village or a pungent dog urine flow blocking your path, you can thank our previous landlord, Rob Speyer (pictured above--the first photo, no jokes, please), for throwing out PCVST's long-standing no-dog rule and allowing the presence of dogs in the complex. BTW, despite his embarrassing tenure here, Robbie is doing very well, thank you, having been selected by Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg, to chair the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City (!).  Adding to this accomplishment, Robbie is also now chairing the Real Estate Board of New York, may the good Lord help us all.  It just proves that if you are connected to wealth here in Manhattan, you get your ass kissed by the powers that be and you rise to positions of influence despite being clueless and quite possibly an idiot.

Back to dog tales....

Within just two days, I have come across in my relative brief walk to the outside of Stuy Town, dog turds and streams of dog urine a plenty.  The circular asphalt walkway around the Oval is now a scattered painting-in-the-works with the paints being wet dog turd smears, dry dog turd smears, and streams of dog urine that, many times, go from one side of the walkway to the other.  Below is the result of several piles of dog turd that a dog owner yesterday tried to clean up with a water bottle, unsuccessfully:


At least she tried, but this clown, or clowns, didn't:


The above was a photo taken today in front of 5 Stuy Town Oval.  Closer to the 1st Ave loop, another trail of dog turd was also in evidence:


Folks, this is just going to get worse.  Each month.  Public Safety makes what seems like a publicity attempt to put a dent in the dog infractions here, but after two weeks to a month, it's back to the same disregard and lack of enforcement.  And, so far, the enforcement seems to be just near the Oval Fountain area.  I still have yet to see Public Safety make it out beyond this area in any serious endeavor.  And the fact that there are now legally-registered prohibited dog breeds being walked about Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village with impunity, further damns the view that the dog rules are being enforced around here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Amazing Video



The video, which I've never seen, is two years old, but the rules on aggressive breeds was in place here at that time also.  So where was the failure?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mystery Solved

The mystery of the lengthy pit at the patio extension of Cafe Kubrick has been solved! Today workers began installing Cabbage Patch Kids inside the fissure. This project is expected to be finished within two weeks. Perhaps.

In a statement released early this afternoon, Joe DePlasco, spokesman for CWCapital and Rose Associates, stated, "We've taken very seriously the completion of this four-month project, and now with the insertion of the Cabbage Patch Kids, residents and their guests can finally enjoy the full luxury of Cafe Kubri--I mean, Oval Cafe."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday, August 19

20% of Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village Buildings Have Had Bed Bug Infestations?

Well, that's what the TA suggests from tenant feedback, reports the latest issue of Town & Village. In order to combat such infestations and inform tenants, TA President John Marsh stated that tenants will be receiving a TA report (about 14 pages long!) with info on prevention, etc. (Shouldn't management be doing this?) Meanwhile, CWCapital spokesperson Brian Moriarty noted that management has a full-time pest control contractor who deals with bed bug infestations. Moriarty is quoted in T&V: "There have been incidents of bedbugs at PCVST over the years, in keeping with what one would normally expect in a community of this size in New York.... All cases that have been reported have been successfully contained and resolved." A comment at bedbugregistry.com offers this perspective on Stuy Town's 280 First Avenue, however: "Management did not notify neighbors adjoining the 2 bed bug infested apartments on the 10th floor of the infestations. A neighbor had to do that. The new infestation on the 10th floor has now spread to apt directly downstairs on the 9th floor. Bedbugs were detected in the master bedroom mattress and electrical outlet. The 9th floor apartment is being treated as of this past week."

According to the article, Marsh suspects a correlation between bed bug infestations and the use of Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village apartments as illegal hotels, the latter being a continual problem that management seems slow in resolving. (How about, first, slipping in notices, along with those proclaiming the latest Oval events, on the illegality setting up hotels in PCVST and the consequences of doing so?)

DOG TALES

This week's T&V also contained a pertinent letter responding to an opinion piece about how wonderful dogs are in the complex and how everyone should relax and enjoy the considerable perks of having dogs around. This is the future:

"... on my floor we now have four dogs (two in one apartment). When I get off the elevator, it sounds like a kennel and smells like a latrine. All the dogs yap in unison, one pet owner lets her dog go in the apartment, another apartment houses two dogs that bark and hurl themselves at the front door, which sounds like someone is banging to get out."

As for a dog run in Stuy Town.... Yesterday, I went to Tompkins Square Park for a change of scenery, and, indeed, there was considerable barking from the dogs in that dog run, noise that would bounce all around the buildings of Stuy Town if such a dog run was here. And then there's the smell....

Speaking of dogs, the banning of pitbulls and pitbull mixes in Stuy Town seems to be a joke. These two photos were taken today, Sunday, within a period of an hour. Perhaps these two dogs do not have any pitbull in them. What do you think?

The latter dog and his owner were soon chased away from the Oval Fountain by Public Safety, btw. But not off the property, as I assume this is another registered Stuy Town dog.

THE MOAT AT CAFE KUBRICK

Most of the work has been finished on the patio extension of Cafe Kubrick. (I may have to start calling this "Cafe Ugly" pretty soon, though, as it really is a designing and decorating disaster.) The fissure is still there, however, and waiting for something. Perhaps it's a mini sewer. Wouldn't that be appropriate. Then, again, it's been a while since we've seen a cabbage patch.

ANOTHER PROJECT

Drainage work near Stuy Town's 21 Oval. (This area has been worked and reworked at least half a dozen times since Tishman Speyer took over.) We'll see how effective this will turn out to be, but it looks like fun for the kiddies to sail toy or paper boats down in rainy weather.

But tenants, you are not supposed to throw your strawberries in it!

PETER COOPER'S RECYCLING AREAS

A blog reader sends in these photos of Peter Cooper Village's recycling area. Stuy Town residents, view and weep!

Friday, August 17, 2012

STR was Wrong. Apologies.

Last Sunday I wrote in a blog post that it would take the master craftsmen working on the patio extension of Cafe Kubrick a week to figure out what to do with the uneven gouge that's present in the extension. While there has been some minor movement since then (like the removal of newly set tiles!), it appears that it may take yet another week, if not more weeks, to figure out just how to handle this mini-canyon:

That may be the least of the problems for the extension, however, as a clear horizontal view exposes how much of a slope there is to the extension as it proceeds away from Cafe Kubrick. It may be difficult to see in this photo, but viewed in real life, it's certainly present. Tilt!

It really doesn't pay to underestimate incompetency.

UPDATE, Saturday: A couple of workers bustling in the rain trying to finish up the job now. Fazio Traina, Lawn Sprinklers specialists from Brooklyn, is the company. They also do landscape lighting. I can feel a sense of victory coming up, though the Grand Fissure may still remain so for a better day.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday, August 12

Here We Go Again - PCVST Being Prepped for Sale

New plantings, new fencing, the interior of buildings being cleaned, recycling areas redone, dog rules enforced (supposedly), amenities "refreshed".... The last time Rose Associates paid so much attention to the property, and spent so much money (we're talking millions), was when this property was being readied for the First Big Sell. Now, it's obvious we are being prepped for the Second Big Sell, which I expect to come some time next year. So enjoy it for what it's worth and while you can. Who knows what's going to hit us after the Second Big Sell. Hopefully not another Tishman Speyer.

BTW, the previous recyling area set-up is being removed in favor of this, which may make it easier and quicker to remove garbage:

Not sure if a night crew is at work now, but I noticed that there's been no heavy buildup of garbage over the weekend, as there used to be.

Dog Town

You may as well start calling this place Dog Town, instead of Stuy Town, as we are heading into the distinct possibility of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village being overrun by dogs within five years or less. The latest issue of Town & Village contains info from a representative for CWCapital that the official dog count is now 1,080, but the "actual number is even higher than that" as "the effort to get all the dogs in the complex registered is still ongoing." Anyone who has his or her eyes open and walks about the complex or sits down on one of its benches can see the increase in the dog population month by month. Only an enforced moratorium on new dogs can stop this advance.

While management and Public Safety has been doing a fairly commendable job enforcing the dog rules and checking registration tags near the Oval Fountain area, I still have yet to see Public Safety step outside of this zone to conduct similar enforcement and registration tag checks in other areas of the complex, particularly in the back areas of buildings and at the entry points to PCVST. I am continually seeing outsiders bring in their dogs for a walk-through, including dogs that are prohibited within the complex. And I am still seeing REGISTERED pit-bulls and pit-bull mixes being walked with impunity through Stuy Town by several residents.

PCVST General Manager Sean Sullivan wrote an op-ed in this week's T & V on "Why Dog Rules Were Stepped Up." The gist is that the enforcement of these rules is "part of an ongoing effort to improve quality of life standards for the PCVST community." Clearly, in presenting this property as attractive to a buyer, the dog problem has to be dealt with and stabilized. As the number of dogs here increases, this property, as a rental, will eventually be only appealing to dog owners, which will have the effect of bringing in more dogs into the complex.

And what's up with this...?

A dog at the Greenmarket today without ANY tag whatsoever....

So, a PCVST dog? Or a dog owned by a non-resident and their guest, the owner making use of the Greenmarket against zoning regulations? A Public Security officer a few feet away didn't seem to care.

And speaking of the Greenmarket and dogs, this morning the market plopped itself right near a trail of stomped dog turd. No one cleaned this up....

If your artisanal cheese has some extra spice on it, well....

Cafe Kubrick: Another Fail

Work has stopped (temporarily, I assume) on the patio extension of Oval Cafe. Why? Perhaps because the not sun-baked American planners or bossman didn't get the extension properly leveled with what's there already, causing a lengthy, uneven gouge where the two sides are supposed to meet? Now it's going to take another week to figure out how to fix this.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

More Weekend Noise

Pity the tenants who live above Oval Cafe. Sun-baked Mexican workers (documents, please) have been buzzing away all day on both Saturday and Sunday trying to finish the outside patio extension of Oval Cafe, an extension that's sorely needed considering the empty chairs already present. No word yet if these tenants will be getting a rent reduction because of this disturbance to their weekend peace and quiet. Perhaps, at the very least, they'll get a free stale muffin from the cafe's day remainders.

The cafe (nicknamed "Cafe Kubrick"--although nothing in a Kubrick film is as ugly) now has an expanded menu. "Housemade Ice Cream Sandwiches" will cost you $5, while smoothies $4 for 12oz size and $6 for 16 oz. Poppi Al' Pizza is $5 for a 7-inch "personal cheese pie."

I went inside to check the servings and was shocked to find tiny (I mean tiny) muffins selling for $2.50. Doughnuts, btw, are $3. I had to laugh, however, at spotting those one-serving cereal boxes on display. I mean, who in the hell in Stuy Town is so lazy and wealthy not to have cereal at home, but a need to buy and eat it in Cafe Kubrick? You really have to wonder at the intelligence of the customers here and/or the cafe planners.

Oh, I forgot to mention a few weeks back, but when Cafe Kubrick opened, the wall pictures where photos of old Stuy Town. I guess that was too traumatic and revelatory for the powers that be, because they were quickly replaced.

Of course, Cafe Kubrick does not check to see if its customers are residents or their guests. Which should be standard operating procedure, as this policy is what makes this cafe properly zoned.

Which reminds me that today I saw three people walk out of Stuy Town with their purchases from the Greenmarket. Clearly not residents and their guests. The "for residents and their guests" game continues. Thanks, Dan!

Well, at least there was this amusement today. An online article on Stuy Town had this photo of a Stuy Town Tenant Association meeting:

The author of the article copped the photo from an old blog post here, unaware that the photo (of a 1943 protest in Seattle) was a joke. But, yes, we are thousands and thousands strong. You better believe it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

TA Exposes Unauthorized Use of Tenants for STPCV Advertisements

If you've been anywhere near the "events" happening in Stuyvesant Town for the last couple of years, you will have seen signs on occasion that stated:

"The Stuyvesant Oval and surrounding areas will be videotaped. If you walk in this area you may be on film. By entering the Oval area during this time period, you grant Rose Associates, Inc. and its representatives the right to take video footage of you and you agree that Rose Associates, Inc. may use such video for any lawful purpose, including, for example, such purposes as advertising, publicity, illustration and Web content."

Afterward, photos and video of these events, and whatever tenants would participate or stray through the event, wound up in advertising and promotions for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

Guess what? This use of tenants, even with those signs, was a misdemeanor according to the New York Civil Rights Law, which states that written consent must be given by a person who will be use for advertising purposes.

Okay, so another case of the powers that be ignoring, or being naive about, the law. (One wonders what other laws are being broken here--like, perhaps, that law in the Housing Maintenance Code that states that three unrelated people cannot live in a single apartment....)

Now, thanks to the efforts of the TA, which has recently stepped up its game in regards to what goes on around here, management has agreed to stop this photographing and videotaping, and has taken down from official sites previous advertising that included residents. A meeting between the TA and Sean Sullivan, STPCV general manager, facilitated the solution after the TA sent this letter to Sullivan.

From the TA webpage:

Tenants Association Board Chair, Susan Steinberg commended Mr. Sullivan for his “quick and decisive” response. “This ends an uncomfortable, and potentially illegal, practice which meant that anytime you attended an event, strolled through the Greenmarket, or even just went home, you could find your image used in promotional materials. That had to end, and we thank Sean Sullivan for his thoughtfulness and responsiveness in working with us on this.”

And so ends another uncomfortable situation in how this place is being run.

Thank you, John Marsh and the TA.