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

Quality of life issues are not that important, however. They tend to be ignored, despite "the rules." So you will see a lot that isn't taken care of properly, and complaints will be met with a creative excuse and a smile.

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

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

At this point, 30 years into living here and seeing many things, I can state that Management and their reps are BS-ing us. I can't say that loudly enough: We are being BS-ed. I don't see any genuine change. Sorry.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Destruction of the Oval






There is a "golden age" to everything, it seems. Regarding the Oval, it appears clear that the apex of its charm and beauty has now passed, never to return. When Stuyvesant Town was built, the Oval was bare necessities, with a promise of more luxuriant things to come, as trees and bushes would grow to fill out the plain landscape. In the decades that followed, the Oval still maintained its relative plainness, but was, at the very least, a handsome, peaceful sanctuary from the rest of Manhattan and the city's "rat-race" vibe. In prepping the complex for sale, Met Life made significant upgrades, and turned the Oval into the best it has ever looked. Garden areas at the crescents and near the Oval lawn flourished, and an impressive fountain replaced the Plain Jane that existed there before. Under the reign of Tishman-Speyer, the gardening went through several transitions, some of them positive.  More dramatically, however, four amenity buildings were carved out of Oval buildings.

Concern was raised that the amenity spaces were introducing elements into the Oval that should not be there and that, for the first time, a financial resource was being created in this green sanctuary that went against the "free for all residents" tradition of Stuy Town.  Yet, even with these four amenity spaces, the Oval still managed to retain a good measure of its sanctuary feel, in significant part because the lush landscaping hid most of these spaces from many points of the Oval.

Tishman-Speyer then introduced a new feature to the Oval: the Sunday greenmarket, which necessitated a loss of a chunk of the southern end of the Oval lawn, made permanent later by a surface of gravel. Food trucks were also introduced to the Oval, sometimes on a daily basis, effectively marring the sanctuary ideal of the Oval. Residents (who cared) made noise about both the food trucks and the greenmarket, and for a while, it seemed as if the pushback to the commercialization of the Oval was working, with the city taking a serious look at Stuy Town's zoning. Then came capitulation, with our councilman Dan Garodnick, who initially made a strong case against the commercialization of Stuyvesant Town, declaring that he was satisfied with city's requirement that commercial spaces were properly zoned if meant exclusively "for residents and their guests." Garodnick considered the matter resolved.

This capitulation meant that the new landlord, CWCapital, was now free to introduce more commercial projects into the Oval (wink-wink "for residents and their guests"), and we got the Ice Rink, a commercial venture that took away a free playground space with artificial turf for many months out of a year.

Recently, CWCapital has gone after the Oval with a vengeance. It removed and ripped out all the lush garden areas of the Oval and replaced them with low plantings placed far apart. Whatever "sanctuary" aspect of the Oval remained was now seriously debilitated and on life support.  One couldn't feel separate in the Oval space at any point. Everything, from our project-like buildings to the Oval amenity/retail spaces, was in clear view.

And now CWCapital is taking an aggressive step in the further destruction of the Oval. It is creating, remarkably, a new building, or building extension, at the Oval for the Public Safety department that will, I believe, destroy whatever sanctuary feeling the Oval is still holding onto. The Oval will not be an oasis in Manhattan anymore, but a part of no-space-unused, commercialized, well-trafficked Manhattan. And what will house the amenity space currently being used by Public Safety? If what I heard from a couple of CWCapital bigwigs who were standing near it gets actualized--a retail space, though it may be coated with a different, less abrasive tag.  Hmm, maybe we can see a small convenience store, meant for residents and their guests? Or a mini-beer hall that would be popular with our student population? Or, why not a 7-11? They're popping up all over Manhattan, so why not here?

It's obvious that getting the most money out of the Oval is the goal. And has been the goal for a while.

One can say, with considerable despair and regret, that once the changes to the Oval will be finished some time next year, we can declare the Oval dead or at least skeleton of what it once was, a mocking display of the avarice and insensitivity of the landlords who were supposed to be its stewards, but who turned out to be its ravagers and destroyers.


34 comments:

Alice said...

I'm not sure if you've heard this nugget yet STR but the property is no longer doing carpet inspections because the students... I mean transients... I mean renters turn over that quickly. You can kiss any semblance of a community goodbye. The writing is on the wall of these overpriced housing projects. That's what they are now that all of the wonderful things that differentiated them from housing projects have been stripped away.

Anonymous said...

Amen, amen, amen. The destruction has been going on uninterrupted since TS started it. Ironically, the Oval is supposed to be the crown jewel of the property.

Anonymous said...

Just got an email from PCVST Living advising that the MCIs are being deferred until January 2014. They signed off the email "With respect".

What utter horseshit!

Anonymous said...

Wait for the Oval Walmart....Thanks to Dan Garodnick and the TA for rubber stamping commercialization!

Anonymous said...

So sad. But the problem is that many of the new tenants AND the old tenants like the commercialization of the Oval. As the woman audience member said in “The Producers just before she stormed out after seeing the opening act of "Springtime for Hitler": “Well, there's no accounting for taste.”

Anonymous said...

Between Tishman Speyer and CW Cap, every vestige of what made this community special and different has been destroyed completely. There's a special place in Hell for these vile people.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

BTW, the noise of this construction is abominable. I don't know how those who live around it and are present during the day can endure it. And if work continues on Saturday, a day off for most?

Anonymous said...

Information and permits for this job can be found in the building information system which is on he nyc.gov website.
Borough is Manhattan; the block is 972, the lot is 1 - 2 Stuyvesant Oval. Click on the active permits link click on 121332156-01-AL

They are putting offices in the basement - probably the new security command post. 1845 square feet. Total job cost is listed at $335,000.

Anonymous said...

Good job defeating the commercialization of the oval Dan!

Anonymous said...

Not true 3:41 pm. They are doing CARPET inspections.

We got a notice of one for next week.

Leonore Tiefer said...

I've happily lived in ST for 36 years. I like the greenmarket because it is part of a movement for healthier food and sustainable agriculture. I even bring my compost to Union Square every week. I was more outraged by the private amenity spaces, with their private bathrooms. They provided a commercial benefit w/o any social benefit. I hope this news about more security structures on the Oval isn't true. Security is ruining Manhattan and will ruin our green space as well.

Anonymous said...

Too much security! A greenmarket! An ice rink that attracts families! Not enough place for kids to play stickball!! Yes, ST is going to hell; especially if you are over 90 years old, or at least tend to THINK like one. I am 59 years old, and am grateful to have such a nice place to live. Gratefulness seems to be a quality sorely lacking on this blog.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

I don't think anyone is complaining about "too much security" in the way that you probably think. And I've already stated my general gratefulness to be living here. But surely you don't think that the current and forthcoming look of the Oval meets the threshold of being an oasis away from the city as it was once before? It's becoming a street inside Stuy Town. That is the issue.

Anonymous said...

Part I

On the growing up in the 50’s and 60’s PCVST FB page (a closed FB page, one must be a member to lurk/post), your STR Oval thread was posted. A person there responded to the tread by saying: “I always thought it was elderly people who were adverse to change. I'm kind of surprised at some of the remarks from the young people making them. Why is everyone so pissed off at change? I've yet to see anything that has reduced the place that I grew up in. You don't like the gardening? OK that's your taste. Other changes have made the place better I think. Things change in this world, hopefully for the better. It's no longer 1950 or 1960.”

Here was my response, sorry if it rather long winded and rambling. BTW, as per a recent post on this tread regarding carpet inspections, many posters here and at the TA FB page have reported that nothing is done even with numerous, founded, complaints.

“I've yet to see anything that has reduced the place that I grew up in." “XXXXX, you are kidding, right? Here's one of many: Dog excrement everywhere. And human excrement (twice in my building during the last two years) in the staircases as well. Here’s another: trash and disregarded furniture, re-cycle rooms from hell (due to the now coveted transient demo that they market PCVST to), everywhere on the property (see link provided below which I had already posted before on this FB page) Here's more: Zero upper management (not PS, they do their job by reporting the violations) lease enforcement of the QOL regulations here (80% carpet rule prime example-zero inspections being done). " TBC, via Part II.

Anonymous said...

Part II of my comment.

"Major disregard of NYC housing regulations by packing in more than 3 adult unrelated people (this is the NYU and other college students shell game that management plays-they play the game by only showing “3” people on the lease) in an apartment and massive illegal hotel use (wink, wink, look the other way, after all, the market rate rent is being paid) of apartments. Due to this vast increase of the adult population here, there has been a substantial, vastly speeded up, deterioration of the infrastructure here that was getting very long in the tooth anyway. Here's more: An Accounting department that can't do accounting (?) by not crediting lease holders their monthly rent checks (all tenant classes)and then charging them hefty late fees (these are the market rate apartments), a department that does not respond to any inquiry, VM or email, (Legal-just paralegals, I’ve heard- is guilty of this as well). No current on site offices (except the Leasing Office on First Ave, which I call the “Children of the Corn” office, next time you are here, check it out, you’ll see), the temporary Sandy related management Oval space ended so that they could have a profit generating Oval "amenity" restored to the location. An Accounting department that does not refund tenants their security deposit once they leave, even if they follow all the moving out regulations and then force them to go to small claims court to get the refund. Go to the official PCVST FB page and see these horrors that are reported there. Here’s more: PCV apartments that, more than 12 months post Sandy, that STILL do not have working basements who therefore have their re-cycle containers just outside the building lobbies (very classy). Also in PCV, ancient used military base laundry machines (that replaced the Sandy damaged ones) that are usually out of order, in Stuy Town, the infamous filthy MacHorror laundry machines that are always broken down as well. Here’s another: Massive bed bug infestations that, at last count, have impacted at least 20% of the apartments here. I know this is a nationwide issue but under what kind of circumstances are bed bugs usually a serious problem? In dormitories and hotels, that’s where. Are you saying that Tishman Speyer was competent when they were here (before they imploded) and now CW Captial, with its joke of its subsidiary, the CO based management company, Compass Rock, which they replaced Rose Associates with, who were at least semi-competent, is currently competent? Maybe if they were based in and worked properties in Somalia, you could make the case. I really could go on and on here (I have not even bought up the recent unprecedented bogus MCIs that we all recently received ) but being in denial (not a river in Egypt) must be nice place to be in, I guess. All of these issues that I have bought up have been duly reported. I have already posted this link before at this FB page so for those who have left, for your viewing pleasure again, this is what the property really looks like these days. You won’t see these pictures at the official PCVST promotion website. This is not a reduction? Sorry for this very long post regarding the current situation here but it had to be said. As a TA volunteer, I do care. Not to worry, my next posts will be the usual happy,” back in the day” ones that are what this page is usually about.”

Anonymous said...


whether you like the green market or not (we all like to be green and healthy) it's not fair that the residents around it are subjected to the noise and pollution of trucks and garbage.

Fwiw, i live far far from it.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Thanks for those Parts 1 & 2. One could mention services that are not available anymore in the supposed welcome changes we have gone through. Janitors picking up, daily, from each floor used newspapers/magazines and other trash that didn't get thrown down the chute; weekly cleaning of the hallways; no $75 charge to open your door if you got locked out; free kid activities supervised by ST recreation personnel, including sing-alongs; the yearly flea-market.... I'm sure there are more such changes.

Anonymous said...

Part I and II comment person here. Need to revise my comment Part II, there is a current PS office on the Oval which is a management office for some functions as well (keys are processed there). This is the office space (12 Oval) STR referred to (the old "Oval Film” location amenity) which he overheard from the suits that it will be converted to a true commercial use when the new PS space is open.



Anonymous said...

Do these interlopers actually have the right to make such radical and permanent structural changes to buildings and grounds? Aren't they supposed to be temporary stewards of the property?

Anonymous said...

McOvalDonalds!!!!

Yay!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...



And fwiw, it's not only the student who are packing themselves in..

Many many families are living with several kids (sometimes 3-4) in a one bedroom) with a nanny, with a parent.... IT'S not only the students.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous November 24, 2013 at 6:25 AM

The difference between apartments full of families versus "students" is that families follow established schedules for school, work and play, and aren't banging around at 3 or 4 AM, waking their neighbors in the middle of the night. Kids are generally in bed by 10, and hopefully, those families would also be considerate enough to cover their floors.

ST?PCV was FULL of large families, post WWII and we never had problems as we have today. The fault lies fully with the management, for their inability and unwillingness to properly manage the property, only interested in maximizing their bottom line.

Anonymous said...



Kids may be in bed by '10' but they're not sleeping. They're crying, banging on walls, bouncing balls and also screaming.

The hallways are full of young kids playing soccer. Not a complaint here, just saying that for anyone who lives under several young kids, (there is never just one), it's normally a lot of ball playing, screaming and running backk/ forth back / forth. Just saying.

Anonymous said...



Management should do something about the floorboards.

Anonymous said...

These destructive bastards have systematically destroyed the property. Why? Who knows.

Anonymous said...

"In prepping the complex for sale, Met Life made significant upgrades, and turned the Oval into the best it has ever looked."

The sale prep upgrades were mostly cosmetic and temporary. 1-2 years prior to auction MetLife thinned out the Oval, hacking down a significant number healthy, mature trees that ranked among the tallest in ST-PCV. The intention was to create a large "open space" in the Oval that could be marketed for commercial use.

Anonymous said...



Yet most people STILL brag about how wonderful Met Life was...

Really?????

Anonymous said...

"Yet most people STILL brag about how wonderful Met Life was...

Really?????"

Yes, really, MetLife was a very good landlord before the company ceased to be a mutual company and became a publicly traded one. That was when Robert Benmoshe took over as CEO and decided that the company should squeeze every brown penny out of the tenants at STPCV and began the downhill roll to where we are now.

Anonymous said...

Recently posted at the official PCVST FB page with a picture of the plastic tables covered with leaves. "The romantic Oval Cafe in Stuy town! Only Monet could imitate this!" I am speechless. I guess Monet was into dog feces piles and dog urine streams as well. BTW, the person who posted this has posted before re the wonders of the Oval Cafe. Financial connection to the Cafe? Or just your usual CR/CWC troll. Of course, management loves the comment.

Anonymous said...

" "The romantic Oval Cafe in Stuy town! Only Monet could imitate this!" "

Hey, it takes all sorts, you know! To some people fine dining is a beer and a pretzel and obviously the person who waxed poetic about the Oval Cafe is such a person.

Anonymous said...

The post about MetLife on 11/26 was right on. Before Benmosche, the Company still was committed to providing a good living experience for its tenants. Once he was there, only maximum profit was a consideration.





Anonymous said...


The MET Life who sold us under the bus is LONG gone people. LONG gone, with lots of CASH!

Anonymous said...

Destruction everywhere, not just the Oval. In the past couple of weeks, I've caught kids and adults in fenced-off areas, using them as playgrounds and trampling on brand-new plantings. How high does a fence have to be for people to get the message to keep off?

Anonymous said...

The post about MetLife on 11/26 was right on. Before Benmosche, the Company still was committed to providing a good living experience for its tenants. Once he was there, only maximum profit was a consideration.

Before BenMosche MetLife was not a public company. Once the company went public shareholders wanted performance. Blame the shareholders unless of course you had a policy with Met before it went public then that would be you!