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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Slum Town 2

Once in a while I write that I have never seen Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village look so bad, and I'm here to state it again.  What a pitiful, persistent downward spiral.  This late morning I took a walk around the Oval, which, yes, has never looked worse.  The minimalist landscaping is a joke, revealing the project-like environment we live in wherever one looks.  Just as bad is the profusion of dog urine and crap residue, with the accompanying pungent smells.  As predicated some time ago, things will get worse with this situation as more and more residents acquire dogs and walk them around the Oval.

So here's some of what I saw in just one tour of the Oval walkway.  What a disgrace.

 Several dog crap smears, one near the garbage can and smaller ones beyond it.

 Someone didn't pick up after their dog, no doubt a cute little pooch judging by the shit left behind.  Right near the Greenmarket area, too. Enjoy your vegetables and artisanal cheese tomorrow!

 More from the Greenmarket area.  BTW, even though signs are posted at the Greenmarket stalls warning dog owners not to let their dogs near the food, dog owners still let their dogs sniff at the fruits, vegetables, artisanal cheeses, etc.  Surely a health code violation, but who the hell cares.

No, it's not spilled tea.

Dogs love to piss against the stone block retaining walls around the Oval.  Wherever you see a dark area on the wall, that's where the little (or big) pissers go to relieve themselves, causing a flow of urine to trail across the walkway.

Another trail of stain and pungency.

Near the guardhouse. It has to be some kind of spill.  Has to be. I've yet to see a dog large enough to produce something like that.  But--wait--are elephants allowed in STPCV?

I think the next logical step is to allow us human beings the same rights as dogs have to piss and crap around the Oval. I know some human pissing and crapping is already happening in the stairwells of STPCV buildings, but still...sometimes it's too much to hold it in before one gets to a building.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Slum Town 1

A new photo series: Slum Town.  Should be self-explanatory.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Why Are Dangerous Dog Breeds Allowed in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village?



Yes, we know that dogs banned in the complex are being walked here from people who do not live in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village, but another aspect of our Slum Town is the presence of such dogs owned by residents of ST/PCV.  In a recent TA Facebook posting, a Stuy Town dog was outed: "He was un-muzzled on his walk yesterday and without provocation, attacked a small dog on a bench sitting in front of the paddle courts. He Mauled the poor dog Lacy. Lacy is recovering and will be ok, but this could've been fatal. Once he let go (after mauling her like a rag doll), the woman walking him put the muzzle back on."  Apparently this very same dog attacked another dog in an elevator, and may have been involved in other incidents.

Here are the official rules of this complex regarding dog breeds:  Aggressive breeds are NOT allowed. Aggressive breeds include: Pit Bull, Doberman Pincher, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, or any breed the Management determines, in its sole discretion, to be aggressive. Any dog that is a mixed breed which includes an aggressive breed is not allowed.

Yet, somehow, these animals live in ST/PCV and many are even registered!  One woman reports having three pit bulls in her building!!! Security has no answer for this, but it is obvious that from the start of the dog-allowance policy of ST/PCV the registration of dogs is a joke, as they do not have to appear at registration.  Just fill in the form and lie, and your dog is registered.


 Fatality Chart: Dogs that Kill


And here's a report on fatalities from dog attacks in 2012:

http://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-fatalities-2012.php 

That's just fatalities and not the many incidents of horrible maiming.  And, yes, I'm very much aware of the cliched response from some dog lovers about how wonderful these aggressive breeds can be as pets and that it's really the fault of the dog owner and not the animal, etc, etc. Whatever. But they are banned in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village and are NOT supposed to be here!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dan Garodnick - Hypocrite



Here I thought I was the lone voice raising this issue.  Apparently not:

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/term-limits-losers-article-1.1385645

Unleashing passions that still burn today, the City Council voted in 2008 to allow New York officials to run for three terms in office, rather than just the two terms that voters have repeatedly commanded. That 29-to-22 vote enabled Mayor Bloomberg to win his trifecta and Council members to go for three as well. Subsequently, the voters overruled the Council and imposed the two-term maximum again — but only for future officeholders. This history has placed 10 incumbents in position to run for third terms this November. They are doing so in clear violation of the public will. Worse, five of the defiant 10 are members who actually voted against allowing officials to seek three terms.

They are both defiant and hypocritical.

We place all of their names on the record. Considering the ire aimed at mayoral hopeful Speaker Christine Quinn for supporting the term limits extension, we are secure in the knowledge that the voters will be intensely interested.

The five members who voted for the extension and are defying the subsequent will of the voters are: Maria del Carmen Arroyo and Jimmy Vacca of the Bronx; Brooklynites Sara Gonzalez and Darlene Mealy , and Inez Dickens of Manhattan.

The five hypocrites who voted against allowing members to run three times but are doing so now are: Dan Garodnick, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Rosie Mendez of Manhattan; Vincent Gentile of Brooklyn , and Annabel Palma from the Bronx.

Once, they told their constituents that the city was best served by injecting fresh blood after eight years. Now, breaking their bond, they serve only political ambition.

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

I know he has friends who read this blog, and he or his staff may also, but there's no defense possible here that doesn't lapse into the predictable BS of "I'm doing this for my constituents."  Garodnick's political ambitions evaporated when Scott Stringer decided not to run for Mayor, but rather for Comptroller, which was the office Dan was seeking.  It wouldn't do for his ambitions not to have a political office now, so continuing as a councilman is the best course for him.  For a third term.  Against the will of the people of New York.  Some of whom care, while others do not.  Democracy in action.

On Bloomberg



Pro, con and somewhere in-between.  Love the piece by Lebowitz.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/08/18/nyregion/bloomberg-voices.html?_r=0

And, seriously, anyone who is running for office who sided with Bloomberg on overturning the citzens' votes on term limits should not be elected. Like Quinn. And that includes smooth and sly politicians like Garodnick who voted on the City Council against overturning the will of the people, but who has no qualms about running for a third term himself.  Hypocrite.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Thievery In Stuy Town/PCV--Once Again


The TA Facebook page reports that there's been another alleged theft of a tenant's property (in this case a check book!) having to do with free and unsupervised apartment access to painters hired by management.  "These two thefts come on the heels of three Grand Larcenies in Stuyvesant Town when Management permitted contract workers in scores of apartments unsupervised," adds the notice.

Apparently, tenants cannot protect their apartments by using a top lock, according to their lease.

A tangent, I know, but I have to add that the painting job I've seen these non-union painters do is sloppy and unprofessional, so perhaps we can get the old crew back???

Just so new tenants know, there was a time (actually before my time here) when tenants were able to leave their front doors unlocked without fear of thievery or other forms of mischief.  That's when this place was a real community.  Now, nothing is safe, even deliveries from the Post Office and FedEx.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Where the Candidates Stand on Housing

We're probably going down the tubes no matter what, but here's where the candidates stand on housing.  So far, no free IPads for every household.  Much more at this link:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/14/ignore-anthony-weiner-heres-what-matters-in-the-nyc-mayors-race/

De Blasio was limited to stuff like shaming bad landlords in his capacity as public advocate, but he has a quite detailed housing plan for his mayoral campaign, which is broadly similar to a plan his public advocate’s office released. He is a supporter of rent control. “As mayor, he will fight to retake control of rent rules from Albany, so we can make our own decisions again,” he writes in the plan. “Bill de Blasio will also support tenants fighting to maintain the affordability of their homes through organizing efforts in complexes like Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, Independence Plaza, and Riverton.” He wants to freeze rents at all rent stabilized apartments

Besides that, his strategy relies heavily on “inclusive zoning,” a practice wherein developers are obliged to set aside a portion of housing to low-income families, to be sold at below-market rates; it basically functions as a tax on housing development with proceeds directed to low-income households. De Blasio wants to rely on that and his other proposals to create or preserve 200,000 affordable units. Inclusionary zoning is a good way to help families stay put in the face of gentrification, if that’s a priority the city wants to have, but the policy has many of the downsides that price ceilings usually have. Plus inclusionary zoning only works if low-income residents can get mortgages. As Lydia has explained, that often isn’t the case, at least for condos.

De Blasio also wants to apply the same tax to big vacant lots as to commercial properties, which reflects a pretty longstanding preference economists have for land taxes rather than property taxes. He has a long record of supporting increased density, including backing the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn, supporting “granny flats”, and easier transference of development rights within neighborhoods. He supports making Section 8 vouchers available to homeless families, a move Bloomberg has opposed as unfeasible.

Quinn is, if anything, even fonder of inclusionary zoning than de Blasio. She wants to create 40,000 middle-class housing units over 10 years, create or preserve 80,000 units, freeze rents at all rent-stabilized apartments, convert many more market-rate apartments to below-market rate, and make units “permanently affordable.” “Currently the affordability requirements for most subsidized apartments expire after 20 or 30 years, which means residents may be priced out of their homes and the middle class gets priced out of entire neighborhoods,” her Web site explains. “Chris will work with her colleagues in Albany to pass a Permanent Affordability Act giving us a new financing tool that will allow us to keep units affordable indefinitely.”

Again, that’s a really good policy for those who can get the apartments in question, and is an effective way to fight gentrification, but it drives up other costs and prevents new people from moving to New York. “That’s great for people who win affordable housing lotteries and get below-market rate rents,” as Josh Barro says. “But the set-asides also reduce the returns to developers, which reduces the amount of housing stock that gets built, which drives up market rents for everybody else.” That’s what seems to have happened under Boston’s inclusionary zoning law.

Thompson sees Quinn’s 80,000 affordable housing units created or preserved and raises her another 40,000, which still puts him under de Blasio’s 200,000-unit pledge. He wants to use available federal and state subsidies to fund 50,000, get another 50,000 by organizing new loan agreements with existing landlords, and get the final 20,000 by using vacant properties controlled by the government. Like de Blasio, he wants to return control of rent restrictions to the city. He wants to “preserve rent-stabilized, rent-controlled, and Mitchell-Lama housing,” the latter being a kind of housing subsidy in New York State. When he was the Democratic nominee in 2009, he bashed Bloomberg for not taking rent control seriously enough, saying, “Mike Bloomberg’s rent-stabilization board, his guidelines board, that continues to increase rents, isn’t there for tenants — they’re there for the landlords.”

Lhota has endorsed a plan by the group Housing First that cost $8 billion total, including $356 million in additional annual spending by the city to create or preserve 150,000 affordable housing units; 60,000 of those would be new units and 136,250 of the 150,000 would be for low-income families. That plan would involve expanded inclusionary zoning — as called for by the other candidates — along with Section 8 funding for the homeless, reduced parking requirements, and a bonus for denser building. It’s a bit different in the latter two respects than the Democratic candidates’ proposal, but it’s broadly similar. Lhota has also mused about using post office buildings as affordable housing as demand for snail mail services flags.

Catsimatidis has, like Lhota, endorsed the Housing First plan.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Signs and Ads Atop NYC's Skyscrapers?

This is just the beginning....



http://www.rew-online.com/2012/10/09/hm-leases-4536-sf-of-times-square-signage-and-a-store/

Theoretically (and realistically if rent control & stabilization disappears) all real estate in the city is up for sale to the highest bidders, so why not?  Do I hear the sound of the mental wheels turning at CWCapital, thinking about digital billboards around the Oval and the perimeter of ST/PCV?  (Yes, I know I shouldn't give them ideas, but I do want to head them off at the pass.)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bullshit on the TA Facebook Page

I can't post on the TA Facebook page, having been removed by the admin for not posting under my real name (yeah, that would be great, wouldn't it!?), but I have to call out a poster and his clique who misrepresent the old folks vs. the young folks issue in Stuy Town/PCV.  I won't name the gentleman, who I'm pretty sure tries to get similar absurdist comments through here, but this is some of what he wrote:

I think a good exercise would be for me to post something about "old people" or "elderly residents" or "long time tenants" every single time one of them yells at me from their wheel chair for no reason, or yells racial slurs at the young Indian men using the playground, or asks a young Asian woman on her way home from work if she speaks English, or barks orders at me in the laundry room to get this or that for her.

I've been living in Stuy Town for over 25 years, and I've yet to come across anything similar to the above, with one exception.  There is one old timer here who is in a wheelchair and is assisted by a caretaker, and who is obviously handicapped and not just physically.  When he's at the Oval area (rarely), he can be heard barking out this and that, kinda letting his mind roam free, with his voice amplifying what's in his mind.

This exception is not spread out enough to be even remotely considered a generality.  Now, taking a look at the students that are packed into this complex, we have to admit that, while many are good neighbors, there are a number (and not just the solitary exception) who make noise at inopportune times of the night, do not have rug coverings on their floors, and whose sense of entitlement grates and devalues any sense of community this complex may have had.

But even this is not the crucial issue.  Sorry, but the crucial issue is that the presence of transient students has a negative effect on Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper, period.  For one, it allows and validates the high rental prices that CWCaptial charges.  If it weren't for the hordes of students waiting to get into this complex (you can see them everyday at the leasing office), the landlord would have to drop rental prices, which would then be more affordable to a more permanent leaser.  For another, the packing in of an excess number of transitory tenants into apartments (many of which have been "upgraded" to extra rooms than original built for) means that resources are being maxed out in the building and in the complex itself.  Stuy Town is beginning to look overused like other parts of the city.  The sense of an oasis in the middle of Manhattan is being lost.  Part of this downgrade can be explained by the "Oval is a funhouse" tactics of the landlord, of course, but I've never seen the Oval area so much used and abused as it is now.  A respite from the mad rush of Manhattan?  Yes, still there, but not the way it was.  And it's going to get worse, I fear.

Transient students also have no need of belonging to the ST/PCV community.  There's no reason for them to belong to the TA, for instance.  They are a gift horse to the landlord in more ways than one.  The more of them, the less possible a TA and tenant force that can make an impact in numbers.

So while I welcome young students here, who do bring a sense of aliveness and vibrancy into this place, I also recognize that in the bigger picture they make affordable housing far less likely and the tranquility and sense of community of this place seriously problematic.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Stuy Town's Luxury Movie Viewing Experience

I find this equally comical and pathetic. Watching a movie you have already seen, in poor quality, while you sit in a kid's playground with the screen on wheels on the other side of the fence.  I guess some people are not self-aware enough to know when they are being humiliated.  A small crowd, of course, but lots of noise to disturb the residents who live in the vicinity. Seriously, CWCapital/CompassRock, why do you bother?

Photos posted on the TA Facebook by AJ Miller.