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Saturday, October 26, 2013

The MCIs



This may turn out to be a pinned post during this time when we are being hit with one outrageous MCI after another. At this point, I would strongly urge everyone to follow the TA Facebook page and also the TA website for the latest information. Also, if you haven't donated to the TA, please do so. It is CRUCIAL that we stick together to fight these MCI charges and retroactive payments which are going to financially burden the true middle class among us. I'll be posting more on this entire matter in the near future.

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If you get a MCI letter, the TA requests that you fill out the following simple forms:

If you live in Peter Cooper Village:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1EU11i3F4pP7bS1874A8mQj1Mn3Ma-ME21jBjBWRmMMg/viewform

If you live in Stuyvesant Town:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16AnfkNH-V9dqPuvOg1k3wxKxOVCJRYduWs06hT3olDA/viewform 



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10/28/2013.  Do our filthy rich landlords really need MCIs to improve PCVST?  Or is it just a way to pass the buck to tenants while making their property more valuable, with the ability to promote "luxury" housing and sell rentals at higher and higher prices?  Why are middle-class tenants here paying for their own removal and destruction?  I can see the value of MCIs for struggling landlords who must, somehow, improve their buildings, but is this true in reference to Tishman-Speyer and CWCapital regarding PCVST?  With all the wasteful money being spent on landscaping? And "events"?... The Ice Rink?  And why are the new rents, with the added MCIs, solidified without being rolled back once the MCIs are paid for?

This is a beautiful scam for our landlords and others like them.  Get tenants to finance unnecessary upgrades to a property and then sit back and watch the rents increase.  No wonder these guys have shit-eating grins when photographed.

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I keep reading on the TA Facebook about Pataki, Pataki, Pataki whenever pro-landlord legislation is mentioned.  Well, Pataki hasn't been in office since 2006. Here are the governors that followed him--all Democrats, btw: Eliot Spitzer, David Paterson, Andrew Cuomo.  Guess when Tishman-Speyer bought PCVST?  2006.  Since then we've had the progressive and deliberate eradication of the middle class in PCVST, and our position here is getting worse every year.

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Although I have some doubts about Bill de Blasio on some major issues, I think he may be the last hope of the middle class in Manhattan--if he keeps to his promises and let's his "radical" temperament take precedence. Mayor Bloomberg has been not only useless but harmful in keeping the middle class in Manhattan, and our City Council weak and too pro-real estate.  And, yes, I include our councilman, Dan Garodnick, in that mix.  What's necessary is a bold, uncompromising revolution in how this city deals with real estate entities and affordable housing, a revolution which de Blasio can possibly lead. If he goes soft or, worse, caves in to the real estate lobby, we and New York have had it.  Finito, Benito.

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10/28/2013 Evening Update:  Town & Village reports on the MCIs.


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10/30/2013 Update: The Tenants Association will hold a meeting this Saturday, November 2, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM, in the auditorium of Simon Baruch Intermediate School 104, East 20th Street between First and Second Avenues. Topic of discussion: the MCIs, of course.  TA lawyer Tim Collins, our councilman Dan Garodnick, our state assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Brad Hoylman should be present.  Seating is first come, first served. I expect to find out just how we are going to get screwed and why.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Red Flags in a Yelp Post About PCVST



The Yelp page for Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town is typically overflowing with negative reviews, but here is a positive one.  But perhaps management might be concerned about a couple of red flags exposed by the poster....

As a dental student, PCV is a prime location to NYU College of Dentistry. My building is located on 23rd St & 1st, the school is located on 24th & 1st. You can see how close I am to school. I do agree with Lauren B. that the subway is a bit of a walk from this location but I also wonder why she lived so far to commute to work.

Sure PCV is about $2600/month for a one bedroom but you must also take into account the location, amenities and size of the apartment. PCV apartments are mansions compared to the standard NYC apartment. I live in a one bedroom apt shared between three others (yes, there are a total of four roommates and yes, we are each paying around $650 per month for rent!!). We converted the ginormous living area into another bedroom. The wall cost $1600 (split between four) leaving us a living room that's the size of a standard NYC apartment.


Hmm, what are the chances management's Legal Department will look into this?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Another MCI Coming...for Girl Watching???



Reports from the TA indicate that another MCI is coming, this time for the "TV/Security System and Video Command Center."  Now is this the same Video Command Center that has proven useless to prevent any crime that occurs here, discouraged true crime prevention in putting boots on the ground, and that we found out a couple of years ago "monitors" the bathing beauties at the Oval Lawn during the summer to the delight of Public Safety?  Are tenants suppose to be paying for this???

UPDATE: I have to stress how outrageous is this MCI.  This Video Command Center has never been proven to deter crime.  In fact, there have been numerous recent reports of bicycles and mail/UPS packages being stolen, and I've yet to hear of the Video Command Center finding out who these culprits are. The only benefit these cameras have is that they take a photo (a hazy one at that) of a perpetrator if he is in the vestibule or elevator. But this is after the fact. The crime isn't stopped. On top of that, residents who used to go the management office were able to see just what is being looked at by the security staff: SpongeBob SquarePaints, Craig's List and, the hot show, Stuy Town girls in bikinis and micro-skirts and shorts.  Plain and simple, tenants should not be paying for a useless, and misused, Video Command Center.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

UPDATE on INTERCOM MCI


ST Video Intercom MCI Update: DHCR's Order Contains Reversible Error

The Tenants Association is challenging the enforceability of the DHCR Notice that increases monthly rents by $12 to $15 a month for the video intercom installation.  The orders were received by residents of a number of Stuy Town buildings the week of October 7th.  According to the TA's attorney, Tim Collins, DHCR has made what is called a "reversible error," a legal term indicating that the ruling is incorrect and requires further action by the agency.

None of the orders acknowledges or gives consideration to Mr. Collins' general and specific objections to the application, which were served on the DHCR on May 14, 2012.  

Our attorney has advised that this type of error is not unheard of and DHCR should promptly rescind the orders and correct its error by considering our objections and giving notice to the owner's attorney.  We will file "Requests for Reconsideration" due to "irregularity in a vital matter" as well as Petitions for Administrative Review in the next few weeks.  

As a consequence, there is no need for tenants to file separate individual PARs at this time.  However they should retain any document received regarding this (or any other) MCI.  We will provide further updates as our efforts to stop the Video Intercom rent hike continues.  

Inasmuch as CW's own counsel was copied with the timely 2012 submission of our objections, the Tenants Association asks that they recognize DHCR's error and refrain from implementing the Rent Increase Order in the December 2013 rent bills."

The Tenants Association will continue to scrutinize every MCI Application for accuracy and fairness.  If you have not done so already, please send us your docket number for this Rent Increase Order by completing the form here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Full Service and Available 24/7



I'm assuming well-paid people actually write these things.  But do they read and understand them? Here's a flyer that's being handed out in PCVST by or for Ms. Shields, a "Concierge Relationship Representative" for Time Warner Cable.  That's a suitably impressive title for New York's yunnies, which makes me and I hope true New Yorkers want to gag, but does Ms. Shields, or her copy writer, actually mean: "I am full service and am available every day 24/7 for anyone to contact me"?

[Flyer courtesy a posting on the TA Facebook.]

Saturday, October 12, 2013

De Blasio and Affordable Housing

I'm not a fan of aggressive government intrusion to "balance" things out, but Bloomberg took this city way too far in one direction and now it's push-back time, understandably. 200,000 units of affordable housing is the goal with De Blasio.  I hope he considers saving the affordable housing that exists, but is lessening, in PCVST.  Much cheaper to save what's there, than to build from scratch.  (Though there is no job creation in doing that, of course.)


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Friday, October 11, 2013

What Now?



Posted in the comment section of the official Facebook page of PCVST, and surely to be deleted, but not here:

Dear PCV/ST owners: you are human trash. You who are now in charge did not spend any money installing these video intercoms back in 2009. Now you want to collect in perpetuity for something you expended no effort or money in creating? You want to charge my family of four $840 and then an additional $15 a month because of some crap that no one asked for and an owner OTHER THAN YOU installed? You want to line the pockets--nay, stuff the pockets of your tiny cabal of bigshots at the expense of hundreds of NYC families, thousands of individual tenants? I got two words for you. Back down. And then I have two more.

Reached 10 11 13 16 19 22 "likes" before being deleted, a very high number for a "like" on that page.

I have to tell you that I'm getting very pissed off at what I've been reading on the TA and PCVST Facebook pages about how CWCapital/CompassRock is handling issues these days. I alternate between simmering rage and tears welling in my eyes at the incidents of pure heartlessness and ineptitude coming from management. One poor woman and her family are close to becoming homeless. This is what she posted on the PCVST Facebook page:

I was informed by the leasing office as of yesterday, LEGAL dep. is refusing to approve my application for apt in PCV and i can't even get in touch with them as to the reason why. Our leases are signed and certified rent checks and money orders are submitted, key cards made and key pickup already scheduled. My current lease is up October 14 in Stuyvesant town. The accounting department continues to clear out rent checks 3 weeks after submission. How am I being penalized for the accounting department continuing to submit inaccurate rent statements. As of right now my family is without a home in 5 days and all my money is in leasing office in the form of certified checks made out to PCV ST. Now the apt is back on the market, no home in 5 days. 


If you, CWCapital/CompassRock, can't do your job properly, then move aside, as quickly as possible, and let someone else take over.  And quit sucking people dry of all their money at every single "opportune" step.  And have some decency, too, when you deal with tenants.  How can you sleep restfully at night knowing what you are doing to this community???

UPDATE FROM THE TENANTS ASSOCIATION:

HCR Issues Rent Increase Order for ST Video Intercom

The Rent Order increases the legal rent for residents of Stuyvesant Town by an average of $12-$15 per month. The TA will challenge the MCI by filing a Petition for Administrative Review. We need your help to do this.

We know of several buildings that received the MCI Order yesterday. We are in the process of contacting our attorney to evaluate this Order and have notified our elected officials. We will get back to the community after discussion with counsel.

In the meantime, when you receive this Order, it is vital that you hold on to it as we will need a copy. Then read our Knowledge Base article on what to do next at this link: http://stpcvta.org/kb/entry/14/. Also, please send us your docket number (top right hand corner of form) by clicking here.

Mounting a challenge will engender legal fees. We fight for all tenants, so if you have not yet joined the Tenants Association, please consider doing so now. If you are already a member, please consider a special additional contribution.


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PLEASE: WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Your Tenants Association is run exclusively by volunteers.
Please help defray the cost of legal, professional, communication, and meeting expenses by joining us or renewing your membership today. To save time and effort, donate online. Or mail a check payable to: ST/PCV TA, P.O. Box 1202, Stuyvesant Station, NY 10009-1202. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Stuy Town Promotes Itself as a "New York Destination"



Well, we knew it all along. The promotion of events in Stuyvesant Town extends beyond the residents (and their guests) who live here.

Remarkably, whoever wrote the text for the Welcome page of the official web presence of PCVST, basically admitted this with the line: "From the many social events, seasonal greenmarket and ice rink, live music and movies, Stuyvesant Town is a New York destination." Yes, "a New York destination."  So come on in all you New Yorkers.  And welcome!!!

Much of the rest of the text is laughable bull, given the reality of true "luxury living" in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village. (Are the basements in PCV all fixed, btw?) The Oval is described as an "ideal place to picnic and lounge with friends and neighbors while enjoying some of the best entertainment and activities in Manhattan." Really? The "best entertainment and activities" are here, at the Oval?  I guess watching a baseball game on a blow-up screen with poor resolution and lighting is considered the tops in entertainment amenities here, but I'd think New Yorkers are more savvy than to consider this anything but a low-class, cheap "amenity."  Even residents are more savvy, as these ludicrous entertainment activities rarely exceed an audience of fifty, if that.

Of course, it's stressed that PCVST is pet-friendly, which brings in dog-owners, but is a red flag to those who do not want to live in a community with an abundance of dogs and dog refuse and barking.  So expect more dog-owners to arrive here and less non-dog-owners.

PCVST is also considered by the writer "one of Manhattan's most desirable communities," which goes against the persistent, never-ending attempt to get residents to sign up friends for bonus fees starting at $500. If it's so desirable, why the need for this program?

I couldn't help but laugh at the parenthetical mention of "wine refrigerators," an obvious hoped-for seduction to the same breed that will spend $6 for a cup of burnt coffee at Starbucks and consider their lifestyle upscale because of that.  Go to Lenz's or McDonald's for your coffee, you yunnies.  Save your parents at least five bucks a day!  They worked hard for it!

Meanwhile, at PCVST's official Facebook page, the commentary continually reveals the truth about living here and dealing with the powers-that-be....

"I'm extremely frustrated with Stuyvesant Town right now. I have been calling Accounting for a week, hours a day, trying to fix my October rent bill. My roommates and I have left countless voicemails about this serious issue, and no one has responded."

"I have tried to contact accounting several times regarding a detailed accounting history because there are strange charges on our bill, and nobody has responded. We are getting more and more frustrated by the day."

"You sent me a totally wrong bill on Friday and the due date is tomorrow. I've been waiting on hold for 40 minutes. Moving here was the worst decision I've ever made."

There is one (and just one) pro-management post that I will not quote in full so as not to embarrass its writer, who claims that the Oval Cafe provides "the best cappuccino, espresso, regular coffee and of course FOOD. It all taste devine [sic]. Grateful for our management for providing the best."  With that last sentence, I suspected that the comment was a crafty put-on (particularly as the writer describes PCVST as a "compound"), but now I don't think so.

And on a final note: Yesterday I was in the right place at the right time and overheard four suits near the former Oval Film talking, with one of them pointing to that Oval space and stating: "Retail."  Whether or not that space will become "retail," it's obvious that these boys consider all the amenity spaces as "retail." But you knew that.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The Good:

Some of the landscaping is attractive. Of primary importance has been the fencing off of grass areas. Remarkably, a few months ago, several letters to Town & Village complained about this fencing, stating that children were not able to go on the grass as they had previously. I've never seen children play in these areas, but I have seen dog owners take their dogs in those areas, so I suspect these "think of the children" letters were camouflage for annoyed dog owners. That said, it is now getting to the point where the fencing is unfortunately overused, albeit still understandable. Fencing was even put up in the slopes around the 20 St loop, used during snow days as sled hills by children. We'll see how CWCapital deals with this Stuy Town tradition. Think of the children.



The Bad: 

In my tour of the western end of Peter Cooper Village, I had intended to only take photos of the landscaping, but came across a long series of doggie poo-poo along the path loop that's close to the Public Safety booth. My guess was about a dozen lumps and smears. One really had to watch where one was going. Disgusting. I've written about this before (many times), but it should be repeated: If CWCapital doesn't deal effectively with the dog situation in STPCV, this place will always look and feel like a slum.



The Ugly:

While there are areas where the landscaping is nice, the Oval area has suffered most with bad decisions and lousy aesthetics. There used to be nice foliage about the Oval, but now there is minimalist crap.



 I'm not impressed with the new landscaping near the main entrance to Peter Cooper Village. Pleasant hedges once surrounded the grass area, but now there is planting that appears spiky and harsh. The eye does not move along these plants with pleasure. The soul is not calmed, the spirit is not uplifted.

 
When I took this photo in the morning inside the new Starbucks at the corner of 23rd St and 1st Ave it was filled with students. I saw only one older person, proving that the complex has indeed become a dorm.  (These are not even "young professionals," as evidenced by the myriad of backpacks and casual attire.) The "ugly" part is not that, however, but the interior design of this Starbucks, which is sterile and dark. (The photo is brightened up with a flash, and the walls not seen are black.) The Starbucks lower down, between 1st Ave loop/16th Street, has gone through a redesign that is similarly ugly. Good for Dracula and Halloween, but cold and inhospitable, with a large communal wooden table that destroys one's individual space. Not a good place for STR to hang his hat and relax.