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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Another Outrageous PR Article in Town & Village, This Time About PCVST Landscaping

http://town-village.com/2014/05/02/stpcv-undergoing-landscape-renovation/

Shameful, but by now to be expected it seems, Town & Village has another CWCapital PR piece in this week's paper, this time about PCVST landscaping. It's not that there's an interview with the property’s director of horticulture and landscape, Chuck Hardsell Hartsell, who is just doing the bidding of his masters, CWCapital, but that editor/chief writer Sabina Mollot takes the company line about the conditions of the Oval without questioning them.

Quoting Sabina: "The planting was all part of a renovation that began shortly after CWCapital took over the property in 2010. At that time the grounds were overplanted and the Oval, which had drainage issues and swells and dips, was in a condition that could be described as fair to poor."

Wrong, Sabina. The condition of the Oval before the redesign by CWCapital was not "fair to poor." In fact, the condition was just fine and many people, including myself (who used to spend considerable free time at the Oval), found the gardens and foliage and shading trees quite beautiful and very welcome.

Sabina even has the gall to continue with this astounding statement:

"But these days the Oval is doing much better, far better in fact than expected."

Oh, really, Sabina?

Well, let's take a look at "these days," in particular today, when I took photos of the Oval in the morning. I started at the northern side of the Oval and went around. Click on photos to make them larger.

There used to be a lush garden here:


 Trees and foliage dominated this area:


This area, near the chess tables, used to be my favorite lunch hangout. Foliage and flowers insulated one with nature's beauty. No more, as can be seen by this barrenness:
                       


The view from the chess tables. Not very inviting with the intrusion of the new Public Safety office:



The view straight on. Again, the new landscaping "motif" of barrenness rules, forcing one to be aware of the project-like buildings on the other side of the Oval.


The Ugly Offender. The new Public Safety office, with its generators, dominates this part of the Oval:


 More of the Ugly Offender. Perhaps Mr. Hartsell can plant cabbages here:


There's no getting away from the blight that is the new Security Office area. I'm sure we'll be charged a new MCI for this, too!


 The "barren motif" replaced the lush and lovely foliage and flowers that were here, in front of the the children's playground:


 The "garden" area to the left of Oval Cafe. Well done, Mr. Hartsell:


There has been some temporary planting of flowers at parts of the Oval, small spaces where some color blooms. But in this case, at the Oval Cafe, help is needed. Calling Mr. Hartsell and his ace gardeners:


A tangent on our tour. No mention that the Oval Cafe is just for the use of "Residents and Their Guests." Thank you, Dan and CW.


The area near the western chess tables. Lush once, but no more. I do smell the invigorating odor of mulch, however:


The pathetic view from that side of the Oval:


So what do you think, Sabina?  Is the Oval these days "doing much better, far better in fact than expected"? You've visited us many times in the past when the Oval was doing much better, and you know it. As I wrote earlier, shameful.

UPDATE: 5/7/2014

Checking Mr. Hartsell's Linkedin's profile, it seems that before his promotion he had ZERO experience in horticulture or landscaping:

Director, Horticulture and Landscape Management at Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town

CompassRock Real Estate

Privately Held; 1001-5000 employees; Real Estate industry
December 2012Present (1 year 6 months) Greater New York City Area
Public Company; 501-1000 employees; Real Estate industry
April 2012December 2012 (9 months) Greater New York City Area

Account Manager

Brickman

Privately Held; 5001-10,000 employees; Environmental Services industry
July 2006December 2011 (5 years 6 months)

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have no intention of renewing my subscription to T&V and I know that many of my long time neighbors feel the same way. It has pretty much been taken over by CW as another one of their marketing tools.

We have those ridiculous "Property Update" emails from management tooting their horns about Oval Atrocities, Greenmarket, bring in a friend (that one makes me laugh) and get paid a bounty, etc. We don't need more of their bullshit pushed at us.

Anonymous said...



We have bigger fish to fry, but honestly can't wait to see fees added to our rent in form of an MCI next.

Anonymous said...

According to the few honest groundskeepers they tore out the healthy tall trees and smaller ones alongside in the Oval to install underground wires for electrical needs of the commercial entities in the Oval especially the spy offices .... err I mean security offices.
Had Sabina done mere due diligence of reporting she would have unearthed that.

Anonymous said...

Thank you STR for the truth yet again and the photographs showing the endless lies ..... no longer spin, now it has far crossed into a mountain of lies.

Anonymous said...

The destruction of the landscaping of STPCV started under Tishman Speyer and has continued unabated under CW. And now they have the audacity to announce a major landscaping initiative. By the time they are done all we will have will be barren ground with occassional patches of weed- filled grass and mounds of stinking fertilizer

Anonymous said...

The past ten to twelve months of people featured and quoted in PCVST articles depict the team of those spinning the lies about the property and lying to the tenants. They have been working together all along to make it seem one way and to cover up what really was that they were doing.. Anyone getting their news from T&V is buying a load of BS.

Anonymous said...

As the time nears let's keep in mind.

Here are the top real estate donors to REBNY-backed PAC (Garodnick's bff)

http://therealdeal.com/blog/2013/07/18/here-are-the-top-real-state-donors-to-rebny-backed-pac/

and who is the top REBNY donor to pols? Brookfield!

Get the connection and flow of the deal.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure who is worse, the TA for their slippery relationship with CWCrapital or Town and Village for being CWCrapital's new propaganda tool.

With that said, what's left of the gardens is a barren wasteland built on cheap top soil that runs like the whenever it rains.

Thank GOD we have STR to report on these matters. It's a shame that Sabina, who was just learning to write her first succinct sentences, is now part of the propaganda machine.

Anonymous said...

There's a difference between poor journalism and outright lies (which is what this article is comprised of).

Anonymous said...

This makes me angry. Angrier.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't even wrap fish in T&V.

Anonymous said...

These fools have made us all "cabbage patch" kids! What a dump.

Anonymous said...

The top soil runs like the diareah found in the stairwells.

Anonymous said...

PS Fuck Oval Cafe nobody wants, needs, or uses it.

Anonymous said...

Sabina should try to question authority and see if subscription sales go up!

Anonymous said...

Anony 11.46 AM, great post.

Anonymous said...

OK, so we have doubt about Garodnick & the TA over Brookfield and doubt about the T & V over Garodnick, the TA and CW. And we have different demographics here that can be leveraged to achieve various purposes. Just get ready for some pretty good hardball.

Anonymous said...

6:51--my husband and I go all the time, yes, less for the "great" food, but for a place to sit outside in good weather, work with WiFi access, drink coffee, sit outside and interact with our neighbors. The major keys being tables, coffee and internet access with an ability to interact with our neighbors in a relatively beautiful outdoor, park-like setting.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

I wonder if you are relatively new here? The "park-like" setting you refer to had been diluted by the addition of the "city-like" setting of amenity buildings, but in major part this setting has been severely marred by the placement of the huge eye-sore of the new Public Safety area and the removal of most of the plantings there were around the Oval. Yeah, on a nice day I go to the Oval too, but now, it's more a place to sit rather than place to contemplate the luxury of nature. The Oval Fountain is about the only thing on the Oval that is still of aesthetic value.

Tommyboyardee said...

Is it true the Oval fountain turns off every time someone flushes the Oval caf├ęs toilet?

Anonymous said...


>>
The Oval Fountain is about the only thing on the Oval that is still of aesthetic value. <<

When the fountain is running, that is. About half the time.

Anonymous said...

I agree, I love the fountain. You keep referring to the security outpost as an eyesore, but then you show a photo of the service/side of the building. It is ugly, but so many parts of a building's services are and they have to be put somewhere. That's not an example of commercialization though. The cafe is, and indeed, there needs to be a balance. I will say, we've been here about 5 years, so no, not a lifer, but to me, there are plenty of things to complain about, but some of this seems contrived. The cafe is fine. Not bad, and is a gathering place. It's not a true statement at all that no one wants it or uses it. Quite the opposite.

I remember a few years ago, TS put in like 1000s of trees, but put them like a foot apart!! It was ridiculous. Half of them died. I do miss that particularly lush space on the Oval across the paved path from where the cafe is, but that will come back soon enough (if they let it). Bushes and perennials can generally be easily moved, cut back (indeed, must be), often to the ground, and can get full quite quickly. Annuals, which are most flowers that don't grow as bushes, are just that, annuals and thus must be planted yearly. Bulbs have a five+ year life span, so any new ones they plant now will come back again and again.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate STR's passion but the big fish to fry isn't the landscaping and for many tenants may not even be the MCIs. It will be the upcoming sale. People ought to be discussing what they're hoping for out of this. Since the winning plan is bound to be a non-eviction plan, those who have absolutely no interest in buying need not take part in the discussion. They will remain under RS with all the strengths and drawbacks that RS currently has. But if you think you might like to buy, the questions we should put under discussion are: what type of plan & pricing would we like to see; do we have any leverage at all in this; if so, how to use that leverage; can we achieve unity; if so, how. The TA board has proposed a plan that it likes. Fine. That's 15 people. What do others think?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>You keep referring to the security outpost as an eyesore, but then you show a photo of the service/side of the building.<<

I don't understand. What side of the building am I suppose to show? This is the side that everyone sees at the Oval.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>The cafe is, and indeed, there needs to be a balance. I will say, we've been here about 5 years, so no, not a lifer, but to me, there are plenty of things to complain about, but some of this seems contrived. The cafe is fine. Not bad, and is a gathering place. It's not a true statement at all that no one wants it or uses it. Quite the opposite.<<

By now the cafe and all the rest of the original amenities have been fully embraced as the "new new." At this point, I don't have an aesthetic problem with them and accept them, though others may have a different take. The Oval Study is particularly nice. I will, however, never accept the blight that is the new Security Office. With its massive side-hugging generators, it is overlarge for that area, and the dirt plaza in front of it is butt ugly and looks low-class. My guess is that somewhere along the line greenery will be planted, but I'm not sure anything can grow there with the devastation that was done to the ground.

I don't believe I've ever said that no one uses the cafe. Obviously people do, but I suspect that it's still a money loss, as evidenced by the fact that an application was made to sell alcohol. I was inside the cafe a few times, and it has a particularly ugly floor and there's music playing all the time, so it's not really an optimal place for me. I once bought coffee there and it was lukewarm. A waste of my money.

But the cafe does need to stick to the agreement made with Garodnick and follow zoning procedure by making sure that only "residents and their guests" can use it. Clearly, the cafe could care less about keeping to this agreement.

Anonymous said...

904A. LOL!

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>What do others think?<<

I can't afford to buy any condo, so the TA plan is not for me.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Even if I could afford to buy a condo here, I would have serious reservations about doing so.

Anonymous said...

I'm not buying anything unless it is close to what I am paying now. The plumbing is the next to go. I can't imagine how much that's going to cost. PARTY ON!!!!!!!!
That's the way they approve of things around here.

Anonymous said...

My building is in the red flood zone.

Buy here?


I think not.



Anonymous said...

10:32 : you are dreaming a serious __ dream. This place will remain a rental. It's a landlords domain. RS will expire, seniors will leave or pas away. It's inevitable.

Anonymous said...



There's no condo coming. lmao. Please stop, it's embarrassing already, how many years has the TA claimed to be buying this place.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

It seems that before his promotion, Mr. Hartsell had ZERO experience in horticulture or landscaping:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/chuck-hartsell/19/419/61a

So this is the type of professional CW hires to take care of the property.

Sabina should have asked him about his past experience.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. The landscaping is a huge fish to fry. When Tishman Speyer bought the property they spent millions of dollars on landscaping using their "preferred" landscaping compNy who hiked up the prices on everything.

Then Rose came in and justifiably spent more money correcting the over planting Tishman Speyer did.

So what corrective work is being done now? What's left to correct? If Sabina wasn't asleep at the wheel and did done basic investigative work she'd have found the most recent work has everything to do with electrical projects and aesthetics and nothing to do with the trees killing each other. And well pay for it a THIRD time.

Everyone is a liar around here.. Everyone!

Anonymous said...

Sabina has become a shill for CW. I will never, ever buy that paper again.

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's all focus on the landscaping as Rome burns and Mci's keep coming.

Going out now to photo the tulips.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>Yes, let's all focus on the landscaping as Rome burns and Mci's keep coming.

Going out now to photo the tulips.<<

We should keep our eyes out on everything. You disagree?

Landscaping at PCVST has always been a significant part of the quality of life here. It is what separates and identifies us from the rest of Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

Yes, of course the landscaping is beautiful. That's why we love living here. It's all dwindling and going to be sold off piece by piece. Best to fight the underlying fight and problem here is what posters mean by bigger fish.

Anonymous said...

Personal attacks on employees are unacceptable. Mr H is not Management. The landscaping team employs veteran staff from Metlife days. Be kind.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>Personal attacks on employees are unacceptable. Mr H is not Management. The landscaping team employs veteran staff from Metlife days. Be kind.<<

So you think Mr. H, as someone who has been an accounts manager and property manager and who graduated in Business Admin, is the correct choice to be head of landscaping here? I doubt he is the person who makes the landscaping rules, but, if he is, he's a disaster.