Mailbox: 08.12.09-08.18.09

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Residual Respect

Excellent summation of the problems that beset Stuy Town/Peter Cooper Village these days. Unfortunately, MetLife chose to abandon their support of a very well conceived urban project because their stockholders demanded more return on their investment. Tishman Speyer was stupid enough to buy in at the top of the market. Now, longtime residents are under continual stress from many factors including those you mention but also the deterioration of rent laws designed to protect the middle class. It should be noted that MetLife operated the property at a profit before rent stabilization laws were enacted, choosing to provide a stable environment for returning vets to raise their families, and continued to do so for the families of their children.The bigger question will be if Albany will enact the strengthening of tenant protection laws, and the recent conduct of Pedro Espada (Chair of the Housing Committee) doesn’t lend confidence to those who are struggling. Coupled with Bloomberg´s vision of a city for only the wealthy, it becomes difficult to envision that Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper will live on as a true “community” in the heart of New York.

One Community, One Opinion

A reader calling himself “ProTenants” wrote: “I resent the writer’s ignorant separation of Stuy Town from Peter Cooper Village. It shows that Tishman has been successful in driving wedges not only be between the young and the old but between the north and south sides of E. 20th Street. Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village make up one community, not two. Both sides of the street share the same problems and advantages over the rest of the city.As for the writer calling Stuy Town an East Village address, hoho, there is nothing ‘East Village’ about Stuyvesant Town. It is a housing project designed for the middle class; faux luxury at best, no central heat/air, no doorman.Apartments that either roast in the winter or freeze, it is not the Nirvana the writer seems to claim.

“Moreover, not all older tenants ‘hate’ the younger ones. Many younger tenants are responsible and good neighbors. Another point of fact:The renting of units to college students began long before Tishman Speyer acquired the property.To keep the rent high, that program has been expanded to the New School and SVA. More facts, none of the apartments are ‘rent-controlled,’ they are ‘rent-stabilized,’ which more favors the owner. Unlike Steinberg, most (correct term: rent-regulated) tenants are paying an average of $1,200 per month for a one bedroom. Finally, a pressurized wall two-bedroom apartment is not ‘spacious’ it is a matchbox. So the writer must have been looking at postage stamps on Craigslist.”

School Spirit

As a fellow NYU student myself, I was contemplating moving into Stuyvesant Town because, what may not be ‘spacious’ to the older residents is relatively large in comparison to any of the NYU dorms. On average, an NYU dorm for upperclassmen costs $13,500 a year.This sum gets you an apartment that is two bedrooms/one bathroom. This tiny space is shared by four people, sometimes five. So if Stuyvesant Town provides the current students a cheaper more spacious temporary home (but it is still their home, because we sign the lease just like you) then so be it. Having your own bedroom as a college student is the ideal situation and if Stuy Town provides that at a cheaper price for the whole year rather than for a mere 8 months, that one bedroom converted to a two bedroom is looking worthwhile. Perhaps some of the old residents should stray away from bunching all the college students together because I’m sure there are some nice, respectable young 20-year-olds around.

Shit(zu) Storm

A reader using “Coopertown” as a pseudonym wrote: “As someone born and raised in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper, even little 22year-old me hates not necessarily what the students have done to the area but what accommodating the students has done. Bluelight security poles? Security swipe cards that facilitate big-brother tenant tracking to destabilize apartments? This is not what anyone envisioned as a place for adults. And as for the lumping of all 22- to 30-year-olds as college students: No, they’re worse! MetLife never let dogs in for good reason, but in order to kowtow to these Murray Hill graduates, every Shitzu in the world is defecating on the once-pristine lawns that are such a draw.

Entitled To More

Finally, another anonymous commenter pointed out: “What amazes me is that 95 percent of the complaints are from the rent-control tenants. You pay $1,000-a-month for a huge two-bedroom apartment in the East Village. What the hell do you have to complain about? You have the best deal in the world, and you’re whining about a couple grad students sunning themselves on the Oval or an occasional party? I’ll let you in on a secret: 99.9 percent of New Yorkers don’t get to live in huge apartments in desirable parts of Manhattan (with abundant green space) at dirt cheap prices.You do. Stop whining about how awful it is that you now have to share a building with grad students and young professionals in their twenties and thirties who actually pay full price for the privileges you take for granted. If you think Stuyvesant Town is so bad, why don’t you move out to Bed Stuy and see how normal people paying $1,000-a-month live.The sense of entitlement is out of control.”