Volume 77 / Number 42 - March 19 - 25, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
By Patrick Hedlund
Stuy Town pet peeves
Some residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village are howling over the relaxation of rules permitting pets at the massive East Side complex.
The new owners of the 110-building site, Tishman Speyer Properties, agreed at the beginning of March to allow tenants to house cats and dogs for the first time in the complex’s history. Tishman Speyer, which bought the 80-acre site for $5.4 billion in 2006, has also started offering a month’s free rent to new residents as vacancy rates have recently risen.
“A lot of people are very upset,” said Soni Fink, a 40-year resident of the complex and member of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association. She cited the issue of pet droppings on the property’s vast green space and added that some new tenants originally opted for the complex because of its strict no-pet policy. “It’s a real problem,” she said.
Residents can now possess a dog — or a combination of dogs — that doesn’t exceed 80 pounds in weight.
“That’s a big dog,” noted Fink, who said she’d avoid riding the elevator with pooches because she’s been bitten twice in the past, adding that the overall consensus on canines from long-term residents has been negative. “Everybody is pretty P.O.’d.”
Tishman’s strategy to court new tenants, including the free month of rent, comes as vacancy at the market-rate complex has risen higher than the borough-wide average. Fink added she’s seen a unit next to her with East River views sit vacant since August.
“The apartments aren’t moving as quickly as they would like,” she said.
A spokesperson for Tishman Speyer, Bud Perrone, noted leasing in January and February was up 50 percent over the first two months of 2007, and up 35 percent in the first half of March.
“As is the case for all rental properties throughout New York, we are constantly adjusting our rates to reflect changes in the overall market and seasonal factors,” he said.
Webster wins designation
The city voted unanimously this week to landmark Webster Hall in the East Village after a push by local preservationists to designate the storied 11th St. venue.
The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, in a recent effort to landmark more East Village buildings, originally lobbied for the historic hall’s designation last July in a letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
“We consider Webster Hall an incredible example of the radical and varied social, cultural and political history of the Village,” said G.V.S.H.P. Director Andrew Berman in a note to Mixed Use. “How many other sites in New York have historic connections to labor rallies, drag balls, Emma Goldman, Woody Guthrie, Frank Sinatra, “Fiddler on the Roof” and KISS?”
The site, along with three other East Village buildings, received landmarking for “in some way reflect[ing] the 19th-century immigrant experience in New York City,” said L.P.C. spokesperson Lisi de Bourbon. The decisions were made after the commission conducted a 130-building study of the East Village, and “you can expect to see more designations in the East Village [as] we pore over the survey results,” she added.
Berman expressed his organization’s pleasure over the hall designation’s ensuring that new development wouldn’t threaten the current music hall/nightclub.
“We are deeply gratified — not just because Webster Hall is such a great part of the Village’s history that deserves to be honored and preserved, but because the current zoning would easily allow this building to be replaced by a 20-plus-story dorm, like the adjacent recent 26-story N.Y.U. megadorm,” he said.
Trump Soho sales stymied?
The most recent sales figures for the Trump Soho hotel condominium have the embattled project stalled at just over halfway sold after the accident- and violation-plagued site endured a host of troubles this year.
According to Aurora Kessler, a spokesperson for the development, the building has remained at 53 percent sold since that figure was first announced a few weeks ago.
The high-rise tower at Spring and Varick Sts. saw two construction-related incidents this year, including a collapse that led to the death of a construction worker in January and cracked windows at the site two weekends ago that rained glass down onto the street.
Guerilla graffitists have also continued to express their sentiments over The Donald’s development, scrawling “Scumbag” on the building’s sales office on Wooster St. in Soho over the weekend. This adds to a message engraved in the concrete across the street from the project site late last year that declared, “Trump is a monster.”
Spokespeople for the project had no comment as of press time regarding the graffiti incidents.
Miami hot for Hudson Sq.
Another of the innovative visions for Hudson Square borne out of a neighborhood design project has received accolades in the architectural community.
The proposal by Miami-based firm ArquitectonicaGEO was recently awarded the Silver Medal in Landscape Architecture at the 2007 Miami + Beach Biennial, according to GEO senior landscape architect Roberto Rovira. The awards are currently on exhibit at Florida International University’s School of Architecture.
F.I.U. also invited David Lewis from LTL Architects, another charrette contributor, last month to present his firm’s work as part of the university’s lecture series, including LTL’s Hudson Square proposal. Rovira also presented GEO’s Hudson Square design during a lecture titled “The Bite at the Big Apple.”
“So ‘Envisioning Hudson Square lives on,’” Rovira said in a note to Mixed Use.