Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fight for It

[posted by Callimachus]

The vultures are circling over Peter Cooper Village.

Residents of one of the last middle-class bastions in ever-more-expensive Manhattan say their new landlord is using Orwellian tactics in an attempt to drive them out and raise rents.

The complaints concern one of the country’s largest apartment complexes, the twin developments of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, comprising 110 buildings in a campus-like East Side setting. It’s also one of the city’s largest stocks of rent-stabilized housing.

Tenants lucky enough to hold a lease on one of its 8,000 regulated units pay a fraction of the market rate. The savings allow a lifestyle unavailable to many middle-class New Yorkers, replete with vacation bungalows and kids in parochial school.

I dated a woman up there in the '90s; it really was a little middle-class paradise in the city. When you stepped off the city streets into that little world, it was like entering a different city. The open tree-shaded areas between the blocks were full of moms chatting and kids at play. I'd hate to think of New York without that oasis.

The girl? She was a writer and I was a writer, then, and we realized it wouldn't work when we discovered we were jockeying over everything we did or said or saw, for the right to use it as grist for our respective fiction mills.