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Residents Fight Against Ice Rink at Stuy Town

By Mary Johnson | November 10, 2011 6:46am
Residents are concerned about a new ice rink being erected inside Stuyvesant Town.
Residents are concerned about a new ice rink being erected inside Stuyvesant Town.
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DNAinfo/Mary Johnson

STUYVESANT TOWN — Inside the confines of Stuyvesant Town, Playground Number 10 is undergoing a big freeze.

In a dramatic transformation, the hard-top play space in becoming an ice rink.

But with the start of construction on Nov. 1 came an onslaught of controversy.

Complaints have swamped Rose Associates, the property managers of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. Residents have also reached out to Councilman Daniel Garodnick, who is investigating whether it is legal to operate a pay-for-use ice rink within the residential complex.

The rink will be up and functioning only during the winter months. Residents will have free access to the rink for a limited number of hours every week, although the exact amount remains unclear.

Outside of those designated hours, residents will be asked to pay for rink access. That amount is also yet to be announced.  

The site will also stay open nightly until 9 p.m., with music playing from loudspeakers until 8 p.m.

The disdain for the project isn’t universal, and some residents are welcoming the new addition with open arms.

“I think it’s great,” said one 30-year resident of Stuyvesant Town who declined to give his name. “If I had kids and they were ice skating, I would love if they went here instead of Chelsea Piers.”

But a very vocal contingent of residents is furious about the loss of a free open space and the potential noise. They have lashed out against the project in blogs and at a rally last Saturday in front of the proposed rink.

“Living next to an ice skating rink ...is not the equivalent of living next to a basketball court or children’s playground,” wrote Alvin Doyle, president of the Stuyvesant Town Peter Cooper Village tenants association, in a letter to the property manager.

“The qualitative differences are obvious, and your failure to recognize that demonstrates a complete lack of sensitivity for the concerns of the residents of buildings bordering the rink,” Doyle added.

Councilman Garodnick has engaged in a terse exchange of letters with the neighborhood’s management company. He has also contacted multiple city agencies in his attempts to find out if setting up a rink inside Stuy Town is legal.

His office has reached out to the Department of Buildings to determine if a pay-for-use rink complies with the zoning regulations within Stuyvesant Town.

“Further, I have asked the DOB for a complete review of the construction permits and the work that is actively being performed — including the electrical wires being strung through trees — to ensure that any construction activity is being conducted without risk to residents or workers,” Garodnick said in a statement.

The councilman has also contacted the Department of Environmental Protection to determine whether the chemicals used to maintain the rink are safe and to make sure that the noise coming from music and the machinery that powers the rink will comply with the noise code.

In a statement, a spokesman for Rose Associates said: "We look forward to the rink being filled with happy children during the winter months, after which the space will resume as a playground."

But in a letter to Councilman Garodnick, Rose Associates co-president Adam Rose said that the property managers would “do everything possible to minimize the disturbance that may be caused by the ice rink to the buildings that surround it.”

“The revenues of this three-month operation will not equal the expenses, but making a profit was never the objective,” Rose added.