WHERE I LIVE: At Stuy Town, Adrienne Zulueta comes home to the calming charm of the East River

She finds privacy running around the East River

She finds some privacy running around the East River

By Cristina DC Pastor

Adrienne Zulueta is one happy camper at Peter Cooper Village-Stuyvesant Town, New York’s largest private housing complex and her home for the last three years.

“It feels very safe here,” she said, appreciative of the building’s public safety officers, who are visible at most times.

Adrienne, 23, shares an apartment with three other women – a Korean, a Chinese, and another Filipina. All of them have made a pact to stay for a full year.

“We have pretty good dynamics,” said Adrienne, a graduate of NYU who now works as a freelance news assistant for ABC News, CNN, and Yahoo. “We’re very quiet and we all like to keep the apartment clean.” PCVST – also known as Stuy Town — is her first apartment since living in an NYU dorm.

The women occupy a two-room apartment. Adrienne and her Korean roommate share the master’s bedroom. Her share of $950 a month is neat by Manhattan standards. A wall was erected in the living room creating two separate rooms for each of the two girls. This system of remapping is not unusual and certainly not at Stuy Town.

“Stuy Town has a handful of apartments that come like this that a lot of students like to snatch up,” she said.

A single bathroom is not an issue as the women have different shower schedules anyway.

On weekends, Adrienne goes running around the neighboring East River before running her errands. She races an average of 8 miles and appreciates the brief privacy that running affords her. “I’m constantly with people in a room, at work and here in the apartment.”

Sometimes, she is down by the garden reading a book. Or she will get her camera and start snapping at her constantly evolving neighborhood. She does her laundry in the building, which is a welcome convenience. Grocery-shopping is usually at Trader Joe’s by Union Square, a few blocks away.

Everything about Stuy Town seems ideal. The units are kept in good condition for new renters. There is a playground and a sprawling lawn that hosts free concerts and movies. The fountain looks radiant at night. Its 56 residential buildings house about 30,000 residents.

But underneath this park-like abode of cosmopolitan charm and convenience is a long-drawn conflict between residents and a succession of owners and managers. Mayor Bill de Blasio has stepped in declaring recently that Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village must remain an affordable housing complex in the next 10 years.

It all began when Tishman Speyer-Black Rock bought the complex in 2006 with the intent of raising rent. The tenants association fought to block the move. Tishman defaulted on loan payments when the recession hit, eventually losing Stuy Town to the lenders. CWCapital, the current manager, decided to foreclose as it prepares to sell the complex. While De Blasio’s statement will not prevent any sale from moving forward, it will at least send a message to prospective buyers that Stuy Town should remain within reach by the average New Yorker.

Adrienne is aware of the contentious nature of the building complex’s ownership.

She said, “Ownership of Stuy Town has been a hot-button issue in the past few years. It will be very unfortunate if the sale does cause a significant increase in rent. If gentrification does occur, it will greatly affect the NYU community as well as the hundreds of families who live here.”

Follow Adrienne Zulueta on Twitter and Instagram: @adriennelu15

‘Where I Live’ is a new section in The FilAm where Filipinos provide a snapshot of their neighborhoods while giving us a glimpse into their borough or suburban lives. WIL pries open the sprawling maze that is the New York metropolitan area – from NYC to New Jersey, Connecticut and Northern Pennsylvania — where Filipinos find their homes, raise their families and live their ideal of the American Dream.

The red brick buildings of Stuy Town

The red brick buildings of Stuy Town

Adrienne by the living room futon

Adrienne by the living room futon

A World Cup viewing party by the garden

A World Cup viewing party by the garden

One Comment

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