“I attend NYU,” writes Henry Melcher in the New York Press this week. “And, as of this summer, I moved into Stuy Town with a roommate only to discover how our neighbors love to hate us.” Melcher’s essay about living in the venerable middle-income housing institution (Say it with us: It. Was. Never. The. Projects.) takes a look at what’s been going on in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village from the angle of the much-vilified student population. They are, according to local (older) critics, “noisy, binge-drinking, pot-smoking, disrespectful college students — who might even use the stairwells as toilets.” Surely some of them may be such, but many, if not most, are just frugal forward-thinkers creative enough to look outside the NYU dorm box for an interesting new place to live and grow. Also, as Curbed writer Joey Arak points out in this story, many of them are not actually students — but are just pegged as such by grousing older residents because they look under 30.
The young folk, who do heretofore verboten things like sit on the lovely grassy Oval in the center of the complex, generally get painted by the same brush. “I hate to generalize, but I think a lot of college students are treating it like a dorm and not a real residence,” says Tenants Association vice-president Susan Steinberg, who pays $1,000 for a one-bedroom these kids are shelling out $2,500 for. “Those who have been living here for a while feel as though they’re not treating things with respect.”
As one third of the Daily Intel team lives in Stuy Town, we can assure you there are a handful of young people that make it bad for the rest of us. There was a group of what had to be 35 students apparently crammed into the three-bedroom apartment above Intel Chris’s early this year, and the noise was so ridiculous that even at the quietest moments you could still hear the bubbling from their water bong through the floor. But after a number of complaints from neighbors, they were kicked out — which is just how it happens in any apartment building anywhere else in the city. It just seems awfully silly to generalize about people so glibly in Stuyvesant Town. After all, you don’t read about the “students” complaining at paying one, two, and three times the price for their apartments so that the entire complex can continue operating and rent-controlled tenants can enjoy their market-rate facilities. So maybe let’s all take it easy, chill out a bit, and get to know one another. Sit on the Oval and make some friends, why don’t you? Maybe those guys upstairs even left their bong behind when they moved out!