stuyvesant town

Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village are in the news.

courtesy New York Times

courtesy New York Times

The two massive co-op housing complexes on the lower east side of Manhattan were sold to a development group for something like 5+ billion dollars a couple of years back. Apparently a highly leveraged purchase.

Of course with the crash of the financial markets, the development group, like many homeowners, is finding it hard to pay its debt obligation.

I bring this up only because Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were a part of my high school life. They represented a de facto campus, along with the worn-out park off 15th street littered with vials and syringes.

The buildings stood across First Avenue from the high school – impossible to miss. We would sneak into the courtyard areas sometimes during lunch to play basketball. Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper felt different – middle class and manicured. Not like the rest of the downtrodden lower East side in 1970s recession New York.

Basketball in the City meant something to us. Uptown, there was the legendary Rucker Park. Closer by, in the West Village, you could watch games from behind the chain-link fence at the West Fourth Street courts. And of course, in 1978, Jim Carroll – who died just a few weeks ago – published his Basketball Diaries, which we devoured.

No one paid attention to what we did on the courts at Stuyvesant Town. Except maybe the security guards. No one films games there like they do at Rucker or at West Fourth. But I’ll bet if you mention Stuyvesant Town or Peter Cooper Village to anyone who went to the old Stuyvesant, before the move to the new building in Battery Park, they’ll eventually get around to talking about sneaking in and playing a game or two of basketball.

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