Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were constructed primarily for veterans returning from World War II. Its buildings are the iconic postwar development for middle-income families and individuals who wanted to build and maintain a full and fruitful life in New York City.
This history is embedded in our foundation and informs our principles. Our goals are to preserve our community as affordable housing, with proper maintenance and robust open spaces, where people at the middle of the income spectrum can live and raise a family in peace and safety.
To achieve these goals, we operate on the axiom that “a single person can make a difference, together they make change,” and we abide by three principles:
Affordable housing is under perpetual threat in New York from landlord groups and sometimes from unfriendly state and local elected officials and legislators. We have seen over the years the impact this has had on our community.
We work as a grassroots community organization with others to initiate change, to make our message heard regarding better conditions for tenants. We hold press events, we go to Albany, we rally at City Hall. We have proven that we affect the dialogue and instigate change.
High Quality of Life
We love living at Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village. The open space, the Oval, the cafe, the farmers market, the safety. We at the TA work every day to protect this—our positive sense of community. There are also things that need constant attention. Quieting the noisy neighbors above. Managing the trash and recycling. Making sure the washing machines are working. These ongoing, everyday issues are examples of what we work on every single day.
Ongoing Maintenance Combined with MCIs
Many things that have changed with the different property owners and managers over the years, but there has been one constant: Major Capital Improvement rent increases. We review and analyze every MCI the owner files for to make sure the project is eligible and the costs are accurate. Since the costs become part of an apartment’s base rent, this is critical to affordability.
In the spring of 1971, New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller introduced and pushed for a package of bills in the New York State Legislature. Referred to then (as it is now) as “Vacancy Decontrol,” the legislation essentially deregulated all the rent-controlled and rent-stabilized housing in the state. The package of bills passed the legislature and was effective as of June 30, 1971. It was, at the time, the largest blow to affordable housing in the history of New York.
As tenants of one of the largest concentrations of rent-regulated apartments in New York, we at Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village were prompted into action; tenants hit the streets and went to Albany to overturn these terrible acts. And the Tenants Association was born. We formalized in the fall of 1971. Our first goal: repeal the legislation.
Working with others in the city and around the state, we showed just how important rent laws are to the social fabric, vitality, and dynamism of New York City. We were successful, and vacancy decontrol was repealed in 1974 through the Emergency Tenant Protection Act. We have been hard at work ever since. Today, we are the largest tenants association in the world.
We are a 100% volunteer-run organization, with a dedicated Board of Directors, a statewide footprint, and recognition for being, as written by the New York Times, "well organized and politically powerful."