Category: Turtle Bay News

Free Rat Academy

2018 Rat Academy

January 25 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm – Free

Do you see rats in and around your building or neighborhood? Do you want to learn about safe and effective methods for rat prevention? FREE training for: Building Supers Maintenance personnel Community Gardens Tenants Managing Companies Pest Management Professionals.

10 FREE rodent-resistant garbage cans will be raffled!

Spanish translation available on request.

NYC Health in partnership with New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and Manhattan Community Board 6

Please RSVP to: (212) 669-2179

Vanderbilt YMCA Conference Room

Clothing and Beauty Drive 2017

Clothing and Beauty Drive 2017




  • New/Gently used women’s clothing and accessories (cold weather)
  • New and in packaging make-up and hygiene products
  • New and in packaging women’s undergarments

Grand Central New York Public Library
135 E 46th St, Manhattan
212.621.0670 |

TBA Parks Committee Report

By Marie-Louise Handal
Chairperson of the TBA Parks Committee
November 11, 2017

MacArthur Park

MacArthur Park in East MidtownMacArthur Park is a gated playground located in Turtle Bay, at East 49th Street and the FDR Drive, east of 860-870 United Nations Plaza. This very special public space has become an integral and even intimate part of the lives of many of our neighborhood’s children.

Clean-Up Project

We are making progress on the various aspects of the clean-up project. The Health Department postponed their meeting with us; however, they paid an independent visit to the playground. Their finding – that the rat infestation is not a problem – disagrees with our own. Our evaluation found that both rats and pigeons present a health problem. The Health Department informed us that they will not be producing a formal report or official evaluation, as they conducted only a cursory walk-through. We are exploring more permanent solutions to the rat and pigeon infestations, including, possibly, the drastic action of eliminating the sand box, by filling it in. A number of parents and care-givers have expressed great concern about the worsening unsanitary condition of the sand box.

We are also considering attending a free course, at the New York City Rodent Academy, to learn about the management of rodent populations, site-specific control strategies, and effective communications with the public to achieve lasting change and improvements.

Repairs and Replacements Required

We are in the process of compiling an inventory of repairs and replacements needed for damaged park amenities, to submit to the Parks Department. Over the last two years, as highlighted in our Turtle Bay News article (September, 2016, available on the TBA’s website) a number of playground structures have gone into disrepair, especially those which were neither replaced nor repaired in the last renovation, in early 2009. We will be exploring financing alternatives in the event that the Parks Department is unable to budget for all improvements, which need to be started for the coming 2018 season.

Peter Detmold Park

The Parks Committee has conducted a detailed review of conditions at Peter Detmold Park, and we are preparing a plan for renovation. Over recent months, committee members have catalogued several items in need of attention, including damaged tree beds and pavers, as shown in the photograph to the left. A number of benches are also in disrepair. Once the plan is completed, we will summarize and place priorities on funding requirements.

Finally, the committee is continuing its effort to recruit additional, dedicated volunteers to help with up-keep and gardening, as well as raising the funds needed to refurbish the plantings and soil, beyond what the Parks Department has been providing on a regular basis.

Dag Hammarskjold Plaza

We are monitoring progress on the capital plan to renovate and improve amenities at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. Great thanks are due to the Friends of DHP, and to their many board members and volunteers who have provided effective oversight of this project. Meanwhile, it has been an excellent fall season, with many, and various, activities and programs in the park. The Oktoberfest celebration was a great success, and everyday use of the park has been very high. The presence of candidates for elective office was also

City Council Passes Midtown East Rezoning

2nd Avenue, Turtle Bay area

On August 8, the City Council passed the Midtown East Rezoning intended to promote commercial development in the 78-block area stretching north-south from 57th to 39th streets and east-west from Third to Madison avenues. Councilman Dan Garodnick was the main sponsor of the bill.

Midtown East is critical to the city’s economy. It produces 10 percent of its real estate taxes and hosts a weekday workforce of 250,000. A zoning update is seen as vital for the future. Locally, the area needs to keep up with development on the far west and lower end of Manhattan. Globally, the city seeks to maintain its place among essential world business locations.

To achieve this, new office buildings, designed for the digital age, are needed to replace and complement old buildings. The city hopes that the new zoning will help add 6.5 million square feet of office space to the existing 60 million in the area. This will also call for modernizing the Lexington Avenue subway’s overburdened and aging infrastructure. Under the new zoning, developers will be required to pay upfront to improve subway entrances and create wider stairways.

Based on and copied, in part, from “The Future Is Looking Up for East Midtown”, Editorial Board, The New York Times, August 8, 2017, and “New York City Council Approves Rezoning Plan for Midtown Manhattan”, by Patrick McGeehan, August 9, 2017, The New York Times.

Dan Garodnick is Leaving Office. What Next?

Dan Garodnick

As term limits decree, Councilman Daniel R. Garodnick will soon leave office. Having had his support over the course of three terms, the Turtle Bay Association’s board and the residents of Turtle Bay are sorry to see him go and wonder about his future plans.

Dan’s leadership has helped steer actions and decisions affecting many core issues, including health, safety and ethics. He recently introduced or helped enact laws promoting safety at construction sites, disclosure by landlords of a building’s energy efficiency to potential buyers and renters, and reporting and oversight of NYPD surveillance technologies. The large, green trash cans, with the TBA logo, that now sit at corners in the neighborhood embody his commitment to our community; a grant from Dan made them possible.

Perhaps his most far-reaching achievement has been his role as prime sponsor of the East Midtown Rezoning, recently passed by the City Council. It is the result of complex negotiations and compromises among politicians, developers, religious institutions and civic groups, on a tangle of issues, such as landmarks, the price of air rights and improvement of the Lexington Avenue subway’s aging infrastructure.

The TBA itself was among the many interested parties. We protested part of the rezoning, which allowed development of tall commercial buildings along the east side of Third Avenue. This would enable office towers to encroach farther on residential areas, and block sunlight from the streets. Dan heard us and carved out the section between 46th and 51st streets from the rezoning. His willingness to work extra-hard for his constituents has been a hallmark of his term in office, and will make a lasting difference to Turtle Bay.

As for what’s next, Dan says, “As a life-long New Yorker, it has been an honor to represent Turtle Bay in the City Council over the past 12 years. But I’m not going far – I plan to stay involved and engaged, and stand ready to support my neighbors now and in the future.”

On November 7, citizens of District 4 will vote on Dan Garodnick’s successor. We look forward to building a relationship with our new council member, and also to watching Dan as he continues his extraordinary leadership in whatever he chooses to do next. The Turtle Bay Association wishes him all the best of luck.

Morning Star Café: A Favorite Neighborhood Destination

Morning Star Cafe

Morning Star Café
949 Second Avenue (50/51)
New York, N.Y. 10022
Tel: 212-588-1050
Fax: 212-355-6069

There are good reasons why family-owned Morning Star Café has been a favored destination for almost twenty years. This classic Greek (and thoroughly New York- American) diner attracts a crowd of residents, nearby workers, tourists, and late-night and early-morning diners who count on freshly prepared and delicious food, generous portions, friendly service and a huge menu to choose from at any hour when hunger strikes.

The family Vavilis is a classic New York immigrant success story. Steven Vavilis came here from Greece when he was 17, with no English and no restaurant skills. Joining relatives already in the restaurant business, Steve learned the trade. In 1998, he and his brother Michael opened Morning Star Café, naming it after their sister Ploumou whom Steve had always called his “Morning Star.” Steve Vavilis passed away in 2015, and his son George is now at the helm, upholding the tradition of good food and good service launched by his father and uncle.

If you’re not yet a Morning Star regular, I recommend becoming one. In the morning, choose from time-honored breakfast dishes. At mid-day, lunch features six fresh soups, classic burgers, sandwiches, salads, French fries and home fries that deliver satisfaction, as do the full dinners of fish, steak, roast chicken, pasta and Greek specialties. At Sunday brunch you can select from a list of 40 omelets, or design your own. If you like a drink with your meal, Morning Star also offers a selection of beer and wine. Personally, I like the desserts. I recently enjoyed the happily not-too-sweet apple pie with a cinnamon-scented crumb topping. And you don’t need to look at the clock; you can have whatever you want, at any hour – eat in, take-out, or order for delivery.

Morning Star Café has been featured in Time Out New York, and on the websites Yelp and Facebook, where happy customers have posted many positive reviews.

Greenacre Park Fights for Light Against Current Version of East Side Rezoning Plan

Greenacre Park, East Midtown

The Greenacre Foundation has mobilized the “Fight for Light” on behalf of Greenacre Park to preserve the park’s sunlight. The goal is to prevent the onset of shadows that would darken the space in the afternoon if development of several taller buildings is permitted, to the south, through adoption of the proposed Midtown East Side Rezoning plan.

Greenacre Park is situated on 51st Street between Second and Third Avenues and is one of only three “vest-pocket” parks in New York City. The singular outdoor space – about the size of a tennis court – was designed for maximum beauty and function by internationally acclaimed landscape architects Sasaki Associates. It has become a beloved haven for those who live and work in Turtle Bay.

First opened in 1971 through the efforts of the late Mrs. Jean Mauzé, the former Abby Rockefeller, the park features a 25-foot-high waterfall sculpted from huge granite blocks, honey locust trees, lush plantings, sunny seating areas with moveable tables and chairs, and an outdoor cafe. The space even accommodates nature; the sight of sparrows indulging in a daily bath where water runs into a granite basin is a delight. Today, the care of the park remains “in the family” in that Ms. Mauze’s granddaughter, Gail Caulkins, oversees its operations as the
President of the Greenacre Foundation. “Greenacre Park has provided innumerable moments of welcome serenity and escape for residents, families, visitors, and local workers,” says Ms. Caulkins. “The sunshine makes an indispensable contribution to the park’s unique appeal.” Fight for Light is focusing on building public awareness of the issue, and includes the launch of a website, the unveiling of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels, outreach to local media, and ongoing communications with city officials.

The campaign is making an impact. Through the efforts of park supporters, Community Board 6 adopted a resolution on March 8 calling upon the City Council to modify the rezoning plan so that the park’s sunlight could be preserved. Advocates also attracted the support of a prominent ally when they were joined by the Municipal Arts Society in pushing for mitigating measures. In a March 7 letter to Community Board 6, the Society said that the neighborhood “cannot afford to allow development under the East Midtown rezoning proposal to cast such an important resource as Greenacre Park in additional shadow.”

And while it is premature to predict the final outcome of the rezoning plan, the message seems to be getting through.

More information about Greenacre Park and the Fight for Light is available at, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.