Former Mount Sinai Beth Israel Chief of Palliative Care Division Ricardo Cruciani
By Sabina Mollot
A former high-ranking doctor at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, who recently pleaded guilty to committing numerous sexual assaults of female patients at another hospital he worked at, is now facing charges of assaulting six other patients at Beth Israel.
The allegations include rape, forceful kissing and groping during the time Ricardo Cruciani, now 63, served as Beth Israel’s Chief of the Palliative Care Division. He was employed at the hospital from 2002-2014.
At that time, he was responsible for administering treatment to patients afflicted with chronic and debilitating pain disorders that are hard to find treatment for.
After leaving Beth Israel, Cruciani worked at Capital Health Medical Center in New Jersey and later Pennsylvania’s Drexel University neurology department.
MAN CHARGED WITH DAMAGING CARS WITH PIPE IN KIPS BAY
Police arrested 26-year-old Damien Emory on Monday after he allegedly walked through traffic, hitting multiple vehicles — which all had drivers in them at the time — with a metal pipe.
Police said this caused damage to the cars. He was charged with alleged criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and weapons possession at the corner of East 24th Street and First Avenue at 4 p.m. None of the drivers sustained any injuries.
MAN ARRESTED FOR BREAKING INTO CAR ON EAST 28TH
Police arrested 28-year-old Gaber Algalal last Tuesday at 5 a.m. for allegedly using a metal object to try to break into a vehicle parked in front of 23 East 28th Street at 5:24 a.m.
Police said they witnessed this when they went to the scene to respond to a call about an unrelated incident and saw that there was damage to the driver’s side door and scratches on the driver’s side window. Algalal was charged with criminal mischief and possession of burglar’s tools.
MAN ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY IN DOMESTIC INCIDENT
Police arrested a 50-year-old man for robbery at the corner of Second Avenue and East 14th Street last Wednesday at 7:28 p.m. The victim told police that while she was driving with the suspect, who was sitting in the passenger’s seat, they got into an argument over money. She said that the suspect became irate and kicked her in the hand, causing an injury. She told police that the man also forcibly took her credit cards and made four unauthorized purchases on one of the cards. When she and the suspect returned to their home, he allegedly damaged a lamp and threw other items all over the apartment before leaving. The victim then went to the precinct to report the incident and the suspect was stopped at Second Avenue and East 14th Street, where he was identified by the victim and arrested. Police said that he was also in possession of marijuana. The suspect was also charged with assault, criminal mischief and possession of a controlled substance. The name of the suspect is being withheld to protect the identity of the victim.
By Kenneth Chanko
Landlord stories superabound in our city. So do we really need another one?
Well, this particular tale might hit closer to home for T&V readers than most. As a Stuy Town resident for the past 31 years, having lived in a two-bedroom on Avenue C before moving to a three-bedroom on 20th Street — and having been born and raised through secondary school in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper, then raising my own two kids here (and a dog!) — I have a pretty expansive yet highly personal perspective on the succeeding iterations of Stuy Town management and how they’ve treated tenants throughout the decades.
After its Stuy Town experiment went belly-up, Tishman Speyer thankfully departed the premises. There followed too many years of receivership, which saw a further erosion of services and upkeep. A new landlord, Blackstone partnered with Ivanhoé Cambridge, purchased the development. Last month marked the two-year anniversary of the new management being fully in place, and that’s enough time to get a sense of what’s going on.
Phone theft suspects
Cops are looking for a pair of thieves who snatched a woman’s iPhone X at the 23rd Street subway station.
On Friday, February 2 at 9:15 p.m., the 54-year-old female victim was walking along the R platform, looking at her phone, when the two men grabbed it from her before fleeing.
Both suspects are described as being black, about 20 years old, 5 ft. 7 ins. and 170 lbs. One was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, the other a black hooded jacket.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
All calls are strictly confidential.
By Sabina Mollot
Police are looking for two men they say have been swiping handbags from the Michael Kors store in Flatiron.
Police were able to get a fuzzy photo of two suspects, though it isn’t clear if they were involved in all recently reported incidents of theft at the store. Police are aware of eight thefts of handbags at the location at 133 Fifth Avenue since January 10.
On January 10, three handbags were taken. On January 13, another three bags were stolen. On January 16, two bags were stolen with another four, along with a keychain, stolen on January 20. On January 31, three handbags were stolen. On February 6, five Mercer bags, which range in price from $250-$500, were taken. Another three Mercers were stolen on February 10, which is the most recent known incident.
By Sabina Mollot
Police are looking for five people, possibly all teenagers, who assaulted a 19-year-old man for his headphones and cell phone on a street in NoMad.
The incident occurred on Monday, December 11, but police only released the information this week after an initial lead on a suspect didn’t pan out.
311 First Avenue was included in last year’s sale of Gilman Hall to the CIM Group. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
The building that used to house Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s Karpas Health Information Center has been sold and will soon be demolished.
The new owner filed an application to demolish the four-story property at 311 First Avenue and 18th Street, last October, and scaffolding now surrounds the property. There is not yet an application for new development although the razing of the building, which also has nine residential units, was said to be in preparation for an unspecified “plan.”
CIM Group, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment group and private equity firm, through an LLC called 305 First Avenue (NY), bought the property last March for $27.5 million from Mount Sinai, according to Acris records.
Melanie, a kitten rescued from a truck parked in Gramercy (Photo by Marilyn Pascarelli)
By Sabina Mollot
Melanie, the mostly blind kitten rescued from the engine of a postal truck last month, is still waiting for her forever home.
Holly Staver, a founding member of rescue organization City Critters, noted that the adorable black and white longhair kitten came close to getting adopted by a Stuy Town resident who wound up not being able to take her for some reason.
Meanwhile, Staver said Melanie may need further observation and specialized veterinary care as her reactions to some cats and other stimuli “are a bit dramatic.” This isn’t due to her limited vision, which hasn’t been a problem as she seems to gets around without problems.
Don’t deny ST girl her Boy Scout status
The following is an open letter from State Senator Brad Hoylman to Randall L. Stephenson, National President of Boy Scouts of America, asking that Sydney Ireland, a Stuy Town teenager and Boy Scout for 11 years, have her status as a Scout formally recognized by the BSA. In December, Town & Village reported on Ireland’s fight, alongside her family, to have female members’ contributions recognized. The BSA has said it would start allowing girls to be members, but not until 2019.
Dear Mr. Stephenson:
I write to you as an Eagle Scout (Troop 70, Lewisburg, WV) and New York State Senator on behalf of my constituent, Sydney Ireland. A lifelong Boy Scouts participant, Sydney successfully advocated for the official inclusion of girls in Boy Scouts of America programs this year. However, because your organization does not plan to implement the new membership policy for two years, Sydney, who is now 16, will age out before she can officially join a troop.
Council Member Carlina Rivera outside her district office in the East Village (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Newly-elected City Council Member Carlina Rivera spoke with members of the community media in a round-table discussion this week, covering affordable housing, the plight of small businesses and the transit woes affecting District 2.
Rivera, who took over the seat from Rosie Mendez, who was term-limited after 12 years in office, previously worked with Mendez as her legislative director and is a long-time community activist working in the East Village and the Lower East Side.
One of the subjects she brought up was the new “tech hub” the city is planning on East 14th Street, and Rivera said she wants to make sure affordable housing is factored into the plan.
“In terms of the zoning, it’s going to be important to look at how we can incentivize affordable housing,” she said. “People are worried that this tech hub is going to be a purely commercial development and one of the most important things we need is affordable housing.”
City Comptroller Scott Stringer is accusing the HPD of failing to meet its own target dates for taking actions on available properties.
By Sabina Mollot
On Monday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer blasted the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development, saying that at the rate it’s been working to turn over 1,000 vacant city-owned lots into affordable housing, it’ll take 17 years to get them all breaking ground.
His announcement followed a report he issued in 2016 that showed the city was warehousing over 1,100 vacant lots.
Out of those properties, Stringer said nearly 90 percent (1,007) have remained undeveloped. HPD, he said, has transferred only 64 to developers and 54 others have been transferred to other city agencies for their use. Additionally, some properties have remained vacant for 50 years.
Stringer noted that while the city has intended to turn hundreds of these lots into affordable housing, it has failed to meet its own target dates for taking action on 80 percent of them. Stringer is calling for all of the city-owned lots to be used for over 50,000 units of permanent affordable housing and for HPD to create a “realistic” timetable to either make this happen or turn the properties over to other agencies or developers.
Bowery Residents Committee CEO Muzzy Rosenblatt speaks at a meeting on Tuesday about a Safe Haven shelter that’s now being renovated. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
A new Safe Haven shelter the city is opening on East 17th Street in a former Beth Israel AIDS hospice is expected to be operational by early April, according to its operator, the Bowery Residents Committee.
Members of Community Board 6’s housing, homeless and human rights committee held a meeting about the shelter on Tuesday night, with BRC CEO Muzzy Rosenblatt providing updates. This was the first meeting on the subject since another one for neighborhood organizations was held last July.
At that time, Rosenblatt predicted that the shelter would be operational by Labor Day of last year after minor repairs but on Tuesday, he said renovations at the building, which is owned by Mount Sinai, were more extensive than anticipated.
“At that point, we hadn’t actually seen the elevator in the building but we were making projections based on previous city dealings with elevators,” he said. “Once we saw the elevator, we realized that it actually needed to be replaced, which takes longer because the elevator has to be site-specific, but that work is now underway and we don’t anticipate any further delays.”
MAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULT OF WOMAN ON KIPS BAY STREET
Police arrested 31-year-old Lindell Caulet for an alleged assault in front of 121 East 24th Street last Sunday at 6:43 p.m. The victim told police that Caulet punched her on the side of the head, knocking her head into a pole on the sidewalk. The victim said that she suffered from pain and swelling on the side of her head as a result of the incident. Police did not have further information about what started the incident.
SUSPECT BUSTED FOR THEFT FROM KIPS BAY APARTMENT
Police arrested 34-year-old Terrence O’Connell for alleged petit larceny and possession of stolen property in the victim’s apartment on Third Avenue near East 28th Street last Sunday at 5:01 p.m. The victim told police that she knew O’Connell and he had slept at her apartment but when she woke up the next morning, she realized that he had taken her iPad, cash, some of her clothing and jewelry.
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
A man and a teenager were charged with robbery on Saturday morning, soon after allegedly threatening a woman with hammers near the FDR Drive across from Waterside Plaza.
Police said that 23-year-old Thomas Blyden and a 16-year-old boy approached one of the victims at about 6 a.m. while she was walking west on East 25th Street between the FDR and First Avenue.
The victim said that Blyden and the teenager rushed her from behind, both of them allegedly wielding hammers while telling her, “Don’t say anything. Give me your money.”
The victim told police that she gave them all the cash she had before making a run for it towards First Avenue and headed north, while the suspects fled south on First Avenue. Police, however, caught up with the two suspects on First Avenue near East 22nd Street about 15 minutes later.
Harvey Epstein at Monday evening’s County Committee vote with a supporter, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (Photo courtesy of Harvey Epstein)
By Sabina Mollot
On Monday night, the Manhattan Democratic Party County Committee unanimously nominated Urban Justice Center attorney Harvey Epstein for State Senator Brian Kavanagh’s vacated Assembly seat. However, the vote, held by about 200 county committee members at the Sirovich Senior Center, was technically already decided ahead of time when the two other Democrat candidates in the race, Sandro Sherrod and Mike Corbett, withdrew.
Corbett, a City Council aide and former president of New York Young Democrats, announced on Monday morning he was withdrawing and giving his support to Epstein.
In an email blast, he said it was clear Epstein had more backing from the party.
“I was especially honored to have the support of so many of you in this race,” wrote Corbett. “However, as we approach the County Committee vote tonight, I believe that the result is no longer in doubt. My friends, to paraphrase the musical Hamilton, I don’t have the votes.”