Attorney for Planned Parenthood discusses the de-funding threat

Zoe Segal-Reichlin, senior associate general counsel/director of advocacy and political law for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, pictured in November with her husband, Council Member Dan Garodnick, and their two sons, Devin and Asher, as they door-knocked for Hillary Clinton (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

Zoe Segal-Reichlin, senior associate general counsel/director of advocacy and political law for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, pictured in November with her husband, Council Member Dan Garodnick, and their two sons, Devin and Asher, as they door-knocked for Hillary Clinton (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

By Sabina Mollot

Inauguration Day for President-Elect Donald Trump hasn’t happened yet, but already Planned Parenthood is preparing for a major battle ahead to protect its federal funding.

Earlier in the month, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced a push by Republicans in Congress to defund the now century-old organization. While Planned Parenthood has always faced opposition from the GOP, soon there will be a Republican in the White House as well as a majority in the Senate and House.

Meanwhile, the women’s healthcare giant has vowed it won’t be going down without a fight.

Locally, Planned Parenthood has a weapon in Peter Cooper Village resident Zoe Segal-Reichlin, the senior associate general counsel and director of advocacy and political law for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Segal-Reichlin, also a mother of two and wife to City Council Member Dan Garodnick, provides advice and guidance on matters of law and regulation.

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T&V asks: Will you watch inauguration?

By Sabina Mollot

While some recent news stories have indicated tickets to the presidential inauguration, set to take place on Friday, have been getting scooped up rather slowly, the event is still sure to be what most Americans will be tuning into on television. For Republicans, it’s an opportunity go out to a local bar and celebrate with likeminded people, watching the president get sworn in on a big screen while raising big mugs. For Democrats too, drinking is likely to be involved, with voters drowning their sorrows any time the president says “huge” or accuses a news report of being fake.

This week, Town & Village asked around in the community to see who planned on watching the ceremony.

Asked if he’d be watching, Frank Scala, a Stuyvesant Town resident and president of the Albano Republican Club, said he would be.

He’d actually been invited to see the inauguration live, but won’t be able to make it. Reached at the Fifth Avenue barber shop he owns and operates, Scala explained he’ll be working that day and needs to stay open late.

So instead, he’ll be watching the event at home. Scala also admitted he’s a little concerned about how Trump will present himself as president on the big day. During the race, the Albano Club shifted from Manhattan GOP by not endorsing Trump or any other candidate.

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Teen nabbed in connection with brutal robbery at Kips Bay spa

The suspect allegedly punched a woman and tried to make her strip.

The suspect allegedly punched a woman and tried to make her strip.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police have arrested an 18-year-old suspect in connection with the robbery at a Kips Bay spa at the end of last month.

Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, told neighborhood residents at the community council meeting this week that the teen is suspected in a number of other robberies, and he was caught by officers on patrol while committing a robbery in the 46th precinct in the Bronx. Timoney said that the suspect never showed a gun during any of the robberies but told all the victims that he was armed when demanding cash.

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Bird-nappers selling local pigeons for shooting practice

A suspected bird-napper was caught in the act on Stuyvesant Town surveillance footage. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

A suspected bird-napper was caught in the act on Stuyvesant Town surveillance footage. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Wildlife advocates are in a fowl mood thanks to a ring of pigeon-nappers. The bird thieves have been trapping the ubiquitous New York bird from local parks recently and selling them for target practice out of state, including to customers in Pennsylvania. Neighborhood resident and wildlife advocate Andrew Garn expressed his concern for the birds at the recent community council meeting at the 13th Precinct on Tuesday.

“I know it sounds like a joke,” Garn admitted after a smattering of laughter from meeting attendees. “But this has been going on in the neighborhood for years.”

Garn, a photographer who took an interest in the birds’ plight about two years ago after photographing them for about eight years, said that the trappers catch the birds by putting down feed and using spring-loaded nets. Garn lives in Stuyvesant Square and although he noted that this is an ongoing problem throughout the city, he said it is especially prevalent in parks in his neighborhood.

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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 19

Cartoon by Jim Meadows
Cartoon by Jim Meadows

More info needed from candidate

To the Editor:

T&V published a column by Keith Powers, a City Council candidate (“A New Year’s resolution to build the full Second Avenue Subway,” T&V, Jan. 5). He advocates the full build of the Second Avenue Subway and was identified as a PCV resident, a member of our Community Board and a member of PCV/ST Tenants Association. But he’s a Democratic District Leader and I’m curious, given his candidacy, why that wasn’t included. I’ve been told he has important support despite his bio making no mention of any gainful employment.

A Google search reveals that he’s a consultant with an influential firm. Their website lists the transportation industry as a client category. Shouldn’t he, before getting too heavily invested in a campaign, explain any potential conflict of interests given having endorsed a full build? After all, full build will stall, surely somewhere between 34th and Houston Streets. This means scaffolding and plates would line 2nd Avenue past most any of our life expectancies.

Another City Council candidate “reached out” to me. It made me realize that City Council term limits have turned our municipal legislature into a free for all: eight years on the Council and then a run for county or citywide office. Vacated Council seats, half of them every four years, then get filled, ideally, by Assembly members that have “seen their opportunities [in Albany] and took ‘em.”

Instead of our Democratic candidates being mostly lawyers from local law schools who grew up through the ranks in local clubs, we now regularly get lobbyists thereby perpetuating the transformation of NY’s Democratic Party from “real live Democrats” to Republican lite. Steve Sanders was our longtime Assembly member before turning lobbyist. Powers is doing it the other way.

Hopefully, he realizes that Michael Bloomberg’s consultant ran for a West Side State Senate seat last year. And, despite Hizzoner’s and the New York Times’ backing, he lost.

The writer’s grandfather managed Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1928 campaign for Governor.

Bill Sternberg, ST

Editor’s note: Adding a bio to Keith Powers’ op-ed was a last minute editorial decision, as was the decision to keep said description brief. Though the fact that Powers is the vice president at lobbying firm Constantinople & Vallone wasn’t mentioned in the bio, it has been included in a prior article in this newspaper about his candidacy for the City Council.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for groping teen, Woman arrested for 40/40 Club slashing

MAN BUSTED FOR GROPING TEEN ON 6 TRAIN
Police arrested 35-year-old Eduardo Flores for sexual abuse at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 28th Street last Tuesday at 8:58 a.m. Police said that Flores was touching his penis over his pants and then allegedly followed a teenage girl, walking so close behind her that no one else could walk in between them. He then allegedly pressed his erect penis against her buttocks and touched her buttocks with his right hand. Police said that Flores wasn’t wearing any underwear.
The New York Daily News reported that the victim was 15 and on her way to high school and the incident happened on an uptown 6 train. The paper noted that Flores was free on bail after he had allegedly exposed himself to a 16-year-old girl in Williamsburg last September.
Flores was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR SLASHING AT 40/40 CLUB
Police arrested 27-year-old Lia Blount for assault inside Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club at 6 West 25th Street last Saturday at 12:48 a.m. The Daily News reported that Blount got into an argument with 21-year-old Alejandro Corona after he bumped into her accidentally. Police said that Blount smashed a wine bottle on a railing and slit him in the face with one of the shards.

PODCAST HOST ARRESTED FOR WEAPON POSSESSION IN IRVING PLAZA SHOOTING
Police arrested 31-year-old Daryl Campbell for criminal possession of a weapon on Monday in connection with the shooting at Irving Plaza last May. Roland Collins, a rapper also known as Troy Ave., was charged with attempted murder not long after the shooting, in which Collins’s body guard, 33-year-old Ronald McPhatter, was killed during the T.I. concert at the venue. The New York Times reported that Campbell is a podcast host and had been feuding with Collins for a number of years. Campbell’s DNA was reportedly found on the trigger of a gun used in the shooting.

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Cops looking for man stealing from lockers at New York Sports Club gyms

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Gym locker theft suspect

 By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for a thief who’s been raiding lockers at Manhattan gyms for cash, clothes, laptops and other electronics since last September.

Police are currently aware of 14 thefts downtown, midtown and in Murray Hill and Chelsea as well as one incident in Gramercy, all at different locations of the New York Sports Club.

In the Gramercy incident, on October 13, the thief stole a 22-year-old man’s credit cards and keys from an unlocked locker at the New York Sports Club at 113 East 23rd Street near Park Avenue South. Based on surveillance photos, the white, very short-haired suspect is easily able to blend in, arriving to each place in workout gear or in casual clothing.

The first gym hit was the NYSC at 1221 Avenue of the Americas and 43rd Street, where the man made off with a backpack from an unlocked locker. He also took the victim’s shoes, headphones, credit cards and clothing.

jan19-gym-thief2

Police say he stole 14 times from different Manhattan locations of the gym.

Back in October, the commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney warned the community at a meeting about a rash of gym locker thefts. New York Sports Club, he noted, was an especially popular target. He recommended that gym users get master locks that require keys.

Anyone with information about the gym thefts 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 the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Opinion: The hubris of Andrew Cuomo

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

Andrew Cuomo will not be outdone or outmaneuvered, that is for sure. As Governor of the State of New York, Cuomo has stood astride State government in a manner not seen since Nelson Rockefeller back in the 1960s. He has dominated every policy at the state level and has even tried to influence the political landscape in localities, especially New York City. For him politics is a win at any cost game. He does not take kindly to defeat nor to criticism of any kind. Humility is not part of his DNA although he tries mightily to conceal an arrogance that traces back to his father’s campaigns for Governor over 30 years ago.

In 1982 he was the hard edged and hard charging manager of Mario Cuomo’s political operations. Although he never admitted to it, he is credited with having been the inspiration behind the slanderous attacks on his father’s rival for governor, namely Ed Koch. “Vote for Cuomo not the Homo” signs appeared throughout the conservative boroughs of Queens and Staten Island days before the Democratic Primary for Governor. Mario Cuomo won that campaign and went on to distinguish himself as a progressive governor for twelve years. Ed Koch continued as mayor until he was defeated in 1989 by David Dinkins.

Andrew Cuomo pursued his own political career by joining the Bill Clinton administration. In 2002 he took a premature shot at running for governor but flamed out. He made a comeback four years later and was elected attorney general, and then governor in 2010 after the Eliot Spitzer debacle.

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New Mediterranean spot giving away free meals until 9 p.m.

The line at VERTS earlier this afternoon (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The line at VERTS earlier this afternoon (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

New East 23rd Street restaurant VERTS Mediterranean Grill debuted across from Madison Square Park by offering free entrees on their first day of business today.

Keith Peterson, the vice president of marketing for the company, said that the free meals on the day of a grand opening is a standard business practice for the company, which is based in Texas and recently opened its first East Coast location in Boston recently and the East 23rd Street spot is the restaurant’s first New York location. There are no restrictions on what entrees customers can order and the full menu is available to pick from. Entrees include pitas, salads, rice bowls and quinoa bowls with protein add-ins, vegetable toppings and a variety of sauces. Side orders and drinks are not included in the deal but Peterson noted that the profits from those sales today will be donated to charity.

The restaurant is open until 10 p.m. and plans to serve the free meals until an hour before closing. The line still stretched down the block by 3 p.m., crossing in front of the entrances for neighbors Chop’t and Gasoline Alley Coffee, but Peterson said that it was even longer earlier in the day before the wind started picking up, and there was even a line at 10:30 a.m., half an hour before the restaurant opened for the day. Customers were waiting between half an hour to an hour for their meals and Peterson predicted that the line would get longer again once office workers started leaving for the day.

Former Tammany Hall gets $57.5M for renovation

The former home of New York's political machine is being renovated to house office space and retail.

The former home of New York’s political machine is being renovated to house office space and retail.

By Sabina Mollot

The planned transformation of the former Tammany Hall in Union Square into a retail/office building has just gotten a little closer to becoming reality with $57.5 million in financing.

RM Capital Management, a real estate and merchant banking firm, announced on Friday it had arranged to provide that amount in first mortgage and mezzanine construction financing on behalf of the building’s owner Reading International, Inc.

The landmarked building is being gut renovated to include a total of six stories that will have a glass-domed roof, and the space will be leased for retail and office purposes. Its new address will be 44 Union Square; originally it was 100 East 17th Street.

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Editorial: Albany gets even less transparent

Jan7 Hoylman

State Senator Brad Hoylman is opposed to the new policy. (Photo courtesy of Senator Hoylman)

Last week, State Senator Brad Hoylman, a frequent critic of his own chamber in Albany, posted a photo of that very chamber on his Twitter feed. It would likely be the last photo he’d be posting of the place, he revealed, thanks to a new rule voted in by the Republican majority to ban photo-taking there by anyone except official Senate photographers. This means lawmakers, members of the press and members of the public will from now on be made to ask permission first any time they think it’s important to record a moment, whether it’s of a vote or debate or any other relevant thing happening.

The vote came shortly after Congress proposed a similar policy to fine members for taking photos or livestreaming from the House floor.

The reasoning for the Senate rule, according to its sponsor, is that photo-taking and other cell phone use is disruptive during proceedings.

Fortunately, Hoylman has recognized this weak argument for what it is, an excuse to further shroud the legislative process in secrecy, since apparently having all major decisions impacting the state made by three men in a room just isn’t enough. Asked what inspired his colleagues to start 2017 with even less transparency than in prior years, Hoylman guessed it has to do with the fact that sometimes, other than candid photos of hands in the air that end up on social media, there’s no publicly available record of who voted for what. And many would like to keep it that way.

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Developer of old Peter Stuyvesant Post Office still hopes to build higher

Former Post Office space (pictured last January) (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Former Post Office space (pictured last January) (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The developer of a planned residential building at the site of the old Peter Stuyvesant Post Office is still hoping to add an additional four stories to what was originally supposed to be an eight-story structure.

Benenson Capital Partners, whose request for a required zoning variance to do this was shot down in July by a committee of Community Board 3, will next be heading to the Board of Standards and Appeals.

While the community board’s unanimous vote in opposition to the variance was just advisory, a decision made by the BSA would be official.

The developer had previously argued that an additional few floors was necessary to make the project economically viable, due to costs related to underground water conditions at the site.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for ‘kicking’ dog, Teen busted for ‘groping’

MAN ALLEGEDLY KICKED DOG OUTSIDE STUY TOWN BUILDING
Police arrested 38-year-old John O’Connor for kicking a dog in front of 430 East 20th Street on Friday, December 19 at 9:30 a.m. Police said that O’Connor got into an argument with the victim over her dog barking at his dog. The victim bent down to check on O’Connor’s dog, who she said seemed scared, when O’Connor allegedly kicked the victim’s dog in the mouth, causing the animal to yelp and cry. The victim said that she brought her dog to the ASPCA Hospital for further examination and her dog didn’t have any life-threatening injuries. Stuyvesant Town surveillance video was able to identify O’Connor and Public Safety worked with the NYPD to arrest him. O’Connor was charged with torturing and injuring an animal at the 13th Precinct last Wednesday at 9:45 a.m.

TEEN BUSTED FOR GROPING AT WASHINGTON IRVING
Police arrested a teenager for sexual abuse inside the Washington Irving High School building at 40 Irving Place last Thursday. The victim told police that while riding the elevator at school at 4 p.m., she felt the boy touch her back but thought it was because the elevator was crowded, so she shrugged it off. She then felt a hand squeeze her buttocks and when she turned around to face him, the teen put his hands up. When a school administrator asked him what happened, he apologized but didn’t give an explanation as to why he did it. The victim is a student at Gramercy Arts High School and the suspect goes to International High School. The name of the suspect is being withheld due to his young age.

TEEN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT AT WASHINGTON IRVING
Police arrested a teenager for assault inside 40 Irving Place last Friday at 2:34 p.m. Police said that the teen punched the victim in the face, causing a cut on her lip and bruising.

MAN ARRESTED FOR DRUNK DRIVING ON FDR
Police arrested 37-year-old Henry Tinajero for intoxicated driving on the FDR near East 25th Street last Friday at 11:25 p.m. Police were responding to the location because of a collision Tinajero was allegedly involved in. Police said that the suspect was driving and allegedly had an odor of alcohol emanating from his breath.

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IT worker allegedly sold NYPD members’, applicants’ information

235 East 20th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

235 East 20th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 37-year-old Idahosa Ighodaro, an NYPD certified IT administrator, for grand larceny in the department’s offices at 235 East 20th Street last Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. Ighodaro allegedly sold personnel information on almost 5,000 current members and applicants of the NYPD.

Police said that as a certified IT administrator, Ighodaro has access to personnel files that include information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, social security numbers, tax identification numbers and other personal identifying information.

According to a complaint from the District Attorney’s office, Ighodaro gave an informant an external hard drive belonging to the NYPD at the end of last November near East 20th Street and Third Avenue. An officer for the Internal Affairs Bureau at the NYPD said that Ighodaro didn’t have permission to take the hard drive from his office or give it to anyone else and a sergeant for the computer crimes section at Internal Affairs determined that the hard drive contained personal identifying information, including social security numbers, for approximately 4,760 members and applicants of the NYPD.

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Mount Sinai practice will open in Stuy Town

The Mount Sinai practice will open at 516-518 East 20th Street. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

The Mount Sinai practice will open at 516-518 East 20th Street. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

As part of the $500 million Beth Israel rebuild effort, including the creation of a “Mount Sinai Downtown” network, the hospital system announced that it will be opening a practice in Stuyvesant Town.

The practice, to be located at 516-518 East 20th Street, will offer primary care and specialty services. Construction is expected to be completed on the space by the fall and it is expected to open in the fall. Currently the 4,000 square foot space is vacant with its windows papered up. Formerly it was home to Berkely Sutton Cleaners, which moved elsewhere in Stuy Town, and a key control room for the complex.

According to a press release, this center will “help achieve Mount Sinai’s goal of transforming and embracing a new model of care that focuses on serving patients in the most appropriate setting.”

Mount Sinai’s planned downsizing of Beth Israel involves transitioning to a mostly outpatient model.

The practice will also offer pediatric services, and as for the specialty care services, they are to be determined “in consultation with Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, surrounding communities and interest groups,” the hospital said, and “will also be offered on a rotating basis.”

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