MAN ARRESTED FOR JUMPING INTO TRACKS WHILE RUNNING FROM COPS
Police arrested 32-year-old Jose Vijay for reckless endangerment and criminal trespass inside the First Avenue L station last Tuesday at 6:46 p.m. Police were responding to a call about Vijay about a previous sex abuse case while he was at the Third Avenue station on the L train. Police said that he matched the description of a man who was wanted for sex abuse and escorted him off the train. Officers then identified him as a suspect for the earlier incident, but while he was being held at the station, Vijay allegedly jumped onto the tracks and fled down the tunnel. Police said that he was seen passing between the tracks as a train was pulling into the station. No further information was available about the sex abuse case for which he was originally pursued.
MAN NABBED FOR STABBING ON SIXTH AVENUE
Police arrested 28-year-old Cedric Toon for assault and weapons possession last Sunday at 3:30 a.m. in front of 686 Sixth Avenue. Police said that Toon stabbed the victim in the back near his right shoulder with a knife, causing a puncture wound. Police searched the area and found Toon nearby, and two witnesses positively identified him.
MAN NABBED FOR ASSAULTING COP ON BROADWAY
Police arrested 25-year-old Mohamed Thiam for assault of a peace officer last Friday at 4:34 p.m. in front of 1165 Broadway at 27th Street. Police said that they approached Thiam because he was drinking beer out of a cup on the sidewalk and he allegedly refused to show the officer his ID. When they attempted to place him in handcuffs, he allegedly started flailing his arms to prevent being handcuffed. Police said that in the struggle, he punched the arresting office in the face.
ST-PCV Tenants Association members Wendy Byrne, Anne Greenberg, Al Doyle and Jimmy Walker at a pre-vote rally (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
At a typically raucous meeting attended by around 125 tenants, the Rent Guidelines Board made a preliminary vote for a rent increase that ranged from 1-3 percent for tenants signing a one-year lease and 2-4 percent for those signing a two-year lease. The motion for those amounts was made by the board chair Kathleen Roberts who got a 5:4 majority. Both the board’s tenant and owner members opposed it.
Landlord member Mary Serafy had called for a 4 percent increase for one-year leases and 6 percent for two-year leases. Tenant member Sheila Garcia had requested rollbacks for tenants in buildings where owners had raised rent through other means like major capital improvements or individual apartment improvements over the last three years while suggesting ranges of zero to two percent for tenants in other buildings. Like the landlords’ proposal, however, the motion was shot down 7:2.
Serafy had made the argument that market rate tenants, along with landlords, would suffer if there was a third rent freeze, with landlords trying to make up the lost income. She also pointed out that operating costs were up 6.2 percent.
UPDATE at 10:26 a.m.: Police said Marcus Campello has been found safe although a spokesperson for the department didn’t have details.
An 11-year-old student at School of the Future was reported missing early Wednesday, with police saying he was last seen at the Gramercy school Tuesday afternoon.
Marcus Campello, who lives on East 41st Street, also went missing last week. Police issued a similar alert last Friday morning, although Campello was found later in the day.
One law enforcement source said he ran away from home.
School of the Future is located at 127 East 22nd Street and Lexington.
By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders
Longtime Stuyvesant Town resident Steve Farhood has made it to the top!
There have been many, many successful persons from this community. A number of them were born right here and grew up around the playgrounds of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. They attended the local public or parochial schools. Many remained here as adults becoming outstanding members of their chosen professions. But none that I know of have been inducted into one of the major sports Hall of Fame. That is until Steve Farhood.
Those who knew Steve growing up or as a young adult probably watched him excel at paddle tennis winning titles and even national championships, some played right here on the courts in Stuyvesant Town. He had a penetrating and accurate backhand. Take it from me, one of the many players who fell victim to his talent on the court. But paddle tennis is not a major sport. Where Steve found his fame was in the pugilistic “sweet science” otherwise known as boxing. And he did so without ever lacing up a glove or landing a punch against another person.
Hotel 17 at 225 East 17th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
City says SRO building is running illegal hotel, but owner, fighting closure, says business is legit
By Sabina Mollot
Hotel 17, a budget hotel located in Stuyvesant Square, has stopped taking reservations and has been cleared of guests.
According to the general property manager of the business, Eyal Siri, this is not due to lack of business but due to the city’s crackdown on illegal hotels, which Siri said he’s been unfairly ensnared in.
Siri, whose family has leased and operated the hotel since the 1970s, admitted the business was never actually certified as a hotel, even though it has served that purpose openly for decades. According to the certificate of occupancy from 1943, it’s a Class A multi-dwelling/single room occupancy/old law tenement. In recent years, the city has had a task force investigate illegal hotels, which are usually residential buildings where rooms or apartments have been rented to people for under 30 days.
As of Monday, on the hotel’s website, a notice on the home page indicates the business is closed.
Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Police have noticed an increase in the use of K2 around West 14th Street and Sixth Avenue and believe that smokers of the drug are coming into the city on the PATH train, which has a stop at the intersection.
According to the commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, there were at least 10 people arrested for K2, also known as synthetic marijuana, in the last week, and charged with violating health codes.
Timoney discussed the arrests at a 13th Precinct Community Council meeting held on Tuesday, noting that two arrests were made at the Gramercy precinct earlier in the day.
Mike McKee of TenantsPAC
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Prices have increased 6.2 percent for owners of rent stabilized buildings in the last year, a study released by the Rent Guidelines Board last Thursday found.
RGB executive director Andrew McLaughlin said that one of the main factors for this increase was a 24.6 percent increase in fuel costs due to the year’s winter weather, which was reportedly colder than average.
However, RGB tenant member Harvey Epstein expressed concern and confusion about the reported increase in fuel costs, noting that 2016 was one of the hottest years on record. McLaughlin explained that the winter was 18 percent colder than the previous year, based on comparing each month to those in the previous year, and there were more days in which the average temperature was lower than 65 degrees.
The increase in fuel costs from 2016 to 2017 contrasted sharply with prices from the previous year, when fuel cost decreased 41.2 percent and by 21 percent the year before that. The decrease in last year’s fuel costs contributed to the negative price index in 2016, at -1.2.
Crafts table (Photos by Maya Rader)
By Maya Rader
On Easter Sunday, children and their families celebrated in Stuy Town with an egg hunt, potato sack races and a visit from the Easter Bunny. The annual event also included arts & crafts tables, two bouncy houses and gigantic foam building blocks to play with. The egg hunt started at 12:15 and ended pretty soon after that with no egg left behind. According to management’s figures, around 2,500 people stopped by throughout the duration of the event.
It’s only another local business
After 40 years serving high-quality food at reasonable prices, our neighborhood vegetarian restaurant, Angelica’s, is closing its doors.
Reportedly, the main reason for this sad event is the increase in rent to $26,000 a month. In order to meet this landlord-imposed hefty price tag, symbolic of the Trump Administration’s values or lack thereof, the owner, Leslie McEachern, would have to pay her employees the equivalent of the Chinese child-worker rate, probably a bowl of rice.
In addition, in lieu of serving fresh organic produce and helping local farmers support their families, Leslie would have to serve to her patrons the cheapest food available, food no doubt lacking in the nutritional value of organics. Although many business men are guided by the principles encapsulated by the phrase “It’s only business,” Leslie would never serve meals under these conditions.
Following in the bootsteps of the Trump administration, which intends to throw such humanitarian programs as Meals on Wheels under the bus, Angelica’s landlord has returned our earth Angel-ica to heaven much sooner than her patrons would like and if this landlord were asked, “Where is Angelica’s?” he’d no doubt reply, “She sleeps with the fishes.” I guess we are in the tyrannical age of “It’s only business.”
John Cappelletti, ST
Hours of the exhibition, taking place at Oval Studio, have been extended. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
On Saturday, StuyTown Property Services turned Oval Studio into a gallery space celebrating the community’s 70th anniversary.
The exhibition features various mementos from the property’s past, mostly on loan from residents. Items run from artwork showcasing the complex’s landscaping to photos of local businesses from days gone by to letters showing interaction between tenants and management. In one stern, type-written letter, a resident is informed that his child’s use of water gun on the grounds is a no-no.
The exhibition mostly steered clear of the property’s past major controversies, though, focusing on nostalgia, with a few exceptions. One could be the first year’s issues of this newspaper, which was displayed in a bound volume. (In the early years, an ongoing story involved Met Life’s policy of barring black residents.) There was also some other Stuy Town-focused reading material included.
Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
A 24-year-old Stuyvesant Town resident was robbed in his building by a group of seven people he had invited back to his apartment last Saturday at 4:20 a.m.
Police said that the victim met the men in a bar where he had been drinking earlier that night and he invited them back to his apartment in Stuy Town at East 20th and Avenue C. He told police that when he got into the elevator, the men started pulling up their hoods and covering their faces. When they got out of the elevator, they reportedly attacked the victim, forcing him to the ground and removing his wallet before fleeing the building. The victim reported the incident at 4:55 a.m. and no arrests were made at the time of the crime. Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney said at the 13th precinct community council’s meeting this past Tuesday that police were still looking for the suspects.
Police would not release the exact building where the robbery occurred to protect the victim.
Management did not return a request for comment on the incident by Town & Village’s press time.
Timoney said previously that locally thefts in homes were also up as a result of people inviting dates over, only to wake up and realize they’d been stolen from.
UPDATE: StuyTown Property Services responded to the incident on Thursday.
“StuyTown Property Services is aware of the incident and is assisting the NYPD with their investigation,” community affairs manager Marynia Kruk said.
MAN BUSTED FOR KIPS BAY BURGLARY
Police arrested 44-year-old Alejandro Almanzar for burglary inside 148 East 30th Street last Tuesday at 1:46 p.m. Almanzar was allegedly casing a number of buildings before he entered the apartment building at 148 East 30th Street. Police said that he went inside without holding anything and when he left, he was holding a black plastic bag with Kohl’s merchandise inside. When police stopped him, he allegedly said that he was picking up clothing for a church, but when police searched the building, they found a Kohl’s delivery package ripped open with the contents missing. Police said that Almanzar didn’t have permission to be inside the building or to take the clothes.
Almanzar was also charged with burglar’s tools, possession of stolen property and criminal trespass.
MAN BUSTED FOR BANK ROBBERY
Police arrested 51-year-old Edward Pemberton for a robbery that took place inside the Amalgamated Bank at 275 Seventh Avenue on March 28 at 1:40 p.m. Police said that Pemberton passed a demand note to a teller that read “All hundred and fifty bills will shoot!” After handing the note to the teller, Pemberton allegedly said, “Give me all the 50’s or I’ll blow your brains out. I have nothing to lose.” Police said that the teller then gave $1,009 in cash to Pemberton, who fled. He was arrested inside the 13th precinct last Monday at 9:05 p.m.
MAN NABBED FOR GROPING IN UNION SQUARE
Police arrested 33-year-old Michael Hincapie for sexual abuse inside the Union Square subway station last Wednesday at 4:47 p.m. Police said that Hincapie was rubbing his hand and cell phone between the victim’s legs and buttocks while on an uptown 4 train.
Diane Patrone, Cha Cha, Fanny, and Jordan Gunter
By Maya Rader
The dog days are officially upon us. On Saturday morning, Stuyvesant Town held its first Dog Days event of the season. Residents brought their pups to Playground 1 to play and socialize with other dogs while stands were set up manned by local pet-related businesses. The event was also attended by an adorable pot-bellied pig that arrived in a stroller. The pig is currently being housed at Whole Health Veterinary Hospital on First Avenue.
The event also included an obstacle course with toys laid out across the playground, including seesaws, tunnels and bars for Fido to practice jumping over.
Photos by Maya Rader
StuyTown Property Services’ new COO Kelly Vohs, CFO Andreas Spitzer and Rick Hayduk, CEO (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Stuyvesant Town Property Services, the now year-old subsidiary of Blackstone created for the management of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper, has recently completed a round of hires, including two in upper management.
One is new chief financial officer Andreas Spitzer, who previously served as CFO of the American Farmland Company, which he helped sell. He also worked for three years at retail REIT Equity One and four years at the New York City Housing Authority, where he served as CFO. He also spent 10 years as a mergers and acquisitions banker.
Spitzer has spent the last six months since getting hired by SPS conducting internal audits, which hadn’t been done on the property in over seven years.
The other hire, who started last week, is chief operating officer Kelly Vohs. Like SPS chief executive officer Rick Hayduk, Vohs has worked extensively in the hotel and resort industry. He is also an Army veteran who served in Iraq.
By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders
Let me state at the outset that I like Joseph Strasberg a lot. I have known him for something like 40 years. He used to live in Stuyvesant Town when I did. He is smart and he is savvy, and an all-around good guy. So who is Joseph Strasberg?
Joe is the long-time president of the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA). Their slogan is “we house New York.” They represent hundreds of rent regulated building owners throughout New York City. Much of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village remain under the Rent Stabilization law. As such, thousands of tenants in our community are subject to the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) annual determination regarding rent renewal amounts for leases expiring in any given year.
For the past two years those increases have been small, just about two percent for a two-year lease and zero percent for a one-year lease renewal. In essence for tenants who have opted for one-year lease renewals their rent has been frozen for the past two years. Good news for tenants, but is this unfair to owners? Well Strasberg and the RSA say “for sure!” In fact, as was reported in the T&V, they went to court to petition a judge to overturn the RGB’s freezing of rents. They argued it was arbitrary and capricious and challenged the independence of the board from the political influence of the mayor. Strasberg averred in his court filings that the current mayor had “corrupted” the process. Strasberg and the RSA lost.