All Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village security cameras getting replaced

Stuyvesant Town’s public safety command center will soon look like this, following the installation of nearly 1,500 new cameras around the complex. (Pictured above) a similarly upgraded security office with technology installed by the same company that’s working with Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Fortress Security)

By Sabina Mollot

As part of an ongoing effort aimed at making Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village safer, management will soon be replacing all 1,332 of the surveillance cameras on the property with newer models that offer higher-resolution images. Another 161 cameras will also be installed in other places, including each building’s laundry room and carriage rooms, where bikes are stored. This will bring the total to 1,493 cameras onsite.

The project will cost close to $2 million. However, according to Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk, the cost will not be passed on to tenants through a major capital improvement (MCI) rent increase.

According to Rei Moya, director of operations in ST/PCV, the new cameras will offer significantly better image quality, similar to that of a TV show, as opposed to the somewhat choppy grainy footage that’s currently available. (The resolution is 1,080 as opposed to the current 480.) It will also be available through an ethernet connection, allowing public safety department and management employees to access images on their phones, which hadn’t been possible previously. The new technology will also enable a photo to be taken any time a person passes through certain thresholds, like near carriage rooms. While this means every resident will have his or her photo taken on every trip to retrieve a bike, it will also capture individuals looking to steal bikes. The purpose of the photos is that they will save a lot of time as compared to the current process of scrolling through what can amount to hundreds of hours of footage to find a theft suspect.

“If someone hops a fence and runs, with the technology this system has a threshold so anyone jumping a fence gets their photo taken,” Hayduk explained.

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Local tap water source changed after complaints about taste and smell

Council Member Keith Powers is calling for additional testing of the water after hearing from dozens of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Department of Environmental Protection has stopped distributing water from the Croton watershed after an increase of complaints from residents about the quality of their tap water.

A spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that the department decreased the percentage of Croton water going into distribution in response to the reports from residents about an “earthy” taste or smell to the water, and said that complaints to 311 have dropped since this change.

StuyTown Property Services sent out an email last Thursday with updates about the initial changes from the department, which were due to the DEP shutting down the Catskill Aqueduct for 10 weeks for an infrastructure project to upgrade the aqueduct.

The DEP noted that the Catskill Aqueduct is 113 years old and the ten-week renovation will cost $156 million. Gothamist reported last week that this Catskill Aqueduct shutdown will be the first of three before the Delaware Aqueduct is closed in 2022 for several months of repairs.

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Police Watch: Six arrested for helping brothels advertise online, launder money

SIX CHARGED WITH HELPING BROTHELS ADVERTISE ONLINE, LAUNDER MONEY
This past Monday, police arrested six people in connection with a scheme to promote and finance brothels throughout the city, including one on 14th Street, the Daily News reported. The six suspects reportedly built websites for the brothels and are being charged with money laundering.
The websites went by the names “One Hour Girlfriend,” “Kiss Kiss Pop” and “Shake Shake Girls,” and showed photos of prostitutes from the brothels. Police said that Kwong Kyu (Kevin) Kim and Hyun Kyung (Jay Hee) Han, who are married, and Hong Nae (Diane) Yi reportedly issued high-interest loans to brothel owners in Manhattan and set up bank accounts to keep money going into and out of the brothels. Court documents said that Han owned the brothel on 14th Street, as well as one on 39th Street. Additional suspects Beirne (Michael) Lowey, Tien Chih Wang and Zhengyi (Allen) Lu allegedly helped to set up web pages and ads for the brothels.
Police said that Lowey, who allegedly photographed the prostitutes, was seen placing stickers advertising the websites on light posts, parking meters and other surfaces on Third Avenue between East 10th and 31st Streets.
Wang and Lu allegedly used bitcoin to purchase advertising credits on Backpage.com, which was seized by the federal government in April, and the suspects reportedly resold the credits on their own website.

MAN ACCUSED OF ATTEMPTING TO EMPTY FATHER’S BANK ACCOUNT
Police arrested 44-year-old Louis Governara for an alleged theft inside the TD Bank at 950 Broadway on Tuesday, October 9 at 8:57 a.m. Police said that Governara presented himself as his father inside the TD Bank to withdraw all the funds from his father’s bank account. Governara’s father said that his son didn’t have permission to withdraw the funds and when police attempted to place him under arrest, he allegedly resisted. Police said that Governara was also in possession of a debit card that didn’t belong to him. He was charged with petit larceny, resisting arrest and possession of stolen property.

REAL ESTATE AGENT ALLEGEDLY STOLE PILLS FROM CLIENT’S GRAMERCY APARTMENT
Police arrested 54-year-old David Moody for an alleged theft from an apartment at 21 East 21st Street that took place on Friday, October 5.
The victim told police that she allowed Moody inside her apartment to do an open house because the suspect is her real estate agent. Police said that Moody could then be seen entering her apartment on two separate occasions at 4:49 p.m. and 8:50 p.m. on October 5 and he allegedly went through the victim’s drawers and removed pills from multiple pill bottles. \The victim said that she didn’t have anyone scheduled to view the apartment at those times and Moody didn’t have permission to be there. Moody was charged with petit larceny inside the 13th precinct on Tuesday, October 9 at 9 a.m.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT ON SECOND AVENUE
Police arrested 47-year-old Christopher Clark for an alleged assault in front of 465 Second Avenue on Tuesday, October 9 at 7:06 p.m. A witness told police that Clark punched the victim in the face multiple times, causing the victim to fall down the stairs. The witness said that once the victim was on the ground, Clark allegedly punched him again multiple times. The victim was transported to Beth Israel and was diagnosed with a fracture on the left side of his face. Police said that a knife was also recovered from Clark’s pants pocket and he was also charged with weapons possession.

MAN ARRESTED FOR STRANGLING GIRLFRIEND
Police arrested a 24-year-old man for strangulation inside Straus Houses at 243 East 27th Street on Wednesday, September 26 around 9 p.m. Police said that the suspect choked the victim, causing her to vomit. Police said that the victim, who is in her 20s and in a relationship with the suspect, sustained redness to her neck. The suspect was arrested inside the 13th precinct on Tuesday, October 9 at 7:55 p.m. The name of the suspect is being withheld to protect the identity of the victim.

WOMAN ARRESTED ON FIRST AVENUE OVER ALLEGED EXTORTION FOR PHONE
Police arrested 40-year-old Desiree Cruz for an alleged theft by extortion in front of 273 First Avenue on Friday, October 12 at 2:38 p.m. Police said that the victim lost her phone and arranged to meet up with Cruz to get it back, but Cruz allegedly agreed to return the phone only if the victim paid her. When they met up at East 14th Street and First Avenue, the victim saw Cruz allegedly holding her phone and police arrested her. When she was arrested, Cruz was also found to be in possession of a quantity of alleged heroin and marijuana. Cruz was charged with grand larceny by extortion, possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance.

SPRINT EMPLOYEE ARRESTED FOR FORGERY
Police arrested 20-year-old Abner Batista for an alleged forgery that took place inside the Sprint store at 145 Fifth Avenue on Friday, May 11. The victim told police that he went inside the store to switch a non-working phone to a used phone. The victim said that he decided to get a new phone another time.
Later in the year, he was looking at his email of purchases and found that Batista, the sales rep he had talked to when at the store, had allegedly forged his name on a protection plan policy. The victim said that he never signed his name to the plan and police said that Batista had falsely signed his name for complete the transaction. Batista was arrested inside the 13th Precinct on Wednesday, October 10 at 3 p.m.

MAN BUSTED FOR ASSAULT AT DUNKIN DONUTS
Police arrested 54-year-old Karl Dozier for an alleged assault inside the Dunkin Donuts at 355 Third Avenue on Monday, October 8 at 3:59 a.m. Police said that while Dozier and the victim were arguing inside the restaurant, Dozier pulled out a knife. When he was arrested, police found an alleged steak knife in Dozier’s back waistband. Dozier was also charged with weapons possession.

MEN BUSTED FOR ‘DRUGS’ ON EAST 24TH
Police arrested two men for allegedly selling drugs on East 24th Street on Friday morning.
Michael Miller, 35, was arrested for the alleged sale of a controlled substance at the corner of Third Avenue and East 24th Street on October 12 at 8:27 a.m. Police said that Miller, along with another person who wasn’t arrested, sold a quantity of Clonazepam to an undercover officer.
Police also arrested 44-year-old George Santiago for the alleged sale of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance at the corner of Second Avenue and East 24th Street on October 12 at 8:31 a.m. Police said that Santiago sold a quantity of methadone to an undercover officer, and was also in possession of several loose Clonazepam pills that were in his pocket.

MAN ARRESTED IN UNION SQUARE FOR ALLEGEDLY STOLEN CYMBALS
Police arrested 34-year-old Ricardo Montoya for alleged thefts in front of 25 Union Square West on Monday, October 8 at 11:50 a.m. Police said that on July 8 and August 2, Montoya entered the Guitar Center at 218 West 44th Street and allegedly swiped cymbals from the store on both occasions. Police said that on Monday, he was spotted in Union Square and police found that he was allegedly in possession of the stolen cymbals. Montoya was charged with petit larceny and possession of stolen property.

MAN ARRESTED FOR THEFTS FROM FIFTH AVENUE STORES
Police arrested 66-year-old Carlos Victor-Castillo for an alleged burglary at the corner of Broadway and East 21st Street on Tuesday, October 9 at 4:38 p.m. Police said that Victor-Castillo went inside the Banana Republic at 105 Fifth Avenue and stole multiple purses and he had previously been issued a trespass notice from the store, barring him from entering the business.
A plainclothes officer stopped Victor-Castillo a few blocks away from the store after being pointed out by a security officer from the business.
Police said that Victor-Castillo also entered the Coach store at 79 Fifth Avenue on October 6 and stole more than $1,000-worth of purses. He was also charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property.

Teen nabbed for trying to rob Stuy Town resident

Stuy Town

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 14-year-old boy was arrested after getting into a fight with two Stuy Town residents in front of 410 East 20th Street on Friday, October 12 at 9:49 p.m. and attempting to steal one of their phones.

The residents, who police said were intoxicated at the time, reportedly argued with the teen and two other boys while returning home but police had no further information about what started the argument.

The teen who was arrested was held at the location by Stuyvesant Town security until police arrived but the two other boys weren’t caught. Police said that the teen is not a resident of Stuy Town or Peter Cooper Village.

The teen, whose name is being withheld due to his young age, was charged with robbery.

Letters to the editor, Oct. 18

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

What I am sure of on Kavanaugh

When Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois asked Dr. Christine Ford, “To what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?” Dr. Ford answered, “One hundred percent certain!” The Senate of the United States is a (self-made) pompous place and its senators often excessively verbal. (Perhaps such goes with our lore that the chamber is contemplative.) Durbin’s question should have been to the issue of what happened to Dr. Ford and not to her belief(s). For her part, Ford should have rejected Durbin’s framing the question about her beliefs. Unfortunately, she, as a modern-day academic, followed Durbin and quantified her (own) belief.

As a response, “one hundred” is misleading. It firms-up nothing that is relevant! We were not interested in Dr. Ford’s beliefs. We wanted to know what happened. Dr. Ford’s reply should have been framed in terms of what happened—not in terms of her frame of mind. Her answer to Durbin should have been prefaced by her assertion, “Senator, it is not a matter of my belief, Brett Kavanaugh was in my face!”

Unfortunately, her professionalism—the quantified belief business—plunked us squarely in today’s swamp of reductionism where claims are taken as personal, and personal is treated as (nothing but) belief. We are left isolated in a mass.

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Dems say Republican club is to blame for assaults

Powers and pols

Council Member Keith Powers questioned the club’s judgment, while Council Member Donovan Richards questioned why there weren’t more arrests. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

After an Upper East Side Republican Club was vandalized on Friday, followed by a street brawl that is believed to be between members of a far-right group and left wing counter-protesters, local Democrat elected officials said the club had itself to blame.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and a handful of other politicians, including Council Member Keith Powers, who represents the neighborhood, questioned why the Metropolitan Club invited Gavin McInnes, a speaker who founded the Proud Boys group. Proud Boys has been deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Johnson said that McInnes, the co-founder of Vice Media, has used anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, sexist, racist and homophobic language.

A Vox report this week said McInnes has made statements about why he hates Jews as well as wanting to defile women. He has also made statements about Muslims being inbred.

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Teen arrested for rape in stairwell at school on E. 15th

High School for Health Professions and Human Services at 345 East 15th Street

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A student was arrested for raping another student inside a high school on East 15th Street near Stuyvesant Square Park last week.

According to police, a male student at the High School for Health Professions and Human Services at 345 East 15th Street raped the female student inside a stairwell of the school building on Wednesday, October 10 at 1:23 p.m.

Police said that the teen pulled his pants down, grabbed the victim’s neck and forced her to perform oral sex on him. The teen also allegedly pulled down the victim’s pants and penetrated her with his finger.

Police did not specify the age of either the suspect or the victim but said that they were both students at the high school and are both younger than 17. The name of the suspect is being withheld by the NYPD due to his age.

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Opinion: Tales of the Waterside ducks

Oct11 Waterside ducks

Photo courtesy of Waterside Plaza

By Marsha Sorotick 

On the first day of Spring, 2014, much to the surprise of Waterside residents, a lone female duck was seen strolling around the Plaza looking like she owned the place. Shortly thereafter, she was observed taking a morning swim in the neat little pond that is part of the Plaza’s garden space. In time, a mallard joined her in the pond. To the residents’ delight, the two of them would sun and groom themselves on the ponds’ rocks, take short swims, and an afternoon snooze.

It eventually was reported by the garden staff that, apparently, it wasn’t all sunning and swimming and snoozing. Eggs were discovered, well hidden in the garden’s shrubbery. So began several weeks of waiting, watching and wondering by Watersiders. Checking on the duck eggs became the thing to do.

The day finally arrived when the ducklings appeared in all their fuzzy cuteness swimming with their mom in the Plaza pond. They stayed until they were deemed ready to leave by their mom and, as is their tradition, marched out of the garden in single file behind their mother, down the Plaza steps to the river.

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Harvest in the Square raises $430G for Union Square Park

Tim Meyers, chef at Bocce USQ (at left) at Harvest in the Square (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Harvest in the Square, the annual food festival that serves as a fundraiser for Union Square Park, raised $430,000 at this year’s event, topping last year’s fundraising amount of $368,000.

Union Square Partnership executive director Jennifer Falk said that a portion of the money raised always goes to programming in the park, such as free community programs through summer in the square, as well as landscaping of park and plazas and capital work to make repairs.

The Partnership will work with the Parks Department over the winter to develop ideas for what the park needs and work on whatever project is chosen will begin next April. The money raised through last year’s Harvest in the Square was used to build out brand new seating area just south of where the mother and child fountain is on the west side of the park between 15th and 16th Streets. The Partnership said that in the last 23 years, the event has raised a total of $6.7 million.

Falk noted that a significant portion of the money from last year was used to replace equipment in the playgrounds and to replace some of the park lighting with LED energy.

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Bellevue Hospital expands primary care

Bellevue CEO William Hicks; Dr. Andrew Wallach, clinical director of ambulatory care and the clinical chief of primary care at Bellevue; and other physicians at the ribbon cutting for the newly expanded primary care center (Photo courtesy of NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue Hospital)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Bellevue Hospital has announced that it is expanding adult primary care services in a newly-repurposed space, with the goal of having patients be able to get treatment for different issues in one location.

The hospital’s clinic, which had already been offering some primary care services on the ambulatory care building’s second floor, has expanded to add 12 patient exams rooms and increased the available space by 2,200 square feet for a total of 13,300 square feet. Bellevue CEO William Hicks said that the clinic was able to take over space that was previously occupied by the hospital’s World Trade Center health program, which has relocated to the hospital building of Bellevue.

Dr. Ted Long, who is the vice president of ambulatory care at Bellevue, said that the new space, as well as new processes in place at the clinic, will reduce wait times for patients looking to make an appointment. The average time for new patient appointments has already been reduced to 14 days from 40.

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Stuy Fitness gym opens on 14th St., 20th St. gym to be upgraded soon

Stuy Fitness on East 14th Street had a soft opening over the weekend and opened officially last Monday. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, Stuyvesant Town’s second gym for residents, Stuy Fitness, opened officially following a soft opening over the weekend.

Rick Hayduk, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village’s general manager, said the gym is 90 percent complete at this time, with final touches to depend on feedback from residents. Hayduk also said that the 20th Street gym, Oval Fitness, which has been open for the past decade, will be seeing upgrades and a refurbishment within the year.

As for the new gym, the gleaming white and blue space is in sharp contrast with the chaotic scene that is now East 14th Street. As the L train work on the Avenue A entrance and the construction related to the looming L shutdown ensues, Hayduk said he felt Stuyvesant Town had a responsibility to at least make part of the street appear presentable. The 8,500-square-foot facility, which cost $3.5 million to build, is located in what was previously a Citi Bike storage space and prior to that, a daycare center that was flooded during hurricane Sandy. The daycare center is now on Avenue C and management is currently looking for a suitable replacement storage area for Citi Bike.

Meanwhile, the gym came about from demand from residents, specifically those who didn’t live on or near 20th Street and indicated that they would join a gym if it were more convenient.

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Florence Friedman, T&V Synagogue’s first woman president, dies at age 101

Florence Friedman on her 100th birthday (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The first female president of Town & Village Synagogue died on Friday, September 28, about a month before her 102nd birthday. Florence Friedman, a Peter Cooper Village resident and previously an original tenant of Stuyvesant Town, was also one of the founding members of the local temple, attending services there before the congregation had an official physical presence in the neighborhood.

Around the time of her 100th birthday, Friedman told Town & Village about the early days of the synagogue, when services were held above a liquor store south of East 14th Street and meetings were held at a dairy on First Avenue.

Friedman was born on November 7, 1916 in Brooklyn and grew up in the Bronx. Democratic incumbent Woodrow Wilson was reelected on the day that Friedman was born and at the time, women still didn’t have the right to vote.

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Singer Garland Jeffreys’ tips for aspiring musicians

Dec28 Garland Jeffreys

Stuyvesant Town rock singer Garland Jeffreys (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, October 22, Stuyvesant Town rock singer Garland Jeffreys will be performing a concert at a fundraiser for the 14th Street Y, where he, his wife Claire and daughter Savannah are longtime members.

It will be the first of a few local concerts coming up for the singer, following a recent tour through Europe to promote his last album, “14 Steps to Harlem.”
Now in the early writing stages for his next album, to be called, “Dash of Soul,” and fundraising for a documentary about his career, Jeffreys, 75, spoke with Town & Village to share tips for new and aspiring musicians.

“I’m always happy to talk to people who are starting out,” he said, adding that starting out means picking a musical direction to take.

“What kinds of songs do they want to write? Love songs, protest songs or a Dylan-esque area?” he asked. “They should work and work and work on the music and not take it for granted. I tell stories about different things, like race, like my childhood, my passions.”
In recent years, Jeffreys has been known to do many concerts in people’s homes, which he recommends doing as well as finding local venues like bars.

“If you’re starting out, anywhere is a good place to start,” said Jeffreys. “Just get your guitar and get your keyboard and get to practicing and that’s how your songwriting evolves.”

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Kips Bay tailor, 80, charged with groping woman customer

Tamagoglu’s shop in Kips Bay (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

An 80-year-old tailor in Kips Bay who was violently robbed in his East 27th Street shop last year has been arrested for allegedly groping a customer at his business last week.

The victim told police that while owner Apel Tamagoglu was hemming her pants inside Apel’s New Day Tailor Shop at 203 East 27th Street on Wednesday, October 3 at 2:20 p.m., he allegedly grabbed her buttocks twice and put his hand over her genital area.

As Town & Village reported last year, Tamagoglu was stabbed during a robbery in his Kips Bay shop in January, resulting in a fractured skull, a punctured lung and other injuries. Video footage of the incident showed Tamagoglu attempting to chase the robber out with a chair but he ultimately gave the suspect $80 in cash after being stabbed multiple times. John Franklyn, 53, was arrested shortly after the incident and charged with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing Tamagoglu. Franklyn was reportedly a resident of the 30th Street Men’s Shelter at the time of the incident.

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Purple-haired robber hits Gramercy 7-Eleven

Robbery suspect

Police are looking for a robber with long purple dreadlocks who held up a 7-Eleven on Monday.

At about 8:30 p.m., the suspect entered the store located at 247 Third Avenue between 20th and 21st Streets, and announced a robbery as he gestured to his waistband. A 23-year-old employee then turned over an undetermined amount of cash and the robber fled.

The suspect was last seen wearing a green vest and a red hat.

Town & Village was unable to reach the store by phone for comment.

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, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.