Veterans Day Parade celebrates end of WWI

Photos by Sabina Mollot

By Sabina Mollot

On Sunday, around 25,000 veterans, active military personnel and their supporters marched up Fifth Avenue from 23rd Street for New York City’s annual Veterans Day Parade.

The city’s parade, which is the largest in the country, this year celebrated the centennial of the end of World War I, with the army the featured branch of the military.

Prior to the march, speakers mentioned how that war presented a number of firsts, including women joining the ranks. Additionally, one tenth of the military during what was then known as “The Great War” or “The World War” were residents of New York State, half of those New Yorkers from the city.

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Burglar takes accessories, electronics

Burglary suspect

Police are looking for a man who burglarized an apartment in Chelsea on Tuesday, October 30 at 11 a.m.

The man got into the apartment, on West 21st Street and Sixth Avenue, through an unlocked door, and once inside, swiped watches, headphones, earphones, sunglasses, a laptop, a wallet and a backpack. The burglar then fled the building, heading north on Sixth Avenue.

The suspect is a light-skinned man with glasses, and was last seen wearing a black knit cap, a black jacket, blue jeans and black boots.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Alleged mailbox fishing pair arrested

The suspects allegedly used a plastic bottle covered in a sticky substance to get mail out of the mailbox.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Two people were arrested after police spotted them allegedly “mailbox fishing” near Union Square last week.

Keimy Disla Medina, 24, a 17-year-old boy and another teenager were stopped in front of 353 East 17th Street on Friday, November 2 at 1:18 a.m. while they were allegedly trying to steal from a mailbox at the location.

Police said that the three suspects had rigged a plastic bottle filled with liquid that was attached to a string and covered in a sticky substance to get mail out of the mailbox. When the suspects were stopped, police said that they were found to be in possession of multiple pieces of mail not addressed to them and were allegedly in possession of burglary tools.

Medina and the teen were charged with burglar’s tools, petit larceny, criminal tampering, fraud and possession of stolen property. Police said that the second teenager was issued a juvenile report but was not arrested.

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Former physician’s assistant who worked in Gramercy pleads guilty to sexually abusing patients

Kenneth Ferranti

By Sabina Mollot

On Thursday, Kenneth Ferranti, a former physician’s assistant who worked at Hennessey Dermatology in Gramercy, pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of two male patients.

Ferranti, a 40-year-old resident of Jersey City, abused the patients in February and August of 2017. Along with sexual abuse in the third degree, he also pleaded guilty to forcible touching and perjury for lying about the incidents during his testimony.

“As a physician’s assistant, this defendant garnered trust and confidence from the many patients left in his care,” said District Attorney Cy Vance. “But on at least two occasions, when these same patients came to him in need of medical attention, he violated that trust and abused them under the guise of providing medical treatment. That he later perjured himself before a grand jury as he testified about the abuse only exacerbates this terrible crime, and I thank my office’s prosecutors for holding him accountable.”

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Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village under-enrolled for rent freeze programs

By Sabina Mollot

Stuyvesant Town is among the top ten neighborhoods with the most people who are eligible for a rent freeze intended for the disabled or seniors that haven’t enrolled in the programs, according to the Department of Finance.

The stats were part of a report that was released by the DOF on The Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE). The report also said that as many as 155,366 households in the city may qualify for Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) or DRIE and out of that number, 61,319 actually receive the benefit while 94,047 additional residents are not enrolled but could be eligible. The utilization rate for SCRIE is 43 percent while it’s 27 percent for DRIE. Possible reasons for not getting enrolled, the department believes, include language barriers, insufficient public communication and negative sentiment about government assistance.

Along with Stuyvesant Town, which was counted alongside Turtle Bay, other neighborhoods believed to be the most under-enrolled for SCRIE/DRIE include the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, Coney Island, Kingsbridge Heights/Moshulu, Riverdale/Kingsbridge, Throggs Neck/Co-op City, Kew Gardens/Woodhaven, Flushing/Whitestone and Highbridge/S. Concourse.

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Letter to the editor, Nov. 8

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Voting is not a duty

Re: Letter, “State elections can impact this area,” T&V, Nov. 1

To the Editor,

The Hon. Ms. Dankberg opens her letter encouraging people to vote. As district leader, she correctly asks them to bring friends. But she contradicts herself when she signs off, thanking them in advance for doing their civic duty.

Voting is not one’s civic duty. It is a right and a privilege in our nation. What is a civic obligation, however, is jury duty. If one doesn’t vote, that’s their business. But if one skips jury duty, one could have problems.

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Stuyvesant Town’s female Boy Scout looking to ‘Connect a Pet with a Vet’

Nov8 Sydney Ireland

Sydney Ireland

Since the Boy Scouts started allowing in younger girls ages 5-10 this September, 56,000 have joined. While this should be wonderful news, the Scouts have yet to recognize the contributions by girls who have already been in the program, albeit unofficially, for years. This means that Sydney Ireland, a Stuy Town resident and female Boy Scout who is currently close to completing her Eagle project, is expected by the Boy Scouts to start the program over in February, when girls will be allowed to officially join.

That said, Sydney is still fighting to have her work (over a decade’s worth) with the program recognized.

On Sunday, she will be involved with a Connect a Pet with a Vet project. Working with Bideawee pet adoption on 38th Street, just east of First Avenue, and veterans groups, including Backpacks for Life and 100 Memorial Run, Sydney will be raising money to cover the adoption costs for veterans. Donations can also be made online.

Bideawee is also hoping for donations of leashes, harnesses, dog and cat toys and clean towels. The Irelands’ family dog, Scout, came from Bideawee.

Veterans Day walk will celebrate centennial of end to World War I

On Sunday, November 4, StuyTown Property Services held a now annual event in which residents were invited to plant flags in the Oval lawn to commemorate Veterans Day. Once placed, the flags formed the words “Thank you.” Participants also listened to live music and enjoyed hot chocolate. Those who missed the flag installations can still attend a brief ceremony on Sunday, November 11 from 9-9:15 a.m. All residents are invite to gather at the Oval Fountain for a flag-raising and musical tribute of Taps for veterans and their families. (Photo by Hermann Reiner)

This Veterans Day, Sunday, November 11, 2018, commemorates the centennial of the end of World War I, and the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) will host a free walking tour to explore this historic moment. The tour will be led by historian, author, and professional tour guide Miriam Berman, and meet at 11 a.m. in front of the Flatiron building.

Flatiron’s Madison Square has been the site of New York City’s annual Veterans Day memorial ceremony and parade since its inception, the largest such observance in the country. The ceremony takes place at the Eternal Light Memorial Flagpole with remarks from city officials after which the parade commences.

Originally established as Armistice Day, November 11, 1918 marked the end of World War I combat on land, sea and air.

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E. 20th St. already looks different due to new bike lanes, bus islands

The construction east of First Avenue is part of the traffic safety enhancement plan. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

This week, numerous readers reached out to Town & Village, asking about all the work currently going on at East 20th Street, east of First Avenue.

As we reported last month, the Department of Transportation was in the early stages of a traffic safety enhancement project on East 20th Street along the route to the ferry. The project also unfortunately included the removal of 12 parking spots.

Work, however, began in earnest last weekend, with bike lanes being built on the north side of the street adjacent to bus boarding islands.

Council Member Keith Powers said his office has also received many calls, including some complaints, from residents, mainly over the loss of parking at a time when East 14th Street has also lost dozens of spaces due to the L train related construction work. In response, Powers said he’s asked DOT officials to walk along the street with him.

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What a Democratic State Senate means for tenants

Nov20 Mike McKee color

Mike McKee of TenantsPAC (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

For years, Democrats in Albany have been pledging to strengthen rent regulations in New York City, but whenever legislation aimed at doing so dies on the chamber floor, fingers get pointed at their Republican colleagues, who, up until November 6, held a majority in the State Senate.

Now, with the chamber having turned unquestionably blue, tenants might just have a chance at seeing some of the legislation, most notably the repeal of vacancy decontrol, get signed into law. Following the election, the Democrat to Republican ratio is 40 Democrats to 23 Republicans. While this figure includes Simcha Felder, a Democrat who caucuses with Republicans, the Democrats still have a clear majority.

But even still, it won’t be easy, Michael McKee, the treasurer and spokesperson of Tenants Political Action Committee, is warning.

“Nothing is guaranteed,” McKee said. “We are going to have to work very hard to make sure our friends in both houses do the right thing and hold them accountable. Just because the Senate is now under Democratic control, it doesn’t mean stronger rent protections are automatically going to happen.”

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Community Board 6 mulling restrictions on new newsstands

Concerns were raised about newsstands that would compete with businesses they’re across from or block historic properties. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Newsstands are as much a part of street life in New York as bodegas and corner delis but after a recent influx of applications for new locations in the area, members of Community Board 6 have decided to revise the criteria for approving them in the district.

Protecting those existing delis and other small businesses is one of the reasons for the proposed changes to the criteria, said Andrew Gross, a member of the transportation committee who combed through the requirements that other boards in the city use to come up with changes for CB6.

“When there were applicants who wanted to put up newsstands in front of small businesses in the district, like bodegas and delis, it seemed like a competitive issue that could harm the pre-existing small businesses,” Gross said. “We’re not here to punish people for opening newsstands but this is a bit of an archaic system that hasn’t been updated in a while.”

Newsstands are ultimately approved by the Department of Consumer Affairs but potential operators are required to submit materials to the appropriate community board to give members an opportunity to comment on the application.

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Watersiders ask city to sweeten affordability deal

Waterside Plaza as seen from Queens (Photo courtesy of Waterside Plaza)

By Sabina Mollot

Waterside residents who are getting close to retirement age — but don’t plan to retire by next year — are asking the city to expand on a deal that’s aimed at giving some kind of rent relief to the complex’s “settling” tenants.

The tentative agreement between landlord Richard Ravitch and the city, which was announced in August, would offer either rent reductions, rent freezes or lower annual increases to 325 settling tenants, depending on their incomes, for 75 years. Settling tenants are individuals who moved into Waterside when it was still in the Mitchell-Lama affordable housing program and later entered into a different agreement with the owner to have an annual rent increase that is now 4.25 percent.

The part of the recent deal that’s caused some controversy however, is an additional benefit offered to tenants who retire by the end of 2019. Those tenants will receive a one-time rent reduction to 30 percent of their household income.

As Town & Village previously reported, local elected officials and tenants have asked if the HPD would consider extending the retiree offer by several years, but the agency has already indicated this won’t happen.

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Police Watch: Man arrested for filming woman in bathroom, Student arrested for releasing sex tape

MAN ALLEGEDLY FILMED WOMAN IN UNION SQUARE BATHROOM
Police arrested 28-year-old Olubenga Adesanya for allegedly filming a woman while she was inside a bathroom stall in the restroom inside the Union Square subway station on Tuesday, July 10 at 2:30 p.m. The woman told police that she went into the bathroom and when she got into the stall, noticed that there was a cell phone camera lens pointed down at her and she could see a person’s feet under the bottom of the stall. When she walked out of the bathroom, she reportedly saw Adesanya in the stall and confronted him outside the restroom, but he wasn’t arrested at the time. Police said that Adesanya turned himself in to officers at Transit District 4 at the corner of East 14th Street and Union Square East on Wednesday, October 31 at 7:15 p.m. because he saw himself on a wanted flyer. He was charged with obscene material.

SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE STUDENT ARRESTED FOR SENDING SEX TAPE TO FRIENDS
Police arrested a teenager for promoting a sexual performance by a child and aggravated harassment after he leaked a video on Tuesday, October 9 of him and his ex-girlfriend having sex. The victim told police that the suspect released the video while they were in the School of the Future at 127 East 22nd Street where they are both students, and that he sent the video to his friends because the victim broke up with him. The victim told police that she was aware of the video but didn’t authorize the suspect to share it with his friends. The teen was arrested on Tuesday, October 30 at 9:35 p.m. inside the 13th Precinct. His name is being withheld due to his young age.

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Democrats retake State Senate, Maloney and Epstein win easily

A line snakes out of a Stuyvesant Town polling place, with turnout being similar to presidential election years. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Local politicians were easily re-elected on Tuesday, with none of the state and federal candidates facing any serious challengers in this year’s midterms.

State Senator Brad Hoylman had the easiest path to victory, not having to face any challenger at all, although many of his fellow Democrats vying to flip seats in the State Senate had much closer races. But enough were successful in their campaigns that Democrats were able to regain a majority for only the third time in the last 50 years.

Some Senate races had still not been called as of Wednesday afternoon but by Tuesday night, at least 32 Senate Democrats had won their races, and Republicans won 21 seats. The win means that Democrats control the State Senate and Assembly as well as the offices of the governor, comptroller and attorney general.

Incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney won against Republican Eliot Rabin with 86.2 percent of the vote. Rabin received 12.3 percent of the vote, and Green Party candidate Scott Hutchins got 1.5 percent of the vote. Incumbent Assembly Member Harvey Epstein beat out Juan Pagan of the Reform Party and Republican Bryan Cooper with 87 percent of the vote.

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Man punches and robs livery cab driver

Robbery suspect

Police are looking for a man who got into a livery cab on West 17th Street, only to rob and assault the driver.

On Monday, October 22 at about 3 a.m., the 25-year-old livery cab driver picked up the man in front of 29 West 17th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, after he’d requested a ride. The two men ended up arguing and the suspect punched the victim and grabbed his TLC license. The victim refused medical attention on scene.

The suspect is described as male Hispanic, about 30 years old, 6’1” and 220 lbs. He was last seen wearing a gray sweatshirt, gray knit hat and blue jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). All calls are strictly confidential.