Pride Parade will now end in Flatiron

The Pride Parade will be switching routes to include an AIDS memorial (pictured here). (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Pride Parade will end in the Flatiron District this year in a departure from the usual route, organizers have announced.

Heritage of Pride, the group that plans official NYC Pride events, said that the change is in preparation for events next year when the city will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and the first time that New York will be hosting WorldPride, a global celebration of Pride. The new location will be able to accommodate the record numbers of spectators that are anticipated.

The switch is expected to reduce wait times for the more than 350 marching groups preparing to step off. The new route will also allow the parade to go past the relatively new AIDS monument near the site of the former St. Vincent’s hospital at West 12th Street and Seventh Avenue, giving the memorial a place of prominence in the proceedings.

The parade will begin at noon on Seventh Avenue at West 16th Street and go south to the memorial and passing the historic Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, before heading north on Fifth Avenue and ending at 29th Street. The dispersal points along the new route are wider than the streets in the West Village where the March usually ends so organizers hope that this will create less of a bottleneck and will allow the parade to move more quickly than in in the past. In previous years, the parade started on 36th Street and went south on Fifth Avenue, ending in the West Village.

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LGBT protection bills collecting dust in Albany

State Senator Hoylman, pictured with his baby Lucy and husband David Sigal, had to work with a surrogate in California since surrogacy isn’t legal in New York. (Photo courtesy of Brad Hoylman)

By Sabina Mollot

Two years ago, State Senator Brad Hoylman told Town & Village that any LGBT-related legislation seemed to be blacklisted in Albany to the point where any bill with the term “LGBT” in it would be “dead on arrival.”

Since then, basically nothing has changed with the most recent significant LGBT-related legislation being the marriage equality act in 2011 that was championed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

In 2016, Hoylman did a study on the lack of action taken in the state capital since then, titled “Stranded at the Altar.” The fact that the Independent Democratic Conference has dissolved hasn’t changed anything, voting dynamic-wise, and Hoylman, as he has before, is laying the blame solely on his chamber’s Republican majority. Hoylman is the only openly gay state senator.

Additionally, while Cuomo is fighting a high-profile battle against a lesbian primary challenger, Hoylman said he wasn’t sure the governor could strong-arm the bills into law through executive order.

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Editorial: Now’s your chance, Cuomo

Even New Yorkers who are far from being political junkies know one thing. Andrew Cuomo is running scared over his primary against lesbian activist Cynthia Nixon. The most recent poll numbers are favoring the incumbent. However, political outsider Nixon is a threat to the governor’s LGBTQ supporters; with Pride Week coming up, so too will his name and hers among New York’s Democrat voters.

There will be those rightfully pointing out how Cuomo strong-armed marriage equality into reality in 2011, but as State Senator Brad Hoylman has proven with a study, LGBTQ New Yorkers have been “stranded at the altar” since then. And with seven years having gone by, it does appear they’ve officially been jilted by Albany.

This legislative session in the state capital is over now, but elected officials, including Cuomo, still have a chance to at least commit to passing some LGBTQ protections like (at least) banning gay conversion therapy of young people and ensuring a fairer workplace for gay and transgender people. And we truly don’t know what’s stopping them. Yes, the State Senate is controlled by Republicans and that is where all this legislation, like tenant protection legislation, has gone to die.

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Drag queens add sparkle to story time

Drag performer Harmonica Sunbeam kicks off the Epiphany Library’s summer reading series by reading to children and doing crafts with them on Friday. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

It wasn’t even noon, but the atmosphere in the room already felt like a party, with at least 20 of the 35 or so young guests donning sparkly boas. The venue was the Epiphany branch of the New York Public Library on East 23rd Street, where kids aged 3-7 and their parents awaited the arrival of a drag queen. The occasion? It was on Friday at 11 a.m. and the library’s summer reading series was being kicked off with “Drag Queen Story Hour.”

Now over a year old, the program is aimed at promoting diversity and gender acceptance, and, as its official website explains, “give kids glamorous, positive and unabashedly queer role models.”

DQSH was founded in San Francisco by Michelle Tea and Radar Productions but has since branched out to other cities. It first came to New York’s Brooklyn Library and June 15 was the first time for Epiphany, where kids showed up with parents or on a class trip. Most of those in attendance, including boys, opted in for boas, which came in a few colors and were distributed by the library.

Prior to greeting the children, the drag queen doing the reading, Harmonica Sunbeam, told Town & Village she got involved with the program after seeing a Facebook post seeking drag performers to read the kids. This was after the Brooklyn Library hosted an event, which, she recalled, “went viral and there was a demand for more queens.”

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Things to do during Pride Week

The New York City Dyke March takes place this Saturday evening. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Easily the most well-known gay pride event in New York City is the parade that happens at the end of every June, this year scheduled for this Sunday, but a number of other events are planned for this weekend in addition to the march. Read on for a list of local gatherings aimed at celebrating LGBTQ pride.

Shake Shack will be hosting a free quiet dance party to on Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. in the original Madison Square Park location at East 23rd Street. The event will be hosted by Quiet Events, a company that loans out wireless headphones for quiet dance parties throughout the city, and there will be three live DJs playing top 40 dance hits, throwbacks and hip-hop, reggae and soca. Entrance is free but a credit card is required to check in and receive the wireless headphones. The event is all ages and rainbow colors are encouraged for the dress code. Shake Shake food and drinks will be available for purchase. RSVP is available online.

While the New York City Dyke March is usually a raucous good time, the organizers technically bill the event as a protest rather than a party. The march, held on the Saturday before the parade, is mostly lesbian-led and those who don’t identify as “dykes” are encouraged to stand on the sidewalk and cheer on the participants. The organizers usually don’t seek a permit for the march, further emphasizing the political aspects of the event. Participants will step off from Bryant Park at 5 p.m. on June 23 and walk down Fifth Avenue, ending at Washington Square Park.

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Rare and well-known Marilyn Monroe photos on display

Marilyn Monroe, photographed by George Barris

By Sabina Mollot

Three years ago, an exhibition of photos of Marilyn Monroe was held at the art gallery Pop International and, unsurprisingly, was a big success, proving the blonde bombshell’s still got it even as she would have turned 89.

On June 21, that same gallery, owned by Stuyvesant Town residents Jeff Jaffe and his wife Nanette Ross, will once again be celebrating the Hollywood icon with the exhibition “Happy 92nd Birthday, Marilyn!”

“People just love her,” said Jaffe. “Because she was so beautiful, because of her tragic life and because she sustained something no one else has, that kind of fame, I don’t know that anyone else on the planet was like Marilyn Monroe.”

In 2015, buyers who swarmed the show were a mix of vintage photography collectors as well as die-hard Marilyn fans.

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Letter to the editor, June 21

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Polling place changes make no sense

The following is a letter from City Council Member Keith Powers that will be sent to all residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

Dear Neighbor:

As your new City Council Member, I wanted to inform you about a change that was made to your poll site for the upcoming elections. If you live in 330 1st Avenue, 400 E 20th Street, 410 E. 20th Street, 430 E 20th Street, 440 E. 20th Street, 442 E. 20th Street, 444 E. 20th Street, 446 E. 20th Street, 448 E. 20th Street or 450 E. 20th Street, your poll site has been changed.

The Board of Elections (BOE) has moved the voting location former poll site in Peter Cooper Village at 360 1st Avenue to the poll site currently located in Stuyvesant Town at 545 E. 14th Street for the upcoming election on Tuesday, June 26 and the subsequent elections in September and November of 2018, you will have to vote at 545 E. 14th Street.

I will be contacting the Board of Elections in an attempt to restore your polling site to its previous location. The poll site at 360 1st Avenue is still actively in use but currently only serves buildings within Peter Cooper Village.

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Police Watch: Senior assaulted in Union Square, Man arrested for separate Union Square assault

MAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING SENIOR ON TRAIN TO UNION SQUARE
Police arrested 26-year-old Jesus Reyes for allegedly assaulting a senior, fracturing a bone in his face, inside the Union Square subway station over the weekend. Police said that on Sunday, June 10 at 10:45 p.m., the 71-year-old victim was riding an uptown 4/5 train from Fulton Street to Union Square when Reyes allegedly began cursing at him and taunting him.
When the train pulled into Union Square, Reyes allegedly continued to taunt the victim and ultimately pushed him to the ground, causing him to fall onto the platform and injure his face. Police said that the victim later learned at the hospital that the fall had caused a fracture in the bones around his left eye.
An attorney for Reyes could not be reached for comment by T&V’s press time.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED UNION SQUARE ASSAULT
Police arrested 24-year-old Gage Quinones for an alleged assault and weapons possession at the corner of Union Square East and East 15th Street on Friday, June 15 shortly after 11 a.m. The victim flagged down a police officer in Union Square Park, saying he had been assaulted there last night and that Quinones, who was in the park at the time, was the one who did it.
The victim told police that he was talking with a friend in the park the night before around 11 p.m. when Quinones allegedly hit him in the back of the head with something, causing cuts on the left side of his face and head that required stitches. The victim said that he might have been hit with a bike lock and when Quinones was searched, he was allegedly in possession of a key chain to a bike lock, and his bike, the chain and lock were recovered from in front of 31 East 17th Street.

MAN BUSTED FOR BIKE THEFTS
Police arrested 59-year-old William Hernandez for an alleged theft in front of Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue on Wednesday, June 13 at 5 p.m. Police said that Hernandez could be seen on video surveillance removing a bicycle from in front of the hospital without permission and when he was searched, he was allegedly in possession of bolt cutters, a tool commonly used to steal bicycles. After he was arrested, Hernandez was also charged with petit larceny for allegedly stealing another bike in front of Bellevue on January 18, 2017. He was charged with burglar’s tools and petit larceny for the incident this month.

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Opinion: Fixing rents and making enemies

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

It is said that a good deal is one in which neither party is entirely satisfied. More about that in a moment.

Rent regulations in New York City has been a thorny issue for decades. So a little recent history. The Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) was established in 1969 and modified by the passage of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974. There are nine members of the RGB all appointed by the mayor. Of the nine, two are from the real estate industry, two representatives of tenant groups and five “public members.”

The RGB will meet on June 26 to set rent increases for leases that will expire beginning on October 1 through September 30, 2019. Currently, increases are set at 1.25 percent for a one-year lease and two percent for a two-year lease. Based on the proposals that have been recommended for public comment by the RGB, next year’s guidelines will be similar. There have been years where the rent increases rose into the double digits and there have been years that rents have been frozen. Generally speaking whatever the RGB decides, both tenants and owners cry foul. This year will be no different.

The fact is that try as they may, the RGB satisfies nobody. Moreover, it is difficult to do any planning because nobody knows what the rents will be set at from year to year. It is also a very dubious claim that the decision by the RGB is tied to any real economic data in terms of owners’ costs or profits and certainly not taking into consideration the financial burdens on tenants. In short, it is an arbitrary and often political process.

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Pushcart to become Citizens of Gramercy

Rogers (Photo courtesy of Carlina Rivera)

By Sabina Mollot

This week, a reader alerted us to the fact that Pushcart coffee at the corner of 21st Street and Second Avenue, had signage indicating it would be closing on June 14. She then spoke with an employee who said the place was sold and would reopen as a brunch spot.

After we reached out to one of the owners, Jamie Rogers, he responded that this was partly accurate.

“We are converting the shop into a brunch cafe under the new name Citizens of Gramercy, and I will remain an owner,” he said via email.

Rogers added that he and his partners did the same conversion to a Pushcart in Chelsea (Citizens of Chelsea).

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Con Ed to begin work on gas plant remediation wells

The gas works and storage tanks of Con Ed’s predecessor company in 1890. (Photo courtesy of Con Ed)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents appeared more concerned about communication regarding Con Edison’s plan to dispose of toxic waste left behind from the property’s days as a manufactured gas plant than about the project itself during an information session hosted in Stuy Town last Thursday evening.

“We understand that it has to be done,” resident Sherry Kirschenbaum said. “Rick (Hayduk, the property’s general manager) said they will be working with Con Edison throughout the project. Our concerns were allayed.”

Con Ed expects the wells to remain in place for the foreseeable future but representatives said the most disruptive part of the project will be the drilling.

“We’ll be starting the drilling (during the day) once people are already at work and at school and the sonic drill rake we use is more of a hum,” Con Edison engineer Ken Kaiser said. “If there are complaints about noise, we could use some kind of baffling to muffle the sound.”

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Man murdered in Kips Bay, suspect arrested

Friends House on East 25th StreetFriends House on East 25th Street (Photo via Wikimedia)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a 40-year-old homeless man on Sunday for the stabbing death of a 54-year-old man, Moses Ybarra, inside an apartment complex on East 25th Street over the weekend.

Ashraf Ahmed allegedly stabbed Ybarra inside his apartment at 130 East 25th Street in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 9. Ybarra had multiple stab wounds to his chest, forehead, arms and leg, and there was blood all over the room, the district attorney’s office said.

Police also reportedly recovered two bloody knives next to where Ybarra was laying. EMS pronounced Ybarra dead at 2 a.m.

Police said that surveillance video showed Ahmed entering the building at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, June 8 and leaving around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 9, and no one else was seen entering of exiting the building during that time. Continue reading

Maloney touts experience in bid for reelection

Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, pictured outside her home on the Upper East Side (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

While hardly an open seat, the race for candidates hoping to represent the 12th Congressional District (most of Manhattan’s East Side as well as parts of Brooklyn and Queens) is proving to be a competitive one. While the Democrat primary on June 26 has just two candidates, the only reason there are just two names on the ballot is that one of them, Suraj Patel, sued successfully against another candidate, Sander Hicks, claiming he didn’t have enough valid signatures. He did the same to an additional candidate, Peter Lindner, though he’d already been booted off the ballot by the Board of Elections. This leaves Patel, a hospitality executive who also worked on both election campaigns for the Obama administration, and Carolyn Maloney, the 25-year incumbent.

On this, Maloney, while interviewed at her home on the Upper East Side last week, mused, “For someone who said he wants more participation, I’m mystified why he’s throwing his opponent off the ballot.”

Meanwhile, Patel has also been fundraising like crazy, outpacing Maloney in recent months and trying to engage people who wouldn’t normally vote.

As for Maloney, perhaps in part due to her history of clobbering challengers at the polls, she has managed to rack up just about every endorsement there is to be had from elected officials, unions, women’s organizations and local clubs. She’s also gotten the nod from Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem.

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Rivera doesn’t want busway to be 24/7

Council Member Carlina Rivera (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Council Member Carlina Rivera is hoping to limit the hours of the planned busway on 14th Street during the L train shutdown that is beginning next year.

The Council Member sent a letter to NYC Transit President Andy Byford earlier this month, arguing that the busway should only operate between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Instead of banning private vehicles throughout the whole shutdown, Rivera said they should just be off the road for the aforementioned hours.

Rivera said she agreed with transit advocates who’ve said that a busway operating only during rush hours would not be sufficient but she argued that the busway didn’t need to be in effect overnight because vehicular traffic along the corridor is significantly lower on weeknights anyway.

John Blasco, a community liaison for Rivera, gave an overview of the letter at the June meeting of the Community Board 6 transportation committee, which supports both extending the busway to Avenue C and giving buses priority at all times instead of limiting the hours.

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Stuy Town detective on the case of murder mystery penned by former tenant

Thomas Cassidy was inspired by true crime tales he’d hear from his father and a friend who both had careers in the NYPD. (Photo courtesy of author)

By Sabina Mollot

The year is 1981, the place, a crime-ridden New York City and Stuyvesant Town resident and cop is tasked with finding out who murdered a famous actor — also his best friend — at a Manhattan hotel. On top of that, the mayor is up for reelection and since a high-profile murder can’t help his chances at the polls, the cop is warned to keep a lid on media leaks, or be thrown off the case.

The scenario is fortunately fictional. However, it has come to life in 2018 the form of a new novel, Damage Control, written by a former Stuyvesant Town resident, Thomas Cassidy.

Damage Control ($26.95) was released on June 12 by Cedar Forge. However, it has been in the works for last 25 years by Cassidy, who recently retired from a 20-year career as a special investigator for the New York State attorney general and whose father Hugh Cassidy served in the NYPD for over 30 years.

As for its title, Cassidy explained, “What they’re trying to do is damage control, trying to deflect attention from the crime wave. Everyone, including the mayor’s office, the corporate office of the flagship hotel, the Police Department, everyone is doing some form of damage control. Everyone’s trying to put a positive spin on it and that makes it difficult for the detective trying to solve the crime.”

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