Burglar takes cash and iPad from Irving Place restaurant

Burglary suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who burglarized Adalya, a Mediterranean restaurant on Irving Place at around 12:30 a.m. on Friday, August 3.

A restaurant employee told police that a neighbor informed him, at 6:30 a.m., that the restaurant’s side door was open. It was then discovered that $500, an iPad and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s was missing.

The suspect, seen in surveillance footage taking the cash from a register and the other goods, is light-skinned with dark hair. It isn’t clear how he got into the restaurant, located at 55 Irving Place and East 18th Street.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto nypdcrimestoppers.com.

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Three people reported missing over the weekend

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding three people who were reported missing over the weekend.

Virginia Proto, 80, who lives in the East Village at 94 East 1st Street, was last seen on Saturday at 12:15 p.n. leaving a relative’s house at 308 Avenue U in Brooklyn. She is 5’5” tall, 130 pounds, with a light complexion, long red hair and brown eyes. She is believed to have an ID holder around her neck.

Paul Greenwald, 70, was last seen leaving Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue on Saturday at 2 p.m. Greenwald, who is homeless, has blue eyes, gray hair, is approximately 6’0” tall, approximately 200 lbs. He was last wearing a red shirt, black pants, black sandals and white socks, with glasses on his forehead.

Nurys Herrand, 49, was last seen at her home at 617 East 9th Street, on Wednesday, August 8. She is white Hispanic, 5’03,” and 185 lbs. She was wearing a floral-print dress and black flipflops.

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Rosalee Isaly, president, SPNA, dies

Rosalee Isaly with a plaque from Dvorak’s former home

By Sabina Mollot

Rosalee Isaly, the longtime president of the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association, died at the age of 81 on July 24.

Isaly, who’d been involved with the civic group for nearly as long as it’s been around, recently hosted a 50th anniversary gala for the SPNA at the historic church overlooking the park.

However, less than a month after the event, she learned she had pancreatic cancer, and according to her son Jason, Isaly died 16 days later. She died while staying with family members in Chicago, where she was born and lived before moving to New York City’s Stuyvesant Square neighborhood. Her family held a funeral service for Isaly at the St. Barnabas Church in Chicago and she was buried in Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Under Isaly’s leadership, the SPNA worked to preserve local historic properties as well as revitalize Stuyvesant Square Park after a period of decline. This included implementing free summer programming like tango classes and jazz concerts and pushing for years to see a multi-million project to restore the park’s historic wrought-iron fence restored. When Isaly joined the group, it was to protest razing of neighborhood brownstones by Beth Israel, which was then scooping up properties to expand the hospital’s footprint. Continue reading

Pols, Bellevue doctors push for speed camera legislation

Aug9 speed cameras Hoylman

State Senator Brad Hoylman blamed his own chamber for the camera shutoffs. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Surgeons and local elected officials gathered at Bellevue Hospital last Thursday, urging the State Senate to pass legislation that would preserve speed cameras around schools.

Speed cameras in 120 school zones lost their ability to issue speeding violations last month because the State Senate did not extend the program by the July 25th deadline. Advocates at Bellevue were pushing Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to call a special session so Senators could vote on legislation that has already passed in the Assembly, where it was sponsored by Assemblymember Deborah Glick.

Glick’s bill in the Assembly allows for speed cameras in 50 additional school zones a year for the next three years and extends the program through 2022. Democrats had originally proposed expanding the program to 750 school zones but said they reduced the number to appease Republicans.

“We reduced the number of cameras and reduced the radius the cameras cover,” Glick said. “We added signage so people know that there are cameras. We’ve given so much deference to speeders. We could give at least a modicum of the same concern for school children.”

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Convicted murderer assaults child at ACS facility

Administration for Children’s Services facility in Kips Bay (Photo via Google Maps)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A worker for the Administration for Children’s Services who was previously in prison for murder was arrested at the First Avenue foster care facility last week for allegedly assaulting a six-year-old boy living there.

Police said that Jacques Edwards, 55, picked up the child and carried him to a doorway, forcefully pushing the boy against the door and in effect using the child to open the door. Edwards also allegedly picked up the child and put him into the top drawer of an open metal filing cabinet, reportedly shoving him into the cabinet head first. Police said that the boy had a fresh bruise on his left temple and was treated by a nurse at the facility.

According to the New York Daily News, Edwards was hired by the Administration for Children’s Services four years ago, sources said, and the Post reported that Edwards was arrested by Port Authority police for attempted murder, attempted robbery and criminal use of a weapon in June 1981. He was convicted of second-degree murder, attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon and possession of stolen property and served time in an upstate prison for 28 years until he was released in 2010.

Commissioner David Hansell said in a statement that the agency has been changing their policies and strengthened their protocols over the last year and a half to improve their hiring standards and prevent someone like Edwards from getting hired as someone who works with children.

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New ferry route schedules are now available online

July26 Ferry

The Lower East Side ferry route will launch on August 29. (Photo by Thomas Rochford)

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and NYC Ferry operated by Hornblower have announced details regarding the launch of the Lower East Side ferry route on August 29 as well as the Soundview ferry route on August 15.

The Lower East Side route, which will run from Wall Street/Pier 11, to Corlears Hook, to Stuyvesant Cove, East 34th Street, and end at Long Island City, Queens, will be a 32-minute trip from start to finish.

The Soundview route will run from the Soundview section of the Bronx (Clason Point Park), to East 90th Street in Manhattan, to East 34th Street, ending its run at Wall Street/Pier 11, and will take about 54 minutes from start to finish.
Schedules for the new routes are available on the NYC Ferry website, ferry.nyc and will also be accessible on the NYC Ferry app prior to the launch.

“We’re excited to launch NYC Ferry service in the Bronx, the Upper East Side and the Lower East Side, which have historically been transit deserts,” said NYCEDC President James Patchett. “For the same cost of a subway ride, New Yorkers that live and work in these communities will now have a fast, affordable and convenient way to get around the city.”

“With the launch of the 2018 routes, NYC Ferry is excited to expand across New York Harbor and continue to build neighborhood connections to the Bronx, Upper East Side and the Lower East Side,” said Cameron Clark, SVP of NYC Ferry operated by Hornblower. “We encourage everyone to hop on board and explore these new, affordable routes that will enhance commutes and shorten travel times for thousands of New Yorkers.”

NYC Ferry has already employed over 325 people as captains, deckhands, customer service agents, operations and more. New Yorkers can still apply at ferry.nyc.

Diesel buses blasted at L train meeting

An L train user speaks at the meeting held on Monday night. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Residents of Lower Manhattan expressed frustration about the possible environmental impacts of the L train shutdown because of an increase in buses in downtown neighborhoods at a public meeting hosted by the MTA last Monday evening.

MTA New York City Transit and the Federal Transit Administration prepared analysis at the end of last month that examines potential impacts of the MTA and DOT’s mitigation plans for the L train closure scheduled to begin in April 2019 and last for 15 months. The public meeting held on Monday at the MTA’s downtown headquarters was to solicit public feedback on the potential environmental impacts of the mitigation plan that were reviewed in this document.

Assembly Member Harvey Epstein said that one of his concerns was about the possibility of an increase in carbon monoxide and particulate matter because of the increase in congestion and bus traffic, which wasn’t analyzed in the document.

“The volume of buses will have a serious consequences,” Epstein said. “With only 15 clean, electric buses, there’s some real concern about the risk for people in my community. We need to have some more information about what that will be and will need more information throughout the process.”

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Letters to the editor, Aug. 9

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Thinking like a New Yorker

Regarding Town & Village’s question from July 26, Do thoughts of crime affect your daily routine and do you avoid certain streets or going out at certain times?

I don’t think of crime geographically; I can’t name any specific areas I avoid, fearing for my personal safety. As a teacher, I’ve traveled all over Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn and I’ve developed confidence about my bearings and familiarity with the variety of neighborhoods my students come from. I am more conscious of situations and the possibility of interaction and communication.

Twelve years ago, I was badly beaten by a group of gang members only two blocks from Stuy Town; the police later told me I was one victim of a serial attack, most likely part of an initiation routine.

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Affordability deal proposed for Waterside Plaza

Sept12 Waterside

Waterside Plaza

By Sabina Mollot

The owner of Waterside Plaza, Richard Ravitch, has entered into a tentative deal with the city to help preserve affordability at the complex in 325 apartments occupied by “settling tenants.”

Those tenants had entered into an agreement with the owner after the property left the affordable Mitchell-Lama program at the turn of the millennium to pay a fixed increase each year, which is currently 4.25 percent. In those apartments, about 30 percent of Waterside’s housing stock, the majority of their occupants are seniors.

Under the agreement, which still must go through a ULURP process and get the approval of Community Board 6, the borough president and the City Council, tenants in those 325 apartments will all see some sort of rent relief.

For tenants earning under 165 percent of the area median income and paying over 30 percent of their household incomes in rent — effectively making them rent-burdened — their rents will become 30 percent of whatever their incomes are. Currently, 165 percent of the AMI is $120,615 for one person, $154,935 for a family of three and $185,995 for a family of five.

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Officials say traffic enforcement and bus volume should make L train shutdown less hellish

Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYC Transit President Andy Byford with Manhattan and Brooklyn elected officials (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday morning, transit officials and local elected officials told reporters they don’t expect the dreaded L train shutdown will be the L-pocalypse of doom everyone else is pretty sure it will be for the 15 months it will take to do repairs.

Reasons for this declaration include plans to run 80 shuttle buses an hour over the Williamsburg Bridge during peak times and “aggressive” enforcement to make sure private vehicles don’t jam traffic along high occupancy vehicle lanes. The soon-to-launch Lower East Side ferry schedule will also be timed to coordinate with bus arrivals.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYC Transit President Andy Byford, along with the politicians, had hopped out of a shiny, new electric bus — one of 25 that will be implemented during the L shutdown – on 14th Street and Union Square, before announcing a few updates to the mitigation plans.

One is that the NYPD is working on a plan for enforcement of traffic in HOV lanes so they don’t get crowded with private vehicles, including mini-bus services that have popped up.

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LOCAL HISTORIC PROFILE: Harry Burleigh, singer, composer

Aug2 burleigh

By Sabina Mollot

Henry “Harry” Thacker Burleigh was a baritone singer, composer and arranger who worked for over half a century at St. George’s Parish in Stuyvesant Square as a soloist. He also sang for 25 years at another Manhattan religious institution, Temple Emanu-El, and at both institutions, he was the first black singer to be hired.

Burleigh (December 2, 1866-September 12, 1949, pronounced “burly”) received his earliest musical training from his mother, according to a Library of Congress profile, while a Wikipedia bio also notes he learned about spirituals and slave songs from his grandfather, Hamilton Waters, who’d bought his way out of slavery in 1835. Burleigh’s father, Henry Thacker Burleigh, Sr., a naval veteran in the Civil War, was the first black juror in Erie County in 1871.

As for the younger Burleigh, called Harry, even without formal training, he was able to find employment as a soloist in several churches and synagogues in his native Erie, Pennsylvania. When he came to New York, he sang with Free African Church of St. Philip’s on West 25th Street, the first black congregation of Protestant Episcopalians in the city, according to the Dvořák American Heritage Association. Burleigh then became situated in part of a large black community there that established itself around St. Philip’s.

At the age of 26, Burleigh was accepted, with a scholarship, to the National Conservatory of Music in New York City at the age of 26. The conservatory was then run out of two homes where the Washington Irving High School campus currently exists today.

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Reader opinions: Crime in the city

In our last issue, Town & Village asked readers if thoughts of crime in this city affect their daily routines. We also asked, “Do you avoid certain streets or going out at certain times?”

Here are a few responses:

Martha Wolberg says, “I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 40 years. I have never felt safer. When I moved here, it was quite dangerous. Now, I can come home at 2 or 3 in the morning and there is no problem. I live on 14th Street between Second and First Avenues. All the bars in the neighborhood make it very safe – there are always people hanging out late at night.”

Kay Vota says, “It is always wise to be cautious. Once I was being followed in subway facility and I led guy straight to a cop! Once I was followed on the streets of NYC and I ducked into a building with a doorman and told him I was being followed. Once I started out of my garage back door and a giant man was on the steps and I slammed the door, called Public Safety and an officer arrived in a matter of minutes. I do not answer phone calls that I do not recognize the number. A lot of seniors live in our community and we are harassed by spoofing (an official phone number that is faked by some techie device) pretending to be the IRS with threats about being arrested if we don’t call right back. Stuy Town Public Safety when under William McClellan offered a course to tenants, teaching ways of protecting oneself when attacked. The same people taught us that taught Public Safety officers. I thought it was very valuable. Finally, if someone comes to your door claiming to be some kind of inspector, do not open your door. Tell them you will call public safety to escort them in to your home. Also, if you have home aids, be sure to have a closet key to lock valuables so there will be no temptation for anyone to steal what is too easily accessible. Better safe than sorry! And another thing, always trust but verify.”

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Editorial: Save mom and pop from scam suits

Just in case anyone was thinking that things are just too easy these days for proprietors of small businesses in this city, here is yet more proof that their problems are a lot bigger than Amazon and changing consumer preferences.

Many mom-and-pop shops, who already face an uphill battle thanks to the uncertainty of lease renewals, endless fees and fines from the city and rising rents, generally cannot afford to get tangled up in lengthy litigation battles. So it wasn’t surprising to learn that at least a couple of local businesses blinked when threatened by a potential lawsuit from a serial plaintiff charging discrimination against the disabled.

Access for wheelchair users and other people with mobility challenges is very much a real issue; one that is thankfully finally getting some attention thanks to a recent lawsuit that is trying to stop the L train shutdown.

That litigation has already successfully drawn attention to the willful ignoring of the needs of the disabled to get around the city on mass transit like anyone else. However, that isn’t what was filed by plaintiff Arik Matatov, a wheelchair-using man and his attorney, against dozens of small businesses in Manhattan, while, the New York Post revealed last week, he can actually walk.

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Opinion: That moment when you’re poked by a squirrel on a park bench

A similar offender in Stuy Town in 2016 (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Squirrels have been a hot topic in this community and in this newspaper over the years. Each side has been unexpectedly passionate in defending its position, to say the least: one of the most recent controversies involved a resident who received a threatening postcard because of a lukewarm annoyance at the rodents’ ceaseless begging. But the debate has finally become personal because on a weekend earlier this summer, I had an encounter that tipped my bias in favor of a ban on squirrel-feeding.

I was sitting on a bench in Madison Square Park on a Saturday afternoon, minding my own business, when I felt something tap against my shoulder. I turned and realized I was almost face to face with a squirrel, not the expected human hand, perched on the back of the bench, who for some reason thought I had a treat for him.

I’ve never had particularly strong feelings about this topic before and could see both sides of the argument. Squirrels can be a bit ratty-looking but also cute in their own way and I can understand the appeal of communing with nature in a city where nature is scarce. And if someone wants squirrels surrounding them or even climbing all over their body, that’s their business.

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