Chelsea resident goes missing

Donald Allen Phillips went missing since Feb. 28

The NYPD is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing person who resides within the confines of the 10th Precinct. The details are as follows:

Donald Allen Phillips was last seen at his residence, located at 231 West 25th Street, on Tuesday, February 28, at around 6 a.m. Mr. Phillips is described as a white male, with a height of 5 feet 8 inches and a weight of 160 lbs. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, tan slippers, a black “Korean Veteran” hat and a brown flannel jacket.

Anyone with information in regard to this missing person is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (5477) or submit tips at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM.

‘Subway pusher’ convicted

Jose Rojas caught on a subway surveillance video.

Jose Rojas, 26, who was arrested and charged with felony assault in August of 2010 for intentionally pushing a woman into an oncoming subway train, was convicted of assault in the first degree today.

As proven in trial, on August 11, 2010, Rojas was drunk on the subway platform of the NR train at 28th Street. He approached several people waiting on the platform and harassed them. A few minutes later, he pushed Ute Linhart, the victim, from behind into an oncoming northbound train. After the attack, Rojas tried to make a run for it, but was stopped by bystanders who detained him until the police arrived. The victim suffered extensive injuries to her face, ribs, shoulders, as well as spinal damage. Rojas is expected to be sentenced on March 16.

“The victim endured every New Yorker’s nightmare, said District Attorney Cyrus Vance in a written statement. “The defendant’s actions caused the victim to suffer life-long injuries and nearly caused her death. I would like to thank the members of the jury for their service on this very serious case.”

Sexual assault at Irving Place and E. 18th St.

The NYPD is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a suspect who is wanted in connection with a sexual assault that occurred within the confines of the 13th Precinct.  The suspect is described as a black man between 25-30 years old.

The incident occurred on Friday, January 6 at around 11:35 a.m., when the 30-year-old victim entered a building near Irving Place and East 18th Street. The suspect followed her inside, lifted up her skirt and touched her buttocks while she waited for an elevator. The victim did not request medical attention.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or submit tips online at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM.  All calls are strictly confidential.

Letters to the editor, Feb. 23

Tenants should control commercial spaces

Permit me to follow up on last week’s excellent letter from Larry Edward (“Commercial property an issue in conversion”).  I recently submitted a list of questions to the Tenants Association regarding the conversion.  I am especially concerned about Brookfield having ownership of the professional offices, retail space, garages, and unsold apartments.

We will lose lucrative income that would go towards operating costs.  Without that income, condo maintenance fees will be much higher.  The competitor, Guterman’s website indicates that it’s customary for a sponsor to get the commercial space. Maybe, but we’re not a single building with just two or two stores. (I asked Guterman if they’d do a deal without it, but they have not answered my question on their website as of Feb. 16.)

Any outside entity that controls the commercial space can lease to businesses that we would not want.  They will say it’s not in their interest to do so, but if they want to maximize income, they will certainly do so.  Further, if any of the commercial space is sold as a commercial condo, we will be stuck permanently with such businesses.

The Tenants Association should structure this deal so that WE own all commercial space. The TA meeting, phone conference call, websites, and T&V articles seem to repeat the same few talking points. Here’s hoping tenants took the opportunity to write the TA about the “meat and potatoes” issues.

Kathleen Dragulski, ST Continue reading

Letters to the editor, Feb. 16

Black History Month is recognized in ST

Re: Letter, “Essential Black History Month,” T&V, Feb. 9

Dear Editor,
It is with great concern that I formulate this rebuttal to the recent reader comments that I read in your publication concerning Black History Month and Oval Essentials. Being one of the principals of the operations team that coordinates all programming, I take great pride in the offerings, service level and diversity of events that we put on monthly to enhance the entire resident experience here at Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town.

Let me start by stating that my intention is not to discredit these mistaken and misguided comments. But, rather to use this misinformed example as an opportunity to communicate to all of your readers the vastness of the offerings provided by the various teams working around the clock here at PCV/ST. Our goal is to develop and provide the most exciting and enriching programs at a minimum of cost to the participants, and quite frankly, I believe we succeed with flying colors.

For as low as $15 per month, residents have access to some 15 plus special events per month. We hold monthly How-To-Tuesday informative demonstrations that range from resume building to dating workshops. Recently we have held both salsa and tango dance classes. We put on free-for-all-residents parties centered on monthly pop culture and sporting events.  We also provide free tutoring for kids, monthly presentations from some of the city’s most interesting museums and our author lecture series. And, this doesn’t even begin to touch the surface of our myriad of children’s programs and fitness offerings. If the writer of these comments had taken the time to thoroughly explore all our offerings, she would have seen that in Oval Kids (just this week) we held an arts and crafts event centered around  Romare Bearden – the famed African-American artist and writer who worked in a variety of mediums including; cartoon, collage and oils. Upon further inspection of our monthly calendar, this writer would also have been informed of the two (2) Capoeira dance classes – the Brazilian dance/art form created by African slaves – that we are holding on February 22 and 29th. Continue reading

Power shutdown at 531 East 20th Street

Residents who live in 531 East 20th Street have been alerted, via, a notice in the lobby, that the power in the building will be shut down from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. This is due to scheduled repair work on the elevators with Con Ed and an electrical contractor, following three power outages in the building last week.

According to management, public safety officers will be assigned to the building during the hours of the shutdown to assist with any emergencies. The elevators will be out of service. Residents who require medical assistance or have special needs should contact Public Safety directly at (212) 598-5233. Stairwells have emergency lighting, as do all common hallways.

Snow alert issued for today

The New York City Department of Sanitation has issued a ‘snow alert’ for Friday, February 10,  starting at 10 p.m. The Department is preparing from one to three inches of snow, primarily on grassy, unpaved surfaces.

In preparation for a snow event, DSNY personnel will begin initial equipment readiness, including loading salt spreaders, attaching plows when necessary, preparing tire chains, and notifying supplementary personnel as needed. DSNY will continue to monitor forecasts and will provide updates as the snow event approaches.

Letters to the editor, Feb. 9

Hoping this isn’t the last of the ice rink

Photo by Sabina Mollot

Re: “City warms up to ST ice rink,” story, T&V, Feb. 2
In the recent issue about the ice skating rink in the Oval, a resident complained about a possible permit violation on the site because “…there have been no fire marshals on site, which was part of the terms of a permit issued.”

I realize there are two sides to every argument, but do you really want to deny people the chance for honest fun, effective forms of exercise, and a pleasant change of scenery in the normally bland post-Christmas, pre-summer months because of something that benign?
This is fire on water we might be dealing with, not fire on wooden buildings on a dry night in Chicago, 1871. If you don’t think a fire would be swiftly handled, please, let me introduce you to the cell phone, 911, and a company of Fire Firefighters on East 14th and First Avenue, about a minute away.

First, let me state my unequivocal support for the ice rink. The only flaw, in my eyes, is that it could be cheaper for residents, though they do give free hours, which my family enjoys. I love the ice rink. Not only have I spoken proudly about it to friends, and enjoyed the views, but many others, including seniors have as well and I see scores of other families enjoying the rink every day. But they aren’t the only ones to benefit from its presence.

My father especially has really enjoyed it and helped him re-ignite his passion for skating (perhaps as close as any city father can get to skating on frozen lakes during childhood). It has also helped him meet new neighbors. And while the benefits of Oval Amenities are still a mystery to us, it has been a great way for him, and our family, to find something new to love in Stuy Town. Continue reading

New Drop Off Points for ST-PCV TA Comment Cards

Since the Tenants Association’s drop box for comment cards regarding the property’s proposed conversion was removed from the Oval concierge last week, TA volunteers are now available to personally collect comment cards this weekend and throughout next week at the ST-PCV Community Center. The TA continues to gather tenants’  input in order to develop a bid that will reflect the interests of the community.

Comment cards can now be submitted to a TA volunteer at the following locations and times:

Where: Community Center, 449 East   14th St (located in the First Avenue Loop on 16th Street)
When: Saturday (02/04): 11am-5pm
Sunday (02/05): 11am-5pm
Monday (02/06): 3-5pm
Tuesday (02-07), Wednesday (02-08), Thursday (02-09): 3-5pm and 6-8pm Please note:
No one will be available to take your card between 5-6pm on these days
Friday: (02-10): 3-5pm

Tenants may also mail cards in an envelope to ST/PCV-TA, P.O.
Box 1202, New York, NY 10009-1202.

Additionally, for those who are not able to make the drop off times at the Community Center,  a drop-box will be located at Zeichner Wine & Liquor Store at First Avenue and 16th Street. 

Letters to the editor, Feb. 2

The pain of appealing at East Midtown Plaza

The front-page headline article on January 26, “Court says pro-privatization EMP residents can appeal,” makes it sound like EMP residents are jumping for joy about continuing in courts to pursue privatization, the conversion that was rejected three years ago by vote of the shareholders.

Since then (January, 2009), without  authorization, EMP’s board of directors has dipped freely into the co-op’s operating funds to pay attorneys to petition to override the shareholders’ vote – and lose, then appeal and lose again, and now to appeal again.

They have continued to press on in the courts despite good conscience, business sense and shareholders’ objections and petitions that should have caused them to quit wasting our funds on the futile pursuit of personal profit.  Yet they persist.

Below the happy-sounding headline, there is plenty of misinformation.  For example, no matter what Alan Kahn says, pro-Mitchell-Lama cooperators have not cost the co-op a penny to deal with the building code violations arising from the installation of balcony doors that are inaccessible to the disabled and hazardous for the able.  Protests began when only three doors had been installed, but the board ignored the protests until 300 more were put in place and the Dept. of Buildings issued a Stop Work Order. The board also ignored orders from the Commissioner of Buildings to fix the doors.  Six Environmental Control Board hearings were scheduled in 2011 regarding these doors, but the board did not appear or send a representative to any one of the hearings; the architects sent a representative to one hearing.

The co-op was penalized $800 per door for allowing installation of doors that, as the architects admitted to the ECB, violate the NYC Building Code.  The irony of the situation is that the injuries caused by the doors have been suffered by able-bodied residents.  Limited-mobility folks are in less danger because they can’t get through the door; they have simply been cut off from their balconies, for which they pay 10 percent of their monthly charges.

Yes, the two incumbent board members were returned to office in December’s board election, and the board’s choice of a third candidate was elected.  EMP has had an entrenched board since 2005; they run the elections, have disbanded almost all of the shareholder committees, discourage resident participation in the co-op’s affairs, and suppress challenges by threatening to adjourn a meeting if anyone speaks from the floor.  They have also promised to make everyone rich by going private. The playing field in our co-op community is as uneven as the unsightly plaza this board has allowed to crack and subside.  The will of the shareholders is not easy to discern, but it is not joy that we will spend many more months and another extravagant amount of our “maintenance” charges to pay attorneys to oppose our vote.

Jeanne S. Poindexter, EMP Continue reading