Weekend Street Closures for Summer Streets

Zip line in Union Square earlier this summer

Summer Streets kicks off this weekend, resulting in some street closures in the neighborhood. The route goes from Brooklyn Bridge up to East 72nd St., passing through Union Square East from East 15th St. to East 17th St. and on Park Avenue South from East 17th Street to East 32nd St., which will be closed for bike riding and various activities.

East 24th St. and East 25th St. between Madison Avenue and Lexington Avenue will be closed for the event and there will be rest stops available at these locations that will offer various activities, including free bike rentals, free bike repair, rock climbing walls, water stations and free rollerblade rentals.

Fourteenth St., 23rd St. and 34th St. will be open to allow vehicles to cross the route.

Police arrest a man believed to be cell phone mugger

By Sabina Mollot

Police have arrested a man following a spree of muggings, many of them armed, on streets and in building elevators.

Dion Whitehead, 38, of 484 East Houston Street, has been charged with four counts of robbery.

Recent incidents took place on July 27 on East 14th Street.

Those muggings both took place at around 10 p.m. at 801 East 14th Street, when the suspect approached a 19-year-old man and demanded his iPod. The victim complied, and the suspect fled. The man then approached a 16-year-girl and demanded her iPhone. The victim handed it over and the mugger fled.

The pattern, as far as police know, began three months ago.

There have since been 16 recorded robberies and attempted robberies, mostly involving the mugger wielding a knife or simulating a gun to snatch cell phones as well as other items. Some of the robberies took place on the Lower East Side though one took place on East 23rd Street where a 20-year-old man had his phone and headphones stolen.

Letters to the Editor, Aug. 2

Politics at work in race for Sen. Duane’s seat

Using an expression from “The Big Lebowski,” when Tom Duane retired from the State Senate, foisting Community Board 2 Chairperson/District Leader Brad Hoylman on us as his replacement it was “bush league sucker stuff.”  Accordingly, I express righteous indignation:

The overwhelming majority of it lies with New York’s County Democratic Party but a dollop is with its fourth estate.  No one finds it newsworthy that a once infamous organization that got virtually every Democratic voter to the polls with precision has been reformed beyond repair thanks to a frontsie/backsie maneuver that schoolyard kids use to cut a line.

The 71st State Senate District includes five of Manhattan’s 12 State Assembly Districts and, at a time when, if only the 40,000 rent stabilized tenants in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village are in doubt as to their long term future, our County Leader, Keith Wright, distanced himself. Did anyone in NY State politics or the media which reports on it see Mr. Hoylman as Mr. Duane’s bona fide successor?

One former State Party Leader defended Mr. Hoylman, saying that they liked him, and, that everyone had time to petition.  This is true. But Senator Duane’s endorsing of Mr. Hoylman at his own resignation caught our elected county officials so off guard that they had to immediately decide whether to run someone against him.  And, with so many of them running for office in 2013, they, instead, unanimously endorsed Mr. Hoylman because they didn’t want to faction themselves off.

Yet, when I mentioned my outrage to one longtime outer borough legislator, he remarked: “The Manhattan delegation looks askance at us. But look at what they do.” It’s no wonder that with dozens of district leaders in our State Senate district, only the last Tammany regular, “Jimmy” McManus, cried foul. Surely his candidate, Tom Greco, is at least just as good as Mr. Hoylman.

In my mind the most logical successor to Mr. Duane, had he not wanted to deliver the seat to Mr. Hoylman, was Catherine Abate, the Senator Mr. Duane replaced. But they locked her, East Side Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and all other Assembly or Councilmembers out. Had today’s organization the power to place people where they needed them, Councilmember Daniel Garodnick would have been the most logical candidate.  He’s been deeply involved with the Stuyvesant Town tenants and is on top of the deals that will affect rent stabilized housing in New York for years to come.

I’ve been reading in The Villager that Mr. Hoylman was eyeing Christine Quinn’s seat in the City Council for a year. Yet instead of Ms. Quinn replacing Mr. Duane in the State Senate as she did on the City Council, her handlers have her convinced that she’ll be her party’s nomination for mayor in 2013. But she, like Garodnick who is running for Comptroller, is no lock. Yet, if Mr. Hoylman thought he could beat either them or any sitting elected he wouldn’t have plotted in the dark.

Yet this is not the first time Senator Duane has championed Mr. Hoylman.  He made him District Leader a few years ago. Here’s what the SoHo Journal, January 10, 2006, had to say: “[Arthur] Schwartz’s removal [as District Leader] was both unceremonious and acrimonious and a tad insensitive considering Schwartz’s considerable past financial support.”

The reformation of NY County’s Democratic Party has facilitated our soon having a senator in Albany with no legislative experience when one specific housing deal affects 30,000 people in the district directly and, tangentially, millions of others citywide.  I screamed this in frustration at a judge who I happened to run into in front of my building:  “I don’t care what their sexual proclivities are. We need someone in Albany who can bang on desks and get deals; not a politician whose strongest move is to play frontsie/backsie.”  Their response was the same as the one I usually get: “You’re too practical, Billy.”

And therein lies the root of my demoralization: Republicans tell me the same thing.

Billy Sternberg, ST

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Man wanted for string of armed cell phone robberies on East Side

The last known robberies (suspect pictured) took place on Friday on East 14th Street.

By Sabina Mollot

Police are hunting a man believed to be responsible for a string of armed robberies, using a gun or knife to get victims’ cell phones and other property.

Most of the muggings occurred in the East Village and Lower East Side, with the most recent ones happening on Friday, July 27 on East 14th Street.

Those incidents both took place at around 10 p.m. at 801 East 14 Street, when the suspect approached a 19-year-old man and demanded his iPod. The victim complied, and the suspect fled. The man then approached a 16-year-girl and demanded her iPhone. The victim handed it over and the mugger fled.

The pattern, as far as police know, began three months ago.

On Saturday evening, May 5, inside of 205 Avenue C, the suspect approached a 59-year-old woman in the elevator. He simulated a firearm and demanded her chain, before fleeing with it.

On Tuesday, May 8, the man returned to the building and again headed to the elevator where he pushed a 22-year-old man against the wall. He simulated a gun and forcibly snatched the victim’s cell phone and charger.

On Friday afternoon, May 11, inside of 1141 Roosevelt Drive, the suspect forcibly took a wallet from a 20-year-old man and his cell phone.

On Tuesday evening, May 15, inside of 643 East 13th Street, the suspect cornered a a 40-year-old man inside of the elevator, and threatened him with a knife. He forcibly took a Sony PSP, cash, and a watch before fleeing the location in an unknown direction.

On the evening of Thursday, May 17, at East River Park, the suspect approached two women, 19 and 20, who were walking along the bike path, and pulled a knife on them. He got away with some personal property.

On Monday evening, May 21, at the corner of the East River and East Houston Street, the suspect returned and pulled a gun on a 19-year-old. He fled with her cell phone.

On Tuesday evening, May 22, at the corner of East River Park and Grand Street, the suspect approached a 26-year-old, simulated a firearm and fled with the man’s cell phone.

Later that evening, he struck again at the corner of East Houston Street and Roosevelt Drive, threatening a 23-year-old woman with a knife. He demanded her cell phone, but ended up emptyhanded.

On Monday evening, May 28, close to midnight, at the corner of Roosevelt Drive and East 10th Street, the man threatened a 19-year-old with a knife and fled with her cell phone.

Slightly after midnight on June 5, the suspect returned to the same location, strolled up to a 22-year-old woman and simulated a firearm. He fled with her cell.

On Wednesday, June 27 after 1 a.m., at 312 Avenue C, he mugged a 22-year-old woman, fleeing with an undisclosed piece of property.

On Monday afternoon, July 2, at the corner of East River Park and Montgomery Street, the suspect approached 46-year-old man. He simulated a firearm, while demanding his cell phone, though he was unable to get it.

On Friday, July 13, slightly after midnight, at East 23rd Street, the suspect robbed a 20-year-old for his headphones and cell phone.

On Friday evening, July 20, the suspect approached a 56-year-old, demanding the victim’s wallet, before fleeing in an unknown direction.

The suspect is described as being black, 30 to 40-years-old and 5 ft 9 ins. To 6 ft 0 ins.

He has a dark complexion and a thin mustache and thin beard. He was last seen wearing a gray hoody, gray pants and black sneakers.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident or the identity and whereabouts of the man is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.