Where to bring your kids this summer

Beat the heat with these local, indoor activities

By Sabina Mollot

After a couple of weeks of intense heat with temperatures in the high 80s and 90s, even normally fun summer pastimes like outdoor concerts and trips to the park have been put on hold by many families. Instead, New Yorkers have been heading indoors for their fun in the pursuit of air conditioning. Below are a few local, indoor options for events and activities for kids that are available throughout the summer.

A day at the pool

The pool at Waterside Plaza

The pool at Waterside Plaza

Local outdoor pools such as Asser Levy and Dry Dock are free to the public, but because of this they can get a tad crowded. Indoor pools at gyms and community centers are sometimes available for the use of non-members during open houses or if members of the public purchase a day pass. The indoor pool at the Waterside Swim & Health Club is one of them, and the cost of using the gym, including its pool for a day is $20, $10 for kids. Thanks to the skylighted roof, swimmers also get a breathtaking view of the East River. Annual memberships for Watersiders as well as non-residents costs $595.

Waterside Swim & Health Club, 35 Waterside Plaza (212) 340-4225 http://www.watersideplaza.com/swim-health

The 14th Street Y also has an indoor pool with day passes costing $20. If you have a friend who’s a member, day passes cost $15 and members get three free passes for guests a year. The Y’s communications director Camille Diamond reported this week that the pool has definitely seen an uptick in use lately by guests. “We have a lot of families coming to escape the heat,” she said.

14th Street Y, 344 East 14th Street, 14streety.org (212) 780-0800

Bounce house

Beehives & Buzzcuts, a First Avenue kiddie hair salon and toy shop that also does kids’ parties and classes,

The bounce house at Beehives & Buzzcuts

The bounce house at Beehives & Buzzcuts

has recently established itself as a go-to place for parents who know their kids will have something to do there. Following the temporary closure of Stuyvesant Town’s Oval Kids center due to Hurricane Sandy, Beehives began offering, for a fee, play time in its spacious back room, which is also used for art and music classes. However, with class schedules slowing down in the summer, the owners recently moved a bounce house into the space, which kids can play in for 20 minutes for $5 or for free with a purchase of any item that’s $10 or more. The bounce house is up all day from Mondays to Wednesdays. Thursdays it comes down to make room for classes and on Friday it stays up except when there’s a class or party.

“It’s such a relief on days like this because there’s A.C.,” said co-owner Karolyn Massey on a recent sweltering afternoon. “Parents know they can come in and have a cup of coffee while the kids let loose and get out of the sun.”

Massey added that while some parents have been concerned that 20 minutes would be too short of a time for the kids to play in the bounce house — it isn’t.

“The kids are bouncing off the walls after that,” she said.

Beehives & Buzzcuts, 365 First Avenue at 21st Street (646) 476-6294

Puzzles, digital art and square-wheeled trikes

While it may not seem like an obvious choice to bring kids for a day of play, the Museum of Mathematics (a.k.a. MoMath) in Flatiron has become an increasingly popular destination for families as the summer scorches on. The museum, which opened in December, reached the 100,000-visitor mark in April and according to spokesperson Brittnie Mabry, has become even busier throughout the heat wave. A popular attraction for kids of all ages as well as adults has been the Enigma Café, which is actually filled with puzzles of varying degrees of difficulty rather than food.

“Because it’s been so hot people just sit and play forever,” said Mabry.

Other popular stops include a square-wheeled tricycle, which actually does roll due to the catenary curve road that was built for it and a space where kids can create digital sculptures with the goal being to come up with their own shapes. Museum goers get to vote on the best creations of the day and the few winners are then reproduced via a 3-D printer and put on display. Proud parents can then purchase them if they choose. “They’re a couple of hundred dollars, so it’s not cheap,” warned Mabry, “but it’s an option.”

There are also “Math Encounters,” presentations by special guests on the first Wednesday of the month, and the next scheduled speaker, UCLA mathematics professor Terry Tao, is set to discuss how things are measured in space on August 7 at 4 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m.

Admission to the museum is $15 for adults, $9 for children, students or seniors and free for toddlers. Tickets can be purchased online. Otherwise a $1 surcharge applies at the door.

National Museum of Mathematics, 11 East 26th Street (212) 542-0566, momath.org

Drop-in classes in art, hip-hop, rock climbing, sing-alongs

Parents looking to have their kids try out a class without the commitment of booking several weeks of sessions might want to check out the NY Kids Club, which through the end of August is offering mid-day, one-session drop of classes. There’s no need to RSVP, but at 12:30 and at 1:15 p.m. each day from Monday through Friday, the Gramercy location offers 45 minute classes for kids ages 3-6 in subjects such as rock climbing, hip-hop, world art, arts and crafts and dance. Classes are $47 each. (Classes vary at other locations of NY Kids Club and classes can change.)

NY Kids Club, Downtown/ Gramercy Park Children’s Enrichment Center, 38 East 22nd Street (212) 375-1100, nykidsclub.com

The 14th Street Y is also offering drop-in classes with the sing-alongs being the most popular ones. Summer singalongs are being offered to kids ages two months to five years on Mondays from 3-3:45 p.m. and from 3:50-4:35 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 3-3:45 p.m., and 4-4:45 p.m. Parents can get a punch card for five sessions for $70 ($55 for Y members) or pay $15 per class.

The Y is also offering a few $15 drop-in fitness classes for moms and babies, such as New Moms Stroll In at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesdays, Mommy and Me on Tuesdays at 3 p.m., New Body, New Baby on Thursdays at 1:45 p.m., Mommy and Baby Yoga on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and Postpartum Pilates with Baby on Tuesdays at 11 a.m.

14th Street Y, 344 East 14th Street, 14streety.org (212) 780-0800

Tours of Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace

A portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, one of many to be part of an upcoming exhibit for kids at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace

A portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, one of many to be part of an upcoming exhibit for kids at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace

Park Ranger guided tours of the period rooms at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace are available on the hour, 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Each tour lasts approximately forty minutes. The exhibit galleries are currently closed for renovations. Admission is free.

During the schoolyear, the place is visited regularly by students while during the summer, young visitors are often those participating in the junior ranger program of the National Park Service, which oversees the TRB. The kids earn badges for every NPS site (typically parks) that they visit. However, the Teddy Roosevelt Birthplace was designated a site due to the 26th president’s devotion to designating areas as parklands.

“He was on the forefront of the conservation movement,” said TRB spokesperson Michael Amato, “and that was pretty much unprecedented in 1901. He was a sickly man and socially limited so he jumped at the chance to get involved with nature.”

Amato also noted that the TRB is often visited by tourists as well as locals. “We have a lot of people from out west who pay homage to him by visiting his boyhood home,” he said.

Kids can become junior rangers by downloading a booklet online at http://www.nps.gov/thrb/index.htm that’s filled with relevant educational activities.

Though there are no special events scheduled for the summer, the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace will be holding an exhibit of portraits by kids in the fall and at this time through August 31, kids up to age 14 are invited to submit their own artwork depicting Roosevelt. Images should be sent via email to dprebutt@nps.gov. Other activities are also downloadable online, including a coloring page and a crossword puzzle.

Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, 28 East 20th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway (212) 260-1616

 

 

 

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The Dog Days of Summer are coming

July25 dogs in STOn August 1, Town & Village will publish its second ever Dog Days of Summer issue, an issue devoted to all the furry friends in the community.

Town & Village is inviting readers to submit photos of their dogs, whether they’re playing in a dog run, wearing a funny costume, performing a trick or making mischief.

We’re also asking if any local dog owners have stories they want to share about their pets or other animals: Are you a dog owner with ideas about how to make the community more pet-friendly? Are you a rescuer with important info about the city’s canine population? Do you love dogs — but wish the owners around here were more responsible? If you feel you have a story to share, please call T&V at (212) 777-6611 x104 or email editor@townvillage.net.

If you are the owner of a dog-related businesses, please call (212) 777-6611 x114 or email melissa@townvillage.net to learn about advertising opportunities.

Deadline for submissions of photos or listings for local pet related events is Monday, July 29 at 5 p.m.

Bikes soon will only be allowed to be stored in designated areas, after bike room cleanups

By Sabina Mollot

Residents who own bikes may want to take note: Bikes that have been left parked outdoors in Stuyvesant Town have had their chains and locks cut by public safety officers. Additionally, numerous other bikes have been getting moved in preparation for bike room cleanups and “reorganization.”

Brian Moriarty, a rep for CWCapital, said this is “all part of a reorganization of the designated bike storage.”
Part of this reorganization means that once management is done working on bike/carriage rooms, residents will only be allowed to park their bikes in designated spaces to be established after they register their bikes with the public safety department.

Earlier this month, a couple of residents reported witnessing bikes being removed from outdoor spots on the ST-PCV Facebook page. Then on Monday, numerous other bikes were moved by a PCVST management vehicle into the basement between 435 and 445 East 14th Street, a resident passing by noticed.

Moriarty added that a notice has been issued to residents at 622/624 East 14th Street stating that cleaning and reorganizing of the bike room there will begin on August 2 and will likely conclude on August 15. In the meantime, bikes and other property in the space must be removed before the work starts or the items will be removed by security on August 2. The work includes plastering and painting, stripping and waxing the floors and repairing or replacing iron railings that store bikes or the installation of additional bike hooks as needed.

The notice also goes on to say that along with only being allowed to park registered bikes in designated spots, residents will also “not be permitted to chain bikes together; chain them to plumbing fixtures, electrical boxes, deluxe storage units, etc. Signage will indicate the designated areas to store bikes… Additionally, any unregistered bikes found stored in the bike areas will be removed.”

Though the notice did not mention whether or not bike storage would continue to be free, Moriarty indicated it would be.

“They would be able to store them under the same conditions that they were previously stored,” he said.

Watersiders campaign against sanitation garage

Residents worried about onsite fuel tanks

Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal Photo by Brightsmith

Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal
Photo by Brightsmith

By Sabina Mollot

Along with extra traffic from garbage trucks and noise from construction, residents living near 25th Street and First Avenue, the site of a planned Department of Sanitation garage, are now saying they are also concerned about safety due to the presence of thousands of gallons of diesel fuel, which are expected to be stored at the property.

Janet Handal, president of the Waterside Tenants Association, which has been opposed to the garage plan, said this week that she was concerned about the potential for explosions due to an accident or arson. Meanwhile, she said tenants at Waterside have compiled around 300 letters in opposition to the garage, based on a form letter prepared by the WTA with their own comments added. The public comment period on the project ended on Wednesday. At some point after comments are reviewed, the Department of City Planning will issue a final environmental impact statement.

Though the letters mention more than one reason for their stand on the city project, which was first announced last year, the fuel tanks, said Handal, “are a very serious concern. It poses a security risk.”

She noted how she recently strolled down to a similar facility located at 57th Street around 10:30 in the evening, also where fuel tanks are stored, “and there was no security guard and the doors were wide open. A fire could break out or an explosion from fumes, from something purposeful or someone doing something careless.”

Handal said the issue was raised at the last public scoping meeting, which took place on June 25, but she hadn’t gotten a response.

As for whether or not any fumes or odors could be a nuisance to Watersiders, Handal said it would depend on what the winds are like that day. The garage, which is now located on CUNY’s Brookdale campus, is also in front of the main entrance/exit at Waterside, the 25th Street footbridge over the FDR Drive. Traffic there, where the SBS bus stops, is also a concern to residents, said Handal, since trucks are expected to start leaving the facility each day before 6 a.m.

The Department of Sanitation has said early on the 135-foot-high facility would accommodate space for 170 DOS trucks and 145 other vehicles, including those owned by department employees over a total of 108,600 square feet.

The WTA, like the garage’s other detractors, has also attempted to argue that the garage is also just out of place for a neighborhood that’s better known to residents as Bedpan Alley due to all the hospitals and other medical facilities, including the City Office of the Medical Examiner.

Another neighbor of the Brookdale campus, the East Midtown Plaza co-op complex, has also made this argument in recently submitted written testimony.

Jerry Fox, president of the co-op board, said residents at EMP have also had concerns about future weather-related floods and outages in the area, including at the garage site. “Where are you going to put those fuel tanks?” asked Fox. “You can’t put them on street level. If it floods, you’re going to have major problems.”

In response to the residents’ concerns, DOS Public Information Chief Keith Mellis said safety was a top priority with regards to the fuel storage and there was also a plan for noise mitigation.

“All fueling operations will meet stringent local, state, and federal regulations and will be regularly inspected to ensure not only the safety of our workers but of the overall community,” said Mellis, “just as we have done over the years at all DSNY facilities citywide.”

He added that the building would be staffed “24/7, providing security at all times, and the garage will be designed to meet flood risk standards. In our continuing effort to work with the community to minimize any inconveniences, a noise mitigation plan also will be implemented during construction.”

Op-Ed: New York doesn’t need Spitzer or Weiner

Editor’s note: This column was written before the latest allegations of sexting by Weiner were made public on Tuesday and admitted to by the mayoral hopeful. It’s worth noting that the editorial staff of this newspaper agrees with the sentiments here, and also believes that there is no room in New York politics for individuals who don’t learn from their mistakes.

By Steve Sanders

In his opus, when Frank Sinatra sang… “It’s up to you, New York, New York,” he must have been thinking about an election like the one that looms in New York City in less than two months.

So here is the deal. In September the Democratic party voters will go to the polls and nominate its standard bearers for the general election. Resigned Congressman Anthony Weiner is a candidate in a crowded field for mayor and resigned Governor Eliot Spitzer faces Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in the race for comptroller.

Both entered their respective races late and both catapulted to the top of the polls, primarily based on their name recognition and celebrity.

Celebrity? The former Congressman gained his notoriety by texting pictures of his private parts to women and girls with suggestive and salacious remarks. When caught he lied about it to the public as long as he could get away with it and then after getting cornered, confessed and resigned from office. The former governor earned his fame by first bullying his colleagues and others with threats and taunts. Then it was revealed that he spent much of his time soliciting prostitutes and even making arrangement for payment through questionable accounts and interstate travel. This from the one time top state law enforcement official and chief executive of the state of New York!

It isn’t just the lack of restraint or reckless acts of personal indulgence that should bother New Yorkers; it is the fact that their judgment is so flawed and their temperament reflects a dangerous narcissistic compulsion which seems to have led both men to a view of the world that places them at the center of the universe where their particular needs come first. Not very good for persons aspiring to public service.

Now don’t get me wrong; political persons by nature are aggressive and egocentric. To some extent, you need those characteristics to be successful in the world of politics. But there is a world of difference between the behavior of Mr. Weiner and Mr. Spitzer and most any other politician that I have seen.  To elect either of them to high office in New York City would be setting up the city to be the national and international punch line when we should be solidifying our place as the world class city that we are. A city filled with the best and the brightest.

A vote for either man is a vote to feed their personal addiction for attention and power. They need New York City voters, New York City voters don’t need them.

I for one, a lifelong democrat, will not support the party standard bearers if either are Weiner or Spitzer. I will not demean our great City in that way.

But as Frank Sinatra sang… It’s up to you New York, New York!

Steven Sanders is a former state assemblyman who represented the Town and Village community for 28 years.

Letters to the Editor, July 25

Feeling separated from the parks

I am a five-year resident of Stuyvesant Town and mother of two young children.

The deciding factor in moving here was the affordability that included many outdoor spaces containing grass and trees surrounding the buildings.

Sadly, this wonderful aspect of our community has been robbed from all of us with the permanent installation of vast, confining and unsightly fencing throughout the community. Now instead of experiencing the outdoors with freedom and wonder, my children are forced to stay on sidewalks bordering what is now off limits. I have to soften the pain of no more picnics near our playground. No more walking barefoot in the grass while playing around their favorite trees.

The reasons for this drastic change (according to management) is to correct mismanagement of the grounds by previous property owners. After taking a closer look at these “improvements” I am convinced this amounts to an ill-planned, ridiculous venture that included trashing hundreds of thriving plants and costing a lot of money.

Why in the world would prospective tenants move in with this fencing destroying the landscape and prohibiting enjoyment of the outdoors?

This change in the property has been done in a cold, calculating, insidious way that proves management does not like the tenants it manages.

M. Deren, ST

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Residents weigh in on Spitzer and Weiner

Many think candidates’ sex scandals don’t matter

Eliot Spitzer

Eliot Spitzer

Anthony Weiner

Anthony Weiner

By Sabina Mollot

In the 11 days since former Governor Eliot Spitzer announced his candidacy for comptroller, both he and fellow disgraced former politician, former Congress Member Anthony Weiner, have easily stolen the media thunder from their opponents, whose lack of sex scandals makes them and their campaigns, yesterday’s news.

Interestingly, while neither candidate has been able to score a single news story that doesn’t in some way mention their respective falls from grace, they still have, according to the polls, become the race’s frontrunners.

On Monday, Town & Village interviewed several residents of Stuyvesant Town to ask what they thought about Spitzer and Weiner’s attempts at comebacks and their promising poll numbers. Though opinions varied, most implied they didn’t care much about the sex scandals, and Spitzer was generally thought of as being a well-equipped leader.

Retired teacher Sam Bishop said he didn’t think Weiner and Spitzer’s post-scandal ambitions were surprising, “and,” he added, “they’re going to win.” The reason, said Bishop, is name recognition. “What’s sad is that the other people who are running for those respective offices are not known outside of their districts. They can’t break through the ceiling above that local level. Weiner is now a statewide celebrity for his improprieties. Somebody like Quinn is only known in her district. Stringer — no one knows who he is outside Manhattan and he needs to pull votes outside of Manhattan.”

Another factor, said Bishop, is that “baggage” aside, he believes “Spitzer is very well-qualified. Do I like him personally? That’s another question. Both of them are quite capable of a big comeback and they’re very shrewd because they sized up the competition. The public wants to elect leaders that are able to bring results.”

Another resident, Guadalupe Canton, seemed to agree, saying he believes in second chances. “Everyone should have a second act,” he said.

Canton was mixed on Spitzer and Weiner though saying he was more impressed with Spitzer’s record as attorney general and governor for investigating Wall Street than he was with Weiner.

“I don’t think he did much as a Congress member. He was loud and bombastic, but didn’t do much,” said Canton. He had even less love for opponent Christine Quinn though, blasting the mayoral hopeful as “Miss Lackey” for the man who still holds the job. As for Spitzer, “I had wished that someone would look into Wall Street when this nonsense happened,” said Canton, referring to the then-governor’s career-derailing hooker scandal. “If you investigate (Wall Street) you will find something and we’re still in a mess. I think he could keep an eye on the books of the city.”

David Burstein, a recently published author (Fast Future, Beacon Press) and founder of Generation18, a campaign aimed at getting young people to vote, said he also didn’t think the men’s scandals would make them untouchable in the eyes of voters.

“People’s memories have been getting shorter and shorter and the fact that they’re willing to give these people a second chance is a symptom of that,” he said. He added, “People have forgotten that Bill Clinton was reelected at the height of his scandal and that he was impeached. People have erased that from the portrait of who he is.”

Burstein, who said he thought there was no doubt about Spitzer’s competence as a legislator, still thinks that people are more likely to be forgiving of Weiner’s infamous crotch tweet than Spitzer’s hiring of prostitutes.

“What Spitzer did in a lot of ways was worse; there was a level of hypocrisy,” he said. As for Weinergate, “People have experience with (Twitter), maybe not on that lewd level, but people realize it as an action that could have happened to them. People have experiences sending the wrong text message to someone. So they sympathize. It’s better than misappropriating $5 million in campaign funds.”

Less sympathetic though was documentary maker Doug Block who now finds that he can’t think of Weiner “without laughing.” It doesn’t help of course that “he has a very unfortunate last name. We’ll never stop associating him with his little picadillo.”

Block added that he thought the accidentally-made public tweet that brought Weiner down was “about the stupidest thing you could possibly do.” While in his opinion, most pols likely solicit prostitutes behind closed doors, most people also understand that there’s no such thing as privacy on the internet.

“That was pretty naïve,” said Block, although he added that he wasn’t necessarily opposed to either candidate for their actions. “Right now I’m just a bemused observer,” he said. “This is a democratic city and they’re name brands.”

Additionally, he said he believes New Yorkers would probably dismiss the scandals as long as they think the candidates support issues they care about.

“They just want people to be on their side who are fighters,” said Block. “These guys are fighters because they don’t care what people think of them except what’s enough to get people to vote for them.”

Jerry Alperstein, a former teacher who keeps politically active by serving on Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s advisory board, indicated he wasn’t too disturbed by the scandalous past of Weiner or Spitzer and didn’t think others were either.

“Had Bill Clinton been able to run for reelection in 2000, he would have been easily reelected,” he said, “whether or not he had the support of Monica Lewinsky.”

However, Alperstein added that the current lead in the polls for Spitzer and Weiner shouldn’t be read into too much.

 “You have to remember that the primary is in September and it won’t be until around August 15 that people start to focus on this thing. Polls are neither here nor there.”

Meanwhile, retiree Shirley Ehrlickman said she wouldn’t be voting for Weiner or Spitzer, dismissing them as men with “poor character.” She declined to discuss her reason for disliking Weiner, but said she already intends to support Spitzer’s rival, Borough President Stringer, for comptroller.

“I don’t have anything against Spitzer, but as far as voting is concerned, there’s another candidate and I’m a friend of his.”

Ehrickman added that she has served as a volunteer on a senior citizen board for Stringer. “He’s a straight arrow, very sincere and cares about the people,” she said.

Another retiree, who’s also a former longtime poll worker, said she’s also supporting Stringer, and Bill de Blasio for mayor. As for Spitzer and Weiner, “I call them the odd couple,” said Dolores Dolan. “I’m definitely not supporting either of them. It’s not because of their sexual exploits, but I support Stringer for comptroller because he’s more competent. I’m also supporting de Blasio because he’s a capable person. I don’t think Weiner has the temperament to be mayor.”

Dolan added that she thought the ST/PCV population’s vote would make a dent in the citywide results for the primary, which overall tends to have a dismal turnout. But ST/PCV residents, she’s learned, tend to be more committed voters. As for who’d come out on top after that, she could only guess.

“Spitzer’s got so much money from his family, so he might surprise, but I do think Stringer is more capable,” she said.

Peter Stuyvesant ‘Road Warriors’ win district baseball majors championship

The Peter Stuyvesant “Road Warriors” won the Little League District 23 Majors Baseball title for the first time in PSLL history in the last week of June.  Photo by Mike Hoernecke

The Peter Stuyvesant “Road Warriors” won the Little League District 23 Majors Baseball title for the first time in PSLL history in the last week of June.
Photo by Mike Hoernecke

The “Road Warriors” won the Little League District 23 Majors Baseball title for the first time in Peter Stuyvesant Little League’s (PSLL) history!
The district tournament round includes Manhattan and Western Bronx little leagues and is the first step toward a chance to advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.
The team started their title run by defeating North Riverdale LL 10-0 on June 25 and coming from behind to knock off Greenwich Village LL 6-1 on June 28.
The next game on June 30 was a game for the ages — Two hours, 53 minutes, 8 lead changes or ties, 8 pitchers between the two team, two great base running slides, a go ahead two-run double in the bottom 5th, a two out game tying hit in the 6th, a throw out at home plate to preserve a tie in the 6th, three home runs (two by PSLL), one with 2 outs, 2 strikes in the 7th to tie the game and one walk-off hit to cap the Road Warriors’ 5-4 win over West Side LL!
With PSLL in the winner’s bracket and needing only one win, a culmination of years of previous teams coming up short ended with a come from behind 10-8 win over Harlem LL on Monday, July 8.
Next up is the double elimination Section 5 round which includes the eight District winners from all five boroughs and southern and central Nassau County.

Robber targeting ST, East Village women gets 12 years

Surveillance photos of Freddie Keitt

Surveillance photos of Freddie Keitt

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A gun-toting mugger who was nabbed last year by Stuyvesant Town security was sentenced to 12 years in prison and five years of post-release supervision on Tuesday, after previously pleading guilty to robbery and burglary.

Freddie Keitt, a 33-year-old homeless man, was collared on December 12, 2012, after security officers saw that he fit the description of a man suspected in a string of robberies in the area. Police said that he made statements implicating himself after he was arrested.

According to police, the robbery pattern began on Tuesday, December 4 when Keitt followed a woman into the elevator of her building in Far Rockaway, Queens, and demanded her purse. When she refused, he snatched it from her and fled the scene.

Then on December 8 at 1 a.m., he followed a 28-year-old woman in Manhattan into her elevator at 121 East 12th Street and demanded her cell phone and bag. He fled the scene after the victim complied.

The next reported incident occurred later that same day around 11 p.m. when he followed an 85-year-old woman into her building at 305 West 13th Street, forcibly knocking her to the ground and grabbing her two purses, as well as a ring.

The last incident reported before Keitt was arrested occurred on December 9 at 635 East 14th Street in Stuyvesant Town. He followed a 22-year-old woman inside the building, cornering her in the elevator and demanded her handbag while threatening her with a gun. The report was for some reason initially reported by police as having taken place in Gramercy.

The Manhattan District Attorney reported that Keitt said he would just wait outside the buildings until someone would let him in, and would then rob the first person who entered. Keitt pleaded guilty to the two top charges in the indictment, which were robbery in the first degree and burglary in the first degree.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Queens D.A. said Keitt’s Rockaway case is still pending and he had a court appearance that day.

Letters to the Editor, July 18

You gotta have a scandal

To the Editor:
Well, now that Eliot Spitzer has joined Anthony Weiner in running, or rather dancing with the stars, in the elections this November, the other candidates for office will have to do something to make the Mad Men who create the virtual reality that is our world sit up and take notes. After all, name and face recognition is more important than qualifications when running for office.
Bill de Blasio might make a great mayor but he doesn’t have the Kardashian kitsch so essential for success, much more important than competence.  But if Mr. de Blasio wore hot pink short shorts and high heels to the next photo op, admittedly no match for the orange pants worn by the internet star Weiner at a recent gay event, he might give the former Congressman a tussle for the gay vote. But what about the straight vote?
Candidate Quinn could enlist her buddy Bloomberg to take her on a bicycle-built-for-two to the beach at Coney Island where they could perform the steamy Burt Lancaster/ Deborah Kerr scene in “From Here to Eternity.” Since all publicity is good, this would make great headlines, not to mention hot photos: The Mayor and Speaker Quinn, both wearing a bikini, though not necessarily the same one, making out on a bright red blanket! Wow! And how about Bill Thompson, smelling smoke and a photo op, showing up in a fireman’s uniform with a long hose to put out the fire. Why, the paparazzi would be so overjoyed they’d all have heart attacks. But, not to worry, the firemen’s union would be on hand to administer CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Double wow! This scene would be so hot that maybe even Sarah Palin would show up for a photo op and pitch in, her pitch, that is, for the presidential nomination with the headline: For Whom the Belle Toils!
For the office of comptroller, the very capable Scott Stringer will have to run against former Governor Eliot Spitzer. He will need the best shoes Nike makes because Spitzer is a tough campaigner with remarkable name and face recognition. (Weiner has the name recognition, but it’s not his face that people think of when they think of Weiner.)
Spitzer dodged criminal charges when he hired working girls, but these “employees” became damsels in distress when they were found guilty of working for Spitzer and dragged off to prison. It not only created buzz for the former governor but an opportunity for him to repent and beg forgiveness from voters who are ready to believe anything, including a talking snake named Satan and an ambitious boat builder named Noah.
Perhaps Stringer should create a scandal, preferably of a sexual nature so he’s in the same ballpark with Spitzer, which could bring him to his knees as well as the TV cameras where he could apologize and beg forgiveness for his alleged sin. And by simply omitting the word “not,” he could put a unique spin on that famous line “I did have sex with that woman.”  That’s sure to get him elected.
We just love born-again politicians, but not boring-again ones. So, come on, candidates, make your campaign sexy with a little scandal and then sit down to a healthy serving of humble pie. You have nothing to lose and much to gain, especially if you’re from New Jersey. But let’s not go there. Why would anyone want to go to New Jersey? We New Yorkers have our own fat cats here at home. And they can buy elections.
John Cappelletti, ST

Security keeps residents safe without guns

I live in Manhattan’s Stuyesant Town, a middle class project. We have uniformed security guards who carry handcuffs, clubs, and walkie-talkies – but no guns.
I’ve called them about loud college kids’ parties and they respond promptly.
A few times, the same security guards told me to dismount my bicycle in pedestrian areas, and I was the one who had to comply.
They’ve warned dog owners to clean up after their pets. They’ve been called to local stores renting from Stuyvesant Town to handle unruly shoppers and sometimes deal with shoplifters.
But what about real crime? These unarmed security guards have apprehended burglars and rapists in my 110-building community. They’ve received awards from the local NYPD precinct commander for doing so.
Are these guards “wannabe cops?” Maybe some of them are. But they’ve proven their effectiveness in keeping my community safe – all without guns!
The NRA is wrong! Guns DO kill people. Had Zimmerman not been armed, Trayvon Martin would still be alive today.
Had Zimmerman not been armed, he probably wouldn’t have ever left the safety of his car. He would have merely phoned in a report to the real cops, as he was advised to do.
Knowing he was armed emboldened Zimmerman to leave his car, even after being told by the police “You don’t need to do that.”
It was the gun that gave Zimmerman the “courage” to physically confront Trayvon Martin. When Mr. Martin defended himself, Zimmerman killed him.
Apparently, Florida law only gives armed people the right to self-defense. Unarmed people, such as Mr. Martin, do not have the right to defend themselves against armed attackers.
Elliot Markson, ST

 

Cooling Centers open, Con Ed work complete

WHO NEEDS THE BEACH? Stephanie Krauter, Molly Elverson, Shelly Madick and Clark Chalmers cool down in an $8 kiddie pool on the 14th Street Loop on a recent afternoon. Photo by Sabina Mollot

WHO NEEDS THE BEACH? Stephanie Krauter, Molly Elverson, Shelly Madick and Clark Chalmers cool down in an $8 kiddie pool on the 14th Street Loop on a recent afternoon.
Photo by Sabina Mollot

On Monday night, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association released an updated list on available cooling centers as the heat wave set to last throughout the week scorches on. Additionally, the Tenants Association noted, in an email to residents, Con Ed has completed repairs to the electric system in Stuyvesant Town and the emergency appeal to conserve energy has been lifted.

Still, the TA wrote, “Although the buildings around Avenue C were – and might continue to be – the most vulnerable in a power challenge, it is suggested that all residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village continue to exercise caution in the use of electrical devices to avoid an overload and power outage on the grid serving us.”

Currently, the Stuyvesant Town Community Center, 449 East 14th Street, is open for use as a cooling center for residents until 10 p.m. during official heat emergencies, and the Community Room at Waterside Plaza is also open for use as a cooling center for residents there.

Office of Emergency Management Designated Cooling Centers include: Epiphany Library, 228 East 23rd Street, Stein Senior Center, 204 East 23rd Street and Sirovich Senior Center, 331 East 12th Street. Cooling centers may change hours of operation. Hours may be extended during a heat emergency. For more information, visit the OEM website.

As Town & Village reported last Thursday, locals pools such as Asser Levy and Dry Dock have been seeing

Joey and Sammy Haskell load up their guns at Stuy Town's Playground 9 on a recent afternoon. Photo by Sabina Mollot

Joey and Sammy Haskell load up their guns at Stuy Town’s Playground 9 on a recent afternoon.
Photo by Sabina Mollot

plenty of use, as have playground sprinklers. Local playgrounds that have a water feature are located at Sauer Park on East 12th Street between Avenues A and B and Madison Square Park at Madison Avenue and 25th Street. ST/PCV playground sprinklers are also available for residents.

The Tenants Association has also asked that during the first three days of this week, which are flagged as dangerously hot (at or near 100 degrees), residents check on older neighbors.

“In view of the excessive heat, when you are doing your own errands, think about looking in on elderly neighbors and asking if there is anything you can pick up for them, especially medications and food necessities,” the TA said.

CompassRock has also issued a notice, asking residents to check on the elderly and neighbors who do not have A.C. and also to remind residents that anyone who may need special assistance should register with the department of public safety by calling (212) 598-5233.

Shade trees chopped down in Oval, management says some trees were overgrown

Workers remove trees from the Oval on Tuesday.

Workers remove trees from the Oval on Tuesday.

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday around midday, workers began to cut down trees, specifically every other shade tree surrounding the interior walkway around the Oval, to the horror of some residents passing by.

The resident who snapped this photo reported, “This removed half the shaded areas covering many of the benches used by the tenants. These trees were planted a number of years ago when the tree service organization cut down all 40 of the original, mature and healthy, London Plane trees that shaded the same areas. London Plane trees have a life span of over 200 years. It took a number of years to regain the shade provided to the tenant by the current trees. When I asked the individual supervising the tree service personnel why they were removing the trees his only answer was ‘We were told to.’ It will take many more years for the trees that now remain to grow and possibly provide shade to the benches that the tenants currently utilize.”

This move follows work last month to remove much of the plantings around the Oval, that CW spokesperson Brian Moriarty said was part of ongoing landscaping around the entire property.

Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg, meanwhile, said she hoped the area would be replanted soon.

“When Tishman Speyer cut down many mature trees several years ago, we were assured they did so because the trees were beetle-infested or dying (whether one believes it or not is another story),” she said. “I would hope that is the case now rather than a sheer landscaping decision. Some of the trees in our community must be more than 65 years old and are treasures.  Moreover, they have taken out what was an absolutely beautiful and lush arrangement of plants and bushes around the perimeter of the Oval, leaving us with barren earth. If they don’t plan on replanting the area with an arrangement equally breathtaking, shame on them.”

A spokesperson for CWCapital did not respond to a request for an explanation by T&V’s print deadline on Wednesday.

However, on Friday afternoon, in one of CompassRock’s emailed newsletters, management discussed the ongoing landscaping work. One of the goals, apparently, is to remove trees that are “overgrown” as well to correct landscaping work done during Tishman Speyer’s ownership which eventually resulted in hundreds of newly planted trees dying or having to be removed from the grounds.

On the recent work in Oval crescent-shaped flowerbeds, in which plantings were stripped, CompassRock said, “This work is part of a property-wide landscaping stabilization program currently in progress, with the goal of establishing a landscape environment which will thrive for years to come. This requires the correction of programs undertaken by prior ownership, which did not ensure adequate care or space for plants to grow, including many instances of tree, shrub and flower plantings in inappropriate soil and sunlight conditions.”

Management also said the landscaping renovation includes “the transplant of trees and shrubs to other locations in the property; removal of several overgrown trees and plants; remediation of the soil; and improvements to the existing irrigation and electrical infrastructure embedded in the crescents. The new tree species being planted in the crescent beds will be lower in height and density, allowing the trees the space they need to prosper, as well as increasing  visibility into the Oval for both passers-by and security. When completed, the gardens will have a cleaner look and a new, lush ground with perennials to add color. The final plantings will be completed in the coming three weeks and new fencing will be established to protect the area and keep it healthy.”

Resident the owner of Weed World van

The Weed World Candies van can often be spotted parked in Stuyvesant Town.

The Weed World Candies van can often be spotted parked in Stuyvesant Town.

By Sabina Mollot

Over the past few weeks, residents of Stuyvesant Town have begun reporting sightings of a mysterious van with the words “Weed World” written on the side, complete with oversized images of lollipops, with flavors such as “herojuana” and “AK47” on the other side.

Wondering exactly what it is the van was selling, residents have been swapping photos and theories.

One resident, Lawrence Barnes, recently wrote in to T&V after seeing it parked on the Avenue C Loop.

“It’s bad enough that it’s a pot delivery van, but, in a community with so many young children, who walk past it to go to school or camp, equating pot with candy and lollipops is outrageous,” Barnes said. “My definition of drug pushers includes parking a van outside a playground that advertises pot as candy.”

In response to a call from Town & Village, the owner and founder of Weed World Candies, said he didn’t share the resident’s offense about the vehicle being parked close to a playground.

Because, said Bilal Muhammad a.k.a. “Dro Man,” who is a Stuyvesant Town resident himself, “hemp is legal.” And though all the flavored lollipops, and all the company’s other products, such as baked goods, are made from hemp, there’s no THC — the primary ingredient in the marijuana plant that gets those who use it high.

Dro Man added that the company was an advocate of the industrialization of marijuana, “and to industrialize it, you’d have to de-criminalize marijuana because you have to grow it. This is part of our mission, because hemp is used for a lot of medicinal things. It’s not a drug. Drugs are manufactured.”

Incidentally, any visitor to the company’s website, weedworldcandies.net, can see based on the gallery of photos that the company is not opposed to its recreational use either.

The company began 13 years ago with zero trucks, “just our own two feet,” said Dro Man, who’s now 34 and said there are 36 trucks in various cities. These days, the vans operate to do deliveries and to sell on the streets, the New York one often spotted in Union Square. The vans in other cities are operated by contractors. The hemp lollipops they all sell are $5 each, with the most popular flavors with stoners as well as the just plain curious being the white widows pop, which has a pina colada flavor, girl scout cookies, sour diesel and strawberry cough.

“That’s why the stoners really love the candy, because the tastes take you there,” said Dro Man. Along with the lollipops, the company also caters other food products made from hemp including pasta dishes and hemp butter.

Dealing with the police or other people thinking they’re selling drugs has of course been a challenge.

“There are so many questions you have to answer for the consumer a lot of the times,” he said.

However, Weed World Candies has had to deal with an even bigger problem that that, which is that a person Dro Man described as a “stalker” has recently created a copycat website, offering the same exact candy products.

“Someone is getting sued,” said Dro Man. “He’s been piggybacking off of us and stealing our business by taking people’s money.” He declined to elaborate further, explaining he didn’t want to give the alleged impostor any publicity. An e-mail sent to an address listed on the other site from T&V was returned undelivered.

As for how he got started, Dro Man, who grew up in Alabama, said his interest in hemp began with the anti-drug campaigns targeting kids in the 1980s, around the time of the Reagan administration’s “Just Say No” campaign. While the goal was actually to keep kids away from drugs, Dro Man said they had the opposite effect, because of how much they were marketed and promoted to young people.

“It was promoting drugs to us because (before the campaign) we knew nothing about drugs, crack. The more you hear it, the more you see it, the more you are prone to try it.”

Dro Man, who moved to Stuyvesant Town a couple of months ago, lives there with two other company employees or “Weed World family” members, as he put it. So far, it’s been okay, he said, except that it’s a bit isolated and it’s easy to hear neighbors and vice versa.

Apparently, smells are also easily spread around, according to a couple of neighbors in the building who said sometimes the whole floor smells of pot. One resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said security’s responded more than once.

In response, Dro Man insisted the smell is just kush incense that’s also used in the van to attract customers.

“It’s for marketing,” he said. “We even sell those. People just go too far calling security or police.”

Meanwhile, Stuy Town management also has its own stance on Weed World Candies. Though most of the time, the van has been parked legally in the loop roads, Brian Moriarty, a spokesperson for CWCapital, said, “In cases where they are not parked legally, they have been ticketed and towed. Obviously, management has no intention of allowing them to sell their merchandise on any property controlled by management.”

Letters to the Editor, July 11

Laundry room leaky and terrifying

After reading “When does free cost too much?” (Letter, T&V) last week, I thought, those are my feelings, too.

Soon after a flyer was sent around, proclaiming that the basement is now open (how can that be, it has not been completely renovated) and there were old washer/dryers to be used without cost, I ventured downstairs to have a look. Shock set in immediately as the elevator doors opened to the basement. It looked like a dungeon, a place for punishment, not a venue for people to enter.

I spent two minutes looking around and quickly headed back to the elevator. Two days later, I went to one of the buildings where we had access to for many months, to do a laundry. My card would not allow me to get into the laundry room. When I exited the building, two security officers were outside, and I asked them why my card no longer worked. They called their office and informed me that now that I had free machines and dryers in my building, and I no longer could use the other laundry rooms.

Not having much choice, I decided to do a test run in my building with a small bag of rags. Again, I went downstairs, and when the elevator opened, there was a large puddle of water in front of me, and another one to the left near the stairwell. I skirted around the puddle and nervously entered the so-called laundry room. There was a terrible odor. The first machine did not work at all. The second one worked, but when I placed a very small load into the dryer, thirty minutes later, it was still wet.

I felt very uncomfortable being in the basement because of the eerie quality with unfinished walls, dirtier than normal conditions, and a total lack of security.

However, even if there were a team of security people lined up to protect me, I will not go there again until it is completely renovated. No one should have to be subjected to such terrible conditions.

Name withheld, PCV

Continue reading

Stuy Town singer Garland Jeffreys releasing new album

Garland Jeffreys, now on tour, in Stuy Town Photo by Sabina Mollot

Garland Jeffreys, now on tour, in Stuy Town
Photo by Sabina Mollot

Crowd-sourced project also raised cash
for program helping elderly neighbors

By Sabina Mollot
Stuyvesant Town singer and songwriter Garland Jeffreys has quite a few things to celebrate.
The now 70-year-old rocker – his birthday was on June 29 – is releasing a new album, with some of the material just performed at a packed birthday show at the Highline Ballroom, and he’s raising funds for a program to help some of his elderly neighbors.

Jeffreys, who said he’s close to releasing his 14th album, has gone the independent route in its production. Like with his last release, “The King of In Between,” in 2011, this album (yet to have its name released) is being produced sans label. But unlike in the past, this time the funds were raised by fans and friends. Jeffreys used the crowd-sourcing website PledgeMusic to raise the money, which has a policy of having users donate 10 percent of the funds, after the artists’ goals are met, to charity. Since Jeffreys has been looking for ways to help seniors in ST/PCV, he opted to give that money ($400 so far) to Favors for Neighbors.

That program, which is run by Stuy Town management as well as Beth Israel hospital, provides services to resident seniors like social worker visits and matching them up with young neighbors who can run errands and do other services for them.

Based on publicly viewable information, 157 percent of the album’s goal amount was reached, a result of 283 pledges. Those who donated were promised goodies that ranged from a free digital download of the album to dinner at Jeffreys’ home near the Oval. “My wife, Claire, is a pretty good cook,” he wrote in a May blog post. It’s worth noting that Claire is also his manager, while teenage daughter Savannah, an aspiring singer herself, has performed with her father many times.

Jeffreys, who’s shared stages with Lou Reed and Bruce Springsteen, has been performing for decades and has produced albums under labels such as RCA, Epic and A&M. But, as he told Town & Village recently, at this point in his career, he has no interest in working with a label.

Using the crowd-sourcing method, “you have to hustle,” admitted Jeffreys, but, he added, “It frees you from the grips of the record business. When you go with a label, when you use some executive’s money, you pay a price. It may come sooner, it may come later. They dictate to you what kind of album to make and they are often mistaken in their selection about what is good music.”

Besides, through PledgeMusic, Jeffreys said he’s only doing what he does normally which is engage in an interactive way with fans. “I love this Pledge thing because it brings the fans into the picture,” he said.
Those who donate will also get sneak peaks at behind-the-scenes work, which is going to be part of a documentary-style video.  Jeffreys is putting the video together alongside the album, which is slated for release in September.

“It’s almost done,” said Jeffreys, though he opted to remain mum about the recording’s title and even song titles. Musically, the style will be different from past rock songs he’s written, he promised, though once again he declined to reveal how.
But, he added, “In my mind, this album is some of the best stuff I’ve ever done, so I’m pretty excited about it. It’s very strong emotionally.”

His most recent album, “The King of In Between,” was the first one he released after a 13-year-break from recording albums, though he still contributed to others. One recent feature is on 2012’s “Occupy This Album” by Music for Occupy. Meanwhile, older hits have remained selling, like the song, “Wild in the Streets” (from 1973) which was used in a bar fight scene of the video game, “Max Payne 3.”

In the past, Jeffreys’ style has been influenced by his own background — he’s a Coney Island, Brooklyn native who’s racially mixed (black and Hispanic) and many songs have revolved around themes like race, conflict, poverty and a desire to bring people together.

Additionally, for the past couple of years, Jeffreys has been trying to come up with ways to help lower-income elderly residents ST/PCV, in particular women, with things like medical expenses and just having those who live alone checked on.

The singer has said he was turned on to the idea of starting some sort of organized outreach by some of his older neighbors, including those in his own building. They don’t always discuss their problems with him, but then, he’s said in the past, they’re often obvious enough where they don’t have to.

Last year, he mentioned in an interview with T&V how he noticed an elderly woman at she sat near the basketball court in Playground 9.
“She was really debilitated and could barely understand me,” he recalled, but he noticed that she still seemed to appreciate that he’d struck up a conversation.

Since then, he’s been making it a point to reach out to older neighbors, and with a tour schedule that sometimes offers him months free at home, he’s become more aware of things like when neighbors he sees around are suddenly not there, sometimes having been taken away for medical care.

“There’ll be more to come” for Favors for Neighbors, he said, adding that he’s open to the idea of holding benefit concerts.

Jeffreys, who performed in Stuy Town last year, won’t be performing on the Oval again this year, since he’s been touring and will be doing shows throughout Europe as well as in Canada. “I would definitely play another time, though,” said Jeffreys.