Burglaries, robberies up in 13th Precinct

The Cop of the Month for April 2014 was awarded to P.O. Phil McGovern at the meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council on April 15.  Pictured are Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, Council President Frank Scala, and P.O. McGovern. (Photo by Pat Sallin)

The Cop of the Month for April 2014 was awarded to P.O. Phil McGovern at the meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council on April 15. Pictured are Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, Council President Frank Scala, and P.O. McGovern. (Photo by Pat Sallin)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
While crime in the area covered by the 13th Precinct is down overall for the year so far, burglaries and robberies are up. Overall, crime is down 2.4 percent for the year and 8 percent for the month but burglaries are up 37 percent since this time last year and robberies are up 44.8 percent.
The stats were announced by the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, at the 13th Precinct’s April community council meeting on Tuesday, April 15.
He added that there has been a slight increase, 1.9 percent, on felony assaults as well, noting that these assaults often become a problem for the precinct because of incidents in the neighborhood hospitals, and attacks on doctors, nurses and peace officers automatically carry a heavier penalty.
Grand larcenies, meanwhile, are actually down 10.9 percent for the year.
“That was the area that was most up last year,” Ehrenberg noted. Grand larcenies have been featured prominently in T&V’s blotter regularly, with a number of victims reporting every month that their property was stolen while left unattended or snatched out of their hands while on the subway.
The increases that the precinct has seen in burglaries is more unusual than previous months, Ehrenberg said, because they are up in residential as opposed to commercial burglaries. The deputy inspector noted that one criminal was busted trying to climb into someone’s apartment through a fire escape in the 6th precinct and Ehrenberg said that he also matched the description of someone breaking in through fire escapes in the 13th, so he said he is hopeful that the arrest will alleviate the problem somewhat.
The meeting was also attended by a number of neighborhood residents with quality of life concerns due to noisy tenants in their building and aggressive homeless people in the vicinity of area shelters. Public housing residents of 224 East 28th Street in the Straus Houses were frustrated because of constant noise in the middle of the night in multiple apartments. One resident noted that police have come to the building to address the problem but that once the cops leave, the noise just starts up again.
“The noise usually comes from two different apartments and I’ve been told that they actually sell tickets for people to get in,” another resident who didn’t want to be named said. “There is underage drinking going on and pot-smoking that permeates through three floors. Strangers have knocked on my door wanting to buy pot. We’ve been dealing with this problem for the last two years.”
Ehrenberg said that while crime in public housing is down and there were more directed patrols in that specific building added recently, they most likely won’t be able to add more police to the building any time soon but he wanted to assure residents that NYCHA buildings are always on their radar.
“We’re responsible for those buildings so what happens there is definitely a concern for us,” he said. “We don’t want you to think that we’re neglecting these buildings. Noise in the middle of the night absolutely shouldn’t be happening.”
One resident of West 25th Street had complaints about recent activity outside the BRC shelter between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. She said what concerned her the most, aside from the drug deals she saw taking place, was a man who appeared to be dealing drugs while accompanied by a child in a stroller.
The deputy inspector noted that the precinct has been meeting regularly with the shelter’s task force and has pushed the BRC to increase their patrols. He added that they’re only able to put foot posts in the higher crime areas, which doesn’t include this particular shelter, but they will be re-evaluating the situation when they get the five new recruits that are supposed to be coming in.
The meeting also included the recognizing of April’s Cop of the Month, Police Officer Phil McGovern.

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This week in pictures: Kids come out for Easter activities in Stuy Town

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village families spent a sunny Easter Sunday on the Oval on April 20, hunting for eggs, meeting Peter Cooper Cotton Tail and generally enjoying the good weather.

Brad Kenney, who recently joined CompassRock as the senior director of marketing and communication for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village and is a Peter Cooper Village resident himself, used to work for MakerBot, a company that produces 3D printers. He used this previous connection to leave a special surprise in one of the plastic eggs in the egg hunt for the older kids: a small 3D printed squirrel.

Evan, a 9-year-old resident, was the lucky winner and his prize was a bigger version of the squirrel that wouldn’t fit into the plastic eggs.

In addition to the prize egg and the usual candy-filled ones, there were also four musical shaker eggs hidden. Kenney and Valerie Reaper, a musician and event planner for Stuyvesant Town, put on a concert for the kids later in the afternoon, playing classics such as Woody Guthrie, Otis Redding, John Denver and music from the Lion King. The young residents who found the shaker eggs got to participate and there was also a melodica, ukelele and a traditional Chinese instrument they were able to try out. Kenney noted that management’s planning to have more music-related events for families in the future.

(All photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel.)

 

Garodnick says city needs to crack down on predatory equity

At City Hall, Councilman Garodnick cited Stuyvesant Town as a prime example of predatory equity, a practice that has continued throughout the city. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

At City Hall, Councilman Garodnick cited Stuyvesant Town as a prime example of predatory equity, a practice that has continued throughout the city. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With Mayor de Blasio expected to unveil a housing plan soon that’s supposed to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing, Council Member Dan Garodnick has released a report that’s determined a part of the plan to maintain the city’s stock of affordable housing needs to be a crackdown on predatory equity.

Garodnick discussed the issue in front of City Hall on Tuesday, saying that even after the market crashed, landlords have continued to accrue excessive debt in building purchases and then attempt to either pass the costs on to tenants in ways that are sometimes illegal or become slumlords.

“Tenants are being forced out because rents are jacked up on their apartments or because the apartments are becoming uninhabitable,” he said. Garodnick, while joined by other elected officials, housing advocates and a handful of tenants of distressed buildings, said it’s up to the city to step in with policy to break the cycle of buildings becoming distressed and tenants getting gouged or harassed. Naturally, Garodnick gave the example of the now infamous $5.4 billion Stuyvesant Town deal, in which owner Tishman Speyer lost all of its investors’ money following a failed attempt to turn the mostly rent-regulated complex market rate. Calling it the poster child for predatory equity, Garodnick recalled how “their entire business plan was to evict as many rent-stabilized tenants as quickly as they could.”

Meanwhile, since then, there have been similar deals that have been even worse in terms of those properties being allowed to deteriorate. Such blighted properties, noted Garodnick, are a burden on the city. He also referred to the refinancing last week of the 1,600-unit Three Borough Pool, which was $133 million in debt. After being refinanced, the property’s debt has swelled to $146 million, which Garodnick said makes no sense.

“They avoided foreclosure by refinancing with even more debt. How is that even possible?”

In his report, titled “Ghosts of the Housing Bubble; How Debt, Deterioration and Foreclosure Continue to Haunt New York After the Crash,” Garodnick suggested a few policy changes to deal with properties that are overleveraged. One is to have the city invest much more in Alternative Enforcement Program, which allows the city to repair violations and bill the owner. The city currently only spends $50,000 on the program, relying on federal grants to make up the rest of the $7.6 million budget.

Another plan is to give good-acting landlords the first chance to buy foreclosed mortgages after the city buys them. He also said he would look into the possibility of “creative solutions” where long-suffering tenants being able to get a crack at buying. He noted how this was currently a goal in ST/PCV, though in that case, the proposal to buy was not organized with assistance from the city. Another of his recommended changes is to create new standards for receivers or debt servicers to make sure they are protecting the health and safety of residents. Currently, receivers can’t be sued in Housing Court without approval of the Supreme Court judge who appointed them. Finally, Garodnick also recommended creating new state guidelines around the existing federal Community Reinvestment Act, which pushes banks to lend in low-income areas. The idea there is to focus on the quality of loans, not just the quantity.

Along with those proposals, Garodnick also discussed new legislation that would make the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) create a watch list of owners who engage in predatory equity. The bill was authored by Council Member Ritchie Torres, who represents a district in the Bronx where the practice has become increasingly common.

Harvey Epstein of the Urban Justice Center recalled the predatory equity in Stuyvesant Town. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Harvey Epstein of the Urban Justice Center recalled the predatory equity in Stuyvesant Town. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

While at City Hall, Torres said that at this time, “There are no consequences” for owners who engage in “intentionally harassing, defrauding and displacing tenants from their homes.” He, along with State Senator Brad Hoylman, said he supported Garodnick’s proposals, and Hoylman said he would address them at the state level. A couple of tenants then shared tales of living in buildings that were so poorly maintained, the only ones who seemed to be in control were the rats and drug dealers.

The issue of Stuyvesant Town was also revisited by Harvey Epstein, director of the Urban Justice Center’s Community Development Project. Epstein recalled when Garodnick, then a new member of the City Council, contacted him in 2006 about Tishman Speyer. At that time, stabilized tenants had started receiving, en masse, primary residence challenges from the owner. “Over 3,000 tenants were subject to potential eviction in Stuyvesant Town,” said Epstein. “That’s what predatory equity is. When you take tenants who’ve lived in a building 20, 30, 40 years and you find ways to get them out.”

Police Watch, April 24

Bank robbery suspect

Bank robbery suspect

MAN WANTED FOR BANK ROBBERIES
Cops are seeking the public’s assistance in locating ta man wanted in connection with two attempted and one completed bank robberies.
One of the incidents occurred in the Bronx with another taking place in Inwood. A third happened in the Midtown South precinct last Friday at around 11:25 a.m.
In that incident, the robber walked into a Capital One Bank at 404 5th Avenue by East 37th Street, approached a teller and passed a note demanding money. The teller then handed him approximately $2,800 before he fled the location. The suspect is described as a male, approximately 5’7” with a medium build and goatee.

MAN ‘ASSAULTS’ DOG, SENIOR ON EAST 18TH
Police arrested 24-year-old Ricky Despiau for assault at the southwest corner of Third Avenue and East 18th Street last Monday at 4:55 p.m.
A 71-year-old man reported that he was walking his dog when Despiau walked nearby with his dog. Despiau allegedly got aggressive and kicked the victim’s dog and the two got into an argument that resulted in a physical fight. Despiau punched the victim in the face and pushed him to the ground, police said.

SUBWAY PERFORMERS BUSTED
Police arrested two subway performers last week in separate incidents.
Nineteen-year-old Ainsley Brundage was arrested for reckless endangerment  last Monday at 2:45 p.m. at the First Avenue L station. Brundage was allegedly dancing and flipping on the poles in an Eighth Avenue-bound L train while playing music on a speaker. The teen also panhandled for money afterwards, police said.
Police arrested 19-year-old Yushon Stroughn for reckless endangerment on the same Monday at 3:15 p.m. at the Union Square L station. Stroughn allegedly danced and flipped on a moving Eighth Avenue-bound L train while playing music on a speaker and also asked for money afterwards.

CAR DAMAGED AT THIRD AND EAST 17TH
A 75-year-old woman reported that her car was damaged while it was parked at the southeast corner of Third Avenue and East 17th Street last Saturday at noon. She told police that when she returned to her parked vehicle, she noticed that it had been struck.

TEEN SNAGS BIKE NEAR STUY TOWN
Police arrested a 14-year-old boy for petit larceny in front of 333 East 14th Street last Monday at 7:20 p.m. The teen rode the bike east on East 14th Street before he was stopped at First Avenue. He told police that it was his bike and that his friend has the key but then he later recanted, saying that it wasn’t his but that he was going to return it. The boy’s name is being withheld due to his age.

‘DRUNK DRIVER’ CRASHES, FLIPS CAR
Police arrested 35-year-old Dennis Jackson for intoxicated driving last Friday at 1:59 a.m. opposite 827 East 14th Street. Jackson allegedly drove while impaired by alcohol and caused a crash that resulted in his car flipping and blocking oncoming traffic. A field breathalyzer resulted in a .114 BAC, police said.

ARREST FOR TOOL BAG ‘THEFT’ IN PCV
Police arrested 29-year-old Henry Engroff for petit larceny in front of 5 Peter Cooper Road last Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Engroff allegedly snatched a bag from a cart without permission and walked away. The bag contained a nut driver, an iPad mini, screw driver bits, nut bolts and a small tool channel lock.

NEIGHBOR HARASSMENT IN STUY TOWN
A 57-year-old resident of 276 First Avenue in Stuyvesant Town reported last Thursday at 10:30 p.m. that her neighbor has been harassing her. She told police that the woman has been banging on the walls, cursing at the victim and yelling that since she pays rent, she can yell as loud as she wants. The victim said that Stuyvesant Town security has been notified.

STUY TOWN RESIDENT VICTIM OF TAX FRAUD
A 70-year-old resident of 18 Stuyvesant Oval reported last Thursday at 3:53 p.m. that her identity was stolen at some point between April 1 and April 8. She told police that an unknown person used her Social Security number and filed a tax return dated April 1. She was informed on April 8 by the IRS that her taxes were filed and she needed a report from the police to further investigate the matter.

IPHONE THEFT AT EQUINOX
A 52-year-old man reported that his phone was stolen while he was inside Equinox Gym at 897 Broadway last Wednesday at 1:25 p.m. He told police that he was in the locker room changing and he put his phone on a shelf in a locker. When he went to retrieve his phone about five minutes later, he found that the phone had been stolen. He reported that he never left the front of the locker but there were multiple people next to him during the incident.

HARASSMENT AT NY RACQUET CLUB
A 49-year-old man reported that he was harassed while he was at the New York Racquet Club inside 270 Park Avenue South last Saturday at 1:58 p.m. He told police that an unknown man confronted him while he was swimming in the pool. The man yelled at him in an aggressive manner and the victim said that he was alarmed and annoyed.

PICK-POCKET WANTED
The Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance identifying an individual believed to be behind a string of thefts in

Surveillance photo of suspect

Surveillance photo of suspect

the confines of the 6th and the 13th precincts.
According to police, the man, described as black, 25 to 35 years old, 5’9 to 6’0, and wearing a backpack, sunglasses and a dark hoodie, took a 24-year-old woman’s wallet at a Chipotle at 55 East 8th Street in the 6th precinct on Friday, February 28.
On Tuesday, March 18 at 3 p.m., the same man is believed to have walked into Think Coffee at 250 Mercer Street in the 6th precinct and taken a 28-year-old mam’s unattended bag containing a laptop and electronic tablet.
On Saturday, March 22 at 2:15 p.m., the suspect entered the Starbucks located at 45 West 4th Street in the 6th precinct and swiped a woman’s unattended laptop.
He then entered The Pit Stop at 123 East 24th Street in the 13th Precinct and stole a 26 year-old man’s bag on Saturday, April 5.
Two days later on April 7, he grabbed a woman’s bag, containing a wallet and a laptop at Artichoke Pizza, located at 111 MacDougal Street in the 6th precinct.
On April 8 at 6:10 p.m., the suspect entered the NYU Campus located at 5 University Place in the 6th precinct and took a woman’s laptop.
On April 14, he headed to the Pot Belly Deli at 333 Park Avenue in the 13th precinct where he stole a 22-year-woman’s backpack.

PARKING DISPUTE OUTSIDE STUY TOWN
A 50-year-old man reported that he got into an argument with someone else over a parking space opposite 430 East 20th Street last Wednesday at 9 a.m. He told police that the person he was arguing with told him that he could take the parking space but that he shouldn’t be surprised if he found damage to his car when he came back. The victim said that he felt threatened. No arrests were made.

TEEN ARRESTED FOR CITI BIKE SWIPE
Police arrested a 14-year-old boy for criminal possession of stolen property opposite 10 Union Square East last Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. Police approached the teen because he was riding a bike on the sidewalk instead of inside the park. The officer asked him if the bike belonged to him and the boy responded that he found it on the street and just took it.
The bicycle belongs to the bike share program and the boy did not have the authority to use the bike without paying for it. The bike share program told police that the bike was worth $1,200 and was last docked at 8:36 a.m. at West 21st Street and Sixth Avenue. The teen’s name is being withheld due to his age.

MAN BUSTED FOR ‘PICKPOCKETING’ AT RODEO
Police arrest 50-year-old Ronald Hutt for grand larceny last Wednesday at 9 p.m. inside Rodeo at 375 Third Avenue. Hutt allegedly removed credit cards from inside a 45-year-old man’s jacket without permission. He then took the credit cards and made purchases at the adjacent Duane Reade without permission, police said.

Letters to the Editor, Apr. 24

A few options for adding more parking spots

To the Editor of Town & Village,

This community will lose approximately 60 spaces for six or more weeks because of a management infrastructure project. My question, along with many other residents is just where did management expect some 60 community resident parking vehicles go? Were some magical parking spaces to appear all of a sudden?

Why didn’t management first implement measures to mitigate this community impact? They seem to have enough “policing” resources to prevent parking, but not solve it.

So my suggestions below would maintain current parking supply and create additional permanent parking. This is what they could and should do or if they can implement something better:

1. Create dozens of temporary parking spaces along both sides all of other loop roads. These streets are in fact considerably wider than most local city streets with parking on both sides of the street. Well what do you know!

Specifically, building entrance drop off areas could be maintained, parking maneuvers can continue (or angle adjustments implemented), and safety parking restrictions maintained at non-tangent road sections (this has to do with safe vehicle site lines for pedestrians). Further, emergency vehicles could still travel through without blockage or restriction as other local streets without preventing necessary maneuvers. Thank you very much.

2. Install handicapped parking for all handicapped parkers including visitors and legitimate handicapped users. Management has replaced lost handicapped parking with more restricted NYC permit only handicapped signs below just about at all handicapped spaces, requiring a NYC residency.

May I remind management that the federal ADA Law (handicapped accessibility) is a civil rights law for all physically challenged citizens, not just NYC permit holders. Thus it requires handicapped parking for all citizens. If we need more ADA parking then so be it. Thank you, President Bush (the first).

3. Relocate all Citi Bikes on street parking to city owned islands surrounding our community and wide sidewalk area (cobblestone areas). This has been implemented at other locations throughout the city. That effort alone would regain about 30 to 40 permanent parking space for our community. East 14th, 20th and 23rd Streets all have traffic islands and wide cobblestone public sidewalk areas.

I have photo documented that these options exist and have sent them to our councilman to convince him of the need for more community parking. As they say, a squeaky wheel gets fixed. So neighbors, start contacting those responsible. In all fairness, his staff did reply with a city DOT standard (weak) excuse why it was difficult in our case. However, they seem to be unaware of already existing Citi Bike parking options at other city locations.

These are real, doable solutions that most could be installed immediately and others with just a bit more time deserve our councilman’s support. Once again though management isn’t seeking input from the community.

Respectfully submitted,

William Oddo, ST
Resident and
community activist

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Residents mixed on MCI settlement

Those interviewed also question
necessity of improvements made

By Sabina Mollot
Following the announcement last Thursday that the ST-PCV Tenants Association had reached an agreement with CWCapital to reduce the cost of MCIs for some tenants and eliminate them completely for others, tenants have been able to talk about little else. When questioned about their thoughts by Town & Village, a few residents who got the 5 percent reduction of the monthly portion of the MCIs naturally said they wished they’d gotten more shaved off their rent bills. However, mainly what they expressed was their disgust at the system that allows owners to pass the costs of building upgrades onto renters.
“It seems very unfair,” said Katie Bernard, who’s lived in Stuy Town for 10 years. She was especially annoyed that MCIs were charged for the video intercom system, which she said was unnecessary. “I can’t tell you how little it works. I miss the old system. I don’t need a screen.”
Another resident also said she didn’t understand the need for the security upgrades that qualified for MCIs.
“It didn’t make my life any safer,” said Carol Szamtowicz. “These capital improvements, I’m sorry I have to pay for them.” As for the settlement, she thought it was good that the Tenants Association fought the increases, “but,” she added, “five percent isn’t very much.”
Meanwhile, another resident, Bob Novick, said he was glad to hear the retroactive portion of the increases had been eliminated. “They did get the retroactive off and that is significant,” said Novick. However, he too said he didn’t get why the intercom system needed replacing on the tenants’ dime. “We got new intercoms 8-10 years ago,” he recalled, adding that he thought the new ones were “essentially the same. The new ones are more sophisticated, but I’m wondering what the purpose was other than to increase the rents.”
And Bill Oddo, a longtime resident, said he wasn’t impressed with the settlement at all. “I don’t see where the success is when

Tenants Association President John Marsh, pictured last fall (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Tenants Association President John Marsh, pictured last fall (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

we’re only getting 5 percent off on all those items,” he said. “I have to pay $15 a month for video cameras and they don’t do anything. The security cameras don’t make us safe. They only help after the fact. You can’t possibly monitor 1,200 cameras 24/7.” Besides, he added, “For 65 years, this has been one of the safest communities in the city. It’s safer than St. Patrick’s Cathedral.” Oddo added that together he’ll be paying over $50 a month in MCIs, for improvements he thought his existing base rent should cover. “I can’t figure out why tenants have to pay for them,” he said. “I know (the Tenants Association) tried hard, but they’re losing this battle. People are leaving. Older people are dying and they’re just turning these apartments over. I love young people, but it’s a dormitory.”
In contrast, a “Roberts” tenant interviewed said of course he was glad he wouldn’t have to pay the increases following the settlement. “Less is more,” quipped Henry, who asked that his last name not be published. “Obviously if you’re paying less for your apartment, you’re better off.” But Henry added he wouldn’t be celebrating just yet since he’s been dealing with a lack of heat in his apartment. “I’m in the living room with two comforters and sweatpants,” he said.
On the TA’s Facebook page this week, the TA received heaping praise as well as a few complaints about the settlement.
In response, TA President John Marsh said that, though not part of the recent round of negotiations, tenants’ increases had already been reduced by 23 percent as a result of TA action. This was after the TA presented the DHCR with “detailed explanations of deficiencies” on a building-by-building basis for each MCI application, Marsh explained to T&V. This was when the work was done in 2009. After the agency reviewed the TA’s concerns as well as Tishman’s responses to them, “the total of all DHCR Orders were 23 percent less than the total of MCI rent increase applications filed by Tishman Speyer.”

East Village nursery school has sudden growth spurt

Sara Curry Preschool at Little Missionary’s Day Nursery Director Eileen Johnson, a Stuyvesant Town resident, says the school now has a mix of Lower East Side and Stuyvesant Town students. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Sara Curry Preschool at Little Missionary’s Day Nursery Director Eileen Johnson, a Stuyvesant Town resident, says the school now has a mix of Lower East Side and Stuyvesant Town students. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot
Even before Mayor de Blasio announced a plan that would more than double the amount of pre-K seats throughout the city, a local nonprofit nursery school was working on its own goal of doubling in size to meet the needs of a neighborhood teeming with families.
That school was Sara Curry Preschool at Little Missionary’s Day Nursery, which is already prepping its St. Marks building to add more classroom space. By September, the school will be ready to accommodate a total of 100 kids, its director, Stuyvesant Town resident Eileen Johnson said.
During a recent stroll through the building, which is over a century old, Johnson discussed how the place has changed over the years.
At one point it was the working and living quarters of its founder, Sara Curry, also known as the little missionary, who, like a more recent tenant in the building, a Hare Krishna group, would serve soup to hungry East Siders. The Hare Krishnas have been gone for years though and tenants who replaced them, members of a graphic arts team, have also moved.
The school is the landlord, and taking the space back for more classrooms has been a goal for a while, but, said Johnson, it wasn’t financially possible until now.
“We couldn’t have been able to run the school without the rental income,” she said.
Part of the reason, explained Johnson, is that tuition at the school has always been kept under market with the rest of the needed cash coming from fundraising.

Eileen Johnson in her office (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Eileen Johnson in her office (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

So naturally, there’s also a fundraising effort going on now, with a total goal of $200,000. Some of that money — around $50,000 — has already been raised through a street fair, raffles and donors. An awards ceremony event will take place in May and there’s also currently an Indiegogo campaign to bring in an additional $20,000.
For this the school has gotten some support from actress and East Village resident Rachel Weisz, who narrated the Indiegogo video. Her son was a student until he aged out of the program. The campaign will continue through May 11 and as of T&V’s press time on Wednesday, has raised $7,651.
Once the money’s raised, there will be numerous improvements made to the building, which was opened as a school in 1896. One of the jobs is to put the offices on the fourth floor, since by law, buildings without elevators can’t have classroom space on the fourth floor. Staircase railings will have to be made more sturdy, a full fire alarm system will have to be installed, plumbing upgrades are needed and the classrooms will then need new paint and furniture. If possible, Johnson said she’d like to put a garden or some sort of recreational and learning space on the roof.
Additionally, along with making improvements to the building, some of the money raised will go towards tuition assistance. At Little Missionary’s, tuition costs $1,600 a month for the full five-day a week schedule. There are also after school and summer programs offered.
For the school, the move to double in size reflects how the surrounding neighborhood has changed. More families have moved in, but also, as the school noted in the Indiegogo campaign, more local tuition-based schools have been priced out. At one time, Sara Curry taught 200 students in the building, which has five floors, including the basement, which is also used for class and play space. After her death the school continued but by the 1990s, it fell into a state of disrepair and was in danger of closing. By 2001, the school had a mere eight students. But then the school underwent a restructuring and has seen its student body grow ever since.

The school building on St. Marks Place (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The school building on St. Marks Place (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Initially it was just children from the Lower East Side, and they still make up the majority of students, but in recent years, there’s also been an influx of children from Stuyvesant Town and the East Village.
Then last year, St. Marks Place between First Avenue and Avenue A, where the school building is located, was co-named Sara Curry Way. Meanwhile, the school itself has gone through a couple of name changes. Johnson, who came aboard as director in 2004, explained, “We started out as Little Missionary, but then people thought it was a religious school. So I said why don’t we call it Sara Curry Preschool at Little Missionary?” The name, however, hasn’t really stuck. “Honestly everyone just calls it Little Missionary or Little Mish,” said Johnson. “It’s defaulting back.”
As for the nursery school’s resurgence, Johnson credits it to the curriculum, which includes dance, music, including use of instruments, art and cooking. “It’s not just some place you can stick your kids so you can go to work,” she said. “It’s really high quality programming.”

 

Tailor on East 14th to close after 50 years

Gino DiGiroloamo, owner of the Royal Tailor shop on East 14th Street, said he’s leaving the business due to a rent increase. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Gino DiGiroloamo, owner of the Royal Tailor shop on East 14th Street, said he’s leaving the business due to a rent increase. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot
In what some of his patrons are calling an end of an era, Gino DiGirolamo, the man behind the sewing machine at Royal Tailor for the past 50 years is hanging up his cloth measuring tape and retiring.
At least, that’s what he said he’ll be doing if he can’t find another shop nearby his current business on East 14th Street that’s affordable.
The reason DiGirolamo is closing that shop, a sliver of a space between Avenues A and B, is that his rent recently increased from $3,000 to $4,000.
This is not an increase the 75-year-old tailor, who’s known for his low prices as well as his skill with a needle and thread, said he can afford.
The store is scheduled to close at the end of the month and while DiGirolamo said he would consider just moving, he probably won’t.
“If I find something on Avenue B, I’ll see, but if it’s a lot of money, it don’t pay,” he said.
He’s been at his current space a few years. Prior to that he’d been around the corner on Avenue A, which is where he bought the business decades ago from his then-employer for $1,000. This was in 1963 and the shop’s owner had decided to return to Italy, where he was from. At the time, DiGirolamo, who’s from Palermo, Sicily, was hesitant. He spoke just a few words of English. However, he ended up changing his mind when a local woman offered to work for him as a translator.
Though she has since died (in 2012) at the age of 95, Mary Pupillo ended up working with him for years and her photo still hangs on his wall. There’s also a picture of DiGirolamo’s wife of 50 years, Adriana. A fixture at his shop, Adriana, a schoolteacher, died last October due to a heart problem.
“She was with me always,” said DiGirolamo.
Still, despite his loss, DiGirolamo said he’s never missed a day of work, and his typical workweek is around 80 hours.
“I work day and night, no vacations,” he said.
A resident of Ozone Park in Queens, DiGirolamo’s commute to his workspace is about an hour each way. His hours aren’t always exactly the same but he can often be found working throughout the night, finishing at 10 or 11 in the morning after a 12-hour shift. After work his son Vito will usually give him a ride home.
Working nights instead of days has made him more productive, he said, since at night “Nobody bothers me.”
Though customers still pop in fairly regularly, when they don’t, for company while he works, DiGirolamo’s radio is always on. There’s also a television, though that’s never on except during the occasional soccer game.
There’s also always a pile of clothes on the counter that he’s working on at any given time. The tailor said he doesn’t specialize in any particular type of clothing. “I’ll do anything,” he said. He’s been in the trade since he was around 19, after studying tailoring in Palermo. He’d had a shop there for a while but decided to leave for the U.S. after finding the locals’ attitude a little too laid back. Customers there, he said, would drop off a suit, and then not return to pick it up until months later.
When he moved to the United States, he tried to get his parents to come over, too. He wasn’t successful, but after getting work as a tailor, he’d send checks home to them. This he did regularly for over 30 years. “I took care of them 110 percent,” he said.
His generosity has also extended outside the family. One example of this is at his own home, a two-family house he owns and has a tenant living in one of the apartments. His previous tenant was an older woman who’d become ill and then didn’t pay her rent for a year before she died. “People said, ‘You should take her to court.’ I’m not going to take an old woman to court,” said DiGirolamo. He now rents the place to someone else and hasn’t ever increased the rent. “That’s me,” he said. “I don’t take from nobody.”
Meanwhile, customers have already been mourning the loss of their talented tailor.
“He’s like an icon of the neighborhood,” said Jack Goldfarb, a longtime customer from Peter Cooper Village. Despite the shop always being a jumble, “He was always in demand because he did excellent work and charged very little. He was beloved by everybody.”
While at the shop, another customer, Pascal Blake, said he thought the building’s owner was wrong to raise DiGirolamo’s rent.
“It’s a lot of money for a small shop,” said Blake, who works in real estate. “He should pay $2,000.” To DiGirolamo, Blake added, “You can find something else.”
But in response, the veteran tradesman didn’t agree or disagree. His mind may already be elsewhere, as he’s now considering spending his retirement as a volunteer at his church. “I want to help people. I’ll do anything,” he said.

CWCapital: Stuy Town’s First Avenue Loop is being closed to make repairs beneath the road

CWCapital says the current closure of the First Avenue Loop wasn't planned as part of the management office construction. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

CWCapital says the current closure of the First Avenue Loop wasn’t planned as part of the management office construction. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot
Following the announcement on Thursday that the First Avenue Loop would be closed to traffic and parking for 4-6 weeks, starting Monday, nearby residents have been left wondering why there was barely any notice and of course, where they were supposed to park in the meantime.
Since last week, Council Member Dan Garodnick said his office has been on the receiving end of many complaints, in particular due to the minimal information offered in official notices that had been posted along the Loop Road.
“I have asked for a complete explanation for the community about the need for the project and why it was not disclosed earlier and for ways they can try and limit the time and the inconvenience,” he said on Monday morning.
He added that for some residents, the closure is “beyond an inconvenience. It really is a necessity for disabled parkers, for school bus pickups and for Access-A-Ride.” The lack of information, added Garodnick, “is extremely disrespectful to people who rely on it.”
The initial notice, which was also announced via an email from the ST-PCV Tenants Association, only explained that the closure was due to necessary work related to an electrical upgrade.
But by this afternoon, more details about the project were made available online by CWCapital.
In the notice, CWCapital said that the work is to replace and repair aged infrastructure and damaged power lines that run directly beneath the road. Though not currently used to power any buildings, they “will be necessary to provide adequate power to the new management office.”
As for why the work had to be done immediately, CW said the work was not planned as part of the construction of the management office, but deemed imminent after the special servicer consulted with Con Ed and other experts.
“We did not expect these power lines to be as badly damaged as they were,” CW said. “We worked closely with Con Ed and our engineers to identify alternate, less disruptive ways to address the issue. Ultimately, all the experts agree that this is the best and safest option.”
Meanwhile, until the work is completed, any drivers that attempt to park on the First Avenue Loop can expect to have their cars towed, management warned. The only exceptions for vehicles even being allowed in is for emergency vehicles, Access-A-Ride and “small school buses.” Large buses “may not be able to access the Loop Road during this work.” While the work is ongoing, public safety officers will be on the scene. The road will be closed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
One resident strolling by at 2:45 p.m. on Monday overheard an officer at the scene saying that cars could come in for dropoffs, but no through traffic or parking was allowed. At that time, there were four officers manning the First Avenue Loop entrance at 18th Street, who, he said, looked like police, not public safety officers.
In response to the new information, Garodnick said he would like to know, if the roads are only going to be closed during the day, why at least disabled residents  can’t park their cars overnight.
(We’ll update this post if we get a response from management on this one.)
Residents with questions have been directed by CWCapital to call (212) 253-3653 or email projectmgmt@pcvst.com.

State English test blasted as unfair

Students, along with their parents, protest outside PS 40 on Friday morning, after taking tests that parents said had age inappropriate questions and didn’t reflect the school’s curriculum. Protests also took place at other schools. (Photo by Gabrielle Kahn-Chiossone)

Students, along with their parents, protest outside PS 40 on Friday morning, after taking tests that parents said had age inappropriate questions and didn’t reflect the school’s curriculum. Protests also took place at other schools. (Photo by Gabrielle Kahn-Chiossone)

By Sabina Mollot
Following the lead of a principal in Brooklyn, who held a protest outside her school over state English language tests that have been blasted as unfair, other schools have followed suit, with parents organizing similar protests on Friday morning.
At the heart of the matter, frustrated parents said, was that the recently issued tests had nothing to do with the Common Core curriculum students have been taught and had age inappropriate questions. Additionally, in some cases, a multiple choice question would have more than one answer that seemed like it could be correct. There’s also been a lack of transparency, test critics have charged, with no one allowed to see the tests after they’re taken. Yet another complaint was there was product placement in questions, with references to brands like Nike, Barbie and McDonald’s.
On Friday, parents and students at PS 40 participated at the protest, with the crowd stretched along the block on East 20th Street. Some of the kids carried signs that read: “Our kids deserve the best, we need to see the test.”
Council Member Dan Garodnick was also on hand, saying he too wanted the state Department of Education to make the test available to see. “It will help create a better test in the future and reduce the enormous stress on kids and teachers if they know what this is supposed to be like,” he said.
PS 40 PTA Co-President Kirstin Aadahl, who has a daughter in kindergarten at the school, said she hoped to see some change by the time her child is old enough to be taking the state tests. “I don’t want her to be studying for a test that’s meaningless,” said Aadahl. Last year the test had similar problems, she added. “PS 40 did well but many scores went down.” Then this year, teachers were told not to “discuss specifics” of the test.
Students take the tests in English language as well as math. The math tests are scheduled for April 30, May 1 and May 2. The tests don’t factor into students’ grades, but do have an impact on how teachers and schools are evaluated and also could help determine what middle or high schools a student is next placed in.
Another parent at PS 40, Linda Phillips, said she’s noticed that the teachers have been under pressure as well as students. “They’re being judged by this and we feel for them.”
Yet another parent, Deborah Koplovitz, slammed the test as being “a complete waste of energy” and said school funds should be spent elsewhere. “There should be more teachers, more paraprofessionals, more nutrition assistance for schools that make it better for children to learn,” said Koplovitz.
Still, parents at the school insisted it wasn’t testing they were against in general or the school’s curriculum, but simply this

Parents with Council Member Dan Garodnick (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Parents with Council Member Dan Garodnick (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

particular test, which was contracted to a firm called Pearson.
“The tests are not a good measurement of the skills or abilities of the students,” said Kara Krauze, another parent. “It’s harmful to subject students to testing that doesn’t represent their capacities.”
Another protest-site school was PS 59 on East 56th Street, which like PS 40 is in Education District 2.
That school’s principal, Adele Schroeter, had penned a letter along with another principal, Lisa Ripperger of PS 234, after tests were taken, urging other schools to participate in the protesting. In the letter she noted how few of her students opted out of the test this year, since administrators had felt confident that the test would be improved following other problems with the test given last year. But, she said, it wasn’t.
“Frankly,” said Schroeter, “many of us were disappointed by the design and quality of the tests and stood by helplessly while kids struggled to determine best answers, distorting much of what we taught them about effective reading skills and strategies and forgoing and deep comprehension for something quite different.” (See full letter here.)
A spokesperson for the state Department of Education did not respond to requests for comment on the protests.
While not done at every school, the protests may also be a sign that educators are no longer afraid of retaliation if they’re openly critical of an official policy. At least that’s the opinion of Shino Tanikawa, the president of Community Education Council District 2.
Referring to the principals’ widely circulated letter, she said, “I don’t think the two principals would have spoken out under Klein or Walcott but we now have a true educator as our chancellor.”
Tanikawa added that she was hoping “for a sea change.”

Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, CWCapital settle MCI dispute

Retroactive charges eliminated for all tenants who moved in before October, 2013, monthly charges eliminated for ‘Roberts’ and SCRIE/DRIE tenants and reduced by 5 percent for others

 

ST-PCV Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg, pictured at a rally in May against mid-lease rent increases (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

ST-PCV Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg, pictured at a rally in May against mid-lease rent increases (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot
After months of negotiations, the Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association and CWCapital settled the dispute over the five major capital improvements (MCIs) that residents were socked with at once last fall. On Thursday morning, the state housing agency, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, issued an order confirming the agreement, the Tenants Association announced.

The news, announced on the TA’s website, said that the settlement will “significantly reduce the impact of the recently approved MCIs for tenants.”
The settlement eliminates all of the retroactive charges for current tenants and reduces the monthly increases by 5 percent. “Roberts” tenants won’t be charged any monthly MCI, nor will SCRIE/DRIE tenants.
“The Tenants Association appreciates having been able to negotiate these issues amicably with CWCapital,” said TA Chair Susan Steinberg. “Residents have been saved a great deal of money in retroactive costs, which have been completely eliminated, and some relief in the MCI rent additions. Notably, the negotiations saved months of time and lots of money in legal filings and responses. The best news is that the outcome is at least as favorable to tenants as any we could have won the harder way.”
Andrew MacArthur, managing director of CWCapital Asset Management, also cheered the settlement.
“We are very pleased to have worked with the Tenants Association to reach a settlement,” said MacArthur. “We have worked closely with the TA to reach an agreement that mitigates the impact of the increases for our residents and brings finality to this dispute.”
The five MCI orders cover video intercoms, a security system, a video command center, water tanks/valves and repaving of the walkways. Two of the orders impact residents in Peter Cooper Village and three of them impact Stuyvesant Town residents.
The MCIs were requested by previous owner Tishman Speyer in 2009. After they were all approved by the DHCR in the fall,

Tenants pack a meeting on MCIs, held at the Simon Baruch Middle School auditorium last fall. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Tenants pack a meeting on MCIs, held at the Simon Baruch Middle School auditorium last fall.
(Photo by Sabina Mollot)

the TA said it would be challenging them. In response, CWCapital made an offer to reduce the MCIs’ retroactive portion for tenants who’d agree not to challenge them, but the TA cautioned residents not to sign on to the offer. Negotiations between the TA and CW began soon after that.
“Squeezing every penny out of residents through MCIs long ago became a common practice in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “The Tenants Association wisely took advantage of an opportunity to negotiate a deal with CWCapital that will save tens of millions of dollars for residents over the next ten years. This is a victory for tenants that will mitigate the damage of imperfect law that favors landlords, and I am grateful for the Tenants Association’s efforts.”

Meanwhile, the settlement could still be nullified through additional challenges by individual tenants through PARs (petitions for administrative review.)
“Such PAR could result in the agreement being nullified in the sole discretion of the owner,” the TA said. “Nullification would result in forced repayment of the retroactive charges and any waived portion of the permanent charges by all tenants who benefited from the agreement. The possibility of nullification by the owner due to an ill-advised PAR is a very serious concern to the Tenants Association.”
Exceptions to this would be if a tenant filed a PAR for something like an inaccurate room count in his or her apartment, since MCI charges vary based on the amount of rooms.

According to the TA, a few more details of the settlement are as follows:
● All current residents are included in this settlement except those who moved in after the orders were issued (approximately October, 2013).
● The settlement is retroactive to January 1, 2014.
● Credits noted below will begin to appear on the May rent bill.
● In May, a retroactive credit will be added to the rent bill. This credit will include the benefit amount for January, February, March and April.
● The retroactive and permanent increase amounts noted below are all clearly stated in the MCI orders that residents received in the mail. This number is different for all residents and depends on many factors including: building, unit size and move-in date.
● If a resident cannot find his/her order, that resident is advised to call DHCR at 1-800-ASK-DHCR (1-800-275-3427) to request a duplicate copy.

The Tenants Association will hold a general meeting to discuss the settlement on Saturday, May 10 at 1 p.m. at Simon Baruch M.S. 104 on East 20th Street between First and Second Avenues.

This week in T&V History: Stuy Town policewoman breaks gender barriers by taking sergeant test

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Town & Village newspaper has been providing news for the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village community for over 65 years and we’ve decided to start taking a look back to see what was going on in the community 50 years ago. Here are a couple of snapshots from the April 16, 1964 issue of Town & Village.

1964 World’s Fair debut
T&Vers (as residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were called) were clearly excited about the then-upcoming 1964 World’s Fair.
According to the report, three to four thousand tickets for the fair were sold at the First National City Bank at 262 First Avenue and about 80 percent of those were sold to ST/PCV residents. The story also enthusiastically noted that residents would be able to see their building in a to-scale model, which represented every building in the city and would debut at the fair. The panorama is still on display not far from where the World’s Fair originally took place, housed in the Queens Museum.
At the time of the exhibit’s debut, it cost attendees 10 cents to take a look and find their building. (These days, the Queens Museum’s suggested admission is $8, so trying to hand over the 1964 fee isn’t recommended.)

Police Officer Felicia Shpritzer (Photo from Town & Village)

Police Officer Felicia Shpritzer (Photo from Town & Village)

Policewoman breaks barriers by taking sergeant test
Police Officer Felicia Shpritzer helped break gender barriers in the city’s police department by taking the sergeant’s exam.

Shpritzer, who was a 21-year-old resident of 446 East 20th Street at the time, had previously sued the city because the NYPD claimed that women were “unsuitable” for the position of sergeant. She challenged the department’s decision, and in the previous November, the State Court of Appeals upheld her position that women had the right to take the test.
The New York Times obituary that was published when she died in 2000 noted that Shpritzer was one of two policewomen who passed, out of the 127 women who had taken the test.

Op-Ed: Andrew who?

By Steven Sanders

Andrew Cuomo is a walking, talking contradiction. He is as Winston Churchill once proclaimed, an enigma wrapped in a riddle. In his fourth year as governor, people are still wondering aloud, “who is this guy”?

Is he the social liberal who loudly supported women’s rights, marriage equality for gays and lesbians and tough gun controls? Or is he the tight-fisted conservative clamping down on spending for social programs and opposing even a modest increase in taxes for the wealthiest while opposing cost of living increases for low paid direct care health workers? Cuomo says he wants laws containing election campaign fundraising while he amasses the most political contributions, by far, in the history of the state. Is Cuomo the fastidious governor who insists on passing the state budget on time, and has, in every year, or the governor who cannot come to any decision in four years on the critical issue of fracking (extraction natural gas energy) adding jobs to the state’s flagging upstate economy? Is he an environmentalist or more interested in job creation?

Andrew is the son of Governor Mario Cuomo who served in that capacity for 12 years until 1995. After that, Andrew Cuomo accepted a position in the Clinton Administration as secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Andrew Cuomo learned politics from both his father and President Bill Clinton. Those two men could not be more different. Mario Cuomo was sort of a “philosopher king.” Highly principled and dedicated to the development of good social policy as he saw it. Bill Clinton was more likened to Machiavelli’s “the Prince,” the ultimate pragmatist with a streak of ruthlessness.

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Letters to the Editor, Apr. 17

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Tests failed students, not the other way around

The following letter, written by two public school principals last week, has been circulated around school communities in Education District 2.

Dear District 2 Colleagues,

Community School District 2 represents a richly diverse group of school communities and it is not often these days that we have an opportunity to join in a shared effort. Last week, and for several weeks prior, every one of our schools devoted hours of instructional time, vast human resources, and a tremendous amount of effort to preparing students to do well on the NYS ELA exams and, ultimately, to administering them.

Few of our students opted out, in part because we had high hopes, and, perhaps mistakenly, assured families that this year’s exam would reflect the feedback test makers and state officials had received from educators and families regarding the design of the test following last year’s administration.  Our students worked extremely hard and did their very best.  As school leaders, we supported teachers in ensuring that students and families kept the tests in perspective – they were important, but by no means the ultimate measure of who they are as readers, students, or human beings. We encouraged them to be optimistic, and did our best to do the same.  Frankly, many of us were disappointed by the design and quality of the tests and stood by helplessly while kids struggled to determine best answers, distorting much of what we’d taught them about effective reading skills and strategies and forgoing deep comprehension for something quite different.

On Friday morning, Liz Phillips, the principal of PS321 in Brooklyn, led her staff and her parent community in a demonstration objecting, not to testing or accountability, but to these tests in particular and, importantly, to their high stakes nature and the policy of refusing to release other than a small percentage of the questions.

By Friday evening officials were dismissing the importance of their statement, claiming that Liz and her community represented only a tiny percentage of those affected, implying that the rest of us were satisfied.  Given the terribly high stakes of these tests, for schools, for teachers and for kids, and the enormous amount of human, intellectual and financial resources that have been devoted to them, test makers should be prepared to stand by them and to allow them to undergo close scrutiny.

We propose that we hold a somewhat larger demonstration, making sure our thoughts on this are loud and clear and making it more difficult to dismiss the efforts of one school.  On Friday morning, April 11, at 8 a.m. we will invite our families and staff to speak out in a demonstration at each of our schools, expressing our deep dissatisfaction with the 2014 NYS ELA exam.  We are inviting you to join us in this action, by inviting your staff and community to join in helping to ensure that officials are not left to wonder whether or not we were satisfied.

Yours truly,

Adele Schroeter,
Principal, PS59
Lisa Ripperger,
Principal, PS234

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Police Watch: Three subway ‘pervs’ nabbed, Peter Cooper Village resident’s identity stolen

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

THREE SUBWAY ‘PERVS’ NABBED
Police arrested three men for forcible touching last week in separate incidents.
Thirty-seven-year-old Jesus Tanco was arrested at the Park Avenue South/23rd Street Station last Tuesday at 10:15 a.m. Tanco was allegedly rubbing his hands and groin against the buttocks of a 31-year-old woman while on an uptown 6 train.
Police arrested 39-year-old Thomas Seminara at the Park Avenue South/28th Street Station last Monday at 11:16 a.m. Seminara was allegedly rubbing his groin on the buttocks of a  16-year-old girl standing in front of him on a downtown 6 train. He then touched her buttocks with his right hand before leaving the train and was observed with an erection, police said.
Twenty-three-year-old Malcolm Dubose was arrested at the Union Square subway station last Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. Dubose was on a downtown 4 train when he allegedly rubbed his groin against a 21-year-old woman’s buttocks.

PCV RESIDENT’S ID STOLEN
A 25-year-old resident of 4 Peter Cooper Road reported  last Saturday at 11:45 a.m. that her identity had been stolen. She told police that her bank notified her that a former employee of Chase had given out her information to a third party for no reason that they know of. Chase is performing an investigation and told the victim to file a report in order to put an alert on her social security number. The bank did not know which branch gave out her information. Chase would not give out any other information until the investigation is complete and no funds were missing.

VEST STOLEN IN FRONT OF LAMARCA
A 24-year-old woman reported that her vest was stolen from the northeast corner of Third Avenue and East 22nd Street last Friday at 9 p.m. She told police that she left the vest on a hanger next to the door at Lamarca Restaurant and when she returned, she saw that the vest was missing. Video surveillance showed a woman taking the vest but no arrests have been made.

TEEN BUSTED IN MAD. SQ. PARK ‘MUGGING’
Police arrested 17-year-old Olufemi Ogundipe inside Madison Square Park at 10 Madison Avenue last Saturday at 9:50 p.m. Ogundipe with three other people allegedly tried to take property that didn’t belong to them from three other people. The other three alleged accomplices stole an ID card from one victim, credit cards, a Galaxy phone, a phone charger and an iPhone from the other two victims. Ogundipe was found to be in possession of the first victim’s iPhone, police said. No other arrests have been made.

‘TRESPASSER’ NABBED ON EAST 22ND
Police arrested 39-year-old Andrae Cezair for criminal trespassing inside 321 East 22nd Street last Saturday at 5:16 a.m. Cezair was allegedly on the fourth floor of the building and told police that he was looking for his friend who lived in one of the apartments, but a resident of that apartment said that she didn’t know him.

CAMERA ‘PERV’ BUSTED AT UNION SQUARE
Police arrested 35-year-old Juan Ruiz for unlawful surveillance by the northeast corner of East 14th Street and Union Square East in Union Square Park last Saturday at 4:45 p.m. Ruiz allegedly put a sweater with an electronic device underneath the skirt of a woman who was standing in a crowd watching dancers. The woman told police that she saw a man standing behind her and felt a man touching her buttocks under her skirt. Ruiz was putting the sweater under her skirt for the purposes of recording her, police said.

HARASSMENT AT GRAMERCY PARK NORTH
A resident of 39 Gramercy Park North reported last Monday at 3:45 p.m. that she was harassed in her building. She told police that a woman she knows but doesn’t live there entered the building without permission. The victim told police that she asked the woman to leave but she became verbally abusive, then swung her shopping bag and hit the victim in the chest. The woman also sprayed an unknown substance at the victim but it didn’t make contact with her.

TEEN MISSING FROM ACS FACILITY

Moshe Moshiyakov

Moshe Moshiyakov

Police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Moshe Moshiyakov, a 15-year-old last seen on Saturday, April 12 at 492 First Avenue, home to ACS. The missing teen is white, 5’4”, 140 lbs. with brown eyes and brown hair. He was wearing a grey sweatshirt, grey sweatpants, and white sneakers. Moshiyakov is in good physical condition. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers’ website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting TIP577 and their tips to CRIMES (274637).

LAPTOP SNATCHED IN PRET A MANGER
A woman reported that her laptop was stolen while she was inside the Pret a Manger at 24 West 23rd Street last Thursday at 4 p.m. She told police that she was in the restaurant when she realized that the computer was missing and she thinks that someone took it when the bag was down near her chair.

‘POT’-SMOKING DRIVER BUSTED
Police arrested 20-year-old James Chen for impaired driving last Tuesday at 12:15 a.m. at the northeast corner of Union Square West and East 14th Street. Police saw Chen committing a traffic infraction and upon stopping him, there was a cloud of smoke and a strong smell of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Chen allegedly said that he was smoking marijuana with the female passenger, who was also arrested. Police recovered a joint in the passenger’s hand. Chen allegedly admitted that he was smoking pot while driving.

CAR BROKEN INTO ON EAST 26TH
A 51-year-old woman reported that her car was broken into while it was parked in front of 25 East 26th Street last Monday at 10 p.m. She told police that she went back to the car the following day at 8 a.m. and she noticed that the driver’s side back window had been smashed with an unknown object and both her EZ Pass and car manual were missing.

HIT AND RUN AT FIFTH AND 17TH ST.
A man reported that his car was damaged in a hit-and-run last Wednesday at 12:10 a.m. at the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and West 15th Street. He told police that he was involved in an accident at the location and the other vehicle involved fled east on East 14th Street without staying to exchange information.

PHONE ‘THIEF’ BUSTED
Police arrested 26-year-old Gabriel Perez for petit larceny last Thursday at 11 p.m. at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and East 27th Street. A 30-year-old man told police that his phone was removed from his car which was parked at the above location and Perez allegedly broke in and took it.

SUBWAY PERFORMERS BUSTED
Police arrested 18-year-old Rayqua Perez and 22-year-old Daniel Siciliano for reckless endangerment in the Union Square subway station last Thursday at 12:45 p.m. Perez and Siciliano were allegedly dancing and performing acrobatic and gymnastic moves on a moving downtown 4 train, creating a hazard and a risk of serious physical injury to passengers.