Letters to the Editor, June 26

Union Square playground isn’t for everyone

Re: Former Council Member Carol Greitzer’s letter, “No place to play for the disabled,” T&V, June 19

Ms. Greitzer is on to something about the lack of facilities in Union Square Park’s playground of children with disabilities. In fact, there are no facilities or space in the park for people with disabilities, seniors or teenagers. Nor is there appropriate play equipment for every child in the playground.

Since 2004, all planning for the playground and pavilion (at final cost of $20M dollars) merely privileged arrangements for a commercial restaurant in the pavilion disregarding needs of residents, young and old. Yet, Union Square Community Coalition’s (USCC) ten-year campaign and litigations helped to achieve a maximum-size playground (15,000 square feet — double the original plan of only 8,000 square feet). But our hard-fought efforts to reclaim the pavilion for its traditional use by the community were ignored in favor of a seasonal restaurant.

USCC recognizes the unequal access to park facilities suffered by certain residents. Now it’s time for the mayor to justify the taxpayers’ enormous investment in our pavilion as a public good. He has the power to act to ensure free access to and use of the pavilion as a year-round community center with programs and activities for our under-served teenagers, seniors and people with disabilities. Attention must be paid to their needs. They cannot continue to be deprived of public space in their park.

Eadie Shanker,
Union Square Community Coalition member

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Police Watch: ‘Purse snatcher’ nabbed in Stuy Town, Men busted for ‘gambling’ on E. 22nd St.

Police arrested 44-year-old Mark Gallop for grand larceny at the 13th Precinct last Monday at 10:45 a.m. Gallop was allegedly on surveillance video of 1 Stuyvesant Oval and was seen in the lobby of the building taking a woman’s purse.

Police arrested 27-year-old Rushelle Exeter for assault of a peace officer last Thursday at 3:07 a.m. While in front of the Bellevue Hospital building at 462 First Avenue, Exeter allegedly bit a police officer on the left forearm, breaking the skin and causing pain. Exeter then spit in the face of another officer, causing irritation and pain, police said.

Police arrested three men for promoting gambling inside 12 East 22nd Street last Friday at 6:15 p.m. Thirty-eight-year-old Shawn Chaconas, 30-year-old Jason Lee and 26-year-year-old Andrew Chaconas were arrested for promoting an illegal poker game at the location.

Police arrested two men for sexual abuse in the Union Square subway station in unrelated incidents.
Forty-two-year-old Adrian Macareno was arrested last Wednesday at 11:08 a.m. Macareno was allegedly using his cell phone in video mode to record under a girl’s shorts. The girl told police that she didn’t know Macareno and didn’t give him permission to film her.
Fifty-four-year-old Karl Coelho was arrested last Wednesday at 3:47 p.m. Coelho was allegedly walking behind a woman with his cell phone lens facing up and in video mode, filming her private parts while she was walking up the stairs to the street. Coelho failed to appear for his court date on a previous summons and also is on the sexual monitoring list.

Police arrested 36-year-old Manuel Zambrano for public lewdness at the Union Square subway station last Saturday at 2:15 p.m. Zambrano was allegedly masturbating with both of his hands inside his jogging pants pocket while on the L platform. He was standing by the staircase on the platform and looking up women’s skirts, police said.

Police arrested 53-year-old Darryl Andrews in front of 118 East 15th Street for grand larceny last Friday at 12:04 a.m. The victim told police that Andrews allegedly grabbed her handbag containing her credit card, money and her cell phone without permission.

Police arrested 46-year-old Mildred Peralta for possession of stolen property last Monday at 12:27 a.m. inside the Hospital for Joint Diseases at 301 East 17th Street. Peralta allegedly told police that she stole someone’s property from a bathroom stall but was going to return it. When the phone was retrieved, it was powered off and the MetroCard that was with it had been removed. Peralta had removed the phone and MetroCard from the victim’s pocketbook, police said.

Police arrested 21-year-old Rashyra Autry and 22-year-old Dawnice Cheatham for assault at the corner of Avenue C and East 23rd Street last Sunday at 5:22 a.m. A taxi driver told police that he got into an argument with the two women over a cab ride to New Rochelle and Autry allegedly punched the driver in the face. She also kicked the cab, causing a previous repair of the car’s quarter panel to crack off.

Police arrested 61-year-old Michael Diaz for criminal trespassing in a fenced in area at the FDR and Avenue C last Tuesday at 8:07 a.m. Diaz was allegedly at the location without permission.

Police arrested 46-year-old Anthony Donelson in front of 25 West 14th Street for grand larceny last Wednesday. The address is home to a few retailers, including Guitar Center. Donelson allegedly confessed to a loss prevention officer at the business that over the course of several months, he was making fraudulent gift cards in the amount of $5,039, which were given to unknown people and used at the above location.

Police arrested 29-year-old Xian Lin for menacing at the 13th Precinct last Sunday at 4:45 p.m. Lin allegedly entered the Hao Wei restaurant at 493 Second Avenue and punched the victim several times in the face. He also pulled out a knife and threatened the victim, police said.

Police arrested 52-year-old Charles McAtee for possession of a controlled substance in front of 168 East 24th Street last Friday at 9:25 a.m. McAtee allegedly bought eight Xanax tablets from 49-year-old Jose Rivera, who was also arrested for sale of a controlled substance.

Police arrested 28-year-old George Pauls for forgery inside the Gap at 122 Fifth Avenue last Monday at 2:48 p.m. Pauls allegedly tried to use a forged credit card at the store and was told by the cashier that the card wasn’t valid. Pauls then fled the location, running north on Fifth Avenue, police said. A loss prevention officer followed him and called the police. Pauls was then arrested in front of the store and when he was brought to the precinct, he confessed to using a fraudulent credit card, police said.

Police arrested 31-year-old Anwar Knight for violating New York State law in front of 1 Union Square East last Sunday at 2 p.m. Knight was displaying rocks for sale to the public on a folding table without a Department of Consumer Affairs license.

Police arrested 28-year-old Ahmad Shaker for disorderly conduct at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 23rd Street last Tuesday at 3:17 p.m. Shaker allegedly refused to move his food cart from the corner, which he was asked to do because it presented a hazard at that location. Police said that Shaker was asked to move the cart numerous times and he refused, then engaged in violent and threatening behavior, saying, “F— that, I’m not moving, I don’t care what you gotta say.”

Police arrested two teens for forgery in front of 863 Broadway last Tuesday at 6:06 p.m. Eighteen-year-olds Joshua Faust-Gadsden and Quentya Hawkins allegedly tried to purchase items by passing a counterfeit $100 bill to the cashier. The cashier called the police and the teens were stopped nearby. When police searched them, they were allegedly in possession of fake $100 bills.

Police arrested 53-year-old Richard Zanetti for violating tax law in front of 490 Second Avenue last Tuesday at 10:10 a.m. Zanetti was allegedly on the sidewalk at the location selling a cigarette carton to another unapprehended person. The tax stamp on the carton was from Virginia, police said.

RGB votes for lowest increases ever

Madeline Mendez, one of many tenants gathered outside the Cooper Union building holds a sign prior to the Rent Guidelines Board vote on Monday. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Madeline Mendez, one of many tenants gathered outside the Cooper Union building holds a sign prior to the Rent Guidelines Board vote on Monday. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Although the rent freeze that stabilized tenants were desperately seeking did not pass at the Rent Guidelines Board final vote on Monday evening, the board still made history with its lowest ever increases of one percent for one­-year leases and 2.75 percent for two­-year leases.

The vote took place as it usually does in a packed Great Hall at Cooper Union but with some new faces on the nine­-member board. Unlike in previous years, the vote did not go in favor of the chair, Mayor de Blasio appointee Rachel Godsil, who was urging the board to vote for a rent freeze.

Instead, the 5-4 vote was in favor of a proposal submitted by public member Steven Flax, also newly appointed by de Blasio, which the owner members adopted as their own. Flax ultimately decided to go in favor of his own proposal but he said that he had struggled with his vote.

“I heard what you’re saying and I know what you’re going through. I’ve developed and managed affordable housing — and you’re not going to like what I have to say,” he said as the crowd cheered him on, “but the takeaway is that it costs money to run buildings.”

Before the vote, Godsil recognized that Flax’s proposal was a historic low but argued that it was not low enough.

“I don’t think it’s supported by the data,” she said. “It doesn’t acknowledge the assumptions from previous years of expenses that did not occur. It is our goal to make sure that the tenants and owners are balanced and I don’t think this proposal does that.”

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