Pols sound off over noisy Oval concerts

Better Than Ezra

Better Than Ezra

By Sabina Mollot
Following two concerts that were held in Stuyvesant Town last week, including one by alternative rock group Better Than Ezra, local elected officials are calling on CWCapital to keep the noise level down during future events.
While noise complaints from residents living in Oval buildings following concerts or other big events on the lawn are nothing new, this year there apparently were more complaints than usual.

This was noted in a letter sent to CWCapital Managing Director Andrew MacArthur, which was signed by Council Member Dan Garodnick, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Brad Hoylman. The letter was dated Tuesday, July 29 and in it, the politicians noted that “people complained from as far away as 272 First Avenue and 524 East 20th Streets,” about the loud music, “despite their efforts to tune it out.”

The letter added that there didn’t seem to be a way for frustrated tenants to complain to “resident services,” and recommended that management figure out a direct way for tenants to be able to reach someone with their concerns.
“On this, and other issues, we would welcome a more user-friendly mechanism for tenants to raise a concern with management,” Hoylman, Kavanagh and Garodnick said.
A spokesperson for CWCapital didn’t respond to a request for comment by T&V’s press time.

The concerts, part of Stuy Town’s returning Music on the Oval series, were limited to just the two concerts this year. The Better Than Ezra concert attracted a crowd of 700 people, according to management’s figures. Last year, the series included a performance by Soul Asylum, known best for the 90s alternative hit “Runaway Train.”

Upcoming events in Stuyvesant Town include film screenings, which are running most Wednesday nights through August 13 for residents and their guests. The next film to be shown is “The Sound of Music” on August 6 at 6 pm. On August 13, “Lego Movie” will be shown at 5 p.m. followed by “Fast and Furious 6” at 7 p.m.

UPDATE: The Tenants Association also released a statement, via email to neighbors, about the noise concerns.

Letters to the Editor, July 31

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Hamas is the reason for Gaza bloodshed

An excellent essay was offered by Ms. Jeannette Shuck in last week’s edition of T&V. If Canada had a grudge against our nation, would we and the rest of the world countenance continuous bombings of New York State?
Many people have vague information concerning history and current events. They are told by the media here and in Europe that about eight times as many Palestinians have been killed and gravely injured in  relation to Israel’s retaliation. So, a moral equivalency is created with Hamas now seemingly to have the ethical upper hand.
Let’s get things straight: Hamas is a terrorist organization and its charter wants not only the state of Israel to be thrown into the sea – but, also, all Jews murdered. “Infidels” would come next – think Christians. Hamas is filled with holocaust deniers, which may be even more egregious than the many millions of murders committed by the Nazis.
Hamas kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens (one of whom was a joint U.S./American citizenship) as the daily bombings continued.
If Jews learned just one lesson from the slaughter in Germany and many of the other occupied nations: “never again!”
The most significant difference between most of the Muslim states is cultural differences (values and behaviors). While Israel follows the ancient Greek concepts of democracy and the enlightenment, many (not all) Muslims have gotten frozen in a condition where little has changed since the beginning of Islam: the deplorable treatment of women, lack of basic freedoms which we take for granted in the west.
Since 1948 when the U.N. and President Truman (also the U.S.S.R.) recognized the Zionist state, Israel has become a truly first world nation. As the heralded “Arab Spring” never succeeded – just like Russia after the evil empire died, they had no history of a democratic background and values. Democracy can only evolve over time.
Thank you, Ms. Shuck, for telling it like it is. Your very words said in some Muslim nations would lead to a fatwah!
David Chowes, PCV


No evidence in destruction of Flight 17

The NY Times and other major US news outlets continue to play their part in the ongoing propaganda war between our government and Russia’s over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.  U.S. and Ukrainian government officials began claiming that rebels shot it down using a powerful Russian-supplied Buk missile battery immediately after the plane went down.
This week, the Times again reported that claim as fact.  Considering that Russia and the US are nuclear powers with the capability to wipe out the planet many times over, it might be a good idea to take a deep breath and remember that an impartial inquiry is still underway and no formal conclusions have been announced.
In the meantime, there’s this to consider. Ukraine has most likely been blanketed by U.S. satellite surveillance since the civil war erupted.
Nevertheless, our government has not provided a single image of Buk missile batteries in eastern Ukraine, let alone being deployed by rebels.
A month ago Craig Whitlock  of the Washington Post quoted the U.S. commander of NATO forces in Europe saying “We have not seen any of the [Russian] air-defense vehicles across the border yet.”
Whitlock also reported that “Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said defense officials could not point to specific evidence that an SA-11 [Buk] surface-to-air missile system had been transported from Russia into eastern Ukraine.”
Also remember what this civil war is all about.  Elected President Yanukovych had been trying to attract capital to maintain Ukraine’s standard of living.
Rebels in the east rejected his ouster after Yanukovych decided against accepting IMF austerity demands necessary for an association agreement with the EU in favor of what he considered a better deal with Russia. The newly appointed interim government of Ukraine ended up signing the association agreement with the EU.
J Sicoransa, ST


Dog doo is a don’t

I’d like to thank Town & Village for the page 2 photo of the dog sitting on a Stuyvesant Town bench.
It served as a reminder that we are not only tracking fecal matter into our apartments on the soles of our shoes but also on the seats of our pants, the backs of our dresses and the bottoms of our briefcases, tote bags and purses. What a pleasant thought.
Name withheld, ST


NYU Langone gets $1.1B for Sandy repairs

NYU Langone Medical Center’s main campus at 550 First Avenue (Photo courtesy of NYU Langone)

NYU Langone Medical Center’s main campus at 550 First Avenue (Photo courtesy of NYU Langone)

By Sabina Mollot
On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer announced $1.13 billion in FEMA funding for Sandy repair work and mitigation projects at NYU Langone Medical Center.

The $1.13 billion is the total project cost, 90 percent of which will be covered by the federal government. Of that, $540 million is for permanent repairs and restoration for damaged elements of a variety of NYU Langone buildings, and $589 million will go towards mitigation work to protect against future storms. This is the second-largest Project Worksheet in FEMA’s history.

The funds are in addition to $150 million in emergency federal Sandy aid the hospital received in January of 2013.

Like nearby hospitals Bellevue and the V.A. Manhattan campus, NYU Langone saw extensive flood damage as a result of Sandy and had to temporarily close.

Schumer said the money was awarded through a new process built into the Sandy aid bill that’s aimed at cutting federal red tape to get financial help where it’s needed most.

“This is a large amount of money, but the damage was enormous,” he said in a written statement. “When I witnessed this first-hand a few days after Sandy, I was shocked. I am pleased to see this desperately needed reimbursement to repair and rebuild in a resilient way.”

Repair work covers $540 million at the main campus for damage to the systems that operate building management, electrical and plumbing, fire alarms and fire protection, security, IT systems, telephony, as well as elevate and architectural damage. The hazard mitigation projects cover $589 million at the main campus at 550 First Avenue and its Center for Biomedical Imagining at 660 First Avenue. This includes installing exterior flood doors/barriers/egress, reinforcing walls, reinforcing slabs, filing in area ways, sealing exterior penetrations, elevating elevator program and service equipment, installing internal flood doors, sealing interior penetrations, installing check valves/backflow preventers and installing pumps and sump pumps.

The funding will include repairs at the Smilow Research Center, Schwartz Care center, Medical Science Building, Skirball Institute, Tisch Hospital, Alumni Hall, Rusk Institute, Perelman Building, Schwartz Hall and Coles Student Laboratories.

In a prepared statement, Robert I. Grossman, Dean and CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center, praised Schumer for securing the FEMA funds. “We are grateful to U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer for his unwavering support in achieving this extraordinary federal grant from FEMA, and are also appreciative of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leadership throughout our recovery from Superstorm Sandy,” Grossman said.

Police Watch: ‘Flasher’ nabbed outside Peter Cooper Village, Female McDonald’s employee punched

Compiled by Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 54-year-old Paul Stuard on Sunday after he allegedly exposed himself to a woman at the northeast corner of East 20th Street and First Avenue. This was at around 5 p.m. as the woman was on her way to the subway. Police found Stuard at 5:10 p.m. in front of 530 East 23rd Street and arrested him for public lewdness.

Forty-year-old Raphael Brunn was arrested for intoxicated driving in front of 325 East 14th Street last Tuesday at 11:24 p.m. Brunn was behind the wheel of a car and was traveling west on East 14th Street with a defective brake light. Brunn had bloodshot watery eyes when police approached the vehicle and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, police said. He allegedly told police that he had only had one beer and was coming from Cien Fuegos. He blew a .14 at the scene, police said.

Police arrested 18-year-old Wamisho Dimore and 30-year-old Wanda Ceballo for robbery inside the 7-Eleven at Sixth Avenue and West 15th Street last Tuesday at 11:46 p.m. Ceballo and Dimore were allegedly working together to swipe cookies and Red Bull and according to police, got physically forceful with a store employee while doing it.

A cab driver and bicyclist were arrested for getting in a fight at East 16th Street and First Avenue last Wednesday at 10:51 a.m. Cab driver Ulugbek Radzhabov, 32, and Qasim Warraich, 19, were busted for criminal mischief after they got into an accident and started arguing. Radzhabov allegedly kicked Warraich’s bike, causing damage to the rear wheel, and Warraich kicked the cab’s side view mirror, causing damage, police said.

Fifty-seven-year-old Johnie Lonardo was arrested for menacing in front of 492 Second Avenue last Thursday at 9:01 a.m. Lonardo allegedly followed an undercover officer and made verbal threats, saying, “I am going to take your life,” while reaching into his waistband.

Twenty-two-year-old Gary Williams was arrested for assault of a peace officer at Union Square West and East 15th Street last Friday at 5:28 a.m. Williams was inside Union Square Park when the park was still closed. He was playing a drum when an officer approached him and when the officer tried to arrest him, Williams allegedly flailed his arms and kicked his leg in order to avoid being handcuffed. When the officer attempted to handcuff him again, Williams pushed the officer, causing both of them to fall to the ground and the officer to dislocate his finger, police said.

Police arrested 23-year-old Nicholas Melendez for assault inside the McDonald’s at 39 Union Square West last Friday at 7:54 a.m. A McDonald’s employee said that she asked Melendez to leave because he was sleeping in the restaurant and didn’t buy anything. But instead of leaving, Melendez began arguing with her and then punched her in the face and slapped her, the victim said.

Thirty-one-year-old Skevos Alachouzos was arrested for assault at Irving Place and East 19th Street last Friday at 5 p.m. Alachouzos allegedly told police that he punched a man in the face after getting out of his car.

Police arrested David Barbera, 25, for intoxicated driving in front of the Think Coffee at 568 Sixth Avenue last Saturday at 4 a.m. Police saw Barbera driving East on West 14th Street and he allegedly made a sharp left turn around another vehicle, causing the wheels to shriek. When he was stopped, he had an odor of alcohol on his breath and a flushed red face, police said. He allegedly blew a .097 on a Breathalyzer at the scene.

Yunet Bosch, 24, was arrested for weapons possession last Sunday at 12:53 a.m. inside the First Avenue L station. Bosch was allegedly inside the station wearing a black metal clip and the top part of a knife showing on her front right pants’ pocket. She allegedly told police that she uses the knife for protection and she has multiple prior convictions.

Police arrested 25-year-old Michael Parsons for theft of services last Monday at 12:33 a.m. in front of 235 East 20th Street. Parsons entered a cab at West 42nd Street and Ninth Avenue and requested to go to East 38th Street and Lexington Avenue. When the driver requested payment, Parsons’ card was allegedly declined four times. The driver then brought him to the precinct, where he was given the opportunity to call a friend but he declined. He also was allowed to call Chase Preferred Members to ensure that his card was valid, which it was not, police said.

Police arrested a 17-year-old girl for grand larceny last Thursday at 4:50 p.m. in front of the Nike store at 156 Fifth Avenue. One of the store employees approached the girl and asked her if she needed help. She said that she didn’t and then asked if the door she was standing near was an exit. The employee then noticed that she had something in her shopping bag so he asked if he could ring it up for her, but she allegedly continued to walk off and then fled west on West 20th Street. When police arrived, the employee told them that she was in a green Mercedes Benz up the block and after searching with the employee, the girl was arrested.

Police arrested 53-year-old Kevin McGlynn for menacing last Thursday inside the 13th Precinct at 6 p.m. McGlynn allegedly hand-delivered threatening letters to the victim, who feared for his physical health and safety.

Police arrested 31-year-old Manuel Rivera for grand larceny in front of 717 Sixth Avenue last Wednesday at 12:59 p.m. Rivera allegedly opened a Citibank account using someone else’s information without permission and deposited an IRS check valued at $5,789 under the account. He has also made multiple withdrawals, police said. He was allegedly in possession of a forged Pennsylvania driver’s license and Citibank debit card.

Thirty-two-year-old Adamou Maikarfi was arrested for possession of marijuana last Monday at 1:05 p.m. in front of 750 Sixth Avenue. Maikarfi was driving north on Sixth Avenue and police said when he made an improper turn, an officer approached the vehicle, and smelled marijuana. Maikarfi allegedly said that he had smoked earlier in the day and that he had some in the console of his car, where police found it.

Police arrested 52-year-old Vincent Lynch for criminal mischief inside an apartment building at 55 West 14th Street last Tuesday at 4:17 a.m. Lynch walked into the building and asked the doorman for a room and when Lynch was told that there were no rooms available, he allegedly took the doorman’s computer, an Apple laptop, and threw it on the ground, causing damage to the case. The doorman said that the computer was worth about $2,900.

See something? Say something
Not every crime ends up becoming publicly available information. If you want to make sure something that seems strange or wrong to you is investigated, call or e-mail T&V with tips. (212) 777-6611 x102 or reporter@townvillage.net.

This week in history: Off-duty cop kills teen on Upper East Side

Front page of the July 23, 1964 issue of T&V

Front page of the July 23, 1964 issue of T&V

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Town & Village newspaper has been providing news for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village 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 is a snapshot from the July 23, 1964 issue of Town & Village.

The headline story in this 1964 issue of T&V was about a Stuyvesant Town resident and police officer who shot and killed a “negro” teen on East 76th Street the previous Thursday, inciting riots in Harlem throughout the week following.

The shooting sparked what is known as the Harlem Riot of 1964. Right after the boy was killed, a small group of students began rioting around the area of the shooting and had to be contained by police. On the same day as his funeral, what started as a peaceful rally on the rising crime rate in Harlem turned into a violent mob that required hundreds of officers at Seventh Avenue and West 125th Street. In total, the incident set off six consecutive nights of rioting throughout Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant and is considered the precipitating event for riots later in the summer in cities like Philadelphia, Rochester and Chicago.

Town & Village reported that the victim, 15-year-old James Powell, had attacked the officer, Stuyvesant Town Oval resident Lieutenant Thomas Gilligan, with a switchblade. According to the lieutenant’s version of events, he shot the boy once and when the teen kept advancing, Gilligan shot him a second time, ending his life. T&V withheld the officer’s exact address to prevent possible retaliation or mob violence.

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An eye-opening vacation

T&V associate editor takes trip to Israel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Israeli soldiers smile for the camera. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Israeli soldiers smile for the camera. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Through funding from the Israeli government and private donors, the Taglit-Birthright organization allows almost any American with Jewish ancestry the chance to experience Israel through a 10-day trip throughout the country. The possibility of such a trip has been on my radar since I found out about it in college but even though I love traveling, and took the opportunity to study abroad twice in school, I procrastinated until the last few months that I would be eligible. The cut-off age is 27 and my 27th birthday is in the fall, so this summer was the last chance I would have to take advantage of this opportunity. So during the first two weeks of this July, I did.

There were a number of reasons that I initially put off going to Israel through Birthright: I felt like I had plenty of time, I didn’t want to go by myself, I didn’t think I was religious enough. The main reason, though, is the one I imagine most people give for opting not to go on Birthright, even if they are eligible: what if a full-on war breaks out in the middle of my trip?

The safety measures that Taglit implements are no joke. The organization boasts that they have not had any incidents with participants, even though trips continued throughout the 2006 Lebanon War. Despite these statistics, I’m not sure how much it quelled my mother’s anxiety to know that I would be arriving in the country on the day that Israel would be mourning three yeshiva students who had been killed by Hamas and found only a few days before. Only a few hours after I arrived, a Palestinian teenager was lit on fire and left to die in a revenge killing. Three Israeli Jews are now suspects.

On Tuesday, July 8, we spent the night in the middle of the Negev desert in one of the few places for the whole ten days where we were without wi-fi when a man came into our tent to tell us that Israel had started sending missiles into Gaza. He said that the prime minister had told the IDF to “take their gloves off” against Hamas and use any means necessary to restore peace in Israel. He added that although violence should usually be a last resort, it was necessary to bring peace to the country.

The previous Saturday, on July 5, we were supposed to have a political seminar about the current situation in the country but in a weird twist, we were told that the speaker who was supposed to meet us couldn’t leave his city because of rocket fire. We were also told that this was normal and that he was going to be fine, so this just meant that our talk was postponed a day.

While it was true that he was safe, it was clear that my idea of “normal” and the idea of “normal” for everyday life in Israel was vastly different. And while one of our group leaders, Dayna Simon, told us that the low-flying military planes we could hear throughout the night while we were in the desert were there to protect us, the closeness of the planes’ roars was still unsettling.

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Guterman: Tenants should organize and demand conversion

By Sabina Mollot

Gerald Guterman, the landlord and developer who’s previously expressed an interest in bidding on Stuyvesant Town and converting the place to a co-op, said this week that he is no longer interested in buying although he would like to participate as a consultant in a tenant-led effort to do so.

In a written statement he sent to Town & Village on Tuesday, Guterman said: “I do not believe that I will participate in any auction sale for STPCV. I would rather be helpful to an organized and laser focused tenant association. I can already feel the excitement and lifecycle satisfaction.”

Though CWCapital never agreed to discuss business with him, and the Tenants Association ultimately chose a different partner in its own effort to bid, Guterman still pitched his co-op plan to tenants, which he said would have cost them, on average, $315 a square foot for their apartments. However, those numbers were based on a winning bid of slightly over $3 billion. Following the recent news that CW was foreclosing and its own parent company Fortress was preparing a bid of $4.7 billion, Guterman told T&V he was no longer sure he was still interested in buying.

At this time, CWCapital is still in talks with the mayor’s office and local elected officials, working with the ST-PCV Tenants Association on a plan that would maintain affordability for apartments in the complex that are still in fact affordable.

CWCapital declined to comment on Guterman’s statements, which were aimed at urging tenants to organize and even take legal action to demand a conversion and other changes in the community. The Tenants Association also declined to comment.

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The dog days of summer are here


On August 7, Town & Village will publish its third annual 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 the local dog runs, 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.

Not many tenants are challenging ‘Roberts’ non-payment deductions

By Sabina Mollot

Alex Schmidt

Alex Schmidt

Although over five thousand ST/PCV residents and former residents had non-payment deductions taken out of their “Roberts” damages checks, so far, it looks like only dozens are attempting to try to get that money back.

As of Monday, July 21, only 78 people had filed to object to CWCapital’s claims that the owner was entitled to the money. This was one week from the deadline to object, July 28.

Alex Schmidt, tenants’ attorney in “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer,” said he isn’t expecting that there will be too many additional objections before time is up since people with objections don’t typically wait until the last minute. As for why more tenants aren’t challenging the deductions, Schmidt guessed this is because more than half of the deductions were for amounts lower than $100 and that in other cases, tenants may have just been aware they owed the money.

At this time, Schmidt said he doesn’t know how much money tenants are fighting to get back or what kind of payments are in dispute. Attorneys won’t be calculating the total until all the challenges are in, since CWCapital has said it won’t negotiate until then.

Susan Steinberg, chair of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, said the Association has heard from a number of tenants concerned about the accuracy of their deductions. However, the TA doesn’t know how many people went on to challenge them.

In addition to the 78 objections, Schmidt said 30 former tenants who were mistakenly paid from a pool of money intended for the distribution of damages to current tenants have also submitted claims. This is because current tenants had 30 percent of their damages taken out for legal fees and expenses. Former tenants meanwhile, got 110 percent of their damages (before MCI deductions) since there was more money left over in that pool due to fewer people filing. Schmidt said that is currently being corrected.

Former tenants hoping to fight their MCI (major capital improvement) deductions may have a tougher time, since, according to Schmidt, the owner is entitled to the money. It’s different, he said, if the former tenant thinks they might have been calculated improperly.

“Roberts” plaintiffs who want to challenge a deduction can do so by contacting the Berdon Claims Administration, either by email through the contact link on the BCA website, www.berdonclaims.com, or by calling (800) 766-3330.

Letters to the Editor, July 24

Conversion should be fully supported by mayor

Mayor de Blasio came to Stuyvesant Town last week to sell his vision of affordable housing for all – including designating ST-PCV as part of his plan for affordable housing throughout Manhattan.

Buried within your article, you reported that the mayor “was open to the idea of a conversion.”

Apparently, the Tenants Association did not press the mayor on the TA’s clearly stated goal, made on behalf of thousands of ST/PCV tenants: a tenant-led, non-eviction condo conversion of the property.

Recall that in October, 2012, to great fanfare, the Tenants Association said that it was taking our case directly to the bondholders. The TA leaders said the time had come for CW Capital to step aside, and if CW would not meet us at the table, we would “cut out the middleman.”

In fact, however, the TA failed to contact the bondholders, and took no further steps on behalf of the 11,000 tenants who wanted to take charge of their destiny and have a seat at the table.

A condo conversion keeps things affordable because long-term tenants can remain in their apartments, without the fear of ever-increasing MCIs that are designed to squeeze tenants until they leave.

A condo conversion allows the new stabilizers to become new homeowners.

Mayor de Blasio needs to stand up in solidarity with tenants and the TA that has worked so hard for a condo conversion. First, he sandbagged our councilmember, lobbying for Dan Garodnick’s opponent in the speaker race.Now he is sandbagging the Tenants Association.

Whose side is the mayor really on?

Name Withheld, ST
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Police Watch: ‘Groper’ arrested at Stuy Town Red Mango, Bomb threat at hotel, Parks employee busted for ‘theft’

Compiled by Maria Rocha-Buschel

Fifty-nine-year-old David Mavashev was arrested for sexual abuse inside the Red Mango at 264 First Avenue last Wednesday at 12:59 p.m. Mavashev allegedly grabbed the victim’s butt and left breast while she was working.

Police arrested 55-year-old James Goff for terrorist threats last Sunday at 9:28 p.m. inside the Gansevoort Hotel at 420 Park Avenue South. Goff allegedly told a hotel employee, “A bomb will go off tonight or tomorrow over here.” Police searched the building but didn’t find a bomb, but while investigating, found that Goff did have an active warrant for his arrest.

Cops arrested Ezzard Davis, 41, after he allegedly punched another man in the face in front of Beth Israel, 281 First Avenue and 16th Street last Friday at 9:34 a.m. Police said the punch only caused a small cut.

Police arrested 52-year-old Lydia Brito and 26-year-old Arabian Breland for stolen property at Union Square West and East 17th Street last Wednesday at 9:39 p.m. Police were in the park responding to a radio run of an assault. The victim told police that he was in the park and put his bag down before a fight started and after someone punched him in the face, he noticed that his bag was gone. Witnesses later told police that two park employees, Brito and Breland, had taken the bag and put it into their garbage pail. Police approached them later in the park office and asked if they had found a backpack with a cell phone in it. They both said no but they were allegedly in possession of the backpack and knew where the cell phone was.

Police arrested Lawrence Wallace, 47, for petit larceny at First Avenue and East 17th Street last Tuesday at 3:04 p.m. A waitress in a nearby restaurant told police that she seated Wallace, who then headed to use the bathroom while the waitress continued greeting customers. She noticed a few minutes later that he was leaving and one of her co-workers told her that Wallace swiped a cell phone and $72 in cash off one of the tables. When she and her co-worker attempted to stop Wallace, he allegedly stuffed the cash down his pants and fled on foot. He was found on the back of a public bus and was in possession of the cash and the phone, police said.

Police arrested 31-year-old Anthony Palermo for trespassing inside the Post Office at 149 East 23rd Street last Saturday at 12:05 a.m. Palermo was allegedly inside the lobby of the post office, which was closed at the time. He couldn’t get out because all the doors were locked. He told police that he didn’t know which door he got in through and that he entered the post office accidentally. A postal inspection service inspector told police that they will not prosecute for federal charges but police could proceed with state trespassing charges.

Police arrested 21-year-old Micael Bekele, a psychiatric patient at Beth Israel, after he allegedly fractured a nurse’s wrist. Bekele was at the hospital at 9 Perlman Place for evaluation last Wednesday morning when he allegedly threw a chair at a nurse in charge of his care, causing her wrist to fracture.

Police arrested Jessica Darling, 29, after she allegedly robbed another woman on Madison Avenue and East 26th Street last Thursday at 4:29 a.m. Police said Darling approached a woman and asked for money and when the woman told her no, Darling allegedly reached behind her back into her waistband and demanded money in a threatening manner. The victim told police she believed Darling was reaching for a weapon.

Police arrested 36-year-old Jay Oren for criminal mischief at East 14th and Third Avenue last Tuesday at 12:17 a.m. Oren intentionally broke the rear right window on the passenger’s side of a cab, police said. The value of the property was approximately $250.

Twenty-one-year-old Starasia Allen and 36-year-old Celina Coleman were arrested for assault in front of 395 Third Avenue last Wednesday at 3:16 a.m. Allen allegedly punched Coleman in the head and stuck a comb in her ear, causing her some physical injury. Police said that Coleman also punched Allen in the head, causing a bump and bruising.

Police arrested 19-year-old James Charltown for weapons possession at 24 Union Square East last Wednesday at 12:53 p.m. Charltown was seen drinking peppermint schnapps out of a water bottle in the park and when police searched him, he was allegedly in possession of a gravity knife in his right front pocket.

Police arrested 61-year-old Gerald Russell for criminal trespassing inside the ATM area at 360 Park Avenue South last Thursday at 9:48 a.m. Russell was allegedly sleeping inside the bank without permission to do so.

Twenty-two-year-old Nicholas Phillips was arrested at 1 Union Square West last Tuesday at 6:45 a.m. Phillips was allegedly sleeping inside the park water fountain, which he got into by climbing over a four foot wall, against park rules and regulations.

Police arrested 32-year-olds Raymond King and Gregory Hood in the Union Square subway station last Saturday at 7 p.m. Hood and King were allegedly making “unreasonable noise” with a drumset inside the station.

Twenty-nine-year-old Jonathan McDuffie was arrested for assault in the BRC (Bowery Residents Committee) shelter at 127 West 25th Street last Friday at 8:08 p.m. McDuffie allegedly argued with the victim while he was playing video games and then punched him in the head and face. The punches caused a raised lump on his forehead.

Police arrested 44-year-old Michael Jones for forgery in front of 60 West 23rd Street last Tuesday at 2:42 p.m. An officer recognized Jones as a person wanted for a prior grand larceny in the 13th Precinct. When he was stopped, he was allegedly in possession of several credit cards that weren’t his.

L train station musician talks benefits of busking as a career

Singer and songwriter Robert Leslie in a promo photo on the subway (Photo by TheDustyRebel)

Singer and songwriter Robert Leslie in a promo photo on the subway (Photo by TheDustyRebel)

By Sabina Mollot
At a few subway stops in Manhattan and Brooklyn, U.K.-transplanted musician Robert Leslie is proving that New York City is still the place to go for musicians to follow their dream.

Looking a bit like Donatello’s vision of David with his long hair and hat brimmed with flowers, the slightly built 22-year-old regularly slays, not giants, but the crowd with his original, folksy rock tunes. At least he does briefly before it disperses, commuters dashing off into the L train at First Avenue or Union Square. Leslie also sometimes performs at the busy G line Metropolitan Avenue stop in Brooklyn. It’s just as busy as the Manhattan stops, he pointed out, but there’s not much competition for donations.

“It’s such a popular spot, but people haven’t worked it out yet,” Leslie said. Of course, the L line also has its perks. “The L train gets more delays and that’s good for me.”

Leslie usually works evenings, targeting straphangers going home from work and later after going out. He’ll also decide what to play based on how they’re acting.
“If I’m playing for drunk people, I won’t play a quiet song,” he said. “I’ll play something fast and rowdy. Sometimes, people are coming back from a show and they’re quietly discussing it and I’ll play something more complex.”

On his busking career, which has led to other gigs above ground, including an upcoming concert at Iridium jazz club, Leslie said this week that it began as an experiment.
He knew he wanted to come to New York to pursue music and had already had some experience performing on the streets around Europe.

Robert Leslie (Photo by Emmanuel Rosario)

Robert Leslie (Photo by Emmanuel Rosario)

“People said New York was the center of the world for music right now so I just bought a plane ticket,” said Leslie. “I wasn’t sure what to expect.”
Leslie’s originally from Manhattan, but his Dutch and English parents had moved around with him many times, including to London and Amsterdam.
His trip back to New York took place in February, 2013 and since then, he’s remained stateside. At first he stayed in a hostel, but now lives in Bushwick. It was soon after his arrival that Leslie went from being a street performer to underground one. This wasn’t a difficult decision. It was after all the dead of winter, and besides, when riding the subway, Leslie liked what he saw.
“I was very impressed with the quality of the subway buskers in New York compared to other places,” he said. “They’re quite solid.” And, he added, “There were hundreds of subway buskers.”

Soon, Leslie was able to find his groove, staking out spots to play. According to his online bio, it was actually the other musicians who gave him helpful tips on where to go and “showed me the ropes.”
And when he told his parents what he was doing for a living, they were supportive.
“They don’t support me financially, out of principle,” he said, “but they like that I’m playing music, getting experience.”

And fortunately, it didn’t take too long before Leslie started to get noticed. His performances were seen by someone last summer who was inspired to organize a rooftop concert featuring only subway buskers. That, along with the press that accompanied it, led to even more gigs. He now plays every Thursday at Karma, a hookah lounge on First Avenue and First Street, from 8-10 p.m. Leslie’s also currently working on a CD he’s recording himself of original music. Naturally, some of it’s inspired by his night job. “One song, ‘Old Brownstone,’ has a line about waiting for the G train,” he said.

Though there’s currently something of a crackdown on subway performers, Leslie’s never even been told to move along by police or the MTA.
“You’re allowed to perform on the subway as long as it’s on the platform,” he said. “You’re just not allowed to play on the train or use amplification.”

In fact, he said, there haven’t really been any truly negative experiences except once when a homeless person swiped a $20 bill from his donations. The man had leaned in to leave a dollar so Leslie said he didn’t notice right away that he’d also sneaked out the larger bill.
“Now I know not to leave big bills in the case,” said Leslie, who typically earns anywhere from $20-$40 an hour in tips.

But, he added, he has to keep his sets limited to two to three hours at a time this time of year because of the stifling heat in the stations. So he’ll play, then take a break for 45 minutes, then come back and do another set. In the end, the money earned still winds up being enough for him to get by, and it’s more than the other musicians he’s friends with earn — making music, that is.
“All my friends who are musicians have day jobs, like they’re waiters,” he said. “I feel like I’m building my career by meeting people every day and then they follow me on the internet. A lot of jobs you just kind of do and you don’t enjoy them.”

Leslie’s show at Iridium, 1650 Broadway at 51st Street, is on August 5 from with sets at 7 and 9 p.m. Cover is $15. For more information about Leslie, visit robertlesliemusic.com.

New York Theatre Ballet finds a home at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery

Dance students at New York Theatre Ballet (Photo by Richard Termine)

Dance students at New York Theatre Ballet (Photo by Richard Termine)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

It was last fall when the director of the New York Theatre Ballet, which had been located at the Madison Avenue Baptist Church on East 31st Street for over 30 years, learned that the company would be getting evicted in May. But thanks to a conveniently-timed call to City Councilmember Rosie Mendez’s office, the NYTB recently found a new home in another church: St. Mark’s in-the-Bowery, on Second Avenue at East 10th Street.

“No pun intended; it was like being on a wing and a prayer,” Mendez said. “We get calls all the time from organizations getting priced out of their spaces. It just happened that St. Mark’s Church told us they would be losing a tenant and then we got a call from Diana.”

“Diana” is Diana Byer, the founder and artistic director of the company who has been looking for a space since the end of last year.

“We looked every day since last fall, so we really want to thank everyone there because if it wasn’t for the people in her office, we never would have found a space,” she said.

Byer had enlisted the help of a number of neighborhood groups in an effort to stay in the area, including the Flatiron BID and the Gramercy Park Block Association. Byer said that Arlene Harrison, the president of the GPBA, was also instrumental in helping them find a new space and Harrison has been fighting to keep the company in the neighborhood because of its involvement with the community.

“Since a major focus of the Gramercy Park Block Association is ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Taking Care of our Neighbors in Need,’ we have been involved in New York Theatre Ballet’s Project LIFT since Diana founded it in 1989,” Harrison said. LIFT is the school’s program that allows underprivileged children the opportunity to learn to dance. She added that there are also a number of Gramercy Park children who attend the school, and the students there have performed “The Nutcracker” at the nearby Players and National Arts Club in the past, so it was important for the community that the NYTB remain nearby.

“It’s hard because you want to keep them in the neighborhood and there are not a lot of affordable commercial spaces in my district,” said Mendez. “But this worked out for both sides.”

Dance student jumping with teacher (Photo by Christopher Duggan)

Dance student jumping with teacher (Photo by Christopher Duggan)

The company won’t be taking over the space right away but Byer said that they got in by July 8 to do some necessary renovations. The goal is to reopen for the school year two weeks after Labor Day on September 15. Even though the space was previously used for performances, Byer said that there are some adjustments that need to be made before it becomes a dance studio.

“We have to put in a sprung floor (for dancing) and put in mirrors and barres,” she said. “We’ll also have to uncover the windows. Those are boarded up now because it’s a blackbox theater and we want it to be more open, and we’ll be painting so it’s very light and airy.”

The rector at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, Winnie Varghese, said that dance has been part of the church’s community since the early 1900s. William Guthrie, who was the rector of the church from 1911 to 1937, thought that art and dance held an important place in religion and at the time, created scandal by bringing in statues of Native Americans and allowing dance performances in the church.

“He was really interested in the idea that arts were how Americans would understand spiritual experiences,” Varghese said.

Although the New York Theatre Ballet hasn’t officially moved into the church yet, it has been using another floor for two weeks in July for a summer camp that allows children ages nine to 12 to learn ballet and jazz, as well as do some of their own choreography.

One of the additions that Byer said will begin at the new space is adult classes. NYTB used to offer adult classes but Byer said they hadn’t been offered in the last few years. Byer added that the company also hopes to be performing with Danspace Project, a community of contemporary dance artists that has rented out space in the church for over 30 years, by June, 2015.

“We’re really excited to expand in this new neighborhood,” Byer said. “We want to be part of the neighborhood and not just for children. We want to involve everyone. It’s going to be terrific.”

Outdoor concerts taking place this week

Several free, outdoor concerts are scheduled for this week. Read on for details.

The Rutkowski Trio at a concert last year at Stuyvesant Cove Park

The Rutkowski Family Trio at a concert last year at Stuyvesant Cove Park

The Stuyvesant Cove Park Association 2014 Concert Series continues with Paul Sachs, Amy Allison and Dave Murphy on Monday, July 21 from 6:30-8 p.m. Rain date is July 22. Later in the week on Wednesday, July 23, the Rutkowski Family Trio (pictured), joined by friends and vocalist Lisa Gary, will perform a repertoire of traditional jazz from 7-8 p.m. The rain date is Thursday, July 24. All concerts in the series are free and take place in the park at 23rd Street and the East River.



Better Than Ezra

Music on the Oval has returned to Stuyvesant Town. All ST/PCV residents and their guests are invited to attend two concerts on Wed., July 23 and Thurs., July 24 at 6 p.m. both evenings. On July 23, Better Than Ezra will perform. Big Wake will open the show. On July 24, Ed Kowalczyk will perform. Sylvana Joyce + The Moment will open.


Jon Cleary

Jon Cleary

The Madison Square Park Conservancy presents Mad Sq. Music: Oval Lawn Series, featuring award-winning performers in a range of genres  such as jazz, soul, R&B, funk, folk, world, Americana, and bluegrass.  On July 23 from 7-8:30 p.m. Jon Cleary will perform. Concerts take place on the Oval Lawn of Madison Square Park.


Waterside Plaza will conclude its summer concert series, “Music Under the Stars” with a performance by Nu D’lux on July 23 at 7 p.m. There will be a beer and wine bar, with snacks available at the concession stand or hardier fare at the Robbins Nest cafe. Seating is limited. Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome.

For information on even more concerts and other events taking place in the community, see Town & Village’s Around & About page. For information on free events taking place this week throughout the city, see Cutting Corners.

Police arrest man suspected of office burglaries

Surveillance photo of burglary suspect

Surveillance photo of burglary suspect

On Friday, police collared a man they believe is behind a string of burglaries at offices, swiping mainly computers and cash.
Darnell Lawson, 50, of St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem, was arrested after police found him shortly after midnight allegedly attempting another burglary inside 28 West 36th Street.
The burglary spree began over two months ago in the confines of the 13th and Midtown South Precincts.

Police listed the following incidents:

On April 11, a man entered a business at 247 West 36th Street and swiped two MacBooks.
On Monday, April 28, he got inside the office of Michael Alan Group, an event marketing business at 22 West 38th Street, and took an iPad, a Mac book Air and cash.
On Friday, May 9, he broke into 114 West 26th Street, home to magazine and website publisher Hay Market Media, and grabbed a Dell Laptop.
On Saturday, May 24, he entered the office of Crossmedia Inc., 22 West 23rd Street and took several Mac Books and a bottle of bourbon.
On Friday, May 30, he went inside the APICA office at 20 West 23rd Street and left with a laptop.
On Monday, June 2, he went back to the Michael Alan Group office and got away with some cash.
On Thursday, June 12, the man got into Best Apartments, a real estate firm at 119 West 23rd Street, but left without taking anything. However, that same evening, he made off with five laptops from 153 West 27th Street.
On Friday, June 13, he returned to 22 West 38th Street for the third time, this time to the office of Prompt Business and took laptops and cash. He also went to 363 7th Avenue and stole laptops from Soft Tech Health.
On Friday, June 20, he made off with an undetermined amount of cash from a business at 24 West 23rd Street.