Community, 13th Precinct celebrate National Night Out Against Crime

(From left) Police Officer John Considine, 13th Precinct Community Council President Frank Scala, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, Rebecca Lynch, Captain Steven Hellman, Police Officer Vincent Arlotta, Community Council treasurer Pat Salin and event organizer Jo-Ann Polise

(From left) Police Officer John Considine, 13th Precinct Community Council President Frank Scala, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, Rebecca Lynch, Captain Steven Hellman, Police Officer Vincent Arlotta, Community Council treasurer Pat Salin and event organizer Jo-Ann Polise (more photos inside)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Community residents and local law enforcement celebrated National Night Out Against Crime on Tuesday evening, marking the 31st year for the annual event. At Simon Baruch Middle School’s playground, police officers from the 13th Precinct on the next block over manned the grill, including the precinct’s former executive officer, Frank Sorensen, who was recently promoted to commanding officer for Specialty Units in Manhattan South.

The event, organized by the 13th Precinct Community Council, is aimed at raising crime awareness and building working relationships between law enforcement agencies and communities. In recent years though, it’s also become just as much about having a block party on a usually sweltering day.

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Letters to the Editor, August 7

Aug7 Toon Cuomo

Inconsistent landscaping is being ignored

I am a resident of Stuy Town for over 30 years. While a lot of landscaping continues in Stuy Town and you write articles full of the ongoing plantings and landscaping, everyone has ignored the fact that the landscaping to the entrance of many buildings is by and large ignored.

If everyone would just get it right! The T level is the front of the building and the front entrance and exit used 90 percent of the time by the residents, where cars, delivery, moving and mail trucks pull up. The M level, which is actually the back entrance, is scary because it is too quiet and women look over their shoulder when using this entrance. Yet the landscaping focus has been on the M and not the T for a long time now.

Consistently some buildings have pretty landscaping and many others are void of any landscape and are in fact an embarrassment. Check out 1 and 3 Oval. Forever ignored, the Terrace levels which again really are the front entrances of the buildings are indeed quite ugly. Is anyone ever going to do anything about it?

Below are pictures of the 1 Stuyvesant Oval T entrance.


Gazala Chinwalla, ST

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Police Watch: Bust for burglary on E. 23rd St., senior charged with selling pot at Union Square

Fifty-year-old Robert Jones was arrested for burglary inside 145 East 23rd Street last Friday at 7:29 a.m. Jones allegedly entered the victim’s apartment on East 23rd Street without permission and took a watch and wallet, which contained $190 and credit cards.

Cesar Bernacet, 44, was arrested at the 13th Precinct last Tuesday at 12:56 p.m. for burglary. Police said that Bernacet had entered the offices of Trigger Media at 135 West 26th Street last Sunday and swiped seven laptops and tablets, and also caused damage to the fire door.

Police arrested Nathaniel Roberts, 31, for assault at Lexington Avenue and East 25th Street last Tuesday at 4:25 p.m. The victim said that he got into a fight with Roberts, who allegedly punched the victim in the face and bit him on the shoulder, causing visible bite marks. Police said that Roberts resisted arrest by pushing the officer and flailing his arms, refusing to be handcuffed. Roberts also allegedly kicked the window of the police van, causing $250 worth of damage and was in possession of two ziploc bags of marijuana, police said.

Police arrested 52-year-old Jeffery Vascimini for perjury at the Union Square subway station last Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. Vascimini had previously told police that he was on a downtown 6 train at the 23rd Street station when a man snatched his bag. He reported that one man had asked him what time it was and then as the train doors closed, a second man grabbed his bag, which contained nine bottles of medication. Upon further investigation, police found that he had also falsely reported the same crime in a different precinct.

Police arrested 21-year-old Destiny Baez for assault last Wednesday at 4:53 p.m. in front of 250 Second Avenue. Baez got into an argument with the victim and the fight escalated, after which Baez allegedly scratched the victim on the forearm, leaving a visible cut.

Stanley Mui, 29, was arrested for assault at the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and East 14th Street last Wednesday at 9:54 p.m. Mui allegedly punched a man in the face, causing pain and redness to the left side of his jaw.

Police arrested 38-year-old Adel Ismail for sexual abuse in the Union Square subway station last Thursday at 9:05 a.m. Ismail was allegedly rubbing his groin area against a woman’s buttocks while on a downtown 4 train. The victim told police she tried to get away from him but he wouldn’t leave her alone. “When I first entered the train, this guy seemed a little too close,” she said. “He rubbed up against my butt so I automatically moved away. He kept bumping into me so I kept trying to move away. He made me feel very uncomfortable. He tried to move any way so that he would be touching me.”

Thirty-year-old Naoki Aimoto was arrested for violating New York State laws in the Union Square subway station on Tuesday at 4:05 a.m. Aimoto was allegedly riding a skateboard erratically in the mezzanine area of the subway, which police said caused a dangerous and hazardous condition for the public and was in violation of transit rules.

A 17-year-old girl was arrested for assault inside the Good Shepherd Services facility and home for girls at 337 East 17th Street last Friday at 7:26 a.m. She got into a fight with another girl, police said, pulling her hair and scratching the right side of her neck, causing pain and visible injury.

Police arrested 70-year-old Frederick Spruill at Union Square West and East 14th Street for the sale of marijuana last Friday at 6:15 p.m. Spruill was allegedly working together with another man, 36-year-old Darrell Henderson, and they sold a small quantity to an undercover officer, police said. Henderson was also arrested.

Police arrested two people in connection with a drug deal in front of 23 Lexington Avenue last Saturday at 7:55 a.m. Johnie Lonardo, 57, was arrested for allegedly selling methadone to 47-year-old Orlando Martinez, who was then arrested for possession of a controlled substance.

Police arrested 31-year-old Bassam Richard for intoxicated driving at Union Square West and East 16th Street last Sunday at 4:01 a.m. Richard was involved in a car accident at the location which resulted in property damage and on the scene, he allegedly had a strong odor of alcohol on him, as well as watery eyes, a flushed face and was unsteady on his feet.

Police arrested 23-year-old Julia Salazar for criminal last Monday at 11:20 a.m. Police said that Salazar was protesting with eight other demonstrators, who entered a government building on Third Avenue and sat down in front of the desk at the lobby. They were ordered to leave by the building’s head of security and they were warned that they would be arrested if they did not leave the building, and Salazar and the other protestors allegedly refused.
The exact location of the protest is unclear, as the report notes that Salazar originally entered 633 Third Avenue, home to an office of the governor, but was arrested at 333 Third Avenue.

Police arrested 23-year-old Zaid Aftisse for possession of a weapon at the Union Square subway station last Thursday at 10:45 a.m. Aftisse allegedly left an Eighth Avenue-bound L train with a black metal clip attached to the front right side of his pants pocket. Upon further investigation, police found that it was a gravity knife.

Police arrested 33-year-old Michael Crayton for violating New York State laws in Murphy’s Brothers playground at East 17th Street and Avenue C last Monday at 9 a.m. Crayton was allegedly lying down on a bench and sleeping inside the playground without the accompaniment of a child, in violation of park rules and regulations. A sign at the entrance of the park states that says adults must be accompanied by a child inside the park.

Twenty-four-year-old Abdoulaye Sow was arrested for criminal mischief in front of 230 Fifth Avenue last Saturday at 5:04 a.m. Sow got into an argument with passengers in a nearby cab and he allegedly kicked the cab forcefully a number of times, causing damage to the side of the car.

Police arrested 34-year-old Sanjay Nakarmi for forgery in front of 1201 Broadway last Tuesday at 7:29 a.m. Nakarmi was allegedly selling costume jewelry that had counterfeit trademarks for Versace.

Lieutenant governor hopeful takes tour of Stuy Town

Kathy Hochul gets an earful from tenants and local elected officials during a walk through the complex. (Pictured) Council Member Dan Garonick introduces her to Public Safety Chief Bill McClellan. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Kathy Hochul gets an earful from tenants and local elected officials during a walk through the complex. (Pictured) Council Member Dan Garonick introduces her to Public Safety Chief Bill McClellan. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, which has recently enlisted the aid of the de Blasio administration in an effort to maintain some affordability in the complex, is also now hoping it will have an ally in Kathy Hochul, Governor Cuomo’s choice for the next lieutenant governor.

On Thursday afternoon, Hochul joined Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg along with a handful of TA volunteers on a stroll through Stuy Town, and got filled in on tenants’ more pressing concerns. She’d come at the request of Council Member Dan Garodnick, who was also there with Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh. Prior to the walk through the grounds, Hochul, a former Congresswoman asked the small group, “What’s on your mind?”

“You got a whole afternoon?” was Steinberg’s answer.

Tenants then began chiming in about the dormification of the community with students packing into apartments in order to make the rent affordable, major capital improvements (MCI) for what often seems like unnecessary work — and tenants’ frustration at having to pay for those improvements in perpetuity — and the fear of both longterm and newer tenants of getting priced out. Other topics brought up included more longterm tenants’ fear of harassment, increased transience and questions about what will happen to the rents when the J-51 tax abatement expires in the year 2020. Steinberg also briefed Hochul on the TA’s partnership with developer Brookfield aimed at a condo conversion as well as CW’s lack of interest in talking business with them. Al Doyle, the former president of the Tenants Association, brought up the ongoing issue of predatory equity throughout the city, with Stuy Town, of course, being the poster child for the practice.

Aug7 Kathy Playground10

Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and Kathy Hochul (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Kavanagh and Garodnick brought up that they wanted to see the rent laws get strengthened, but the State Senate hasn’t exactly been friendly to tenants. While refraining from making any promises, Hochul said she thought the community is “worth fighting for.” If she becomes lieutenant governor, she pointed out, she’d have the tie-breaking vote in the event of a deadlock in Albany. From 2011-2013, Hochul represented New York’s 26th District, which includes the areas of Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

During her time in Congress, she lived with colleague Carolyn Maloney in Washington.

“We used to say that we should have a reality show, ‘The Real Women in Congress,’” said Hochul. When asked how Maloney was as a roommate, Hochul admitted, “She’s a lot cleaner than I am.” As for the current state of the Congress, Hochul casually remarked that it’s “the most dysfunctional government on the planet.” However, she added quickly, “There are still a lot of good people out there.”

Hochul also touted her experience, claiming she’d helped make the Department of Motor Vehicles “a more positive experience” when she served as county clerk and when in Congress, fought with other Democrats “like pit bulls” to get more cash for restoration after Hurricane Sandy than Republicans wanted to allocate. During the walk through the grounds, Hochul said that from what she’s seen, “Everybody wants the same thing. A safe house, a job, their kids to get a good education. It’s universal. It’s not downstate or upstate. This is what the governor and I are focused on.”

Steinberg pointed out some positive aspects of the community like the playgrounds, a few of which recently got new water features, and the hayrides for kids that take place each Halloween. When passing by the Oval Café/Playground 9 area, Hochul remarked, “I’d like to live here.”

When the group walked past the Public Safety office, Garodnick, realizing officers might think tenants were about to rally, made a point to say hello and introduce Hochul to Public Safety Chief Bill McClellan. Soon afterwards, Hochul left the complex at First Avenue and the crowd dispersed.

Hochul (right) listens to tenants, including Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg and Council Member Dan Garodnick, discuss quality of life issues and dwindling affordability in Stuy Town. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Hochul (right) listens to tenants, including Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg and Council Member Dan Garodnick, discuss quality of life issues and dwindling affordability in Stuy Town. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Steinberg then said that she did feel Hochul was genuinely listening to tenants. “I think she got it,” Steinberg said. Kavanagh also said he thought she’d make “a strong partner in the executive branch,” and support tenants, while Garodnick also said he believed Hochul would be in tenants’ corner. “She is clearly a serious and thoughtful person who was willing to take the time to understand our unique challenges,” Garodnick said.

Doyle, meanwhile, just seemed happy that the would-be lieutenant governor got to hear firsthand from tenants how all the different types of rent increases were impacting the community.

“Homeowners outside the city, when we tell them how (an MCI) is a permanent increase, they don’t believe us,” he said.

Following the stroll, T&V asked what Hochul’s thoughts were on the Cuomo administration doing something to preserve dwindling stability and affordability in the community.

Responding in a written statement, she said, “Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village are critical to keeping New York affordable. I will work closely with the governor, along with the office of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, to ensure that the rights of thousands of rent-regulated tenants are maintained and preserved for generations to come.”

There was no response, though, when T&V asked Hochul’s campaign reps if she wanted to comment on investigation over corruption in the governor’s Moreland Commission. However, in an interview this week with Buffalo-based NBC news outlet WGRZ, she defended the commission, saying, “they had the independence to do what they needed to do.”