Letters to the editor, Sept. 18

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Does noisy work have to be done at 7 a.m.?

To the Editor:

The other day around 9:30 a.m. I passed a group of PCV/ST workers sitting on a bench taking a coffee break. Their leaf blowers were resting quietly on the ground along with a large pile of leaves. It was quiet, but it was very noisy earlier when these leaf blowers were operating their loud machines, probably around 7 a.m.

I say 7 because on another occasion at 7, I called Public Safety to complain about these early morning noises which make it impossible for many residents like me to get adequate sleep. Public Safety identified that morning’s noise as a street sweeper and referred me to Resident Services. The woman at Resident Services told me that this noise was necessary because management “has to maintain the property.”

When I informed her of NYC’s law prohibiting loud machine noises before 8 a.m., she referred me to the property manager. But when I called the property manager, she wasn’t answering her phone so I left a message to call me back regarding the noisy machines. She still hasn’t returned my call and I’m betting she never will. After all, what could she say?

On pcvstliving.com, management states, “We are dedicated to providing the most comfortable and convenient experience for our residents.” Also, management’s “noise policy” urges residents to “Be mindful and considerate of neighbors during traditionally quiet hours (late night and early morning).”

Furthermore, “it is expected that you will do everything possible to diminish the transmission of sound and noise.”

Huh? Is this the same management that doesn’t return residents’ calls about excessive noise? The same management that has street sweepers, lawn mowers, leaf blowers and other loud machines destroying the peace and quiet of those “traditionally quiet hours (late night and early morning)?” The same management that expects residents to “do everything possible to diminish the transmission of sound and noise”?

Noise is definitely a quality of life issue and both management and residents should be expected “to do everything possible” to maintain at least a reasonable, if not high, quality of life for humans on the property, not just the physical property itself.

After all, what’s more important, humans or property maintenance? So would it be possible for our dedicated, mindful and considerate management to schedule the operation of all those loud noisy machines at the same time when the PCVST workers were having their coffee break at 9:30 a.m.? It’s very simple really. All the quiet work and coffee breaks could be scheduled in the early morning while the loud and noisy work would be performed after 9:30.

It would be nice to be awakened in “those traditionally quiet hours” of early morning with the comfortable experience of bird song instead of Armageddon.

John Cappelletti, ST

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Riverton tenants sue CWCapital over ‘inflated’ MCIs

Assemblyman Keith Wright with tenants at Riverton (Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Wright)

Assemblyman Keith Wright with tenants at Riverton (Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Wright)

By Sabina Mollot

It turns out tenants in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village aren’t the only ones attempting to fight MCIs.

At Riverton, an apartment complex in Harlem, the Tenants Association has sued CWCapital, which took over the property after it went into foreclosure, over what tenants claims are inflated major capital improvement (MCI) charges.

The MCIs were for work on roofs and elevators at the property as well as the redesigning of a park when Riverton was owned by Stellar Management. The MCIs vary in cost per apartment, and according to Riverton Tenants Association President Randreta Ward-Evans, it’s mostly seniors who seem to be overpaying.

“I have a senior who’s 97 years old who’s paying $200 more than she should be paying.” she said.

She added that tenants learned from attorneys, during a legal clinic held in March by Assemblyman Keith Wright, that many of them were overpaying.

“We knew we had a problem. We just didn’t know how massive it was,” she said.

In the lawsuit, which aims to collect $10 million for tenants, the Riverton Tenants Association argues that MCIs that have been charged are “inflated, overstated, excessive and fabricated.” It accuses CW of refusing to roll back the rent, despite requests by the RTA and continuing “to collect unlawful rent increases including, but not limited to, increases based upon purported Major Capital Improvements (“MCI”) since in or about 2010 or such other earlier date.”

The suit argues CW isn’t entitled to the MCIs because the company waited too long to collect them. “Pursuant to DHCR policy and precedent the Defendants waived all MCI rent increases if they did not collect same within 120 days of the applicable MCI order or in the next renewal lease after the MCI order. Defendants did neither.”

CWCapital subsidiary CompassRock Senior Vice President David Sorise and Karl Griggs, Riverton’s property manager, are also named in the suit.

While not mentioned in the lawsuit, Ward-Evans said numerous tenants have also complained of paying rent only to have their checks not be deposited. Then, “after three months they get eviction notices.” Though she isn’t sure how many tenants this has happened to, “It’s a huge group. I only know about the people who come to me, but I’m sure there are a lot of people that don’t come to me,” said Ward-Evans.

About 30 percent of the tenants are market rate while the rest are rent stabilized. A stabilized one-bedroom unit will typically rent for $800-$1,000 a month, while the market rate, renovated one-bedrooms are around $1,800. Many of the stabilized renters are seniors, who in some cases were there since Riverton opened as an alternative property to non-white would-be tenants of Stuyvesant Town, which was originally segregated.

Meanwhile, Ward-Evans said tenants at Riverton have enjoyed an “excellent” working relationship with CWCapital for the past four years. Tenant leaders meet with reps for the owner regularly on tenant concerns. “They respond immediately and I really appreciate it,” she added. However, she said tenants felt a lawsuit was the only option to fight the MCIs since an attempt to do so through the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), went nowhere.

“I think more tenants will probably take the same route of suing the owner instead of going to the DHCR because it seems that it’s always in the realtor’s favor,” said Ward-Evans. “I think this is going to be the first of many. It doesn’t have to be just Harlem. Going to the DHCR? Done it. Did it. The law has to be dealt with and changed.”

Meanwhile, Wright, who also lives in Riverton, summed up the situation as “a shame, really. “What you have here is yet another chapter in the story of our city’s affordable housing crisis. Honest, hard-working individuals who are robbed of the opportunity to remain in the place they have called home, some such as myself, have been here for decades. These overcharges are egregious and unacceptable but we are committed to seeing this fight through until the end.”

According to a report in the New York Times, Andrew MacArthur, a managing director at CWCapital, seemed surprised by the litigation.

In an official statement to T&V from spokesperson Brian Moriarty, CWCapital indicated the same thing. “We received this lawsuit without prior notice or discussion and are now in the process of trying to understand the specific complaint,” CW said.

“It appears this relates to actions ‘in or about 2010 or such other earlier date’ during which time the property was either owned by a prior owner or managed by a prior management company. Since CWCapital took control of the property we have enjoyed a positive and productive relationship with the TA and have worked hard to re-build the trust between the property owner and our residents that was lost with the previous owners. We have invested heavily in Riverton’s physical condition and have re-vamped maintenance and janitorial procedures to better serve our residents. We will investigate the claims immediately and fully.”

Council Member Dan Garodnick said that he was also looking at the suit to see if there were any parallels between the Riverton and Stuyvesant Town MCIs. The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association told T&V earlier this month that it was conferring with counsel over the rejection by the DHCR of arguments made by the TA against two MCIs. One was for roof work, the other for elevators.

Police Watch: Pair indicted in rental scam, teen arrested for masturbating in Union Square

Cops are hunting three men who they believed robbed Crema, a restaurant at 111 West 17th Street.
On September 12 at 10:30 p.m., police arrived at Crema after being called by a restaurant employee who said three men walked in and snatched a cash register from behind the bar. The victims also said that one of the robber pulled out a machete and demanded money in Spanish. The men then fled west bound on West 17th Street towards Seventh Avenue. The investigation is ongoing and the suspects are described as three Hispanic men in their 20’s wearing masks.

On Tuesday, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., announced the indictment of Matthew Wada, 36, and Jennifer York, 27, for engaging in an apartment rental scam that defrauded more than 20 victims, many of whom were moving to New York City for the first time, out of approximately $60,000 dollars. Following an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD’s sixth and ninth precincts, the indictments charge the defendants with scheme to defraud in the first degree and multiple counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree. Wada is also charged with grand larceny in the third degree.
According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, from late October 2013 to early March 2014, Wada and York gained temporary access to various apartments by renting the apartment through websites including Craigslist and NYHabitat.com for vacation or a short-term stay. The apartments were located throughout Manhattan, including in Midtown, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, and the East Village. Once the defendants gained access to an apartment, they would then advertise it for rent on different websites, including Craigslist and Bazarynka.com, the latter a website serving the Polish community in New York.
Victims who responded to the defendants’ rental advertisements were shown an apartment Wada or York had access to for only a short period of time. The victims, who were falsely told that Wada was the apartment’s landlord, signed long-term lease agreements with future start dates and gave the defendants varying amounts of rent and security deposits up front.
Victims lost anywhere from $150 to $4,500, with average losses around $2,200. In many  cases, multiple victims signed leases for the same apartment.

Police arrested 23-year-old Sarkis Avoyants in front of 447 East 14th Street in Stuyvesant Town last Wednesday at 2 p.m. Avoyants, along with another man, allegedly stole $500 from someone who had contacted him on Craigslist to conduct a move. The two men took the money from the victim and then fled without providing the service that was promised, police said.  Police caught Avoyants but the other man got away.

Fifty-year-old Stuart Bennett was arrested for sexual abuse last Thursday at 5:05 p.m. on the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 27th Street. Bennett allegedly approached a woman from behind, put his hands on her hips and forcibly pushed himself into her with his groin and began gyrating into her buttocks. A witness, who flagged down a nearby Port Authority police officer, told police that he saw Bennett forcibly gyrating against the woman.

Police arrested a teenager in the Union Square subway station for public lewdness last Friday at 9:30 a.m. The teen was on the L platform masturbating under the stairs leading to the N/Q/R platform with his right hand inside his right front pants pocket. The teen attends Park West High School at 525 West 50th Street and is in 11th grade. His name is being withheld due to his tender age.

Police arrested three men for forgery last Tuesday at 11:35 p.m. on the corner of Second Avenue and East 24th Street. Troy Brooks, 23, and Darryl Riddick, 21, allegedly used counterfeit money to buy beer at a nearby bar. Twenty-year-old Shamar Dunigan was allegedly working with Brooks and Riddick and also attempted to make purchases at the bar with counterfeit money. He was also in possession of additional counterfeit currency, police said.

Police arrested 32-year-old Justin Davidson inside the 13th precinct for false alarm of a fire last Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. Davidson allegedly dialed 911 operators and made threats to blow up the NYC Transit System by means of telephone. The report did not specify where Davidson made the call from or if he made threats about a specific station.

Police arrested two men involved in a fight last Wednesday. Kenny Smith, 51, was arrested at 3:06 p.m. in front of the BRC at 127 West 25th Street and thirty-eight-year-old David Cameron was arrested in front of 124 West 25th Street at 3:16 p.m. Smith allegedly picked up a 2×4 piece of wood and struck the victim in the back of the head and Cameron allegedly punched the same man in the head, causing physical injury. The incident occurred at the BRC where Smith was apprehended immediately and Cameron was arrested down the block after attempting to flee.

Police arrested 25-year-old Desiree Rodriguez for assault last Saturday at 1:29 a.m. in front of 12 East 22nd Street. The victim told police that he and Rodriguez, his neighbor, had an argument about the volume of the television and the argument escalated into a physical fight. Rodriguez allegedly grabbed an umbrella and repeatedly struck him, causing cuts on both his right and left forearms.

Police arrested 22-year-old Saverio Galasso for theft of services in front of The Hurricane Club at 360 Park Avenue South last Saturday at 3:13 a.m. Galasso paid $450 of his bill in cash and attempted to pay the rest on a credit card. When the card was declined, he allegedly attempted to leave without paying the remaining balance, which was $988.

Police arrested 27-year-old Keshaun Williams in front of 4 East 15th Street last Wednesday at 6:19 a.m. for violation on undisclosed New York State laws. Williams was allegedly sleeping on a public sidewalk inside cardboard boxes about four feet tall and eight feet long.

Police arrested 36-year-old Fidel Valasquez for possession of burglar’s tools last Saturday at 12:10 p.m. on the corner of East 23rd Street and Madison Avenue. Valasquez was seen casing multiple commercial pharmacies while holding what appeared to be cash. He then entered a pharmacy in the area and allegedly attempted to use a counterfeit $20 bill to make purchases. When police searched him, they found that the money was fake and he was also allegedly in possession of burglar’s tools.  No information was available on the specific pharmacy that Valasquez entered.

Police arrested 23-year-old Marcus Sirmans for theft of services at the 13th precinct last Sunday at 3:22 a.m. Sirmans got into a yellow taxi at West 116th and Broadway and gave the driver his home address, 340 East 29th Street. The driver brought him to the location and Sirmans then allegedly told the driver that he had no money because he left his wallet at the party. The driver brought Sirmans back to his original location but nobody answered the door because there wasn’t anyone left at the party. The driver then brought Sirmans to the precinct closest to where he lives and told officers what happened, leading to his arrest for failing to pay his taxi fare of $83.50.

Police arrested Jorge Rendall, 55, for violating tax law at the corner of First Avenue and East 27th Street last Wednesday at 9:50 a.m. Rendall allegedly sold an untaxed pack of Newport Light cigarettes to someone for $8.

Police arrested 42-year-old Alfredo Fabian for the intent to sell a controlled substance in front of 132 West 15th Street last Tuesday at 1:43 p.m. A plain-clothes officer saw Fabian casing the corner at West 15th Street and Sixth Avenue. Fabian then allegedly approached two other people and sold a quantity of heroin. He was in possession of a large quantity of alleged heroin, police said.

Fire starts in microwave in Peter Cooper Village

Karen Moline opens the destroyed microwave. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Karen Moline opens the destroyed microwave. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Wednesday, August 27, a fire broke out in a Peter Cooper Village building that had started in a microwave. No one was injured and the fire, at 4 Peter Cooper Road, eventually burned itself out, even before Public Safety officers quickly arrived with a fire extinguisher. As for why it happened, that hasn’t been determined.

However, the resident of the apartment, Karen Moline, said she believes it was due to a problem with a defective appliance.

According to her, when the fire started, the Microwave had been turned off with nothing inside. Though that might sound odd, Moline said this isn’t the first time she’s had a problem with the electrical appliances in the apartment, where she’s lived for 10 years. Once, her freezer started smoking due to the fan belt blowing out. There’s also the air conditioner in the living room, which she said has been known to turn itself on. It’s now kept unplugged when not in use.

Unrelated though equally worrisome, the apartment also had a problem with black mold last year. The apartment was renovated during the Met Life era.

As for the recent fire, it was Moline’s 13-year-old son, Emmanuel, who discovered it. He’d been boiling water on the stove for pasta while she was in the living room.

“He called out at me in a panic, and said, ‘Ma, there’s a fire.”

Moline then saw for herself that “the whole interior was in flames.” Moline then called 911 while Emmanuel got on his cell and called the Public Safety department.

Public Safety officers got to the apartment first, then the Fire Department arrived (in slightly under four minutes after receiving the call). By then the fire had burnt itself out, since no one opened the microwave door. Moline said the fire was “active” for about four minutes. Oddly, the smoke alarm never went off.

Once firefighters arrived, they went to turn off the apartment’s fuses and saw that the fuses in the box were mislabeled. Later, engineers from Stuyvesant Town were at the scene and, said Moline, they found the wrongly labeled fuses “unbelievable. They were furious on my behalf.” The fuses have since been relabeled.

Though everyone who’d responded “couldn’t be nicer”, she said, one management employee who responded was skeptical when she told him there had been no food in the microwave.

Still, she understood how someone could be incredulous.

“He was the only one who looked at me like I was a liar. A Microwave spontaneously catching on fire? It is unbelievable. But if you’re the one person it happens to, it’s scary. What if I wasn’t home? Kids know to call 911, but when you panic, you’re not always thinking straight.”

On Monday, workers removed the microwave, the ceiling of which was scorched with pieces peeling off, and replaced it with a new one.

“I used it for 30 seconds. It hasn’t caught fire yet,” Moline joked.

As for the old microwave, Moline also said she was told by a service rep for GE that the company hadn’t had a recall for that model, numbered JNM1541DM5WW. She also said the person she spoke with told her no one would be able to say what the problem had been without looking at the microwave. The employee offered to have a technician look at it as soon as Tuesday if management requested it. However, Moline said she just wanted the appliance gone.

A spokesperson for GE, Kim Freeman, also told T&V there was no way to determine the problem without checking the appliance. However, she added that the “vast majority” of the time when there’s a fire, it is because of food.

“I can’t say anything about this particular issue because we didn’t get a chance to look at the unit,” she said, “but generally with microwave fires, it is food related, overcooked food.”

“They are electrical appliances and any electrical appliances could have an issue,” she added.

A spokesperson for the Fire Department told T&V the FDNY was not aware of similar incidents or of the cause of the incident, which was referred to as “an electrical emergency.”

A spokesperson for CWCapital did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, Moline said she’s got some advice for management. “If you want to make money, spending money on good appliances is cost effective in the long run,” she said.

Plan for Skyport’s renovation revealed

EDC expects more seaplane activity, area residents frustrated that garage will stay and lack of community involvement


By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Last Wednesday, the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) presented its plan for a $10 million renovation of the Skyport Garage and Marina to area residents at Community Board 6’s most recent Land Use and Waterfront meeting. The proposal, drawn up by Nandinee Phookan Architects, includes the possibility of increased seaplane activity, with an opportunity for larger, two-engine planes headed to Boston or Washington, D.C. to take off from the East River, as well as general infrastructure improvements to fix damage from Hurricane Sandy.

EDC Senior Vice President and Director of Operations Rich Cote said at the meeting that most of the budget is going towards infrastructure improvements.

“Sandy gave us a black eye like it did most of this part of Manhattan,” Cote said. “There was a million dollars worth of damage. We’re giving the place a full facelift, just trying to give the infrastructure some help.”

Cote explained that the garage had been leased to a private entity for fifty years until early 2012, when it reverted back to city ownership and is now under the purview of the EDC because the building was in such bad shape and improvements needed to be made.

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Mad. Sq. 200, a fair to remember

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Despite a brief downpour at the beginning of the history-themed fair, Mad. Sq. 200 in Madison Square Park went off as planned last Saturday in an afternoon celebrating the 200th anniversary of the park’s naming.

The event was scheduled for 3 p.m. and rain hit around 3:10, forcing attendees and participating vendors under the tents until the rain cleared a few minutes later.

“When you have to worry about as many antiques as I do, you always come prepared,” said Denny Daniel, curator and founder of the Museum of Interesting Things. Since rain was in the forecast, Daniel packed some plastic tarps along with the old telephones, phonographs, cameras and wind-up toys he had on display, showcasing some of the entertainment and technology that was popular at the turn of the last two centuries.

The rain did provide some relief from the 90-degree weather last weekend, a rare occurrence this summer, and the skies stayed clear for the rest of the festivities, which included a performance by the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers and a short dance lesson for attendees, as well as law games for kids and adults, croquet games and treats from Brooklyn Farmacy and The Cannibal Beer & Butcher.

A popular stop was where Daniel was showing his collection of antique gadgets and gizmos.

Daniel has been collecting antique items for the last five years and his “museum” includes photographs, toys, early medical inventions, antique literature and old scientific tools. One of the interactive pieces that he brought to the park was a mutoscope, an early motion picture device that works on the same principle as a flipbook, with pictures printed on cards, spun on a Rolodex and seen through a viewfinder. This particular one showed Charlie Chaplin and Felix the Cat, and operated through quarters placed in the slot.

Ashley Hughes, director of programs at the Madison Square Park Conservancy, said that planning for Mad Sq. 200 has been going on since May. However, the event has been in the works longer than that, with ideas being thrown around since January. The next big event at the park will be Mad Sq. Music: The Studio Series of free concerts, beginning on September 13. See T&V’s Around & About listings for details.

Click through to see photos from the event.

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Stuy Town’s new apartments will be rent stabilized, but probably not affordable

 A building under construction outside the Avenue C Loop (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

A building under construction outside the Avenue C Loop (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

For those wondering what the new apartments being built in Stuyvesant Town in the old management office building will cost, the answer is that tenants shouldn’t expect a break.

However, the units will still technically be rent stabilized, at least until the year 2020, according to Alex Schmidt, lead tenants’ attorney in the “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” lawsuit.

“Like all the 11,200-plus units in the complex, they must remain stabilized at least until the J-51 benefits expire in June 2020,” Schmidt said.

“But,” he added, “New units, typically, have their ‘stabilized rents’ set at market initially, which can then be increased only at the RGB level thereafter. There may be some nuances to this rule depending on how long the space was utilized as a management/leasing office.”

As Town & Village reported this week, Stuyvesant Town will be getting 11 new units, including a few new studio apartments. Some of those apartments will also have terraces, which, like studios, are a first for Stuyvesant Town.

Interestingly, apartments that were originally on the property had to be taken down in order to create the former management office, Council Member Dan Garodnick said.

Along with the apartments, the building will also soon be home to the Manhattan Kids Club, which is currently located on East 14th Street.


Police Watch: Subway mugger convicted, ‘groper’ arrested

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. announced on Wednesday the trial conviction of Anthony White, 44, for the robbery and strangulation assault of six victims in Manhattan subway stations and surrounding areas in August 2011. White was found guilty by a jury in New York State Supreme Court of all of the charges in the indictment: robbery in the first, second, and third degrees and strangulation in the first and second degrees. White is expected to be sentenced on  November 13.
As proven at trial, at approximately 9 a.m. on August 13, 2011, White attacked a 71-year-old man on the platform of the N/R subway station at West 28th Street and Broadway. White approached the victim from behind, choked him until he lost consciousness and stole $150 from his pocket before fleeing. The victim suffered a stroke in the hours following the attack and had to be hospitalized for approximately a month. Over the course of the next thirteen days, White similarly attacked five other men, all between the ages of 38 and 85, choking them from behind and stealing their money and other personal items.
In one instance, on August 16, 2011, White followed a 75-year-old man into a commercial building near the entrance of the West 28th  Street N/R station. The defendant entered the elevator behind the victim, choked him and stole approximately $200 from his wallet. Between August 18 and August 26, 2011, White attacked two more men in the same West 28th  Street station. The August 26  attack at the 28th  Street station was captured on surveillance camera. Three days later, an undercover NYPD transit officer recognized White at the West 28th Street station and placed him under arrest.

Police arrested 29-year-old Christopher Jones for robbery and strangulation last Monday at Sixth Avenue and West 14th Street at 5:22 a.m.  Jones allegedly threw the victim to the ground and strangled him by putting his arm around the victim’s neck until he could no longer breathe. He then took the victim’s cell phone from his hand and fled on foot, police said, until he was arrested at Sixth and West 14th.

Police arrested 63-year-olds Michael Taperino and Anthony Giacia for assault over an alleged fight that occurred on the corner of East 23rd Street and Park Avenue South last Friday at 8:20 a.m. The victim, a third person involved in the fight who was not arrested, told police that he was stabbed in the neck at the location after an argument.

Forty-nine-year-old Ernestine Christian was arrested for assault in front of 39 Union Square West last Tuesday at 12:18 p.m. Christian allegedly slashed a man with a box cutter, approximately seven times on the chest, back and arm.

Police arrested 24-year-old Dianrougha Diallo for robbery at the corner of Broadway and West 28th Street last Tuesday at 5:56 p.m. A clerk from a nearby store told police that Diallo was working with someone else and the other person passed something from the store to him and he allegedly concealed it in a plastic bag. The clerk confronted them for stealing and Diallo allegedly punched him in the face, causing bruising to his left eye. They then fled east on East 28th Street and Diallo was arrested. The person that he was working with was not arrested.

Police arrested 24-year-old Nicholas Thompson for petit larceny inside the CVS Pharmacy at 338 East 23rd Street last Wednesday at 1:15 a.m. A cashier at the store told police that Thompson walked over to a cooler of beer and opened a 24-ounce can of Bud Light. Thompson allegedly started to walk out of the store without paying for it and when the cashier asked if he was going to pay, Thompson allegedly said, “I have no money.” The cashier detained Thompson until police arrived.

Twenty-seven-year-old Luis Miranda was arrested for assault and resisting arrest in front of 126 Lexington Avenue last Wednesday at 4:26 a.m. Miranda and another person who wasn’t arrested were allegedly hitting another man in the face, causing bruising to the left side of his forehead. Miranda allegedly flexed and flailed his arms to prevent being handcuffed. The person who wasn’t arrested fled on foot for three blocks and then got into a cab going north on Third Avenue.

Police arrested Robert Jelich, 63, inside the 13th precinct at 230 East 21st Street  on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.  for previously menacing someone inside a Duane Reade at 300 East 23rd Street. A cashier at the store told police that Jelich had stolen a drink from the Duane Reade and then allegedly pulled a knife from his pocket and threatened the cashier after he confronted Jelich.

Thirty-one-year-old James Jenkins was arrested for assault in front of 60 West 23rd Street last Thursday at 1:14 p.m. The victim told police that he was walking and texting on the west side of Fifth Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets when he bumped into Jenkins, who then allegedly took a step back and punched the victim in the face. He called 911 and followed Jenkins to the Best Buy at the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 23rd Street. The victim then flagged down a police officer, who found Jenkins in the lobby of the store and arrested him.

Two people were arrested for violating tax law and selling “loosies” this week in unrelated incidents.
Police arrested 42-year-old Andrew Walden at the corner of Mount Carmel Place and East 27th Street last Thursday at 2:22 p.m. Walden was allegedly selling five Newport cigarettes with a Tennessee tax stamp for 25 cents each. Walden wasn’t in possession of a tax stamp and he was allegedly in possession of untaxed cigarettes.
Thirty-three-year-old Hafedh Alkablani was arrested in front of 203 Third Avenue last Friday at 6:35 p.m. Alkablani allegedly sold a pack of Newport cigarettes with a Virginia tax stamp to an undercover officer for $8.

Police arrested 23-year-old Nicole Vivieros for criminal mischief and posting graffiti in front of 23 West 20th Street last Thursday at 9:25 p.m. Vivieros allegedly told police that she and another person used aerosol blue chalk spray and a stencil saying, “why does the NRA have so much power?” and “#unzippedtruth.” She did not have authority to post advertisements on the sidewalk and the graffiti was not easily removed, causing damage on the sidewalk estimated to be less than $250.

Twenty-year-old Barry Hamadou was arrested for sexual abuse at the 13th Precinct last Thursday. Hamadou allegedly followed a woman into an elevator to the sixth floor of a building and into a hallway restroom where he then forced her into a stall and attempted to grab her chest. A second complaint notes that in a separate incident, he followed a woman into 18 West 27th Street and grabbed her buttocks before fleeing the scene. Police didn’t disclose the address of the first incident.

Police arrested 28-year-old Tao Xu for grand larceny last Friday at 1:32 a.m. inside the bar Boxers NYC at 37 West 20th Street. Xu allegedly removed property from someone’s pants, which were hanging in an unlocked employee locker. After searching Xu, police found that he was also in possession of alleged crystal meth and a pipe and straw containing alleged crystal meth residue.

Amidst some reductions, Players reopens

By Sabina Mollot

Players President Arthur Makar with Michael Barra, the club’s managing committee chair on the night of the club’s post-summer reopening party (Photo by Nicole Donje)

Players President Arthur Makar with Michael Barra, the club’s managing committee chair on the night of the club’s post-summer reopening party (Photo by Nicole Donje)

Prior to the reopening of The Players after its traditional summer hiatus, club brass was focused on money-saving moves, such as a couple of key employees being let go, including the general manager, and paring down the club’s dining service, which is now for events only. Otherwise only the bar will remain open for business on a regular basis.

Reached earlier this week, Club President Arthur Makar said the club is still trying to dig its way out of the serious financial hole it’s been in, and is also considering selling a valuable John Singer Sargent painting of actor Joseph Jefferson to raise money.

Makar said the current debt is around $3.5 million, but said the club was also re-evaluating its profit and loss on events, both for members and external ones in which hosts pay rent to the club for the space. Additionally, in recent months, the club’s event organizer was fired, with Makar explaining the club just couldn’t afford to keep him.

“One of the reasons The Players has been in such bad shape over the years is that we’ve never looked at, as well as we should, what it costs to run the events we were holding,” said Makar. “We have to at least break even on the member events and we have to at least make a little bit of money on the events run by people from the outside. In that case, we’re not different from any other club.”

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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 11

Owning won’t end problems with students

To the Editor:

I fully support Larry Edwards’ demand for a conversion “that is affordable to all the tenants who live here today and to those who have been living here for 30 to 40 years or more.” (Town &  Village, Sept. 4).

However, assuming that owning an apartment will prevent transient college students from noisy partying at all hours is unrealistic in today’s real estate market. The neighboring universities will merely buy up blocks of apartment condos or co-ops as investments and turn them into student dorms with the same “howling in the courtyards,” and “waking up their neighbors at 3 or 4 in the morning.”

As for affordability, only stronger rent stabilization laws can keep apartments within the middle class, not “ownership.” Today’s “market rate” for two-bedroom Manhattan co-ops ranges from $750,000 to over a million. Families earning under $300,000 a year will be shut out.

This has nothing to do with building owners, the Tenants Association, or elected officials – all  are powerless against the so-called “free market.”

And for wealthier people who can afford to “own,” they might still find themselves living next door to howling students. They might as well join the party.

Elliot Markson, ST

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Residents close to construction site on First Ave. Loop fed up with delays

A view of the  future management office on September 2 (Photo by Michael Alcamo)

A view of the future management office on September 2 (Photo by Michael Alcamo)

By Sabina Mollot

Residents on Stuyvesant Town’s First Avenue Loop, who’ve been dealing with construction noise for months, are now asking if the new management office will ever be finished. Along with the noise, other gripes from residents have included dust and debris blowing into their windows, the walkway between several buaildings being off limits and the continued closure of the nearly Playground 8, which is also getting a facelift. Residents at 272 and 274 First Avenue also recently saw flooding in their storage rooms.

However, “The biggest concern at this point is the timetable,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick, who, in response to the complaints, wrote a letter to CWCapital Managing Director Andrew MacArthur to ask about the holdup. “It looks like there are a bunch of loose ends,” he said.

In the letter, Garodnick mentioned how he’d previously been told by CW that the construction on the office would be complete in August and that the playground would be done in May.

In mid-August, however, a newsletter from CompassRock emailed to tenants said there would be delays, with work on the office building expected to continue through the month of September. An explanation wasn’t given on the delay, but CompassRock said the final phase of construction had begun. The work included infrastructure being put into place and the space being wired. This week, a resident in a surrounding building said skylights were recently installed. In August, CompassRock said the next phase would be work on the green roof. As for the playground delay, management said the reason for that was “abandoned underground infrastructure encountered during excavation.”

But the end of the month deadline now seems unlikely since a photo, snapped by a resident in a building overlooking the construction shows that the project doesn’t look too close to being done.

Garodnick referred to the photo in his letter and also suggested that CW compensate tenants in the affected buildings with a one-month rent abatement for the inconvenience.Garodnick had brought up the possibility of a rent abatement to CW earlier in the year, though apparently, the owner didn’t agree. In the letter, Garodnick said he thought CW should “revisit the issue” due to the extended construction.

“Alternatively, (tenants) may be entitled to a rent reduction claim before the state housing agency,” he said. The letter was dated September 3 and Garodnick said so far there’s been no response. A spokesperson for CW also didn’t respond to T&V’s request for comment.

Still, the resident who’d taken the photo from his apartment on September 2, Michael Alcamo, said he appreciated Garodnick’s quick response to the issue. “All of us who face this construction site have experienced dust, dirt, exceptionally high cleaning costs and noxious construction smells,” he said. “We have not had access to our courtyard for nearly nine months.”

Additionally, said Alcamo, who heads an organization devoted to local tree planting, the work has led to the removal of healthy trees.

“CompassRock destroyed ten mature and healthy pin oak trees, in order to make room for its construction equipment.”

Another neighbor, who’s been having trouble walking, said a big inconvenience for a while had been how the gates put up on different sides of the Loop was confusing to the car service drivers she relies on, with them not knowing they were allowed in.

“I also had the use of benches taken from me for the summer outside Playground 8,” said the resident, who didn’t want her name used. “We were told construction would be completed months ago. The next set of benches are too far for me to walk to. It was a beautiful summer and I missed being out because I don’t feel ill enough to be in nor want to be in a wheelchair yet can’t walk far with or without the help of a person to hold on to.”

Another resident in an impacted building said that she’s been dealing with the noise by keeping the windows closed and the air conditioner on. She’s had to change the unit’s filter pretty frequently though due to all the dirt flying in despite being on a higher floor. The noise from the work was audible as she spoke on the phone.

But, she said, “It’s nowhere near as bad as it was over the summer. I’d say they’re in the last stages, but who knows what that means. They have a tendency to take a Pollyanna approach. You’ve still got a lot of uncovered dirt and a lot of banging and hammers going on.”

Coming soon to Stuy Town: Studio apts., terraces

 A building under construction outside the Avenue C Loop (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

A building under construction outside the Avenue C Loop (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

CWCapital is adding new apartments to Stuyvesant Town. The units — which will be a mix of studio and two and three-bedrooms — are being constructed on the site of a former management office on Avenue C.

In all, 11 new apartments will be built, a few with terraces overlooking Avenue C, according to sources. Terraces and studios are both something new for Stuy Town. A spokesperson for CWCapital declined to comment on the apartments or the rents for the units.

The office space on Avenue C was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. Before that, the space had been apartments, according to Council Member Dan Garodnick.

Garodnick — who has been a key player in the development’s future — said he is monitoring the apartment development “to make sure the rents for the units are in compliance with the law.”

CWCapital, the financial services giant that holds the keys to Stuy Town, last month agreed to extend a deadline on talks to keep the apartment complex affordable.

While no set plan has come out of that yet, Garodnick told T&V that information is still being exchanged and he’s been in “close contact with the de Blasio administration and CWCapital. The tenants are part of this process.”

Stuyvesant Town woman writes opera based on Nathaniel Hawthorne story

By Sabina Mollot

It’s the gothic opera that has something for everyone. Romance. An evil doctor. Science experiments involving poison.

Cast photo of “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” featuring Douglas McDonnell, Samantha Britt and William Broderick (Photo by Peter Welch)

Cast photo of “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” featuring Douglas McDonnell, Samantha Britt and William Broderick (Photo by Peter Welch)

And it’s an original show slated for a September run at Theater for the New City, with libretto written by Stuyvesant Town resident Linsey Abrams. The opera, “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” is based on a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Abrams said she chose that story because, despite its being based in medieval Italy, she found that it still resonates in in today’s American society.

“Rappaccini’s Daughter” revolves around Beatrice, a girl whose life is spent in a garden that is full of poisonous flowers. Her father, Rappaccini, is a doctor who cares more about his science experiments than his patients. He teaches at a medical college and ends up luring a young man there named Giovani into taking a room that overlooks the garden. After Giovani does this, he falls in love with Beatrice, with neither the young man or woman realizing they’re both the subjects of a science experiment.

“It has a lot to do with our current day,” said Abrams. “That science is being used for improper purposes, weapons, genetically modifying our food, pesticides and all of those things that people are making money off of, but they’re bad for humanity.”

But at the same time, love still manages to find its way. “It’s behind the scenes manipulation, but the two young people are falling in love,” said Abrams. “She’s been alone in a garden her whole life and he’s been a student his whole life. I just fell in love with it. As did our composer.”

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Historic fair will celebrate anniversary of Madison Sq. Park’s naming

TASK creator Oliver Herring at his studio

TASK creator Oliver Herring at his studio

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Madison Square Park is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the park’s naming in style this weekend with a historical fair and contemporary art party featuring period-themed activities and displays from the 19th and 20th centuries.

There will be popular lawn games from the past 200 years set up throughout the park, including badminton/shuttlecock, croquet for both adults and kids, jump rope, marbles, hopscotch and a 1914-inspired dice game of hearts.

The Museum of Interesting Things, which is a traveling interactive exhibition of inventions and antiques, will be at the event with a booth containing popular cultural items from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries on display. Betsy, a Fifth Avenue Coach Company double decker bus that ran in Manhattan from 1931 to 1953 will be on display thanks to the New York Transit Museum and attendees will be able to check out the clothing and fashion from the early 1800’s and 1900’s in an exhibit from Leading Lady Costumes.

There will also be a number of performances throughout the afternoon, featuring music, dancing and magic popular during the early 1900’s. The Mad. Sq. 200 Quartet is a string quartet with alumni from the Juilliard School and will perform popular classical music from the 1800’s. The Commonwealth Vintage Dancers will demonstrate some of the line dances popular during the early 1800’s and 1900’s, all while in full costume.

The historic daytime fair will be Saturday, September 6 from 3 to 6 p.m., but after that until 9 p.m., the improvisational art organization known as TASK will be hosting an experimental, contemporary art party.

TASK was created by artist Oliver Herring and participants follow two simple rules: write down a task on a piece of paper and add it to a designated TASK pool, then others take a task from the pool and interpret it any way they want, using materials and props provided.

Madison Square Park Conservancy executive director Keats Myer recently spoke to the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership about the fair and party.

“This event is to honor Madison Square Park’s rich history, while also celebrating the diverse and vibrant community that makes the Park so special today,” Myer told the BID.

Letters to the editor, Sept. 4

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Time to own is now, before students take over

To the Editor:

Here we go again. The big move-in by students, new grads and those just starting their first jobs.  The SUVs and U-Hauls are here with hopeful parents bringing the usual bric-a-brac items needed for city living. And it’s three or four to an apartment to split the rent that no one else can afford alone. Say hi to them and ask how long they might be living here, and they will say a year or two and then on to other pastures.

Unfortunately these people will be heard howling in the courtyards when they come home from their weekend drinking and bar hopping and then on to clip-clop with their high heels on the uncovered floors to wake up their neighbors at 3 or 4 in the morning. They use the laundry carts as moving aids to get their things from street to floor. But none of them will help create a viable community where neighbors get to know each other over the years. They are just here to fill their “dorm” time and for the landlord to fill vacancies when there are few others.

So what’s the solution?  It’s time for PCV/ST to be converted into co-ops or condos. Where people will own what they live. Where neighbors will be neighbors who care about each other and care about what they own. Demand that this be done.

Demand that CW do this. And at a reasonable conversion rate that is affordable to all the tenants who live here today and to those that have been living here for 30 or 40 years or more.  If CW won’t comply, demand that they do. Get someone bigger than them so they will. If the Tenants Association can’t do it, find someone else who can. If our elected officials can’t make it happen, vote for those who want it converted and who will make it happen. It’s time. We have all been waiting long enough and we don’t want to wait any longer.

See you when I own my apartment. And everyone is a proud owner.

Larry Edwards, ST

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