Church of St. Stephen to close

Our Lady of the Scapular-St. Stephen Church on East 28th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Our Lady of the Scapular-St. Stephen Church on East 28th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Sunday, parishioners at Our Lady of the Scapular-St. Stephen, a Roman Catholic church on East 28th Street, learned that the church would be closed and parish merged as part of a plan by Cardinal Timothy Dolan to close and consolidate churches throughout New York State.

The plan, which the church’s own pastor, Father Robert Robbins only learned of on Friday, is designed to save money by having churches that merge share administrative and other costs.

While no plan to sell Our Lady of the Scapular-St. Stephen has been announced, Dolan told the New York Times on Sunday, when speaking about the planned church closures in the city and upstate, that some may be sold. This church, meanwhile, is no stranger to money-saving mergers, having already been merged twice. The first time was back in the 1980s. St. Stephen’s, established in 1848, was merged with Our Lady of the Scapular in 1980s and the original Our Lady building has since been razed. Then, in 2007, the Archdiocese of New York announced that the Church of the Sacred Hearts of Mary and Jesus, which was located at 307 East 33rd Street, would be merged into Our Lady of the Scapular-St. Stephen Church.

Once the current Our Lady of the Scapular-St. Stephen church closes, which is expected to happen in August of 2015, services will be moved to Murray Hill’s Church of Our Savior at 59 Park Avenue and 38th Street. Robbins has already had administrative duties there for a while, bouncing back and forth between the two churches.

While his future has yet to be decided by the Archdiocese, the current shortage of clergy may work in his favor.

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Letters to the Editor, Nov. 6

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Common sense lost during Sandy?

To the editor:

As a resident of Peter Cooper Village for more than 20 years, I have frequently driven onto Peter Cooper Road to drop off packages or pick up passengers. Until recently, the guard at the gatehouse copied the four digits from the resident sticker on my windshield and waved me in.

That began to change about three months ago, when one guard asked me where I was going. I pointed to the sticker and said that was all he needed.
“We don’t use them anymore,” said my interrogator, standing just across from the sign that says “Admittance by sticker only.” He went on to explain that the “book” containing the resident information linked to the stickers was “lost in Hurricane Sandy.”

Really? And it only took our Public Safety department two years to have discovered this. That really inspires confidence.

If the “book” were destroyed, it could be replaced. (Hint to Public Safety: This is the 21st century. You can store information electronically.) PCV residents who own cars can be asked to reapply for stickers. Or PCV could go really high tech and adopt the barcode readers that are already used in the complex’s garages to record exactly when cars enter and exit.

I have since been told by Public Safety guards that asking me where I’m going is for my own protection. If I overstay my allotted time on Peter Cooper Road, they will have my address and apartment number so that they can warn me before I get towed.

Am I to understand that Public Safety assumes that everyone is always honest? Why else would they prefer taking a driver’s word to actually knowing the name, address, apartment number, phone number and vehicle identification information of residents entering the complex by car? You see, all that information is linked to the four-digit number on my windshield sticker.

The reasons given for the new policy are absurd. I can only conclude that this is yet another way for management to harass long-time residents. They must believe that if they impose enough meaningless rules, we’ll all move out and PCV/ST will be completely market rate.

Joe Lisanti, PCV

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Maloney, Hoylman, Kavanagh re-elected

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney chats with a voter in Stuyvesant Town.  (Photo courtesy of Congress Member Maloney)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney chats with a voter in Stuyvesant Town. (Photo courtesy of Congress Member Maloney)

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday, three local Democrats easily held on to their positions as voters, along with re-electing Andrew Cuomo as governor, also re-elected Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh.

Maloney won with 79.85 percent of the vote, defeating former seminary student and former Pfizer employee Nicholas Di iorio, who got 20.15 percent.
Di iorio had fought tooth and nail for each vote though, having sent out near daily press releases blasting his opponent in the weeks leading up to the election on everything from her trip to China to secure a panda for New York to failure to get many bills passed in Washington. For this he labeled her ineffective.

He’d also hounded his opponent for a debate, and did eventually succeed in wearing her down. The only debate of the campaign took place at a newspaper office in Queens last Thursday, focusing on issues of interest to that part of the district.

Meanwhile, by Tuesday morning, Maloney reported doing well with voters she encountered while campaigning.
Many told her they’d be giving her their vote, though she quickly added, “I probably shouldn’t say that. Of course they’re not going to tell me if they weren’t going to vote for me.”

After casting her own vote at the 92nd Street Y, Maloney also made several stops throughout the district, including popping by Stuyvesant Town in the afternoon.
Some voters had gripes about long lines to cast their votes, although this year, without a presidential election, lines weren’t exactly spilling out of polling place doors.“It’s definitely lower (turnout) than in a presidential year, but people are coming out to vote,” said Maloney. She added that she would work on trying to keep lines shorter in the future, either by pushing for more polling sites or the creation of smaller voting districts.

She also said that if reelected, “I’ll be focused like a laser on affordable housing and making sure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not finance anything that removes affordable housing.”
Other goals included making it easier for people to buy homes, doing away with excessive bank overdraft fees and getting a bill for women’s equality passed, that has, since Maloney’s been in office, failed to do so.

Nicholas Di iorio talks to a voter in Brooklyn. (Photo courtesy of Nicholas Di iorio)

Nicholas Di iorio talks to a voter in Brooklyn. (Photo courtesy of Nicholas Di iorio)

On Tuesday, Di orio was also making various campaign stops around the three-borough district, starting on the Upper East Side, where he lives not far from Maloney, Greenpoint, Brooklyn and later Queens. At around 11 a.m., he was in Manhattan, after voting at Knickerbocker Plaza on 91st Street.

He said for the most part voters he was encountering were familiar with his campaign, having read interviews with him in Town & Village and other newspapers.
When voters stopped to chat with the candidate, typically they had questions that were economy-related. This is where he felt his background working to save money for a pharmaceutical giant worked in his favor.

“It’s been a great day so far,” said Di iorio said. “A lot of the legislators in Congress talk about growing the economy but they haven’t spent time working in economics. That’s one of the differences between me and Congress Member Maloney. I’m trying to help companies and small businesses hire more employees.”
His platform was based around cutting corporate taxes to keep jobs from going overseas.

Later, when asked about the contentious nature of the race, Maloney dismissed her opponent’s steady stream of criticism as a typical Republican tactic.
“The Republicans do not fight on issues,” she said. “They try to destroy the person.”

But not all Republicans used tough guy tactics in this race — or even any tactics at all. Hoylman and Kavanagh both sailed to reelection thanks to their opponents, Stuyvesant Town resident Frank Scala, and East Villager Bryan Cooper, respectively, not running active campaigns.
Kavanagh won with 85.06 percent of the vote, while Cooper got 14.94 percent. Hoylman got 85.66 percent while Scala got 14.34 percent.

State Senate candidate Frank Scala

State Senate candidate Frank Scala

Scala, who’s the president of the Albano Republican Club and the owner of a Fifth Avenue barber shop, said he only ran for State Senate after being asked by the Republican County Committee. But he didn’t seek attention beyond participating in a candidate forum last week hosted by the 17th Precinct Community Council, which his opponent didn’t attend.
And this wouldn’t be the first time in recent years that local candidates have run just to have a Republican on the ballot. In Manhattan, there hasn’t been a Republican elected since the late Roy Goodman left the State Senate in 2002.

Cooper, who, like Scala, has run for office locally before, told Town & Village he had been genuinely interested in running for Assembly, but had wanted to try doing it in a “grassroots” way. He didn’t build a campaign website or attempt to get press, choosing instead to walk around the Lower East Side and the East Village, mostly, as well as Stuy Town where he said he’s noticed a “strong Republican presence.”

“People do come to our club meetings,” he said, referring to the Albano Club, in which he’s a district leader. “People feel like our interests are not being represented. We need a Republican, especially on the Lower East Side.”
Cooper, a production assistant and Navy veteran, said he’d been hearing disgust from his neighbors about corruption in Albany and Cuomo’s handling of the Moreland Commission’s dismantling. Lack of jobs was another concern.

Nov6 Bryan Cooper

Assembly candidate Bryan Cooper

“We want more businesses to be here, less taxes. There’s more unemployment and the homeless situation has risen. Why is this? Businesses are leaving New York.”
He also said that following Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to end stop-and-frisk, he’s found that people no longer feel safe.
“Ever since they stopped stop-and-frisk, people are like, ‘I’m out of here,’” he said. “What’s the point of having a police force when your hands are tied? What’s the problem with stopping and asking a question or checking your bag?”

On his low-key campaign, he explained it was mainly due to money reasons, but he also wanted to see “how effective it would be,” since he is already planning a run for State Senate. “Maybe if this doesn’t work out, I’ll learn my lesson.”

Police Watch: Psychic arrested, mugging on Fifth Avenue

Forty-year-old Christine Williams was arrested for grand larceny last Wednesday at 6 p.m. inside the 13th precinct for grand larceny. The victim told police that since May 2014, she had given Williams over $12,000 for crystals she never received and was also charged a fortune telling fee for curses and evil spirits to be removed. Williams is being charged with scheme to defraud and fortune telling.

Police arrested 23-year-old Taylor Walt last Wednesday at 7:57 p.m. inside the L station at First Avenue and East 14th Street. Walt was allegedly walking a pit bull that was not in an approved container while inside the L train station mezzanine. Walt allegedly caused annoyance and alarm by yelling and screaming and was also charged with disorderly conduct.

Police arrested 47-year-old Keith Little for burglary inside 204 East 25th Street last Monday at 7 p.m. Keith allegedly attempted to enter the residential building without permission and tried to open the door with burglar’s tools. He admitted to using an object to gain access to the building, police said.

Christopher Cobb, 52, was arrested for grand larceny by extortion in front of 5 Union Square West last Monday at 9:52 p.m. Cobb was allegedly in possession of a man’s cell phone. The victim, a Staples employee, told police that he left the phone unattended at his work station and when he returned, the phone was missing. The victim called his phone and Cobb answered, allegedly telling him, “Hook me up and I’ll sell you it back for $50.”

Police arrested 37-year-old Christopher Potts for theft of services in front of 101 Fifth Avenue last Tuesday at 5:26 p.m. Potts was allegedly charging his cell phone on a lamp post without permission. After talking to him, police found that there was an open warrant for his arrest from a previous incident.

Two vendors near Union Square Park were arrested for selling without permits last week. Twenty-six-year-old Marcela Torres was arrested at the corner of Union Square West and East 16th Street last Tuesday at 7:35 p.m. for “unlawful peddling.” Torres was allegedly offering two toy LED light swords and four LED slingshot helicopters for sale on a public sidewalk without a vending permit.
Police arrested 39-year-old Isol Davila for violating New York State laws in front of 39 Union Square West last Tuesday at 7:50 p.m. Davila was allegedly selling 10 flare copter LED slingshot helicopters for sale on a public sidewalk without a vending permit.

Police arrested a teen for graffiti at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 22nd Street last  Tuesday at 8:13 p.m.  Police said that the teen made graffiti on a green USPS postal box without permission by writing “Hambo” with a white paint marker. The teen’s name is being withheld due to his age.

Thirty-year-old Dominique Frazier was charged with resisting arrested in front of 344 East 28th Street last Tuesday at 10:02 p.m. Frazier was allegedly riding a Citi Bike on the sidewalk. When stopped by police, he refused to give identification and he allegedly began to flail his arms to prevent being handcuffed. It was also determined that the Citi Bike was stolen and was picked up at East 16th Street and Irving Place. Frazier was not the person who signed out the bike at the dock, police said. Frazier was also charged with possession of stolen property and disorderly conduct.

Police arrested 22-year-old Corey Collier for robbery last Saturday at 12:52 a.m. on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 18th Street. Collier approached victims at East 20th Street and Fifth Avenue. He allegedly punched one man in the face and threw the other man to the ground. When the first man fell, an unknown man picked up the victim’s cell phone and handed it to a woman who fled the scene. Collier started walking toward East 18th Street where he was stopped by an officer and was positively identified by the victims. Collier was also charged with assault.

Thirty-two-year-old Latoya Jarrett for criminal mischief in front of 4 East 28th Street last Saturday at 1:41 p.m. She was having a fight with her friend in front of the building. Security inn the building was closing the door to prevent her from coming in and Jarrett allegedly pulled on the door, causing the glass to break.

Police arrested 25-year-old Paris Fuller for possession of stolen property in front of 10 Union Square East last Saturday at 3:50 p.m. Fuller was allegedly attempting to flee the location on a bike which he had removed from nearby and while riding the bike, he almost hit a passerby who was entering the Coffee Shop. After police caught up with him, he was allegedly in possession of stolen property that he said was taken from Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.

Police arrested 39-year-old Kenneth Swindell for criminal trespassing inside 235 Second Avenue last Sunday at 2 a.m. Swindell was allegedly inside the building without permission.

Police arrested 33-year-old Alexis Nunez for petit larceny and theft last Tuesday at 11:18 a.m. in front of 342 East 23rd Street. Nunez allegedly swiped merchandise from multiple pharmacies and and he was in possession of the property when he was searched, police said.

Police arrested 49-year-old Robert Wallace for possession of a weapon last Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. in front of 10 Union Square South. Wallace was allegedly approaching passersby while displaying a knife on his front pants pocket.