Police Watch: Man wanted in East Village attempted rape, pit bull bites father and son

MAN WANTED IN ATTEMPTED RAPE AND ATTACK ON ANOTHER WOMAN
Police are looking for a man who tried to rape a woman in an East Village building on Sunday and also, in a prior incident, attacked a woman in another building. On Sunday, cops say he followed his 22 year-old victim into an apartment building on East 6th Street and sexually assaulted her in the stairwell. The victim sustained minor injuries from the attack, which occurred around 6 a.m., and was taken to Beth Israel Hospital in stable condition.
Police say he also, on Tuesday, December 16 at 12:45 a.m., followed a 19-year-old woman into the elevator in the lobby of her building located on the FDR Drive. He then grabbed her buttocks and breasts and tried to forcibly kiss her. The woman struggled and managed to get out of the elevator and the building. The creep chased her and managed to grab her buttocks again before fleeing the scene,
The suspect is described as dark skinned, approximately 25 years old and 180 lbs., with short cut hair. In the second incident, he was wearing a dark baseball cap, black bubble jacket, blue jeans and black sneakers. In the first incident, the victim said he was wearing a Yankees cap.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting TIP577 and their tips to 274637 (CRIMES). All calls are strictly confidential.

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Freida Yakubov

FLORIDA WOMAN MISSING
Police are looking for a 37-year-old woman, Florida resident Freida Yakubov. Yakubov was last seen last Thursday in front of 111 West 16 Street at 8 a.m. when she arrived with her boyfriend from Sarasota. Yakubov dropped her boyfriend off at the location and then left to park her vehicle, a black 2009 BMW 1 Series 4-door sedan with Florida license plates, but she never returned.
She is described as being 5’7” tall, weighing 120 lbs., with a light complexion, long blonde hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a white sweater and gray sweat pants.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

MAN ARRESTED AFTER HIS PIT BULL BITES A FATHER AND SON ON EAST 28TH
Mister Parrish, 36, was arrested after police said he was involved in two assaults, including one in which he sicced his pit bull on a father and his son.
Last Saturday at around 10:52 p.m., at East 28th Street and Lexington, Parrish was standing on the corner with the dog when a child, who was under the age of seven and standing next to Parrish, became frightened by the animal. Parrish then yelled, “It’s only a dog.”
The boy started crossing the street with his father when Parrish allegedly removed the dog’s leash and steered it towards them. Police said that the dog bit the boy on the leg, causing the skin to break and bleed, and Parrish did nothing to intervene. The dog also allegedly bit the child’s father on the arm.
The victims were taken to the hospital and the dog was removed to Animal Care and Control. Parrish (whose first name really is Mister, police confirmed) was was also charged with assault, as well as harassment and dogs to be restrained.
Around the same time, police hit Parrish with additional count of assault along with arresting another man, Jamie Sloan, 34.
Police said Parrish and Sloan were involved in a fight at Third Avenue and East 28th Street around the same time as the other incident. They allegedly punched another man in the face and head, causing cuts and bleeding to the victim’s ear.

MAN ARRESTED FOR STOLEN BAG AT GRAMERCY TAVERN
Police arrested 51-year-old Nathaniel Green for grand larceny in front of 915 Broadway last Monday at 7:16 p.m. Green entered the Gramercy Tavern at 42 East 20th Street earlier that day and allegedly removed a black bag that didn’t belong to him from a chair. Police said he left the restaurant with the bag and was stopped outside the building. He allegedly resisted arrest at the time, ran and dropped the bag, which landed under a nearby car.

MT. SINAI BETH ISRAEL PATIENT’S CREDIT CARD STOLEN AS SHE SLEPT
Police arrested 38-year-old Paulino Camacho for grand larceny inside Mount Sinai Beth Israel at 281 First Avenue last Thursday at 11:12 p.m. The victim, who is a patient at the hospital, said that she was sleeping in her room and when she woke up, she went to look for something in her bag. Camacho had allegedly taken her credit card and $30 in cash from the bag.

‘POT DEALERS’ BUSTED ON WEST 28TH
Police arrested two people for the sale of marijuana and possession of marijuana near the intersection of West 28th Street and Broadway last Friday. Twenty-year-old Usman Jalloh was busted in front of 34 West 28th Street at 3:40 p.m.
Jalloh allegedly sold pot to an undercover officer and after searching him, police found that he was allegedly in possession of additional marijuana.
Lamin Kamara, 24, was arrested at the intersection at 4:45 p.m. He allegedly tried to sell marijuana to an undercover officer and police said he was in possession of marijuana.

‘SHOPLIFTERS’ BUSTED AT BED BATH & BEYOND
Police arrested two people for shoplifting at Bed Bath & Beyond in separate incidents last week. Denise Mulcare, 45, was arrested last Monday at 1:09 p.m. and Anthony Dantico, 33, was arrested on Saturday at 3:54 p.m. Both were charged with petit larceny and possession of stolen property. Mulcare allegedly took items of the shelf and placed them in her bag, attempting to leave the store without paying. Police said that Dantico took property off the rack, put it in his coat pocket and attempted to leave without paying.

‘BURGLAR’ BUSTED FOR SWIPING MACBOOK
Eighteen-year-old Isaiah Ravenall was arrested for burglary last Monday at 11:50 a.m. inside the 13th Precinct. Police said that Ravenall entered the victim’s apartment without permission and swiped an Apple MacBook Pro valued at $1,100. Information about the location of the burglary was not available.

MAN ARRESTED IN HIT-AND-RUN
Police arrested 25-year-old Salvador Colula inside the 13th precinct for leaving the scene of an accident last Monday at 9:45 a.m. Colula was driving at a previous date and allegedly hit someone with his car, causing a sprained ankle. Colula did not stop when he hit the man and left the scene of the accident, police said.

THEFTS AT THE GAP LAST WEEK
Police arrested four people for thefts at the Gap Store inside 122 Fifth Avenue last week.
Timothy Read, 23, and Angel Vega Jr., 39, were arrested last Monday at 7:56 p.m. Read was charged with grand larceny and Vega was charged with petit larceny and possession of stolen property. Read allegedly attempted to steal three jackets, which were valued at $1,044. Vega allegedly attempted to steal two jackets.
Twenty-six-year-old Christian Pena was arrested at the same store the next day at 2:06 p.m. for petit larceny and possession of stolen property. An employee at the store said that she saw Pena take items from the shelf. He allegedly concealed them and attempted to leave the store without paying.
Police arrested 53-year-old Elvin Quinones for petit larceny and possession of stolen property in front of the store last Friday at 11:54 a.m. An employee at the store said that Quinones took clothing off the shelves and then attempted to conceal it in his coat. Police said that he then tried leaving the store without paying for the items, which were worth $94.99.

Where to celebrate New Year’s Eve

Richard Bona and  Mandekan Cubano will be playing at The Jazz Standard.

Richard Bona and Mandekan Cubano will be playing at The Jazz Standard.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
With another year coming to an end, a number of neighborhood businesses are offering a wide variety of experiences for this New Year’s Eve, from rowdy parties to quiet meals, and even meditation. Local theaters and concert venues throughout the area are hosting parties and shows for the holiday.

Coco and the Vanity Vixens will be playing an 18+ show at the Gramercy Theatre at 127 East 23rd Street. Tickets range from $40 to $125. The off-Broadway burlesque show starts at 9:30 p.m. Ticket purchases for the show include entry to the New Year’s Eve countdown and the after party with Ice-T and Coco until 3 a.m.

Webster Hall at 125 East 11th Street will be taking advantage of its multilevel layout for their end-of-the-year extravaganza, featuring fire displays, DJs and live TVs showing the drop of the ball in Times Square at their New Year’s Eve Ball. The event will also feature the “largest balloon drop in the free world,” with 100,000 balloons falling from the ceiling at the stroke of midnight. General admission tickets are $99 and silver tickets are $150.

The Salon will be hosting a New Year’s Eve Eve party at the DL at 95 Delancey Street. This means that the festivities technically don’t take place on the holiday itself but the party is a tradition for the production company, which hosts various events and parties featuring big band music and swing dancing performances. Although the Salon is hosting this event in the Lower East Side this year, the party was previously held at The Players club.

Concert venues throughout the neighborhood will be hosting shows on New Year’s Eve and while Webster Hall might be consumed by a raucous New Year’s Eve-centric party, other music halls in the area are focusing on performances.

Brooklyn-based Holy Ghost! will be headlining Irving Plaza at 17 Irving Place, with Museum of Love and That Work performing as the opening bands. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets, still on sale, are $52.50.

Richard Bona and Mandekan Cubano will be playing two New Year’s Eve shows at the Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street. The first show is at 7:30 p.m. and the second show, at 10:30 p.m., includes a three-course meal and a champagne toast. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $135 and tickets for the 10:30 p.m. show are $195.

For more low-key dinner options, various local restaurants are offering special New Year’s Eve meals for the holiday.

Daniel Humm’s restaurant inside The NoMad Hotel at 1170 Broadway is offering an à la carte New Year’s Eve dinner with dishes such as Alaska king crab salad and roasted dry-aged tenderloin with seared foie gras, created for sharing. The New Year’s Eve festivities at the NoMad Bar are $195 per person and go from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. The price includes an open bar, DJ and hors d’oeuvres.

Resto at 111 East 29th Street, a Belgian gastropub, will be serving duck 12 different ways for the four-course New Year’s Eve menu, including consommé, sausage, confit and “ducketta.” Four courses at Resto is $95 from 5 to 7 p.m. and $150 after 9 p.m. Reservations are accepted for earlier dinner and seating after 9 p.m. includes an open bar and champagne at midnight.

Bread and Tulips at 365 Park Avenue South is offering a four-course prix fixe dinner with two different seatings. The earlier option is at 6 p.m. for $65 per person and the second is at 9 p.m. for $95 per person, which also includes open bar access at the restaurant’s New Year’s party. The Italian eatery is featuring dishes such as burrata with marinated tomatoes, duck breast over mascarpone polenta and chocolate and hazelnut mousse cake.

Jivamukti Yoga School will be holding its annual New Year’s Eve celebration with dinner, a dance party and silent reflection.

Jivamukti Yoga School will be holding its annual New Year’s Eve celebration with dinner, a dance party and silent reflection.

Some neighborhood yoga studios are offering quieter alternatives to the traditional drunken New Year’s revelry with a more meditative approach.

Jivamukti Yoga School at 841 Broadway near Union Square is hosting its 26th annual New Year’s Eve celebration with a special class, dinner, a dance party and silent reflection, which is from 9 p.m. to midnight. Admission to the class, which includes the vegan dinner, is $95.

Laughing Lotus at 636 Sixth Avenue is hosting New Year’s Eve celebration from 10 p.m. to midnight, offering an “intention-setting ceremony” with chanting, meditation and a live DJ. The cost of the class is $60 and there is a 48-hour cancellation policy.

Kundalini Yoga at 873 Broadway offers a cheaper alternative for New Year’s Eve meditation and yoga at $30 ($25 for members), although the meditation and yoga class is from 6 to 8 p.m. instead of all the way until midnight. The last day to register for Kundalini Yoga’s New Year’s event is on Tuesday, December 30.

MTA hoping to fund Ave. A entrance for First Ave. L station

Straphangers exit the L station. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Straphangers exit the L station. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Residents of Stuyvesant Town and Alphabet City received an early Christmas present from the MTA last Thursday when the transit authority announced that a new Avenue A entrance for the L train at the First Avenue station is in the works.

The MTA hasn’t yet secured the $300 million needed for the project, which would also include work at other stations. However, it is seeking the federal funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) new Core Capacity grant program, which was formed specifically to address issues of system capacity.

There have been requests for an additional entrance at the First Avenue station for at least 50 years, as evidenced by a story in Town & Village in 1964. In the February 27 issue of that year, T&V reported that Federal Republican Club’s subway committee chairman George Comet had argued that the additional entrance was crucial because of new apartments that would soon be completed.

As always, the obstacle was funding. The MTA, officially called the Transit Authority at the time, said that an entrance between Avenues A and B wasn’t possible because the “dollars required” were not available, which at the time would have been $750,000. John Gilhooley, the Transit Authority chief in 1964, told Comet that the TA’s engineering department had conducted a thorough study before arriving at that figure.

Since 1964, the population has only continued to increase, with ridership on the L train skyrocketing because of the growing population in Williamsburg. The MTA reported that more than 300,000 commuters use the L train on an average weekday, an increase of 98 percent since 1998. The MTA said that a new entrance would double capacity for the station and would serve 60 percent of the station’s ridership.

Work on the improvements, which includes changes to both the First Avenue and the Bedford Avenue stations, is expected to take a number of years, with construction on the new First Avenue entrance to begin first.

At a Community Board 6 Transportation Committee meeting almost a year ago, MTA representatives said the agency was considering a feasibility study and residents at the meeting emphasized that the crowds at the station were more than just a nuisance.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” one Stuyvesant Town resident said at the time, noting that the way straphangers congregate at the station’s only exit crowds the platform so much that it makes waiting for the train a hazard.

Another key part of the proposal includes the installation of elevators at both the First Avenue and Bedford Avenue stations to make them fully compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The transit authority’s request for Core Capacity funds is limited to “vertical circulation” and power improvements that will increase capacity on the L. The application for the funds is expected to take a number of years and the FTA will need to review the plan before a funding recommendation can be made.

The MTA included partial funding for the train’s improvements in the proposed 2015-2019 Capital Program and $50 million for the project was previously included in the 2010-2014 Capital Program.

Other infrastructure improvements that have been proposed for the L train include the addition of three power substations that would allow for two additional trains per hour.
The MTA is planning to coordinate these infrastructure improvements with the repairs to the tube that was flooded during Hurricane Sandy, although it hasn’t been determined yet when these repairs will take place. The repairs for that damage includes work on tunnel lighting, pump facilities, cables, tracks, signals, duct banks and other equipment.

CB6 chair Sandro Sherrod said that since hearing about the plans for the station’s improvements, he has invited Marino and Book to the committee’s next meeting on January 5 to discuss the proposal further.

THANK YOU: Readers donate hundreds of toys to T&V holiday drive

Bonnie Robbins, coordinator of children and family services at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel, stands by some of the donated toys. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Bonnie Robbins, coordinator of children and family services at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel, stands by some of the donated toys. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot
Each year during the holiday season, Town & Village holds a toy drive benefitting a local hospital and, thanks to our generous readers and other community members, hundreds of new toys were donated.

All of the toys (we stopped counting at 300 but there were plenty more) were brought to Mt. Sinai Beth Israel last Friday. As always, the toys are given to kids who are stuck spending their holidays in hospital rooms as well as the children of patients of the hospital’s outpatient programs and clinics. In many cases, those patients can’t afford for shop for presents for their kids.

For this drive, Town & Village partnered with Stuyvesant Town management, Waterside Plaza management and M&T Bank on First Avenue, who all provided convenient donation dropoff sites.

The drive, which began in mid-November, ended last Thursday. However, it was during the last week when many of the donations were made, including, in one case, an entire truck load at once. (This was after a Stuy Town family held a party at which guests were each asked to bring a donated gift.) The haul included Barbies, Lego sets, remote control operated helicopters, tricycles, sports equipment, jewelry making kits, board games, books, action figures, toy instruments and stuffed animals.

Bonnie Robbins, Ph.D., the coordinator of children and family services at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel, noted that the variety of donated items means it’s that much easier for hospital staffers to match gifts to kids’ interests.

While sorting out the toys at her office, Robbins said, “This year the community has really outdone itself in terms of its generosity and words cannot express how appreciative we are.
“The toys,” she added, “really make a difference between our kids having a happy holiday or not. Sometimes the presents they get from the program are the only gifts they receive. When they see them, their faces just light up and we want to thank each and every person for their thoughtfulness and continued support of what we do.”

The staff of Town & Village would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our readers for their generosity as well as to CWCapital/CompassRock, Waterside and M&T Bank, for their participation.
We also wish all in the community a Happy New Year.

The holidays in Stuy Town throughout the years

Santa (Town & Village publisher Charles G. Hagedorn) arrives at the Oval where he took over 250 photos with kids in 1949. (Photo from T&V archives)

Santa (Town & Village publisher Charles G. Hagedorn) arrives at the Oval where he took over 250 photos with kids in 1949. (Photo from T&V archives)

By Sabina Mollot
While much of the talk about Stuyvesant Town these days is about how much the place has changed in recent years, one thing that’s managed to remain the same is the community’s celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah.
Putting up Christmas decorations and a nativity scene on the Oval along with an ornamented tree has been a tradition for decades. Another longstanding tradition has been having Santa take pictures with residents, from kids to seniors. It was in 1949 when Charles Hagedorn, the publisher of this newspaper, donned a Santa suit to hear the Christmas wishes of over 250 children in Stuy Town. The appearance was sponsored by the Town & Village Camera Club with proceeds from each photo taken going towards the Town & Village Polio Fund for the Willard Parker Hospital. (A total of $253 was raised.)
In the Stuy Town community, other traditions during Christmas time have included tree lighting ceremonies, caroling and the occasional concert. Hanukkah too has also been recognized, celebrated over the decades with menorah lightings led by a resident rabbi and activities for kids and families.

Why this man thinks everyone should experience being homeless

For Stuyvesant Town native Richard Luksin, eviction led to being homeless, more than once.

For Stuyvesant Town native Richard Luksin, eviction led to being homeless, more than once.

By Sabina Mollot

Richard Luksin, a former Stuyvesant Town resident, thinks everyone should experience being homeless once for at least two weeks. It is one of his holiday wishes, actually, since he believes it would make people more compassionate towards those who are homeless as well as the poor in general.

Luksin, a 69-year-old retiree now living in Minneapolis, may be a familiar name to some readers of Town & Village, since he’s a relatively regular writer of letters to the editor, usually reminiscing about the old days of Stuy Town when he grew up in the complex. But what most people don’t know about him is that he was homeless in New York, after getting evicted from his own apartment on Avenue C in 1979. He’d attempted to fight the owner in court for about 10 months, but it was really just prolonging the inevitable. He was after all, many months behind in rent with no way to pay it.

“I only worked at jobs I liked,” explained Luksin, “and the jobs I liked tended to pay minimum wage. I used to work at bookshops. I did that for about 10 years. And I liked to play in a rock band, and unless you’re famous you make no money doing that.”

After getting evicted, Luksin spent a good five months being homeless. To sleep, he’d ride the subway from the start of a line to the end, then do the same on another train. “Certain stations you could go to the bathroom,” he recalled. “Then you’d get back on the train.” His girlfriend was usually doing this with him, although when things would get too rough, she’d take a few days off from the routine and stay with family.

Other times, when Luksin didn’t even have the money to get on the subway, well, “It was tough,” he said. “It was winter.”

Going to a shelter wasn’t an option. There weren’t that many in the city at the time and those that were there were too dangerous to consider. “They were extremely dangerous,” said Luksin.

Still, he admitted, being homeless to some degree was a choice. Before living on his own in Stuyvesant Town, Luksin had grown up there in his parents’ apartment in a nearby building. Eventually they moved to a suburb of Minneapolis, since his father had frequently had to travel in the Midwest for business, and was tired of the constant trips to and from New York. So when Luksin was given the boot by Met Life, he knew he could have just stayed with them for a while.

“I had wonderful parents, but I didn’t want to be a burden,” he said.

Then one day, while still in the city figuring things out, he happened to be sitting in the front row of a movie, where he met a woman. They smoked the same brand of cigarettes, were both Rolling Stones fans and they hit it off immediately. Although she’d been living in Queens with her parents, “She moved into the streets with me,” said Luksin. “Our love was that deep.”

While he did end up moving in with his parents in Minnesota for a while, when his girlfriend found a place in Queens, Luksin moved again to be with her. They lived in that apartment for 12 years, which, said Luksin, was better than being homeless, but just barely.

“That was another form of death,” he said, and before long, he was back on the streets.

And this time, he found them to be a much meaner place. Friends he’d previously relied on for an occasional place to crash had either moved from the city or died. One of the latter was a man who use to let Luksin sleep in the back of his store. This meant many more nights on the subway, and more days wandering familiar places that somehow felt different.

“I would sit on a bench thinking, I’ve been here a thousand times and now I’m here as a homeless person. I don’t belong and yet I do.”

Still, he added he was lucky in that he was never assaulted or harassed on the subway, with most of the other late night riders also just looking for a place to sleep.
He added, “If people had to go through this, like finding out where you’re going to go the bathroom next, they’d be much kinder to the poor. Republicans all think the same way that if you’re poor it’s because you don’t want to work.”

When reminded about the fact that he only chose to work at jobs he loved rather than do one that he didn’t, Luksin answered, “No one ever offered me that. I was well known for being in bookstores.”

One longtime job was at the Metropolitan Bookstore on East 23rd Street, which was frequented by Met Life employees. Another place he worked was on St. Marks Place, where Lower East Side legends Allen Ginsberg, Tuli Kupferberg and Abbie Hoffman were customers. He recalled how one time, Hoffman casually walked out with a book, informing Luksin, “I’m stealing this book. I’ll bring it back tomorrow.” And he did.

Following his second stint on the streets, once again Luksin moved back in with his parents. By then, it was 1993. His parents were getting older and Luksin’s return was also beneficial to them.

“Anyone would tell you I had the coolest parents,” he said. “They were wonderful people. They just wanted me to be happy.”

After they died, Luksin stayed in their apartment, until once again he was evicted. He said he wasn’t working at that time because he was focusing all his time and energy on music. After losing the apartment, he bounced around in the Minnesota shelter system. One shelter, he recalled, was particularly horrific.

“All ex-addicts, ex-cons, anything you can put an ex in front of, and some didn’t even have an ex,” he said.

The better shelters, however, had waiting lists of several years. Eventually, someone suggested to him that he apply for senior housing.

“They said, ‘People die all the time. You’ll get in quicker.’” So he did this and has been in his own apartment ever since. Luksin said has the best apartment in the building, but on the downside, “It’s in the middle of nowhere.”

(It’s safe to say if anyone has a cheap room to rent in Stuyvesant Town or even somewhere in an outer borough, he’s interested.)

After being away for nearly two decades, Luksin once again made a trip to Stuyvesant Town in the summer of 2013. Aside from the obvious differences from when he grew up in the complex, like the presence of dogs and the gleaming white Oval Amenities spaces, Luksin said he couldn’t help but notice the generation gap between newer and more longterm tenants.

“You could feel the animosity between the older and younger people,” he recalled. “It wasn’t directed at me, but I could still feel it.” But, he added, “I would still rather live there than anywhere else in the world.”

He in particular enjoyed living on Avenue C, although this meant as a kid he’d attended some of the neighborhood’s rougher schools like PS 61 and Seward Park High School. His junior high school was JHS 104, where his was the first graduating class.
It was also an opportunity to meet other Stuy Town kids who’d attended PS 40 previously and therefore “they were a different species.” PS 61, in contrast to PS 40, was, as far as Luksin remembers it, “a violent hellhole. There was no such thing as racial tolerance back then.”

Once in high school, he started learning to play guitar. He later joined a band called Cross, which was inspired by the style of the Rolling Stones. (Luksin also went by Ritchie Cross as a stage name.) The band played at places like Max’s Kansas City and The Ocean Club.

Luksin credits his friend, Daniel Silverberg, a kid from the Bronx, who wrote songs for inspiring him to do the same. “It was like osmosis. Hanging around with him, I instinctively knew some things.”

Interestingly while he never made money off his music in New York, somehow someone had gotten a hold of one of his songs in Germany (though Luksin has no recollection of ever recording) and started sending him royalties.
He has no idea who sent the money either and it wasn’t much.

“Twelve dollars here. A hundred dollars. It wasn’t often. There was a name (on the check) but it was in German. Hey, god bless you, Germany.”

These days, Luksin, whose last job was as an elevator operator, which he did for 10 years in Minneapolis, lives on Social Security. His rent is paid partially on Section 8.

When asked if he had any holiday-time reflections, he said, “There’s a saying that next to a circus, nothing leaves town quicker than the Christmas spirit. The principal disease (in this country) is greed. That this country has homeless people is a crime. It’s a shame. We have a minimum of five million people who are homeless when we have enough money in this country where everyone can have an apartment somewhere.”

He added, “Let’s hope this year is a new year and not just the same one over and over again.”

Third Street Music School anniversary celebrated with concert on 120 pianos

Students perform in a building-wide concert at the Third Street Music School Settlement on Saturday. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Students perform in a building-wide concert at the Third Street Music School Settlement on Saturday. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The oldest community arts school in the country celebrated its 120th anniversary this past weekend with what it does best: music. Third Street Music School Settlement, which has actually been on East 11th Street since the 1970s, has been offering various celebratory events for the occasion in the last few weeks. Last Saturday, 120 pianists participated in a 15-minute concert, with kids, parent volunteers and faculty members alike playing Pachelbel’s Canon throughout the building’s hallways and rehearsal rooms.

Piano department chair Joan Forsyth, who came up with the idea for the building-wide performance, said that they ended up having even more people show up on top of those that had registered so it was actually more than 120 students participating, but spots were found for everyone.

“We were running around and pulling keyboards out of closets but everyone had a good time,” she said.

Executive director Valerie Lewis said that there were students as young as six who participated, but among the adults, aside from faculty and parents, were some of the school’s older students. Ray Sauerbrey started taking classical lessons about five years ago and recently came to Third Street for lessons because his previous teacher retired.

“It’s hard to get into a music school without classical training but (Third Street) welcomed me with open arms,” he said. “It isn’t a conservatory, it’s a community-based school and they turn away practically nobody.”

Sauerbrey noted that Third Street made it easy for all students to participate in the holiday festivities.

“They broke the Canon into pieces so it was manageable, like they do with everything else,” he said. “They reach out to your ability.”

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M15 voted city’s most unreliable bus

Three M15 buses line up alongside a bus stop in front of Stuyvesant Town on First Avenue. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Three M15 buses line up alongside a bus stop in front of Stuyvesant Town on First Avenue. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last Thursday, NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives bestowed their annual dubious award of “Schleppie” for the most unreliable bus line in the city to the M15, including its Select Bus Service (SBS) option.

The Schleppie, which is represented by two lumbering elephants on a pedestal, was given to the First and Second Avenue Manhattan line because of its tendency towards bus bunching as well as major gaps in service.

The award, which has been given since 2006, goes to any route with an average “wait assessment” greater than 20 percent. This determination is based on official “wait assessments” for “42 high-volume routes,” chosen by Transit. Wait assessment measures how closely a line sticks to scheduled intervals for arrival. Wait assessment becomes poorer the more buses arrive in bunches or with major gaps in service.

Still, the NYPIRG had some words of encouragement for the route, acknowledging that in 2013, the M15 was the most utilized route out of nearly 200 local routes in the entire city. The local and SBS together move 54,310 riders on an average weekday. The report also said Transportation Alternatives was optimistic things would improve once the city implements SBS routes.

“New Yorkers know from bitter daily experience that bus service is slow and unreliable,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “But there is real hope for dramatic improvement in Mayor de Blasio’s plan to build a rapid network of 20 ‘Select Bus Service/Bus Rapid Transit’ routes.”

The report also went on to say that based on its findings, SBS routes were living up to the expectation of being speedier than locals, while also performing “modestly” better in terms of reliability.

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Stuy Town’s studios hit the market

 

Photo of new studio apartment (Photo from pcvstliving.com)

Photo of new studio apartment (Photo from pcvstliving.com)

By Sabina Mollot

For those looking for a cozy, new apartment facing the East River, the wait is over.

Stuyvesant Town’s new studio apartments on Avenue C have hit the market.

Town & Village reported in September that several new studio apartments were being built in the former management office building and that CWCapital was also adding a few terraces on a total of 11 new apartments.

While all apartments in ST/PCV are technically rent stabilized, those that are renovated aren’t offered at discounted rents and the new studios are no exception. Prices on the new units range in price and are listed as “starting at $3,162” for a 393 square-foot option to starting at $3,420 for a 459 square-foot option. The largest studio is around 500 square feet with the cost starting at $3,273. (It was noted in the listing that these prices include special incentives and offers.) The units feature upgraded platinum finishes, upgraded lighting and most have in-wall (under-window) air conditioning.

Bedroom alcove of studio apartment (photo from pcvstliving.com)

Bedroom alcove of studio apartment (photo from pcvstliving.com)

The in-wall air conditioning has also been popping up at other apartments in Stuy Town in recent months.

The prices and information were listed at Stuy Town’s official website, which also said the apartments would become available on January 1, 2015. Four are located at 315 Avenue C. The other is at 319 Avenue C.

For reference, prices on available one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments in ST/PCV this week range from starting at $3,099 to $3,329.

Letters to the Editor, Dec. 18

You  want to put it where?

Re: “CB6 to vote on sanit. garage alternatives,” T&V, Dec. 18

To the editor:

On December 10, my wife and I attended an open meeting of Community Board 6.  Our chief interest was the report given by BFJ Planning — a private consultation firm — outlining two options for the construction of a sanitation garage in CB6. One plan would place the garage at 25th Street and First Avenue (Brookdale) as an underground facility with other as yet-to-be-determined structures above it. The other plan would place the plant on Avenue C between 15th and 16th Streets — a flat site currently owned by Con Ed and used for employee parking fronting a huge baseball/soccer field used by our community’s children in the spring, summer and fall seasons.

Both options would put the garage in a flood zone. In the case of the Brookdale option, with the garage underground, a flood from a storm of the Sandy type would not merely flood the garage with salt water, it would create a submerged structure — as in swimming pool — with indeterminate consequences for the garage itself, overlying structures and the immediate intersection — not a promising option.

In the second option, the one on Avenue C between 15th and 16th Streets, a flood of the Sandy type would clearly impact on the garage, as it impacted on everything in our area in 2012, but  here is the significant difference: the flood waters would recede. Of course there would be damage, but in this simplified scenario once the salt water recedes the area would dry and repairs would begin.

This raises the obvious question: for whom is the first plan, the Brookdale option, a consideration? We have heard some strong and firm objections to it, and in contrast, reasoned favorable remarks about the option on Avenue C — if Con Ed sells/rents/ transfers the property to the city, which I am sure the city and Con Ed will “work-out.” So… do we have two options? If you think, as I do (with the limited information available to us ordinary not-yet-apathetic-voters) you will conclude that in reality we have been given one real option.

It is the multiple story site on Avenue C between 15th and 16th Streets. To be sure, the decision making process will appear open, above board, well-reasoned, and in the end wholly predetermined. The result will be a two, three, four, five story maintenance/cleaning facility right smack in a flood zone.

So… in light of what scientists have been long-warning about climate change and the certain flooding of lowlands — witness this area in 2012 — can a paid consulting firm and city fathers do no better than propose building a garage in an area that government itself has designated a flood zone? (A suggestion: in view of climate certainties, find an elevated part of the island.)

John M. Giannone, ST

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Hoylman: Santacon not cool enough for NYC

State Senator Brad Hoylman

State Senator Brad Hoylman

By Sabina Mollot
State Senator Brad Hoylman has a message for the organizers of New York’s Santacon event: Go to Jersey. It’s just not cool enough for New York.

He made his view known after this year’s Christmas-themed crawl took place on Saturday, the same day as a march against police violence.

On Monday morning, when asked if he thought the event, which has developed a practically Grinch-like reputation for its past incidents of public urination and just general obnoxiousness, had become more subdued, he said “no.”
He added, “and that’s why I’m suggesting Jersey City next year.”

That said, Hoylman acknowledged that there were fewer troubling incidents this year than last year, when several Santas engaged in a boozy beat-down on Third Avenue and 16th Street. But he believed that rather than being due to any conscious changes in behavior, it’s that the popularity of the event is waning, as well as other factors.

“Last year it was the snow, and this year it was the Millions March. It was really in stark contrast to what Santacon’s about in terms of seriousness,” said Hoylman. “But I’d say also that Santacon has jumped the shark. It isn’t as cool or as fun as it used to be. I’m sure that has an impact too.”

After much back and forth between the event’s shadowy organizers and wary community leaders, this year’s Santacon took place in Manhattan, mostly in the 30s on the West and East Side. There were also a couple of stray participating venues in the East Village and Flatiron.

This was also after the organizers had promised to do more to rein in any rowdy participants by laying out some rules and communicating more with precincts and community boards.
So far, said Hoylman, it’s hard to predict what the impact has been. His own neighborhood, Greenwich Village, though not along the official event route, still saw its share of stumbling Saint Nicks.

“I witnessed some inebriated people in our streets in Santa costumes,” he said. “It’s a difficult thing to explain to your four-year-old.”

He added that he’d also been following the various social media accounts that chronicled the instances of Santas passed out or peeing.

A suggestion he’d made to the group previously was to keep the crawl family-friendly and booze-free. In response, he was told by one of the organization’s representatives that this would be taken under consideration. But Hoylman’s not holding his breath. “It’s largely about binge drinking; it’s a big pub crawl at the end of the day.”

Reveler's from NYC's Santacon

Reveler’s from NYC’s Santacon

Noting how the organizers have retained civil rights lawyer Norm Siegel and that they’ve also formed a 501C3 charity nonprofit, Hoylman said, “They’re trying to establish some sort of control and authority over the event. They claim to contribute to charity. As a 501C3, they’re going to be held to that. I’d like to see how much they in fact raised.”

In response, an event spokesperson, “Santa Claus,” on Monday told Town & Village the total amount wouldn’t be known until the organization’s accounting had been completed. As for just how many people participated this year, the spokesperson said, via email, that’s there’s no way to get an accurate count. An NYPD spokesperson, when asked the same question, said police wouldn’t give out that kind of information. He added that there were no Santa-related arrests that he was aware of.

The Satacon rep also answered “yes” when asked if organizers felt the event had become less raucous as a result of community outreach.

“We are residents of those same communities,” said the rep, “and this year we reached out to many community and civic groups. We continue to develop our dialogue with these groups. We encourage constructive feedback to our email address nycsantacon@gmail.com.”

Police Watch: Man shot on Avenue D, teens arrested in armed mugging

TEENS BUSTED FOR ARMED MUGGING AT ACS
Police arrested four teenagers for robbery last Tuesday at 9:03 p.m. Three of the teens were arrested inside the ACS facility at 462 First Avenue and one was caught at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 28th Street. Police said that one of the teens threatened the victim with a knife while they forcibly took her jacket and shoes and warned her not to go back to the ACS facility or tell the police. The teens were also charged with menacing and weapons possession. One of the teens who was arrested at the ACS facility was also charged with possession of stolen property and was in possession of a stolen cell phone. The names of the teens are being withheld due to their age.

SHOOTING ON AVENUE D
The New York City Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating and identifying a suspect wanted in connection with a shooting in Alphabet City. The 19-year-old victim was involved in an argument with the suspect last Friday at 11:20 p.m. in front of 60 Avenue D. The suspect then pulled out a gun and shot twice, hitting the victim in the chest and neck. EMS transported the victim to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition. Police described the suspect as a Hispanic male who was last seen wearing dark jeans and a dark-hooded sweatshirt. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

CHASE BANK ‘ROBBER’ BUSTED
Police arrested 26-year-old Ricco Slade inside Bellevue Hospital last Tuesday at 5 p.m. for robbery. Police said that Slade went into a Chase Bank on West 86th Street and passed a note to a teller demanding money. The note allegedly said, “I have a gun. Remain calm. Give me 100s, no dye, no GPS. Call the police five minutes after my departure.” The teller agreed and passed Slade $2,000 in cash. A gun was not recovered from the scene.

TEEN ARRESTED IN 7-ELEVEN STICK-UP
Police arrested a teenager inside the ACS facility at 462 First Avenue last Sunday at 5:58 a.m. for a robbery that took place inside the 7-Eleven at 247 Third Avenue. The victim told police that a man walked into the store wearing a black coat, black hooded sweatshirt and jeans. He allegedly said, “Give me all the money in the register” and pulled up his shirt, displaying a gun in his waistband. He was seen fleeing the store, headed south on Third Avenue. Police searched the neighborhood and found the teen at the ACS facility, as well as a gun. The teen was also charged with possession of a weapon and possession of marijuana. His name is being withheld due to his age. Video footage is available at the 7-Eleven and at the ACS facility.

MAN STABBED AT BELLEVUE SHELTER
Police arrested 67-year-old William Mahoney for assault inside the Bellevue Men’s Shelter at 400 East 30th Street last Friday at 4:50 p.m. Mahoney allegedly stabbed the victim several times in his back, chest and shoulder with a large kitchen knife. Mahoney was also charged with possession of a weapon. The victim was transported to Bellevue Hospital and there was no additional information about his condition.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘STEALING’ PACKAGE
Police arrested 39-year-old Jason Colon for burglary last Tuesday at 7:39 p.m. inside 151 West 16th Street. Colon allegedly forcibly entered the residential building and took a US postal service delivered package from the building’s lobby area. Police said that Colon then entered the elevator with the package and opened it. The victim confronted Colon in the basement and he allegedly pushed the victim in an attempt to escape, causing the victim physical pain on his head. Colon was also charged with assault.

MAN ‘STEALS’ FROM COUSIN IN THIRD AVE. BUILDING
Police arrested 52-year-old Pedro Ovalles for grand larceny at 333 Third Avenue last Sunday at 9:52 p.m. The victim told police that he had passed out in his building’s hallway in front of his apartment door at  4 a.m.  that morning. At that time, Ovalles, who is the victim’s cousin, stole his property from his pockets, he said. The building has cameras in the hallway, which captured the incident.

‘POT’ DEALER BUSTED OUTSIDE STUY TOWN
Police arrested 26-year-old Broidy Blake for the sale of marijuana in front of the Associated Supermarket at 409 East 14th Street last Friday at 9:10 p.m. Blake allegedly sold a quantity of marijuana to an undercover officer.

HOME DEPOT EMPLOYEE BUSTED FOR ‘THEFT’
Police arrested 25-year-old Rebecca Santiago for grand larceny in front of 40 West 23rd Street last Wednesday at 8:37 p.m. Police said that Santiago was working as a cashier at the Home Depot and stole $1,604 over a 90 day period.

‘DRUNK’ DRIVER ARRESTED NEAR PETER COOPER
Police arrested 26-year-old Joshua Waite at the corner of Avenue C and East 23rd Street for intoxicated driving last Saturday at 6:26 p.m. Waite was allegedly involved in a car accident at the location, which caused injuries. Police said that Waite had bloodshot, watery eyes, was unsteady on his feet and had a moderate smell of alcohol on his breath. Waite also allegedly did not have a valid driver’s license at the time of the accident.

MAN NABBED FOR ‘THEFTS’ FROM CARS
Police arrested two people in connection with thefts from cars last Saturday at 10:01 p.m. Stephen Rosado, 53, was arrested for weapons possession at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 20th Street and Lynn Nieves, 54, was arrested at the corner of Third Avenue and East 27th Street for petit larceny. Nieves was allegedly helping Rosado break into three different vehicles by trying to open the door handles. Police said that Rosado was in possession of property that was taken from a car in an earlier incident, as well as a metal knuckle knife and a credit card belonging to a victim from a grand larceny auto from 2006. Rosado was also charged with possession of stolen property, possession of burglar’s tools and petit larceny.

MAN ASSAULTED OUTSIDE 15TH ST. BAR
Police arrested 27-year-old Daniel Graf for assault in front of the Headless Horseman at 119 East 15th Street last Saturday at  11:57 p.m.  The victim told police that he was standing outside a bar at the location when Graf approached him for no reason and allegedly punched him in the face, causing swelling, redness and pain. Graf was held by a bar bouncer and cuffed by a community affairs officer who happened to be in the area.

‘DRUNK’ DRIVER ARRESTED AT UNION SQUARE
Police arrested 44-year-old Seny Tavares for intoxicated driving last Sunday at 3:50 a.m. at the corner of Union Square East and East 15th Street. Police said that Tavares was driving a vehicle that two witnesses had seen hit two other cars and leave the scene. The witnesses followed Tavares and alerted police about the incident at the location. Tavares allegedly had bloodshot eyes and an odor of alcohol on his breath. Police said that he refused a breathalyzer test.

FIGHT AT PARK AVE. SOUTH AND EAST 29TH
Police arrested 23-year-old Mohammed Redziovic and 21-year-old Bekim Redza for assault at the corner of Park Avenue South and East 29th Street last Sunday at 4:36 a.m. The victim told police that the two men walked up to him and they allegedly assaulted him unprovoked, punching him in the face, knocking out one of his teeth and causing pain and swelling to his cheek and forehead.

ASSAULT AT SECOND AVENUE
Twenty-two-year-old Richard Duncan was arrested for assault at the corner of Second Avenue and East 27th Street last Sunday at 9:22 p.m. Duncan allegedly punched a man in the face, causing swelling and bruising to his eye. The victim told police that he hadn’t had an argument with Duncan at the time, but did have an argument with him in the same location earlier in the day.

BUSTED FOR SELLING SOCKS WITHOUT A LICENSE
Police arrested 57-year-old Gladys Rivera for violating New York State laws in front of 120 West 28th Street last Friday at 3:50 p.m. Rivera was allegedly displaying and offering for sale more than ten pairs of socks without a DCA license and police said that she couldn’t produce one when asked.

TABLET STOLEN FROM DOCTOR’S OFFICE
Mark Baines, 54, was arrested for burglary last Friday at 6:46 p.m. inside a doctor’s office at 61 West 23rd Street. The victims told police that they walked into the reception area of the office and noticed that a Samsung tablet was missing.
They called the police and Baines was allegedly in possession of the tablet, which police said was inside his hooded sweatshirt’s pocket.
Baines was also charged with possession of burglar’s tools, possession of a weapon and possession of stolen property. Police said that he had a hammer in the waistband of his pants and a BB gun in the bag that he was carrying.

Commission shoots down shell for former Tammany Hall

Rendering of the proposed shell dome, which would have raised the height of the old Tammany Hall building by two stories (Rendering by David Ettinger and Wei Lee, BKSK Architects)

Rendering of the proposed shell dome, which would have raised the height of the old Tammany Hall building by two stories (Rendering by David Ettinger and Wei Lee, BKSK Architects)

By Sabina Mollot

The plan to add a shell-shaped glass dome onto the old Tammany Hall Building in Union Square has been turned down by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. It was during a hearing that took place on Tuesday, November 25, when the Commission declined to approve the rooftop addition for the recently landmarked building. However, the LPC left the door open for the applicant, the architectural firm BKSK, to submit another proposal — and a revised design is already in the works.

Following the hearing, BKSK’s lead partner on the dome project, Todd Poisson, said the firm is hoping to meet with the Commission’s chair informally in January to discuss it and then present it again to the entire Commission.

On the new design, he would only say, “We’re really excited about it.” He noted how the chair had said the building as it stands now “begs for enhancement.”

“Architecturally speaking, it’s a modest building. It’s Neo-Georgian but it’s not the greatest example of Neo-Georgian the city has to offer.”

The dome was intended to create room for around 20,000 square feet of office space. Half of that would have been in the newly created space while the rest would be in the existing structure. Along with the dome, which would have replaced the current slate roof and raised the building’s height by two stories, other proposed changes to the property include removing the theater, restoring the storefront infill, replacing signage and adding windows and a new entrance.

Poisson, who’d given testimony alongside partner Harry Kendall, later acknowledged, in an interview with Town & Village, the “range of opinions” from the Commission on why the proposal hadn’t gotten the green light.

“There was concern about our removal of the existing hipped roof,” he conceded, “and that the proposed replacement was not quite in harmony yet with the rest of the building.” But, he added, “They were intrigued by the proposal’s symbolic content.”

The content he was referring to was inspired by Tammany, the Native American chief of the Lenape. Poisson said the symbol of Tammany’s clan was a turtle, which was from a creation myth of a great turtle rising from the sea and creating land and putting mud on its shell. The idea behind the shell concept at the property, said Poisson, was to “re-brand” Tammany as not just a name synonymous with a corrupt political machine but the chief who helped develop peaceful relations with the European settlers.

“Early colonists use Chief Tammany as a uniquely American symbol and many Tammany societies sprang up,” he said. “The height of irony is that the only Tammany society to make it into the 20th century is Tammany Hall, only to be known for its corruption. We’d like to remind people of the story no one remembers.”

However at the November hearing, not everyone was moved by the historical reference. The few speakers who came to give testimony in support of the proposed alteration were outnumbered by over a dozen in opposition of it, with most saying they thought the contemporary design was inappropriate.

One in the latter group was Jack Taylor of the Union Square Community Coalition. Taylor had been involved in the USCC’s fight for the landmark designation of the building, which was finally approved last year after 29 years of consideration. At the hearing, he argued that the current hipped attic roof of the building, which is opposite Union Square Park’s East Side at East 17th Street, “is so visible that it defines the contours of the building.”

Removing it, he said, “would be to demolish a protected architectural element of the designated structure.” The building, he continued, had been designed to look like the Georgian-inspired architecture of the old Federal Hall on Wall Street. Federal Hall, where George Washington took his oath of office, also had a hipped attic roof.

Others who either gave testimony in person or via written statement against the dome proposal were Council Member Rosie Mendez, the Historic Districts Council, Community Board 5, Gramercy Neighborhood Associates and the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

Rendering of dome design from the side (Rendering by David Ettinger and Wei Lee, BKSK Architects)

Rendering of dome design from the side (Rendering by David Ettinger and Wei Lee, BKSK Architects)

In support of the plan however was Jennifer Falk, executive director of the Union Square Partnership, who gave her testimony in person. She later explained that she did so because the building was very much in need of attention, and the BKSK plan would have added something “bold” to the roof while restoring the rest of the property.

In a written statement, she said, “We applaud BKSK Architects’ bold design, which complements the history of Union Square as a vital and active, contemporary civic space. The removal of the overabundant existing signage, as well as the slate, mansard roof will greatly improve the overall look of this highly-visible property. The streamlined signage plan is simple and elegant, and the addition of a glass-domed roof provides a contemporary element while honoring the building’s Colonial Revival-style.”

Falk added that the USP looks forward to seeing how the design evolves.

Taylor, meanwhile, said he couldn’t help but point out that while the USP supported the new roof, it didn’t lend its support to the landmarking effort.

“For the first time in my memory, which goes back to the days of when the BID and the LDC (now the Union Square Partnership) were first formed in the 1980s, it’s a reaction to a landmark issue, a preservation issue,” he said. “Which,” he added, “the Partnership, as now it’s called, has never spoken anything about. And now there’s a reaction to an issue involving preservation and landmarking and of course it’s on the wrong side.”

In response, a spokesperson for the USP said the Partnership had been in support of the designation. However, since the effort wasn’t facing opposition once the building owner decided to support a designation, the organization didn’t feel it was necessary to send anyone to testify.

Other people who testified in support of the dome included Barry Benepe, co-founder of the Union Square Greenmarket, and Margaret Cotter, president of Liberty Theaters and the building’s owner.

Along with needing the LPC’s blessing to move forward with a plan to create office space, Cotter would also require a special use variance to build the dome. Poisson said this is because the eastern most portion of the property falls into a different zone than the rest of the building, and the eastern zone is residential.

CB6 to vote on sanitation garage alternatives

Site for the proposed sanitation garage (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Site for the proposed sanitation garage (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Community Board 6 will soon be reviewing alternative proposals for the planned sanitation garage at the Brookdale campus from the board’s Land Use and Waterfront Committee. The proposals, which had been put together by a firm hired by CB6, BFJ Planning were presented to the committee last Wednesday and the full board will be voting on them soon.

The presentation at the most recent Land Use and Waterfront Committee meeting didn’t offer any major changes in the proposals that committee members had already heard from BFJ, but the plan was more complete than in previous meetings.

“(The proposals) are more detailed and accurate now because they’re based on feedback from the committee and site visits that we’ve done,” CB6 chair Sandro Sherrod said. “Both plans have positive benefits and both have their downsides but there’s a lot of interest about this in the community and there’s still more work that needs to be done to flesh out either plan.”

The first alternative that BFJ Planning presented includes the construction of a garage on the proposed Brookdale site at East 25th Street and First Avenue, but in a different configuration from that of DSNY’s proposal. BFJ’s plan would include a partially-underground garage at the Brookdale site that would allow for other uses above ground such as affordable housing, senior housing or health-related facilities. The proposal allows for a building with less height and longer ramps so that the garage can accommodate the same number of vehicles without being as imposing.

The second alternative would place the garage at the Con Edison facility at Avenue C near East 14th Street.

Although this plan would involve construction at Murphy’s Brother’s Park, the plan would actually move the open space rather than get rid of it; one of the purported benefits of this alternative proposal is that it would ultimately add 1.7 acres to the park once the project was completed.

Sherrod said that the full board was scheduled to meet this past Wednesday and it was possible the garage might not be discussed then, although the meeting is after T&V’s press time for this week. If the vote on the garage proposals did not occur on Wednesday, Sherrod said they would be discussed at next month’s full board meeting.

PSLL gets new president

Peter Stuyvesant Little League’s new president has written a book on coaching youth baseball. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Peter Stuyvesant Little League’s new president has written a book on coaching youth baseball. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot
The 750 members of the Peter Stuyvesant Little League have a new leader after its president for the past five years, Peter Ramos, recently decided to end his run.

The new president is Jeff Ourvan, a literary agent and nonpracticing attorney who has three sons, two of them who are current league members. Ourvan is also the author of a book called How to Coach Youth Baseball so Every Kid Wins, which was published by Skyhorse in 2012.

This week, Ourvan stopped by T&V’s West 22nd Street office (his own office is just a couple of blocks away) and discussed his goals for the league as well as the significance of Little League to the kids who participate, playing baseball, softball or tee-ball.

“Little League for boys and girls is extraordinary,” said Ourvan. “If you’re eight or nine years old, this is what you live for.”

He added that his oldest son who’s now 15 and had played in Little League, still enjoys baseball and is even hoping to get into college with a sports scholarship.
On getting kids to want to play or just keep playing as they get older, Ourvan said the trick is to get them out of their comfort zones just a little with each practice and game.

“It’s creating an environment where a child can have fun but also challenge themselves,” he said. “Anyone can play.”

He also said parents’ support is crucial. This means not just dropping their kids off at games and practice but also playing catch with them.

Goal-wise, Ourvan said one of his priorities is to get more parents involved in coaching, which, as a 10-year-veteran of the volunteer practice, he is certainly an advocate of.

“It’s amazing to coach your own kid; it’s like a rite of passage in parenthood,” he said. “It’s fun to be on the field again giving support. And coaches have families and we work so we’re flexible.”

Ourvan has been on the board of the PSLL for the past five years, and on his moving up to president, he admits it wasn’t a hotly contested battle.
“Nobody wants the job,” he said. But he was also quick to note that the league is a relatively well-oiled machine with many parents eager to help out whether it’s by being in charge of concessions or handling the league’s insurance. There are also around 200 coaches.

“The league opened my eyes to the community of Manhattan,” said Ourvan, who lives in Murray Hill. “There’s so much of a family community feeling that I don’t think we noticed before we had a family. For parents, (little league) is a social opportunity and it’s fun.”

Another goal for this year is to keep older kids from leaving the league which tends to happen once players hit high school age. At that point, they’ll sometimes prefer to play on travel teams with their schools. However, Ourvan said he hopes they’ll stick around as coaches or umpires.

“A lot of these kids have younger brothers and sisters still in the league,” he said. “So we want to be able to retain some of those kids.”

The third of Ourvan’s goals for the league is to get it more competitive. Two seasons ago, the PSLL won a district title and he’s hoping for a state championship in 2015. He’s confident about player improvement since some of the league members will have an edge they didn’t have before, which is pre-season practice time at the newly tented Playground 11 in Stuyvesant Town. The spacious, heated tent, which has been branded by CWCapital as “The Courts at Stuy Town” opened recently and is currently housing a few winter sports programs.

Before its opening, management had approached the league to see if its members would be interested in a baseball clinic there, and Ourvan said they agreed without hesitation. While there is a fee for participants to cover the cost of pro coaches and some new equipment, the PSLL is not being charged for the space by CW. The clinic began on December 5, with around 160 kids showing up, and it will run through March.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for us,” Ourvan said, explaining that due to the cold winters in New York, it can be difficult for local kids to compete with Little Leaguers in other states like California or Florida who have more time outdoors. “To now have the extra months is going to be a huge help for our league.”

That said, he made sure to add it’s not about winning titles or games, but seeing kids improve and develop confidence. He recalled how last year one of his son’s teams had been struggling all season only to end up coming close to winning a big game.

“They almost made it to the finals and they were crying that they didn’t win,” said Ourvan. “They believed they were going to win. It ultimately was an amazing victory because they did their best and if you do your best you win.”

The 2015 season of Little League begins in April and registration for the Peter Stuyvesant Little League opened on Wednesday. Registration currently costs $175 per player and $150 for additional siblings. After January 10, the cost goes up to $200 per player and $175 for siblings, and can be done online at psll.org.