Last Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio named three new members of the nine-member Rent Guidelines Board, which means the entire board is now made up of individuals he’s picked or has re-appointed.
The new faces include one owner member, Steve Walsh, vice president of development at Forest City Ratner Companies, and two public members, Helen Schaub and K. Sabeel Rahman. Schaub is the New York state director of Policy and Legislation at the healthcare workers union, 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and Rahman is an assistant professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, who has also taught and serves as a teaching fellow at Harvard Law School and Harvard College. He was also a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, where he advised Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen on issues including regulating the sharing economy, homelessness and place-based development.
Of the three new members, Rahman was the only one to answer our questions. (Walsh and Schaub did not get back to us.)
When asked what made him want to take on the role of RBG member, which, as is widely known, means being the target of heckling by both tenants and landlords at raucous public hearings, Rahman indicated he was prepared for that aspect of it.
“It’s obviously a really important issue so people are passionate about it as they should be,” he said. “I absolutely think it’s an important issue and I’m happy to help where I can.”
Ess-a-Bagel’s corner location is going to become home to a Bank of America and another bagel restaurant. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Over the weekend, loyal fans of Ess-a-Bagel were saddened to see a sign on the shop’s door stating that March 23 would be its last day in business at First Avenue and 21st Street. In the meantime, customers were urged to visit the bagel joint’s midtown location. The sign promised that the business would remain in the neighborhood although no hints were given as to where that would be.
As Town & Village first reported in January, Ess-a-Bagel had lost its lease after 40 years, with the owner, David Wilpon, saying the family-run business would be moving close by. Other neighboring businesses located at the same building, the restaurants Grill 21, and Rose restaurant opted to close rather than move. Grill 21’s owner had said he wasn’t given the option of renewing. Grill 21, a Filipino restaurant, is still open as of this week, but Rose, a chicken restaurant, which the landlord said was seven months arrears in its rent, has closed already. Another business in the same building, a shoe repair shop, is still open, and on Monday, the owner said there were no plans to close the business. Both Ess-a-Bagel and Grill 21 had originally expected to close at the end of January but had their leases temporarily extended.
In January, Wilpon said Ess-a-Bagel’s move was due to the owner telling him, after negotiations, that he was taking too long to sign on the dotted line. Wilpon explained the delay as being due to the death of his aunt, Florence Wilpon, who’d founded the business. However, according to a rep for the landlord, Wilpon had simply refused to budge when his rent was to be upped to “market rate.” The spokesperson for the landlord, an LLC owned by L&M Development head Ron Moelis and others, said she did not have information as to what the new market rate rent was. Meanwhile, Ess-a-Bagel was to be replaced with a Bank of America and another bagel joint called Tal Bagels.
As for Ess-a-Bagel’s future home, not long after T&V’s story, which was picked up by a number of other news outlets, ran, Ess-a-Bagel tweeted that customers shouldn’t worry as it was just moving down the block.
However, last week, when Town & Village called Wilpon to ask if the new location was official yet, he answered that there were a couple of possibilities, but declined to elaborate, citing confidentiality agreements. This Monday, an employee at the shop said even he didn’t know where the business was moving or when it would reopen.
Previously, after hearing a rumor that the bagel shop was headed for a vacant space on First Avenue last inhabited by The Frenchmen, we asked that building’s owner if this was the case. However, Glenn Koniuk, the son of The Frenchmen’s owner Bill Koniuk who owns the First Avenue building, denied this. He said his place was too small for a bagel restaurant and also said he didn’t want a tenant who had a food operation. The younger Koniuk now runs The Frenchmen, an air conditioner and electronics business, out of a warehouse in Brooklyn.
The next door over, another vacant space, formerly occupied by the French Cleaner dry cleaning shop, also apparently isn’t a future bagel restaurant.
The owner of the building, whose attempting to sell the place, said on Monday that no one from Ess-a-Bagel had contacted him, and the ground floor is still very much available.
T&V also called the owner of another nearby First Avenue building with a vacant storefront, last occupied by the Beehives & Buzzcuts kiddie salon. The owner, Rafael Sassouni, wasn’t around, but an employee said that space had not yet been rented. While there are a number of construction related permits tacked onto the storefront, which is covered by a wooden barrier, the employee guessed any work being done inside was just for the owner’s benefit.
UPDATE: Cooper Laundromat, at 363 First Avenue, between 21st and 22nd Streets, is another space that could potentially become a bagel shop. The laundromat is closing and its last day of business will be Friday, March 20, one of the owners said. He also said Ess-a-Bagel has expressed interest in moving in. Over the phone on Thursday, the part-owner said the laundromat was not being forced out by the landlord, who he called “a decent guy,” but there were other issues, and the decision to close is “a done thing.”
Word began to spread about the closure on Wednesday on the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association Facebook page.
Meanwhile, a local real estate broker commented that he thought a move might be a blessing in disguise for Ess-a-Bagel. Despite being a loyal fan, he explained that on weekend mornings, lines out of the corner shop snake out the door with customers sometimes waiting 20-25 minutes to get inside. “They need a new space — they’ve outgrown it,” he said.
Re: “Feeling helpless over neighbor’s noise,” T&V letter, Feb. 26
Mr. Weiner writes, “I didn’t call up security because I heard from other people they don’t do much or were told not to.” Since he has lived here for over 20 years, he should have known to seek help from our wonderful Public Safety department. These hard-working men and women are doing their best to keep everyone happy, not an easy task. We should support them and respect their efforts by trusting that they will do everything that can to keep this place safe and peaceful. They are responsible for enforcing management’s rules for maintaining a high quality of life here in our community, including management’s noise policy.
If your neighbors are not as considerate as they should be, don’t hesitate to call upon Public Safety to come to the rescue. They are here to protect us, not only from thieves, muggers and thugs, but also from each other. They have and they will. Call them.
Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez; Chris Collins, executive director of Solar One; Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Council Member Dan Garodnick at Solar One (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney gathered with local politicians and community residents at Solar One last Friday to encourage participation at upcoming workshops that will help design the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, a plan that was designed in response to the damage wrought on Lower Manhattan as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
“Sandy demonstrated that the time for complacency is over,” Maloney said on Friday. “Sea levels are rising. That suggests that we’re going to be seeing a lot more flooding, but now we have an opportunity to seize the moment and remake Manhattan’s East River coastline from Montgomery to 23rd Street into something that protects us from future storm surges.”
President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy rebuilding task force created the Rebuild by Design initiative in August 2013 and held a design competition for coastal resiliency projects. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development selected the BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) Team and their project that will protect the Manhattan waterfront from West 57th Street, around the tip of Manhattan up to East 42nd Street. The first phase of the project will focus on the area in Manhattan from Montgomery Street to East 23rd Street.
HUD awarded $335 million in federal funds in June, 2014 for that specific phase of the project, to create a protective system for that area of Manhattan. The project is meant to shield the area from flooding as well as provide more access to the waterfront, more open space and other environmental benefits for the community.
CYCLIST WANTED FOR ASSAULT
The New York City Police Department is asking the public for assistance in identifying and locating a cyclist who hit a man in the face with a bike lock.
On Monday, March 9 at 5:40 p.m. at the corner of West 24th Street and 5th Avenue, a 54-year-old man was inside of his vehicle when he was cut off by a bicyclist. They got into an argument and the bike rider struck the victim’s car, then used a bike lock to hit him in the right cheek and ear. The suspect fled eastbound on 23rd Street on a blue bicycle carrying a black messenger bag. The victim sustained injuries requiring stitches, which he received at Staten Island University North Hospital. The suspect is described as a Hispanic man who is 5’5”, 160 lbs. and was last seen wearing a black jacket, dark belt, black messenger bag, light color shorts, black stockings and black shoes.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting TIP577 and their tips to 274637(CRIMES).
FOUR CAUGHT ‘TRESPASSING’ IN STUY TOWN
Police arrested four people for trespassing in Stuyvesant Town at 281 Avenue C last Thursday at 11:08 p.m. Nineteen-year-old Evan Lagache, 18-year-old Lawrence Rosenblatt, 21-year-old Joel Jones and 18-year-old Marlo Butler were allegedly waiting inside the vestibule of the building and once a tenant left and held the door open, the four strode into the building without permission. Police said they used the elevator and proceeded to the 10th floor, then walked up to the 12th floor rooftop landing where they were stopped by plainclothes officers, who had seen them enter the building. Rosenblatt was also charged with possession of marijuana.
Stuy Town security confirmed that the four people were not residents.
ARREST FOR ALMOND BAG ‘THEFT,’ SUSPECT’S LAWYER SAYS IT’S A ‘MISUNDERSTANDING’
Police arrested two people for grand larceny outside Almond at 12 East 22nd Street last Wednesday at 10:45 p.m. Police said that Michael Coscia, 52, and Shahla Karimi, 33, were working together in the theft of a purse from the restaurant. Coscia and Karimi were allegedly in possession of the purse, which contained credit cards, a laptop and a wallet and were seen on video surveillance picking the purse up from the floor and walking away.
The Daily News reported last Saturday that Coscia is a marketing consultant who has worked with a number of Democratic politicians including President Obama as well as Bill and Hillary Clinton, and his lawyer, Louis Gelormino, told the paper that the incident was actually a misunderstanding.
According to Gelormino, Coscia was dining at Almond with Karimi, a celebrity jewelry designer. Gelormino said that Coscia picked up the $3,100 Celine bag from the bar while Karimi was in the restroom because he thought it was hers and took the bag when they moved to a table. The bag sat by their table for almost two hours, Gelormino said, before police approached them and accused them of stealing it.
WOMAN ARRESTED FOR ‘PROSTITUTION’ ON EAST 24TH STREET
Police arrested 35-year-old Alissa Trigillo for prostitution in front of 234 East 24th Street last Saturday at 9:05 p.m. Police said that Trigillo agreed to give an undercover officer anal sex in exchange for $300.
MASSEUSES NABBED FOR ‘PROSTITUTION’
Police arrested two women for prostitution inside Heaven Spa at 15 West 17th Street last Friday at 7:40 p.m. Wei Min Piao, 43, and Min Hua Kang, 31, gave massages to undercover officers and allegedly agreed to give them happy endings for $40.
ARRESTS MADE FOR DRUG DEAL ON E. 28TH
Police arrested two people involved in a drug deal in front of 300 East 28th Street last Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Paula Boucher, 33, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and Richard Corbett, 43, was charged with sale of a controlled substance. Police said that Corbett sold a quantity of a narcotic substance to Boucher. Corbett was allegedly in possession of decks of heroin.
MAN ARRESTED FOR 25 GRAMS OF ‘POT’
Police arrested 44-year-old Frederick Felix for possession of marijuana at West 20th Street and Sixth Avenue last Thursday at 7 p.m. Felix allegedly passed through a steady red light and upon vehicle stop, police said that he showed a suspended license. When police searched his vehicle, they found he was allegedly in possession of more than 25 grams of marijuana. He was also charged with two unclassified traffic infractions.
PHONE ‘THEFT’ AT EDEN FARM
Police arrested 68-year-old Ronald Bastian in front of Eden Farm at 252 Third Avenue for petit larceny last Monday at 1 p.m. The victim told police that he left his phone on the store counter and Bastian allegedly took it. Police said that the victim has the incident on surveillance cameras. Bastian was also charged with possession of stolen property.
‘DRUNK’ DRIVER ARRESTED ON EAST 23RD
Forty-year-old Carlos Freire-Cabrera was arrested for intoxicated driving in front of 122 East 23rd Street last Tuesday at 2:04 a.m. Freire-Cabrera was driving east on East 23rd Street between Park Avenue South and Lexington Avenue and allegedly had no headlights on while driving into the oncoming traffic lane on East 23rd Street. Police pulled him over and said that he was slurring his words, there was a smell of alcohol on his breath and he had bloodshot eyes. He allegedly told police that he had a few drinks that night. Police said that he blew a .127 on a Breathalyzer at 1:43 a.m. and blew a .139 at 2:03 a.m.
MAN ARRESTED FOR PARAGON ‘THEFT’
Police arrested 27-year-old Colin Hough for grand larceny inside 867 Broadway last Wednesday at 2:52 p.m. Hough allegedly took over $1,300 worth of merchandise from a rack and tried to leave the store without paying.
MAN BUSTED FOR ‘ASSAULT’ ON EAST 23RD
Eighteen-year-old Jaquan Jenkins was arrested for assault in front of 336 East 23rd Street last Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. Jenkins allegedly punched the victim in the face, causing swelling and a complaint of pain to the left cheek.
MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘THEFTS’
Police arrested Jeffrey Yeboah, 28, for burglary in front of 115 West 25th Street last Wednesday at 8:31 p.m. Police said that Yeboah entered and remained unlawfully inside Décor NYC at 159 West 25th Street and snatched property belonging to two other people. Yeboah was also charged with possession of stolen property and police said that he is a wanted suspect in two other cases in the 13th Precinct for similar incidents.
ASSAULT ON EAST 23RD STREET
Police arrested 48-year-old Louis Lasalle for assault in front of 230 East 23rd Street last Thursday at 12:10 a.m. Lasalle allegedly punched the victim in the face, causing pain and bruising.
WOMAN BUSTED FOR ‘POT’ ON EAST 14TH
Fifty-one-year-old Paula Pell was arrested for possession of marijuana in front of 133 East 14th Street last Friday at 6:02 p.m. While driving her car, she was stopped for disobeying a sign north on Third Avenue going west on East 14th Street. Police smelled marijuana when approaching the vehicle and she allegedly admitted that she’d been smoking it. Police said that she handed marijuana to them that she had in her console and pocketbook.
‘DRUNK’ DRIVER BUSTED ON WEST 14TH
Police arrested 25-year-old Alexander Brown in front of 133 West 14th Street for intoxicated driving last Saturday at 1:36 a.m. Police said that he was making numerous lane changes without signaling, stopping and accelerating very fast. When he was stopped, he allegedly had the smell of alcohol on his breath and blew a .093 at the scene.
ARREST FOR ‘COUNTERFEIT’ BAGS ON 27TH
Kyong Park, 52, was arrested for forgery in front of 122 West 27th Street last Thursday at 1 p.m. Park was allegedly trying to sell over 300 handbags that bore a trademark counterfeit logo for Longchamp. An authorized representative for Longchamp confirmed that the handbags were counterfeit.
Council Member Dan Garodnick, pictured with Stuyvesant Town tenants at a press conference last week (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Rent stabilized tenants often feel they’re at the mercy of landlords who would, if given the opportunity, replace them with someone paying market rate. Contributing to that fear in some cases that have recently attracted some media attention are specialists who are hired by owners and have used what local elected officials are calling unscrupulous tactics to get tenants to leave, with no regulations on their practices.
In an attempt to protect tenants from aggressive buy-out offers or other efforts aimed at intimidation, Councilmember Dan Garodnick introduced a bill at the end of February that would impose certain restrictions on these so-called “tenant relocation specialists.”
“Tenants need to be able to feel safe and secure in their homes and that is impossible if they’re being pursued relentlessly by someone whose job is to get them out,” Garodnick said. “They’ve used harassment, false offers and intimidation to remove tenants who are usually rent stabilized so that owners can financially benefit.”
The bill outlines a number of rules that these specialists would have to follow, including licensing and taking an exam to make sure they are knowledgeable about the rules and laws.
A rendering shows Third Street Music School after a two-year project that will include work to make the building’s facade more attractive, as well as making the building more modern inside with a state-of-the-art auditorium and a recording studio.
By Sabina Mollot
The Third Street Music School Settlement, which has been in the midst of a busy year celebrating its 120th anniversary, now has another thing to celebrate — a $5.3 million renovation. The project, which is scheduled to begin this summer, will include a state-of-the-art auditorium, a newly built ensemble practice and performance space and an adjoining recording studio.
The plan, which is already 80 percent funded, will also include an expansion to the school’s lobby and an additional staircase which will also serve to make the front of the building, currently marred by fire escapes, more attractive with some glass paneling, allowing those on the street a view inside. There will also be a new elevator installed.
“We’ve reached a point where we needed more space,” said Valerie Lewis, the school’s executive director, during a recent conversation at her office. “The demand for our programs continues to grow.”
At this time, there are close to 4,000 students at Third Street, with 1,700 of them enrolled in onsite programs. The rest learn at offsite locations around the city through partnerships with 25 other schools.
However, the school has needed upgrades at its building, located on East 11th Street between Second and Third Avenues, for a while. Originally part of the St. Mark’s Hospital complex, where nurses were housed, the building has two dates on its cornerstone, 1890 and 1926. Its current elevator is the original one, and is a “traction” elevator, meaning it uses steel rope, and is considered a freight elevator that can carry up to 3,000 lbs. The plan to renovate came out of a number of needs voiced by students and their families, in particular the recording studio, which will be located in the building’s sub-basement. Lewis noted how it’s become increasingly common for conservatories and competitive high schools – and even competitive middle and elementary schools — to require students to provide a high quality recording as part of an audition process. In addition to being able to provide that service onsite, Lewis noted that the studio will also be helpful in teaching students about subjects like sound engineering and re-mastering. She’s also mulling the possibility of putting out a Third Street album of music.
A scene was filmed at the historic club from March 9-11. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
“Gotham,” the Fox network crime television drama based on some of DC Comics’ Batman characters, looked to Gramercy Park for one of its recent filming locations this week. The Players club was closed from March 9 to 11 so the show could film inside away from the public’s prying eyes. Brian Jones, director of operations at The Players, said that the show even had a privacy clause in its contract to prevent any outside photography.
While The Players is no stranger to film shoots, Jones said that the club has been more involved with Hollywood lately, although he noted that it’s going to take a breather once “Gotham” wraps up.
“I love my neighbors and don’t want to upset them, so we don’t do back-to-back shoots because (the film crews) take up the entire block,” Jones said.
Trailers for the show lined the streets surrounding the club as well, including on Park Avenue South and Irving Place. Jones noted that the club frequently gets calls about filming for television and movies, and productions that have filmed there in the past include “Boardwalk Empire,” for a scene in Sardi’s restaurant (actually The Players club), and “The Blacklist.”
Jones said that the club has become more involved in photography shoots as well, with O Magazine and Allure having shoots there recently. He noted that this will probably continue while the club’s on hiatus from being a film set because set up for magazines is much less involved and is less disruptive to the community.
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum presents the tour, “Irish Outsiders,” in the restored home of an Irish-Catholic immigrant family. (Photo courtesy of Tenement Museum)
By Sabina Mollot
This year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on Tuesday, March 17, and for those looking for a way to celebrate the day when everyone’s Irish (that doesn’t necessarily involve pounding down pints of Guinness), Town & Village has you covered. Read on for information on some local events celebrating Irish culture and/or St. Patrick on Tuesday and throughout the week.
On Friday, March 13 from 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., the Merchant’s House Museum, 29 East 4th Street, presents the “Spirit of the Irish Candlelight Ghost Tour.” On this candlelit tour, guests will learn the history of the house where eight people died, and hear true tales of inexplicable occurrences from those who actually experienced them. Many of the most peculiar occurrences have been related to the Tredwells’ Irish servants, and so this special tour will include the 4th floor servants’ quarters. The New York Times has called the Merchant’s House “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House.” Admission is $25, $15 for museum members. For more information, call (212) 777-1089 or visit merchantshouse.org.
Concertina player Noel Hill will perform on Friday as part of NYU’s “Blarney Star Concert Series.”
On Friday, March 13 at 8 p.m., New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House presents “The Blarney Star Concert Series” with Noel Hill and Martin O’Connell. Concertina player Noel Hill, of County Clare, is known for revolutionizing the sound of the little hexagonal-ended squeezebox, bringing to it a repertoire and chordal accompaniment style borrowed from the uilleann piping tradition. For this show, he’ll perform with Martin O’Connell, a younger Kerry native who’ll play the two-row button box accordion.
Free admission to NYU students and faculty with a valid ID card. For non-members, a $15 donation at the door for the Blarney Star Concert Series is requested. Tickets are available at the door only; no reservations will be accepted. For more information, call (212) 998-3950.
On Saturday, March 14 at 1 p.m. and Sunday, March 15 at noon, Big Onion Tours presents a guided walk through the former “Little Ireland” district of the Lower East Side, between City Hall and Houston Street. This family friendly tour will explain why St. Patrick’s Day is more popular here than in Ireland. Stops could include: the founding site of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Al Smith’s home, the Five Points, the first Catholic church in the city, and sites associated with Tammany Hall, Thomas Addis Emmet, and many others. The group will meet directly in front of St. Paul’s Chapel, Broadway between Fulton and Vesey Streets. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for full-time students with ID and seniors 65 and up. Paying in advance is suggested at www.bigonion.com.
On Sunday, March 15 at 12:30 p.m., the Merchant’s House Museum presents the “St. Patrick’s Day Celebration: A Tribute to the Tredwells’ Irish Servants.” This tour will invite participants to climb the house’s narrow staircase to the newly restored fourth-floor servants’ quarters and see where the Tredwells’ four Irish servants lived and did some of their work. The tour will explain why it would have been impossible to run a home like the Merchant’s House without them.
Admission is $10, $5 students and seniors, free for children under 12. Reservations not required. For more information, call (212) 777-1089 or visit merchantshouse.org.
On Sunday, March 15 at 3 p.m., the Church of the Epiphany at East 22nd Street and Second Avenue presents a free concert with Epiphany’s Adult Choir and guest instrumentalists. The program will include Irish and St. Patrick’s Day related hymns from the chorus with more Irish and Irish-inspired music in a variety of genres from guest professional singers and instrumentalists, including drummers, flutists and harp players.
Stuyvesant Town fitness instructor Tim Haft will present two holiday themed classes (followed by happy hour drinking at Otto’s Shrunken Head for those looking to balance holiday debauchery with something healthy).
Haft will offer his weekly Punk Rope class on Monday, March 16 at 7 p.m. the 14th Street Y, 344 East 14th Street. Admission is $12. His new MoshFit class, offered weekly at Otto’s Shrunken Head, 538 East 14th Street, will take place on Tuesday, March 17 at 6:15-7 p.m. Admission is pay-what-you-wish with a suggested amount of $12. Both classes will be followed by happy hour at Otto’s with drafts and well drinks priced at $4 (Monday from 8:30-11 p.m., Tuesday until 8 p.m.) For more information, visit punkrope.com/mosh-fit.
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, 103 Orchard Street, is offering a tour of the restored home of the Moore family, Irish-Catholic immigrants who started a new life in Kleindeutschland (now the East Village). The tour reveals how this family dealt with being “outsiders” at 97 Orchard, and how the Irish more broadly created a strong sense of American Irish identity through the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This “Irish Outsiders” tour, which is recommended for ages 12 and up, is actually offered daily a few times a day. On Tuesday, March 17, it’s given at 12:15, 3:15, 3:45, 4:15 and 4:45 p.m. For schedules on other days throughout the week, call (877) 975-3786 or visit www.tenement.org. Booking tours online is recommended since some tours sell out. Admission is $25 for adults and $20 for students and seniors.
Irish Repertory Theatre is currently running the show “Da,” at the theater’s temporary space at DR2 Theatre. (Photo by Carol Rosegg)
Irish Repertory Theatre, which stages works by Irish and Irish-American playwrights, is currently running the show “Da,” at the theater’s temporary space at DR2 Theatre, 101 E. 15th St., through April 5. “Da” runs eight times each week, including on St. Patrick’s Day, with Tuesday performances at 7 p.m.
In this play by Hugh Leonard, a man named Charlie returns to his childhood home in Dublin in 1968 after his father’s funeral only to find the stubborn patriarch’s ghost unwilling to leave the house. Immediately, Charlie and his father (his “da”) start bickering as they did in life. Town & Village theater critic Peter Von Mayrhauser recently called the banter “wildly funny,” noting that “playwright Leonard has a great ear for Irish blarney.” Director is Charlotte Moore. Tickets are $70 and can be bought online at irishrep.org or by calling (212) 727-2737.
Nude literary salon “Naked Girls Reading” will present works by Irish authors. (Photo by Angela McConnell)
Horse Trade Theater Group presents “Naked Girls Reading: The Emerald Isle,” on Wednesday, March 18 at from 8-10 p.m. at Under St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Pl. “Naked Girls Reading” is a monthly literary salon featuring readings by local burlesque performers and others who strip down to nothing.
This month, readers will share literature, history, musings and more by and about Ireland’s greatest authors: classics by Oscar Wilde and James Joyce; selections from contemporary authors; traditional folk tales and stories; and musings on the demon Drink by authors from Ireland and beyond.
Host Nasty Canasta will be joined by Evelyn Vinyl, Nina La Voix and Stormy Leather for this in-the-buff celebration, which they’ve promised will not involve green beer or foam leprechaun hats. Cover is $25 (two for $40). For tickets, visit www.horsetrade.info/under-st-marks.
Teachers pick out books for their schools on March 7 after a book drive was conducted at Brotherhood Synagogue and other locations. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Brotherhood Synagogue, which regularly organizes its congregants in various charitable efforts, has most recently concluded a book drive with Project Cicero, an annual non-profit project that provides reading material to under-resourced public schools.
Lynn Abraham, a member of Brotherhood Synagogue and a board member for Project Cicero, said that as of last week, the synagogue managed to collect 12 boxes of books throughout the past month. By the end of the donation period last Sunday, the total was 17 boxes.
“That’s extraordinary for a synagogue,” she said.
The donation efforts for Project Cicero at the synagogue have been spearheaded by the synagogue’s Social Action Committee member Linda Yee Kaleko, who said that Brotherhood has been involved with the organization for about six years.
“My daughter happened to really love reading and books when she was in high school,” Kaleko said. “Sometimes in the committee we try to come up with new projects and this came up when we were looking for something so it worked out very well.”
Abraham said that since Project Cicero has started in 2001, it has been able to put about three million books back into the public school system.
Re: Recent letters on noise from neighboring apartments due to a lack of carpeting
No carpet = hell, pure hell!
To annoy, torture, harass and bully me, my upstairs neighbors have been:
Slamming/throwing heavy furniture against the floors during their wild parties around 1 a.m. or 3 a.m.
Dragging/moving furniture against wooden floors day and night constantly.
Making loud footsteps with shoes with high heels day and night and doing it deliberately and enjoying it, every step.
Dropping, striking, rolling metals and heavy objects against wooden floors constantly.
Tap dancing against the wooden floors early in days and late nights.
Jogging back and forth inside the apartment regardless of the time of the day and night.
Every day after work, I must spend countless hours staying in McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts or in my church praying and staying in my friends’ houses — just to avoid hearing those unbearable nuisances from my upstairs neighbors.
My doctor had to increase the dosage of my high blood pressure pill. I had to seek professional help/counseling to deal with my anger management because my landlord, security, my local politicians and my neighbors cannot help me and I feel I am about to snap.
I can hardly afford to pay my rent but now I have to pay legal fees to my lawyer to help me.
Whatever happened to the golden rule: “Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you” and the Christian rule, “Love thy neighbors as you love yourself”? It is hard for me to believe — being a tenant in Stuyvesant Town — I am having nightmares and I have to fight for myself to have a decent, good quality of life.
STUY TOWN ‘BURGLAR’ BUSTED
Police arrested 35-year-old Megan Burke for burglary and assault inside 287 Avenue C last Monday at 7:02 p.m. Police said that one of the victims found Burke inside the other victim’s apartment after realizing that Burke had taken her keys from her purse. Burke was allegedly in possession of the victim’s jewelry and when the women confronted her, police said that Burke punched one of the victims in the stomach and slapped her in the face.
VENDOR NABBED FOR FAKE CHANEL CELL PHONE CASES
Police arrested 26-year-old Lile Ou for forgery in front of 822 Sixth Avenue last Wednesday at 1:50 p.m. Police said that Ou was trying to sell eight cell phone cases that bore a trademark counterfeit logo for Chanel.
TEEN ARRESTED FOR ‘STOLEN’ PHONE
A 16-year-old was arrested in front of 10 Union Square West last Wednesday at 3:10 p.m. for possession of stolen property. The teen, whose name is being withheld by Town & Village, was allegedly in possession of a stolen phone and police said that he was attempting to sell it on the street for $500.
TEENS BUSTED FOR ‘FAKE’ CASH
Police arrested two 19-year-olds for forgery in front of a Starbucks at 10 Union Square East last Wednesday at 3:10 p.m. Jermaine Rivera and Marcell Sullivan were allegedly counting counterfeit money inside Starbucks before leaving to buy property from a third person with the counterfeit cash. When they were searched, they were allegedly in possession of stolen property.
MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘DINE-N-DITCH’ AT IHOP
Police arrested Luis Perez, 26, inside the IHOP at 235 East 14th Street for theft last Wednesday at 11:53 p.m. Perez allegedly ate a meal inside the restaurant then refused to pay. Police said that the cost of the meal was $17.18.
MAN BUSTED FOR LAPTOP ‘THEFT’
Police arrested 29-year-old Jose Tenen for possession of stolen property inside the 13th Precinct last Thursday at 10:50 a.m. Police said that Tenen was in possession of an Apple laptop that was stolen on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 from inside 12 West 17th Street.
MEN NABBED FOR CELL PHONE ‘THEFTS’
Police arrested 28-year-old Andres Ocampo for grand larceny in front of 592 Sixth Avenue last Thursday at 11 a.m. Police said that Ocampo stole three cell phones, including a Samsung Note 3, from the location and was working with Willis Vazquez, who was also arrested. The two men allegedly left the location together. The Samsung phone was valued at $750 and the other two were valued at $1,240 together.
MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘SNATCHING’ BAG
Police arrested 53-year-old Christopher Wallace for petit larceny inside 14 East 28th Street last Thursday at 6:03 p.m. Police said that Wallace removed a bag belonging to another tenant from the back of a chair in the common room. Wallace allegedly didn’t return the bag to security when asked and when he was being place under arrest, police said that he flailed his arms, pushed officers and attempted to keep his arms tucked into his body to prevent being handcuffed. Wallace was also charged with resisting arrest.
MAN ARRESTED FOR STARBUCKS BAG ‘THEFT’
Police arrested 24-year-old Leo Edelman for allegedly swiping a customer’s bag at the Starbucks at 41 Union Square West on February 17. Edelman was arrested for burglar’s tools and petit larceny last Friday at 1:15 a.m. inside the 13th Precinct.
‘PERV’ NABBED AT UNION SQUARE
Police arrested 56-year-old George Fantaquisakis for sexual abuse inside the Union Square subway station last Friday at 9:20 a.m. Fantaquisakis allegedly grabbed a woman’s buttocks while standing behind her on a downtown 5 train.
MAN BUSTED FOR ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT ‘THEFT’
Thirty-year-old Jahad Mitchell was arrested last Friday at 12:39 p.m. for thefts that occurred inside Midtown Electric Supply at 157 West 18th Street. Mitchell allegedly entered the store and told employees that he worked for Team Electric at 20 West 36th Street and needed electrical supplies. Police said that Team Electric later told the store that those purchases were not authorized and Mitchell was not authorized to make purchases on their behalf.
The next day, Mitchell allegedly entered the store again and billed Team Electric. An employee at the store then realized that Mitchell was the same person who had acquired property the previous day under false pretenses. Police said that Mitchell attempted to acquire electrical equipment from the store under the same pretense on another day but when he was confronted by staff, he fled in a van registered to 1 Arlington Electric at 307 West 38th Street. The officer then went to the address listed on the van where Mitchell was found and arrested.
ARREST FOR FILING FALSE REPORT
Fifty-year-old Lawrence Dear was arrested for perjury and filing a false report inside the Union Square subway station last Saturday at 5:28 p.m. Dear allegedly told police that two men bumped into him from behind and stole his luggage valued at $10,340. Upon further investigation, police said that he wrote in a written statement that he lost the luggage on the street. He allegedly told police, “I didn’t walk into the subway station, I didn’t get bumped. I checked the ‘stolen’ box because I thought it looked stupid.”
BATHROOM FIGHT AT GRILL 21
Police arrested two people involved in a fight over the bathroom at 346 East 21st Street, home to Grill 21 restaurant, last Sunday at 2:46 p.m. A teenager and 37-year-old Elizabeth Brandon allegedly got into an argument over who was going to be using the bathroom. Brandon allegedly threw a lock at the teen, which hit his leg. Police said that the teen put Brandon into a headlock, causing a bruise to her forehead and redness to her neck.
Council Member Dan Garodnick discusses new legislation inspired by complaints from Stuyvesant Town residents about lack of notice for inspections and non-emergency work in their apartments. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
For tenants in Stuyvesant Town, getting a notice that one’s apartment is going to be inspected by management or partially torn up by a maintenance crew as part a neighboring apartment’s renovation is a bit like being summoned for jury duty. A disruptive pain, but also an unavoidable fact of life if you want to be law-abiding.
However, this week, Council Member Dan Garodnick said he plans to introduce legislation that would give tenants on the receiving end of such notices more lead time, and more information as to the nature of the work. While owners are allowed by law to inspect apartments or gain access for work the owner deems necessary, there isn’t always much in the way of notice for impacted tenants. On Monday, Garodnick, while surrounded by tenants on First Avenue, said his bill would change this.
Currently, the law says an owner must give a tenant 24 hours notice prior to when an inspection is conducted. The bill, if passed, would change that to 72 hours. It would also increase the amount of notice that must be given for non-emergency work, currently one week, to two weeks. Additionally, tenants would have to be notified of the scheduled visits by notices delivered by hand as well as by email, if the tenant has provided an email address. The notices would also have to be bi-lingual and include the reason for the requested entry and how much time would be required in an apartment. The notice would also have to include information about the legislation.
“We want to reduce the number of situations where tenants are surprised by an inspection or repair work,” Garodnick said, “and we want to make sure that proper notice is given.” He also noted that some tenants have been upset about not having the opportunity to be present during the appointments.
CWCapital has conducted many inspections of ST/PCV apartments in the past couple of years with workers looking at things like appliance types and checking for room dividers, which has led some residents to wonder if those in unrenovated units, paying lower rents, were being targeted. Garodnick said he’s heard these concerns, but has not seen any evidence that would back up such claims.
He also said he hadn’t heard of any recent wave of inspections, although inspections are still an ongoing process.
Also on hand during Monday’s announcement was Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg, who called the current inspection process a “pervasive abuse” of tenants, citing an instance when a resident, after getting out of the shower, was caught by surprise by the arrival of maintenance workers and another time when a tenant’s teenage daughter, home alone, was walked in on. She said she’d also heard of tenants leaving town, “only to come back to find the apartment in shambles.”
Garodnick said the bill would be introduced on Wednesday and that he was drumming up support for it within the Council.
He clearly already has some support among neighbors though.
One tenant at the announcement, Peggy Smith, told Town & Village she’d twice been notified that her apartment was being inspected. The first time she was told it was for illegal room dividers.
“I got very little notice,” she said, but she also recalled being able to reschedule at a date that was more convenient than the date management had originally suggested. But then, after the inspection was conducted, Smith was informed she’d be inspected again.
Fortunately for her, when she inquired as to the reason, she learned the notice of a return visit was actually a mistake.
But, Smith said, “It was very stressful, I have to say, because you don’t know what in particular they’re looking for.”
Another resident, a retiree who didn’t want her name mentioned, said just this week she was visited by someone claiming to need access to her apartment for an inspection. The inspector came before 8 a.m. when she wasn’t yet fully dressed, so the woman said she refused him entry, explaining that the timing wasn’t convenient. In response, she said he “was very polite” and left. Two days later, she received a notice in the mail that her apartment was to be inspected on Monday, March 16 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
A spokesperson for CWCapital did not respond to a request for comment.
Councilmember Rose Mendez (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Rory Lancman announced legislation last Thursday to crack down on tenant harassment from illegal hotel conversions.
“(Short-term renters) are coming in at all hours, bringing people they meet into the apartment and it’s then impacting the quality of life, in that there are strangers in their building,” Mendez said. “It’s a breach of peace and quiet in your home because of the noise and people traffic.”
She noted that in a hotel, guests can call down to the concierge if there’s noise in the hallways late at night and the hotel can take care of the problem.
But in an apartment building without a live-in super that’s been turned into an illegal hotel, the solution isn’t quite so simple.
“When tenants call the landlord, they’re not going to reach them at 2 a.m.,” she said. “And if it’s the owner who’s renting it out, they may not follow up with the complaint.”
Whether the noise is due to someone renting from a building tenant or the landlord, if the landlord does not address the problem, this legislation would make the act of illegally renting out apartments a form of harassment and would allow tenants to sue the landlord.
Michele Gordon (far left) leads a cardio workout at Reebok FitHub. (Photo by Steve Jackson)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
A campaign by the Union Square Partnership to promote fitness during the winter months as well as the neighborhood’s gyms and fitness retailers was a surprising hit, with nearly 1,000 people signing up for the offered complimentary fitness classes and other freebies. The program ran for one week and ended last Monday.
“We were expecting about two to three hundred people to sign up,” said Kriss Casanova, Director of Economic Development at the Union Square Partnership. Instead, the Partnership said that Early Bird passes were gone within nine minutes when registration opened earlier in February. An additional 900 people signed up for passes to the free classes and events throughout last week. Casanova said that it got to the point where they had to turn people away because the events were so packed. Those who weren’t able to snag passes to any of the fitness events were able to participate in the social media giveaways, which included memberships and packages to various gyms and studios, including one prize that offered a bag of goodies from the Union Square Greenmarket and an annual membership to the 14th Street Y.
Although the park has offered free fitness classes outside during the warmer months, this new program got the many fitness studios and health-oriented businesses involved with free exercise classes, personal training sessions and complimentary gym membership packages at places like CrossFit Union Square, Core Pilates NYC, Crunch, Clay Health Club and Spa and others.