Man down on First Avenue and 16th Street

By Sabina Mollot

Two Town & Village readers alerted us this week that on Monday night, Stuyvesant Town residents who live on East 16th Street and First Avenue got a frightening sight when coming home.

One resident walking by said he saw a man lying on the ground, bleeding. The resident was told by other people at the scene that the man had fallen, but, he added, it seemed like a lot of blood for a fall. He added that an EMS team and cops came, gave him CPR for five minutes before putting him on a stretcher and continuing CPR while putting him in the ambulance.

Another resident said both police officers and Stuy Town’s Public Safety officers were present at the scene.

According to a spokesperson for the FDNY, the department had gotten a call at 5:40 p.m. about a man suffering from a cardiac arrest and respiratory arrest. The man, whose age and name the spokesperson said he didn’t know, was bleeding from the nose and mouth and was unconscious. He said there was no hospital transport on record.

The NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information had no information on the incident, explaining that the DCPI doesn’t always get information on aided cases. A spokesperson for CWCapital declined to comment since it was a medical issue.

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Garodnick bill would end commercial rent tax for some Manhattan storefronts

Petite Abeille co-owner Yves Jadot (pictured in 2011) said the tax break, if passed, would help at a larger restaurant he owns in midtown. Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Petite Abeille co-owner Yves Jadot (pictured in 2011) said the tax break, if passed, would help at a larger restaurant he owns in midtown. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

In an effort to help Manhattan’s mom-and-pop shops, Council Members Dan Garodnick and Helen Rosenthal have introduced legislation to relieve many small businesses of their commercial rent tax.

Since 1963, any business in Manhattan below 96th Street paying over $250,000 a year in rent (or nearly $21,000 a month) has been made to pay the tax, which is a 3.9 percent surcharge on the rent. The legislation, introduced last Wednesday, would make the tax applicable only to businesses paying $500,000 or more. To make up for the loss in city revenue, businesses paying over $3 million would get a small increase. That increase would rise slowly as businesses pay more in rent, but at its highest would be an additional one third of one percent on businesses paying over $4 million.

While the mayor has not made his point of view known on the bill, Garodnick said his colleagues in the Council have been fully in support of it with the entire Manhattan delegation having signed on as co-sponsors.

“This bill is motivated by a desire to cut a break to small businesses who are getting hit in every direction,” said Garodnick. “This is a way to grant them some relief.”

He noted that while business owners haven’t told him that the taxes alone are killing them, the cost, he said, adds up for small retailers and restaurants, who’ve faced the citywide problem of getting booted out in favor of banks and other chains.

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Police Watch: Arrests for robberies, ‘Drunk’ driver busted near Stuy Town

TWO NABBED FOR ROBBERY NEAR UNION SQUARE
Police arrested two people for a robbery in front of 3 East 17th Street last Wednesday at 3:41 a.m. Amara Camara, 22, and Ibrahim Johnson, 21, were charged with robbery and possession of stolen property. Police said that Camara and Johnson hit the victim in the face and grabbed his bag, which contained credit cards, cash and other personal effects. The pair then allegedly threatened a second victim and stole his Nikon camera. Police said that the two men were seen in front of the location and were positively identified by a witness. They were allegedly found in possession of all the stolen property, including the bag with the wallet and the camera.

VICTIM CHOKED IN ROBBERY ON SECOND AVENUE
Fifty-year-old Charles McKinley was arrested for robbery in front of the Central Deli at 515 Second Avenue last Thursday at 10:02 p.m. Police said that McKinley choked the victim and then stole his cash. Police then searched the area for McKinley and found him as well as the victim’s cash. McKinley was also charged with obstruction of breath and possession of stolen property.

APPLE ‘SCAM ARTIST’ BUSTED
Police arrested 61-year-old Lamont Knight for fraudulent accosting at the corner of Broadway and East 22nd Street last Saturday at 12:48 p.m. Knight allegedly approached an undercover officer and offered him a MacBook Air and an iPad Air for $400 for both of them. After the officer identified himself, Knight allegedly told him that the boxes contained cut up newspaper and not the MacBook or iPad.

FIGHT OVER MASSAGE ON LEX
Police arrested a man and a woman for fighting outside Top Nail Salon at 133 Lexington Avenue last Monday at 3:23 a.m. Thirty-nine-year-old Daniel Chinault, who was also charged with criminal mischief, got into an argument with 29-year-old Isabella Ricci over massage services and allegedly damaged the nail salon’s door by punching it. Police said that Chinault and Ricci started fighting and Chinault allegedly wrestled Ricci to the ground, causing a cut on her head and causing his nose to bleed.

‘DRUNK’ DRIVER BUSTED OUTSIDE STUY TOWN
Police arrested 32-year-old David Acquaye for intoxicated driving last Thursday at 3:31 a.m. in front of 545 East 14th Street. Police said that during a vehicle safety checkpoint, Acquaye had a 200 ml bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue on him and had slurred speech. He was allegedly unable to walk steady when he got out of his car and had watery eyes, as well as a “moderate smell” of alcohol. Police said that he blew a .141 on a Breathalyzer at the scene.

MAN BUSTED FOR PHONE ‘THEFT’
Police arrested 34-year-old Shawn Mayes inside the 13th Precinct last Tuesday at 12:25 p.m. for possession of stolen property. Police said that Mayes was in possession of a stolen phone that was taken in a burglary that occurred inside Reiko Wireless Accessories at 18 West 27th Street on April 21.

PARKS DEPARTMENT ELECTRICIAN ARRESTED FOR ‘FLEEING’ ACCIDENT
Police arrested 48-year-old Roman Klyshko at the 13th precinct last Friday at 8 a.m. for leaving the scene of an accident. Police said that Klyshko, an electrician, ran over a co-worker’s foot with a Parks vehicle and after realizing that he did so, did not wait around to file a report but left the scene.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘STOLEN’ WALLET
Kadeem Turner, 35, was arrested for grand larceny and theft in front of 111 West 28th Street last Tuesday at 3:50 p.m. Turner was walking down West 28th Street from Eighth to Seventh Avenue. He appeared to be looking around and looking back towards Eighth Avenue. Police said that he was holding a black t-shirt in his hand, which had a black wallet inside it. He looked inside the wallet and then wrapped it back up in the t-shirt. Police said that he is not the owner of the wallet and did not have permission to have it.

6 TRAIN ‘ROBBER’ NABBED
Police arrested Percey Freeman, 38, for robbery at the Park Avenue South/23rd Street station last Friday at 4:16 a.m. The victim told police that Freeman approached her while she was on an uptown 6 train. He allegedly attempted to grab her purse, pulling it away from her, and police said that he also put his hand against her throat to choke her while still pulling at her bag. Freeman was also charged with obstruction of breath and possession of a controlled substance.

CREDIT CARDS STOLEN FROM GYM LOCKER
Police arrested 21-year-old Shawnice Bettis inside the 13th precinct last Wednesday at 2 p.m. for grand larceny and possession of stolen property. Bettis was allegedly in possession of credit cards that she didn’t have permission to have. Police said that the cards had been removed from a gym locker.

MAN BUSTED FOR OFFICE ‘ASSAULT’
Police arrested 37-year-old Tony Wright inside the 13th Precinct last Monday at 11:30 a.m. for assault and menacing. Police said that Wright chased the victim around their office with a chair, attempting to hit him, and also allegedly picked up a vase and threw it at him. The incident occurred on May 11 at 7 p.m.

ASSAULT ON EAST 25TH STREET
Police arrested 69-year-old Dennis Griggs for assault in front of 208 East 25th Street last Thursday at 11:49 p.m. Griggs allegedly grabbed the victim by the hair and began punching him/her in the chest and right arm (the gender of the victim was not made clear in the report), causing pain and swelling to the victim’s head, chest and arm.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ‘THEFT’ INSIDE CAR
Police arrested 55-year-old Robert William for criminal mischief, petit larceny and unauthorized use of a vehicle in front of 5 East 26th Street last Thursday at 5:45 a.m. The victim told police that he saw William in his car and when he got closer to the vehicle, saw that the front driver’s side window was smashed in. When William noticed the car’s owner, he allegedly ran off and was stopped in the uptown 6 station at Park Avenue South/East 23rd Street. When the victim went back to the car, he realized that $20 to $30 was missing.

GROCERY ‘SHOPLIFTER’ ARRESTED
Police arrested 69-year-old Frank Ho for petit larceny inside the Gristedes at 355 First Avenue last Sunday at 6:43 p.m. Police said that he took one salmon steak, a pint of Haagen Daaz and two candy bars, which he hid in a shoulder bag and allegedly attempted to leave without paying.

Letters to the Editor, June 4

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Garodnick: How rent laws in current state have been used to raise rents in ST/PCV

The following is an open letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo from Council Member Dan Garodnick.

Dear Governor Cuomo:

Many New Yorker City residents are looking to you to help us strengthen the rent laws in the coming weeks. While there are many ways in which these laws need revision, I wanted to point out two areas of the law that have been particularly destructive within Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village (ST/PCV) – a community of 25,000 renters, all rent-stabilized, which make up a portion of my Council District.

 The areas of particular concern have been: vacancy decontrol, preferential rents, and Major Capital Improvements (MCIs).

 Vacancy Decontrol: Vacancy decontrol creates some of the most perverse incentives that lay within our rent laws, and it has already done a great deal of damage in ST/PCV.  When the law allows a landlord to jack up rents upon vacancy, there is a very strong push for them to achieve a vacancy – almost at any cost.  In the case of ST/PCV, the property was sold in 2006 to an owner whose entire business plan only penciled out if they pushed rent-stabilized tenants out of their homes, quickly. The result was that tenants were pursued ruthlessly on a variety of bases to get them to leave.

Senate bill S1167 and Assembly bill A1585 would end vacancy decontrol, and would re-regulate many of the units that were deregulated over the last 15 years. I hope you will support it.

Preferential rents: Because of the “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” case, many tenants in ST/PCV have legal rent-stabilized rents that are thousands of dollars more than the market rate rents for their apartments.  These tenants are paying market rates, but well below what the law allows. The result is that on lease renewal, the landlord is hitting tenants with increases of $250, $500 or even up to $700 per month. Many tenants find themselves suddenly, and without any ability to plan, unable to afford these increases.

There are smart proposals that would give much more certainty to tenants in this position, such as S1775/A5473, which would only allow Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) increases on preferential rents, and keep them from rising to the legal rent until the end of the current occupant’s tenancy.

MCI Reform: I also hope you will support efforts to reform MCIs. MCIs were created so that landlords would have an incentive to improve the property, and to have the ability to recoup their investment. The law today allows them to add the cost of the MCI onto tenants’ rents, and leave it there forever – and long after the investment has been paid for in full by the tenants. S1493/A5373 would make these MCI’s temporary, ensuring that owners are compensated for investing in their properties, but in a way that fair to tenants.

These are only three ways in which our rent laws are broken. I have, however, seen how vacancy decontrol, preferential rents without protections, and MCI loopholes have burdened my own district, and I am certain that your efforts to reform those laws would make a difference. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Daniel R. Garodnick

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