Neighbors against sanitation garage call for city study of alternative sites

Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Brookdale Neighborhood Coalition is continuing its fight against the proposed sanitation garage by exploring alternatives in existing facilities in other parts of Manhattan, options that have not yet been discussed at the public hearings or Community Board 6 meetings on the topic.

“This additional option came to our attention and we liked the idea so it was included in our public comments on the draft scope,” said Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal, who is also one of the coalition’s co-founders. The comment period for the draft scoping document for the project ended on July 22.

On behalf of the coalition, which represents tenant groups who oppose the sanitation garage planned for East 25th Street and First Avenue, Handal has also asked local elected officials, including Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Dan Garodnick, as well as Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, to request that the Independent Budget Office, a publicly funded city agency that provides nonpartisan information about the city’s budget, do an appraisal of the Brookdale site as well as an evaluation of the existing Pier 36 garage and an old incinerator building located on 215th Street.

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Six new officers headed to shelter

The 30th Street shelter at Bellevue’s “Old Psych” building (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The 30th Street shelter at Bellevue’s “Old Psych” building (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The 30th Street Shelter at Bellevue Hospital, which will soon be for employable men only, is getting six additional peace officers and NYPD officers, Town & Village has learned.

Additionally, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Homeless Services, Nicole Cueto, security in the surrounding neighborhood is also being beefed up with regularly scheduled patrols.

Cueto, in an email, said the following security initiatives have already been implemented:

• NYPD now regularly patrols the block through the afternoon and evening three days a week.
• On Saturdays, 2-3 pairs of DHS Police patrol the area between 34th Street and East 2nd Street, from FDR Drive to Eighth Avenue, from 11 a.m. through the evening.
• The DHS Police on patrol pay special attention to the parks and unsheltered “clients” or homeless men in the streets.

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Stray puck strikes man on head in Stuy Town

By Sabina Mollot

A Stuyvesant Town senior was struck on the head by an errant hockey puck, as he sat on a bench outside a playground, he told Town & Village last week.

The resident, who didn’t want his name published, said he was on the bench on Friday, August 14, with a female friend, when the puck flew out of the playground behind 250 First Avenue. Instinctively, he jumped up when it hit, thinking he was being attacked, possibly as a part of the “knockout game,” in which thugs around the city have attacked people randomly with one blow.

“I thought maybe someone slugged me with a baseball bat or fist,” he said. “I was dazed.”

Soon, however, he realized the puck that had sailed over, hitting the side of his head, was being used by a young man (the resident said he looked around 19) for practice, as he was by himself.

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Tenants pack legal clinic

Council Member Dan Garodnick speaks to tenants at the legal clinic on nonrenewal notices and succession rights last Wednesday, as Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg listens. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Council Member Dan Garodnick speaks to tenants at the legal clinic on nonrenewal notices and succession rights last Wednesday, as Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg listens. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Over 250 people showed up last Wednesday to a legal clinic held by the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, to have their questions answered about the recent round of golub notices and to learn about apartment succession rights. Aki Younge, a paralegal working on the community development project in the housing practice area for the Urban Justice Center, offered general information about the two complicated legal topics while four lawyers from the UJC were available for individual appointments to meet with tenants about their specific concerns.

The meeting, held in the auditorium at Simon Baruch Middle School, started at 6 p.m. and TA President Susan Steinberg said that they ended up having to schedule the appointments right at the beginning of the meeting because about 30 people had requested a slot with a lawyer.

“There are only four lawyers so we needed to have them meeting with people to whole time to get all of the appointments in,” she said. “Thirty was way more than we expected. We thought it would only be a handful of people but clearly we have hit a nerve.”

Councilmember Dan Garodnick, who was also in attendance, recalled that this kind of meeting was a much more common occurrence during the days of Tishman Speyer.

“We had a lot of these meetings in those days when Tishman Speyer was using aggressive acts, trying to find ways to get people out,” he said. “We’ve had years of calm but (CWCapital) has said that they felt they had let the question lapse, but they have also said that this is a one-time push on the issue, when you’ll see this level of notices.”

Despite the frequency of building owners using specific legal issues against tenants, Younge explained that the rules are not intended to be malicious.

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Letters to the editor, Aug. 27


Sick of rowdy drunks that barrel though ST

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, August 16, from about 4 a.m. until well past 5 a.m., a drunken brawl broke out among ten pub crawling twenty-somethings in front of Playground 10 and the Oval fountain and near 19 Stuyvesant Oval.

“He punched me. He punched me. He punched me,” screamed one drunk female victim again and again at the top of her lungs.

Eventually responding to the shouting and cursing in two different areas, two security officers meandered to the scene and tried their best at drunken crowd control. They were not very effective! The scene went on for a very long time and must have prematurely awakened much of the previously sleeping community.

This pub crawling activity occurs every weekend and holiday on our transitioning “college campus” and security and management and ownership (although now mentioning a line on being good neighbors in the list of suggestions for new tenants), has done nothing despite many and frequent complaints to act in a proactive, substantial manner. They need to stem the tide of drunken rowdy behavior by the twenty somethings that now rule the night.

Do we have a large enough security force on the night shift? Do they have the necessary mandate and willingness to enforce disturbing the peace rules and regulations? Does security have the training and ability to move these unruly tenants along or have them arrested? If you can’t do the job, call in the NYPD and set the tone for the next drunken lot to appear next weekend.

Perhaps some readers have missed out on this nightly occurrence of shouting, cursing, singing, chanting, hosting outdoor parties from 3:30 to 5 a.m. every weekend and holiday. Let’s set a precedent, make some arrests, evict some of these tenants and let’s take back our law-abiding, courteous tenant population.

Name withheld, ST

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Police Watch: Man arrested for ‘strangling’ mother, ‘perv’ nabbed for bathroom camera

Police arrested 39-year-old Juan Tavarez for obstruction of breath and assault inside 243 East 27th Street last Saturday at 12:07 a.m. Tavarez got into an argument with his mother over rent and he allegedly attempted to strangle her. The victim also told police that Tavarez shook her and pushed her to the ground, causing pain to her throat, neck and shoulder.

Thirty-year-old Igor Pasikov was arrested for criminal mischief and possession of a weapon inside Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital at 281 First Avenue last Saturday at 11:19 p.m. Pasikov entered the hospital with a dislocated shoulder and police said that he broke the glass door at the hospital entrance. The estimated cost of the repair for the door is over $2,000. Police said that Pasikov was also carrying a hatchet, which he allegedly said that he carried for protection if he needed to use it.

Police arrested 27-year-old Sadeq Albahri for obscene material in front of 353 East 14th Street last Monday at 4:56 a.m. Albahri allegedly installed a hidden camera inside the restroom without the victim’s knowledge and consent, with the purpose of surreptitiously recording intimate parts of the victim where she had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Police did not have any information about how Albahri was able to install the alleged camera at the building, which is close to First Avenue.

Twenty-year-old Troix Auguste was arrested for robbery at the corner of Union Square East and East 14th Street last Sunday at 12:10 a.m. Auguste allegedly threatened the victim with a loaded gun, demanding cash and his cell phone. Police said that Auguste was aided by another person but no other arrests were made. A gun was not recovered from the scene.

Police arrested 29-year-old Kelvin Rodriguez on Wednesday at 8 a.m. inside the 13th Precinct for grand larceny. Rodriguez asked the victim for the time and when she took her phone out to check, he allegedly snatched the phone from her hand and fled. Police said that the incident occurred on June 27 but no information was available on where the crime took place.

Police arrested 34-year-old Pavel Zaychenko for sexual abuse in front of 113 East 23rd Street last Sunday at 9:53 a.m. The victim told police that while she was walking north on Third Avenue, Zaychenko approached her from behind. He allegedly touched her buttocks and put his hand in her left rear pants pocket. She told police that he left a handwritten note in her pocket, which she handed to police. Information about what the note contained was not available. Police said that the incident took place in front of the Tap Room restaurant and bar and the victim told police that she recognized Zaychenko from her gym, where he is also a member.

Police arrested 56-year-old Norman Brooks for public lewdness inside the Union Square subway station last Wednesday at 6:10 p.m. Police said that Brooks was masturbating while standing on the downtown 4/5/6 platform.

Police arrested 24-year-old Joanna Jackson for assault in front of 411 Third Avenue last Sunday at 3:37 a.m. Jackson allegedly sprayed an unknown substance into the victim’s eyes, causing irritation.

Police arrested 27-year-old Romero Rasdell in front of 208 East 25th Street last Friday at 2:04 p.m. for a burglary taking place at 212 East 25th Street. Rasdell was allegedly on the fire escape of the building in front of an open window without permission to be there. As he left the building, police said that he attempted to flee but he was arrested soon after. Police said they later found that a burglary had taken place in one of the apartments in the building. After searching Rasdell, police found that he was also in possession of a bag of marijuana and counterfeit cash, and he was also charged with forgery and possession of marijuana.

Police arrested 47-year-old Richard Beltran for petit larceny last Wednesday at 1:31 p.m. in front of 725 Sixth Avenue. Beltran allegedly tried to steal a bicycle near the corner of West 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue. Police said that he then went north and attempted to gain entry into several buildings by pulling on the doors forcibly several times. He then proceeded to 29th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue and allegedly went into the building through the freight entrance. Police said that he doesn’t live or work at the location. When he left the building, he went south on Sixth Avenue and allegedly swiped merchandise from a vendor.
Police said that when he was searched, he was found to be in possession of stolen property as well as a gravity knife. He was also charged with weapons possession and criminal trespass.

Police arrested 49-year-old John Walden for burglary inside 139 West 25th Street last Thursday at 10 a.m. Walden allegedly entered the building without permission and once on the floor, he broke a door lock to enter an office and snatched several laptops.

Elvin Vazquez, 35, and Alde Rosas, 57, were arrested for grand larceny inside the Home Depot at 40 West 23rd Street last Wednesday at 8:50 p.m. Vazquez allegedly walked out of the store with a box containing a drill that hadn’t been paid for. When Vazquez walked out of the store, officers identified themselves and Vazquez allegedly dropped the box and started running away. Police said that Vazquez prevented officers from apprehending him by swinging and flailing his arms. At that point, officers used both force and pepper spray to apprehend him. Police said that Rosas was acting in concert with Vazquez by casing out the location, and he was allegedly in possession of burglar’s tools.

Police arrested 42-year-old Ramon Jimenez for petit larceny outside 239 Seventh Avenue last Friday at 10:46 p.m. An employee at Beach Bum Tanning told police that Jimenez entered the store during business hours and attempted to take money from the cash register, which contained $236.

Police arrested 32-year-old Charles Fields for forgery and petit larceny last Tuesday inside the L station at First Avenue. Police said that Fields attempted to open the MetroCard litter box and allegedly removed MetroCards from the box, which he bent to alter the value.

Three cheers for these four

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

It appears that all we ever hear about these days are politicians named Trump, Clinton and occasionally some of the other contenders. More locally it seems that the media is preoccupied with the ongoing (and really silly) political feud and attention grabbing between Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. They all seem so preoccupied with themselves and their own ambitions. Fame breeds self-absorption and the notion that the world truly revolves around your every move and remark.

This week I prefer to call attention to a few local unsung heroes whose names are not so well known but whose actions over the years have had a real impact on our community. These people have lived here and have worked here and have made our local world a better place without fanfare.

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Cauz for Pawz leaving Thrift Shop Row, moving to First Avenue

The former Frenchmen shop on First Avenue (photo by Sabina Mollot)

The former Frenchmen shop on First Avenue (photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Cauz for Pawz thrift shop, which was recently ousted from its space of four years on East 23rd Street in order to make room for a new urgent care center, is moving to the First Avenue storefront formerly occupied by The Frenchmen.

The former air conditioner and electronics shop’s founder, William Koniuk, died late last month. His son, Glenn, still runs the business out of his Williamsburg warehouse, and owns the First Avenue store’s building. It had remained empty for the past three years after his father’s retirement, and was recently renovated, though Glenn recently stressed he wanted to be picky about any future tenant. For one thing, he knew he didn’t want a food-oriented business.

The old Frenchmen space is at 333 First Avenue between 19th and 20th Streets, across from Stuyvesant Town, while the current Cauz for Pawz space, at 212 East 23rd Street between Second and Third Avenues, is going to have its last day of business on August 28. To avoid having to move everything to the new place, there’s now a sale of 25 percent off all pieces of artwork and 50 percent off everything else. A wedding/fundraiser for the store’s mascot pooch, Shorty, has been postponed from September 20 to October 18, Cathryn Duhigg, director of the nonprofit Cauz for Pawz, said.

Cathryn Duhigg, director of Cauz for Pawz at the store (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Cathryn Duhigg, director of Cauz for Pawz at the store (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

She admitted being nervous about transitioning to a much smaller space (one floor versus two) but said the business would adapt by focusing on what sells the most, which are bags, jewelry and clothing for men and women as opposed to houseware items.

“You have to move things much faster, your display changes quicker,” Duhigg said, “but I don’t think it’ll be a problem.”

She also called her future landlord “a nice guy ― I can’t believe how nice he is,” and said she suspected his father somehow helped the deal along from beyond. As of Monday, the lease hadn’t been signed, according to Glenn, but he said he wasn’t anticipating any problems.

“She’s moving in her stuff already,” he said of Duhigg.

“I think it’s a better place for us,” said Duhigg. “People in Stuy Town are so happy.”

NY hospitals agree not to film patients without permission

The Chanko family at City Hall in July: Barbara, wife of Mark Chanko’s son Kenneth (right), Mark’s daughter Pamela and his widow Anita (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The Chanko family at City Hall in July: Barbara, wife of Mark Chanko’s son Kenneth (right), Mark’s daughter Pamela and his widow Anita (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last month, Town & Village reported on how local elected officials were calling on New York hospitals to respect patients’ privacy by not allowing them to be filmed without prior consent. This push came as a result of the story of Mark Chanko, a former Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper resident, whose medical treatment and death, after being struck by a truck near his home, wound up being filmed for an ABC reality show called “NY Med.” He hadn’t consented to being filmed nor had anyone in his family. Though his face was blurred, those who knew him, including his widow Anita, recognized him immediately.

When asked for comment in July, the Greater New York Hospital Association responded to T&V to say its president, Kenneth E. Raske, agreed with the elected officials and was asking hospitals to abide by their request. New York Presbyterian, where “NY Med” was filmed, is a member hospital.

More recently, the Greater New York Hospital Association took the statement a step further by contacting the elected officials who’d asked for a change in policy directly, including Council Member Dan Garodnick. Along with reiterating, in a letter, that the GNYHA agreed that patients shouldn’t be filmed for entertainment purposes, Raske said this policy is consistent with existing state and federal laws.

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Resident randomly punched in Peter Cooper Village

By Sabina Mollot

Recently, a Peter Cooper resident was punched in the face in a random assault as he was out walking his dog on the property. The resident, who didn’t want his name published, told Town & Village last week about the incident, which happened on July 21, when he strolled past a man who was sitting on a bench.

In a swift move, the man, who appeared to be in his 20s, got up and punched the resident in the face, knocking off and breaking his glasses in the process. The resident also fell backwards and dropped his dog’s leash, and the pooch went running. “There were eight people there and no one helped me up,” he recalled, although at that point, one neighbor did follow the attacker, who had fled the area towards 511 East 20th Street. There, he got onto a bike that had been leaning on a fence and pedaled away towards the gas station under the FDR Drive.

The resident said he is now fine, having only gotten a few cuts from the scuffle, and the dog fortunately didn’t get too far away after the incident.

The victim described the suspect as Hispanic, about 5 ft. 5 ins. tall and slim except for a beer gut, and had puffy hair. He was wearing all green, including a camouflage shirt. The resident also suspects the man was under some sort of influence. “He was clearly a crazy person. He looked like his eyes were popping out,” he said. “He was definitely not a resident.”

Welcome, Columbia Care

Earlier this month came the big news that five companies were awarded licenses to operate a total of 20 medical marijuana dispensaries to the state.

One, as Town & Village previously reported, will be heading to 212 East 14th Street. This is good news for a number of reasons.

First, the market is opening to an alternative medicine in a city dominated by chain pharmacies hawking pricey prescriptions.

To be fair we don’t know yet what the medical pot will cost — and also it’s pretty tough to qualify to be eligible to purchase it. Still, any new business in the neighborhood that contributes to its identity as an area thick with medical institutions is always welcome. As are the jobs it creates.

And perhaps even more importantly, it isn’t a chain pharmacy, bank or a 7-Eleven.

Former Con Ed employee indicted for ax attacks, stabbing

NYPD photo of the weapon

NYPD photo of the weapon

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Former Con Ed employee Trevial Terry was indicted last Thursday for stabbing his ex-girlfriend in her office and then attacking two of his co-workers with an ax inside the Con Edison building where he worked. Terry, 40, has been charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with two counts of attempted murder in the second degree, as well as multiple counts of assault and attempted assault in the first degree and attempted assault in the second degree.

According to court records, Terry followed his 36-year-old ex-girlfriend to the Upper East Side building where she worked on June 22 at 2:25 p.m. and after he was allowed into the building’s lobby, stabbed her with a knife at least six times in the abdomen, side and buttocks. The Daily News reported at the time of his arrest that he and the victim, Alicia Sylvia, were in the middle of a custody battle over their child. She was rushed to New York-Presbyterian Hospital in serious but stable condition.

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Construction begins on VA flood wall

Barriers section off part of Asser Levy Park. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Barriers section off part of Asser Levy Park. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last Monday, the VA Medical Center began its long-planned work on its flood wall at Asser Levy Park.  Mark Thompson, Community Board 6’s chair of Parks, Landmarks and Cultural Affairs, noted that the project has taken over a portion of the park about seven to eight feet wide, intruding upon the fitness equipment area and the track. However, Thompson said, the turf field should remain open for the duration of this project, except for a few days if the hospital needs to make a new water connection.

When asked about the project, and how long it would take, a spokesperson for the VA said it’s expected to be completed by March 10, 2016.

The rep, Claudie Benjamin, also sent T&V a letter that had been sent to Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in advance of the project getting underway, which stated the plan of the hospital’s floodwall contractor, J. Civetta and Sons.

The letter, by Mike Bozeman, director of major projects at the VA’s Manhattan campus, stated that the project began with putting up a barrier along with length of the park, and by doing so, closing the western run of the track oval and decommissioning benches, ping pong tables and exercise equipment.

“J. Civetta and Sons recognizes that this encroachment into a public space presents a nuisance and therefore has affirmed that they are committed to complete all the necessary contractual work and to restore the park in a timely manner; not later than six months from the start – by March 10, 2016,” Bozeman said.

Gramercy author releases latest murder mystery

Aug20 Shooting for the StarsBy Sabina Mollot

Dick Belsky, a longtime Gramercy resident and novelist, has released the third book in what was supposed to be a three-part series (but has recently been extended to include at least one more book) around an investigative reporter character named Gil Malloy. The book, called Shooting for the Stars, was released on August 11 ($16 paperback, Simon and Schuster) and focuses on the reporter’s search for the person who murdered a famous actress some 30 years earlier. Police seem reluctant to reopen the case, which was blamed on the wrong person who later killed himself, and the mob be even be involved somehow, but Malloy remains set on cracking the case — and breaking the story.

Shooting for the Stars follows two other books; the first being The Kennedy Connection, which came out last year and focuses on how Malloy, whose career is on the rise, ends up in disgrace after fabricating an interview with a notorious New York prostitute. In reality, the quotes in the story he’d attributed to the street walker named Houston were all second-hand; he’d never gotten to meet her. He then becomes untouchable and has to redeem himself — through a story on the link between a string of murders. The second book, an e-novella called The Midnight Hour, was released in January of this year. In that story, Malloy investigates the massacre of the family that turned out to be blamed on the wrong person, who was executed for the crime.

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Town & Village School welcomes new principal

New principal Nina Loftspring (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

New principal Nina Loftspring (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Town & Village Synagogue welcomed a new face to their Hebrew School at the beginning of the summer. Nina Loftspring joined the staff as the principal in July and said she’s been busy since then preparing for the beginning of the school year on September 8.

She’s confident that she’ll be able to do everything she needs to but “You always want more time to get everything ready,” she said. “I always want to start preparing in February!”

It wasn’t by chance that Loftspring ended up at Town & Village. Although she has since moved out of the area, she is a former resident of Stuy Town and appreciates that the synagogue is a small, tight-knit community.

“The kids aren’t just a number or a face in the crowd,” she said. “(Town & Village) knows their families and their commitment is seen through everything they do. It’s a very authentic community.”

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