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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