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.
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)
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.”
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.