Cops shut down gambling club above 17th St. lingerie shop

Journelle lingerie shop (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Journelle lingerie shop (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The NYPD’s Vice Enforcement Division busted a small gambling operation above the Journelle lingerie store at 3 East 17th Street on August 25 at 10 p.m. After getting a New York County search warrant, police arrested Rafael Lugo, 42, Sergio Valentin, 46, and Jin Feng, 35, for promoting gambling.
Police said that there were at least 15 people sitting at three different poker tables on the second floor of the building, all playing games of Texas Hold ‘Em with poker chips on the tables.

Valentin allegedly told police that he had been running the location for about three months under the business name “Admire Ads” and told them that the rate he charges of $10 per hand is one of the lowest in the city. Police also recovered $2,040 in cash from Valentin’s pocket.

Feng was sitting at one of the tables with at least eight other people and allegedly told police that he was the dealer. According to the criminal complaint from the District Attorney’s office, Feng had been working at the location for about three months, collecting $10 per hand for the house and placing the money he collected in a tray.

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Affordable Art Fair aims to take intimidation factor away from buying art

C-print on diasec by Sarah Bahbah, courtesy of Corridor-Mika Gallery in Tel Aviv

C-print on diasec by Sarah Bahbah, courtesy of Corridor-Mika Gallery in Tel Aviv

By Sabina Mollot

It was nearly two decades ago when William Ramsay, founder of the Affordable Art Fair, opened a warehouse in London that he stocked full of affordable works by 150 relatively unknown artists. The warehouse as gallery wound up being such a hit that he went on to expand on the concept, to form the Affordable Art Fair where works of art are priced between $100 and $10,000 (half of it costing under $5,000).

AAF has since grown from its original London home to operate in other cities and overseas, including in New York, where its next event is set to take place from September 10-13. The fair will be run out of the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street in Chelsea, while AAF New York is headquartered out of the same West 22nd Street building in the Flatiron District as Town & Village.

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Police looking for two men behind separate patterns of bank robberies

HSBC and Apple Bank robbery suspect

HSBC and Apple Bank robbery suspect

Police are on the lookout for two bank robbers believed to be responsible for different heists in Union Square, Flatiron and other neighborhoods.

With regards to the first suspect, on Wednesday, September 9 around 2:10 p.m., a man walked into the HSBC Bank located at 80 Eighth Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets in Chelsea, approached a teller and demanded money. However, the teller refused and the man fled empty handed.

At 2:35 p.m., the same man walked into the Union Square Apple Bank located at 4 Irving Place and East 14th Street, approached a teller and demanded money. This time the teller complied and the suspect fled with an undetermined amount of cash.

The suspect has been described as a thin black male, 30 to 40 years old and 6’2″ tall.

Chase and HSBC Bank robbery suspect

Chase and HSBC Bank robbery suspect

Police are also looking for another man they believe to be behind three separate bank robberies, in Times Square, Chelsea and most recently, the Flatiron District.

The pattern is as follows:

On Friday, September 4, at around 12:40 p.m., the suspect walked into a Chase Bank at 615 8th Avenue and 40th Street, approached a teller and passed a note demanding cash. He then fled with $2,850.

On Tuesday, September 8 at approximately 5:10 p.m., the same man walked into a different Chase Bank at 475 West 23rd Street and 10th Avenue and slipped the teller another demand note. This time he fled empty-handed.

The next day, on Wednesday, September 9 at around 2:15 p.m., the suspect was back at it, at an HSBC Bank at 145 5th Avenue and West 21st Street. After handing a teller a demand note, he got away with $1,992.

The suspect is described as Hispanic, approximately 5’3″ tall, 195 lbs. and in his 30s.

Anyone with information about any of these incidents is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Letters to the Editor, Sept. 10

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Tree guardian and mayor of 24th Street

Sept10 JaconiaThere is a beautiful old tree on the south side of 24th Street, in front of 238 East 24th Street, near Second Avenue. It rises high into the sky in the shape of a crucifix.

The base of the tree is surrounded by cobblestones that fail to protect it from the dogs that are allowed to deposit their waste in the tree bed, daily.

For many years, Anthony Jacona has been affectionately called The Mayor of 24th Street. Weekly, he tends to the tree. He tosses the soil with his shovel and waters this stately gem. One day last summer, Anthony was bent over tending the soil. His shoulder was drooping. He told me he was scheduled for surgery the next day, but he had to make sure the tree was taken care of.

After a successful surgery, Anthony is still tending the tree. His one wish is that someone would install a tree guard to keep out the dogs. It is the only tree on the block without a tree guard.

Young, 91-year-old Anthony Jacona, has lived on the block for more than 50 years. He can recall when they played stickball, on Sundays, in the street when there was a Third Avenue El and no cars on the block.

We salute the Mayor of 24th Street!

Claude L. Winfield, EMP

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