Surveillance image of suspect who allegedly robbed Ponce de Leon on First Avenue and also tried to rob other banks
By Sabina Mollot
On Tuesday, police arrested Michael Sancinella, a 42-year-old homeless man they believe to be responsible for robbing one bank near Stuyvesant Town, the Ponce de Leon branch on First Avenue, and attempted to rob two other banks, all in the same day. Three more banks were hit the next day. In each incident, the man arrived on his bike and then strolled into the bank where he handed a note to a teller demanding cash.
Cops say the pattern is as follows.
On Thursday, September 10 at approximately 9:37 a.m., the man walked into a Chase Bank, located at 225 5th Avenue and 27th Street, but fled empty handed.
Three minutes later, he tried his luck at the Chase Bank at 386 Park Avenue South and 27th Street, but again, left without any money.
Then at 10:03 a.m., he walked into the Ponce De Leon Bank, located at 319 First Avenue between 18th and 19th Streets, and got away with $1,000 in cash.
On Friday morning, the 11th of September, my wife and I exited our building on the M level to find an utterly awful sight: a gutted oak tree. It was one of the two live remaining oaks adjoining the area previously set aside for plant deliveries and the storage of granite blocks — and now, unintended, for a doggie-walk area. One oak now remains. Given its natural and its over-pruned condition, it is a prime candidate for “scientific” removal.
Most of the canopy trees in our area are either oaks or London Plains. The canopy trees are under attack. The attack has come in two distinct forms. The first is nature itself; the second is management and Bartlett Scientific. Each acts perfectly within its own right, and comes, as we should expect, with tons of assurances. Management, I was told by the driver of the Bartlett truck, points out the tree to be cut and Bartlett applies the coup de grace — done scientifically of course!
Over the years, our canopy trees have been pruned scientifically to now resemble those one finds in depictions of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (and Ichabod Crane’s frantic rush to escape the horror of a decapitated Major Andre). The branches of our American plane trees /American sycamore and those of the oak have been so aggressively pruned that they now loom hunched, emaciated with all limbs pointing skyward — the silent victims of decisions and actions done professionally and “in their best interests.”
Stump of a tree chopped down last week
The danger for we who rent here is the gradual loss of the shade and cooling effect that these trees have provided. When left to nature’s own way, these trees grow up to 90 feet and have a spread of up to 70 feet (the spread is less for the oaks). The imported ornamental trees have neither the height nor the breadth and provide no such cooling effect. Unlike the permanent residence of the American plane and oak trees, these trees serve other interests (local and out-of-state).
When I asked the driver of the Bartlett thingamajig about the tree, I was told that the tree was dead. Now you can bet, when management and the scientific folks tell the rest of us that trees (there have been many instances) with green leaves are dead, that explanation is most certainly not rooted in the interests of tree care. “Tree care” is merely the facade.
We who rent here may not have the physical muster to prevent the wanton destruction by expert/scientific pruning of our canopy, but it is our responsibility to care for that which is life itself.