30th St. Shelter resident arrested in connection with robberies in Kips Bay and near Stuy Town

Robbery suspect

Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Cops have arrested a resident of the 30th Street men’s shelter, who they believe is responsible for robbing five people at businesses. Police said that in one of the incidents, a female victim was bashed over the head with a stapler and in others the suspect threatened to kill his victims. Two of the alleged holdups were near Stuyvesant Town, two were in Kips Bay and a fifth was in East Midtown.

John Marino, 56, was collared on Friday at 4 p.m. after police from the 13th Precinct recognized him from surveillance photos. It wasn’t clear if they found him at the shelter or elsewhere within the confines of the precinct, which runs from 14th Street to 30th Street from Seventh Avenue to the East River.

UPDATE: Police spotted Marino last Friday at Bellevue Hospital around 4:20 p.m. after recognizing him from the surveillance photos and Marino allegedly entered a restricted area of the medical center while trying to flee. Police said that he attempted to climb a fence to avoid arrest, and he was also charged with criminal trespass. 

One cop said Marino’s no stranger to the criminal justice system, with 18 prior arrests. Some are sealed but others include robbery, burglar and petty larceny.

For the recent incidents, he’s been charged with five counts of robbery, five counts of assault and five counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

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Local candidates spar at forum

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney speaks at last Tuesday’s candidate night event hosted by the 17th Precinct Community Council. Other speakers included  Robert Ardini (right), Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and his opponent Frank Scala. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney speaks at last Tuesday’s candidate night event hosted by the 17th Precinct Community Council. Other speakers included Robert Ardini (right), Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and his opponent Frank Scala. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Local politicians and political hopefuls gathered at the Sutton Place Synagogue last Tuesday evening to discuss their platforms at an event for local candidates hosted by the 17th Precinct Community Council. Democratic incumbents Brian Kavanagh, who represents the 74th Assembly District, and Carolyn Maloney, the U.S. Representative for New York’s 12th congressional district, made appearances at the event, along with their Republican challengers, Stuyvesant Town resident Frank Scala and Long Island City resident Robert Ardini, respectively.

Scala, who’s the president of the Vincent Albano Republican Club, is also the owner of a barber shop on Fifth Avenue. Ardini is a former marketing executive who is currently focusing full-time on the race.

When it was his turn at the podium, Ardini brought up the nearly quarter-century long stronghold Maloney has in the district.

“It doesn’t seem like intention of founders for politicians to serve indefinitely,” he said, arguing that there should be term limits. “Congresswoman Maloney, you are a national treasure but it’s time to give someone else a chance.”

Maloney, on the other hand, had a different perspective.

“We do have term limits in our country,” she said “They’re called elections. If you don’t like the job someone is doing, vote for someone else. I’m proud of my record and have ideas of more to do.”

Ardini noted that another issue he’s concerned with is the national debt and he said he felt that current politicians aren’t doing enough to address the issue but Maloney argued that Democrats have been able to deal with the deficit effectively.

“I’m concerned about national debt too but when Bill Clinton was president, we balanced the budget and had a surplus that was (later) spent on wars,” she said. “We were shedding 800,000 jobs a month but with hard work, we have grown our way out of that. Our economy, although not as good as we’d like, is leading the world even though we suffered that terrible financial crisis.”

While addressing a question about community policing, Assembly candidate Frank Scala said he felt stop and frisk was necessary, but only in specific circumstances.

“When the temperature outside is 95 and you see a guy with a big hood and glasses and he seems suspicious, that would be a case for stop and frisk,” he said. “If the guy is running that means something is wrong.”

Kavanagh, on the other hand, said that he thought the policy is unnecessary as well as unconstitutional, and that it didn’t have a noticeable impact in the reduction of crime throughout the city.

“The NYPD has been able to continue reduction of crime despite not using stop and frisk,” he said. “The policy made it difficult for police to work with communities and it doesn’t lead to good relationships.”

Scala, who is also president of the 13th Precinct Community Council, has had a close relationship with the NYPD and praised the work they do, specifically those at his local precinct.

“Police do a good job. Some police abuse the uniform but most of the time I believe they do a good job and should continue to do whatever they’re doing,” he said.

He added, however, that he felt local Democratic politicians have done less well by the community throughout the years.

“When Roy Goodman was our senator, Stuy Town and Peter Cooper were best places you could live but we’ve had nothing but problems since Democrats took over,” he said, then apologizing to his opponent for the slight.

While at the meeting, a Maloney supporter named Paige Judge shared that she is against term limits.

“You only learn about things in government by doing it,” she argued. “I wish you would forget about term limits. You’re going to lose a lot of good people that way.”

Weather monitor installed in Stuy Town to keep grounds from getting over-watered

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The arrival of the new gadget is part of the owner’s effort to make the property more environmentally friendly. (Photo by Jonathan Wells)

 

In an effort to save water and prevent the grounds from being overwatered, StuyTown Property Services has recently installed a weather monitor in the complex. The solar-powered gadget, which appeared over the weekend outside a building on the East 14th Street Loop, 455, collects weather information, which then determines what irrigation levels for the landscaping need to be based on real time data.

In a press release, management cheered the arrival of the ET-300-W weather station, calling it “a smart piece of environmental technology.

“This new weather station will allow the StuyTown Grounds & Landscaping Department to ensure precise watering of our 80 acres of soil, based on the specific environmental factors and weather conditions of our property using solar cells to power the apparatus and transmit data to a nearby wireless controller.”

It measures data through a “Tipping Rain Bucket” component which records effective onsite rain fall. It can also collect data to estimate how much moisture (in the form of irrigation run times) needs to be replenished from the previous day’s evaporation.

SPS said the new piece of technology will save “a significant amount of water,” which is part of the company’s mission to make Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper “the most environmentally-friendly multifamily property in New York City.”

Speeding cyclists, dogs, MCIs, L train and other issues addressed at ST-PCV Tenants Association meeting

Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk speaks at a meeting alongside State Senator Brad Hoylman, Council Member Dan Garodnick. ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk speaks at a meeting alongside State Senator Brad Hoylman, Council Member Dan Garodnick. ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Safety and quality of life issues for Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village residents were addressed on Saturday at a Tenants Association meeting, from the upcoming “L-pocalypse” to speeding cyclists who terrorize local seniors.

As for the latter issue, Rick Hayduk, Stuyvesant Town’s general manager, told residents that soon new signs would be placed around the complex’s entrances warning cyclists to slow down and keep their lights on after dark.

In other complex news, management is also lightening the workloads of porters who will soon only be focused on two buildings each instead of three. Hayduck said tenants could expect to see the impacts of this in 60-90 days, since first management had to hire a few more part-time porters.

Hayduk also discussed a few other initiatives, like bulletin boards soon to come to in lobbies to provide property alerts and the “good neighbors” campaign, which he said has already had an effect on some people’s habits of slamming doors and smoking near buildings.

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Some East Midtown Plaza shareholders launch new effort to turn complex private

East Midtown Plaza resident Jeanne Poindexter, who is staunchly against privatizing the property (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

East Midtown Plaza resident Jeanne Poindexter, who is staunchly against privatizing the property (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Mitchell-Lama cooperative East Midtown Plaza is once again beginning the process to go private with a vote happening this Thursday evening.

The vote will be held at a special meeting that was called because the co-op’s board received a petition from more than 250 shareholders who support privatization. The property has been through this process in the past, with the last attempt at privatization resulting in a court case that sided with co-operators who were against the privatization, with a final decision made in November, 2012. Privatizing would allow residents to sell their homes at a profit. The special meeting this Thursday, which will be held at the NYU Dental School, is only open to shareholders.

The vote this Thursday is the first of three successive votes that shareholders will participate in to determine if the property will go private, and is for a feasibility study on whether or not the plan to go private is viable. The first vote only requires a simple majority of 51 percent of those who attend the meeting but the second and third votes require a two-thirds majority of all shareholders, rather than just those who show up at the meeting. The second vote is required to be held at least a year later where shareholders vote on a proposed offering plan on whether or not to continue to the next step. If the second vote passes, a “Black Book” offering plan is filed with the Attorney General, which proposes the form of a privatized co-op and the third vote, at least another year later, is taken on the completed, accepted and filed cooperative structure. If this vote passes, the property can privatize.

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Letters to the Editor, Oct. 27

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

The legacy of President Barack Obama

Firstly, it takes generations for historians to make decisions which demonstrate valid meanings and consensus – and who are doing the evaluations.

And, they can change with time. E.g., President Eisenhower was viewed unfavorably by most of the pundits but now during the past 60 years or so, his greatness is far more appreciated. In his final speech as president, he showed great prescience when he warned the nation of the growing danger of the “military industrial complex.”

Another example is Truman, who left office in 1953 with quite low appreciation and with years, he is recognized as having been in the upper tier.

Methinks as I have observed Obama during the past almost eight years… he may well be the greatest chief executive that I have encountered in my life. Brilliant, articulate and a real mensch, he has demonstrated the patience of a saint. On the very night of the day he was inaugurated, the top Congressional GOPers met and vowed complete obstruction so as to make him a one term president. Some patriotism!

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Police Watch: Robbery at Old Navy, Stuy Town trespassers arrested

Old Navy robbery suspect

Old Navy robbery suspect

ROBBERY AT SIXTH AVE. OLD NAVY
Police are looking for a man who slashed another man on the torso and robbed him at the Old Navy store at 610 Sixth Avenue.
Police said the 44-year-old victim had strolled into the store last Friday at 5:20 p.m. when the suspect used an unknown object to cut him before snatching $80 from his pants pocket. The robber then fled in an unknown direction and the victim was taken to Bellevue for his injuries.
Police said that the suspect is a man in his late 20s to early 30s with a light complexion and a beard, and was last seen wearing a two-tones grey sweatshirt, black pants and black sneakers.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). All calls are strictly confidential.

MEN ARRESTED FOR SLEEPING IN STUY TOWN BUILDING
Police arrested two men for trespassing inside a Stuyvesant Town building and sleeping there last week.
Alberto Benavidez, 63, was arrested for criminal trespass inside 321 Avenue C last Tuesday at 9:25 a.m. Police arrested 36-year-old Michael Crayton for criminal trespass inside the same building last Friday at 7:07 a.m. Police said that both men were sleeping inside the building but there was no further information about how they got inside or which area specifically they were sleeping in.

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Robber targeting women at businesses near ST/PCV and in Kips Bay

oct27-robber-targeting-woman

Robbery suspect

Police are hunting a robber who preyed on four women at different businesses near Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village and in Kips Bay. In one of the cases, a victim was bashed over the head with a stapler.

The most recent incident was on Monday at around 11 a.m. when the robber went behind the counter of Nature’s First Pharmacy at 313 First Avenue and told a 21-year-old female employee that he had a knife. When a customer approached them, the man announced that he would shoot everyone. The employee then opened the cash register and the robber snatched $200 in cash and ran.

The string of robberies began last Wednesday morning when the same man went to Kips Bay Cleaners at 231 East 34th Street and demanded money from a 44-year-old female employee. When the victim refused to comply, the suspect hit her on the head with a stapler, before stealing $110 from the cash register. He then fled in an unknown direction.

The next day at around 8:20 a.m., he went to Health Source Pharmacy at 120 East 34th Street and demanded cash from a 36-year-old female employee. He then went behind the counter and pulled out a knife. The employee opened the register and the robber swiped the cash inside before running off.

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More ‘Roberts’ money on the way for some Stuy Town residents

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Council Member Dan Garodnick discusses the payouts. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot 

Nearly 2,000 residents of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village who were part of the “Roberts vs. Tishman Speyer” lawsuit, which proved apartments were illegally deregulated, will soon see another round of checks.

Attorneys on the case said there was about $450,000 left in unclaimed damages from the suit, which in 2013 resulted in a $173 million settlement for tenants ($68.75 million of that amount being cash and the rest in rent reductions).

On Saturday, the checks were discussed by City Council Member Dan Garodnick at a meeting of the ST-PCV Tenants Association.

Garodnick, who’s a resident of Peter Cooper Village, told neighbors that in order to be eligible for the money, the class action suit’s plaintiffs would have had to file as current, not former, tenants, and have received more than the minimum payout, which was $150. They also would have had to deposit their original check.

In this case, “The checks should be coming in the next few weeks,” he said. Residents will then have 120 days to deposit the money. After that, any unclaimed money, if less than $100,000, will be split evenly between two local nonprofits: the ST-PCV Tenants Association and the Peter Stuyvesant Little League.

According to Garodnick, there are 1,973 people who are eligible for the payout, which would make the average check around $228. This time, no one has to file any paperwork to get their damages.

“This was a big tenant win for our community and for the city,” said Garodnick, who was a member of the “Roberts” class action suit. “I am glad that those who were harmed continue to see compensation.”

Lawyers for tenants said there were over 27,000 tenants and former tenants who were awarded damages from former landlords Tishman Speyer and Met Life. The damages were 100 percent of what the tenants overpaid based on calculations from a very complicated settlement formula, minus 30 percent for legal fees and other fees.

Kavanagh, Mendez leave First Avenue office building that’s getting cleared out

By Sabina Mollot

Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and Councilwoman Rosie Mendez have both recently left their longtime offices, which were located at a building at the southwest corner of First Avenue and 14th Street. The building has been getting slowly cleared of its commercial tenants, with Mendez leaving a few weeks after Kavanagh. He and Mendez are both temporarily working at their legislative office building at 250 Broadway, near City Hall. Kavanagh said he is still looking for a new permanent space within the district, which runs from Delancey Street to the United Nations building, but plans to stay in the same neighborhood.

News of the exodus was announced by Mendez to constituents via email.

“This suite on the fifth floor has served constituents of Council District 2 for over two decades and the displacement is sad news to Team Rosie,” she said. “As the exhausting search for affordable space within the boundaries of the district continues, we will be sure to keep you updated when we relocate.”

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Nothing uncool about Geek Street Fair

Participants could participate in the construction of what would become a 10-foot-wide ball of hexagonal shapes with MoMath. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Participants could participate in the construction of what would become a 10-foot-wide ball of hexagonal shapes with MoMath. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Thursday, October 13, Google hosted its third “Geek Street Fair” at Union Square Park. The midday event, attended by students from nearby schools, included interactive booths where kids could see robots, get behind the wheel of a student-built racecar and play games with a science or tech twist.

Participating companies and organizations with booths included Flatiron’s Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), Google (which has an office in Chelsea), Facebook, Pinterest, The Cooper Union, First Robotics and Black Girls Code. At the Cooper Union booth, the racecar on display, which students raised $50,000 from sponsors to build, was a popular stop.

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Civic groups oppose city proposal for half of street fair vendors to be community-based

Carol Schachter, vice president of the 13th Precinct Community Council, pictured at right at a recent street fair that the Community Council sponsored, with a member, Pat Sallin, and its president, Frank Scala (Photo by Mary Mahoney)

Carol Schachter, vice president of the 13th Precinct Community Council, pictured at right at a recent street fair that the Community Council sponsored, with a member, Pat Sallin, and its president, Frank Scala (Photo by Mary Mahoney)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Community organizers are worried that proposed new rules requiring participation from local businesses in street festivals will affect their revenue because they feel there won’t be enough participation from neighborhood vendors.

The Mayor’s Office of Citywide Events Coordination and Management (OCECM), which oversees the Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO), proposed new rules for street festivals, including a requirement that 50 percent of participating vendors have a business or local presence within the same community board as the festival, as well as a limit on how many are allowed per community board every year, decreasing the number from 18 to 10.

Carol Schachter, who’s the vice president of the 13th Precinct Community Council, said that a number of groups depend on revenue from local street fairs to fund programming for the neighborhood. Schachter attempted to provide testimony about the issue at the public hearing held last Thursday but noted that the hearing was held in a small room without enough space to accommodate all those who wanted to speak.

“Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association hosts events like tangos in the park. They rely on street fair revenue,” she said. “We don’t have money as community organizations to pay for these things otherwise. We need that money for National Night Out: the giveaways, ice cream truck, they all have to be paid for and it’s paid for by revenue from street fairs.”

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Local pols, Rick Hayduk will speak at Oct. 22 ST-PCV Tenants Association meeting

ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk

ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association will hold an open tenants meeting on Saturday, October 22, at 1 p.m. in the auditorium of IS 104, 20th Street between First and Second Avenues.Speakers will include: President of the ST-PCV Tenants Association Susan Steinberg, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Rick Hayduk, CEO/General Manager of StuyTown Property Services. The general theme will be the state of the community. Each speaker will briefly address issues as they directly relate to and affect Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, from the L train shutdown to the telephone scams targeting the community, from MCIs to rent-freeze month. An open-mic question-and-answer period will follow.

“Tenants will want to hear from our own elected representatives as to what they have been doing on our behalf,” said Steinberg. “We also plan to provide a summary of TA activities during the year. This is an important meeting, and we hope to see a packed auditorium.”

Help for mom and pop lies in pending legislation

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Robert Cornegy, pictured last year while introducing a bill that a rep for Cornegy recently insisted isn’t dead (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Robert Cornegy, pictured last year while introducing a bill that a rep for Cornegy recently insisted isn’t dead (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Recently, a couple of City Council members proposed ideas on ways to combat “high rent blight” and promote retail diversity, or at least, keep the city from completely getting overtaken by chains.

This was at a hearing where the council members’ ideas, such as putting legislative restrictions on chain stores and imposing penalties on landlords who warehouse storefronts, were shot down by city planners.

According to the planners, as Town & Village previously reported, many stores that appear to be chains are actually individually owned franchises and as for lengthy retail vacancies, sometimes, the planners argued, they are not necessarily intentional on the part of property owners.

Meanwhile, a few legislators, including Council Member Robert Cornegy, the small business committee chair who’d chaired the aforementioned hearing on September 30, have come up with some legislative ideas to deal with the problem already.

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Letters to the Editor, Oct. 20

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Impeding street fairs will hurt New York

The following is an open letter to Michael Paul Carey, executive director, Office of Citywide Event Coordination & Management at the Office of the Mayor, from the president of the Tilden Democratic Club.

Dear Mr. Carey,

I write to you on behalf of the Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club and other concerned citizens of New York City concerning the proposed changes in the street fair rules. It is our view that these proposed changes will only serve to restrict New Yorkers’ access to all of the many benefits the street fairs provide.

The Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club has taken a booth at the Third Avenue Fair for over 25 years. As a result of our participation, we raised approximately $300,000, which was donated to very worthy community groups which included senior programs, libraries, shelter programs, homeless programs, hospital clothing rooms, art and literacy programs, cancer programs, music programs and programs for the disabled youth and adults among others.

The residents of Community Board Six are direct recipients of our street fair driven donations. Over 90 percent of the licensed street vendors live in New York City. New York City residents directly benefit by being vendors and consumers at the fair.

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