Stuy Town residents celebrated Hanukkah, Festival of Lights, at the Oval on Wednesday evening. The event was kicked off by East End Temple Rabbi Dennis Ross giving a blessing and lighting the candles on a menorah constructed on the Oval lawn.
After the lighting, attendees enjoyed cider, hot chocolate and doughnuts provided by Five Stuy Café. Yosi, from the band Yosi and the Superdads, played Hanukkah-themed music. Children gathered around him and danced to songs like “I Have a Little Dreidel.”
Children also decorated their own menorah-shaped napkin holders at a table nearby. The young event attendees were also treated to toy dreidels and gelt.
Quik Park, which operates the parking garages in STPCV, recently announced that customers would face a fee unless they enrolled in the online payment plan that automatically charges the monthly bill to a credit card or bank account, but Councilmember Dan Garodnick said his office has learned that this new policy will not be implemented.
Councilmember Garodnick sent a letter to StuyTown general manager Rick Hayduk and Quik Park CEO Rafael Llopiz on Wednesday regarding the new proposed policy, arguing that online payment would adversely affect the high senior population in STPCV. Garodnick noted that concerns about the proposed policy were especially high given that Quik Park had also increased its rates earlier this year.
Llopiz did not respond to a request for comment on the policy. Councilmember Garodnick’s letter to Llopiz and Hayduk is below.
It’s been said that all news is local and this year that could even be said about major news coverage ranging from the presidential election to a terrorist attack to a now infamous hate crime hoax.
Read on for T&V’s roundup of the top 10 local news developments (and stories with a local impact) of the year.
Mount Sinai Beth Israel (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
1. After rumors swirled of an impending closure, the administration of Mount Sinai Beth Israel announced that it would be downsizing the hospital, which has over 800 beds, to a much smaller one with 70 beds and an outpatient care model. The main campus across from Stuyvesant Town on First Avenue, deemed too old and costly to bring up to modern specifications (a renovation estimate was $1.3 billion) would eventually be put on the market. However, hospital brass has said this would only happen following the building of a new hospital adjacent to the Eye and Ear Infirmary on East 14th Street. The rebuild, estimated to cost around $500,000, is a process that has already begun with improvements to existing facilities like the ambulatory center in Union Square. In related news, Beth Israel’s president Suzanne Somerville recently stepped down, while a Peter Cooper Village doctor, Jeremy Boal, has been named the president of Mount Sinai Downtown. This includes Beth Israel and the Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Police are looking for a subway performer in connection with a phone snatching that took place on Christmas Day around 2 p.m. in the 13th precinct.
Police sources said that the 54-year-old victim was traveling on the L train with his wife and son and while the train was between First and Third Avenues, the suspect and others began breakdancing in the car. The victim told police that he asked them to stop because the noise was disturbing his sleeping son. Sources said that the suspect and other performers ignored him, so the victim began filming them. When the train pulled into the station at Third Avenue, the suspect reportedly grabbed the victim’s Samsung Galaxy phone and ran off the train. The victim said that he ran onto the platform after him, tackling the suspect and knocking the phone to the ground. The breakdancer then fled the station and no arrest was made at the time of the incident.
Police described the suspect as a black man around 5’6″ and approximately 160 lbs. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips and TIP577 to 274637 (CRIMES).
Parent Mitch Horowitz said this man urinated on the street and then lingered by a schoolbus, smiling at the kids inside.
By Sabina Mollot
Residents of Kips Bay have long complained about homeless men in the area being out of control but on Friday morning, the antics of one bum managed even to shock locals when he dropped his pants and peed across the street from a school.
Around two dozen fourth graders were outside the school on East 33rd Street, PS 116, when it happened, as was one boy’s father, who was there to chaperone a class trip.
The parent, Mitch Horowitz, watched as the man exposed himself and urinated, not bothering to face away from the kids outside. “He was not even standing next to a wall,” said Horowitz. “He was in full view of passersby and kids who were lined up outside.”
Fortunately, Horowitz said, he didn’t think any of the kids happened to see this, since they were busy talking amongst themselves about Pokemon and other matters.
“Thank God for childhood,” said Horowitz. “They weren’t scrutinizing things going on across the street like I am.”
MAN WANTED FOR NOMAD BURGLARY
Police are looking for a man believed to be behind to a burglary in NoMad. It was reported to police that on Sunday, December 18 at 1:30 a.m. the man got into Ajisen Ramsen Restaurant, located at 136 West 28th Street, through an unsecured basement door. Once inside, he attempted to get into a safe, but failed. The suspect then proceeded to remove a Playstation and iPhone before fleeing.
He was described as a black man wearing a black coat with a hooded sweater underneath and was wearing a black and grey backpack.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.
Bank robbery suspect
POLICE LOOKING FOR CAPITAL ONE BANK ROBBER
The NYPD is asking for help finding a man they say robbed a Capital One Bank located at 470 Park Avenue South and East 31st Street. Police said that on Tuesday at around 4:20 p.m. the man approached a bank teller and passed a note demanding money.
The teller complied and gave the suspect an undetermined amount of cash. He then fled south on Park Avenue South.
The man is described as black, 50 to 60 years old, approximately six feet in height with a slim build. He was last seen wearing a black baseball cap, a gray hooded coat, light colored pants and brown shoes.
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.
MAN NABBED FOR DRIVING STOLEN CAR
Police arrested 21-year-old Mena Hanna for unauthorized use of vehicle in front of 270 Park Avenue South last Wednesday at 12:30 a.m. Police said that Hanna was stopped while driving because the car he was in had been reported stolen.
A fire in Kips Bay that killed two dogs but left no residents injured was electrical, the FDNY said.
A spokesperson for the FDNY told Town & Village there was a problem with the electrical wiring in the ceiling of a fourth-floor apartment.
The fire had broken out in a four-story building at 122 Lexington Avenue on Monday, the day after Christmas.
The New York Post reported that the blaze started in a fourth floor apartment of the building, which is near East 28th Street, and spread to the third floor and roof, also damaging a restaurant on the ground.
Officials told the Post that residents were not able to return to their apartments on the third and fourth floors on Monday night but apartments on the second floor may still have been habitable.
The FDNY said that the fire started around 6 p.m. and was under control about 20 minutes later. Three firefighters were sent to Bellevue with non-life-threatening injuries.
By now everyone is familiar with the harassment hoax perpetrated by a Muslim Baruch College student. Because of her actions the headlines have been fast and, understandably, furious. But curiously what seems to have been included in the stories merely as an afterthought is the fact that since the hate crime drama turned out to be a lie, the student, Yasmin Seweid’s, head was shaved, apparently as a punishment by her parents. Additionally, her once thick eyebrows appear to have been shaved down as well. Gone also is the hijab she claimed white Trump supporters tried to pull off her head on the train although the meaning behind its absence hasn’t been made clear.
According to a Daily News story the punishment wasn’t just over lying to the NYPD, the press, her family and everyone else about the bias incident. It was also because she’d been dating a Christian. She had also reportedly been out past her curfew and the reaction from her parents at the time seemed far scarier to her than the risks associated with making a false police report.And now we know why. To describe her parents simply as strict would be an understatement when considering that this particular punishment was inflicted with the intent of humiliating their adult daughter in a very public way.
What can you say about a guy who breaks all the precedents, smashes conventions and blazes a totally new path? Well, you could say that person is an innovator and a risk taker. But in the presidency? And with a man with absolutely no government experience? Thus far, Donald Trump has refused to
hold any press conferences, release any of his tax returns, or be held accountable for his vast business entanglements. And given his international business relationships, an understanding of where conflicts of interest exist is essential.
The President of the United States is supposed to be free from any external influence that might taint his decision making.
But Trump says NO to releasing information about his outside businesses or his taxes, something that no President has refused in 40 years. Trump further breaks with tradition by declaring that he will not disengage from his sprawling private real estate empire by divesting or placing them in some form of a blind trust. Instead he says that his closest family members can run them with no impact on his presidential decisions.
Gifts donated to Mount Sinai Beth Israel (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Readers of Town & Village have once again made the holidays a little brighter for children stuck in hospital rooms as well as the families utilizing the outpatient clinics run by Mount Sinai Beth Israel by donating over 250 toys to this newspaper’s annual drive.
Gifts for kids of all ages were donated this year, from board games to books to stuffed animals to arts and crafts supplies to games sure to cheer any fan of Star Wars.
Town & Village’s partners on this longstanding community tradition are Blackstone/Stuy Town Property Services, the management of Waterside Plaza and M&T Bank on First Avenue and 23rd Street, who all provided convenient toy dropoff sites.
Bonnie Robbins, PhD, coordinator of children and family services at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, has said in recent years the hospital has faced some difficulty in getting enough toys to meet the needs of patients. This is due to the economy as well as other factors like drives for larger organizations competing for the support of individuals as well as toy retailers.
The hospital’s clinics are located throughout the city with three in the Kips Bay/Gramercy area, and for many patient families, parents often have to choose between clothes for their children or toys.
Fortunately, the turnout of this year’s drive, Robbins said, will be a big help.
“We are enormously proud and grateful to be a part of this supportive, generous community,” said Robbins. “Once again residents and businesses have opened their hearts to our children. This very successful toy drive helps us to provide a happy holiday to our kids and families, and it would not be possible without the support of our fabulous neighbors.”
The staff of Town & Village would also like to say thank you and happy holidays to our readers, SPS, Waterside and M&T Bank.
It’s almost impossible to get into Rolf’s German restaurant in Gramercy around holiday time unless you’ve made your reservation in October. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Rolf’s, a German/Bavarian restaurant in Gramercy, has been known for years for its stunning display of antique dolls complemented with rows and rows of Christmas ornaments and lights strewn throughout the space during the holiday season.
But few know the history behind the tradition, which began 35 years ago and has since made the venue world-famous.
It was in 1981 when the original owner of the restaurant, Rolf Hoffman, died due to lung cancer at the age of 49.
Robert Maisano, who now owns the place, knew Hoffman and recalled how he very much wanted to keep the place a German restaurant, serving up heaping plates of schnitzel, sausages and potato pancakes.
Maisano hasn’t strayed from this mission, though the emphasis on transforming Rolf’s into a winter wonderland each year is his own.
By Sabina Mollot Cops are hunting a brute who robbed a 40-year-old woman, punched her multiple times and then demanded she strip.
Police said this happened on Wednesday, shortly before 1 p.m. at a Kips Bay acupuncture center/spa. The man strode into the business, Green Tea acupuncture wellness, at 240 East 28th Street, before demanding money from the cash register. He then punched a female employee repeatedly in the face and on her body. While grabbing her by the neck, he also told her to take off her clothes, police said. She didn’t although she did at that point give $500 to the man who fled in an unknown direction.
The woman was taken to a local hospital where she was treated and released.
The suspect is described as black-Hispanic, 6’2″ tall and 220 lbs., with blotchy skin, brown eyes and short curly black hair. He was last seen wearing a dark blue jacket, blue jeans, black sneakers and a multi-colored back pack.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
WOMAN ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY AT MAIALINO
Police arrested 34-year-old Brenda Garza inside Danny Meyer’s Maialino restaurant after she allegedly swiped a woman’s credit card and punched the victim in the face.
According to police, last Wednesday close to midnight, Garza allegedly swiped the victim’s credit card from the bar of the restaurant, which is located at the Gramercy Park Hotel. When the victim tried to get her card back, Garza allegedly punched her in the face multiple times. A witness attempted to stop Garza but then she allegedly struck him in the face as well, giving him a split lip. Bar security attempted to stop Garza from leaving the bar and as they approached her, she allegedly dropped the victim’s card on the ground, where it was found.
Garza was charged with robbery and possession of stolen property.
SECURITY BEEFED UP IN NYC HOLIDAY MARKETS AFTER TRUCK INCIDENT IN BERLIN
The NYPD has stepped up security at high profile outdoor Christmas markets throughout New York City following 12 people being killed when a truck driver plowed through a Christmas market in Berlin.
There’s no specific threat in NYC stemming from the incident in Germany, but as a precaution, the NYPD is moving heavily armed Critical Response Command officers toward these displays. Locations for the Christmas markets include Union Square, Columbus Circle and Bryant Park, as well as several others across the city.
Meanwhile, police are searching for a Tunisian man identified as Anis Amri who has multiple aliases, according to the Guardian.
The suspect’s identity papers were found inside the truck used in Monday’s attack, which left, along with those fatally injured, 48 others with injuries, CNN reported. ISIS has already claimed it inspired the attack.
WOMAN ARRESTED FOR PHONE THEFT AFTER PHOTO OF HER SHOWS UP ON VICTIM’S ICLOUD ACCOUNT
Police arrested 27-year-old Nina Roman for possession of stolen property last Tuesday at 4:58 p.m. inside A.I. Friedman at 44 West 18th Street. The victim told police that she went into the art supply store on December 10 around 4:30 p.m., where Roman works. The victim said that she put her phone down on a shelf inside the store and when she turned back to it, the phone was missing. Around 10:45 p.m. that night, she noticed that her phone pinged to Hart Street between Throop and Tompkins Avenues in Brooklyn. There was also allegedly a photo of Roman on the victim’s phone, which the victim saw because it uploaded to her iCloud and the phone is synced to the iCloud account.
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Procrastinators who’ve left their holiday shopping until the last minute needn’t worry that they’ve run out of time to find gifts people will actually want. For those frazzled folks, T&V offers a last-minute gift guide, highlighting a few local shops and holiday market booths with goods sure to please even the pickiest family members.
Hatbox of cheese (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
For the foodie Beecher’s New York, 900 Broadway, between East 19th and 20th Streets, (212) 466-3340, beechershandmadecheese.com
A cheese monger at Beecher’s told T&V said that the company’s cheese curds are a unique and frequent gift because the squeaky snack is not always easy to find. The shop also sells pre-made gift sets offering a hat box full of cheese and crackers for $55. A couple of options are available with different varieties of cheeses, with one offering the shop’s popular fig spread.
For the lactose intolerant, the shop also has a handful of quirky sauces and spreads, including the fig jam, a rosemary and pear spread and caramel mustard. For the most adventurous lactose tolerant, the shop offers a chevre cheesemaking kit for $27.
The doc features Harvey Keitel, Laurie Anderson and Graham Parker, all singing the Brooklyn-born crooner’s praises. The album is expected to be released sometime in the spring.
Finally, in keeping with what has become an annual tradition, Jeffreys will be performing at Joe’s Pub at 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. His 20-year-old daughter Savanna, who’s also a musician, will open the set with some of her own songs and the father and daughter will also perform a duet.
Reached at home, Jeffreys spoke with Town & Village about the aforementioned projects and a European tour planned for 2017.