Tenants protest landlord lawsuit aimed at undoing rent freeze

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Council Member Dan Garodnick outside the courthouse where arguments were being heard over the Rent Stabilization Association’s lawsuit (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Lawyers for a landlord group were met by an angry crowd of protesters as they arrived in court to argue against a citywide rent freeze Tuesday.

Despite freezing temperatures and snow, the sign-waving group of renters, made up mostly of seniors, led chants that at times called for either a rent freeze or a rollback.

Among their supporters was Council Member Dan Garodnick, who said, “We have seen what happens year after year, even in years when costs went down. Rents only seemed to go in one direction and that was up. As a result, evictions go up. Homelessness goes up. The Rent Guidelines Board acted totally appropriately in making that determination.”

Judge Debra James was hearing arguments from the Rent Stabilization Association, the plaintiff, and those seeking to intervene in the lawsuit, including a coalition of tenant groups, legal service organizations and 18 City Council members.

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Opinion: America’s greatness on 20th Street

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

There has been so much talk about making America great “again.” There has also been a lot said about the impact of immigrants in our nation. I submit that the two questions are inextricably tied together.

By definition, virtually every one of us are descendants of immigrants. Some from 20 years ago or less and others from 200 years ago or more. Only if your heritage traces back to say the Cherokee nation or Iroquois can you say that you are not from an immigrant family. America has always been the beacon of hope and opportunity for the multitude of newly arrived inhabitants.

This history is particularly poignant here in New York City where so many of our ancestors arrived on Ellis Island and then settled somewhere in the five boroughs. Irish, Italian, Scandinavian, East European, Asian, Indian, African, Latin American… and on and on. These immigrants built New York City and continue to serve our city in so many occupations and small businesses.

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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 26

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

I wore red, white and blue on Jan. 20

Re: Letter, “Why I’ll be wearing black on January 20,” T&V, Jan. 19

The eight years under Obama’s imperialistic rule has taken its toll on the majority of the country.

The majority kept quiet because we were told to voice our dissatisfaction with his regime will only show that we were racist against the first African-American president.

Eight years of witnessing an unvetted man take our country in a direction not familiar with our American values. Year after year he ran the country helped by Hillary as a co-president using her position as secretary of state to fattened her global foundation with donations from countries that obviously needed favors from her when she at her turn becomes president.

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East End Temple gets new rabbi

Rabbi Stanton

Rabbi Josh Stanton

By Sabina Mollot

Last May, the rabbi at East End Temple, David Adelson, left his position after 16 years to pursue a position as dean of the New York Campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Since then, the Stuyvesant Square congregation has been led by interim rabbi Dennis Ross. In July, however, East End will have a new rabbi, Josh Stanton, who is currently serving as associate rabbi at Congregation B’Nai Jeshuruna in Short Hills, New Jersey. There, Stanton’s been focused on empowering lay leaders, supporting disabled worshippers and also expanding technology in synagogue life, a passion of his that got him recognized by the Huffington Post. The news site once referred to him as one of the “best Jewish voices on Twitter.” Additionally, as Stanton told Town & Village this week, he also has a strong interest in social justice efforts, and in Jewish/Muslim relations.

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Pols, political clubs head to march

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Public Advocate Tish James, State Senator Liz Krueger and Manhattan Borough Gale Brewer (Photo by Larson Binzer)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Public Advocate Tish James, State Senator Liz Krueger and Manhattan Borough Gale Brewer (Photo by Larson Binzer)

By Sabina Mollot

Politically minded members of the community were split this past weekend on where they wanted to do their marching, with some heading to Washington, DC and others opting for the hometown event.

Local elected officials who marched in Manhattan however, included State Senator Brad Hoylman, Council Member Dan Garodnick, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Borough President Gale Brewer.

Brewer, spotted wading through the crowd at one point, told Town & Village, “This is one of the most exciting marches, if not the most exciting, I’ve ever seen. Sixty-three percent of the people who are marching around the country have never marched before. People are angry and upset and it really makes a difference.”

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14th St. developer grilled on height request

Commissioners of the Board of Standards and Appeals, including (from left to right) Chair Margery Perlmutter, Susan Hinkson and Eileen Montanez Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Commissioners of the Board of Standards and Appeals, including (from left to right) Chair Margery Perlmutter, Susan Hinkson and Eileen Montanez (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Board of Standards and Appeals accused developers of getting ahead of themselves in a rush to get a new apartment building started before the deadline for a lucrative tax break in the project at the old Peter Stuyvesant Post Office on East 14th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A.

BSA chair Margery Perlmutter said in a hearing this past Tuesday that Benenson Capital Partners and Mack Real Estate Group (MREG) “went ahead and, at enormous expense, installed foundation slabs even though their project wasn’t necessarily viable.”

The developers’ attorney John Egnatios-Beene, of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, argued at the hearing that the extra cost for building out the foundation was partially due to the construction of a full basement and the difficulties that resulted in building it due to the ground conditions. This rationale was given in addition to the developer’s previous argument that additional apartments were needed to make the project economically viable due to apartments that would be rented below market rate because of the building’s participation in the 421a affordable housing program.

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Man charged with attempted murder for attack on Kips Bay tailor

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Police picked up the suspect at the 30th Street men’s shelter.

By Sabina Mollot

A 53-year-old man who’d been staying at the 30th Street men’s shelter was arrested late Wednesday night for allegedly stabbing and robbing an elderly tailor in Kips Bay.

John Franklyn, who has five prior arrests starting in 1982, a police spokesperson said, was picked up by Staten Island police, and charged with attempted murder.

The arrest comes after the Department of Homeless Services, which oversees the Kips Bay shelter, also known locally as “Bellevue,” told neighbors the shelter would become a place for employed or employable men. This change in policy was made in 2015 after a woman was raped by a shelter resident at a nearby bar.

Police believe Franklyn strolled into Apel tailor shop on East 27th Street on Monday afternoon and demanded cash from the 78-year-old owner. The two men fought and at one point, the victim managed to chase the suspect out of the business with a chair. However, the suspect stabbed the business owner multiple times, fracturing his skull, puncturing his lung and causing other stab wounds. The victim then gave the robber $80 in cash and he fled.

The victim was described as being in critical but stable condition at a nearby hospital. It wasn’t clear by Thursday morning if Franklyn had an attorney.

 

Police Watch: Rape at Beauty Bar, Slashing at methadone clinic

POLICE ARREST MAN SUSPECTED OF RAPE AT BEAUTY BAR
Thirty-year-old Brenton Maughn-Tulloch was arrested for rape inside Beauty Bar at 231 East 14th Street last Saturday at 1:41 a.m. Police said that Maughn-Tulloch was inside a bathroom stall at the location doing lines of cocaine with a woman when he allegedly raped her. According to the DA’s office, Maughn-Tulloch pulled off the victim’s pants and pinned her against the wall of the bathroom before sexually assaulting her.
When he was searched, he was also in possession of alleged marijuana.
Maughn-Tulloch’s attorney did not return a request for comment before T&V’s press time.

MAN SLASHED IN FIGHT AT METHADONE CLINIC
Police arrested two men involved in a fight inside the Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program at Mount Sinai Beth Israel at 429 Second Avenue last Friday at 8:26 a.m. Police said that 44-year-old Nelson Segui and 44-year-old Luis Ramirez were both standing in line at the clinic when they got into an argument that escalated into a physical fight. Segui allegedly pulled out a knife and slashed Ramirez, causing an injury to his lip, and police said that his jacket was cut numerous times. Ramirez allegedly punched Segui in the face and picked up a garbage can, hitting Segui in the face and causing redness and swelling.

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Inauguration fails to inspire most people we spoke with

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The inauguration is screened to a mostly empty Stuyvesant Town Community Center. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With the majority of New York City residents not having voted for Donald Trump, the televised inauguration, which happened on Friday, wasn’t exactly must-see TV, at least not for too many people in Stuyvesant Town and Gramercy.

This became clear during the pre-inaugural ceremonies when this reporter, attempting to get some local reaction at Cooper Town Diner on First Avenue, was told “no comment” repeatedly.

But out of those who did comment, most, unsurprisingly, weren’t happy.

Josh Thompson, a Stuyvesant Town resident and Democrat candidate for mayor, once previously told T&V he considered Cooper Town to be his second office. But on this day, he was taking his food to go.

Asked for this thoughts, Thompson, an avowed “Obamacrat,” said he had recorded the inauguration of President Obama in 2009 and would go home to watch that instead.

“I’m going to do that for the day,” he said before rushing off.

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Robber fractures elderly victim’s skull, punctures lung in Kips Bay tailor shop

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Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a thug who stabbed an elderly tailor in his Kips Bay shop on Monday afternoon.

According to cops, the 78-year-old victim put up a fight when the unknown man walked into his shop, Apel Tailor at 203 East 27th Street, demanded cash, and began stabbing him. The men struggled and the attacker stabbed the victim a total of three times, once in the head, two in the torso. Eventually, the business owner gave the robber $80 and he fled in an unknown direction.

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital, where police later reported his condition as stable. The man suffered numerous stab wounds to his chest, cuts to his face, a fractured skull and a punctured left lung.

It’s unclear if the suspect was injured, although video footage obtained by ABC7 shows that the victim at one point actually managed to chase him outside the business between Third and Broadway with a chair.

Apel’s Yelp page has almost entirely positive reviews for its service and the owner’s can-do attitude.

The suspect is described as being Hispanic with a beard, between 40 and 50 years old and 160-190 lbs. He was last seen wearing a blue hooded coat, blue jeans 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) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips online at http://www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

Editorial: Squirrels: To feed or not to feed?

We definitely don’t recommend doing this. (Illustration by Sabina Mollot)

We definitely don’t recommend doing this. (Illustration by Sabina Mollot)

In mid-July, Town & Village published a story detailing recent complaints made by three parents on a neighborhood Facebook group, claiming that their children had been bitten by squirrels in Stuyvesant Town. While the squirrels in the complex are known for being overly-friendly, this was the first time we’d heard of a child getting bitten by one, let alone three. So we asked around for more opinions, which, as usual, were mixed, though most people we interviewed seemed to agree the resident squirrels were aggressive in their begging habits.

Well, as anyone who reads this paper knows, that coverage didn’t go over too well with the community’s squirrel lovers, who interpreted the parents’ concern as hatred toward the fluffy tailed critters in letters we published. In addition, this newspaper was blasted as being irresponsible. “Malicious,” “slander” and “perverse” were some of the words used to describe the article, written by Town & Village editor Sabina Mollot. Our publisher, Chris Hagedorn, even got a call from a woman who threatened to boycott every business that advertises within our pages for our treatment of the local Eastern Grey population.

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Women’s march a sign of the times

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By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday, marches were held in Washington, DC and in other cities, including New York, in midtown. Women, as well as men and children, packed behind barricades along Second Avenue in the East 40s before marching through the surrounding streets. Marchers came in all ages and ethnicities, and while women’s rights was the main theme, some participants also led chants calling for Muslim, black and LGBT rights. Meanwhile, although many elected officials were in attendance, the biggest stars of the show were the inventive signs carried by marchers, some of whom also donned knit “pussy hats” with cat ears. Many of the signs involved digs at the size of President Trump’s hands and comments he’s made about women as well as countless vagina puns.

A few included were: “Keep your tiny hands off my cuntry,” “Viva la Beaver,” “Vulva la Revolucion,” “Power: Snatch it back” and “Hey PeeOTUS, this is your pussy riot.”

See our gallery for some of the signs seen at the New York march.
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Opinion: Mirror, mirror

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

For many it seemed unthinkable. For some it was inevitable. But for all of us the moment is here. Donald J. Trump is our nation’s 45th president starting at noon, January 20, 2017. Stunning!

As with most new presidents the conjecture begins as to which other president does he most admire or wish to model himself after. The answer can offer a clue as to how he will govern.

Three Republican presidents come to mind and top the list of most admired amongst the party faithful. They are Lincoln, (Theodore) Roosevelt and Reagan. So for fun let’s mix and match and see which of these political icons best suits our new president.

Lincoln…probably not a good fit. Unlike Trump, Abraham Lincoln encouraged internal debate and criticism. He filled his inner circle with people who opposed him but whom he respected. He had empathy for people who were enslaved or victims of bigotry. And far from mocking his adversaries, as is de rigor for Trump, Lincoln declared a policy of “malice towards none and charity for all” even for those who engaged in rebellion. Trump on the other hand never misses an opportunity to attack those who have criticized him. Lincoln often deflected political affronts with self-deprecating humor.

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Attorney for Planned Parenthood discusses the de-funding threat

Zoe Segal-Reichlin, senior associate general counsel/director of advocacy and political law for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, pictured in November with her husband, Council Member Dan Garodnick, and their two sons, Devin and Asher, as they door-knocked for Hillary Clinton (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

Zoe Segal-Reichlin, senior associate general counsel/director of advocacy and political law for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, pictured in November with her husband, Council Member Dan Garodnick, and their two sons, Devin and Asher, as they door-knocked for Hillary Clinton (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

By Sabina Mollot

Inauguration Day for President-Elect Donald Trump hasn’t happened yet, but already Planned Parenthood is preparing for a major battle ahead to protect its federal funding.

Earlier in the month, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced a push by Republicans in Congress to defund the now century-old organization. While Planned Parenthood has always faced opposition from the GOP, soon there will be a Republican in the White House as well as a majority in the Senate and House.

Meanwhile, the women’s healthcare giant has vowed it won’t be going down without a fight.

Locally, Planned Parenthood has a weapon in Peter Cooper Village resident Zoe Segal-Reichlin, the senior associate general counsel and director of advocacy and political law for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Segal-Reichlin, also a mother of two and wife to City Council Member Dan Garodnick, provides advice and guidance on matters of law and regulation.

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T&V asks: Will you watch inauguration?

By Sabina Mollot

While some recent news stories have indicated tickets to the presidential inauguration, set to take place on Friday, have been getting scooped up rather slowly, the event is still sure to be what most Americans will be tuning into on television. For Republicans, it’s an opportunity go out to a local bar and celebrate with likeminded people, watching the president get sworn in on a big screen while raising big mugs. For Democrats too, drinking is likely to be involved, with voters drowning their sorrows any time the president says “huge” or accuses a news report of being fake.

This week, Town & Village asked around in the community to see who planned on watching the ceremony.

Asked if he’d be watching, Frank Scala, a Stuyvesant Town resident and president of the Albano Republican Club, said he would be.

He’d actually been invited to see the inauguration live, but won’t be able to make it. Reached at the Fifth Avenue barber shop he owns and operates, Scala explained he’ll be working that day and needs to stay open late.

So instead, he’ll be watching the event at home. Scala also admitted he’s a little concerned about how Trump will present himself as president on the big day. During the race, the Albano Club shifted from Manhattan GOP by not endorsing Trump or any other candidate.

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