Mailman arrested for assault on Saturday

Columbia Care Medical Marijuana Dispensary on Monday afternoon (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a mailman for assault in the East Village on Saturday at 3 p.m. after he kicked a door at the East 14th marijuana dispensary and allegedly hit an officer when police tracked him down nearby.

Thirty-year-old Daniel Jean was attempting to deliver mail to the Columbia Care Medical Marijuana Dispensary at 212 East 14th Street around 2 p.m., Gothamist reported on Sunday. Jean allegedly got into an argument with a security guard, who told him he wasn’t allowed in the building.

Police said that Jean and the guard got into an argument and the guard told him he could give her the mail but he allegedly refused. He left but returned shortly after and gave the mail to someone else, then left the dispensary again. He allegedly returned to the building a third time and kicked a door, prompting the security guard to call the police. The district attorney’s office said that the damage to the door and lock prevented the door from being able to open.

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Opinion: Trump’s disciples

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

There is an old saying that “nothing succeeds like success.” In politics that is an axiom of election strategy. When a political campaign is successful, especially one that is so unexpected, it is carefully studied and often times imitated by the next group of candidates.

Last year we saw the rise of Donald Trump to the Presidency. He accomplished this long shot feat by breaking all the rules of political decorum. He was not only brash and boastful, he had absolutely no experience in government. He was beyond just a provocateur, he was personally offensive to his political adversaries and all those who opposed him in any way. He took the low road with insults and slurs. He targeted and attacked religious and ethnic groups much to the delight of many in his fan base. He offered up lies and passed them off as fact and made promises to his supporters that he has already broken. But there he is in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and that was the point of it all.

So the Trump model of political campaigning is now taking root. Right here in New York State there are two individuals interested in running for high office who are doing their best Trump impersonation, hoping that such a style may propel them too into high office. Call them candidate copycats. Call it trickle down politics.

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Man found dead in East River

East River

The East River (pictured in 2012). (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel.)

By Sabina Mollot

A man was found floating in the East River at around East 14th Street on Sunday afternoon, and as of Monday morning, police said they believe they know who it is.

While they wouldn’t release the name of the individual prior to his being officially identified by a family member, police said they are pretty certain it’s a 24-year-old homeless man with a history of depression.

A police source added that no criminality is suspected at this time. However, the investigation is ongoing and the NYC Medical Examiner is looking into the cause of death.

The man, after being pulled out of the water by the NYPD’s Marine and SCUBA Units at around 2:30 p.m., was taken to the Skyport Marina on East 23rd Street, where he was pronounced dead.

UPDATE on Tuesday: A woman who said she was the man’s mother told Town & Village her son “was a good person.”

The woman, who didn’t want to give her name, added that she last saw her son a month ago. “He was always helping everyone. I raised him to be a gentleman and he was a goodhearted person. We will all miss him.”

Former teacher enters race for City Council

Vanessa Aronson says her priorities include improving schools and help for immigrants. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The race for the City Council seat currently held by Dan Garodnick has its newest candidate in Vanessa Aronson, a former teacher who previously held a federal government job.

Aronson, an Upper East Sider, officially joined the race a little over a month ago as a Democrat.

Recently, over coffee at Juan Valdez on Lexington Avenue, she discussed her platform, which focuses on education, better access around the city for the disabled and helping immigrants.

Aronson, who taught six and seventh grade science at a public school in Washington Heights until becoming a candidate, said her students and the problems they faced were among the reasons that inspired her to run for office.

“When I became a teacher I wanted to make a difference, because education opened up a lot of opportunities for me,” she said. “But what I learned was that the biggest challenge facing my students wasn’t homework but the instability of urban life.”

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Garodnick: Commercial Rent Tax bill would hardly cost city anything

Council Member Dan Garodnick, pictured with Borough President Gale Brewer and local business owners outside Whisk in Flatiron (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A day after Mayor de Blasio released his executive budget, a handful of local elected officials took the opportunity to push for legislation that would eliminate the Commercial Rent Tax for about 3,400 small business owners in Manhattan.

The bill, which is sponsored by Council Members Dan Garodnick and Helen Rosenthal, was first announced in 2015, and at this point has 35 co-sponsors in the Council.

If passed it would raise the threshold of rent retailers who must pay the tax from those paying $250,000 a year to $500,000 year. The tax, which was first implemented in 1963, only applies to Manhattan businesses between Chambers Street and 96th Street. Garodnick has said raising the rent threshold would help 40 percent of the businesses owners now paying the tax while only costing the city six percent of the revenue the tax brings in, about $4.5 million.

Natasha Amott, the owner of Whisk, a kitchen related goods shop in Flatiron, where the announcement on the bill was made last Thursday, said her CRT costs her $15,000 a year. This is on top of the $315,000 she pays in rent each year and another standard corporate tax.

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Council candidates for District 2 agree to rezone Tech Hub area

The P.C. Richard & Son store on East 14th Street where the Tech Hub is proposed

Maria Rocha-Buschel

Three of the candidates running to replace term-limited Councilwoman Rosie Mendez in District 2 have all pledged their support for rezoning the area around the proposed “Tech Hub” on East 14th Street. The candidates committed their support at a candidate night hosted by historic preservation groups at the Third Street Music School on Monday night.

Nearly 100 concerned residents packed a recital hall in the East 11th Street building while District 2 candidates, as well as candidates running against incumbent Margaret Chin in District 1, fielded questions about their commitment to historic preservation in the neighborhood.

Candidates Erin Hussein, Carlina Rivera and Mary Silver, all Democrats, were all in attendance for the event, although Jasmine Sanchez and Ronnie Cho, who are also running for the seat, were unable to make it.

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Opinion: Tech Hub another oversized development

May4 E 12th St buildings

These three 19th century buildings at 47 East 12th Street (left) and 827-831 Broadway are slated to be replaced with a 300-foot-tall office tower. (Photo courtesy of GVSHP)

 

By Andrew Berman, Executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

Previously unheard of development is streaming ahead in the blocks between Union Square and Astor Place, Fifth and Third Avenues. A 300 ft. tall luxury condo tower is rising on University Place and 12th Street. A 300 ft. tall office tower is planned for Broadway and 12th Street. A 120-room hotel for party-hopping millennials is going up on East 11th Street. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Why is this happening in a largely residential neighborhood known for its historic character and modest scale? Mostly because the area’s zoning dates to 1961, when the neighborhood was largely commercial, and tall towers rather than contextual development were in vogue. And although virtually everyone in the affected community, including elected officials, supports a rezoning we proposed that would put reasonable height limits in place, reinforce the area’s residential character, and add affordable housing incentives, the mayor adamantly opposes it.

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Police Watch: Man nabbed for assaulting senior, Cyclist arrested for assault

MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULTING SENIOR
Police arrested 41-year-old Ralph Ferreiras for assault, menacing and weapons possession last Friday at 1 p.m. inside the 13th precinct. Police said that Ferreiras punched the victim in the face and in the ribs, and he was allegedly in possession of a baseball bat when he was assaulting the victim, who police said is over 65 years old.

CYCLIST ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT
Police arrested 21-year-old Aaron Adderley for assault at the corner of Broadway and West 24th Street last Tuesday at 4:44 p.m. Police said that Adderley and the victim were both riding bicycles near the intersection when Adderley allegedly cut the victim off, bumping their bikes and causing Adderley to fall off the bike. The suspect got up off the ground and allegedly began punching the victim in the face, causing pain and redness.

MAN NABBED FOR STRING OF CELL PHONE THEFTS
Police arrested 37-year-old D’wayne Ferguson for grand larceny and petit larceny for seven cell phone thefts from stores last Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Police said that Ferguson snatched Apple iPhones from stores on two different occasions and he allegedly stole Samsung and other phones on five different occasions, sometimes snatching more than one phone at once.
Ferguson was charged for the incidents inside the 13th precinct.

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Mom, son tried to get ST apt. with fake ID, cops say

Stuyvesant Town leasing office (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police busted a woman and her son for attempting to lease an apartment in Peter Cooper Village and in Murray Hill with an allegedly stolen identity last Tuesday. Christine Thompson, 48, and 19-year-old Christopher Vlado were arrested inside the Stuyvesant Town leasing office at 252 First Avenue after the pair went through the application process for apartments at 370 First Avenue in Peter Cooper and at 12 East 37th Street in April.

Thompson and Vlado allegedly toured the apartment in Peter Cooper Village on April 14.

The DA’s office said that Thompson went into the Stuy Town leasing office on April 22 and applied for the Peter Cooper apartment, allegedly presenting herself as the victim whose ID was being used. She reportedly signed the application that day and returned to the leasing office last Tuesday to sign the lease agreement. According to the DA’s office, Vlado sat with Thompson while she went through the application and pointed out where she needed to sign the victim’s name. She allegedly signed the victim’s name 33 times on the lease agreement and provided management with 12 money orders, each with the victim’s name in the signature.

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Residents welcome flea market’s return

Near First Ave Loop

The first Stuyvesant Town flea market to be held in 17 years was well attended by vendors and shoppers.

By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday, thousands gathered around the Oval for the long-awaited Stuyvesant Town flea market, last held before 9/11.

After the attack on the Twin Towers, management cancelled the annual market, citing homeland security, but then never again held another one. This led many residents to suspect the reason had more to do with the timing as the property was going market rate and the decades-long tradition was suddenly being seen as too low brow.

However, if the event’s comeback crowd was any indication, community members welcomed the opportunity to make a few bucks cleaning out their closets.

There were 510 vendor spots around the Oval, stretching north and south towards the inside of the First Avenue and Avenue C Loop roads. There were also a handful of vendors alongside the 14th Street and 20th Street Loops and even inside Playground 11. There weren’t many no-shows for vendor spaces (two percent according to management’s count), although at least one empty spot this reporter passed by was quickly scooped up by someone with a stash of handbags. It isn’t clear how long this would-be vendor was there though since selling bags was against management’s rules. Other rules, aimed at preventing bedbugs, forbid the sale of clothing and furniture.

Jade Lee, a longtime resident who’d set up her table early, said she’d made lots of sales of books and trinkets within the first hour.

“I just wanted to get rid of things in my apartment but half of it’s gone,” said Lee, who was stationed close to First Avenue.

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Garodnick: Travel ban will hurt NYC economy

Council Member Dan Garodnick

By Sabina Mollot

Concerned about the potential impacts the federal travel ban could have on New York City’s economy, Council Member Dan Garodnick chaired a hearing on the subject, where speakers said the ban has already caused financial losses.

Speakers from different organizations testified against the ban, with the takeaway message being that not only would it cut off access to business opportunities, but that New York has already suffered because of the ban — even without it having gone into effect. Garodnick, who chairs the Council’s Economic Development Committee, has openly blasted the president’s order as the “Muslim Travel Ban,” as it aimed to suspend entry to the United States by visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries. While federal courts ultimately were able to temporarily block the executive order, “the damage was done,” Garodnick said. He also referred to a more recent ban of electronics bigger than a cellphone on flights to the United States from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa.

“Let’s get real,” said Garodnick. “Prohibiting a business traveler from accessing a laptop or tablet during a 13-hour flight does more than create an inconvenience. It means an entire day of lost work — and productivity on the plane.” He also argued that any motivated terrorist would just find a way around the rule, anyway.

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