Man wanted for bank robbery and two unsuccessful attempts

Robbery suspect

Police are on the lookout for a man who robbed one bank and tried to rob two others, including a bank in Union Square.

The robber, who would slip demand notes through the teller windows each time, first hit the HSBC Bank at 15 Union Square West on Wednesday, August 16 at 12:25 p.m. After passing a note to the teller, a 54-year-old woman, she walked away from the window and the suspect fled empty-handed.

Then, at 1:40 p.m., he tried his luck at a Chase Bank at 1260 Broadway between 33rd and 34th Streets. This time, the man got away with cash and fled.

Police believe the same man tried to rob another Chase Bank at 2099 Broadway at 73rd Street on Friday, August 18 at 4:20 p.m. The teller did not comply, though, and the robber fled southbound on Broadway.  Continue reading

Opinion: For once the president shuts up

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

Say this about Donald Trump, he knows his base… and they evidently know him.

During his campaign rallies, he would preen and strut around the stage and insult his opponents with childish name-calling. On occasions, he would arouse his supporters by saying he’d like to punch demonstrators and see them carried out on stretchers. Music to the ears of the unstable.

As president, he urges police to rough up persons they arrest. He calls transgender individuals unfit to serve in the military in any capacity. He makes up facts and lies constantly. Is it any wonder that violent irrational groups previously relegated to the shadowy fringes of society now feel emboldened to take to the streets?

He labels the press as “enemies of the people.” But when Neo-Nazis and assorted white supremacy hate groups gathered in an incendiary demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend, spewing racist and anti-Semitic slogans while parading as the Ku Klux Klan once did, our self-styled “tell it like it is” president had very little to say. He demurred from confronting the gaggle of haters who use Nazi symbols and KKK imagery to intimidate. Instead, he offered muted opposition to bigotry “from many places.” His initial statement refused to identify or condemn the instigators of this violence or single them out in any way.

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Renovation work stops in four PCV apartments due to lack of permits

Peter Cooper Village

By Sabina Mollot

This week, the city issued stop work orders on four apartments in Peter Cooper Village that had been undergoing renovations, due to a lack of permits. The four units were among the 115 apartments in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village that are being reconfigured to add an additional bedroom in each, and management is currently in the process of applying for the permits for the work.

The Department of Buildings issued the stop work orders after inspecting the apartments on Friday morning, the ST-PCV Tenants Association said. In five apartments, they found three violations in each, all related to work without a permit. Stop work orders were issued on only four, though, since management was able to immediately get a permit for one of the units.

Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg said it was the TA who tipped off the city to the problem as well as alerting management, who had been unaware of the lack of permits. The TA was initially only looking into the situation after hearing from several tenants in neighboring apartments to the ones being renovated, who were complaining about noise, vibrations and even walls cracking. While management has been responsive to requests for repairs that Steinberg’s aware of, a few eagle-eyed residents also noticed that permits weren’t posted in buildings.

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Street in Flatiron redesigned for safety

The newly-paved Broadway looking north (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A block on Broadway between West 24th and 25th Streets adjacent to Madison Square Park has been redesigned, with the aim of making the area safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

The Department of Transportation piloted a similar “Shared Streets” model in Lower Manhattan for a single Saturday last August and decided to implement the model in the Flatiron District permanently. The city made this one permanent because pedestrians outnumber vehicles on this particular block of Broadway by an 18:1 margin during peak evening hours.

The DOT has been working with the Flatiron BID and the Madison Square Park Conservancy on clarifying the often-chaotic intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue and made the adjustments by instituting a new five-mile-per-hour speed limit, changing the color of the asphalt and adding crosswalks and protected bike lanes.

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No one yet vying for Kavanagh’s Assembly seat

Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh is a candidate Daniel Squadron’s Senate seat. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh having expressed his interest in taking over the State Senate seat occupied by Daniel Squadron, who announced his resignation last week, it is unclear who would fill Kavanagh’s spot in Albany if he’s successful.

Two obvious choices would be City Council Members Dan Garodnick and Rosie Mendez, since they both live in the area covered by Assembly District 74 and are both getting term-limited out of the Council. However, neither of them has given any hint that they’re interested in the job, which involves taking a substantial pay cut and regularly commuting to the state capital.

Reached on the phone a day after Kavanagh made his announcement of his intention to seek the Senate seat, Mendez said she hadn’t had a chance to give it much thought.

“It’s absolutely too soon to say,” she told us. Instead, Mendez said, she’s been focusing on all the things she wants to get done before leaving office. “It’s a busy time. My plan was to start looking for a job after the primary.”

She did, however, get a call from Kavanagh ahead of his announcement to share his intentions and she also heard from others she didn’t name who were interested in running for the vacant Senate seat.

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Real estate attorney running for City Council

Erin Hussein (Photos courtesy of Erin Hussein)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Real estate attorney Erin Hussein, a candidate for City Council, said that she was motivated to join the race because she’s invested in her neighborhood, the East Village.

“I’m running for District 2 because of District 2,” she said. “I’ve lived here for more than 20 years and it’s been intertwined with my entire life.”

Hussein, a Democrat, is running to replace term-limited City Councilmember Rosie Mendez. She moved to the city for college in 1988 after growing up in Waterbury, Connecticut. While New York is a bigger city, Hussein said she sees neighborhoods that make up the communities as similar to small towns like hers.

“Cities are organisms,” she said. “It’s a collection of neighborhoods, a collection of people. But we’re becoming less focused on people and more focused on buildings, and on the very wealthy elites.”

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Parents sent letters after too-young kids visit new playground

The fitness playground opened on August 1. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Since the opening of the new fitness playground in Stuyvesant Town on August 1, management has been taking the space’s age restrictions seriously, by putting some parents on notice.

Over the weekend, we heard from David Dartley, a resident who was irked to receive a letter from management he described as “creepy,” that asked him to keep his too-young kid out of the playground.

The letter, signed from Public Safety Chief William McClellan, read, in part, “As we’re of the belief that your child was observed on the Fitness Playground this past weekend, we respectfully ask that you adhere to the policies for the good of all residents who wish to work out without interference from unsupervised children.”

Dartley admitted to us that his kids were on the playground, explaining that he saw other young children there too, and figured the worst thing that could happen is for them to get kicked out. The playground is restricted to users who are 15 and up as well as 12-14 with parental supervision.

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Man threatens to shoot victim in Union Square

Aug24 robbery Union Square

Robbery suspect

Police are hunting a robber they say threatened to shoot a man who was stuck in traffic in Union Square.

According to police, the victim, a 35-year-old man, was in his car on East 13th Street between Broadway and Fourth Avenue, when the other man opened the rear door and got in. He then demanded money, threatening to shoot the victim if he didn’t comply. The victim turned over his cash and the mugger fled the car. It isn’t clear if he actually had a gun.

The incident occurred on July 21, but police only released an advisory on Thursday night.

The suspect is described as black with a dark complexion and 30-35 years old. He was last seen wearing a white short sleeved shirt, black and blue baseball cap and dark sunglasses.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS 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 texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

Letters to the editor, Aug. 17

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Playgrounds should be monitored

Re: Editorial, “That’s some key (card),” T&V, Aug. 10

Dear Editor:

I agree with you that “more boots on the ground” are needed in Stuy Town/Cooper Village, but that should be a 24-hour a day situation. The playgrounds are not open in inclement weather, and in fair weather they are only open from 9:15 a.m. to dusk.

Let us not forget that this was the first and (perhaps) still only “private, gated community” in Manhattan. We have no lobby concierges, and the fact is that there are many “outsiders” walking into this supposedly private community from north, south, east and west of the development. Not all are here to see our beautiful gardens and fountains! Many residents bring guests in, and that is just fine, as long as they are guests and not intruders. In my opinion, those guard posts at all entrances that cost thousands of dollars to build and stand empty year after year, should be manned, especially between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.

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City Council takes aim at bullying landlords

Council Member Helen Rosenthal has proposed opening an Office of tenant Advocate. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last Wednesday, the City Council overwhelmingly passed a set of bills that’s been dubbed the Stand for Tenant Safety Act. The legislation aims to crack down on acts of harassment by unscrupulous landlords by increasing penalties and making it easier for tenants to prove they’re being harassed, including when the behavior comes in the form of construction. Other bills call for the creation of a task force as well as a new office to help tenants cut through red tape.

That bill, sponsored by Helen Rosenthal, would create an “Office of Tenant Advocate” within the Department of Buildings.

“While many at DOB do important work on behalf of tenants, the bureaucracy just isn’t in place to make tenants’ voices heard,” Rosenthal said. “This bill will change that, giving tenants a dedicated watchdog and workhorse on their behalf.”

The bill to create a task force is aimed at evaluating current practices used by city agencies with regards to renovation and construction at residential buildings. Dan Garodnick, who sponsored this bill, said the task force would then come up with ideas to improve communication between the agencies, including the DOB, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the mayor’s office.

“Construction harassment is a lesser known but deeply troubling form of harassment,” Garodnick said. “We are determined to deliver effective and consistent strategies to help combat this practice.”

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Fourth teen nabbed for robbery near PCV

Peter Cooper Village

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a fourth teenager in connection with a robbery that took place on East 20th Street outside Peter Cooper Village in July and police are reportedly still looking for five additional suspects.

Police said that the teen was accompanied by eight other people who snatched the victim’s cell phone while hitting him with hockey sticks. Three of the teens were arrested earlier this month, as Town & Village previously reported.

Because all of the suspects so far are minors, no further information is available about where they live and their names are withheld from the public due to their young age. The most recent suspect was charged inside the 13th Precinct last Tuesday at 1:20 a.m.

Although the incident took place outside Peter Cooper Village and not on the property, StuyTown Property Services spokeswoman Paula Chirhart commented on the issue to note that management takes such incidents seriously.

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UPDATED: Gramercy woman reported missing

Aug24 missing

Olivia Novik

UPDATE: Police report Novik has been found and is safe.

Police are asking for help in finding a missing Gramercy woman who was last seen on Monday, August 14 in the East Village.
Olivia Novik, 26, is a resident of the Gramercy Arms building at 145 East 15th Street.

She is described as approximately 5’6″ tall, 140 lbs. with brown eyes and long brown hair and has a tattoo of an olive branch on her back. The missing might be wearing a brown and white blouse with dark leggings and sandals.

Anyone with information 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 tips by logging onto tnypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Police Watch: Different suspects wanted for robbery at bubble tea spot, menacing at nightclub

One of the two suspects

TWO WANTED FOR ATTEMPTED ROBBERY AT BUBBLE TEA SPOT
The NYPD is on the lookout for two men who tried to rob a bubble tea shop in Flatiron.
On Friday, August 11 at 7 p.m., two men entered a Coco bubble tea spot, located at 38 Lexington Avenue and East 24th Street. One of the men approached the counter, simulated a gun with his hand under his sweatshirt and demanded cash from the register. However, they ended up fleeing the location without getting any money.
The first suspect is described as black, 20-30 years old and was last seen wearing a blue head scarf, white hooded sweat jacket, green knapsack, blue jeans and black shoes.
The second suspect is described as white or Hispanic, approximately 20-30 years old and was last seen wearing a black baseball cap, gray hooded sweat jacket, white T-shirt, blue jeans, sneakers and was walking with a cane.
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.

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Cops investigate suspicious package at First Avenue L train station

Aug17 bomb scare

By Sabina Mollot

At around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the NYPD Bomb Squad cordoned off First Avenue near the L train station on East 14th Street and the station itself after getting a 911 call about a suspicious package. However, by 5:40 p.m., the NYPD gave the all clear. As for what the package, which had been seen under a bench on the southbound platform was, a spokesperson for the department said he didn’t know other than “It wasn’t a bomb.” The photo, taken by Stuyvesant Town resident Henry Beck shows a traffic-free First Avenue at around 15th Street at 5:30 p.m. today.

 

Weekly historic walks bring Flatiron District’s past to life

Miriam Berman on a recent tour (Photo courtesy of 23rd Street/Flatiron Partnership/BID)

By Sabina Mollot

During the summertime, residents of Flatiron have come to expect an array of things to do in the neighborhood that are all free, from tech lectures on the pedestrian plaza to morning kids’ concerts in the park to outdoor fitness classes. But there’s one event that takes place every Sunday all year long and that would be the free guided historic tour of the district.

The walk, sponsored by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership/BID has three guides who work on rotation. One of them is Miriam Berman, who gives tours about twice a month and in 2001, wrote a book about the community, Madison Square: The Park and Its Celebrated Landmarks. Other guides are Mike Kaback and Fred Cookinham.

Recently, Berman spoke with Town & Village about the BID’s long-running event, some surprising facts about the Flatiron neighborhood and her own interest in the area, which she refers to as Madison Square.

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