ST man writes book about Jewish relatives you never knew you had

Warren Alexander, author of Cousins’ Club (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

After penning a satirical novel about America’s most unsuccessful Jewish family – despite their many schemes, including a basement bialy racket — Warren Alexander began hearing from readers around the world who felt they were reading about their own relatives.

“A woman from South Africa said, ‘This is my family,’” recalled Alexander. “A friend from Spain said, ‘Are you writing about us?’”

The Stuyvesant Town resident, whose book, Cousins’ Club, was self-published earlier this summer, said he was surprised at how universal the story seemed, considering much of the humor comes from distinctly Jewish cultural references. Not to mention, the pressure within the Jewish culture to succeed, particularly in a financial sense.

“You have 5,000 years of success. Freud, Einstein, Karl Marx, who have changed the fabric of society,” said Alexander. “Not only do you have to be successful for yourself and so your family will be proud of you but you have all these people, like Sandy Koufax and Steven Spielberg. There are only 14 million Jews worldwide, but Jews are 20 percent of the Nobel Prize winners. So you have that extra burden.”

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Woman arrested in connection with fatal butt injection on East 21st Street

Aug3 Fatal butt injection

LATESHA BYNUM

By Sabina Mollot 

Police have arrested a Queens woman believed to have been involved in the death of a woman who received a fatal cosmetic butt injection last summer in an unmarked building near Peter Cooper Village.

Allison Spence, 44, has been arrested on charges of manslaughter and unauthorized practice of profession for the injection. Spence, who police said turned herself in, allegedly acted as a nurse during the procedure, for which the suspected doctor has still not been arrested. Police said they have identified the man but haven’t disclosed his name. That man is not a real doctor, according to a story in CBS New York, but police told Town & Village they couldn’t confirm that at this time.

The procedure was performed at a third floor apartment at 319 East 21st Street, between First and Second Avenues on July 15. Later police were summoned in response to Bynum complaining of dizziness and chest pains. She was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, but 12 days later was taken off life support after being pronounced brain dead.

The medical examiner has deemed the death of 31-year-old mother Latesha Bynum, a Harlem resident, a homicide.

A lawyer for Bynum’s family told CBS New York the doctor is a phony who used a Dunkin Donuts as his waiting room, and that a fake nurse greeted her. The attorney also said the doctor had a pattern of injecting unsuspecting women with “silicone poison into his patients’ buttocks and/or thighs.”

Meanwhile, Spence’s sister told the Daily News her sister denied giving any injection, saying she only prepped the patient by massaging her muscles.

 

NYPD releases descriptions of suspects who maced delivery man in Stuyvesant Town

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The NYPD released further information on the two suspects wanted for macing and injuring a delivery man in Stuyvesant Town.

As Town & Village first reported, the man was sprayed with mace during a mugging inside 287 Avenue C in Stuyvesant Town on Sunday, September 17.

Police said that the first suspect is described as a black or Hispanic man, approximately 30 years old, 5’5” with a thin build and was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, black shorts, black sneakers and a black baseball hat. The second suspect is described as a black or Hispanic man, approximately 30 years old, 5’6” with a medium to heavy build and was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, black shorts black sneakers and a black baseball hat.

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Letters to the editor, Sept. 28

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Thank you, William McClellan

Re: “Stuy Town gets new public safety chief,” T&V. Sept. 21

To whom it may concern:

Having recently received notification of the change in leadership of the head of Public Safety in our community, I should like to take this opportunity to thank William F. McClellan for keeping me safe for the many years that he has been head of Public Safety.

Though I have been here going on 47 years, fortunately I have had few incidents when I needed Public Safety. In each case, under Mr. McClellan’s leadership I have been safely protected. Once when I was coming out the back door or my garage on Avenue C, a giant man lunged at me as I was starting out. I quickly slammed the door and called Public Safety. Someone immediately came, almost within seconds, to protect me. On another occasion, some inspector came to my door uninvited by me and unannounced. He wanted to come into my apartment. He showed me a badge but it could have been fake so I refused and told him to stay put and I would call Public Safety to come and escort him inside. Very quickly, a Public Safety Officer was sent and the inspector was for real but he stopped in my dining area as he saw that nothing illegal was going on in my apartment. I for sure felt safer letting someone in my apartment with a Public Safety officer at my side.

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Street co-named in honor of MS 104 teacher

(Pictured L-R) Will Weder, Suzanne Jacobson, Greg Lambert, Michelle D. Winfield, Louise Dankberg (District Leader), Laura F. Koestler, State Senator Brad Hoylman (at the event but not spictured) Pat Levenson, Angie Perkins and Claude L. Winfield, son-in-law. (Photo by Patrick Julien)

By Michelle D. Winfield

On Sunday, September 17, members from the Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club and other community residents gathered at the northwest corner of West 71st Street and Columbus Avenue to unveil a street sign co-named for the late MS 104/Simon Baruch Middle School teacher Ponsie B. Hillman. New York State Justice Robert R. Reed moderated the program inside the Hargrave Senior Center. Students from the National Dance Institute, members of the Celebration Team, danced to the theme “Spanish Harlem.”

Hillman was a mathematics teacher at Simon Baruch for 10 years. She died in 2008. Hillman was being honored for her work in the civil rights movement as an educator and labor leader at the United Federation of Teachers and the NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. At the ceremony, letters were received by former Mayor David N. Dinkins, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and former President Barack Obama. Congress Member Jerry Nadler prepared extension remarks in honor of Hillman.

The great-granddaughter of Hillman, Sophie Amara Ponsie, helped unveil the street sign, Mrs. Ponsie B. Hillman Way.

Michelle D. Winfield is the State Committeewoman from the 74th Assembly District and the daughter of Ponsie B. Hillman.

Hoylman hopes to unmask LLCs

State Senator Brad Hoylman

By Sabina Mollot

State Senator Brad Hoylman is hoping to shine some light into the shadowy world of limited liability corporations which, under current New York law, do not have to provide names or addresses of their owners when the companies are registered. Because of the mysterious nature of LLCs, they can be used to give seemingly endless campaign contributions as well as hide illegal activities like tax evasion and money laundering. To combat the money laundering issue, which has also been linked to terror funding, legislation has already been introduced at the federal level by Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, and Hoylman said his own bill is modeled after that one.

Hoylman’s legislation, announced, on Monday, would:

  • Make it mandatory for LLCs organized in New York or that do business in the state to disclose who their owners as well as provide a current residential or business address
  • Require the creation and maintenance of a publicly available database of those LLCs and their owners
  • Impose penalties that range from ten thousand dollars in fines to three years in prison for LLC owners who knowingly provide false, incomplete or outdated information.

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Mayor grilled on garage

Council Member Dan Garodnick and Mayor Bill de Blasio at a town hall on Tuesday (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

On Tuesday, the mayor was grilled about the proposed sanitation garage for East 25th Street by neighbors who attended a town hall.

The hotly-contested issue was the topic of discussion at numerous Community Board 6 meetings when it was first announced in 2012 but the plan has stalled in the last two years, and Mayor de Blasio said at the town hall, which was also hosted by Council Member Dan Garodnick, that the issue will be reviewed again once the next term for City Council begins.

“The fundamental problem is that the facilities are concentrated in Lower Manhattan so we need some kind of facility to serve this area and so far this seems like the most viable site,” he said. “But there should be a real conversation about what the community needs.”

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Police Watch: Slashing on E. 17th Street, ‘Murder’ suspect attempts suicide

MAN ARRESTED FOR E. 17TH ST. SLASHING
Police arrested 61-year-old Jose Delgado for allegedly attacking a man who was going through a garbage bin in front of 1 East 17th Street last Wednesday afternoon.
Police said that the 56-year-old victim was going through the bin when Delgado, who lives at 25 West 24th Street, allegedly came up from behind him and slashed him on the right side of his neck with a knife. The victim was treated at the scene by EMS workers and brought to Mount Sinai Beth Israel but police said that the injury was minor.
Sources said that Delgado was caught in Union Square but no further information was available about what led to his arrest. The district attorney’s office said that Delgado admitted the alleged assault was meant as revenge for a previous incident. He was officially charged at the 13th Precinct last Thursday.

DELAWARE MURDER SUSPECT ARRESTED AFTER SUICIDE ATTEMPT
Police from the 13th Precinct arrested a 31-year-old murder suspect, Rondell Veal, on Sunday evening for being a fugitive from another state. Police said that Veal was to be extradited to the county of New Castle in Delaware, where a warrant was issued for felony murder on September 23.
The New York Post reported on Sunday that Veal was caught because he reportedly attempted to commit suicide at Grand Central Terminal around 5:30 p.m., attempting to slash his wrists and neck while standing on the tracks of the 6 train. The Post said that he underwent surgery at Bellevue on Sunday night to repair his trachea. Upon further investigation, police found that Veal was wanted for the fatal stabbing of his wife, Sherrie L. Campbell, who was found dead in their Newark, DE home last Friday. Police said that he may have used the suspected murder weapon to take his own life.

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Man arrested for assault rifle near Madison Square Park

AR-15 assault rifle

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A man who was arrested inside the Snowfox Café across from Madison Square Park for impersonating a police officer was also charged with weapons possession when police found a loaded AR-15 in his blue Mini Cooper that was parked nearby.

Police also said that 36-year-old Kai Ting Yin was inside the restaurant at 24 East 23rd Street last Wednesday at 11:54 a.m. wearing a bulletproof vest and allegedly carrying a loaded handgun.

When police approached him, he allegedly told them he was a special agent but only had a New York State driver’s license. Yin allegedly told police that his car was parked near the restaurant and when it was searched, police found an alleged AR-15 .556 assault rifle that was loaded with two coupled magazine, which were each capable of holding 30 rounds. Police also reportedly recovered two additional .556 caliber magazines, also capable of holding 30 rounds. A total of 180 .556 caliber cartridges were recovered from the suspect’s car. Police also recovered 20 .45 caliber cartridges, which were inside two magazines that were each capable of holding 20 rounds. Yin was in possession of a gravity knife as well, police said.

The vest Yin was wearing reportedly had patches reading, “Because F—k You, That’s Why,” “Guns and Coffee” and “Sniper.”

The judge ordered that Yin be held without bail and he was charged with three counts of weapons possession and unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

Yin’s lawyer declined to comment on the case.

Opinion: The sky really is falling

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

In these past few weeks, we have witnessed a preview of what will likely be common future weather. In recent years, we have experienced multiple “storms of the century” with still 83 more years to go. Katrina engulfed New Orleans, Irene clobbered Central New York and a year later Sandy inundated New York City. Harvey drowned Houston and Irma swamped large parts of Florida and devastated the Caribbean. Those storms and others caused unparalleled property damage and death.

The last two occurred just weeks apart and ironically in the wake of America’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord. That treaty was recognition by virtually every other nation on earth that climate change was real, and as Pope Francis observed a few days ago could threaten the very future of humanity if not addressed.

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Serial subway flasher apparently still at it

Suspect Kenneth Hoyt

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are looking for a man with a lengthy history of arrests for flashing women on the subway (as well as other crimes) who they say was up to his old tricks recently.

One of the incidents was at the 28th Street R subway station, where the man, who police suspect is serial subway flasher Kenneth Hoyt, exposed himself before moving on to another train later. There were also two other incidents downtown.

Cops said the man was wearing a long shirt and sneakers, but no pants, when he sat down near a 32-year-old woman on the R train on the morning of August 16 and exposed his crotch. The victim got out at 28th Street but he stayed on the train. A few hours later, at 4 p.m., police believe Hoyt did the same thing as he sat across from a 29-year-old woman on the R train. She got off the train near Murray Street but he stayed on. The most recent known incident was on September 5, when Hoyt allegedly lifted his shirt to expose himself to a 40-year-old woman on the R train near Murray Street.

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City Council candidate Honig still on ballot

Rachel Honig, who placed third in last week’s primary, is still on the ballot as a Liberal Party candidate. (Photo by Kristy Ye-Ling)

By Sabina Mollot

While Peter Cooper Village resident Keith Powers handily won the City Council Democratic Primary race for District 4, voters have not seen the last of one of his eight Democrat opponents.

Rachel Honig, who placed third in the race, after Marti Speranza, is actually still in the running, because she ran on the Liberal Party line as well as on the Democratic line.

Honig, who got 8.59 percent of the vote (Powers got 41.24 percent and Speranza 22.78) reminded her followers of this fact via an email blast last week that also asked for continued financial contributions to her campaign.

She also told supporters she considered her third place showing a victory since she’d entered the race later than other candidates, in April, while Powers and Speranza had been running for over a year.

Reached on the phone, Honig said she wasn’t the only candidate who’d run on more than one party line. Republican Rebecca Harary, who Powers and Honig will face in the November general election, also ran on the Stop De Blasio line, despite a ballot challenge.

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When stores denied this disabled woman’s service dog, she sued

Cheryl Krist, pictured with her husband Joseph and her service dog Bocci in Stuyvesant Town last year (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last summer, Town & Village published an interview with Cheryl Krist, a Stuyvesant Town dog owner, who spoke about how her service pooch, Bocci, once saved her life. Krist, who walks with the aid of a cane due to a neurological condition that gives her tremors, had fallen backwards into a dip on the road after becoming started by a wild turkey. (This was in a rural road in Pennsylvania.) When Krist was unable to get back up, Bocci blocked his owner when a car came down the road, by standing up on his hind legs in front of her. Meanwhile, Krist also mentioned then as well as in prior interviews with this newspaper that she’s often had Bocci denied entry to neighborhood stores.

On Sunday, The Post published a story about two disabled New Yorkers who’ve filed lawsuits against various businesses over access issues, including Krist, who, according to the paper, has filed a total of seven.

Reached at home this week, Krist (who recently moved from Stuyvesant Town to Riverdale), declined to get into detail about specifics for the cases that are pending. One, however, she said she won last year against Gracefully. The store paid her a sum she said she isn’t allowed to discuss as well as a fine to the city. (A call to Gracefully wasn’t returned.) Another suit, against a local diner, she lost. But, according to Krist, there’s never a reason to deny her dog entry because Bocci wears a jacket that identifies him as a service dog.

“It saves a lot of questions,” she said.

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Dog owners say lack of open space biggest challenge

By Maya Rader

At a recent Dog Days event in Stuyvesant Town, Town & Village asked several of those in attendance what their biggest concern or challenge is as dog owners in New York City, as well as in ST/PCV. In a rare instance, the answers from all were unanimous: The biggest challenge was finding open space for dogs to play.

Photos by Maya Rader

“Finding a good place, especially with grass, for dogs to hang out and go to the bathroom. I think it’s even more evident in this area, because there are so many restrictions on where you can have dogs. Like you can’t walk them on any grass, which is a big thing. That’s probably the biggest. It would be nice if they had a good dog park here.”

Kelly Garber with Riley

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Letters to the editor, Sept. 21

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

U.S. can’t always say yes to citizenship

To the editor:

In his “America’s Soul” column, T&V, Sept. 14, Steven Sanders put forward the idea that people who are “fleeing oppression, or [for that matter] just seeking a decent life,” have the same right to be here, on that account, as those who came here legally in the past. Mr. Sanders does acknowledge that “…these people and their children [are] not here lawfully,” and “nations need to have policies to accept new citizens,” yet neither acknowledgement counts for much in his column. Both get set aside… largely because America is the “beacon of hope.”

I too think that Mr. Trump’s maybe-desire to send them back to their native land is sleazy, despicable and expected, but I differ from Mr. Sanders undeclared view that there is now a new way, previously unknown, to obtain citizen status here in America: pain, fear suffering and illegal entry. A person’s life in a foreign country — even a brutal life in a brutal country — may be a horror, and it may be a good and relevant reason to consider granting, and then granting, citizenship, but a life in another country is neither a grant nor a right to U.S. citizenship. Living here as a citizen is not a right one can grant oneself. 

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