Neighbors rip plan for E. 31st St. shelter

Kips Bay resident Maria Verel expressed concern about crime in the neighborhood, saying there are already problems with loitering and public urination. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Residents of Kips Bay and Murray Hill expressed concern over a new shelter opening on East 31st Street between Fifth Avenue and Madison, especially since the Department of Homeless Services said at a recent meeting on the topic that the commercial hotels being used as shelters in the surrounding neighborhood won’t be closed until 2021.

Many at the meeting were also furious at what they felt was the community being steamrolled because the meeting served as an announcement about a finalized plan rather than a forum that would influence the plan’s outcome. The DHS has already said that the shelter is expected to open at the beginning of January.

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Police Watch: Gunpoint robbery at Pinkberry, Teen arrested for groping classmate

One of two robbery suspects

TWO MEN WANTED FOR GUNPOINT ROBBERY AT PINKBERRY
Cops are looking for two men believed to be behind a gunpoint robbery at a Pinkberry near West 14th Street.
Police said that the suspects turned a gun on employees at a Pinkberry at 523 Sixth Avenue last Wednesday and ordered them to the back of the shop. The men assaulted the employees, forced them to open the safe and remove $1,600 in cash as well as their personal property. The suspects then fled south on Sixth Avenue and the victims were taken to Lenox Hill Hospital to be treated for bruising and cuts. The first suspect is a black man who was wearing a jacket with a hood and a backpack and the second suspect is a Hispanic man who was wearing a jacket with a red symbol on it.
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.

TEEN ARRESTED FOR GROPING CLASSMATE
Police arrested a teenager for sexual abuse inside the Washington Irving building at 40 Irving Place last Wednesday at 12:59 p.m. The victim told police that while she was standing on the platform in Union Square waiting for a Queens-bound N train two days earlier, the suspect forcibly kissed her, as well as groped her breasts and vagina over her clothing. She told police that she repeatedly asked him to stop but he continued to grope her on and off for the entire ride into Queens. Police said that the victim and the suspect knew each other and are both students of a school at the Washington Irving campus. The suspect’s name is being withheld because of his age.
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Installation on Flatiron Pedestrian Plaza debuts for the holidays

On Monday night, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership (BID) celebrated the launch of “23 Nights of Flatiron Cheer,” an upcoming series of free events at the pedestrian plaza with the unveiling of “Flatiron Reflection,” an architectural installation. The installation was created by the firm Future Expansion, the winner of a design competition held by local nonprofit Van Alen. (Pictured L-R) Nicholas McDermott and Deirdre McDermott of Future Expansion; Jessica Lax, Van Alen Institute; Emily Colasacco, NYC DOT Art; Isabel Meisner, Van Alen Institute; Jennifer Brown, Flatiron BID; Jorge Parreira, New Motor; Kurt Cavanaugh, Flatiron BID; Amanda Eldridge, GMS; David Messineo and Stephanie Darna, New Motor

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The weather was appropriately windy and wintry for the kickoff of the Flatiron BID’s annual holiday festivities, known as the “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” on Monday.

The series, offering free performances, fitness sessions, prizes and hot beverage giveaways, officially begins on December 1, but the launch this week gave a preview of the offerings to come and also served as the debut of the newest art installation on the north Flatiron Plaza, “Flatiron Reflections.”

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Stuy Town attorney aims to make practicing law a less brutal sport

Marjorie Silver has authored a book on collaborative law. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A Stuyvesant Town attorney, whose career has been shaped by alternative law, or more specifically, law when practiced in a way that’s meant to be more civil — and less traumatizing — for all involved in a case, has just released on a book on the subject.

Transforming Justice, Lawyers, and the Practice of Law was put together by Marjorie Silver, who also wrote one chapter with the other 15 chapters written by different authors.

Nearly all those authors, along with Silver, were participants in the Project for Integrating Spirituality, Law and Politics (PISLAP), which is aimed at making law more collaborative and less adversarial. The publisher is the family-owned Carolina Academic Press.

Silver, who’s been an attorney for decades and is also an associate professor at Touro Law Center, said she has always tried to encourage students to practice law in the same fashion, “in a way that’s less adversarial, more healing.”

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A passion for travel and collecting evolves into Gramercy boutique

Boyar Gifts co-owners Tali Alexander (left) and her sister Michelle (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

When Boyar Gifts owner Tali Alexander bought a 100-year-old stove that weighed a ton at an auction, her husband expressed disbelief that she would have room to put it somewhere, but Alexander wasn’t worried. And the timing ultimately worked out because she was able to have it brought directly from the auction to where it now sits in the front display window of the new store on Second Avenue between East 22nd and 23rd Streets.

“In the process of building out the space, I realized it would fit right in,” she said. “It became almost the mascot of the store and it really worked because I wanted to bring a homey element to this place.”

This habit of collecting items she doesn’t necessarily have a place for during her travels, a habit that both she and her sister share, was one of the main motivations for opening the gift shop, Alexander said.

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Three men attack victim for his Beats headphones in Kips Bay

Nov30 First Ave Robbery

Kips Bay Robbery suspects

Cops are on the lookout for three men who attacked another man for his Beats headphones at the intersection of East 29th Street and First Avenue.

Police said on Wednesday, November 22 shortly after 1 a.m., the three men approached the 23-year-old victim and punched him in the face and body several times. They then ripped the headphones off him and fled on East 29th Street. The victim, who suffered redness to the left side of his face, refused medical attention.

The suspects are described as black and 18-25 years old. A surveillance photo of the men was taken from a local business prior to the incident.

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.

Garodnick calls for transparency on construction noise

Council Members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick (pictured at City Hall) have co-sponsored legislation aimed at making noise mitigation plans for construction sites less of a secret.

By Sabina Mollot

In New York City, especially in Manhattan, construction noise is usually impossible to escape. This is even true early in the mornings or later in the evenings at some construction sites, for what, to sleep-deprived neighbors, at least appears to be non-emergency work.

On East 14th Street, Stuyvesant Town residents have complained of late night Con Ed work. Meanwhile, on East 23rd Street, Peter Cooper residents have been dealing with on-and-off pre-sunrise construction relating to the VA Medical Center’s construction of a flood wall.

The canned response to New Yorkers facing what they consider excess noise is to call 3-1-1. However, that doesn’t always work because if work is being done at night, an inspection isn’t going to be scheduled until another day and at that time, there may not be an unacceptable level of noise.

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Letters to the editor, Nov. 23

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Pedestrian demanding accountability

Dear Editor:

I was run down by a speeding bicycle that made a turn as I was crossing to the curb on 2nd Avenue and 11th Street.

I suffered a break in my pelvis as well as torn adductor muscles. When I tell people the story each one has another story of being hit by a bicycle themselves or knowing someone close who was hit similarly. Careless bicycle riders have no liability for their recklessness.

If there was some identification like license plates or numbered placards the riders would take more care knowing that they could be identified.

We demand licenses on cars so why not bicycles, which can be as deadly when driven thoughtlessly?

Toni Davis, PCV

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MCIs, noise top tenant concerns at meeting

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg speaks at Sunday’s meeting. Also pictured: Council Member-elect Keith Powers, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Council Member Dan Garodnick and State Senator Brad Hoylman (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

At a Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association meeting that was held on Sunday afternoon, while those in attendance were briefed on numerous issues such as coastal resiliency, the looming L train shutdown and Beth Israel developments, it was the ongoing issues of noise from construction as well as major capital improvements (MCI) that residents seemed most concerned about.

At the meeting, held at the auditorium of Simon Baruch Middle School, Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg spoke about recent MCIs for exterior restoration work, hot water heaters and video intercoms in Peter Cooper Village.

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Police Watch: Men busted for office burglaries, Woman assaulted at Barn Joo

MEN ARRESTED FOR OFFICE BURGLARIES
Police arrested 22-year-old Avante Carter and 24-year-old Calvin Layne last Thursday for allegedly burglarizing two office buildings to steal Apple MacBooks.
Carter and Layne allegedly forced the front door of 636 Sixth Avenue and swiped thousands of dollars-worth of the computers from an office on November 14 between 3 and 6 a.m. Police said they also forced the front door open at 245 Fifth Avenue and stole multiple laptops from offices in that building over the course of two days, from November 9 to 10, between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney said at the recent community council meeting that police tracked Carter and Layne down through the serial numbers of the stolen computers. Carter and Layne reportedly had no history of burglary but had recently both been laid off by a cleaning company and had easy access to the Sixth Avenue building. They were also allegedly responsible for similar burglaries in Midtown South and the Sixth Precinct.

MAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING WOMAN AT BARN JOO
Police arrested 32-year-old Freddy Dobbs last Thursday for allegedly assaulting a woman at Barn Joo at 35 Union Square West. The 27-year-old victim told police that Dobbs grabbed her left arm with his right hand and grabbed her throat with his left hand, briefly squeezing so she couldn’t breathe before throwing her to the ground, causing her left arm to slam into the stair railing. Police said that Dobbs and the victim didn’t know each other and got into an argument inside the restaurant, but no further information was available about what started the dispute. Dobbs was charged with obstruction of breath and assault.

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Man busted for thefts from designer stores

Kate Spade (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

At least he had good taste.

Police have arrested a man they believe broke into multiple high-end boutiques in Manhattan to steal pricey handbags, including at the Kate Spade store in Flatiron.

Jessie Brandon, 52, was arrested for burglary, grand larceny and possession of stolen property on November 7 after he allegedly stole more than $75,000 worth of merchandise.

Brandon allegedly broke into the Kate Spade location at 135 Fifth Avenue on Sunday, October 15 around 2:20 a.m. when the store was closed. Police said he pulled on the door, breaking it, before entering and helping himself to seven handbags, as well as a pair of shoes. Police said Brandon admitted that the person on surveillance video who could be seen removing items from the store was him. An employee told police that the value of the stolen merchandise was $1,700.

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Man caught after stealing 14 coolers

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A thief with a penchant for stealing coolers will be cooling his heels in a jail cell for 45 days.

Paul Henderson, 46, was busted after a string of thefts from the Sixth Avenue location of Marshall’s. The thefts occurred in September, but police were finally able to arrest Henderson this past Friday for making off with 14 Yeti coolers in total over the course of the month. Henderson reportedly shoplifted from the store at 620 Sixth Avenue on September 9, 10, 11, 15, 18, 24 and 27. Police said that he took two of the coolers during each incident, as well as other items that police did not specify.

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The legacy of Jews in U.S. Armed Forces

By Jerry Alperstein

In 2006 shortly after Representative John Boehner became Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, he met with leaders from the major veterans service organizations. When a leader of the Jewish War Veterans introduced himself, Boehner said that he did not know there was a Jewish War Veterans. Most of the other veterans leaders – as though on cue – said in unison, quote, It’s the oldest veterans organization; unquote.

Boehner’s lack of knowledge of the Jewish War Veterans and of Jews in this country’s armed services was not unexpected. While the participation and importance of Jews in our country’s armed services are well-known and recognized within the veteran community, it is largely unknown and unrecognized within this country’s population at large; including within its Jewish community.

The truth is that Jews have been a part of this land’s military history since 1654, the year after they first arrived in our corner of the New World. When in the New Amsterdam colony, the Jews were charged an additional tax because they were barred from serving in the local militia, four Jews led by Asser Levy successfully appealed to the owner of the colony, the Dutch East India Company. They were allowed to serve, and Jews have been serving and giving their lives to our country ever since.

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East Village street co-named for men who died in explosion

Alfredo Locon, the brother of Moises Locon, speaks at the ceremony while flanked by local elected officials. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Two men killed in the gas explosion on Second Avenue at East 7th Street in 2015 have been memorialized with a street co-naming on the block.

The new signs up at the location designate East 7th Street between Second and Third Avenues as “Moises Locon Way” and the block of Second Avenue between East 7th and 8th Streets as “Nicholas Figueroa Way.”

On October 14, City Council Member Rosie Mendez held a ceremony to announce to unveil the sign, attended by family members of Locon and Figeuroa.

Moises Locon’s brother, Alfredo, was at the event and read a letter from his seven-year-old daughter, Stephanie.

“I miss you and my dad is so sad,” she said in her letter. “We have you in our heart.”

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Opinion: Moving onto the next local election

Nov16 Marie Ternes

Marie Ternes

By Marie Ternes

Suffering a spat of election fatigue? The signs. The phone calls. The mailers. Oh, those mailers. Or maybe you are still in a state of post-Trump election agitation and are extra energized to do everything you can to protect New York? Regardless of your passion or disinterest in local politics, I have news for you: there is another election headed our way and I hope you will embrace it, engage in it and ultimately vote in it.

This past November 7, our Assembly Member, Brian Kavanagh was elected to the State Senate to fill a vacancy created by former Senator Daniel Squadron, leaving our neighborhood without an Assembly Member to represent us in Albany.

While we are fortunate to have great State Senate representatives in Senators Brad Hoylman representing PCVST, and Senators Liz Krueger and Brian Kavanagh nearby, we must take filling the post of Assembly Member for the 74th Assembly District with renewed interest.

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