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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