The new Target on East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Popular chain store Target caused controversy at the opening of the new East Village store at the end of last month because of their homage to former dive bar and music club CBGB and ultimately apologized for the marketing stunt, the New York Times reported at the end of last week.
The new store opened on East 14th Street between Avenues A and B with grand opening festivities on the weekend of July 21 with a vinyl facade depicting tenements and old storefronts, including CBGB, with “TRGT” in the bar’s classic font on the temporary overhang.
Jeremiah Moss, whose blog Vanishing New York and book of the same name document gentrification in the city, called the display a “deplorable commodification of local neighborhood culture” and expressed disgust over the fake storefronts.
“The façade is draped in vinyl sheets printed with images of tenements, the same sort of buildings that get demolished to make room for such developments,” Moss wrote. “Here they sit, hollow movie-set shells, below the shiny windows of the high-end rentals. They are the dead risen from the grave, zombies enlisted to work for the corporation.”
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When the concrete jungle starts exploding, seemingly out of nowhere, shutting down much of a neighborhood for a week (with some buildings still off limits!) the first question is what happened and why? Then of course one has to ask when could this happen again and where? And whose fault was this?
The steam pipes underneath the streets’ surface are Con Ed’s to maintain but the company has not yet been able to explain the cause of such a major pipe malfunction although we can certainly guess. The system and this city’s infrastructure are old. This isn’t the first steam blast to rock a neighborhood and probably won’t be the last. Still, it’s a scary thought that these geysers-in-waiting can shatter right through the concrete at any time.
So it now has to be asked what can be done to prevent future catastrophes like the one in Flatiron last Thursday and whether the city and Con Ed will commit to some plan of action.
It is miraculous that no one was seriously injured as a result of this recent blast. (Just ask our company driver who nearly drove into it had it not been for a red light!) We believe Con Ed and the city are doing a thorough job in inspecting and cleaning the impacted buildings and in communicating their progress. Additionally, on Tuesday Con Ed made a statement on Twitter that once the cleanup is finished the utility would conduct a “thorough investigation” into what caused the pipe to break. That’s a good start. We will hold them to it!
Harriet Quimby was the first woman in America to receive a pilot’s license, which she then made good use out of by flying over the English Channel in a Bleriot monoplane in 1911. This too was a first for a woman. Before and during this time, Quimby also wrote screenplays for silent films and worked as a journalist and drama critic for the magazine Leslie’s Weekly.
While there is debate about where she was originally from, Quimby lived in New York City for a few years, on 27th Street and Broadway in what was then The Victoria Hotel.
But, noted local historian Alfred Pommer, author of The History of Gramercy and Union Square, Quimby’s connection to Manhattan wasn’t just her address. She was often seen at 11 East 14th Street, which was home to an early silent film studio. Along with her journalism work, Quimby wrote seven scripts that were made into silent films, directed by D.W. Griffith, and did a bit of acting.
“She was the first successful female screenwriter in America,” said Pommer. Still, he added, “She was most well-known for her airplane flights.”
Cops are on the lookout for a woman they said stole credit cards from an employee’s purse at Taproom, a Gramercy bar, and then proceeded to use them to make purchases. Another employee at the bar at 307 Third Avenue between 23rd and 24th Streets told Town & Village the theft happened on Saturday during brunch time when the thief sat down near where some employees were sitting.
Police tweeted a picture of the woman on Tuesday, who the employee said appeared to be light-skinned black with braided hair.
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
In our last issue, Town & Village asked readers for their thoughts on what sensible actions can be taken by straphangers who witness acts of violence. Our question came on the heels of police releasing portions of a video showing a man threatening a fellow straphanger with a knife after he tried to intervene when seeing the other man hit his toddler. (The suspect, seen on the E train in Greenwich Village, has since been arrested.)
Read on for reader responses:
Eric Juhola said, “I think the best thing we can do is take out our phones and film the situation. On the one hand, it might inspire the perpetrator to behave reminding him or her that they are being watched. On the other hand, you will be providing authorities with evidence that can be used to apprehend the perpetrator and used in court against the person.
“Stepping in and getting involved might be right for some people, but it’s also dangerous. You just don’t know if the perpetrator has a weapon and there are far too many stories of knife slashings on subways for no apparent reason. I will admit, there is also risk in filming as that can be seen as an act of aggression, but I think it’s better than doing nothing and most times we have to take a little risk outside our comfort zones to stand up and do what’s right.”
Christopher Crowley, landscape architect for Parks, pictured with Kips Bay residents involved in planning for the temporary dog run (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
At a meeting aimed at getting community feedback, Kips Bay residents told city officials what they want in a redesign of Bellevue South Park is a permanent, fully accessible dog run. They also want to separate the play equipment from where adults congregate.
The Parks Department’s meeting was held last Thursday, when the landscape architect for the city agency, Christopher Crowley, told neighbors this is the first step in the process for the project.
“We don’t have a concept plan in mind,” Crowley said. “That’s what this meeting is for, to find out what the community wants in this park.”
Steve Simon, the chief of staff for the Manhattan Borough Commissioner at the Parks Department, said that the input from the meeting will help the agency create a preliminary plan that will be presented to Community Board 6 in the fall.
On Friday I wound up cancelling a pickup from a car service because, after I waited a half hour in front of my building, they still did not appear. It turns out that the driver had been looking on 20th Street and could not find the address although I had told the dispatcher to use the First Avenue Loop Road.
Some drivers apparently don’t know there is such a street.
This is serious, although not as serious as the day EMS could not find me. (Eventually they did but they wasted valuable time trying to locate the wrong entrance.)
TEEN ARRESTED FOR LUNGING AT WOMAN WITH KNIFE IN FLATIRON
Police arrested a teenager for menacing and weapons possession at the corner of Broadway and East 19th Street on Tuesday, July 19 at 1:35 p.m. The victim told police that the teen was harassing her and she told him to leave her alone. At that point, the suspect reportedly turned around and pulled out a knife, then lunged at the victim multiple times. The suspect fled the location but was stopped in front of 29 East 21st Street, where the victim pointed him out to police
SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR SCOOTER THEFT ON FIRST AVENUE
Police arrested 18-year-old Henry Cubilete for allegedly stealing a motorized scooter from the corner of First Avenue and East 16th Street on Saturday, July 21 at 2:49 a.m. Police said that Cubilete was working with four other people who weren’t arrested, and the group was allegedly using bolt cutters to cut a lock and remove a scooter that was secured at the location.
Police said that Stuy Town security officers attempted to apprehend Cubilete but the suspect tried to flee the location and allegedly held his hands under his body to prevent being handcuffed. Cubilete was allegedly found with an unregistered motor scooter with the license plate removed, in addition to burglary tools. Cubilete was charged with grand larceny of auto, illegal possession of a vehicle, burglars tools, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, an unclassified public administration misdemeanor and an unclassified traffic infraction.
A masked police officer directs traffic on Broadway on Monday. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
While the so-called “hot zone” of businesses potentially impacted by the burst of an asbestos-covered steam pipe has shrunk since last Thursday, even businesses in Flatiron that were soon able to reopen say their customers have not returned.
Since the day of the burst, the streets directly surrounding the burst pipe site have remained barricaded off as Con Ed and various cities continue their investigation. Additionally, the streets have been teeming with police and other emergency responders, some wearing masks. The police have mainly been directing traffic to prevent errant photo-snapping pedestrians from getting too close to the work site.
Meanwhile, numerous buildings in the neighborhood remained empty of residents and workers as Con Ed conducted inspections for debris from the explosion.
On Monday, Town & Village spoke with employees at several businesses located on Broadway between 20th and 22nd Street about the lack of foot traffic.
Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joe Esposito speaks to building owners at a meeting held on Monday. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Flatiron businesses owners impacted by last week’s steam blast were told on Monday night that they may have some recourse for their losses in the form of insurance claims or claims with Con Edison.
Representatives from the utility, the Office of Emergency Management, the Department of Health, Small Business Services and the Department of Environmental Protection offered updates on the ongoing investigation and clean-up effort during a meeting at the Clinton School in Union Square on Monday night.
Joseph Esposito, the commissioner for the Office of Emergency Management, said that as of Monday night, 17 buildings had been cleared for reoccupancy and the OEM announced that 16 additional buildings had been cleared by Wednesday morning, with 12 still needing to be cleaned and checked before they can be reoccupied.
Five years ago this month, Bill de Blasio was running for mayor against a bevy of better-known candidates featuring City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Congressman Anthony Weiner in the Democratic Primary. His early standing in the polls was fifth among five.
As the summer wore on, one by one they fell by the wayside.
Weiner’s political career dissolved amid a flurry of revelations about his obsession with sending pictures and texts of the most personal nature to women (and later even girls). He was utterly discredited. Quinn came across as entitled and arrogant and the voters soured on her. Another contender, City Comptroller John Liu, had been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for illegal political advertising and never gained traction. And Bill Thompson could not repeat his impressive showing from four years earlier.
By the end of August just weeks before the primary, voters began to gravitate towards de Blasio by process of elimination. He was progressive and made great promises about a liberal renaissance after 20 years of Republican rule in City Hall.
Con Ed crew at work at the explosion site (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
As of Tuesday afternoon, the city said it is working with the Hotel Trade Council and Hotel Association of New York City to help displaced Flatiron residents, and that 10 families and one dog had so far been assisted.
Residents seeking a temporary room were advised to visit the reception center at the Clinton School at 10 East 15th Street, which has remained open. It’s open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. each day and according to the city, has seen 362 visitors since Thursday.
Hotel 17 in Stuyvesant Square, which now has an extended stay model and offers emergency housing, is one of the hotels housing evacuees, an employee there said. However, he said he couldn’t reveal how many individuals were staying there as a result of the blast.
Out of the 49 buildings evacuated for asbestos testing, 27 have been cleared for residents to return. Twelve contained some sort of debris that must be cleaned before they can be reoccupied.
Steve Sanders wrote that one of the reasons he liked his visit to Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame was because of the protest he saw against Trump’s separation of babies from their parents.
Children have been separated from their parents since the first parent in the United States was put in prison hundreds of years ago. Why have we not heard protests against this by the Democrats until Trump started enforcing immigration law?
What is the solution proposed by the Democrats, to keep both children and their parents in detention? That is against the law. The solution of the Democrats is not to detain the immigrants at all and to let gangs such as MS-13, hostile terrorists and foreign disease invade our country unchecked.
Disability advocates and agency officials gathered in Union Square to celebrate the fourth Disability Pride Parade on Sunday afternoon. The parade traversed down Broadway from Madison Square Park to Union Square Park, where a festival was held in the afternoon.
City agencies such as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Office of Emergency Management and Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, and local hospitals such as NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation and Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Center had representatives along the route.
Nonprofits such as HeartShare Human Services and Gateway, organizations that works with children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Pathways, a school on the Upper East Side for impaired children, Achilles International, a nonprofit that provides assistance to athletes with disabilities, and others marched as well, with kids and other participants dressing up in costumes for the parade’s “creativity” theme. Representatives from the Peter Stuyvesant Little League’s Challenger Division and Stuy Town’s Good Neighbor initiative, including ST/PCV general manager Rick Hayduk, marched towards the end of the parade.