Madison Square Park Conservancy begs visitors to stop feeding squirrels

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A squirrel samples human cuisine at Madison Square Park, where, the conservancy says, squirrels, in their growing numbers, have been damaging trees. (Photo courtesy of Madison Square Park Conservancy)

By Sabina Mollot

On the heels of Stuyvesant Town’s management appealing to tenants for suggestions on ways to prevent squirrels from attacking their children, the overseers of Madison Square Park have appealed to community residents with a plea to stop feeding the park’s squirrels.

In a blog post published on the conservancy’s website on Tuesday, August 21, the conservancy told feeders their actions are doing more harm than good, by getting squirrels used to a free food source that disappears in the winter.

Additionally, according to a conservancy spokeswoman, as a result of all the feeding, squirrels have been multiplying more, and due to competition for food and resources, have taken to gnawing on tree branches, damaging the park’s dense tree canopy. Humans have also been getting pestered more, as recently noted in this newspaper by Town & Village associate editor Maria Rocha-Buschel, who was recently poked — twice — on the shoulder by a pushy squirrel as she sat on a park bench.

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Woman charged with thefts from gym lockers

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a woman for an alleged theft from the NoMad SoulCycle location at 12 West 27th Street earlier this month. Police said that 32-year-old Lauren Woods stole cash and prescription pills from lockers inside the locker room on three different dates between July 24 and August 17.

According to the district attorney’s office, Woods could be seen on surveillance video entering the gym’s locker room on Tuesday, July 24 around 6:50 a.m. while carrying a pink shopping bag. Police said that she could be seen on the video opening a locker and removing multiple items from a bag, putting the items in her shopping bag and leaving the locker room. The woman whose bag Woods allegedly stole from in this incident told police that two bottles of Adderall were missing from her bag.

The DA’s office said that Woods could be seen on surveillance video again on Monday, August 13 at 6:45 a.m. with a pink shopping bag and allegedly went into a locker and removed cash. The second victim told police that $180 in cash was missing from her bag when she went to check on it.

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Creep grabs six-year-old boy’s crotch at Union Square Barnes & Noble

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Forcible touching suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Cops are on the lookout for a man who groped a six-year-old boy in front of his mother at the Union Square Barnes & Noble.

Police said that on Wednesday, August 29 at 4 p.m., the man approached the victim on the second floor of the bookstore at 33 East 17th Street and grabbed his buttocks as well as his groin area. The mother caught him as he leaned in to touch the boy’s leg and his hip and when she confronted him, the man said, “I was trying to help him. I’m sorry.” He then fled the location.

The victim wasn’t injured.

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Forcible touching suspect

The suspect is described as black, 18-20 years old, about 5’8″ tall, and 170 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes. He was last observed wearing a multi-colored short-sleeved shirt, dark jeans and white sneakers.

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.

Cuomo says he’d end vacancy decontrol

Mar15 Cuomo at podium

Governor Andrew Cuomo

By Sabina Mollot

Call it the Cynthia Nixon effect.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has frustrated housing advocates in recent years for not pushing harder for strengthened rent regulations, has recently stated, in writing, that he would be coming up with a plan to bolster them, including by eliminating vacancy decontrol.

Earlier this month, the Met Council on Housing published a questionnaire for all the gubernatorial candidates along with answers provided by all the candidates who responded, on its website.

Answering a question about how he would strengthen the rent laws in 2019, Cuomo said he would “advance a comprehensive plan — eliminating vacancy decontrol, limiting or eliminating vacancy bonuses, combating artificial rent inflation, making preferential rent the rent for the life of the tenancy, and securing new TPU (Tenant Protection Unit) enforcement tools.”

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