Local synagogues packed after Pittsburgh massacre

Nov15 Brotherhood Synagogue

The Brotherhood Synagogue in Gramercy Park (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

While it happened many miles away from New York City, for Jewish New Yorkers, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting massacre on October 27 hit way too close to home, especially since locally, in the days following, there were reports of anti-Semitic graffiti and other types of vandalism at Jewish houses of worship in Brooklyn.

Many attended a vigil for the victims in Pittsburgh in Union Square shortly after the incident. Others jammed their temples for special Sabbath services that Friday night. Town & Village’s own associate editor, Maria Rocha-Buschel, found herself attending services for the first time in — she admitted — years, and reported that The Brotherhood Synagogue in Gramercy Park was completely packed. Much of the evening’s service was focused on the shootings and Rabbi Daniel Alder read a letter from a congregant who’d grown up near the Tree of Life Synagogue where eleven people were murdered, and knew two of the victims.

East End Temple in Stuyvesant Square Park was also crowded “beyond capacity,” noted a congregant there, Assembly Member Harvey Epstein. “There was a lot of unity in difficult times,” he added.

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Missing teen last seen at NoMad hotel

Nov29 Eunmin

Eunmin Han

A 16-year-old has been reported missing after last being seen on Tuesday, November 20 at 1 p.m. at the Redbury Hotel at 29 East 29th Street.

Eunmin Han, whose residence was listed as the hotel, is described as Asian, approximately 6’2″ tall, 150 lbs., with a thin build, brown eyes and black hair.

Anyone with information 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 CrimeStoppers website nypdcrimstoppers.com, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Some parks are still closed after snowstorm knocks limbs off trees

Nov22 gramercy park clean-up

A worker secures a tree in Gramercy Park after a snowstorm caused a still undetermined amount of damage in the park and other parks. (Photos courtesy of Gramercy Park Block Associaton)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Unexpected heavy snowfall last Thursday caused damage to trees throughout the neighborhood, resulting in park closures through this week, long after all the snow from the storm had melted.

Arlene Harrison, the president of the Gramercy Park Block Association and park trustee, sent an email to park neighbors on Friday noting that the park would be closed until further notice, and included photos of several downed tree limbs inside the park.

“Park caretakers who have been working here for decades said that it was the worst single hit to the park since they’ve worked here,” said Harrison, who made the decision to padlock the park gates for safety reasons until the debris is cleared. She said that the park could reopen by the end of the week but it had to remain closed until the crew can determine that it’s safe.

She added that the crew was pruning on the western side of the park right before the storm so there was the least amount of damage on that side, but five trees in the park were “ravaged” because of the wind and heavy snow.

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Man sentenced to five months for bodega robbery, lawsuit alleges sex abuse at spa

MAN SENTENCED TO FIVE MONTHS FOR 14TH STREET BODEGA ROBBERY

The Manhattan District Attorney has announced the quick sentencing of 36-year-old Eutano Bernard to five months in jail for a robbery inside the bodega at 353 East 14th Street on Wednesday, November 14 at 6:53 a.m. Bernard pleaded guilty to assault in the third degree and was sentenced on Monday. He had entered the store, Community Candy, west of First Avenue, on Wednesday morning and told the cashier, “Give me the money,” before he tried to get behind the counter. He then attacked the store employee, causing cuts to the victim’s head and mouth.

MAN FILES SEX ABUSE LAWSUIT AGAINST FLATIRON SPA WORKER

The New York Post reported that a man who said he was sexually abused while getting a massage in the Living Fresh Men’s Spa at 44 West 22nd Street is suing the person he accused of the crime. As Town & Village reported in September, 47-year-old Pei Tian was charged with sexual abuse after he allegedly removed the towel from the victim during a massage and used his hands to touch the victim’s genitals and buttocks. The suit says that the victim, New Jersey resident Ronnie Arnau, went to the spa with his husband to get a massage and facial but 10 minutes into the session, Tian began focusing “exclusively” on Arnau’s buttocks, making him uncomfortable. The suit seeks unspecified damages and Arnau’s lawyer said that the spa ignored her client when Arnau first reported the assault.

MAN CHARGED WITH EXTORTION OVER PHONE STOLEN FROM GYM

Police arrested 40-year-old Sefu Sieka for an alleged theft in front of 4 Union Square East on Tuesday, November 13 at 11:19 a.m. The victim previously went into the 13th Precinct and told police that his wallet had been stolen from his locker while he was working out at a Blink Fitness.
He said that after it was taken, an unknown woman contacted him and said that she had his wallet and credit cards and wanted a reward from him in exchange for returning the wallet. She also reportedly told the victim that she had used the money in his wallet to buy food.
The victim and special operations officers from the 13th Precinct set up a meeting with the victim and Sieka, at which point Sieka was allegedly seen with the victim’s wallet before handing it over in exchange for cash. He was arrested shortly after. Sieka was charged with grand larceny by extortion, possession of stolen property and petit larceny.

WOMAN ALLEGEDLY LIED HER WAY INTO A FLATIRON APARTMENT

Police arrested 66-year-old Constance Gibbons for allegedly trespassing inside an apartment at 1107 Broadway this summer. Police said that Gibbons went inside the building on July 17 around 5 p.m. and gave the doorman her name, allegedly telling him that she was a representative of Eaton Properties, a property management company. Police said that the doorman gave her a key to one of the apartments, which she then reportedly entered unlawfully. Gibbons was arrested inside the 13th Precinct on Friday, November 16 at 5:34 p.m. Police said that Gibbons gained entry into an apartment by use of deception and remained there without permission.

‘DRUNK’ DRIVER ARRESTED AFTER CRASHING INTO SCAFFOLDING

Police arrested 25-year-old Einne Bunting after he was involved in an accident in front of 49 West 20th Street on Saturday, November 17 at 2:39 a.m. Police said that Bunting was driving east on West 20th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue, allegedly speeding, when he reportedly lost control of the vehicle, spun out of control and crashed into the scaffolding in front of the building on West 20th. When police arrived, Bunting allegedly had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, slurred speech and bloodshot, watery eyes. Bunting was taken to Bellevue Hospital for blood testing after he was arrested. He was charged with criminal mischief and intoxicated driving.

MAN ACCUSED OF DAMAGING LYFT DRIVER’S CAR IN KIPS BAY

Police arrested 28-year-old Youssouf Konate for allegedly damaging a car at the corner of First Avenue and East 28th Street on Saturday, November 17 at 8:45 a.m. The victim told police that he received a call to pick up Konate from his Lyft app. When he arrived, Konate and five other men tried to get into the victim’s car. The victim told Konate that he wasn’t allowed to have that many people in the car, after which Donate allegedly kicked the passenger’s side rear door, leaving a dent.

TEEN WORKER ARRESTED FOR STEALING CASH FROM BED BATH & BEYOND

Police arrested a teenager inside the bed Bath & Beyond at 620 Sixth Avenue for petit larceny on Tuesday, November 13 at 8:30 p.m. Police said that the teen, an employee at the store, was observed swiping cash from the store’s register on various occasions between November 5 and 12. The total value lost was under $1,000. The teen’s name is being withheld because of his young age.

Opinion: The moment of truth

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

Throughout my entire 28-year tenure in the State Assembly, the State Senate was controlled by the Republican Majority with their leadership mostly based in conservative rural or suburban regions of New York.

The Republicans are ideologically closer to big business, such as the real estate industry, than with consumers or tenants. I don’t say that as a value judgement, but rather as a political fact.

Of course, the millions of dollars from those business groups and corporations that roll into the Senate Republican campaign coffers regularly help.

During my time in the Assembly representing the East Side of Manhattan, Roy Goodman was my counterpart in the Senate for almost all those years. We worked closely together to press for needed tenant protections and fair housing laws. But try as he might, Roy was frequently stymied by his Republican leadership. Bills passed in the Assembly never saw the light of day in the Senate.

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Flatiron BID presents ‘23 Days of Flatiron Cheer’ event series

The rendering shows “Happy,” a soon-to-be unveiled holiday installation at the Flatiron Plaza. (Rendering courtesy of Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership BID)

On Monday, November 19, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District will launch its seventh annual “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” programming and unveil, in partnership with Van Alen Institute, a vibrant public art installation – “Happy.”

The event series will kick off on Monday, November 19 from 6-8 p.m. at Flatiron North Public Plaza, 23rd Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue.

The event will offer a preview of “23 Days,” which runs from Saturday, December 1 to Sunday, December 23 and features free, holiday-themed events. This year’s “23 Days” also will include a food drive, free fitness classes, and an ongoing series of food features with top chefs in the district.

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Editorial: Amazonian giveaway to a giant

After months of speculation on where Amazon would decide to hold court, the online retail giant finally announced the locations of its headquarters, which will be split in two cities: Crystal City, Virginia and Long Island City in New York.

It didn’t take long before City Hall and nearly every politician in town crowed about Amazon’s promise to make at least 25,000 hires  in positions paying an average of $150,000, after being promised up to $2.2 billion in state and city giveaways. Of course good-paying jobs are a benefit to New Yorkers. However, we still can’t help but feel the city has really turned its back on small businesses this time.

As the long-stalled effort to get the Small Business Jobs Survival Act passed proves, no one is afraid to parrot the real estate industry’s argument that the demise of mom-and-pops has more to do with online shopping than exorbitant rent. At the hearing for the SBJSA, a representative of the city’s Small Business Services agency argued against the bill, warning of “unintended consequences” like landlords being more hesitant to lease to small businesses.

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Boy missing from ACS facility in Kips Bay

Nov22 Jeremi Carangui

Jeremi Carangui

Police are looking for a 13-year-old boy who was last seen on Sunday at 11 a.m., leaving the Administration for Children’s Services building at 492 First Avenue.

Jeremi Carangui was in the care of ACS at the time and left on his own, police said.

He is described as Hispanic, 5’2″ tall, 102 pounds, with a thin build, medium complexion, black hair and brown eyes. His clothing description is unknown.

Anyone with information in regards to his whereabouts 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.

 

Man charged with rape in Kips Bay apartment

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A man was arrested for allegedly raping a woman inside a Kips Bay apartment last week. Osman Muratovic, 33, was arrested inside 227 East 28th Street after police said that he raped a woman who was his employee.

According to police, Muratovic made sexual advances towards the victim while she was cleaning a client’s apartment on Tuesday, November 6 at 1:49 p.m.

The victim said that she tried to ignore his advances but Muratovic then allegedly threw her down to the couch, then to the bed in the apartment. Police said that Muratovic then raped her.

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Robber threatens First Avenue CVS employee with needle

Robbery suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who, when caught shoplifting at the CVS store across from Stuyvesant Town, threatened an employee with a hypodermic needle.

The man strolled into the store, located at 253 First Avenue, on Wednesday, November 14 at 8 p.m. and began throwing items from the shelves into a garbage bag. When an employee confronted him in the aisle, the man pulled out the needle and told the worker to “step back.”

The man then fled with about $170 in merchandise.

The suspect, who is being sought for robbery, is described as black, in his 30s, about 5 ft. 8 ins. and 180 lbs. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a white sweatshirt, a black jogging jacket, a black skull cap and black sneakers.

Democratic lead too big for attempts at power grabs: Hoylman

State Senator Brad Hoylman with new Senate majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (Photo by Avery Cohen)

By Sabina Mollot

Nearly a decade ago, Democrats won the State Senate, but their victory was short-lived, thanks to a coup orchestrated by a pair of renegades. When the party next regained power in numbers, this too was brief thanks to a power-sharing arrangement that was brokered between eight breakaway Democrats and Republicans.

But this time it will be different, State Senator Brad Hoylman is saying, due to some unexpected wins last Tuesday that gave Democrats too large of a lead to even try to play behind-the-scenes games with.

“We now have a 16-seat majority,” said Hoylman, “which is extraordinary and provides Democrats with a level of comfort going into vote. A 16-seat majority is a safeguard against Albany’s funny stuff. While there might be some disagreement in our conference, we are a united conference.”

The results of the election paved way for 16 new senators. Six of those senators had defeated candidates during the primary who were formerly members of the breakaway Democrat group known as the Independent Democratic Conference. The new crop of elected officials is also a more diverse bunch: the capitol now has its first Taiwanese-American lawmaker, its first Salvadorian-American, its first Indian-American, its first Colombian-American and its largest number yet of Latinos and women to serve. The Senate’s new majority leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, is the first woman to hold the position, effectively ending the three-men-in-a-room tradition of lawmaking.

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Letters to the editor, Nov. 15

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Scofflaw cyclists are out of control

Dear Town & Village,

Please HELP!

On two separate occasions I have been knocked down by bicycles going the wrong way against the light! This has led me to look both ways on one-way streets and in all directions when crossing the street. Now I have come so close to having had been run over on sidewalks with bicycles riding on sidewalks, going the wrong way! Stuy Town is pretty strict about the rules regarding bicycles riding around the Oval (riders are approached by Public Safety Officers to dismount) but of course, they cannot be everywhere.

No one should be riding on sidewalks or riding the wrong way against traffic.

Something has to be done!

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Arts Club honors its old adversary

Arlene Harrison, president of the Gramercy Park Block Association, was recognized for her years of community service at the National Arts Club’s 120th anniversary gala. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images North America)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

In an event no one in the neighborhood could have foreseen sans a crystal ball just a decade ago, the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park honored Gramercy Park Block Association President Arlene Harrison at the club’s 120th anniversary gala.

While Harrison and the club have enjoyed a positive working relationship in recent years, she was actively involved in investigations that resulted in the ousting of the club’s former president, O. Aldon James, for misusing the club’s funds and real estate.

Arthur Barnes, chairman of the gala held on Saturday, November 3 and a member of the club’s board of governors, said that the awards were specifically in recognition of community service and the award for Harrison was due to her long-standing relationship with the club and Gramercy Park.

“She’s a tremendously effective advocate of Gramercy Park,” Barnes said. “She’s been a member of the club for many years and we wanted to recognize her leadership within our community, including with the 13th Precinct only two blocks away, and with Brotherhood Synagogue and Calvary Church.”

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Police Watch: Man charged with Union Square assault, Woman punched on East 22nd

MAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULT OF WOMAN IN UNION SQUARE
Police arrested 25-year-old Gage Quinones for an alleged assault in front of 24 Union Square East on Wednesday, November 7. The victim told police that after she smoked meth with Quinones that morning, they got into an argument that escalated into a fight when Quinones allegedly punched her in the mouth, causing a cut on her bottom lip. Quinones was also charged with criminal contempt.

Quinones has been arrested multiple times within the 13th Precinct, usually in or around Union Square, in the last few years. He was charged with assault in 2016 after police said that he hit a man in the back of the head with a brick, breaking four bones. He also allegedly mugged someone in Union Square in 2014 and assaulted someone with a bike lock in the park this past June.

MAN ALLEGEDLY PUNCHES WOMAN ON EAST 22ND STREET
Police arrested 38-year-old Rashawn Duran for an alleged assault in front of 33 East 22nd Street on Sunday, November 11 at 11:04 a.m. The victim told police that she was walking down the sidewalk when Duran allegedly punched her in the face, causing swelling and bruising. The victim said that there was no previous altercation between them before the alleged assault. Duran was stopped in front of 29 East 22nd Street and the victim and a witness positively identified him. The victim was treated on the scene and removed to Bellevue Hospital.

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Opinion: Wait til next year

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

The elections are mercifully over. This campaign cycle has been brutal. The mud has been splattered about like graffiti on the side of a building. We all need a break from politics!

Yet for the past month I have detected a different angst in the city, a melancholy unrelated to the fallout of the bitter partisan sniping. A pain that goes to our very core as a city. The shared love for our baseball teams.

Four weeks ago the Yankees walked off the fabled field at Yankees Stadium, losers to their perennial rival, the Red Sox from Boston. And worse still, the Red Sox went on to win their fourth World Series Championship of this century, twice as many as the Yankees. Thus wresting the title away from the Bronx Bombers as “team of the (21st) century”… at least so far.

Mayor de Blasio is ok with this revolting development, since in spite of his New York leadership position, his baseball allegiance remains with the boys from Beantown. Grounds for impeachment? If only.

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