Warning about invasive insect isn’t bugging buyers of Christmas trees

A Christmas tree stand outside Augustus-St. Gaudens Playground (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Despite a warning from Senator Charles Schumer that an invasive insect might be infiltrating Christmas trees in the New York area, people shopping for trees this week didn’t seem too worried about the bugs dampening their holiday spirit.

Schumer warned that the bug, called the spotted lanternfly, could be a threat to natural resources in open spaces like Central Park and leafy neighborhoods. The insect, could be hitching a ride from trees brought in from out of state and the senator expressed concern about the effect the destructive bug could have on trees in local parks and threatening New York’s agricultural health.

George Smith, who has been running the Parks-operated trees stand outside the Augustus-St. Gaudens playground on Second Avenue between East 19th and 20th Streets for the last 12 years, said that he heard about bugs from an article in the Daily News earlier in the week but customers haven’t asked him about it.

“The tree bugs don’t really affect people so nobody’s really said anything or noticed,” Smith said.

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Fire at Con Edison substation

Con Edison substation on Avenue C (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A minor fire broke out in an office space on the second floor of the East River substation inside the Con Edison facility at 230 Avenue C earlier this morning. Multiple nearby residents posted video on the crime reporting app Citizen of FDNY vehicles responding to the scene around 8:40 a.m.

A spokesperson for the fire department told Town & Village that a call about the blaze at the facility near East 14th Street came in at 8:26 a.m. and 12 units, including 60 firefighters and EMS personnel, responded to the scene. No injuries were reported as a result of the fire.

Con Edison spokesperson Allan Drury told Town & Village that personnel were evacuated from the building at the time of the fire but were able to reenter the control room below the office where the fire had occurred by 9:19 a.m.

The FDNY said that the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Gilman Hall eyed as possible shelter for homeless women and children

Gilman Hall was sold last year to CIM Group, who says there is currently no plan to turn the building into a facility for the homeless. (Photo via Google Maps)

By Sabina Mollot

Gilman Hall, the former residence for residents of Mount Sinai Beth Israel that was sold last year to a California developer, is being eyed as a site of a future shelter.

Word that the city was mulling using the now vacant property to temporarily house women and children reached Community Board Six last Thursday.

Asked about this, Molly Hollister, CB6 chair, and Carin van der Donk, chair of CB6’s Housing, Homeless, and Human Rights Committee issued the following statement to Town & Village:

“We have been notified by our elected officials that Gilman Hall at East 17th Street and 1st Avenue is currently being assessed as a possible shelter or temporary housing facility for women and children by the New York City Department of Homeless Services. There is no immediate timeline for a final decision for the site.

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