Cop cracking down on drunk drivers in 13th Precinct

Police Officer Nicholas Clemente with Executive Officer Ernesto Castro at the 13th Precinct Community Council meeting (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Drunk drivers, beware.

Police Officer Nicholas Clemente of the 13th Precinct has arrested so many behind the wheel boozers recently that on Tuesday, he was recognized for his efforts. Clemente was the recipient of the February Cop of the Month award at a meeting held by the 13th Precinct Community Council.

Executive Officer Ernesto Castro, who led the meeting because Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman was out due to a personal matter, said that Clemente had made a significant number of arrests of intoxicated drivers throughout the precinct last year and so far this year.

“(Clemente) has made it his priority to ensure the safety of our motorists and pedestrians every night,” Castro said. “His job is to identify by observation or by accidents whether someone is intoxicated. In 2018, he made it a priority and he arrested 15 people for that, nine of them being from observation alone, either driving in the wrong direction or swerving or taking red lights. This year so far he’s made two valuable arrests for (driving while intoxicated) and he continues to strive toward that.”

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Protesters pack Union Square over border wall

Hundreds of protesters packed Union Square Park on Monday evening to protest the president’s renewed push for a border wall.

By Jefferson Siegel

Hundreds gathered in Union Square on the Presidents Day holiday, Monday night, to protest the policies of president Donald Trump and specifically his declaration of a national emergency to build a wall on the Mexican border. Dozens of similar protests were also held around the country. Sixteen state attorneys general as well as several legal organizations and numerous private citizens have filed lawsuits against Trump over declaring a national emergency.

At Union Square, there were also a handful of Trump supporters who were being kept apart from the main protest.

Photos by Jefferson Siegel

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New L woes: Delayed SBS, Report of exit-only stations

Council Member Keith Powers said he has asked the MTA not to make the First and Third AvenueL stations exit only during the revised L train project, but hasn’t received an answer. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With L train riders wondering just how rough their commutes will be for the next 15-20 months, the MTA is now saying the work should take less time than originally thought, 15-18 months.

However, during this time, there is the possibility that the First and Third Avenue stops could become exit only to limit crowding, a plan the agency was considering, according to a report based on a draft memo obtained by Streetsblog. Additionally, while there will be M14 Select Bus Service, that isn’t expected to be made available until the fall, local elected officials recently learned.

Council Member Keith Powers, who was in attendance at an MTA briefing held last Wednesday for elected officials, said he has grilled the agency on these and other concerns from L train riders and residents who live around the construction zone. Another concern is that with the revised L train repair plan, service will be dramatically reduced on weeknights from 8 p.m.-5 a.m. and on the weekends.

“The number one concern we (have been hearing) was the possibility of First Avenue (and Third Avenue) being exit only,” Powers said. “I pushed back on this very hard. We can’t close First Avenue if the SBS isn’t ready in time. This is why you need L train alternatives that are good. We want there to be bus service or an L train stop. This is unacceptable. Not to have it in a construction zone, it’s a triple whammy. It’s unacceptable.”

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Letters to the editor, Feb. 21

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

So this was my evening

To the Town & Village Editor:

A few weeks ago I got off the LIRR at Penn Station near 11 p.m. I took the 1 downtown, knowing I could walk underground to 6th Avenue should the L have already been shut down. At 6th Avenue the platform was full, 60 to 100 people.

An automated announcement repeated itself: “The next L to Canarsie will be at 11:20 p.m.”

I then saw three people spot a sign taped to a poll that I hadn’t seen. They walked away as if to leave. I heard the announcement again, looked at the time and saw it was 11:40 p.m. That was when the MTA guys closing the station, cordoning off the platforms with yellow tape, first came around to alert us directly. But indeed that sign clearly said, last train 10:30 p.m.

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Police Watch: Man charged with newsstand robbery, Bouncer accused of assault

MAN CHARGED WITH UNION SQUARE SUBWAY NEWSSTAND ROBBERY
Police arrested 27-year-old Nicholas Labasta for an alleged robbery that took place inside the Union Square subway station on Tuesday, February 12 at 4 a.m. The victim told police that he was working behind the counter at the newsstand inside the station when Labasta allegedly reached over the counter into the open cash register. The victim said that he attempted to stop Labasta from taking the cash, and Labasta allegedly punched the victim in the face. Police said that he then grabbed cash in singles and fled the station. The victim later identified Labasta outside and police stopped him in front of 841 Broadway, where they recovered the cash in singles in his pocket. Labasta was also charged with grand larceny and petit larceny.

BOUNCER AT BOUNCE ACCUSED OF ASSAULT
Police arrested 35-year-old Modesto Morales for an alleged assault in front of Bounce nightclub at 55 West 21st Street on Saturday, February 16 at 2:56 a.m. The victim told police that Morales, who is a bouncer at the club, punched him in the mouth unprovoked, causing swelling and bleeding.

MAN ACCUSED OF SNATCHING PHONE
Police arrested 32-year-old Alexandre Teixeira for an alleged theft at the corner of Union Square East and East 14th Street on Friday, February 15 at 4:41 p.m. Police heard the victim shouting, “Police, help, he took my phone!” while running after Teixeira. Police said when they caught up with Teixeira and he was arrested, he had the victim’s phone. Teixeira was charged with grand larceny, criminal mischief and possession of stolen property.

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Strand bookstore fighting landmarking attempt

Strand bookstore at 826-828 Broadway and 12th Street (Photo via Wikipedia)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Advocates for the Strand bookstore are protesting its proposed landmarking ahead of the last public hearing on the topic next Tuesday.

Nancy Bass Wyden, the owner of the Strand, came out against the proposed landmarking of her business at the end of last year, arguing at a previous public hearing before the Landmarks Preservation Commission that doing so would destroy the business.

Bass Wyden’s family, which has been operating the bookstore at 826-828 Broadway at 12th Street since 1927, has owned the building for the last 20 years. The store was originally opened by Benjamin Bass and the family has been operating the business for the last 90 years. The business relocated to its current spot on Broadway just south of Union Square Park in 1956 and Benjamin’s son, Fred, bought the building in 1996.

“We operate on thin margins,” Bass Wyden argued in a petition against the landmarking. “For every repair and every upgrade, the Strand would have to go through the slow bureaucracy of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which adds to the expenses to keep Strand alive.”

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Measles is a concern for New Yorkers, says NYU Langone doctor

By Sabina Mollot

Despite some pretty stringent rules about immunization in schools, measles has made its comeback. So far, cases have been reported in 10 states, including New York, where there have been over 200 reported cases, all in Orthodox Jewish enclaves upstate as well as in Brooklyn.

According to the New York City Health Department, there have been 67 cases of measles since last October, all in Brooklyn.

To keep the disease from spreading in the city, mandatory school exclusions are currently in effect for children attending yeshivas or yeshiva-based childcare centers in the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Borough Park. This means the students must remain home from school while the outbreak is ongoing, including children who have religious exemptions or valid medical exemptions.

Meanwhile, upstate, Rockland County has seen 130 cases, Orange County 10 cases and Monroe County seven, according to the State Department of Health. In response to the outbreak there, Rockland County has excluded approximately 6,000 unvaccinated children at schools that are either located in close proximity to cases or that have vaccination rates below 95 percent.  State health officials have also met with local rabbinical leaders, parents and pediatricians on school exclusions and on getting children vaccinated.

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Letters to the editor, Feb. 14

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

The time-honored tradition of greed

The average rent in Stuy Town/Peter Cooper Village is now higher than the average rent in the rest of Manhattan. This is pretty worrisome trend. Far from being a middle-class bastion, it is now a high-rent complex.

Greedy landlords contributed. Metropolitan Life had enormous help from city to clear 80 acres in the Gas House District and evict over 13,000 working class people and their families from their homes. They said it was a slum clearance project — but there were three churches, three schools and countless mom and pop stores all there. The landlord was given enormous tax breaks.

When Mike Bloomberg was asked to intervene when Met Life said they wanted to cash in their chips in a $5.4 billion payday, Bloomberg adapted a laissez-faire attitude and said it was a “private transaction.” He deliberately turned a blind eye.

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East 14th Street man reported missing

Po Fung Eng

Police are looking for a resident of East 14th Street who was last seen on Tuesday at around 1:30 a.m.

Po Fung Eng, 55, who lives in a building east of Third Avenue, is described as Asian, 5’9″ tall and 130 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray jacket and blue pants.

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 at Nypdcrimestoppers.com, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Neighbors say safety first with Bellevue South Park renovations

Bellevue South Park (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Community organizers and the Parks Department got closer to an agreement about renovations planned for Bellevue South Park in Kips Bay after a Community Board 6 Parks committee meeting last Tuesday. The meeting was scheduled because park advocates were unsatisfied with designs the city had presented to the committee last month.

Manhattan Borough Commissioner Chief of Staff Steven Simon, who expressed frustration at the last meeting when met with resistance about the plans, at first balked at the idea of coming back to the committee next month, saying that it was unusual for Parks to even come back to the community board a second time, but ultimately agreed that the architects could make additional adjustments to the design and return to the committee in March.

Kips Bay residents Aaron Humphrey, Karen Lee, Pauline Yablonski and Courtney Bird offered suggestions to the plans that the Parks Department presented to the committee in January, which includes an ADA-compliant dog run and updated play equipment that will also be moved away from the adult exercise equipment.

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Guest steals electronics from Peter Cooper Village resident

Theft suspect in Peter Cooper Village

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who stole electronics from a Peter Cooper Village resident he went home with on Friday, February 8.

The victim told police he and the other man, who he met at a bar that evening, went to his apartment at 601 East 20th Street. After his guest left, at around 1:30 a.m., the resident realized various items were missing from the apartment, including an iPhone, driver’s license, two Microsoft Surface Pros, an Apple MacBook and a Playstation.

The suspect was seen on surveillance video. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

Parents still hope to save St. Brigid School

St. Brigid families gathered after mass on Sunday to protest the closure of the East Village school and to strategize. (Photos by Sidney Goldberg)

By Sabina Mollot

Shell-shocked parents and students at St. Brigid, a parish-run Catholic school across from Tompkins Square Park, have been doing hail Marys in the hopes of getting the Archdiocese to rethink a decision made last week to shutter the school and four others in the city.

On Sunday, parents, local elected officials and children making homemade signs gathered for a brain storming session and protest after mass, and one parent and school volunteer, Amanda Daloisio, insisted, “We’re not going down without a fight.”

Daloisio, who lives a block away from the school, said parents, on top of being heartbroken are also furious about the way the announcement was handled.

Daloisio said the principal was the first to be told on a Friday but was instructed not to tell anyone. She did share the news with teachers at an emergency meeting the following Monday, but they too were told to stay silent. Parents were then given notices in their children’s backpacks although curiously some students were told about it by the principal before their parents. Parents received an alert on their phones to be on the lookout for the letter.

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‘Landmarks Lion’ Jack Taylor dies

June21 SPNA Jack Taylor and Rosalee Isaly

Jack Taylor with Rosalee Isaly, then-president of the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association, who presented him with an award for his preservation work in the neighborhood last year (also now deceased) (Photo by Andrew Garn)

By Sabina Mollot

Jack Taylor, a historic preservationist and resident of East 18th Street in Gramercy, died last Thursday, February 7, in his sleep. He was 94, and had suffered some health problems, including with his leg in recent months, making it hard for him to get around.
For decades Taylor was known for his efforts to save buildings slated for the wrecking ball in the Gramercy, Stuyvesant Square and Union Square neighborhoods and to get them landmarked.

He was involved in numerous civic groups, including the Gramercy Park Block Association, the Union Square Community Coalition, the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association and the Historic Districts Council.

He’d been retired since the 1980s, when he served as managing editor for Family Circle for several years. After retiring, he still did some freelance editing work.
His legacy of preservation began when he was inspired by the loss of Luchow’s restaurant, according to a transcript of a 2004 forum he participated in held by the New York Preservation Archive Project. The place was over a century old when Taylor learned it was at risk and got involved with an informal group aimed at saving it, headed by the USCC. The “born and bred” Manhattanite noted he had been born in Greenwich Village, not far from Luchow’s.

“Was it an architectural landmark? Was it a cultural landmark? Just what was it?” Taylor had mused at the forum. “It didn’t matter to me then, because I didn’t know the ropes very much. But it just seemed to be something that the city of New York would be the worse without. Regardless of the food, which had plummeted in the meantime. It was the philosophy of the thing.”

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Police Watch: Man arrested for phone theft, ACS teen nabbed for beatdown

MAN CHARGED WITH PHONE THEFT AFTER BEING CHASED DOWN BY VICTIM
Police arrested 43-year-old Maitreya One for an alleged theft from the Fat Buddha bar at 212 Avenue A between 13th and 14th Streets on Saturday, February 9 at 11:44 p.m. The victim told police that she put her phone on a table in the bar and turned her back to it, and when she turned back around, the phone was missing. She said that she used the Find My iPhone app and it pinged at the McDonald’s at 404 East 14th Street. She said that she pinged her phone again while walking around nearby and heard it coming from an unknown man. She said that she confronted the man and asked for the phone back, which he refused. The victim said that she called 911 and followed the man to East 17th Street and Second Avenue, where he was arrested. When the suspect was taken into custody, the victim’s phone was recovered from his front right jacket pocket. One was arrested at the corner of Second Avenue and East 17th Street on Sunday, February 10 at 12:52 a.m. and was charged with petit larceny and possession of stolen property.

ACS TEEN NABBED FOR BEATDOWN OF ANOTHER TEEN
Police arrested a teenager for an alleged assault that took place in front of 130 East 29th Street on November 20, 2018, at 10:30 p.m. The victim told police that the suspect punched him numerous times in the face, causing swelling and bruising to both cheeks and his right eye. Police said that the suspect and the victim know each other because they both live in the Administration for Children’s Services facility at 492 First Avenue. The teen was arrested on Friday, February 8 at 2 a.m. inside the 13th precinct.

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Opinion: Mark-Viverito blocked SBJSA

By Sung Soo Kim, founder, Small Business Congress

Normally, the small business advocates would call upon all New Yorkers to put aside the canned election political rhetoric and instead scrutinize the records, qualifications, public statements and past actions of the candidates. There is no time for this proper analysis, but one candidate’s shameful record on dealing with the small business crisis and being influenced by a lobby must be exposed to the voters, especially in the immigrant community.

We carefully reviewed public advocate candidate Melissa Mark-Viverito’s (MMV) record and actions as speaker on addressing the specific crisis of the closings of long established small businesses. Also examined were her actions to address the anti-democratic rigging by a lobby taking place in the speaker’s office for over four years.

Nobody is more qualified to make this assessment than the small business advocates who have been fighting for justice for decades. The small businesses themselves wrote the original legislation (Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act ) giving rights to businesses to survive when their leases expired and then advocated for over 30 years to get it passed.

We know from firsthand experience who is a true progressive and friend of small business and who has been bought off to stop our bill and deny rights to small business owners.  We know when we receive justice and fair treatment at City Hall and when justice is denied by a rigged system. Our warning to voters to not vote for MMV is based solely upon the true record of MMV as speaker on our crisis.

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