New ice cream truck to serve up scoops in ST/PCV

Peter Coops Scoops

How sweet it is. The new ice cream truck in town will be operated by Mikey Likes it. (Photos by Thomas Rochford)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuyvesant Town residents who were out and about on the First Avenue Loop on Friday afternoon may have seen the newest vehicle to enter management’s fleet, only this time it’s not a security SUV or contractor club car, but an ice cream truck.

The baby blue and white van, which was parked on the side of the road, has the words, “Peter Coop’s Scoops” and the Peter Cooper logo on its side.

Asked about this, Stuyvesant Town general manager Rick Hayduk said that is really an ice cream truck and it will be open for business in Peter Cooper and Stuy Town (where legally allowed to operate), on June 19. It may also, where allowed, Hayduk stressed, pop up at public events in the city, and it will also appear at another Blackstone-owned property, Kips Bay Court.

The truck is part of Stuy Town Property Services’ recently announced re-branding efforts such as the new, minimalist property logos and last year’s apartment-in-a-box van that drove around the city. It’s being operated independently by Mikey Likes It, an ice cream shop owned by a Stuyvesant Town resident, Michael Cole. The business has a location in the East Village on Avenue A as well as on Fredrick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem. In exchange for having the ST/PCV wrap as a form of advertising for the property, management gave Mikey Likes It the truck to use.

“We’re not in the ice cream business,” Hayduk clarified.

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Civil Court judge candidate Grace Park wants you to know that there is a primary

Grace Park has been an attorney with the Legal Aid Society for 14 years.

By Sabina Mollot

Midtown resident Grace Park, an attorney for the past 20 years and a mother of two teen boys, is on the ballot for a position that doesn’t pop up too often — Civil Court judge.

And considering that most people don’t know that judges even need to be elected, and considering that this is a quiet election year, Park knows it’s going to be tough to get voters out to a June 25 Democratic primary.

She’s just begun the process of getting the word out about the race, in which she is running against Lynne Fischman Uniman, another experienced attorney.

There is no Republican candidate for this position, which is to represent the 4th District, an area that covers Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, Gramercy, Kips Bay, Murray Hill and Midtown East.

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Opinion: Time to end runaway MCIs

ST buildings

Stuyvesant Town

By Council Member Keith Powers, Assembly Member Harvey Epstein and State Senator Brad Hoylman

As tenants in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village know all too well, there’s nothing minor about a Major Capital Improvement (MCI). That’s why we’re pushing for the elimination of MCIs in Albany this June.

Almost weekly, we hear from tenants about new MCIs being added to their rent, costs that never disappear, and the unfairness of a system that transforms sometimes dubious improvements into permanent revenue streams for landlords. These costs push rents higher and only exacerbate annual rent increases.

In theory, MCIs are designed to incentivize landlords to continually keep up and improve properties with rent stabilized tenants. For example, a landlord might pay to replace a boiler or install new windows with the ability to pass a portion of the costs onto the tenants. MCIs allow owners of residential buildings to apply to New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) for permanent rent increases after completing improvements or installations — not repairs — to rent regulated buildings. Part of the problem is that HCR almost always automatically approves these requests, leaving tenants bearing the burden. In fact, we have been helping the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association contest 39 MCIs dating back over a decade.

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Stuy Town-Peter Cooper residents have been asking for Avenue A entrance to L train since 1947

Rendering of Avenue A entrance to First Avenue subway station, currently under construction

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

With the L train slowdown officially underway, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents and others who rely on the train are already enduring service cuts and crowding. However, the bright light at the end of the tunnel, especially for residents living farther east, along with a safe subway system, is the promise of a new entrance at Avenue A and East 14th Street for the First Avenue station.

Town & Village has reported in the last five years that neighborhood residents, transit advocates and local elected officials had been asking the MTA to consider a new entrance at least since 2014 and were denied on more than one occasion, but the request is actually almost as old as Stuyvesant Town itself.

A Stuy Town resident who moved into the complex when it opened in 1947 wrote a letter to the Brooklyn Manhattan Transit Corporation, which operated the L at the time, asking if the transit agency would expand the First Avenue station by building an entrance at Avenue A. Resident Reginald Gilbert of 625 East 14th Street argued that pressure on the station from the influx of new residents made the new entrance a necessity.

“With the increase of tenants in (Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village), the First Avenue station is becoming more and more crowded during the rush hours with passengers jamming up in the first cars going west and the rear cars coming east,” Gilbert wrote in his letter, which T&V also published in the November 27, 1947 issue. “This condition exists with only a small portion of (the complex) occupied and will be aggravated with the influx of new residents during the next few months.”

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British International School of New York celebrates Red Nose Day

Students at the British International School of New York at Waterside Plaza don red noses as part of a campaign aimed at fighting children’s poverty. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Students at the British International School of New York celebrated Red Nose Day at the Lewis Davis Pavilion in Waterside Plaza last Thursday with a jokeathon to raise awareness for child poverty.

Brave 10, 11 and 12-year-olds took the stage in front of their classmates to make them giggle for the event, which is part of a national fundraiser that collects donations for various organizations that benefit children throughout the US and the world. Red Nose Day started as a charity event in the UK through the organization Comic Relief, which started holding live fundraising comedy shows in the 1980s to address famine in Ethiopia. The highlight of the fundraising efforts was Red Nose Day, during which comedians participated in a telethon to raise money to address worldwide poverty.

Comic Relief USA is a sister organization to the charity in the UK and primarily raises funds specifically to tackle child poverty, while the UK focuses on poverty, as well as mental health issues and refugees. Walgreens sells the noses for $2, with $1.30 going to the fundraising effort, and Walgreens doesn’t make a profit on the noses.

Abigail Greystoke, director of BISNY, said that this is the first year the school held a jokeathon for Red Nose Day but students did still get involved in the event last year by hosting a bake-off to raise money for the cause.

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Police: Woman accused of stealing phone, Teen arrested for phone thefts

WOMAN ACCUSED OF STEALING PHONE FROM GUARD
Police arrested 28-year-old Antonia Coston for an alleged robbery inside 69 Fifth Avenue on Tuesday, May 21 at 2:40 p.m. Police said that Coston was cleaning an apartment in the building and at the time of the incident, appeared to be inebriated. A security guard in the building told police that Coston snatched his phone from the security desk without permission and when he tried to grab the phone back from her, she allegedly punched him in the face.

Coston allegedly fled the location but the victim said that she returned shortly after to grab her suitcase and police said that she punched him again before leaving for the second time. The victim said that he asked for his phone back multiple times and she didn’t comply but she was caught after police searched the area and police said that the phone was recovered.

Coston was also charged with possession of stolen property.

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Water main breaks in Flatiron

Photos by Sabina Mollot

By Sabina Mollot

On Wednesday morning, a water main broke on Fifth Avenue and 20th Street, sending steam shooting up into the air, reminiscent of the steam blast last July just a block north.

According to Con Ed, it was city equipment under the oversight of the Department of Environmental Protection that was impacted. However, utility workers shut off a number of valves (none affecting area residents) out of caution to see if any of their own underground equipment regulation steam and electric service was also affected.

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Opinion: Double-edged Sword

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

So it’s official: Bill de Blasio is running… away from New York City. He is seeking the nomination for president in a crowded field of nearly two dozen Democrats. His chances of success range from nearly impossible to absurd.

That would be ok if he were doing this on his own time. But he is virtually abdicating his responsibilities as mayor. That is the part that is really arrogant and offensive.

Blame term limitations at least in part.

You see, de Blasio is a politician with no path to future office but nothing to lose thumbing his nose at his current constituents. He can’t run for mayor again and when his current term ends in 2021, there is no other viable office for him to seek.

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Man wanted for multiple bank robberies

Bank robbery suspect

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police are looking for a man connected to a number of bank robberies that took place in the 9th and 13th precincts earlier this month.

A man reportedly approached the teller’s window inside the Chase Bank at 69 Fifth Avenue on Friday, May 17 around 1:15 p.m., threatened that he had a weapon and demanded money. The teller complied and gave the man an undetermined amount of cash, after which he fled the location. He didn’t display a weapon during the incident and no injuries were reported.

Not long after this incident at 1:25 p.m., the same man approached a teller’s window inside the Valley National Bank at 111 Fourth Avenue near East 12th Street. He threatened that he was in possession of a weapon and demanded money. The teller complied and the suspect fled in an unknown direction with an undetermined amount of cash. There were no weapons displayed during this incident and no injuries were reported.

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Opinion: Tenants need another rent freeze

By Assemblymember Harvey Epstein

Before I became a state legislator, I was one of two tenant representatives on New York City’s Rent Guidelines Board, the entity responsible for setting the rents for the city’s million-plus units of regulated housing stock. During my tenure, I worked closely with advocates to push through two consecutive rent freezes––the first and second in the Board’s 50-year history.

Freezing rents for two years in a row provided much-needed relief for over a million rent-stabilized tenants––relief these working class New Yorkers still need today. Unfortunately, since 2016, the Board has voted twice to raise rents; they look poised to do so again this year. I don’t believe the data support increasing rents.

New York City is in the midst of a homelessness crisis of historic proportions not seen since the Great Depression. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, our city is home to the largest homeless population of any city in America: tonight, some 60,000 New Yorkers will sleep in shelters.

Those lucky enough to have a home face challenges: in an annual report produced by the RGB, a majority of rent-stabilized tenants were shown to be rent-burdened and a third are severely rent-burdened, meaning they pay 50 percent or more of their incomes towards rent. Rent-burdened tenants face serious difficulties meeting their everyday needs for nutritious food, healthcare and education and the health outcomes of children that live in rent-burdened households are worse than their non-rent-burdened counterparts, according to Pew researchers.

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DJ arrested for running illegal club in Flatiron

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

William Mendola, also known as DJ Billy Mendola, was arrested for allegedly running an illegal poker game inside a Flatiron building earlier this month.

Mendola, 51, was charged with running an unlicensed bottle club at 147 West 25th Street on Saturday, May 11 at 2:45 a.m. Police said that Mendola was working as the manager inside the location, where alcohol was being warehoused and allegedly sold illegally. Police said that the space did not have a valid liquor license and Mendola allegedly possessed gambling devices, including poker tables, playing cards and poker chips, which were reportedly used for unlawful gambling activity.

Mendola was indicted in 2003 on federal drug charges in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was charged with conspiracy to violate narcotics law. He pleaded guilty to drug charges in 2005 and was sentenced to almost 12 years in prison, and was ordered to be designated to a facility as close as possible to Las Vegas.

It is not clear how much of his prison sentence he served, but in 2013, Mendola wrote a letter to a judge to request early termination of the three-year supervised release that a judge mandated upon his release from prison. The court denied the request because he reportedly had not shown “exceptionally good behavior,” had not completed two-thirds of the period of supervision and his offense was large in scale.

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ST rock singer Garland Jeffreys says he’s retiring

Garland Jeffreys, pictured in Stuyvesant Town in 2012 (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

After a half century of performing in New York City and around the world, rock singer — and longtime Stuyvesant Town resident — Garland Jeffreys has announced he is retiring from the stage.

While he said he plans to do the occasional guest spot—and has planned a farewell/76th birthday concert next month with at least a dozen other singers — Jeffreys said he is now just focusing on writing and recording music.

“I’m kind of retiring,” he told Town & Village this week. “These days what I’m doing is picking and choosing. Like for example, I’m going to do something in Canada with Steven Van Zandt.”

The “Wild in the Streets” singer, who’s also shared stages with Bruce Springsteen and Lou Reed, added, “I love performing, but I’m not going to be on the treadmill, playing, playing, playing.”

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Middle Collegiate Church hosts rally protesting abortion bans

Artist and activist Viva Ruiz spoke at a rally in support of abortion on the steps of Middle Collegiate Church on Second Avenue this past Tuesday.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

To the uninitiated, Middle Collegiate Church might seem like an unusual place to hold a rally in support of abortion, given many churches’ stance on the subject. But Executive Minister Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft wants everyone to know that it’s exactly the right place to hold a rally in support of abortion.

“Middle Collegiate is a very progressive church and we believe the struggle for reproductive justice is a struggle we all carry and people should have the right to choose,” she said.

Hambrick Ashcraft, who is also a Stuyvesant Town resident, was the driving force behind such a rally that was held outside the Second Avenue church in the East Village this past Tuesday, one of hundreds of rallies held across the country protesting the new wave of bans on abortion in a number of different states in recent weeks.

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Student MetroCard program set to expand

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The MTA Board officially approved a proposal that expands full-fare MetroCard access for students on Wednesday. The proposed resolution expands access to three-trip, full-fare student MetroCards for students who currently have half-fare MetroCards, and would eliminate the half-fare MetroCard program.

Half-fare student MetroCards allow bus-only access for K-12 students who live at least half a mile from their school. Students with half-fare cards are supposed to pay $1.35 in coins for every ride, which the MTA said increases dwell time and can be challenging to collect.

The resolution would give half-fare recipients the same three-trip MetroCard that other students already receive, which gives students three free rides every day and can be used on buses and subways.

There are currently 27,000 daily bus trips using half-fare cards. The MTA issued 200,500 half-fare MetroCards to the Department of Education for distribution for the spring semester of 2018, and data from the DOE shows that 66 percent of the half-fare MetroCards that are shipped to schools and distributed are never used, and of the cards that are used, they are used on only eight percent of school days.

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Man arrested for pulling emergency brake on 2 train

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 23-year-old Brooklyn resident Isaiah Thompson for reckless endangerment and criminal trespass early Friday morning for pulling a 2 train’s emergency brakes earlier this week.

Thompson reportedly gained access to the rear of a train car while the uptown 2 train was in the West 14th Street/Seventh Avenue station on Tuesday, May 21 at 5:43 p.m. Police said that he opened the rear door and rode for several stops on the outside of the train car, after which he allegedly activated the train’s emergency brakes.

Thompson was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespass in connection with the incident in the First Precinct at 12:25 a.m. on Friday.

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