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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More Stuy Town residents get MCI notices for hot water system

By Sabina Mollot

This week, some residents of Stuyvesant Town received notices that the Division of Housing and Community Renewal had approved the owner’s request for hot water heater major capital improvement rent increase.

One resident shared the MCI notice on the Tenants Association’s Facebook page, which stated the increase to tenants’ rent would be $1.86 per room per month. However, MCI charges can vary slightly from building to building and this one is for the whole complex.

The ST-PCV Tenants Association had opposed this MCI, but the DHCR rejected its arguments that it would cause a financial hardship to tenants and that it was unfair because the property’s six commercial garages would also be benefitting from the upgrade. In its notice to tenants, the DHCR wrote that the garages are getting their own separate hot water systems, so they aren’t benefitting from the hot water heater (exchanger) system.

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