Citi Bike docks in Playground 9 to be moved

The new Citi Bike docking station in Playground 9 was installed at the end of last month, resulting in numerous complaints from residents about space from the playground being taken away. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuy Town residents were surprised and not entirely thrilled to see dozens of new Citi Bike docks inside Playground 9 installed at the end of June. After a number of complaints were sent to management, STPCV general manager Rick Hayduk announced last week that Citi Bike would be making adjustments to the docks later this month so that the water feature in the playground would be accessible.

Management had previously announced the arrival of the new docking stations in a June rent insert but residents on local Facebook groups expressed surprise about how much space on the playground that the new docks occupy.

The announcement from Hayduk, which came in the form of a notice posted in buildings throughout the property, said that Citi Bike was on-site last week and that they would soon be moving the docking stations to provide access to the water feature. Management expects this realignment to be completed by the third week of July. As of this week, the docks continue to block the water feature.

Councilmember Keith Powers met with Hayduk after he learned about the installation of the docks and his office has also coordinated with the STPCV Tenants Association, Citi Bike and the Department of Transportation. The DOT usually specifies station siting for Citi Bike but since the placement of these docks is on private property, STPCV and Citi Bike had more authority to pick a location. Powers’ office said that the selection of the site was done without their knowledge or that of the TA.

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Opinion: Drop the busway lawsuit

By Sophie Maerowitz

With the planned implementation of the 14th Street Busway on July 1, residents of the East Village were preparing for a major uptick in our quality of life. However, a frivolous last-minute court order has delayed much-needed bus improvements for tens of thousands of our neighbors yet again.

As a resident of East 14th Street and an advocate of the 14th Street busway since 2015, I was incredibly disheartened to see this snap decision. I have spent  years working with my neighbors doing grassroots activism, building widespread community support for a car-free bus corridor on 14th Street, and it is quite frankly perverse to argue that transit improvements are an environmental threat, as the suit alleges.

The truth is, this delay will only serve to keep the M14A and M14D buses moving at an appalling sub-4 mile per hour speed. It’s no surprise that the #BusTurnaround coalition has given these lines an “F” rating.

Whatever else contributed to the decision, I don’t think it helped that the judge in this case, Eileen Rakower, never heard the perspective of those of us in the community that care about quick and reliable bus service on 14th Street, which we know won’t work if buses are caught in car traffic. If only she was there when we raced the M14D on foot; it only beat us by two seconds.

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Multiple shoplifting arrests, including in Peter Cooper Village

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Multiple people were arrested for shoplifting throughout the neighborhood in the last week, including multiple suspects charged with robbery after the incidents reportedly turned violent and one case where a suspect was arrested in Peter Cooper Village after fleeing.

Shiron Parsons, 29, was arrested in Peter Cooper Village last week after he allegedly shoplifted from a CVS on East 23rd Street.

Police said that Parsons removed items from the CVS at 338 East 23rd Street near First Avenue on Saturday, July 6 at 4:56 p.m. An employee said that he put the items into a Trader Joe’s bag before he left without paying.

Police said that Parsons then got into a beige vehicle and fled east on East 23rd Street. Officers stopped Parsons at East 23rd Street and Avenue C but Parsons then fled south into Peter Cooper Village and was ultimately arrested in front of 2 Peter Cooper Road.

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New installation in Madison Square Park

Leonardo Drew’s City in the Grass debuted in Madison Square Park in June and will be on view until December 15. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Artist Leonardo Drew has sculpted a sprawling carpet for the latest installation in Madison Square Park, creating a topographical view of an abstract cityscape titled City in the Grass.

“You’re Gulliver and looking down on Lilliput, so to speak,” Drew said, referring to the satire by Jonathan Swift in which Gulliver is shipwrecked on an island inhabited by six-inch-tall Lilliputians.

The piece marks the 38th commissioned exhibition for the Madison Square Park Conservancy and opened in the spring, running through December 15.

Drew said that he’s never worked outdoors but was excited about the possibilities and appreciated the Conservancy’s guidance, or lack thereof, with the piece.

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Department of Transportation fighting busway lawsuit

Select Bus Service launched for the M14A/D at the beginning of this month, despite the lack of a busway. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Department of Transportation was once again unsuccessful last week in convincing a judge to lift a court order preventing the start of a new busway on 14th Street. West Village resident and attorney Arthur Schwartz filed a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the plan to prioritize trucks and transit on the corridor, arguing that banning private traffic would cause overwhelming congestion on the nearby side streets, and a judge blocked implementation of the plan just three days before it was supposed to go into effect.

The DOT was scheduled to appear in court on August 6 but the agency instead went back before a judge on July 2, asking that the court vacate the TRO. Schwartz said that the judge reviewing the application last week wouldn’t take the argument because approving the plan “opened up the possibility of a ping pong effect at great expense to the city and confusion to the public” in the event that the TRO was reinstated and vacated repeatedly, or if the injunction was reinstated at the August 6 appearance.

Schwartz said that Judge Gishe, the Appellate Division judge who wouldn’t vacate the TRO last week, read the papers over but argued that since DOT had identified 14th Street as a street needing SBS in 2011, the situation wasn’t an emergency.

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Letters to the editor, July 11

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Why no help on bike thefts?

Stuyvesant Town is the “idyllic” place to live, but with a little secret. Bicycles are stored in the terrace level but some are being stolen without any concern from management, who state that it is not their responsibility if things are stolen. Noticeably there are no security cameras in or near the laundry rooms.

I had two Trek bicycles stolen about four weeks after I moved in. There was hardly a response other than to claim it under my insurance! This despite the room requiring a key to get in (which suggests an “inside” job of either a contractor or someone with key access).

Recently a friend had their $1,100 bicycle stolen, even though it had three locks including a U-lock and no peddles. The thieves knew which bicycle(s) to take, as they left the spouses bicycle, which is old. The two bicycles were locked together.

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Police Watch: Teen busted for robbery from taxi, Man nabbed for wallet-snatching

TEEN BUSTED FOR ROBBERY FROM TAXI
Police arrested a teenager for a robbery at the corner of East 27th Street and First Avenue on Thursday, July 4 at 9:11 p.m. A cab driver told police that the teen entered his green taxi through the front passenger door, attempting to punch the driver in the face, and proceeded to grab money from the victim’s front shirt pocket and his cell phone from the car before fleeing on foot. Police said that the teen used to live in the Administration for Children’s Services facility at 492 First Avenue but no longer resides there.

MAN NABBED FOR UNION SQUARE WALLET-SNATCHING
Police arrested 25-year-old Peter Cangelosi for an alleged theft from inside the Union Square subway station at Union Square East and East 14th Street on Tuesday, July 2 at 9:10 p.m. Police said that on June 17 around 11 a.m., Cangelosi allegedly asked for a MetroCard swipe into the station. After the victim swiped him into the subway, Cangelosi allegedly snatched the victim’s wallet from his hand and ran into the station. The victim told police that he chased Cangelosi but lost him inside the station. When the victim contacted his credit card company, he found that there had been multiple attempts to use his card.

Police said that the victim viewed a blind photo array on June 24 and identified Cangelosi as the person who grabbed his wallet and Cangelosi allegedly identified himself on surveillance video from the station. Cangelosi was charged with grand larceny and identity theft.

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Opinion: What’s this picture worth?

A father and daughter drowned while trying to cross a river between Matamoros in Mexico and Brownsville, Texas. (AP Photo/Julia Le Duc)

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

I remember the powerful image of an anguished female student standing over the bloodied lifeless body of a fellow Kent State College student killed by National Guardsmen during the Vietnam War protests. I remember the picture of the lone Chinese protester blocking a tank rolling through Tiananmen Square during that country’s crackdown on democracy. And who can forget the image of Neil Armstrong stepping on to the lunar surface with his giant leap for mankind 50 years ago next month? Such photographs capture a moment in history and became etched in our collective psyches. They also shape the way Americans feel about important events and shape policy issues to come.

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In an instant, it can define a policy debate or provide instant clarity to a complicated issue with its powerful graphic. And so it was last week.

Who amongst us was not moved to tears while viewing the father and his daughter both drowned in their perilous attempt to make it across the American border because all other entries were closed off? This was a parent desperate to escape his country’s violence and secure a better life for his daughter and family. Every parent can understand that impulse. This father was certainly not of the criminal element as President Trump has tried to depict all immigrants from Central America.

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Letter to the editor, July 4

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Not laughing at cartoon on racism

Re: Editorial cartoon, T&V, June 6

I understand the message of the cartoon and I believe Chancellor Carranza is wrong, but can Town & Village show some balance when it comes to other people instead of showing only whites as victims? For example: Native Americans to whites: You whites committed genocide against us and stole our land. Can a cartoon be put in Town & Village showing this message?

K. Daniels

Opinion: Stop stalling and save Mom & Pop

By Kirsten Theodos, co-founder, Take Back NYC

All across the city, we are seeing the character and spirit of our neighborhoods being destroyed by hyper real estate speculation pushing out longtime established small businesses. Amazon cannot be blamed for all of the closings. A year ago, 41-year-old Cornelia Street Café was forced to close because of an exorbitant rent hike.

The Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) would have saved them by giving commercial tenants rights to renew their leases and negotiate reasonable terms. In a recent interview, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer made clear in her view the SBJSA shouldn’t apply to all commercial leases. Her argument is weak, that the “unintended consequences” of the bill would be including “white shoe law firms” and “financial institutions.”

Even if a business is a hedge fund, it should not be excluded from protection from unscrupulous landlords. Carving out specific types of businesses from the bill is discrimination and would certainly be legally challenged. After years of broken promises to save Mom & Pop, it is unclear why she is back on the small business beat and weighing in on this now.

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Officers honored at community council

Police officers Colin Dowd, Peter Rodriguez, Joe Sgroi, Kevin Fainer and Manny Rodriguez were honored for their work at the 13th precinct’s most recent community council meeting last month. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Five officers at the 13th precinct were honored as cops of the month at the precinct’s last community council meeting before the summer break on Tuesday, June 18. Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman said that crime in the precinct has been steadily decreasing and he said that the community policing program that launched at the precinct last October has helped.

“I attribute that to the cops on patrol and the NCO philosophy that’s driving down crime,” he said, referring to the program that assigns Neighborhood Coordination Officers to different areas in the precinct. “We had a tough year last year but we’ve been doing better.”

The first awards at the meeting went to two officers who work together as NCOs for Sector A, which covers Stuyvesant Town and Gramercy. Officers Peter Rodriguez and Manny Rodriguez caught a man on Avenue C earlier in the month after they suspected him of riding a stolen motorcycle. After the man was arrested, the officers found that he was wanted citywide for stolen motorcycles and had also been arrested for felony assault after molesting his sister.

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July 4th fireworks

July 4th Fireworks last year from Waterside Plaza (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

The Macy’s fireworks celebration for the July 4th holiday will originate from four barges south of the Brooklyn Bridge, from Pier 17 to the Manhattan Heliport, between 9:25 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. Subways will operate on a Saturday schedule. There will be increased subway service on the 4, 5 A, C, F and S 42nd Street Shuttle prior to and following the fireworks. There will also be firework shows around 9:25 p.m. at Exchange Place, Jersey City, and around 9:45 p.m. in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

Pride Month ends with two parades

State Senator Brad Hoylman handed out US Constitutions with his husband David Sigal during the Pride March on Fifth Avenue this Sunday. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The month honoring the LGBT movement ended on Sunday with the annual Pride March down Fifth Avenue, with even larger crowds than usual for the celebration due to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and WorldPride. The latter attracted visitors from all over the world both participating in the march and watching from the barricades.

Stuyvesant Town also celebrated Pride with a parade for the first time this year, holding the event last Wednesday after the originally scheduled date got rained out. Peggy Becker, a 25-year Stuy Town resident, said that she was excited that management had decided to host their own parade.

“It’s a historical event,” she said. “They’ve never done it before so I wanted to support it.”

High school senior Asher Dwoskin, Becker’s grandson, has marched in the city’s main parade in the past with a contingent organized by Amherst College, his mother’s alma mater, and said that marching in both that parade and Stuy Town’s was important to him.

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Busway delayed by lawsuit while SBS launches on 14th

Stuyvesant Town resident Mary Garvey argued against the lawsuit that prevented the launch of the new busway on 14th Street on Monday. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Implementation of the proposed busway for 14th Street has been delayed after a judge issued a temporary restraining order, preventing the plan from going into effect on Monday with the launch of Select Bus Service for the M14A/D.

The MTA said that while SBS on the route was scheduled to launch on July 1 anyway, the lawsuit will make it more difficult to provide faster bus service.

“This ruling will undoubtedly hinder our goal of speeding up buses on one of the busiest and most congested arteries, and make traveling around the city harder for our customers,” MTA spokesperson Shams Tarek said. “Transit prioritization such as the city’s Transit and Truck Priority busway would help speed up Select Bus Service. In the meantime, we’re working with NYCDOT and NYPD to enforce existing rules to ensure our buses won’t be blocked by vehicles double parking and blocking bus stops.”

The New York Post reported on Friday that a Manhattan judge issued the restraining order as part of a lawsuit that attorney and West 12th Street resident Arthur Schwartz filed on behalf of a number of block associations on Wednesday, June 20 that opposed the restrictions on 14th Street.

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