Arrest made for fatal pedestrian collision in Chelsea

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 32-year-old James Wilmarth last Tuesday in connection with the death of a Chelsea resident after a vehicle collision earlier this month. Police charged Wilmarth with failure to yield to a pedestrian or bicyclist, an administrative charge, and failure to use due care on August 20 at 9:41 p.m.

Melissa McClure, 67, was killed less than a block from her apartment on West 15th Street at the corner of Sixth Avenue when Wilmarth allegedly hit her with his pick-up truck on Saturday, August 10 around 9 p.m.

Police said that Wilmarth was driving north on Sixth Avenue and was attempting to make a left turn onto West 15th Street heading west. Two women, who Gothamist later identified as McClure and her younger sister, Dorry Chitwood, were attempting to cross the street with the white pedestrian walk signal.

As Wilmarth was making the turn, the front of his vehicle allegedly hit both pedestrians, knocking them to the ground. Police responded to a 911 call about the collision at 9:07 p.m. When officers arrived, they found two women in the roadway with head trauma.

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Stuyvesant Town resident challenging Maloney

Stuy Town resident Peter Harrison (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town resident Peter Harrison is the latest candidate to challenge Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for her seat in the 12th District, with a campaign centered on the housing crisis.

“I’m a housing person, both as an activist and as a policy person,” he said. “And there’s a moment right now in this district to talk about housing as this lens for other major, major issues. The narrative of the campaign really is centered on housing as this focal point for talking about economic justice, climate justice and racial justice.”

Harrison moved in Stuy Town as a market-rate tenant in 2009 with some friends and less than a year later, they received a letter saying that they were members of the Roberts class-action lawsuit. That prompted him to get involved with the STPCV Tenants Association.

“There was an amazing opportunity to learn how to organize tenants because it was a ton of effort, and a huge capacity left for the TA,” he said. “So I really got thrown in, became a building captain and was knocking on hundreds and hundreds of doors, learning a lot about it.”

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Man arrested for stealing wine from Chelsea restaurant after scaling building, allegedly masturbating inside

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a 50-year-old man after he allegedly scaled a wall at a West 24th Street building in an attempt to evade capture and reportedly stole wine from the restaurant’s cellar last week.

Steven Vega reportedly broke into Zauo, a Japanese restaurant at 152 West 24th Street, on Tuesday, August 20 around 12:40 a.m. when the restaurant was closed. Police said that the building manager spotted Vega inside through security cameras and said that he was inside the building illegally and without permission to be there.

When police arrived at the scene around 1:40 a.m., two officers spotted Vega on the second floor, after which he allegedly tried to escape through two separate roof access points. Police said that Vega then scaled down the side of the building, then went back up to the roof.

Three officers then followed Vega onto the roof by going up the fire escape and managed to arrest him. According to the district attorney’s office, police also spotted Vega allegedly masturbating via the surveillance video while Vega was allegedly in the hallway inside the building.

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Mahjong with a side of shmear

Stuy Town resident Susie Fasbinder has started teaching mahjong classes at the Ess-a-Bagel in Stuyvesant Town on First Avenue. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town resident Susie Fasbinder wants to bring an old game to a younger generation—over a classic New York meal. Fasbinder approached Ess-a-Bagel owner Beverly Wilpon about hosting small games at the shop on First Avenue and Wilpon was open to it, thus “mahjong and a shmear” was born.

Fasbinder, who is also a children’s book author, learned how to play the game as a teenager and picked it up again in her 50s but began teaching classes because she was having trouble finding games locally. She started listing classes through Facebook groups and said that she taught about 30 people how to play over the last six to eight months before starting the classes in the Stuyvesant Town Ess-a-Bagel at 324 First Avenue.

Those initial lessons were private classes but she got the idea to open it up to the public when walking by the bagel shop, which also offers space to a knitting group on Tuesday nights. Classes started out on Monday nights but Fasbinder said that she’s adding a class on Wednesdays as well due to their popularity. Wilpon said that they already have classes scheduled through September and was surprised at how popular they ended up being.

Banu Chediek, a Long Island City resident, found the class after hearing about it from the knitting group that Ess-a-Bagel hosts on Tuesday nights and attended one of Fasbinder’s mahjong classes last month. Another student who attended last month, Lee Murphy, used to live in Stuy Town and Katie Ward, who lives in the East Village, also attended.

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Police Watch: Girls arrested for robbery, Teens busted for trespassing

GIRLS BUSTED FOR EAST 13TH ST. ROBBERY
Police arrested two teenagers at the corner of Second Avenue and East 28th Street on Tuesday, August 20 at 11:07 p.m. for an alleged robbery that took place in front of 324 East 13th Street at 9 p.m. that day.

Police said that the suspect threw the victim violently to the ground and forcibly removed her purse. The suspects reportedly caused a bruise to the victim’s elbow from throwing her to the ground. When the suspect were searched, the victim’s credit card and cell phone were recovered from one of the suspect’s bras. The names of the suspects are being withheld due to their young age.

TEENS BUSTED FOR TRESPASSING ON SCAFFOLDING
Police arrested a teenager, as well as 19-year-old Ousmane Niambele and 20-year-old Thomas Mwakasala for alleged criminal trespass in front of a Mount Sinai building at 323 East 17th Street on Tuesday, August 20 at 3:47 p.m. Police said that the three knowingly entered the top of the scaffolding area in front of the building that wasn’t open to the public and continued to return there unlawfully after they had been told multiple times by a Mount Sinai security officer that they were trespassing. All three boys were charged with criminal trespass. Niambele and the younger teen were also charged with possession of a controlled substance and the younger teen was additionally charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

TEEN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT AT ACS
Police arrested a teenager for an assault inside the Administration for Children’s Services facility at 492 First Avenue on Monday, August 19 at 11:58 a.m. The victim told police that she was preventing the suspect from entering one of the rooms inside the facility so that the teen didn’t attack another resident. The victim said that the teen became enraged and took a broom from a staff member, then attempted to break a window by hitting it with the broom, but staff managed to get the broom from her before she caused significant damage. The victim said that the suspect then grabbed a chair and purposely threw it at her, hitting her in the left leg and ankle, causing pain and discomfort.

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Opinion: De Blasio’s Delusion

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders 

Last week I saw Mayor Bill de Blasio on a local newscast giving an interview from the Iowa State Fair. He looked very relaxed in his shirtsleeves with no tie or jacket. I think he had just eaten a corndog, a local favorite. He seemed a million miles away from the daily cares of his actual job as chief executive of New York City. To be precise, he was about eleven hundred miles away from home.

Hizzoner was enjoying himself free from the problems of the disgraceful public housing conditions, the mass transit infrastructure woes, another police suicide, the worry about a terrorist attack in Chelsea with the discovery of what appeared at first to be improvised explosive devices. You know, some of the stuff that requires a Mayor to be on the job 24/7. But Bill de Blasio assures us that he is in communication with his staff every hour. That sort of makes him New York’s first Skype Mayor.

To be sure, everyone deserves a vacation and respite from their job. But Bill de Blasio has been spending chunks of time out of the city on a regular basis for the better part of 2019. His venue of choice has been Iowa because that is the first state which will be holding a Presidential nominee contest in just five months.

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East 28th Street resident missing

Gerardo Torres

The New York City Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a person reported missing on Tuesday, August 20 from 344 East 28th Street. It was reported to police that 32-year-old Gerardo Torres was last seen at his residence on Tuesday August 20 at 5:34 p.m. He is described as 5’8” tall, 240 pounds and was last seen wearing all dark clothing. Anyone with information in regard to this incident 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 or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential.

Woman arrested for package thefts

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a woman last week for package thefts in Gramercy, Flatiron and Kips Bay that took place earlier this year.

Diana Anduja, 47, was caught outside 61 Lexington Avenue on Tuesday, August 13 at 3:20 p.m. after police said that she had removed four packages from the building’s lobby.

She reportedly did not have permission to be inside the building and when she was stopped, she was allegedly in possession of the packages, in addition to a crack pipe with alleged drug residue.

After she was arrested, Anduja was charged in connection with three other burglaries that allegedly took place in residential buildings throughout the area.

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Con Edison making repairs after manhole fires

Con Ed made repairs on Third Avenue following manhole fires on East 19th Street earlier this month. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Con Edison is making repairs on East 19th Street after a manhole fire in front of 151 East 19th Street on August 8 caused damage to the underground electrical system.

A resident of 201 East 19th Street resident told Town & Village this week that it sounded like an explosion on the street, along with black smoke and a power outage across the street from her apartment. She said that she didn’t lose power in her apartment, but noted that the lights did flicker.

Con Ed spokesperson Sidney Alvarez said that loss of power or damage to the underground equipment can sometimes create a loud clang but the incident was a manhole fire on the street and not an explosion.

“Sometimes this [kind of incident] could sound like an explosion and there could have been a lot of smoke that could look very severe to the general public,” Alvarez said. “We responded to multiple manhole fires at that location and there were no injuries reported and no property damage.”

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Local politicians call on sanitation to remove trucks from East 10th Street

The trucks have been on East 10th Street for almost a year. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

State elected officials are introducing legislation that would prevent the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) from storing their trucks in residential neighborhoods after East Village residents voiced complaints about the vehicles on their block for the last year.

Elected officials spoke about the quality of life issue on the block at East 10th Street between First and Second Avenues this past Sunday morning, noting that it has been almost a year since the Department of Sanitation started parking on the block and also announced that they would be sending a letter to Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia requesting updates on the situation.

The letter noted that Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the situation last September, shortly after the trucks first arrived in the neighborhood on September 15, 2018, saying that he would try to work something out with the commissioner because the city didn’t want residential areas to feel the burden of the trucks, but the situation has remained largely unchanged since then, residents and business owners said.

The proposed legislation, sponsored by Deborah Glick in the State Assembly and Brad Hoylman in the State Senate, would amend the administrative code to prohibit garbage trucks from parking overnight on city streets. The new section would specify that vehicles operated by or under contract with the Department of Sanitation, and which are used for removing, disposing of or transporting solid waste, can’t be parked on the streets overnight.

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Local writers wanted for monthly meetups

East Village Wordsmiths has been hosted at Ciao for Now on East 12th Street for the last year.

By Sabina Mollot and Maria Rocha-Buschel

For the past year, a group of writers led by Stuyvesant Town resident Leigh Anne O’Connor have been meeting monthly at East Village restaurant Ciao for Now where they take turns reading from new works.

In recent months the writing workshop, dubbed the East Village Wordsmiths, has grown in numbers, though O’Connor said there is still plenty of room for more.

“It would be great to have a steady group of performers,” she said. “Sometimes we’re there and we have an hour and 20 minutes but sometimes we’re done inside an hour. I want it to expand into having a solid show.”

O’Connor, who works as a lactation consultant for breastfeeding mothers, says she had been doing writing on the breastfeeding and other issues that involved raising children. One of her motivations for starting the group, though, came from a writing class that she took at the Tribeca 92nd Street Y where she got the opportunity to perform some of her work.

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Street restoration begins on East 14th Street

Construction crews were out on East 14th Street on Tuesday morning removing barricades from an island near the front of the Associated Supermarket adjacent to the L train worksite. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

East Side residents may soon be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the L project—or at least across East 14th Street. The MTA noted in a newsletter sent out on Saturday that street restoration began on the Manhattan side for the L project over the weekend, meaning that construction crews would begin packing up and restoring a section of the street and sidewalk, clearing up some of the above-ground construction at the site in front of the Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town.

The construction management team working on the project said that street restoration means that the crew will reconstruct the street, sidewalk paving and trees back to the way it was before the project began.

“The biggest task is rebuilding the street itself,” the team said in the newsletter. “We’ll be doing that work ourselves, following very specific rules from the city [Department of Transportation].”

The process of street restoration includes multiple steps, beginning with dumping in backfill that is compressed with a heavy vibrating roller and tamping machines, followed by a base of concrete. An asphalt spreader will then move down the street with crews following to rake the asphalt even and to minimize traffic disruptions, this work is done at night.

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Letters to the editor, Aug. 22

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Unfair criticisms of Schwarzman

Re: “Pulling back the curtain on Blackstone,” letter, T&V, Aug. 15

Dear Editor,

I find the character assassination by letter writer “name withheld” of Stephen Schwarzman and President Trump offensive and all too common by Trump haters. The letter writer should at least have the courage to sign his name. It’s not as if Antifa will show up at his door and threaten his wife and children. Contrary to what “Name withheld” would have us believe, Trump never said there were good white supremacists. Trump said, “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.”

Regarding caging of children, there is no question the situation of people detained at our border is an unfortunate one, but before we believe people who bash Trump for political gain, we need to ask ourselves what are the alternatives. One is to send the illegal immigrants back home immediately, but that would require changing laws that the Democrats refuse to change.

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Police Watch: Man busted for attempted stroller theft, Man arrested for assault of senior

MAN BUSTED FOR ATTEMPTED STROLLER THEFT
Police arrested 38-year-old Michael Monaghan for an alleged theft from Union Square Park on Saturday, August 17 at 6:08 p.m. The victim told police that a witness told her Monaghan removed her unattended strolled from the playground area in Union Square Park and proceeded to take it towards the Parks bathroom located on the northeast side of the park. The witness followed Monaghan and saw him allegedly remove property from the stroller, then alerted the owner that the stroller had been taken. When the victim arrived at the location near the playground, she positively identified the stroller as hers and the witness positively identified Monaghan as the person who had allegedly removed the stroller. Monaghan was arrested in front of 45 East 17th Street.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT OF SENIOR
Police arrested 33-year-old Todd Lyons for allegedly assaulting an elderly man at the corner of Union Square East and East 15th Street on Friday, August 16 at 2:40 p.m. Police said that Lyons physically assaulted the man, who is in his 70s, by punching him in the face twice and also allegedly assaulted a woman while he was walking away. Lyons was stopped in front of 262 West 24th Street and was identified by a witness who was present during the assault. The victim refused medical attention at the scene and sustained injuries to the top of his right eye.

WOMAN ACCUSED OF STEALING CREDIT CARD
Police arrested 38-year-old Melissa Torres for an alleged theft that took place inside an apartment at 331 East 29th Street sometime in March or April. Police said that Torres, an acquaintance of the victim, removed her credit card from her apartment while the victim was in the hospital. Torres was charged with grand larceny inside the 13th precinct on Thursday, August 15 at 10:45 a.m.

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Opinion: A fitting tribute

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

Last weekend, my wife and I hosted friends of ours from the great state of Michigan who were visiting New York City. Of course they wanted to see all the sites of interest in Manhattan. We did that and we also saw some wonderful shows on Broadway, including “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Ain’t Too Proud,” which is a wonderful musical about the life and times of that great Motown singing group known as The Temptations. I recommend both shows.

But as we approach the 18th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, my friends wanted to go downtown to “Ground Zero” and see the area which for many New Yorkers, and Americans everywhere, has become sacred ground and a pilgrimage.

It is hard to believe that so many years have now passed since that dreadful day when nearly 3,000 people were killed by the two planes that crashed into the Twin Towers and caused such destruction. Surely it is a moment in time that none of us will ever forget. I was just a few hundred yards away when the planes struck. No New Yorker in particular can ever forget the grief and anger that we all felt as our city was attacked.

I found myself reliving the whole experience as I walked my friends from the Brooklyn Bridge subway stop across City Hall Park to Broadway and then along Church Street to the site. Retracing the very path that I travelled that morning on 9/11.

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