Man arrested for East Village home invasion

Burglary suspect Tyler Lockett

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested Louisiana resident Tyler Lockett, 22, on Tuesday in connection with a home invasion that took place in the East Village earlier this summer.

According to the NYPD, Lockett followed a 21-year-old woman into her apartment building near East 12th Street and Avenue A on Friday, July 26 around 1:45 a.m. The victim later told the New York Post that Lockett had wrapped his arm around her throat while she was trying to open her door, causing her to briefly lose consciousness.

Police said that Lockett also forcefully pushed his way into her apartment and grabbed her, told her to shut up and allegedly threw her to the ground while covering her mouth to prevent her from screaming.

The victim’s 22-year-old roommate, who was home at the time and had been sleeping, woke up and encountered Lockett, who then allegedly fled the scene. Police said that he was last seen fleeing on foot near East 11th Street and First Avenue.

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Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood sells out

Attendees got one last bite of summer at Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood last weekend. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Gramercy Neighborhood Associates successfully sold out tickets to their seventh annual Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood event, held on Irving Place south of Gramercy Park last weekend.

The organization was still calculating the final tally this week of how much the event raised but GNA President Alan Krevis said this week that 450 tickets were sold, with tickets ranging in price from $50 to $80 on the day of the event.

Proceeds from ticket sales benefit healthy meal programs at local public schools, including School of the Future and PS 40, and all of the leftover food was donated to the Bowery Mission to feed the homeless.

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Teens arrested for bag, phone snatching in Stuyvesant Town

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested two teenagers for a bag theft that occurred outside one of the playgrounds in Stuyvesant Town last week.

According to the NYPD and Stuy Town management, the victim was sitting on a park bench outside Playground 1 behind 330 First Avenue around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 18 when the one of the teens came up to the victim and grabbed her bag, which contained credit cards, and the other teen snatched her phone before running from the location.

Police said that both suspects entered the subway at First Avenue and East 14th Street, where one of the teens was arrested at 11:29 a.m., but the other suspect fled from the station and ran south on First Avenue. He was later arrested inside the 13th precinct on Thursday, September 19 at 6:12 p.m.

The bag containing the victim’s wallet was recovered when the first teen was arrested. It was not clear if the teen who allegedly grabbed the victim’s phone had it on him when he was arrested, and the device was turned off and unable to be tracked.

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Man wanted for Flatiron bank robbery

Bank robbery suspect

The New York City Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a man wanted for questioning in connection to a bank robbery in the Flatiron District.

Police reported that on Wednesday, September 25 around 2:53 p.m., an unidentified man approached a teller and passed a note demanding money inside the Wells Fargo at 777 Sixth Avenue near West 28th Street.

The man reportedly simulated a weapon but did not display one at the time of the incident. The teller complied and the suspect fled the location with $150. There were no injuries reported as a result of this incident.

The person wanted for questioning is described as a black man with a dark complexion and in his fifties.

Anyone with information in regard to the identity of this male 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.

Letters to the editor, Sept. 26

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Blackstone not required to provide polling places

To the editor:

Although I am disappointed that some voters will have to cross 14th Street to vote, we must remember that Stuyvesant Town management is not at all obligated to provide space for voting. Voting is a right but one that a landlord is not required to facilitate. Should the government seek to compel management to provide the space, the Fifth Amendment would require that “just compensation be provided.”

Name withheld

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Local politicians, experts answer questions on rent laws

Delsenia Glover, Ellen Davidson and State Senator Brad Hoylman answered questions about the rent laws. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

More than 200 tenants attended a housing forum hosted by State Senator Liz Krueger’s office on September 10 to learn more about the impacts of the rent laws that were passed in June, addressing the repeal of vacancy decontrol, preferential rents and new rules for major capital improvements.

The forum, held at CUNY’s Graduate Center on Fifth Avenue, was also attended by State Senator Brad Hoylman, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, the former Assemblymember for District 74 and currently the Chairman of Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development for the Senate, housing advocate Delsenia Glover of Tenants and Neighbors, NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas and Legal Aid attorney Ellen Davidson.

The local elected officials, experts and advocates at the forum discussed some of the major takeaways from the new rent laws that were passed, specifically regarding how they would affect rent-regulated tenants, and answered questions about housing-related issues.

Visnauskas said that the strengthened rent laws are helping to preserve affordable housing throughout the state by removing loopholes that landlords could exploit to increase rents and push apartments out of rent stabilization.

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Opinion: In the name of Butch

John “Butch” Purcell, also known as the mayor of Stuyvesant Town, pictured with his pooch Ginger (Photo by Kelly Vohs)

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

His name is John Purcell. To his legion of friends he is simply known as “Butch.” He has been a resident of Stuyvesant Town for over five decades. The basketball court Playground 9 near East 18th Street and First Avenue will from now on bear his name. This singular honor will be conferred on Butch in a dedication ceremony next Wednesday, September 25 at 10 a.m. And what a splendid choice he is for that honor.

There have been an array of luminaries to live in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village during those years. Important politicians, sports stars and entertainers as well as leaders of business and industry. So why Butch? Simply put… he deserves it!

Butch has spent his adult life helping young people. He has devoted much of his time keeping kids away from drugs and other self-destructive behaviors. When he has encountered those who have already gone down that poisoned path, he has shown them an off ramp.

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Stuyvesant Town residents shocked by polling site changes

A polling site in Stuyvesant Town during last November’s election (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town residents in multiple buildings were shocked to learn last Wednesday that their polling sites had changed to a location in Campos Plaza Community Center at 611 East 13th Street. The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association said in an email on Wednesday that residents who got the notices bombarded Councilmember Keith Powers’ office and the TA’s message center about the changes.

The message from the TA noted that residents from as far away as East 20th Street were being instructed to vote at the Campos Plaza polling site across East 14th Street.

The Board of Elections has been shifting polling places around in recent years, primarily to make sure that the sites are ADA compliant, and Powers’ office has been working with the BOE to find spaces in Stuy Town that can be used as polling sites.

Powers said that the changes are due to accessibility concerns because there are a number of long-term poll sites that the BOE has been using that are not fully ADA compliant. Schools are often a popular spot for polling sites but Powers said that a number of the schools in the neighborhood are not actually ADA compliant yet, although the city is also working to correct that discrepancy. In the meantime, he is still hoping that spaces in Stuyvesant Town can be usable and his office has been working with management to get access to those spaces.

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Associated closing in Stuyvesant Town

Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town on East 14th Street will likely be closing by the end of this year, StuyTown general manager Rick Hayduk announced in an email to residents last Friday afternoon.

Hayduk noted in the message that management has been working with the store in an attempt to keep the market open through the holiday season, including by offering free rent, but the store reportedly still would not be able to guarantee that it could stay open through the end of the year.

The owners told management that the competitive environment for supermarkets, both locally and due to online ordering, led them to the decision to close.

Norman Quintanilla, who has been the manager at the store for the last 16 years, told Town & Village on Tuesday that they have notified employees that the last day would be December 10, but the store will likely end up closing by the end of November.

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Letters to the editor, Sept. 19

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

City’s plan will hurt Stuy Cove

In response to the ad in the September 5 issue of T&V, the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association received a number of comments and questions. The following letter has been sent to elected representatives in Washington, Albany and New York. The SCPA thanks to all those who took the time to contact them.

On Monday, October 21, the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association will hold its annual Friends of Stuyvesant Cove Park meeting. The meeting will take place at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center, located at 449 East 16th Street. Among our agenda items is the planned razing of Stuyvesant Cove Park as part of the East Coast Resiliency Project.

It is the opinion of this body that the planned destruction and modification of the park, a project estimated to deprive the community use of the park for two years or more, will do nothing to prevent flooding in Stuyvesant Cove Park in the future. In addition, despite the surge in 2012, regular park-goers observed that within months, most of the flora was alive and well, with only a few exceptions, and within six months, you would not know anything had happened. All this in spite of the fact that the park had been under four feet of river water.

We understand that funds are being provided by the federal government. However, spending money simply because it is available should not be confused with justification and we are in total disagreement with the city’s decision to choose years of construction, hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs and no discernible new protections for the park itself. Moreover, Stuyvesant Cove Park’s natural resiliency in the wake of Hurricane Sandy proves that this is an ill-conceived over reaction to this event.

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Man wanted for forcible touching on 4 train

Forcible touching suspect

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

Police are looking for a man wanted for a forcible touching incident that occurred on the subway in Union Square earlier this month. 

The 37-year-old victim told police that she was riding a crowded uptown 4 train on Monday, September 9 around 8:35 a.m. and when the train was near Union Square, an unknown man who was standing behind her allegedly exposed his private parts and rubbed up against the victim’s buttocks. 

When the victim called attention to his behavior and protested to what he was doing, he got off the train at an unknown station and fled on foot. The victim was not injured. 

The suspect is described as a black man between 20 and 30 years old, clean-shaven, and was last seen wearing a patterned long sleeve shirt and glasses. 

Anyone with information about the identity of this man is asked to call the NYPD’s CrimeStoppers 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.

Housing, transit major issues at District 4 town hall

Councilmember Keith Powers and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson at the town hall on Tuesday. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Top priority for residents at a City Council District 4 town hall this week was affordable housing and transportation issues, in addition to addressing homelessness.

The town hall, hosted by Councilmember Keith Powers and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson this Tuesday, was held at CUNY’s Graduate Center and was attended by more than 300 residents.

Susan Steinberg, president of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, brought up the issue of affordable housing and the new rent laws for the first question of the night.

“Right away landlords went into a tailspin,” she said of the strengthened rent laws. “Blackstone who are the owners of Stuyvesant Town, have decided that they had to regroup and re-strategize because their business model no longer worked. And the way they did this was to hit the pause button on renovating vacant apartments and making them unavailable, so it’s tantamount to warehousing. And we were very concerned about that.”

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UPDATE: Teen arrested for robbery in Stuyvesant Town

Suspect David Young

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A 17-year-old girl was arrested for assaulting a senior while she was trying to get into her building in Stuyvesant Town on Monday evening. 

Police said that the victim, who is older than 65, was walking up to the building at 430 East 20th Street around 7:40 p.m. on September 16 when she spotted the teens, a boy and a girl, standing outside the door. As she approached the building, she said that one of the teens told her that his phone was dead and wanted her to let them inside the building. 

The victim said that she told them they needed to call security if they wanted help getting inside and one of the teens allegedly responded, “You’re not opening the door because we’re black.”

The victim said that she then turned around to walk away from the building when the teens grabbed her from behind and knocked her to the ground before grabbing her purse and fleeing the scene by heading west. 

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Men wanted for East Village jewelry store theft

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The New York City Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying two men wanted for a grand larceny that occurred in the East Village.

It was reported to the police that on August 23 at 8 p.m., two individuals entered the Still House, located at 309 East 9th Street, where they were trying on jewelry at the counter.  The individuals removed two rings, valued at approximately $2,980, when the store employee was distracted.  The individuals also used a counterfeit $100 bill to purchase two $25 gift cards before leaving the store.

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.

Opinion: What’s on the governor’s plate?

The winning design

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

There was an election last week. Cuomo lost.

Being governor of New York State with its nearly 20 million population and world important venues is a really big job. To govern successfully requires great intelligence, leadership skills and a focus on what matters most.

Andrew Cuomo has had this job for the past nine years. But one must wonder if he momentarily lost his attention on what is really important. Of all his significant policy initiatives during his first two terms, Cuomo’s preoccupation with issuing new license plates for motorists is a head scratcher. Of course, the change is estimated to raise upwards of $100 million for the state coffers, whether the replacement is necessary or not.

It will tax each car owner up to $45 to replace their current plates, once in circulation, for ten years. Governor Cuomo says that is needed because EZ pass terminals are having a hard time reading the existing plates. Since when?

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